One in five Canadians has a mental illness. Getting help is often a long slog and children in particular are left waiting too long for help.
That’s why a coalition of national mental health organizations are calling on the Canadian government to immediately commit more resources to battling mental illness.
Beth Nowosad, a 23-year-old mental health activist who works with the New Mentality Network’s Youth Action Committee, tells The Current’s guest host Nam Kiwanuka that navigating mental health care is especially hard for youth.
Beth saw her first counselor when she was in grade 10. In retrospect, she realizes that counselor was not the right fit.
“I thought that was the one and only counselor for me so I lost a lot of hope in the system, and in my family at that point because they felt like they had let me down.”
Her lack of faith led her to hiding her anxiety and eventually she tried to end her life.
Psychiatrist Dr. David Goldbloom, a senior medical adviser at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health tells Kiwanuka the problems Beth encountered happen all too often for young people with a mental illness.
“And really there are barriers that would be unacceptable for any other form of illness or suffering in our society.”
As someone working on the frontlines, Dr. Goldbloom says Canada dramatically underspends in terms of funding that goes towards mental health — only between six and seven per cent of health dollars in Canada goes to mental health.
Listen to the 24 minute podcast here.