Mental Health is a very serious problem, but it’s not treated with the seriousness which it deserves.
Part of it is because there is a stigma around mental health. You can’t see depression, anxiety or suicidal ideations; therefore they don’t exist.
When someone is physically injured, you can see those injuries in plain sight. Blood, bruises, broken bones, needing a cane, wheelchair or walker etc. Because you can see those injuries that means that they are true.
But mental health is invisible to the naked eye. Even worse, those injuries are subjective unless you have a proper diagnosis from a treating doctor or specialist. But even mental health diagnoses differ from physician to physician. Some doctors are sympathetic towards mental health. Others are not.
Worse still is that hockey and tough winters are ingrained in Canadian culture. When it’s cold outside, you bundle up, suck it up and tough it out. Hockey players are glorified for playing injured, bloodied, battled and bruised. You get knocked down, you’re taught to suck it up and get back on the ice and hit the opponent harder.
The reality is that while everyone may strive to have a tough warrior like mentality; not everyone is wired that way. Not everyone is capable of getting up off their feet when they’ve been knocked down. And when you’ve lived a life rattled by abuse issues, addiction issues, or simply coping with a difficult childhood, you will need all of the support systems which you can get.
There was, and still exists today a major hole in the health care system when it comes to mental health.
Psychiatrists are covered by OHIP. But there are only so many psychiatrists out there who see members of the public. Wait lists are long, and if you reside in a remote community, good luck finding someone. In order to see a psychiatrist, you either must be hospitalized or get a referral from your family doctor. Convenient, fast, easy and inexpensive access to mental health simply does not exist in the OHIP system.
Compare the public OHIP system to the private system. Therapists, psychologists, social workers, counselors etc. are not generally covered by OHIP. You must pay out of pocket to see one of these people unless you have your own private insurance benefits. If you have access to money or insurance benefits, then the treatment is plentiful and the wait lines are far less than seeing a psychiatrist. But if you don’t have the money to insurance benefits, then you won’t be able see one of these mental health care professionals unless it’s through a hospital or government agency.
This is the gap between the “haves” and the “have nots” when it comes to mental health in Ontario. That huge gap has been addressed by the Ford Government. They have committed $20M to funding cognitive and psychotherapy which is fantastic news.
The main recipients of the funding will be Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences in Whitby, The Royal in Ottawa and Penetanguishene’s Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care. This is all a part of the he creation of the Mental Health and Addictions Centre of Excellence in Ontario, along with Ontario’s $3.8 billion previously announced by the Ontario government for mental health and addiction services over the next decade.
Often times clients of Goldfinger Injury Lawyers are involved in serious car accidents, slip and falls, assaults etc. Sometimes our clients have benefits. Sometimes those benefits are terminated for no good reason other than the insurer has paid for a hired gun doctor to report that said benefits are not reasonable or necessary. What is an accident victim to do if they have no money, cannot work on account of injury, have no benefits and can’t afford to cost of psycho therapy treatment?
With this $20M infusion of capital in to Mental Health, we hope that more people across the spectrum will have easier access to mental health treatment and care.
Too often people are alone without friends, family, doctors, people to care for them or simply people to listen. We tell people who ask what a personal injury lawyer does; aside from the legal aspects of the job; a huge part of the job is simply listening to other peoples’ problems, worries and concerns. We listen when nobody else has the patience, time or capacity to listen. Personal injury lawyers are sometimes cheap therapy in that they listen but cannot provide any form of medical health advice or prescribe medicine. But sometimes just listening and allowing our clients to vent out their anger, fears, and frustrations is enough to make them feel a bit better; even if that sense of relief is temporary we know that it helps.
It’s our hope that with additional funding towards mental health that people with genuine mental health issues will be able to get real meaningful treatment instead of being left out in the dark with limited medical resources to turn to.
It’s also remarkable that getting this level of funding allocated towards mental health has taken so long. What were we doing before this? Not very much. The system was broken leaving too many people left behind with no way to fend for themselves. We believe this funding infusion was long overdue and applaud the government on being proactive on this front. This is the sort of government spending that we can all support and get behind. Strangely it doesn’t come from an NDP or Liberal Government. Rather it comes from a Conservative government which is odd. Not to get too political because this is a personal injury law blog; but isn’t it strange what initiatives governments will spend on, and what initiatives they won’t. Not too sure if there is any rhyme or reason to it all. Was this all part of the Ford platform when he was elected? If I recall, he ran without any real detailed platform other than he wanted to replace the Wynne Government.