On Monday, to mark World Mental Health Day, a group of community organizations gathered in Montreal’s Plateau-Mont-Royal borough, for a call to action.
According to them, Quebecers need to have better access to mental health resources, and they need it now.
“What we hope for is quality services for the population,” said Anne-Marie Boucher, spokesperson for Regroupement des ressources alternatives en santé mentale du Québec (RRASMQ). “Actually what we’re seeing is that we have the bare minimum, and when I say bare minimum, I think it’s even below the bare minimum.”
Advocates say the health system is currently flooded with long waiting times, and unless there’s an emergency situation, quick support is rarely available.
They want to see more funding from the newly elected provincial government go into bettering the quality of the public system. They spoke out against privatizing health care.
“Do not deplete our services,” said advocate Peter Belland. “When you privatize the health system, you make it more difficult for vulnerable people to have access. So they need not to do that.”
Many also argue that social issues need to be tackled alongside mental health.
Advocates say the poverty and the housing crisis both need to be taken seriously by the government.
“It’s very hard to have good mental health when we don’t eat enough — when you’re struggling at
the grocery just to choose the thing that might feed us for a whole month,” said Boucher. “It’s super hard for people right now.”
Meanwhile, the Douglas Foundation is also marking world mental health day, with a call for help.
Their new campaign Building Hope, running until the end of the month, aims to raise funds to support research on mental health and patient care at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute.
“With research, we can identity better treatments, better methods of prevention and provide the 1 in 3 Canadians who are touched by mental illness each year with occasion to hope,” said Laura Fish, president and CEO of the Douglas Foundation.