Children’s Mental Health and the Need for a National Mental Health Movement
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Children’s Mental Health and the Need for a National Mental Health Movement


The speaker’s new set of responsibilities and challenges as Chair of the Mental Health Commission of Canada. A growing recognition that mental-health issues are pressing matters for us to address as a country. The urgency of addressing issues relating to child and youth mental health and illness in Canada. The seriousness of the situation. Hope. A once-in-a-generation opportunity to make real progress. Lack of progress over the last decade. Some then-and-now facts to illustrate this point. The situation as crisis, and continuing crisis. Not allowing this crisis to become a permanent state of affairs. What must be done. Challenges to be faced. The high stakes. Consequences of mental-health problems and illnesses. The lack of a coherent system of care in Canada. Reasons for the lack of progress. The issue of stigma. A shortage of care providers who have expertise in both mental-health and substance-use problems. Other shortages. Lack of training in medical school with regard to mental health. Putting mental-health services where they are needed. Other troubling dimensions. Lack of funding. A wake-up call to look at the big picture and come up with a strategy to deliver a cohesive system that provides excellent continuity of care. The need for a national strategy and what that could provide. What the commission can do to help create the political will needed. Building the movement. Two important factors for the Mental Health Commission to be the catalyst for the creation of this movement. Stating that the Mental Health Commission will never be involved in direct lobbying of governments and why not. The relationship between mental health and politics. The role for business. Taking up the challenge.