Unfortunately, despite regular progress in the realm of mental illness, the subject still attracts a stigma in our culture. Even though mental illness is one of the most common forms of illness and affects an incredibly large amount of the population at some point in life, we still stigmatize illnesses like depression and schizophrenia. The Ontario provincial government is aiming to change that however, with a push for increased services for those afflicted with mental health issues, as well as more programs and support for home care and personal support workers. Ita��s a push in the right direction to provide the necessary support for those with mental health issues.
The Action Plan for Health Care
On January 27th, Deb Matthews – Ontarioa��s Minister of Health and Long-Term Care a�� made an announcement stating that the provincial government were building on their proposed Action Plan for Health Care, and that they were expanding it to provide more services to those seeking treatment for mental health issues, as well as support programs to bolster the retention of personal support workers (PSW), predominantly in the home care sector, with increased attention to personal support worker training. Increasing PSW training programs is at the top of the plana��s list of objectives, which also includes expanding free dental care for 70,000 children, necessitating additional dental health training.
This announcement comes two years after the announcement and creation of the Action Plan for Health Care, and the government plans to keep building the plan, increasing support to areas that it deems necessary, depending on the state of healthcare and how it is expected to evolve.
Matthews also announced a partnership with mental health organizations, intended to provide more assistance to those with mental health issues while fostering an attitude of understanding and urging those suffering from mental health issues to seek help.
The new $60-million initiative, dubbed the Medical Psychiatry Alliance, will push for both physical and mental illnesses to be treated alongside each other, treating both as separate but simultaneously occurring health problems.
The initiative states that over half a million people in Canada are living with, or at risk for, mental illness. It plans to develop better screening processes and diagnostic tools to ensure that people suffering from various forms of mental illnesses are properly diagnosed, and then treated in a manner that is effective.
According to the Ontario government, the initiative plans to a�?support people across the province over the next six years by:
- Developing new screening and diagnostic tools to ensure patients are properly diagnosed.
- Ensuring physical and mental illnesses are treated simultaneously so patients and their families receive the best care available.
- Developing specialized clinical training for medical students focused on the management of co-occurring physical and mental illness.
- Creating a simulation centre for students and professionals to learn and test new approaches to treating physical and mental illness using actor patients in realistic scenarios.a�?
Ita��s a step in the right direction for both the government and those afflicted by illnesses like depression. Hopefully this will continue to foster an attitude of understanding and acceptance regarding mental health.
Read more about the proposed plan on the governmenta��s website.