Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The Canadian Mental Health System, according to The Globe and Mail Newspaper needs to be dealt with head-on. As editor-in-chief of the Globe and Mail, Edward Greenspon, wrote of Canada’s Mental Health Crisis, in an editorial Friday June 19, 2008, "Face it. Fund it. Fix it."

Greenspon also said, "One in five Canadians will experience a mental illness in his or her lifetime. It is a pervasive presence in almost all of our lives. And yet we rarely speak of it. The mentally ill are not different; they are us. As a society, we have thrown off many of our social stigmas, but not yet those surrounding mental illness."

The Globe and Mail, a national newspaper in Canada, based in Toronto, is featuring an in depth eight part series on the Mental Health Crisis in Canada.

In his editorial Globe and Mail editor-in-chief, Greenspon also states that, "There is no better time to start than now. Over the next eight days, The Globe and Mail and will introduce you to a series of utterly compelling Canadians — people just like you and me — who are struggling with mental illnesses. In a landmark series called Breakdown, the subjects of our stories will invite you deep into their lives. Their stories, told with empathy and intelligence, will sweep away the myths around mental illness. In tackling this subject, we are employing our entire storytelling kit in print and online: text, photography, graphics, audio, slide shows, video."

"It is far too easy for the media to simply overwhelm audiences with the hopelessness of it all, which is why we strive in major journalistic undertakings such as Breakdown to go from real people with real problems to the attendant social-policy failures to achievable scientific and public-policy solutions.

This week, two hockey greats, Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson and former Montreal Canadiens legend Guy Lafleur, have spoken out about the mental-health challenges within their own families. They have set an example we hope you will emulate.

The time has come to speak your mind, to erase the stigma of mental illness and acknowledge the contribution that those with mental-health issues, such as Alyse, can make to society. Help us by going to and telling your stories, as Alyse and Daniel Alfredsson have done. The more of us who do that, the more mental illness will be accepted as a normal part of life. And the more it is accepted, the more we can do to adopt the proper policies and combat it.

On April 5, 1890, The Globe ran a mammoth story on its front page called At The Asylum (which is abridged in today’s paper and reproduced in full on the Web). "Insanity," it began. ‘Does not the word bring to the recollection of almost every reader some face — a friend, a relative perhaps — of one who, though living, is counted among the dead?”

Kudos to the Globe and Mail for such important, relevant, and in-depth journalism that is shedding light on a crucial reality in our society that continues to be stigmatized, shamed, and to varying degrees simply out of the public eye or awareness. It is high time that the state of the Mental Health Care delivery system in this country is not only exposed for all that it lacks but that all Canadians are made much more aware of what this means to each and every Canadian. The impact of untreated mental illness reaches far beyond those who are suffering from a mental illness and has consequences for society and its well-being over-all.

For those who have Borderline Personality Disorder, in Canada, one of the most impacting things about this crisis in mental health services is how the lack of funding for much-needed services keeps getting cut back to the point that the kind of therapy that can be productive in recovery is now next to impossible to find. In many ways, despite the best efforts of many dedicated mental health professionals this short-fall in funding – this short-sighted head-in-the-sand mentality of both Provincial Governments and our Federal Government means that people who could be getting well aren’t. That’s a tragedy.

I know personally that in the therapy that was the process that lead to my recovery from Borderline Personality  Disorder I was very fortunate that I went through the system at a time when there were still more longer-term therapy programs available – at a time when the resources while not plentiful were certainly not as scarce as they currently are.

Borderline Personality Disorder can be healed. It takes a lot of work. It can’t be achieved in what systems refer to has "cost-effective short-term therapy". Therapists know this. Therapists on the front lines, especially in our community hospital in-patient programs and Adult Out-Patient Mental Health Departments, are getting burned out faster and faster trying to provide a reasonable and positively-impacting level of care in a system that does not make available to them the time or resources to effectively have a fighting chance at helping people with longer-term issues get well.

The cost of funding the Mental Health Care System in Canada if adequately addressed may well save our government money that it must pay in police salaries and prision costs. Wouldn’t it make more sense to fund people getting well and learning how to effectively cope rather than having to fund the kind of money that dealing with the carnage of untreated mental illness really does cost?

I encourage everyone in Canada for sure, and even those living in the United States or other countries to read what this most needed and timely focus on the Mental Health Crisis in Canada as I am sure we are not the only country facing these issues. Please visit: The Globe and Mail Newspaper

© Ms. A.J. Mahari June 21, 2008

Life Coaching for those with BPD and for non borderlines is available with A.J. Mahari.

Canadian Mental Health System In Crisis