Mental Health Matters to Canadians

Last week federal, provincial and territorial governments came together to work towards a new Health Accord. This is something that Justin Trudeau campaigned on, and promised a new ‘long-term funding formula.’

One thing that is for sure when our elected representatives are discussing health care, is that there still needs to be more attention on mental health in Canada.

But it isn’t a matter of just throwing money at the issue, according to a recent opinion article by Michael Wilson, Board Chair, Mental Health Commission of Canada. As he pointed out, awareness levels have increased, but there are still a number of gaps threatening the progress.

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One is the ‘dire lack of access to services’, where Canada’s youth, Indigenous population and those living in rural and remote communities, have trouble accessing services.

The other area is in the workplace.

“People who want to be gainfully employed, but who are living with a serious mental illness and have been sidelined from the workforce,” wrote Wilson.

It is clear that we need to take the same kind of resources and funding we use for physical health and take the same strategy towards mental health.

We can’t have another 4,000 Canadians die by suicide this year or lose another $50 billion in lost productivity.

The government must take action when planning health spending.

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One section of the Canadian population that is particularly pushing for increased access to mental health services are millennials, who are the most likely to be uninsured or have no coverage at work.

Millennials are more likely to have ‘low to middle-income jobs or work part-time.’ These jobs are typically not unionized and come with lower wages, little job security and no health coverage. Add to this the ‘high cost of living and record-level debt’ that young people are experiencing and you can see why mental health is a big concern.

Unions are working hard to make sure mental health is taken seriously. Teamsters Local 362 has run the Make It Mandatory mental health campaign, and most recently, You Are Not Alone – a docu-series bringing awareness to suicide prevention. We have also worked to have mental health written into collective agreements.

As the health care conversation continues at the federal and provincial level, many Canadians are hoping mental health will be a priority.


Episode 6: Youth Suicide

Being a young person is not always easy. There are different pressures and stress as you grow – add to that a mental health issue or thoughts of suicide and life can be extremely difficult.

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, youth are among the highest risk populations for suicide. It accounts for 24 per cent of all deaths among 15-24 year olds and 16 per cent among 16-44 year olds and is the second leading cause of death for Canadians between the ages of 10 and 24.

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Suicide can also be even more prevalent in vulnerable communities. LGBTQ youth are 4 times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers and suicides among First Nations youth (aged 15 to 24) was about five to six times higher than non-aboriginal youth in Canada.

In Episode 6 of our docu-series on suicide we look at the issue of youth suicide.

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It is clear something needs to change and you can make a difference. By sharing our videos and reaching out to leaders and policy makers, you can send a message – we need more funding towards suicide prevention and mental health support in our province. The time for change is now. #YouAreNotAlone


Episode 5: Impact of Suicide on Family and Friends

When a close friend or loved one dies by suicide, there is no easy blue print for how to deal with the impact of that loss.

Each person has their own type of relationship with that person, and will handle the death differently. You’ve shared life experiences and they have become a unique part of your life – the loss of those things can be devastating.

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When you add the stigma associated with suicide to that loss, there is a new layer of emotions to deal with. There is not the same types of support or understanding of that someone who is dealing with the loss of someone who died of a physical medical condition or accident.

This needs to change.

In Episode 5 of our docu-series we look at the impact a death by suicide can have on friends and family members, and the support that they need to get through it.

Visit Our Initiative #YouAreNotAlone

It is clear something needs to change and you can make a difference. By sharing our videos and reaching out to leaders and policy makers, you can send a message – we need more funding towards suicide prevention and mental health support in our province. The time for change is now. #YouAreNotAlone


Episode 4: Suicide Prevention in the Workplace

 

The stigma surrounding suicide is real and there is perhaps no place that is harder to talk about it then in the workplace.

It can be seen as a weakness and is not treated as a serious health condition, making it difficult for those suffering to come forward. Employees may feel embarrassed or not no what resources are available for them.

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Most people spend 60 per cent of their hours awake at work, making the workplace one of the most important places to be able to speak about mental health and find the proper resources.

Loss of productivity from dealing with mental health issues is estimated to cost Canadian businesses between 15 to 25 billion dollars per year, with mental health issues costing the Canadian economy in total around 50 billion dollars per year.

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In Episode 4 of our docu-series we look at the impact of suicide in the workplace.

It is clear something needs to change and you can make a difference. By sharing our videos and reaching out to leaders and policy makers, you can send a message – we need more funding towards suicide prevention and mental health support in our province. The time for change is now. #YouAreNotAlone


Episode 3: The Alberta Perspective

There is no doubt that Alberta is a unique province – our history, culture and economy set us apart.

That’s why when we look at mental health support in our province, it is so important to consider what makes us distinct.

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According to statistics Canada, Alberta’s longest post-war recession has caused the GDP to drop by 6.5 per cent over the past two years and the unemployment rate is up to 7.9 per cent.

We also had one of the costliest disasters in Canadian history with the Fort McMurray fire of 2016. What local residents often refer to as ‘the beast’ started on May 1 and spread across nearly 600,000 hectares.

Dealing with all of these different stressors can be difficult, especially without proper support. It will be so important in the upcoming months and years for Alberta to be prepared to have mental health resources available for people in the province who need it.

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In Episode 3 of our docu-series we take a closer look at Alberta and mental health in the province.

You can make a difference. By sharing our videos and reaching out to leaders and policy makers, you can send a message – we need more funding towards suicide prevention and mental health support in our province. The time for change is now. #YouAreNotAlone


Teamsters Local Union No. 879 Thank You Letter

Please click the link below to view the thank you letter from Teamsters Local Union No. 879 regarding the 2016 Women's Conference.

local-879-letter-of-appreciation