The Canadian Mental Health Association is bringing candidates from all parties with seats in the House of Commons together for an online discussion about mental health during the federal election.
The CMHA All-Party Panel on Mental Health is being held on September 10, which is also World Suicide Prevention Day. The virtual discussion will take place from 2 to 3 pm EDT and registration for the free event is available online.
According to the community mental health organization, the event is an opportunity for candidates to share the steps that their party will take to ensure all Canadians can get timely access to mental health support and treatment no matter where they live.
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“This federal election presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make meaningful and lasting reforms to Canada’s mental health system, said the CMHA in a release. “COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on the mental health and well-being of Canadians. Even before the pandemic, one in five Canadians experienced a mental illness or a mental health issue in any given year.
Speakers during the event include Honourable Patty Hajdu, former Miniser of Health and candidate for the Liberal Party of Canada in the riding of Thunder Bay-Superior North, ON; Todd Doherty, candidate for the Conservative Party of Canada in the riding of Cariboo-Prince George, BC; Don Davies, candidate for the New Democratic Party of Canada in the riding of Vancouver Kingsway, BC; Dr. Jennifer Purdy, candidate for the Green Party of Canada in the riding of Kanata-Carleton, ON; and Luc Thériault, candidate for the Bloc Québécois in the riding of Montcalm, QC.
André Picard, award-winning national health journalist, will be moderating the virtual panel that will also feature remarks from Margaret Eaton, National CEO of CMHA.
The CMHA, which provides mental health programs, services and supports in 330 local communities, said that the 44th federal election is a “once-in-a-generation opportunity to make meaningful and lasting reforms to Canada’s mental health system.”
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In an opinion piece written by Eaton for Daily Hive, she states that direct mental health investment in communities across the country is critical.
“We want to see significant and increased leadership, resources to close the gaps in our mental health system and make sure every Canadian who needs mental health supports can get them,” said Eaton. “This must be accompanied by investment in additional supportive and affordable housing for people with mental illnesses and substance use problems to ensure that they have safe places to live as they recover, funding for Indigenous-led mental health services to advance reconciliation and to better support Indigenous communities and funding to enhance access to substance use treatments and supports.
“The path forward is a nationwide plan to invest directly in communities —not only to treat people in Canada with mental illnesses close to home but also to prevent mental health crises in the first place.”