The Canadian Mental Health Commission is releasing its long-awaited mental health strategy on Tuesday. Too bad somebody leaked it on Sunday.
The Commission spent six long years studying the state of mental health in Canada and is recommending governments spend $4 billion over the next decade to shore up our embarrassing efforts to keep people from harming themselves and others. It's funny that the Commission had to spent six years doing this, considering the Kirby Commission on mental health had previously studied it for four.
Why did it take six years? Why are the recommendations pretty much the same?
In other words, the Commission wasted the lifespan of a First Grader to tell us what we already know. Also, it's asking for $4 billion at a time when all governments are in austerity mode. Doctors are having their pay cut. Hospitals are being asked to do more with less. Not-for-profit organizations dedicated to helping the mentally ill are having their grants cut. Soldiers are losing their mental health resources. And the federal government is putting people on "affected" lists causing lineups for already over-burdened employee assistance programming.
Maybe six years ago, when the Commission was set up, something could have been done. That was before the Harper government brought us the mother of all deficits. Before provinces like Ontario became have not provinces. In a perfect world, there might be $4 billion annually to do the kind of programming they are talking about.
Maybe in Alberta.
Fact is, the Commission might have offices in Calgary (?) and Ottawa but it has no power.
And don't you think it's rich that Michael Kirby, who was the Senate committee chair was also the chair of the Canadian Mental Health Commission! Can you spell double dipping?
Reminds me of the patriation of the Constitution. Who's that little guy next to the Queen?
Why, it's Mike Kirby!
So far, there's been a lot of talk but little action on the mental health front. That's not likely to change.
You can just bet the feds will want to "study" the Commission's report until it just goes away.
Wonder what Mike's next gig will be? Special advisor to the Health Minister on the Implentation of the national strategy on mental health?