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Mental Health Services

February 3, 2012

Mental illness is a major health issue for society and for government. Discrimination persists in the organization and provision of hospital care and community health care for people with mental illness. The Canadian Mental Health Association is working actively to maintain and to improve a health care system in which the principles of universal access, uniform terms and conditions, comprehensiveness, portability and public administration are upheld.

The mental health services discussed below represent the formal mental health system. Equally important to the community resource base, which is person-centered, are informal caring networks, community groups and agencies, family support and self-help. This policy statement addresses important principles for the formal treatment system.

Mental illness is a major health issue for society and for government. Discrimination persists in the organization and provision of hospital care and community health care for people with mental illness. The Canadian Mental Health Association is working actively to maintain and to improve a health care system in which the principles of universal access, uniform terms and conditions, comprehensiveness, portability and public administration are upheld.

The CMHA endorses the following key issues:

  • The federal government must make health and social service funding to provinces and territories conditional upon the implementation of these principles.
  • CMHA encourages the maximum use of all resources in the community to be applied to improving the health care of all Canadians so that continuity of care and a comprehensive range of services would be provided. Insured health services should include prevention activities, full and adequate health promotion programs, early problem identification, treatment, aftercare and rehabilitation.
  • Supportive housing and living arrangements which promote personal autonomy are important aspects of rehabilitation and health promotion.
  • Provincial and territorial governments must not only endorse but must implement universality of health care to the extent of providing coverage for prescription medications for all Canadians. No individual should have to sacrifice the necessities of life such as food, shelter and clothing, in order to pay for medically prescribed drugs. As a first step, all individuals with a chronic illness should have access to prescription medications without incurring personal expense and without reference to income level.

November 1995

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