A major investment has been announced to help improve the lives of people with mental health issues and the care they receive.
The Quebec government plans to invest almost $1.2 billion during the next five years to treat mental health and improve access to acute care.
Gabriel Julien is thrilled with the government’s investment.
He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2011 and had a heavy dependency on drugs and alcohol. But he has since turned his life around. Two years ago he founded a non-profit organization working out of a hair salon on Saint-Laurent Boulevard where haircuts are free for people suffering from mental health issues.
“For me to help others is a way to help myself. It keeps me occupied and it gives me a way to live,” Julien told Global News.
Some of the government funds will be used to help community organizations and outreach programs.
There will also be money for schools to work with students struggling with mental health issues and identify at-risk students.
“There are still areas where you have to wait months and months when you’re in psychiatric crisis and that’s really something that has to stop,” Dr. Olivier Farmer, a Nôtre-Dame Hospital psychiatrist, told Global News.
Psychiatrists say the government funding couldn’t come soon enough and argue the government needs to develop a coherent plan when dealing with the pandemic.
“To change it from week to week and to hear the double messages all the time, it’s just not healthy for the population,” Karen Hetherington, president of the Canadian Mental Health Association Quebec Division, told Global News.
The funding will start this year and last until 2026.