Mental illnesses make up more than 15% of the disease burden in Canada, with an estimated annual economic cost of more than $50 billion in direct health care costs. A person with mental illness can expect to live up to 10 years less than the average Canadian.
Mental illness also increases a person’s risk for poverty and homelessness. An estimated 67% of Canada’s homeless population has a serious mental illness.
The CMA believes Canada should work toward a strong system of mental health services that includes:
- access to a well-funded continuum of services, from in-hospital treatment to community-based care and support
- adequate community support for people with mental health disorders that addresses income, housing and employment
- focused public awareness campaigns and other initiatives to combat stigma and discrimination against people with mental illness