Posts tagged as:

healthcare

Campaigns like “Let’s Talk” are all well and good when it comes to ending the stigma and launching a conversation. But it’s not enough to just talk about mental health. We urgently need to fix our system to provide better access treatment, prevention and education.

The Globe and Mail’s #OpenMinds Series has some practical, common-sense solutions that should be implemented:

  • Expanding access to publicly funded therapy
  • Using technology to deliver therapy into the homes of Canadians
  • Teaching the next generation about mental health
  • Giving youth early access to good clinical care
  • Providing affordable housing to those who need it

I agree with all of these. And I’d add a few:

  1. Healthcare is under provincial jurisdiction. But the Federal government DOES have the power to amend the Canada Health Act to include mental health. (No doubt the provinces would push back about it being an unfunded mandate, but studies show that these solutions would actually *save* the government money in the long run.) Amending the Act would rightly recognize the importance of mental health and would pressure provincial governments to provide better access to care across the country.
  2. Resources (funding, support groups, education) for caregivers are notably absent from this list. This is a big gap in our existing system. Being a caregiver is an enormous responsibility, and people with loved ones in their lives battling mental health problems need all the help they can get.
  3. Many people are afraid to seek treatment for mental health problems because they fear losing their jobs if their health issues become known. Both employees and employers need more education about their existing rights. And where loopholes exist in the laws, these need to be amended to ensure that nobody ever has to worry about being fired due to mental illness.
  4. We need to do a better job training police on how to deal with people with mental health issues. There are too many horror stories of people being killed, harmed, or shuffled into the criminal justice system when what they need is treatment, not enforcement.

According to the CAMH, mental illness costs the economy an estimated $51 billion per year, and affects an estimated 1 in 2 Canadians by age 40. Nearly 4000 Canadians commit suicide each year. There’s no doubt that we have a mental health crisis in this country. And it’s in our power to fix.

Let’s do better, Canada.

{ 0 comments }

This article in the Washington Post really gets at the crux of the difference in outlook between liberals and conservatives:

Chaffetz was articulating a commonly held belief that poverty in the United States is, by and large, the result of laziness, immorality and irresponsibility. If only people made better choices — if they worked harder, stayed in school, got married, didn’t have children they couldn’t afford, spent what money they had more wisely and saved more — then they wouldn’t be poor, or so the reasoning goes.

[ . . . ]

Since the invention of the mythic welfare queen in the 1960s, this has been the story we most reliably tell about why people are poor. Never mind that research from across the social sciences shows us, over and again, that it’s a lie. Never mind low wages or lack of jobs, the poor quality of too many schools, the dearth of marriageable males in poor black communities (thanks to a racialized criminal justice system and ongoing discrimination in the labor market), or the high cost of birth control and day care. Never mind the fact that the largest group of poor people in the United States are children. Never mind the grim reality that most American adults who are poor are not poor from lack of effort but despite it.

Conservatives believe in a meritocracy; people who get ahead do so because they “deserve” to, because they’ve worked hard and pulled themselves up by the proverbial bootstraps. The flip side to that is that poor people or the less successful are seen as also “deserving” of their failure, because they’re lazy, stupid, or otherwise unworthy.

Liberals tend to believe that success and failure are mostly based on factors completely outside of one’s control: Systematic and structural factors that set some people up with advantages that allow them to succeed despite themselves, and others with such insurmountable odds that it would take a miracle to defy them.

As usual, the real truth lies somewhere in between the two. A lot of our success or failure *is* structural and outside of our control. And our choices and actions do matter, but they’re not the only things that matter. I think so many people struggle with the notions of systematic discrimination and privilege simply because they don’t want to let go of feeling like they’re in control of their own lives. I get that. I really do. That doesn’t mean it’s okay to attack people for being poor, though.

Alain de Botton has a good TED talk about this, which is worth a watch if you have a few moments.

{ 0 comments }

Did French vegans kill their baby?

03.30.2011

A French couple has been charged in the death of their 11-month old baby, after allegedly feeding her an insufficient vegan diet and refusing to treat her illnesses, instead using “natural” (aka useless) remedies: The couple, Sergine and Joel Le Moaligou, are strict vegans who chose to feed their daughter, Louise, no solid food, giving [...]

Read more →

Not-so-universal healthcare

11.11.2010

When it comes to so-called “universal” Medicare under the Canada Health Act, as the Globe and Mail reports, Quebecers are truly second-class citizens: Under the portability requirement, every Canadian is entitled to full medical coverage, no matter where he or she lives, and provincial health insurance plans are supposed to be good anywhere in the [...]

Read more →

Charest government backs down on user fees

09.22.2010

There will be no user fees for healthcare in Quebec after all: Quebecers quickly organized large street demonstrations when the government announced it would charge taxpayers a $200-a-year health premium, then bill patients another $25 for each hospital visit. [ . . . ] Quebec’s user fees would have brought an estimated $500 million a year [...]

Read more →

We’re American and we love our guns

06.28.2010

The U.S. Supreme Court has been hard at work, ensuring that all Americans have the right the own handguns. Of course, with fifty million potential gunshot wound victims without health insurance, one would think that the Founding Fathers might have anticipated the need for a universal right to healthcare in the Constitution too, no?

Read more →

Debunking the vaccination-causes-autism myth

02.02.2010

The study that had initially claimed a link between childhood vaccination and autism and had long since been essentially debunked as having no supporting evidence, has been formally retracted by the Lancet: The Lancet published the controversial paper by Andrew Wakefield and colleagues in 1998. British parents abandoned the vaccine in droves, leading to a resurgence of measles. [...]

Read more →

More H1N1 conspiracy theories

01.12.2010

Why rely on information when conspiracy theories are just so much more fun? THE swine flu scare was a “false pandemic” led by drugs companies that stood to make billions from vaccines, a leading health expert said. Wolfgang Wodarg, head of health at the Council of Europe, claimed major firms organized a “campaign of panic” [...]

Read more →

Doctors returning to Canada… but not to Quebec

08.24.2005

A new report says the doctor brain drain has reversed; more doctors came to Canada last year than left. However, none of this is helping Quebec, whose ridiculous regulations are driving most medical school graduates to leave the province to start their careers, because there aren’t enough positions in Montreal. Upon graduation, new doctors have [...]

Read more →

The healthcare verdict

06.10.2005

I was reserving judgment on yesterday’s Supreme Court Decision on healthcare because I wanted to give everyone a chance to calm down before reacting. With public healthcare practically the Canadian religion, passions are undertstandably running high. Half the country is in hysterics because they’re afraid of the door being open to a two-tier system that [...]

Read more →