Mental Health, Mental Illness and Addiction: R

Mental Health, Mental Illness and Addiction:  R
REPORT 1
Mental Health, Mental Illness and
Addiction:
Overview of Policies and Programs in Canada
Interim Report of
The Standing Senate Committee On Social Affairs, Science And Technology
The Honourable Michael J.L.Kirby, Chair
The Honourable Wilbert Joseph Keon, Deputy Chair
November 2004
Ce document est disponible en français
Available on the Parliamentary Internet:
www.parl.gc.ca
(Committee Business – Senate – Recent Reports)
38th Parliament – 1st Session
The Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology
Interim Report on
Mental Health, Mental Illness and Addiction
Report 1
MENTAL HEALTH, MENTAL ILLNESS AND ADDICTION:
OVERVIEW OF POLICIES AND PROGRAMS IN CANADA
Chair
The Honourable Michael J.L. Kirby
Deputy Chair
The Honourable Wilbert Joseph Keon
November 2004
TABLE OF CONTENTS
TABLE OF CONTENTS ............................................................................................. I
ORDER OF REFERENCE.....................................................................................VIII
SENATORS
IX
INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................ 1
PART 1 ...................................................................................................... 5
THE HUMAN FACE OF MENTAL ILLNESS AND ADDICTION ....................... 5
CHAPTER 1: WITNESSES SHARE THEIR PERSONAL EXPERIENCES ..........7
INTRODUCTION ..............................................................................................7
1.1
IN THEIR OWN WORDS ......................................................................7
1.1.1 Loïse’s Story ...................................................................................7
1.1.2 Ronald’s Story ................................................................................9
1.1.3 Murray’s Story ..............................................................................12
1.1.4 David’s Story ................................................................................15
1.2
COMMITTEE COMMENTARY .........................................................19
CHAPTER 2: MENTAL DISORDERS TOUCH THE LIVES OF ALL
CANADIANS..................................................................................... 21
INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................21
2.1
INDIVIDUALS LIVING WITH MENTAL DISORDERS............22
2.1.1 A State of Mind............................................................................22
2.1.2 A Perpetual Cycle ........................................................................22
2.1.3 An Uncoordinated State .............................................................23
2.1.4 An Underserved State .................................................................24
2.2
THOSE CARING FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH MENTAL
ILLNESS....................................................................................................25
2.2.1 Parental Fears...............................................................................25
2.2.2 Parental Advocacy .......................................................................26
2.2.3 Parental Survivors........................................................................27
2.3
THOSE PROVIDING MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION
SERVICES.................................................................................................27
2.3.1 Provider Access ...........................................................................27
2.3.2 Teachers and other School Service Providers .........................28
2.3.3 Primary Health Care Providers..................................................29
2.3.4 Provider Distress .........................................................................31
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2.4
MENTAL HEALTH, MENTAL ILLNESS AND ADDICTION
AT WORK.................................................................................................31
2.4.1 Workplace Secrets .......................................................................31
2.4.2 Workplace Successes...................................................................32
2.5
PEOPLE LIVING WITH MENTAL ILLNESS WHO ARE
UNDER FEDERAL RESPONSIBILITY...........................................33
2.5.1 Veterans ........................................................................................33
2.5.2 Inmates..........................................................................................33
2.5.3 First Nations and Inuit ...............................................................34
2.6
COMMITTEE COMMENTARY .........................................................35
CHAPTER 3: STIGMA AND DISCRIMINATION.................................................. 37
3.1
INTRODUCTION ..................................................................................37
3.2
DEFINING STIGMA AND ITS RELATIONSHIP TO
DISCRIMINATION ...............................................................................37
3.2.1 Self-Stigmatization.......................................................................41
3.2.2 The Role of the Media and the “Attribution of
Dangerousness” to Individuals Living With Mental Disorders
........................................................................................................43
3.2.3 Stigmatization of Mental Health Providers .............................46
3.3
THE IMPACT OF STIGMATIZATION AND
DISCRIMINATION ...............................................................................48
3.3.1 Direct Discrimination .................................................................49
3.3.1.1 Discrimination Within The Health Care System ................50
3.3.2 Structural Discrimination ...........................................................51
3.4
REDUCING THE IMPACT OF STIGMA AND
DISCRIMINATION ...............................................................................52
3.4.1 The Need for a National Strategy .............................................57
3.4.2 The Need for Policy Reform .....................................................59
3.4.3 Addressing the Issue of Violence..............................................60
3.4.3 The Media and Efforts to Reduce Stigma and Discrimination
........................................................................................................61
3.5
COMMITTEE COMMENTARY .........................................................62
PART 2 .................................................................................................... 65
THE PREVALENCE AND CONSEQUENCES OF MENTAL ILLNESS AND
ADDICTION .............................................................................................. 65
CHAPTER 4: CONCEPTS AND DEFINITIONS ................................................... 67
INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................67
4.1
MENTAL HEALTH AND MENTAL ILLNESS .............................67
4.2
MAJOR MENTAL DISORDERS.........................................................68
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4.3
SUBSTANCE USE AND ADDICTION............................................73
4.4
CO-MORBIDITY, CONCURRENT DISORDERS AND DUAL
DIAGNOSIS.............................................................................................74
4.5
SUICIDAL BEHAVIOUR .....................................................................75
4.6
SERVICES AND SUPPORTS...............................................................75
4.7
CHRONIC DISEASE MANAGEMENT AND SELFMANAGEMENT.....................................................................................77
4.8
PROMOTION, PREVENTION AND SURVEILLANCE ............78
4.9
INDIVIDUALS WITH MENTAL ILLNESS/ADDICTION AND
RECOVERY .............................................................................................79
CHAPTER 5: PREVALENCE AND COSTS............................................................. 81
INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................81
5.1
PREVALENCE OF MENTAL ILLNESSES, SUBSTANCE USE
DISORDERS AND PATHOLOGICAL GAMBLING ...................82
5.1.1 Canadians Aged 15 Years and Over .........................................82
5.1.2 Children and Adolescents (0 to 19 Years of Age) ..................86
5.1.3 Seniors (65 Years and Over) ......................................................88
5.1.4 Canadian Forces...........................................................................88
5.1.5 FAE/FAS and Dual Diagnosis .................................................89
5.2
PREVALENCE OF SUICIDAL BEHAVIOUR ...............................89
5.2.1 Completed Suicides .....................................................................90
5.2.2 Attempted Suicides......................................................................94
5.2.3 Suicidal Ideation...........................................................................95
5.3
SPECIFIC POPULATION GROUPS: ABORIGINAL PEOPLES,
HOMELESS PEOPLE AND INMATES ...........................................96
5.3.1 Aboriginal Peoples.......................................................................96
5.3.2 Homeless Peoples........................................................................97
5.3.3 Inmates..........................................................................................98
5.4
ECONOMIC BURDEN OF MENTAL ILLNESS, ADDICTION
AND SUICIDE ......................................................................................101
5.4.1 The Cost of Mental Illness.......................................................101
5.4.2 The Cost of Substance Abuse..................................................102
5.4.3 The Cost of Suicide...................................................................103
5.5
COMMITTEE COMMENTARY .......................................................103
CHAPTER 6: MENTAL ILLNESS, ADDICTION AND WORK ...........................105
INTRODUCTION ..........................................................................................105
6.1
THE BENEFITS OF EMPLOYMENT............................................106
6.2
PREVALENCE OF MENTAL ILLNESS AND ADDICTION IN
THE WORKPLACE .............................................................................107
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Overview of Policies and Programs
6.3
THE COST AND CONSEQUENCES OF MENTAL ILLNESS
AND ADDICTION IN THE WORKPLACE.................................110
6.4
MENTAL ILLNESS, ADDICTION AND DISABILITY.............112
6.4.1 Employer-Sponsored Disability Insurance Plans .................113
6.4.2 Workers’ Compensation Boards .............................................116
6.4.3 Federal Income Security Programs .........................................118
6.5
THE ROLE OF EMPLOYERS ..........................................................120
6.5.1 Employee Assistance Programs ..............................................121
6.5.2 Accommodation ........................................................................123
6.6
THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENTS ..................................................126
6.7
BUSINESSES RUN BY INDIVIDUALS WITH MENTAL
ILLNESS AND ADDICTION ...........................................................127
6.8
A RESEARCH AGENDA ON MENTAL ILLNESS,
ADDICTION AND WORK ...............................................................127
6.9
COMMITTEE COMMENTARY .......................................................128
PART 3 ................................................................................................... 131
SERVICE DELIVERY AND GOVERNMENT POLICY IN THE FIELD OF MENTAL
ILLNESS AND ADDICTION ........................................................................ 131
CHAPTER 7: MENTAL HEALTH SERVICE DELIVERY AND ADDICTION
TREATMENT IN CANADA: AN HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
...........................................................................................................133
INTRODUCTION ..........................................................................................133
7.1
EVOLVING VIEWS OF MENTAL ILLNESS THROUGHOUT
THE CENTURIES ................................................................................134
7.2
DELIVERY OF MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES IN CANADA
136
7.2.1 Moral or Humanitarian Approach to Mental Illness (Before
the 1900s)....................................................................................136
7.2.2 Institutionalization (1900 to 1960)..........................................136
7.2.3 Deinstitutionalization (1960 Up to Now) ..............................138
7.2.3.1 Psychiatric Units in General Hospitals (1960s)................139
7.2.3.2 Community Mental Health Services and Supports (1970s and
1980s) .............................................................................141
7.2.3.3 Enhancing Effectiveness and Integrating Mental Health
Services and Supports (1990s to Present) ..........................142
7.3
PROVISION OF ADDICTION TREATMENT IN CANADA .143
7.4
COMMITTEE COMMENTARY .......................................................145
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CHAPTER 8: MENTAL ILLNESS AND ADDICTION POLICY AND
LEGISLATION IN CANADA: REVIEW OF SELECTED
PROVINCIAL FRAMEWORKS......................................................147
INTRODUCTION ..........................................................................................147
8.1
PROVINCIAL SYSTEMS OF MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES
AND ADDICTION TREATMENT..................................................148
8.1.1 Alberta.........................................................................................148
8.1.2 British Columbia........................................................................149
8.1.3 Nova Scotia ................................................................................150
8.1.4 Ontario........................................................................................151
8.1.5 Québec ........................................................................................151
8.1.6 Brief Comparative Analysis......................................................152
8.2
COMMON PROBLEMS IDENTIFIED WITH RESPECT TO
PROVINCIAL/TERRITORIAL FRAMEWORKS FOR MENTAL
ILLNESS AND ADDICTION ...........................................................153
8.2.1 Fragmentation and Lack of Integration .................................153
8.2.2 Community Services and Supports.........................................157
8.2.3 Uneven Regional Distribution and Quality of Services .......158
8.2.4 Primary Health Care Sector .....................................................159
8.2.5 Human Resources .....................................................................161
8.2.6 Unmet Needs .............................................................................163
8.2.7 Early Detection and Intervention ...........................................165
8.3
MENTAL HEALTH LEGISLATION ..............................................166
8.4
COMMITTEE COMMENTARY .......................................................171
CHAPTER 9: MENTAL ILLNESS AND ADDICTION POLICIES AND
PROGRAMS: THE FEDERAL FRAMEWORK.............................173
INTRODUCTION ..........................................................................................173
9.1
DIRECT AND INDIRECT ROLES OF THE FEDERAL
GOVERNMENT ...................................................................................174
9.2
THE FEDERAL DIRECT ROLE......................................................176
9.2.1 First Nations and Inuit .............................................................176
9.2.2 Assessment Relevant to First Nations and Inuit ..................177
9.2.3 Offenders under the Federal Correctional System ...............182
9.2.4 Assessment Relevant to Offenders under the Federal
Correctional System ..................................................................184
9.2.5 Veterans and Active Members of the Canadian Forces ......186
9.2.6 Assessment Relevant to Veterans and Canadian Forces .....187
9.2.7 Royal Canadian Mounted Police .............................................188
9.2.8 Assessment Relevant to Royal Canadian Mounted Police ..188
9.2.9 Federal Public Servants.............................................................189
9.2.10 Assessment Relevant to Federal Public Servants..................190
9.2.11 Landed Immigrants and Refugees...........................................191
9.2.12 Assessment Relevant to Landed Immigrants and Refugees192
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Overview of Policies and Programs
9.3
FEDERAL INTERDEPARTMENTAL COORDINATION
RELEVANT TO ITS DIRECT ROLE..............................................192
9.3.1 Federal Health Care Partnership .............................................193
9.3.2 Canada’s Drug Strategy.............................................................193
9.4
FEDERAL INDIRECT ROLE ...........................................................194
9.4.1 Legal Levers................................................................................196
9.4.2 Financial Levers .........................................................................196
9.5
ASSESSMENT OF THE FEDERAL ROLE WITHIN THE
CURRENT NATIONAL FRAMEWORK .......................................200
9.5.1 The Canada Health Act...............................................................200
9.5.2 Federal Funding.........................................................................201
9.5.3 The National Homelessness Initiative (NHI) .......................203
9.6
THE NEED FOR A NATIONAL ACTION PLAN ON MENTAL
HEALTH, MENTAL ILLNESS AND ADDICTION ...................204
9.7
AN APPROACH BASED ON POPULATION HEALTH ..........208
9.8
COMMITTEE COMMENTARY .......................................................209
PART 4 ................................................................................................... 213
RESEARCH AND ETHICS .......................................................................... 213
CHAPTER 10: RESEARCH INTO MENTAL HEALTH, MENTAL ILLNESS
AND ADDICTION IN CANADA...................................................215
INTRODUCTION ..........................................................................................215
10.1 CIHR AND INMHA.............................................................................216
10.2 FEDERAL FUNDING FOR RESEARCH INTO MENTAL
HEALTH, MENTAL ILLNESS AND ADDICTION ...................220
10.2.1 Level of Federal Funding .........................................................220
10.2.2 How Much Should the Federal Government Spend?..........221
10.3 OTHER CANADIAN SOURCES OF FUNDING.......................224
10.3.1 Pharmaceutical Industry ...........................................................224
10.3.2 Provincial Funding Agencies and NGOs ..............................225
10.4 KNOWLEDGE TRANSLATION.....................................................227
10.5 TOWARD A NATIONAL RESEARCH AGENDA FOR
MENTAL HEALTH, MENTAL ILLNESS AND ADDICTION
228
10.6 COMMITTEE COMMENTARY .......................................................229
CHAPTER 11: THE QUESTION OF ETHICS .......................................................231
INTRODUCTION ..........................................................................................231
11.1 ACCESS TO SERVICES AND SUPPORTS....................................232
11.2 CONSENT AND CAPACITY ISSUES ............................................235
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11.3 PRIVACY AND CONFIDENTIALITY...........................................238
11.4 SPECIAL POPULATIONS .................................................................239
11.4.1 Children/Adolescents ...............................................................239
11.4.2 Seniors.........................................................................................240
11.4.3 Forensic Patients........................................................................240
11.5 ETHICAL IMPLICATIONS OF ADVANCES IN GENETICS
AND NEUROSCIENCE .....................................................................241
11.5.1 Genetics and Mental Health ....................................................241
11.5.2 Neuroscience and Mental Health............................................242
11.6 ETHICS AND MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION
RESEARCH ............................................................................................243
11.6.1 Decision-Making Capacity .......................................................244
11.6.2 Research Design Issues.............................................................244
11.7 COMMITTEE COMMENTARY .......................................................245
CONCLUSION ......................................................................................................... 249
APPENDIX A: LIST OF WITNESSES THIRD SESSION OF THE 37TH
PARLIAMENT (FEBRUARY 2, 2004 – MAY 23, 2004)..................... I
APPENDIX B: LIST OF WITNESSES SECOND SESSION OF THE 37TH
PARLIAMENT (SEPTEMBER 30, 2002 – NOVEMBER 12, 2003)
.......................................................................................................... VII
APPENDIX C: LIST OF INDIVIDUALS WHO RESPONDED TO A LETTER
FROM THE COMMITTEE ON PRIORITIES FOR ACTION ... XI
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ORDER OF REFERENCE
Extract from the Journals of the Senate for Thursday, October 7, 2004:
The Honourable Senator Kirby moved, seconded by the Honourable Losier-Cool:
That the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology be
authorized to examine and report on issues arising from, and developments since, the tabling
of its final report on the state of the health care system in Canada in October 2002. In
particular, the Committee shall be authorized to examine issues concerning mental health
and mental illness.
That the papers and evidence received and taken by the Committee on the study of mental
health and mental illness in Canada in the Thirty-seventh Parliament be referred to the
Committee; and
That the Committee submit its final report no later than December 16, 2005 and that the
Committee retain all powers necessary to publicize the findings of the Committee until
March 31, 2006.
The question being put on the motion, it was adopted.
Paul C. Bélisle
Clerk of the Senate
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viii
SENATORS
The following Senators have participated in the study on the state of the health care
system of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology:
The Honourable Michael J. L. Kirby, Chair of the Committee
The Honourable Wilbert Joseph Keon, Deputy Chair of the Committee
The Honourable Senators:
Catherine S. Callbeck
Ethel M. Cochrane
Joan Cook
Jane Mary Cordy
Joyce Fairbairn, P.C.
Aurélien Gill
Janis G. Johnson
Marjory LeBreton
Viola Léger
Yves Morin
Lucie Pépin
Brenda Robertson (retired)
Douglas Roche (retired)
Eileen Rossiter (retired)
Marilyn Trenholme Counsell
Ex-officio members of the Committee:
The Honourable Senators: Jack Austin P.C. or (William Rompkey) and Noёl A. Kinsella
or (Terrance Stratton)
Other Senators who have participated from time to time on this study:
The Honourable Senators Di Nino, Forrestall, Kinsella, Lynch-Staunton, Milne and
Murray.
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MENTAL HEALTH, MENTAL ILLNESS
AND ADDICTION:
OVERVIEW OF POLICIES
AND PROGRAMS IN CANADA
INTRODUCTION
I
n February 2003, during the Second Session of the Thirty-Seventh Parliament, the
Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology received a
mandate from the Senate to study the state of mental health services and addiction
treatment in Canada and to examine the role of the federal government in this area. The
Senate renewed the mandate of the Committee in the Third Session of the Thirty-Seventh
Parliament (February 2004), and then again in the First Session of the Thirty-Eighth
Parliament (October 2004).
This mandate reads as follows:
That the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and
Technology be authorized to examine and report on issues arising from, and
developments since, the tabling of its final report on the state of the health
care system in Canada in October 2002. In particular, the Committee shall be
authorized to examine issues concerning mental health and mental illness;
That the papers and evidence received and taken by the Committee on the
study of mental health and mental illness in Canada in the Thirty-seventh
Parliament be referred to the Committee, and
That the Committee submit its final report no later than December 16,
2005and that the Committee retain all powers necessary to publicize the
findings of the Committee until March 31, 20061.
For the purpose of this study, the Committee adopted a broad approach towards examining
mental health, mental illness and addiction in terms of: the prevalence of mental disorders
and their economic impact on various sectors of the Canadian society, including business,
education and health care systems; relevant federal and provincial policies and programs;
mental health strategies in other countries; mental health promotion, mental illness and
suicide prevention; mental health related disease surveillance and research; access to and
delivery of mental health services and addiction treatment; support to families and
caregivers; and the potential for the development of a national action plan on mental health,
mental illness and addiction in Canada.
1
Debates of the Senate (Hansard), 1st Session, 38th Parliament, Volume 142, Issue 7, October 2004.
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Overview of Policies and Programs
The Committee’s study on mental health, mental illness and addiction includes four reports.
The following table provides information on each individual report and the proposed
timeframe for publication:
STUDY ON MENTAL HEALTH, MENTAL ILLNESS AND ADDICTION
INDIVIDUAL REPORTS AND PROPOSED TIMEFRAMES
Report
First
Content
Fact-based document providing historical background,
overview of service delivery, respective roles of federal and
provincial/territorial governments, assessments of policies
and programs based on public testimony and literature
review
Timing
November 2004
Second
International comparative analysis (Australia, Canada, New
Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States)
November 2004
Third
An issues and options paper summarizing the issues which
the Committee will address in its final report and raising
options for addressing these issues
November 2004
Fourth
Recommendations for reform
November 2005
This report, which consists of eleven chapters, constitutes the first report by the Committee
on mental health, mental illness and addiction. Chapter 1 summarizes the personal stories of
one individual living with mental illness and three family members affected by mental illness
who candidly shared their experience with the Committee. Chapter 2 provides further
information on the impact of mental illness and addiction on affected individuals, their
families and caregivers. Chapter 3 examines the issues of stigma and discrimination and
their impact on individuals with mental illness and addiction. Chapter 4 defines the various
concepts related to mental health, mental illness and addiction. Chapter 5 provides
information on the prevalence of mental illness and addiction and their economic impact on
Canadian society. Chapter 6 reviews the relationships between mental illness/addiction and
work and examines ways to address mental illness and addition in the workplace. Chapter 7
provides a chronological overview of the development of mental health services and
addiction treatment in Canada. Chapter 8 compares the organizational structure and level of
integration of the mental health services and addiction treatment system in some provinces
and highlights the major differences of all provincial mental health legislation. Chapter 9
provides an overview as well as an assessment of the direct and indirect roles of the federal
government in mental health, mental illness and addiction. Chapter 10 provides an overview
of the state of research into mental health, mental illness and addiction in Canada. Chapter
11 examines various ethical issues related to mental illness and addiction with a particular
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2
focus on service delivery, research, capacity to consent to treatment, and privacy and
confidentiality issues.
3
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PART 1
The Human Face Of
Mental Illness And
Addiction
CHAPTER 1:
WITNESSES SHARE THEIR PERSONAL EXPERIENCES2
(…) I believe it is time to ask the opinion of service users
and mental health experts. And who else but us are the
experts in our disorders, needs and problems? We
obviously cannot cure ourselves. We are people with a
certain ability to think. We need to be heard, and I thank
you for doing that.
[Loïse (9:18).]
INTRODUCTION
On February 26, 2003, the Committee embarked on its study on mental health, mental
illness and addiction by putting a human face to the issue. More precisely, members of three
families affected by mental illness and one individual with mental illness accepted our
invitation to speak together about their experiences – how mental disorders affected their
lives. These four witnesses came from all over the country with first-hand experience of
mental health and addiction issues to tell their stories to the Committee. To make them
comfortable enough to talk candidly, the Committee referred to them by their first names
only. This chapter provides a summary of their testimony. It illustrates graphically why the
study of mental health, mental illness and addiction has become such an emotional cause for
the members of the Committee.
Throughout its study, the Committee also received evidence on the lives of many other
Canadians affected by mental illness and addiction through public hearings, letters and emails. The experience these individuals shared with us is summarized in Chapter 2.
1.1
IN THEIR OWN WORDS
1.1.1
Loïse’s Story
Loïse spoke to the Committee about her own experiences with mental health problems,
specifically bipolar disorder:
Ten years ago, following the sudden death of my partner in life, I had an
episode of manic psychosis. During that phase, you lie, you spend money,
and you are sure you have money, and you believe what you're doing,
which is out of context. You feel you could save the world during that
2
In this report, the testimony received by witnesses printed in the Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence of the
Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology will be hereinafter referred to only by issue
number and page number within the text.
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period. I had an episode which lasted six months and ended with a
suicide attempt. That was followed by four years of depression.
At the emergency department of the hospital where I was taken, it was
recommended that I go to a crisis centre. That was the start of nine years
of unfailing support from community organizations and four years of
continuous fighting to obtain the necessary psychological and
pharmaceutical assistance from institutions and psychiatrists.3
She recounted the number of times and the variety of health care professionals to whom she
has had to retell her story over and over again:
For years, I had to tell and repeat my life story to the following persons:
an emergency nurse, the emergency psychiatrist, a medical assessor at the
crisis centre, a psychosocial worker at that centre – they talked about my
life history and constantly went back to the traumas, the painful things,
and each time I had to start all over from scratch – a psychiatrist at the
hospital crisis centre, a social worker at the hospital, an intake officer at
the CLSC, a CLSC caseworker, a psychosocial worker at the CLSC
and the CLSC family physician. It was extremely painful (…). I don't
know how I managed to go on. There were also an assessing psychiatrist
on duty at the hospital, six different psychiatric nurses and four different
psychiatrists at the outpatient clinic – because they often change – a
psychiatrist specializing in mood disorders who had a therapy group, a
psychiatrist and three residents, whom she was training at the mood
disorder clinic – and, lastly, three years ago, a psychiatrist who is still
monitoring me and with whom I feel I have a privileged relationship.4
She also talked about there being little or no integration of services and supports and the
important role community-based organizations played in her recovery:
With the energy I still have, I have decided to get involved at the
community and advisory level on the city's regional health board. If I had
not had the community services, I would not be here to speak with you
today.
Yes, the institutions eventually helped me, the psychiatrists too, but they
could also have killed me by making me relive the awful traumas I had
to face. The duplication, rigid parameters and problems of approach at
the institutional level must expand, and they have to work with the
3
4
Loïse (9:19).
Ibid.
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8
community agencies to help the users of those services find the help they
need.5
Loïse stressed the importance of addressing the stigma and prejudices associated with mental
illness and addiction:
Since being diagnosed with my disease, I have lost the esteem of some
members of my family. I have had to fight that, and many people have
had to do that as well.
(…)
The deep and persistent prejudices that still exist in our society must be
addressed on an urgent basis either through media campaigns or by other
means.6
With respect to the media, she noted particularly:
We organize press conferences for the community sector, for users, to
explain the various diseases to people, but no journalists ever come.
However, if someone who is mentally ill commits an indictable offence,
the headlines read, “Schizophrenic kills wife,” “Manic depressive man
abuses his children.”' And yet, I’ve never seen, “Cancer patient kills his
wife,” or anything like that. In this regard, the media don’t help matters.
There is work to be done. In a more educated, specialized population,
where there are fewer prejudices, things are better, but it's still a very
serious problem.7
1.1.2
Ronald’s Story
Ronald spoke to the Committee about his life with his wife, who suffers from schizophrenia.
He spoke about the onset of her disease about a decade after they were married in 1959 to
today, and about how ill-equipped he was to help her then. “I had no idea what was going
on. I was not familiar with mental illness,” he said.8 He explained:
I was married in 1959, and the first disorders began in the 1970s. We
already had three children.
(…)
I have accepted my decision to stay with her, for better or for worse.
5
6
7
8
Loïse (9:19-20).
Loïse (9:20).
Loïse (9:27).
Ronald (9:20).
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At the time, my wife didn’t want to be hospitalized because, in her
mind, there was no disease. She was not ill. Since the disease did not
exist, I had to find a way to have her hospitalized.9
Ronald explained to the Committee the processes he went through to try to get help for his
wife:
I spoke about the matter with my attending physician, who told me:
“There's definitely something wrong with your wife; you should have her
examined.” But that required papers from two psychiatrists. The
attending physician undertook to find two psychiatrists who would sign
the papers and have her hospitalized.
Once the papers were signed by the two psychiatrists, she didn't want to
go to the hospital. I told her: “You go to the hospital on your own, or the
police will come and get you.” I had to go get a piece of paper from the
judge, and she agreed to be hospitalized.
She was hospitalized for three months and attempted suicide a number of
times. Someone stayed in her room 24 hours a day for three months to
prevent her from committing suicide. Lastly, she left the hospital under
medication. At that time, she was taking neuroleptics (…). The crises
gradually disappeared completely. The positive side of the disease, that is
to say the hallucinations, religious delusions and so on, disappeared. But
what appeared at that point, and what the drugs don’t work on, was the
negative side of the disease, that is to say the social side, the lack of selfconfidence and personal hygiene, the feeling she had that she was
worthless and that she was absolutely incapable of succeeding at anything,
and so on. It's so subtle because she believes she’s good for nothing and a
failure; she also can’t accept anyone loving her or telling her that she’s
good and able to succeed; that would be betraying what she actually
believes.
She definitely let herself go.10
He told the Committee that, as his wife’s disease progressed “we lost our friends and no
longer had any social life, love life or sex life. Ultimately, we no longer had anything.”11
Talking about his life with his wife today, he said:
At home, my wife’s disease and symptoms have disappeared. The
psychiatrist sees my wife once every six months, but things aren’t better.
The entire negative side of the disease has worsened. Now she hardly ever
Ronald (9:20-21).
Ronald (9:21).
11 Ronald (9:21).
9
10
Overview of Policies and Programs
10
gets dressed, she has no initiative and she is interested in nothing. She
registers for courses in literature and painting, but always drops out. She
comes home discouraged.
The children do not come to the house because they cannot cope with the
situation.12
Ronald felt alone in that there was little support available to help him understand his wife’s
illness and manage the situation properly:
At the time, I was alone. The situation was difficult, and I had no help.
I had to deal with all that. How I managed to get through it all, I don't
know. […] there was no violence. It was more emotional. My wife
withdrew from the world. There was very little violence. It occurred on a
few occasions. There were some suicide attempts because she had so little
self-confidence. But it was very hard on the children.13
Ronald also talked about his difficulty in obtaining the medical certificate required for
eligibility tax breaks:
(…) at first, the psychiatrist signed a letter for me giving me a tax
exemption, but the second one did not do that, and I am no longer
entitled to the tax break. That is hard to take. Everyone thinks she’s
doing well because there’s no obvious sign in her everyday life, except for
her physical appearance.14
He talked about a pilot project dealing with individualized care plans which, in his view, can
only work with strong collaboration among the various mental health care professionals who
are involved:
I remember an experiment that was conducted in which they talked
about individual service plans. The mentally ill person was supposed to
be the central person, and, around him or her, there was a team, the
psychiatrist, the nurse and so on. That didn't work because they weren't
able to bring the entire team together.
Now it works in small organizations such as ours, where the nurse
agrees to cooperate and the doctor as well.15
In response to what was happening to his wife and family, Ronald went into volunteer work.
Discovering that the best way to help relatives is to set up an organization to take care of
individuals with mental disorders, he and other volunteers founded Le Pavois, an
Ronald (9:22).
Ronald (9:30).
14 Ronald (9:22-23).
15 Ronald (9:36).
12
13
11
Overview of Policies and Programs
organization that strives to achieve social reintegration and rehabilitation through work. At
Le Pavois, individuals with mental illness re-socialize through office workshops and cooking
workshops. Once they have succeeded in a controlled environment, integration officers visit
employers and try to find them internships and then jobs. Le Pavois also runs a second-hand
clothing store, a photocopying service and a cafeteria at a provincial health and social service
center. Ronald also stated:
These social businesses are an intermediate step enabling our members to
move from Le Pavois to the actual labour market. We have realized that
it is far too stressful for them to go directly into the labour market. Most
are incapable of returning to the labour market.16
1.1.3
Murray’s Story
Murray spoke to the Committee about his son, affected by paranoid schizophrenia. On May
28, 2002, while a patient at the Royal Ottawa Hospital, he left the hospital grounds and
found his way onto the Queensway (on a lane reserved for buses) where he was struck and
killed by a city bus. He described his son prior to the onset of his illness in these words:
Before the onset of his illness, approximately six years ago, our son was
an honours student, played in the school band and toured Canada and
the United States as a member of it, was a first division soccer player,
had many good friends and a wonderful, long-term girlfriend, and was a
soul mate to his younger sister. In short, he had just about everything
going for him.
Things gradually started to go horribly wrong as he descended into the
abyss of slow onset paranoid schizophrenia, the mental health care system
and social services system.17
He described to the Committee a health care system equipped only to respond to crisis:
Invariably, when things really went wrong it was because we could not
access the health care system in a timely fashion for reasons of lack of
beds, emphasis on community treatment, a missed opportunity for him to
go in voluntarily, or shortage of staff and insecure facilities. It seemed
impossible to circumvent a crisis. The system only responded to the crisis
and only after weeks of drug rebounding, deterioration and many family
pleadings and warnings to caregivers. Not once during the many times he
was discharged from hospital was he discharged in a stable condition with
insight and compliance with medication.18
(…)
Ronald (9:22).
Murray (9:14).
18 Murray (9:15).
16
17
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12
Even when he was in the hospital there were serious problems to deal
with: the failure to obtain service, preparation for certification hearings,
doctors meetings, visits to hospitals, Ontario Disability Support Program
filings, researching medication and treatment, attendance at support
groups, and unsettling telephone calls from our hospitalized son. We
worried about his possible flight from the hospital and feared the
possibility of long-term brain damage due to the use of inappropriate
medications.19
Murray stated that the lack of services and supports had a serious negative impact on his
son. He talked about the stress this placed on the entire family, their social network and
finances:
As a consequence, he had unpredictable behaviour, outbursts of
frustration and violent behaviour at any time of the day or night. This
severely traumatized family members. We feared physical injury to our
son and to family members, even while sleeping. We slept in shifts. The
physical damage to our home was extensive and costly.
(…)
These fears created high levels of stress over the years [that] combined to
result in mental and physical exhaustion, and worse.
There was no such thing as a social life. We could not take him with us
because he could not tolerate elevated levels of sensory input for any length
of time. We could not leave him at home and a sitter was out of the
question.
The pain and suffering of my son’s siblings included the loss of an entire
university year, the trauma of police incursions into our home and the
fear of their brother being injured or killed by police during numerous
forced hospitalizations. Our daughter lost a soul mate and our surviving
son will spend the rest of his life without his much beloved brother.
This illness (…) limited our opportunity to earn a living. I lost business
income and was fired by my employer due to low production. I managed
only to maintain my existing client base. I could not gain new clients for
three years. I often could not keep planned appointments, as I could not
leave the house when my son was at home. I was fearful of arranging
appointments in the evenings because I would have to leave my wife and
19
Murray (9:16).
13
Overview of Policies and Programs
daughter at home alone with my son. There was a high burn rate of our
savings.20
Murray also talked about how frustrated his family was by the restrictions of privacy
legislation which did not allow health care providers to share information with them about
his son’s illness:
Why is it that the medical profession is not allowed to share information
with family members when it has been shown that family support is
beneficial to the patient? The patient is on meds because his thinking is
affected; yet the medical profession believes that sharing information with
a family member must be a decision of the patient, who cannot make a
reasonable or thoughtful decision.21
He stressed the need to find an appropriate balance between the right of the patient to be
treated and involuntary treatment:
When it comes to balancing rights with forcing medication, as a parent,
you are very concerned about your child's life and well-being, and it is not
a question of his rights. He has a right to treatment, and he does not
realize he needs it. He has a right to life, although he is incapable of
maintaining it himself. It becomes very clear when you reach the point
where his life is endangered.22
Murray raised a question about the appropriate level of government funding for the
diagnosis, treatment and research into mental disorders in comparison to other diseases:
My understanding is that both federal and provincial health dollars are
to be spent on the health of all Canadians. Why is it that the most vocal
and strongest lobby groups get the most money? We have statistics that
we can provide on that subject. Meanwhile, these vulnerable people
cannot speak for themselves and are left by the wayside. There are no
political points to be made in spending money on these groups.
(…)
The rights issue is on our list of things that should be dealt with. It falls
outside of the normal legal framework. When dealing with someone who
does not have capacity, it is very awkward.
Murray (9:15-16).
Murray (9:18).
22 Murray (9:28).
20
21
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14
There are varying degrees of schizophrenia and the people who complain
about their rights may have a minor form of the illness and feel that they
are being persecuted and dealt with unfairly. It is a difficult issue.2324
Murray also raised concern about the lack of early intervention for mental disorders in
comparison to other illnesses:
What sense does it make when there are many guidelines to determine if
your family member has heart disease, depression, diabetes and so on, but
there are no guidelines to tell if somebody is suffering from schizophrenia?
The schools simply assume there is a drug problem and this leads to long
lags in the treatment. Early treatment is critical.25
1.1.4
David’s Story
This was the fist time David had agreed to share his personal experience with anybody. He
stressed that it was not an easy task to recount his story and insisted on the importance of
not disclosing his identity:
(…) I want to put a human face on autism by telling you a bit about
our family experience. This is the first time I have ever done this. (…) I
was told that you wanted to hear a personal story, and that is what I
will tell you.
(…)
I will let it all hang out, and that is why I would rather that my identity
not be disclosed. Mine is a very personal experience that bares deep
personal values and issues. I am not sure whether this presentation will
upset me or stabilize me.26
David has a 31-year-old son living with autism. He described his son as follows:
My son is 31 years old. We did not know the extent of his disability
until he was 15, which is quite unlike the situation with most people
with autism. My son is not classically autistic. He is high functioning; he
can speak; he can read; he graduated from high school..27
(…)
Murray (9:28-29).
Murray (9:17).
25 Ibid.
26 David (9:6).
27 Ibid.
23
24
15
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My son, Adam, had problems in making friends when he was a young
boy. We did not know he was autistic. He did not show autistic
symptoms when he was two or three, which is when most people
demonstrate their autistic tendencies. We did note he was aggressive,
particularly towards strangers, and particularly aggressive toward the
friends that his brother Andrew would bring home. People with autism
do not like changes. They are resistant to change.
We sensed that school was becoming more stressful for Adam as he
became older. When he became 15 years of age, he refused to go to school.
Other children gave him a hard time. They made fun of him, and he
found recess time to be extremely stressful. He became very agitated and
angry. He would go out for walks and would return in a burning rage.
He would get so angry that he would break windows and pull out light
fixtures in our home.28
David described in detail years of misdiagnosis, inappropriate therapies and the family’s
eventual discovery of what was wrong with their son. He recalled:
We had no choice but to have him taken to a hospital, where he was
admitted and diagnosed incorrectly with bipolar disorder. That was
because our medical system did not have the capacity to diagnose autism
at the time. It is not much better today. It soon became clear that this
diagnosis was not accurate. The children’s hospital sedated Adam with
medication but did not do anything to resolve his basic problems.
We have gone through a number of traumatic experiences. One was the
night we had a call at two o’clock in the morning to tell us that Adam
had left the hospital. He had jumped through the window onto the roof
and then taken a ladder down onto the ground outside the hospital. By
the time we got to the hospital Adam had been found by the police and
was being treated for hypothermia. He never explained why he had taken
such drastic action to jump out the window and climb out and run on the
loose in his pyjamas in the middle of the night, but he frequently
expressed his anger at us for putting him in hospital. Later, in his anger,
he would pull out light fixtures. He became so aggressive and out of
control that at one point we had to have him hospitalized in an adult
psychiatric hospital, which was quite inappropriate for him but that was
the only option available because it was only the adult psychiatric
hospital that had the ability to control his access and to keep him
restrained.29
28
29
David (9:8-9).
David (9:9).
Overview of Policies and Programs
16
David recalled that, had he and his wife had known more about autism, they would have
been better able to help their son:
At that time, there was very little understanding of autism in our
community, so there were no resources that we could access. Our son was
different in the sense that he was not classically autistic. Even if he were
born today, he would not have been immediately recognized as having
autistic symptoms because he did not portray all of the most common
symptoms of autism. He could speak. There seemed to be no physical
impairment of his speech.
Had we known what we were dealing with, we would not have wasted so
much time. We wasted a large part of his life. I am [ambivalent] in my
answer to this one. I asked my wife, “Would we have been better off if
we had known what we were dealing with?” At one point, we both
agreed that we would not have tried so hard. If we had known our son
had a disability, we might not have pushed him so hard, because we did
push him. We pushed him to the point where we endangered our health.
Much of the stress that came out in his physical violence was, to a large
extent, because we were pushing him to do things. That created a
situation where we were living in a very dangerous environment in our
home. We worried about fires and other dangerous situations. We
pushed out the envelope really hard. That is one side of it.
The other side is that, had we known what we were dealing with, we
would not have wasted all of this time with family therapy and
medications that were more appropriate for people with bipolar disorder.
We would have taken a much more intelligent approach to trying to come
to grips with our son’s problem. We would have sought good advice on
how to deal with the problem. The fundamental problem was one of
communication.30
David also talked about the fear and anger the family lives with:
Autism is worse than cancer in many ways, because the person with
autism has a normal lifespan. The problem is with you for a lifetime.
The problem is with you seven days a week, 24 hours a day, for the rest
of your life. My wife and I expect to have responsibility for Adam until
we die. We lose sleep over what will become of him after we are deceased.
Our financial resources are depleted, so our ability to provide for him is
limited.31
30
31
David (9:23-24).
David (9:12).
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He spoke about the strain this mental illness has put upon his entire family, including
Adam’s siblings, on his and his wife’s work, on their finances and on their social network:
My son’s ability to communicate is limited, which limits his ability to
socialize and to work. He has never worked in his life, and his disability
has had a profound impact upon his brother Andrew and upon my wife
and myself. It was a big cause of concern for my parents and my wife’s
parents, all of who are deceased.32
(…)
Up to the point when our problems escalated out of control, we used to
entertain friends and associates in our home. We would have them into
our home for dinner. We used to reciprocate invitations. We found
inviting strangers into our house was hard on both Adam and us. He
did not want strangers visiting with us. He has been known to go into
the kitchen when my wife has been baking and dump everything on to
the floor. That makes it difficult to prepare dinner. The result is, we
hardly ever had friends in for dinner. We do not invite them and they do
not invite us. Home is not necessarily a haven when living with a person
with autism. (…) Having a family member with autism is a lonely,
traumatic experience.33
David also explained how the family copes with the lack of resources for adults with autism:
The problem with autism is that the family has to bear the full burden of
responsibility, financially, emotionally and in every other way. Our
family is bearing the full burden of this disability. We receive no help
financially or medically. Because our son is high-functioning, government
requires that he apply for support, sign the documents, and that, when
the government decides that there is a renewal required for the
application, Adam has to fill this out.
He does not do it. We did have him on a small income support payment,
but he was required to reapply. He delayed and he has now been cut off.
He does not have the skills required to maintain access to support, but
he is too high-functioning to have us appointed as his guardians to act on
his behalf. We cannot go on vacation unless Adam’s brother is at home.
As I mentioned, he is a student at university and is unlikely to be
spending much time at home in the future.34
David (9:6).
David (9:11).
34 David (9:12).
32
33
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18
With respect to community-based services and supports for adults affected with autism,
David stated:
There are no services for adults with autism, except respite services for
those who are lower functioning. Respite means babysitting, and the
people who do respite work are paid minimum wage. After school, there
is no structure in the life with a person with autism; there is just an
abyss. The prospect of employment is remote without a lot of help, and
the family has to shoulder the full burden.35
David stressed the importance of recognizing that mental health is as important as physical
health and that mental illness should be treated with the same sense of urgency as physical
illness. He believes that the federal government should play a major role in achieving this:
There is no difference between someone who has a mental illness and
someone who has a physical illness. That is the key question: Are we
treating people with mental disorders with the same urgency that we treat
people with physical disorders? I do not think we are. That is the
fundamental question here. There is an equal public policy role for
government in dealing with mental disorders. How do we do that? How
do we change the environment out there?
The reality is that a mental disorder does not have a sense of urgency
because it is recognized that people with mental disorders will be around
tomorrow, whereas people who have heart disorders or cancer have to be
treated today because they may not be around tomorrow. That clouds the
whole issue. We must do something about it.
One thing we could do — and this is where your committee can play an
important role — is for the Government of Canada, with regard to the
transferring of funds for mental disorders, to put those funds in a fiscal
envelope to be used only for mental disorders. That money cannot be used
for anything else.36
1.2
COMMITTEE COMMENTARY
You have to put a human face on it, as the chairman said.
I do not know a better way to do that than to have people
like the four people at this table stand up and be counted,
to say things that are very difficult to say. That is why I
think what they have done here today is very courageous.
35
36
David (9:13).
David (9:37-38).
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To be honest with you, I do not know another way to do
it. People do not understand. Politicians do not
understand. They have no understanding of what we go
through. How do you provide that understanding? It is
only when they have a family member or some relation who
has this dilemma that they can relate to it. It is very
difficult to understand unless you walk in our shoes.
[David (9:34)]
The Committee very much appreciates the sincere, thoughtful testimony made by David,
Murray, Loïse and Ronald. Somehow, just saying thank you to them does not seem to be
enough. We appreciate how difficult it was for them to come and talk with us the way they
did.
Together, these four witnesses painted a picture for the Committee of the stigma,
frustration, fear and anger that affect individuals with mental illness and addiction and their
families, of the impact of their diseases on parents and siblings, on their social lives and on
their finances. By telling their moving stories, which were very important to the
Committee’s work, these witnesses helped shed light on many issues such as access to care,
lack of communication or collaboration between health care providers, a lack of resources
and patient rights and privacy issues. All these issues are addressed in the following chapters
of this report. We do so in the hope that our work will ultimately be of help to David,
Murray, Loïse and Ronald and to the thousands of people like them across the country.
Overview of Policies and Programs
20
CHAPTER 2:
MENTAL DISORDERS TOUCH THE LIVES OF ALL CANADIANS
Mental illness hits everyone — rich, poor, male, female —
of every race and creed.
[J. Michael Grass (17:43).]
INTRODUCTION
One of the reasons behind the Committee’s decision to undertake an in-depth study of
issues relating to mental health, mental illness and addiction in Canada was recognition by
our members of their profound effects on our society: mental illness and addiction affect
individual Canadians of all ages in all segments of the population. The initial phase of the
Committee’s study, that has formed the basis for this report, has only reinforced that
recognition.
Perhaps it is a neighbour who has Alzheimer’s, a sister who has experienced post-partum
depression, a colleague who is on stress leave from work, an uncle struggling with
alcoholism, or friends talking about eating disorders, suicidal thoughts, or childhood abuse.
It has been estimated that one in five Canadians will be affected at some point during his or
her lifetime by a mental illness or addiction. It is difficult to imagine a day going by without
all of us, knowingly or unknowingly, being in a room, on a bus, at a restaurant, or elsewhere,
with someone who has experienced a mental illness or addiction.
This chapter builds on the personal stories of Chapter 1. It describes the impact of mental
illness and addiction on individuals, on families and other care providers, as well as on their
communities. While seeking to expand the understanding of what it is like to live with a
mental disorder oneself or to live with someone affected by one, it also presents other facets
of the impact of mental illness and addiction that stretch beyond the borders of families and
households to encompass schools, offices and the many other places where Canadians
interact.
The focus of this chapter is on individual perceptions. It provides brief glimpses into the
lives of some of the many Canadians who live with mental illness and addiction every day.
The excerpts are primarily from evidence contained in letters and e-mails sent to the
Committee, from public testimony, as well as from a number of site visits by the Committee,
supplemented by information drawn from relevant websites. In many instances, the stories
are those of loss – loss of jobs, of family, of self-respect – and of struggling to obtain needed
care. But there are also positive stories that tell of gains – of knowledge of self and of social,
medical and legal services and supports that can help individuals affected by mental illness
and addiction to live productive and contributing lives.
The voices are many and fragmented. They come from individuals who use services and
providers who give them. They are from mothers who care for children, and husbands who
care for wives. They are from teachers who build social and other skills, employers who
21
Overview of Policies and Programs
adapt their workplaces, and community leaders who work to restore neighbourhoods. They
are from people everywhere in Canada.
2.1
INDIVIDUALS LIVING WITH MENTAL DISORDERS
2.1.1
A State of Mind
Many individuals living with mental disorders offered comments on their own mental states,
emphasizing particularly the way they are perceived by the larger society to fall under the
label “crazy.” One ended a long letter about his precarious, unsettled life with: “(…) and I’m
not as crazy as people think I am.”37 Another remembered her first thoughts when
diagnosed with a psychosis at age 16 years as: “Oh my God! I can’t be one of those crazy
people, with no home, no family, and no life.”38
Even those who have the support of family and friends, who live in comfortable homes with
regular meals and clean clothes, and who can access new therapies and the best drugs, talk
about their sense of shame and failure, particularly as they see others accomplishing the goals
they have set for themselves. They worry about the possible re-emergence of their
symptoms. They know that they are viewed differently from other people and feel the loss
of being “different”. In the words of one woman, “it’s worse for us because we know what
we’re missing.”39
Pat Capponi, author, journalist, speaker and social activist who also refers to herself as a
psychiatric consumer/survivor, told the Committee:
A mental patient is just that in the eyes of many. We are not entitled to
be full human beings behind that label, not expected to have basic
personalities that mirror those in the greater population, good and bad
and everything in between. A schizophrenic is a schizophrenic, and every
action is attributed to that disease and not to the underlying nature of the
individual.40
Many people associate mental illness and addiction with disgrace; affected individuals are
often discredited and, unfortunately, set apart from the rest of society. Sadly, stigma –
whether the result of self-stigmatization or public stigmatization – is the cause of much of
the distress those individuals with mental illness and addiction experience in their daily lives.
2.1.2
A Perpetual Cycle
Individuals affected by mental illness and addiction pointed out also how the perpetual cycle
of problems they confront makes it difficult to integrate themselves into the broader
community and to remain there, leading meaningful and productive lives. Pat Capponi told
the Committee that medication is often seen as the easiest single solution to the complex
Letter from John, no date.
Letter from Tara, 28 November 2003.
39 As reported by Pat Capponi, Brief to the Committee, April 2004, p. 2.
40 Pat Capponi (7:49).
37
38
Overview of Policies and Programs
22
issues involved, but that this sometimes does little to address the real and continuing
underlying concerns:
(…) funding has increasingly gone to keeping discharged patients in
chemical straight jackets for the comfort of the mainstream community.
If a client is depressed and upset that his life is so narrowly constricted,
his medication is increased. If he is fearful of a landlord or unable to
sleep in an over-crowded room, his medication is increased. If poverty
leaves him hungry and restless, his medication is increased. And if he
has the remaining life inside his body to be angry, the dosages will ensure
that that anger is forgotten.41
She also told the Committee about how the gulf between the haves and the have-nots is
widening, creating particular difficulties for those living with mental illness and addiction:
More people are using the food banks and so the share for the chronic
mental patient has been dramatically reduced. A landlord will rent his
house to people who he thinks will be less disruptive than a former
mental health patient. People get squeezed out. Shelters prefer to house
immigrants or battered women because they will not be seen as potentially
disruptive. The stigma about the crazy people that we are exists.42
Again, the stigma associated with mental illness and addiction may deny affected individuals
even such basic rights as shelter and housing.
2.1.3
An Uncoordinated State
Individuals concerned with all aspects of mental health and addiction emphasized the need
for those living with these conditions to have access to a continuum of services and supports
that includes affordable housing and short-term intensive support services for people
immediately after their discharge from hospitals, shelters, or jails. But they also stressed that
the delivery of these services and supports must be much better coordinated across the
entire mental health and addiction “system” and better integrated with the services offered
by the broader social sector.
One example illustrating the absence of that coordination involved a patient/client living on
welfare with some social security money to rent an apartment as well as meet some other
expenses. This person had a relapse, spent 15 days in an acute psychiatric unit, and as a
consequence lost both the social security funding and his apartment. As a result, the
government had to accommodate him in a more expensive hospital bed until a space in the
community became available.43
Another example illustrates where early intervention and subsequent coordinated preventive
action could have made a difference. A 25 year old man in Vancouver, in and out of foster
Ibid.
Pat Capponi (7:70).
43 Julio Arboleda-Florez, (11:69).
41
42
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care and jails since he was 13 years old, was diagnosed for first time with bipolar disorder
While on remand for three months for a break and enter committed to secure money for
drugs. He was not tried but released on conditions, but, unfortunately, before long found
himself back in jail. One condition of his release was that he continue taking three drugs:
Ritalin, an antidepressant and methadone. Taken together these made him “hazy”. He was
provided $28 a week for food and accommodation, and found a small room on the
downtown eastside. He could not afford transit, however, and had no support system in
place. Within two weeks he had broken his probation after trying to connect with his father
who had just been released from William’s Head prison on Vancouver Island.44
Older Canadians are affected by many mental health issues that affect both their
independence and the sense of control they have over their lives. For example, both for
individuals with dementia and many others, a loss of access to transportation can mean the
loss of contact with the outside world, of independence and of control. While public
transportation may be an option for some, for others, it is simply not available. The
Alzheimer Society recounted the stories of two individuals affected by the dementia. Trevor
Jones, a career police officer was diagnosed at 57 years of age, while Jesse Roy, whose own
mother had died of Alzheimer’s, still lived in her own home and volunteered to help others
when, at 77 years of age, she was diagnosed. Among their many concerns, both expressed
anxiety particularly about the loss of independence when they lost their driving abilities.
Trevor did not trust himself to take public transportation and was forced to rely on his wife
and various friends for transportation. Jesse worried that having to give up driving would
not only curtail her activities; ir would change her living arrangements and require her to
move to a care facility.45
In all these cases, little or nothing in the way of a support system was available. Support
services were either not available or not integrated in such a way as to providing the affected
individuals with the desirable continuum of care.
2.1.4
An Underserved State
The provision of adequate services and the ability to access them by those in need was one
of the most crucial issues raised by all individuals living with a mental disorder. One young
person wrote: “I credit my good health and success in life to a revolutionary treatment
approach for youth experiencing their first break with reality…I can say with confidence that
early intervention saved my life.”46
Her letter went on to note that access to such life-saving programs is limited because they
exist primarily only as research models in teaching hospitals:
“Even in Ottawa, the nation’s capital, the First Episode Program is
grossly under funded with a waiting list of one year. People suffering
their first episode (of psychosis) flounder at best to try and secure
treatment. Many are afraid to reach out for help, others plainly
Fax from Margaret, April 28, 2004.
Alzheimer Society of Canada, Brief to the Committee, 4 June 2003.
46 Letter from Tara, 28 November 2003.
44
45
Overview of Policies and Programs
24
incapable of doing so because of the effects of the illness itself. Families
are left to try and deal with what is an impossible situation.”47
The need for early detection and intervention in the field of mental illness and addiction is
clear. Eearly intervention can interrupt the negative course of many mental disorders, lessen
long term disability and help to reduce the burden on families and other informal caregivers
as well.
2.2
THOSE CARING FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH MENTAL ILLNESS
2.2.1
Parental Fears
Parents are the primary advocates for the interests of children who enter any part of the
health care system. When dealing with mental health care, parents confront the reality that
their roles as advocates and as providers of care will be a long term one. They must act as a
continuous buffer between the affected individual and an often hostile larger community.
With young children, parents must seek out for themselves a network of appropriate services
and supports both within and beyond the health care sector. The need to exert themselves
on behalf of their children often never stops until they themselves are incapacitated by age
or illness.
Witnesses told the Committee that many parents fear most what will happen to their
children when they can act no longer as their advocates. Phil Upshall, President of the
Mood Disorders Society of Canada and the National Director of the Canadian Alliance on
Mental Health and Mental Illness, recounted the story of family friends: “My family had two
friends who had people with severe mental illnesses, totally incapable of treatment, living
with them. The big fear in those families was what would happen to their son or daughter
when they go.”48
One 76 year old woman wrote the Committee about her many fears for her son who had
been institutionalized for psychiatric treatment. She worried about the effectiveness of the
treatment and the side effects that she had observed in her son. She wanted an investigation
of the living and other conditions he confronted, but could not afford to pay the necessary
legal fees out of her monthly pension. She said: “I don’t want to die while my son is a
prisoner patient in that place…Because I’ve seen what they do to patients with no living
relatives.”49
Another mother wrote about her autistic adult son, his problems with sleeping at night and
his need for her to be available always, to tuck him in and reassure him so that he could get
back to sleep. She wrote:
I worry about Stephen in the long term and short term. Will we ever get
any programs in place to help him? What if I get sick? What if my
Ibid.
Phil Upshall (9:30).
49 Letter from Amy, 3 October 2003.
47
48
25
Overview of Policies and Programs
cancer comes back? What will happen to him ultimately? Who will care
for him as I do when I cannot, simply because I won’t be here.50
Families are often the principal resource and the sole support available to individuals with
mental illness and addiction. Because of the limited resources available in the hospital sector
and the community, it is parents who house, care, supervise and provide financial assistance
to their affected children. As those who recounted their experience above clearly
demonstrated, this can be a source of enormous tension and emotional stress.
2.2.2
Parental Advocacy
Parents are deeply concerned for the welfare of their children when they enter the health
care system for the treatment for mental illness. As lay persons, they feel inadequately
equipped with the knowledge and resources needed to deal with the many challenges they
know lie ahead. They worry about their being an insufficient level of care and that the care
that is available may not always be delivered with the sensitivity their loved ones require.
They worry about the cost of additional specialized care and of legal advice. Many parents
and affected individuals stressed the need of those living with mental disorders to have
available to them dedicated advocates to help them gain access to appropriate housing
supports, as well as treatment and care.
One mother spoke of her experiences of navigating around obstacles in the current system;
she wanted assurances that family members would have a “first right of refusal” to be part of
the decision-making team, to obtain information about the affected family member’s
diagnosis and treatment, to consider options about the care provided.51
Some witnesses pointed that children with autism or those suffering from Foetal Alcohol
Syndrome and Foetal Alcohol Effects (FAS/FAE) require constant care. They emphasized
that many parents and caregivers not only experience social and emotional isolation from
family, friends and their communities, but they also carry heavy financial loads as well in
their effort to get help. Pam Massad, speaking about FAS/FAE noted that:
In their attempts to access the required services and supports for their
child, many families experience serious financial burdens. Many
provinces and territories do not offer financial support for specialized
health services, educational supports and legal supports.52
The father of a three year old son, Steven, diagnosed at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern
Ontario (CHEO) on December 8, 2003 to be suffering from autism, wrote about the lengthy
and costly experience of trying to obtain appropriate treatment. “It has been now 261 days
since then and we are on waiting lists. We have not received either one cent’s worth of
medically necessary treatment or financial assistance so far.”53 His e-mail went on to point
Letter from unidentified woman, February 2003.
Letter from Irene, 7 avril 2003.
52 Pam Massad (13:7).
53 E-mail from Andrew, 25 August 2004.
50
51
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26
out that the family had resorted to private care out of necessity, and now faced out of pocket
costs of about $50,000 a year.
2.2.3
Parental Survivors
Parents may outlive their troubled children. While survivors of suicide speak of the desperate
need to do something urgently to stop their “needless, unspeakable pain,” those who are left
behind after successful suicides are devastated by the loss of their loved one. Diane Yackel
of the Centre for Suicide Prevention pointed out that each day, there are 10 more families in
Canada “whose lives were unalterably changed because a father, a son, a sister, some family
member, with some degree of intentionality, chose to die by suicide.”54
She recounted the tragic stories of four mothers:
•
The first concerned a woman whose two husbands had both died by suicide. “She
came to see me at the point in time when her son- her only child – had hanged
himself. Several weeks after her son’s death, she was released from her work
responsibilities because (quote) ‘she no longer was a productive employee.’ ”
•
Then there was the incapacitated mother. “She was frozen in time, unable to sleep
anywhere but on her chesterfield near the front door of her home. This was the
chesterfield from which she last saw her son, and from where she heard the gunshot.
Perhaps, just perhaps if she stayed there long enough, he might come back through
that front door again, and she would have a second chance to stop him from going
into his bedroom and shooting himself.”
•
And the Aboriginal mother “whose 19 year-old daughter lay down on the railway
tracks when life became too difficult for her to go on.”
•
And yet another mother, herself a widow, “who discovered and had to cut down the
body of her 14 year old daughter hanging in their house.”55
It is truly not possible to comprehend and convey the profound anguish of those left in the
aftermath of suicide. The central message survivors of suicide have conveyed to the
Committee is the need for a comprehensive suicide prevention strategy that includes both
early identification of suicidal behaviour and crisis management.
2.3
THOSE PROVIDING MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION SERVICES
2.3.1
Provider Access
In mental health, most of the many gatekeepers to the “system” are health care professionals
who deliver treatment; others, however, such as teachers and social workers, also provide
access to necessary services and supports. In Canada, access to such services and supports is
unevenly distributed. Shortages are evident everywhere, but they are particularly severe in
certain parts of the country.
54
55
Diane Yackel (6:47).
Diane Yackel (6:46).
27
Overview of Policies and Programs
One brief submitted to the Committee highlighted the hardship afflicted on individuals with
mental illness and addiction by restricted access to providers:
In Yukon, for example, there is at present no resident psychiatrist at all.
The result is that people are forced to travel far from their homes to
receive needed services – a hardship (ironically dubbed “Greyhound
Therapy”) that is doubly stressful for someone dealing with a mental
health problem.56
Providers told the Committee that they can often correlate at least part of the problem faced
by individuals with mental illness and addiction with the physical and socio-economic
conditions in which they live. One psychiatrist who provides home visits talked about the
lives of some of her patients:
A significant number of my patients do not have a method of
transportation and we are a large rural community spread over a vast
area. Significant numbers of my patients live with many extended family
members in inadequate housing; some homes still have dirt floors and no
indoor plumbing or source of heating in the winter other than a
woodstove.57
She also recounted how it took almost six months for an older man with untreated paranoid
schizophrenia to develop a relationship with her through his doorway before he felt
comfortable enough to invite her inside with him.58
These stories point to the need for addressing the special mental health challenges faced by
under-serviced rural and remote communities across the country.
2.3.2
Teachers and other School Service Providers
The role of teachers, schools and others in the early detection of mental disorders received
considerable attention during the Committee’s hearings. Many witnesses emphasized the
importance of schools in early detection so that mental health problems and illnesses can be
addressed before they cause lifelong negative effects. Several witnesses made connections
between observed problems with reading and writing and psychological distress and/or
mental disorders. As Tom Lips from Health Canada pointed out with respect to literacy,
“there may be mental health reasons that contribute to illiteracy. As well, there are mental
health impacts to being illiterate.”59
At the same time, witnesses recognized that, although school remains the place where
children spend most of their time and acquire many of their adaptive social skills, the current
reality is that the resources available are thinly streched, making appropriate intervention
more difficult to provide. Teachers face larger classes than they used to; this makes the
Canadian Mental Health Association, Brief to the Committee, June 2003.
Dr Cornelia Wieman (9:53).
58 Ibid.
59 Tom Lips, Health Canada (11:25).
56
57
Overview of Policies and Programs
28
identification and confrontation of students with more and complicated individual problems
extremely difficult. The services provided to schools by nurses, psychologists and social
workers have also been significantly reduced. Some treatment approaches are so fragmented
that they actually end in the middle of the school year.
Children with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
(ADHD), and learning disabilities have problems with impulsivity, attention and managing
their behaviour. They may also have difficulty reading, distinguishing sounds and
understanding the teacher.
The Committee heard that in Toronto the waiting list just for diagnosis in the publicly
funded system is 18 months – almost 2 school years. Private access is available within a
week or two to those who can afford $2000 for the services of a psychologist (of which
approximately $300 may be covered by employer-sponsored insurance).60
Diane Sacks, President-Elect, Canadian Paediatric Society, pointed out how many children
with ADD, ADHD and learning disabilities mask their difficulties until junior high school
when they begin to fail:
They fail at a time when, for many, they feel that their bodies are also
failing them. They are not strong enough, thin enough or definitely not
tall enough. The pressures are enormous. Poor social skills, which go
along with this condition, now cause rejection and peer conflicts. How can
a failing, “dummy” teen with poor social skills, which is what untreated
ADHD looks like, form the peer group we talked about as one the
essential tasks of adolescence? He cannot. Self-esteem issues arise. This is
directly related to acting out, bullying and problems with the law.61
The fact that the onset of most adult mental health disorders occurs during childhood
points, once again, to the need to devote more resources to early detection and intervention.
Schools must be recognized as key players in the provision of mental health services and
supports.
2.3.3
Primary Health Care Providers
The Committee was struck by the number of witnesses who talked about the significant
breadth and range of services needed. Some pointed to the need for more training for
primary care physicians in identifying mental disorders and in securing earlier interventions.
Others talked about roles for nurse practitioners, social workers and psychologists. Many
insisted upon the need to combine physical and mental care as part of the care continuum,
pointing out how too often we treat the mind and the body differently, almost as if they
were entirely separate entities.
The Canadian Psychological Association pointed to the particular psychological issues facing
different individuals at different stages in their lives, such as:
60
61
Diane Sacks (13:53).
Diane Sacks (13:51).
29
Overview of Policies and Programs
•
a twelve year old who must adapt to a diabetic regimen that involves injections, daily
blood testing, and dietary adjustments;
•
a middle-aged man having survived a near fatal heart attack whose family members
are obliged to modify their behaviours and relationships;
•
a family caring for a parent with dementia at home;
•
or a mother facing her demise from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma with the prospect of
leaving behind two young children.62
In this vein, Dr. Cornelia Wieman, a psychiatrist from the Six Nations Mental Health
Services (Ohsweken, Ontario), expressed concerns about adopting a narrow biological
approach to mental illness. She provided an example that illustrated why simply prescribing
an antidepressant for a patient would have been an inadequate response:
(…) I have a patient who last year lost a son to suicide while he was in
police custody. The same year, she was diagnosed with kidney cancer and
underwent to removal of her kidney by surgery. Her youngest daughter,
aged 14, has coped with her brother’s suicide by engaging in extremely
risky behaviour including engaging in substance abuse, unprotected
sexual activity and staying away from the home for days at a time. This
woman has been on medical leave from work, which has caused a great
deal of financial stress. She also has several extended family members
living in her home. She is a widow with few social supports.
Using this patient as an example, it would be unrealistic of me to simply
prescribe her an antidepressant medication and reassure her that over
time she will feel better. However, by prescribing her an antidepressant
as well as activating a number of psychosocial supports, including
counselling, and after working with her quite intensively over the period
of a year at our clinic, she is finally feeling better. She returned to fulltime employment this month.63
She also pointed out that as a fee-for-service physician, she only gets paid for direct patient
contact and not for time spent conferencing with other service providers about shared
clients.
The discussion the Committee had with these witnesses suggests that we must re-think the
way we address mental illness in relation to physical illness. We must also address the
appropriate balance between a narrowly defined biomedical approach and psychosocial
intervention. Appropriate incentives must be developed to ensure that health care providers
can devote the time required to address the specific, usually time-consuming needs of
individuals affected by mental illness and addiction.
Sam Mikail and John Service, Presentation to the Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada, Ontario
Psychological Association, 11 April 11 2002.
63 Dr. Cornelia Wieman (9:54).
62
Overview of Policies and Programs
30
2.3.4
Provider Distress
Mental health professionals face their own anxieties. They are not always able to address the
needs of their patients and their families as fully as or in ways they would like. In some
instances, this is the result of a lack of sufficient resources; in others, they are aware that
diagnosing a mental illness may require them to treat the individual and their family
differently than if the problems were physical in nature.
One paediatric specialist spoke about gains made in the methods for diagnosing many
childhood conditions and the insufficiency of research into methods for prevention and
treatment. She observed that the search for appropriate services can become a major
undertaking when:
(…) services that provide treatment are seriously underfunded and leave
families scrambling for the few spaces that are available. Fragmentation
of services mean these families and their primary care provider must look
for new options almost on a yearly basis.”64
Other providers pointed out that it was not that long ago that treatment methods and
attitudes we now find reprehensible were standard practice. For example, Dr. Michel
Maziade, Head, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University Laval (Quebec),
stated:
In the 1950s and up until the late 1960s, psychoanalysis was very
prevalent and everything was environmental. It is as if the brain did not
exist at all. If you look at papers published at that time, all those
disorders – schizophrenia, autism, and manic-depressive disorders – were
the fault of the mother. It was always because the mother was lacking in
education.
(…)
In those days, we accused people. I am a practising child and adolescent
psychiatrist and I did that myself as a resident in the early 1970s. I was
giving the parents the diagnoses for this terrible disorder and instead of
providing support to them, as one would if their child had a cardiac
disorder, I was accusing them because I was suggesting that they go to
psychotherapy to help the child, because something was missing in the
relationship. That was terrible.65
2.4
MENTAL HEALTH, MENTAL ILLNESS AND ADDICTION AT WORK
2.4.1
64
65
Workplace Secrets
Dr. Diane Sacks, President-Elect, Canadian Paediatric Society, Brief to the Committee, May 2003, p. 1.
Dr. Michel Maziade (14:32).
31
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In some workplaces, individuals with mental illness or addiction may have access to some
assistance in dealing with their problems, but with or without these supports, they may still
feel compelled to keep their personal struggle hidden. All too often, the fear of losing one’s
job or of being stigmatized by one’s colleagues is enough to prevent individuals living with a
mental disorder from seeking treatment. The Committee heard that it is common for
employees to blame themselves and remain silent when they become depressed or unable to
meet their employers’ expectations because of a mental health or substance abuse problem.
Individuals tend to keep personal issues to themselves sometimes with negative
consequences for their future employment as well as their well-being. These stories were
brought to the Committee’s attention. For example:
Michael Koo, 34, says he was devastated when his coworkers complained in a
performance evaluation that he wasn’t pulling his weight. But Koo says he didn’t feel
comfortable explaining that a major depression was the reason for his low
productivity. “My thought was, ‘I can’t afford to let them know what was going on,
‘cause I’ll lose my work’,” he recalls, adding that stress leaves were associated with
shame.
Jane, a 30-year-old biologist, says she never discussed her clinical depression with her
employer because she was afraid of losing respect. “People in the workplace want to
be dealing with consistent and reliable colleagues,” she says. “Being perceived as
being vulnerable to depression limits how much people feel they can invest in you.”
Although she hid her depression, Jane says she lost all credibility with her company
when her work began to suffer. “I would fall short on my commitments and was
unable to justify my inability to produce according to expectations,” she explains.66
These stories underline the importance of increasing awareness in the workplace about
mental illness and addiction. An important step will have been taken once workplace
managers have better knowledge of mental illness and addiction; they will be more willing to
and capable of offering accommodation to those workers suffering from mental illness and
addiction.
2.4.2
Workplace Successes
Individuals living with chronic mental illnesses have struggled to create a place for
themselves in the workforce. Although traditional vocational rehabilitation has been
available for decades, the development of “survivor” businesses is relatively recent. Pat
Capponi outlined the struggle of the Ontario Council of Alternative Businesses to develop
opportunities for chronic psychiatric patients in neighbourhoods where ratepayers, local
politicians and businesses were hostile. She told the Committee that:
Our community began to see that there were possibilities out there for us.
We began to have role models and leaders. We were achieving, breaking
myths and assumptions about who and what we were, and we were
forming a community. Chronic psychiatric patients showed commitment
66
According to information from http://www.heretohelp.bc.ca/.
Overview of Policies and Programs
32
in reporting to work on time. In acquiring new skills, lasting friendships
were created and people grabbed every opportunity to learn from each
other’s experiences.67
Work makes an important contribution to the process of recovery. Employment may
reduce the frequency and severity of episodes of acute illness by providing structure, the
opportunity for social connections and a fuller life. Regular remuneration also helps to
reduce dependence on social assistance and the needs of individuals for mental health
services and supports.
2.5
PEOPLE LIVING WITH MENTAL ILLNESS WHO ARE UNDER
FEDERAL RESPONSIBILITY
2.5.1
Veterans
Concerns about the care of Canadian veterans took the Committee to Ste.-Anne-de-Bellevue
Hospital in Quebec, the only facility for veterans still administered by Veterans Affairs
Canada. Like many older Canadians, veterans prefer to stay at home as long as possible
before entering long-term care facilities. By the time they enter such facilities, they can be
quite frail. At Ste. Anne’s anywhere from 50 to about 80 per cent of the residents are
affected by some form of dementia. The loneliness and boredom experienced by many
patients in such facilities are often exacerbated by mental disorder.
Bernard Groulx, Chief Psychiatrist at Ste. Anne’s, outlined some of the specific issues
encountered in caring for patients suffering from dementia:
These patients have severe problems. They wake up at night; they are
disoriented in space, time and people; incontinent; they are emotionally
unstable; they are hyperactive; frequently aggressive; have delusions and
hallucinations; show a variety of agitated behaviour.68
Specialized nursing approaches are essential to ensure a reasonable quality of life for these
patients. The nursing staff at the hospital has to support families as well as the residents. A
nurse at Ste. Anne's Hospital said: “I work a lot with the families, especially with
Alzheimer’s. I have to communicate with the families, make them comfortable and help
them to understand the disease. (…) I support everything they have to go through, the hard
times.”69
2.5.2
Inmates
Inmates in federal correctional services fall under federal responsibility. Recent trends
indicate that the proportion of the population of federal offenders with mental health and
substance abuse problems is growing, even though overall prison admissions and
Pat Capponi (7:48).
Bernard Groulx, Brief on Psychiatric Care at Ste. Anne’s Veterans Hospital, provided to the Committee
on 7 May 2003.
69 Sarah Tyrrell, Nurses – Always There For You: Caring For Families, Veterans Affairs Canada, 2002.
67
68
33
Overview of Policies and Programs
institutional population have been in decline. Some, such as women and Aboriginal peoples,
have particular needs.
Within Correctional Services Canada, the need for mental health treatment is acknowledged:
Mental health treatment for offenders is required if we want to reduce the
disabling effects of serious mental illness in order to maximize each
inmate’s ability to participate electively in correctional programs; to help
keep the prison safe for staff, inmates, volunteers and visitors; and to
decrease the needless extremes of human suffering caused by mental
illness.70
Officials from the department also talked about the need to deal with offenders who require
specialized mental health intervention in order to reduce the “revolving door” phenomenon:
There is what we call a revolving door between corrections, both federal
and provincial, but also the community, where often people who are
afflicted with mental health disorders find themselves in the criminal
justice system. While mentally disordered offenders are often less likely to
reoffend — including violently — they are more likely to return to
prison due to a breach of their release conditions — often as a result of
inadequate support while they are in the community.71
This points to the need to develop better links between the federal and provincial
governments and between the justice and the mental health service/support systems.
Correctional Service Canada must do more to prevent the “revolving door” phenomenon.
2.5.3
First Nations and Inuit
Questions were raised concerning the inadequacy of access to individual counselling services
for First Nations and Inuit patients under Health Canada’s Non-Insured Health Benefits
(NIHB) counselling program. The NIHB program supports clients “in crisis” or those who
cannot access counselling through out-patient clinics funded by the province or who cannot
pay for private counselling. But limited incomes, combined with transportation and access
issues, mean that many individuals fall through the cracks.
According to Dr. Cornelia Wieman:
Presently, my patients can access individual counselling through the NonInsured Health benefits program. (…) However, (…) the limit is 15
sessions with the possibility of renewing for a further 12. A total of 27
70
71
Françoise Bouchard, Director General, Health Services, Correctional Service Canada (7:53).
Françoise Bouchard (7:54).
Overview of Policies and Programs
34
sessions for many people is not sufficient to help them adequately address
their mental health concerns.72
Clearly, the NIHB program must be revised so as to better reflect the mental health needs of
First Nations and Inuit peoples.
2.6
COMMITTEE COMMENTARY
Even with our somewhat broader look at the lives of individuals affected by mental illness
and addiction the Committee is acutely aware that the preceding excerpts from the evidence
received have only scratched the surface of what is a very large problem. It is impossible to
fully enumerate the many groups of Canadians who are affected by mental illness and
addiction and to portray fragments from all their lives.
In the remainder of this report the Committee has gathered together the evidence it has
heard over the past 18 months. This is the first step in coming to grips with the enormous
challenges that lie before us in developing a set of recommendations to improve the quality
of life of those who are living with, and those who are directly or indirectly impacted by,
mental illness and addiction. This includes all of us.
72
Dr. Cornelia Wieman (9:55).
35
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CHAPTER 3:
STIGMA AND DISCRIMINATION
3.1
INTRODUCTION
In the course of its hearings, the Committee heard from many witnesses about the enormous
importance of addressing head on the problem of the stigmatization of, and discrimination
against, individuals living with mental disorders. There was considerable discussion
concerning how best to reduce stigmatization and combat discrimination, as well as over
how to understand the relationship between these two phenomena.
There was widespread agreement on the absolutely central place occupied by these issues in
considering how to improve access to and the delivery of mental health services and to
enhance the mental health of Canadians more generally. Ms. Heather Stuart, Associate
Professor, Community Health and Epidemiology, Queen's University, put it well in her
testimony to the Committee:
We are in a community mental health model right now and so stigma
and discrimination are the crux of the issue for us. They are our major
barriers to the treatment of mental illness in our modern day. We expect,
when we put people into the community, that the community will want
them and nurture them. This is not happening.73
The first section of this chapter looks at how to define the two phenomena, stigma and
discrimination, how they are related, and some of the factors that contribute to their
stubborn persistence. The second section explores the impact of stigma and discrimination
on individuals living with mental disorders in order to better understand why many have
described it as being worse than the burden of illness itself. The third section discusses the
options and strategies that have been suggested to combat the stigmatization of individuals
living with mental disorders and to reduce the discrimination they face. A section devoted to
Committee Commentary concludes the chapter.
3.2
DEFINING STIGMA AND ITS RELATIONSHIP TO DISCRIMINATION
Two questions pervade the discussion of stigma and discrimination:
1.
How does the stigmatization of individuals living with mental disorders relate
to the discrimination they face?
2.
Why is it so hard to change attitudes and reduce discrimination?
We will examine the second question in Section 3 of this chapter. As for the relationship
between stigma and discrimination, some witnesses contended that the term stigma itself
73
Second Session, 15:10.
37
Overview of Policies and Programs
tends to focus our attention on the wrong thing, and that it should be discarded in favour of
talking in terms of discrimination. This was the view expressed by Ms. Nancy Hall, Mental
Health Consultant:
I come from the school that calls it what it is, which is discrimination. In
any of the other disability organizations in which I am involved, they do
not use the word “stigma.” It is a polite term. They use the word
“discrimination.” To me, discrimination is when someone with a mental
illness is systematically treated differently from someone who does not
have a mental illness.74
The Committee nonetheless feels it is important to try to get a handle on what is meant by
stigmatization. Although the relevant literature does not yield a single, universally-accepted
definition that encompasses all the dimensions of this complex phenomenon,75 stigma has
variously been defined “as a sign of disgrace or discredit, which sets a person apart from
others,”76 and as “stereotypes that reflect a group negatively.”77 Ms. Bronwyn Shoush, Board
Member, Institute of Aboriginal Peoples' Health, Canadian Institutes of Health Research,
suggested to the Committee that:
…stigma might be seen as a veil over a person that prevents others from
focusing on that person. There needs to be a way to lift that veil and take
a look at the person and not see only things that are different about him
or her.78
Witnesses generally agreed that stigmatization involved attitudes, while, as Ms. Stuart said,
“… the action is discrimination.”79 Dr. Julio Arboleda-Florèz, Professor and Head,
Department of Psychiatry, Queen's University, put it this way:
…discrimination exists, but it is different from a stigma. A stigma
concerns our attitude toward particular groups. Discrimination is a
denial of legal entitlements that we all ought to be able access.80
The connection between stigma and discrimination has been described in the literature as
involving a number of overlapping elements that come together to form a continuum linking
the development of negative stereotypes to actual discriminatory behaviour towards people
with mental illness. Three key steps have been identified in this process:
1. Labelling or stereotyping
Second Session, 16:3.
Bruce G. Link and Jo C. Phelan, “On Stigma and its Public Health Implications,” Background Paper,
National Institute of Health Stigma Conference.
76 Peter Byrne, “Stigma of mental illness and ways of diminishing it,” Advances in Psychiatric Treatment (2000)
Vol. 6, p. 65.
77 Patrick Corrigan and Robert Lundin, Don’t Call Me Nuts, Recovery Press, 2001.
78 Second Session, 16:10.
79 Second Session, 15:27.
80 Second Session, 11:70.
74
75
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38
2. Developing prejudice
3. Practicing discrimination
Researchers have also distinguished between public stigmatization (ways in which the general
public reacts to a group based on stigma about that group) and self-stigmatization (the
reactions which individuals turn against themselves because they are members of a
stigmatized group).81 The following table provides an overview of the three components
involved in the process of stigmatization of individuals living with mental disorders.
THREE LEVELS OF PSYCHOLOGICAL STRUCTURES THAT COMPRISE
PUBLIC AND SELF-STIGMATIZATION
Public Stigmatization
Self-Stigmatization
Stereotype:
Negative belief about a
Negative belief about the
group, e.g. dangerousness,
self, e.g. character weakness,
incompetence, character
incompetence
weakness
Prejudice:
Agreement with belief
Agreement with belief
and/or negative emotional
Negative emotional reaction
reaction, e.g. anger, fear
e.g. low self-esteem, low selfefficacy
Discrimination: Behaviour
e.g., avoidance of work and
e.g., failure to pursue work
response to prejudice
housing opportunities
and housing opportunities
Source: Amy C. Watson and Patrick W. Corrigan, “The Impact of Stigma on Service Access and Participation,”
a guideline developed for the Behavioural Health Management Project.
The development of stereotypes is a key part of the process of stigmatization of, and
discrimination against, people with mental illness. Stereotyping involves using selective
perceptions to place people in categories and exaggerating the differences between these
various groups82 (‘them and us’). As with racial prejudice, stereotypes also make people easier
to dismiss and, in so doing, the stigmatizer maintains social distance. In this regard, Ms. Hall
also told the Committee that:
…as [a] Mental Health Advocate, nine out of ten people told me that
once their diagnosis was acknowledged, once they were open about their
diagnosis, people treated them systematically differently.83
Stigmatizing stereotypes can be so strong that stigmatized people are thought to “be” the
thing they are labeled. For example, some people speak of persons as being epileptics or
schizophrenics rather than describing them as having epilepsy or schizophrenia. This is
revealing with regard to mental illness because it is different for other diseases. A person has
cancer, heart disease or the flu — they are one of “us,” a person who just happens to be
Amy C. Watson and Patrick W. Corrigan, “The Impact of Stigma on Service Access and Participation,”
a guideline developed for the Behavioural Health Management Project.
82 Byrne (2000), op. cit.
83 Second Session, 16:16.
81
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beset by a serious illness. But the person is a “schizophrenic.” Thus the whole person is
stigmatized,84 as Ms. Pat Capponi told the Committee:
A mental patient is just that in the eyes of many. We are not entitled to
be full human beings behind that label, not expected to have basic
personalities that mirror those in the greater population — good, bad
and everything in between. A schizophrenic is a schizophrenic and every
action is attributed to that disease and not to the underlying nature of the
individual or his circumstances. A person who is bitter and angry or who
is addicted to crack or other drugs does something terrible and a chorus of
voices is raised against all who carry the same label.85
There are a number of stereotypes that are commonly identified in the literature as being
widely held about persons with serious mental illness. These include:
1. People with mental illness are dangerous and should be avoided.
2. People with mental illness have brought their problems upon themselves and are
to blame for their disabilities since they arise from weak character.
3. They are incompetent or irresponsible and require authority figures to make
decisions for them.
4. They are viewed as childlike and needing parental figures to care for them.
5. Poor prognosis: the view that there is little hope for recovery from mental illness.
6. Disruption in social interaction: the view that people with mental illnesses are
not easy to talk to and have poor social skills.
7. People with mental illness are not as intelligent as others.
However, a very recent (June 2004) scientific survey of public perceptions of mental illness
that was undertaken in Houston, Texas, (the first of its kind in a major metropolitan area)86
produced some interesting and encouraging findings, that the study’s authors believe are
representative of mainstream attitudes in the United States as a whole. In the words of the
study:
The data indicate that an overwhelming majority of the public at large
has come to believe that mental illness is essentially a physiological
disorder that ought to be treated like any other physical illness. Only a
Link and Phelan, op. cit. Also, Keith Brunton, “Stigma,” in the Journal of Advanced Nursing, No. 26, 1997.
Third Session, 7:49.
86 Public Perceptions of Mental Illness: A report to the Mental Health Association of Greater Houston by
Stephen L. Klineberg, Ph.d., Rice University (June 2004).
84
85
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40
tiny minority continues to believe that mental illness can be attributed to
any sort of morally relevant defect of character.87
Moreover, by 56 to 31 percent, more than half of Harris County
residents believe that most people being treated for mental illness are able
to live a normal life. A clear plurality (47 percent) would not be
concerned if they discovered that a person under treatment for a mental
illness were living in their neighborhood, and a majority (by 51 to 42
percent) would be willing to pay higher taxes to improve access to mental
health services in the Houston area.88
3.2.1
Self-Stigmatization
Self-stigmatization can be defined fairly easily. It is simply agreeing with the negative
attitudes about mental illness and turning them against oneself. Persons living with mental
illness who believe that other people devalue and reject people with mental illness will most
likely fear that this rejection will be applied to them personally. Such a person may wonder,
“Will others think less of me, reject me, because I have been identified as having a mental
illness?” Then, to the extent that it becomes a part of their worldview, that perception can
have serious negative consequences. Expecting and fearing rejection, people who have been
hospitalized for mental illnesses may act less confidently, be more defensive, or they may
simply avoid a threatening contact altogether.89
Self-stigmatization takes the form of “I am” statements such as the following:90
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
I really am unable to care for myself.
I’m dangerous and could snap at any minute.
I’m no different than a child.
I can’t handle responsibility.
Don’t give me money. I’ll only blow it.
I’m a bad person.
Who would want to live next to a person like me?
Everyone can plainly see I’m weird.
I’m not worth the investment of time and resources.
I have a weak personality.
I am not able to do…
Self-stigmatization has a broad and deleterious impact on the person with mental illness, and
can worsen the course of his or her disorder. Persons who self-stigmatize are likely to have
Ibid., p. 27.
Ibid., p. 28.
89 Bruce G. Link, Elmer L. Struening, Sheree Neese-Todd, Sara Asmussen, Jo C. Phelan, “The
Consequences of Stigma for the Self-Esteem of People With Mental Illnesses,” Psychiatric Services, Vol.
51, No. 12, December 2001.
90 Corrigan and Lundin, op. cit.
87
88
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more problems and disabilities with their mental illness than people who do not internalize
statements like those above. One reason is that people who self-stigmatize have poor selfesteem, and with the deprivation of self-esteem comes a loss of hope. Not only do such
people believe they are not worthy of respect now, they believe things will not change in the
future.91 Ms. Rena Scheffer, Director, Public Education and Information Services, Centre for
Addiction and Mental Health, told the Committee that:
On an individual level, stigma not only leads to low self-esteem, isolation
and hopelessness, but all of those characteristics also have been found to
be predictors of poor social adjustment, so people end up in an endless
cycle of poorer quality of life.92
People with diminished self-efficacy due to self-stigmatization are less likely to apply for jobs
or apartments (“Someone who is mentally ill like me can’t handle a regular job!”).93 Other
people with mental illnesses try to avoid discrimination by simply concealing their illness. In
doing so, however, they can incur more stress from the continuous fear of being discovered,
from endangering their mental health by tending not to take time off even when they need it,
and from remaining ineligible for appropriate accommodations for their disability that might
have made their working lives easier and more enjoyable.
Self-stigmatization is also one of the factors that contributes to the fact that many people
with diagnosable mental disorders do not seek treatment. When people fear being identified
and labeled as having a stigmatizing condition, they may then delay or avoid seeking
treatment. According to Ms. Scheffer:
Estimates are that two-thirds of people who require treatment for a
mental illness do not seek help, largely because they are either unaware of
the symptoms or because of the stigma associated with the illness or its
treatment.94
Dr. Richard Brière, Assistant Director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction offered the following analogy to
the Committee:
People who need help often do not seek help because they are ashamed of
what happens to them. If we can do something about the stigma attached
to mental illness, you will have people bragging about it the way they do
about heart disease, saying, “Well, I had a bypass.” People will tell their
friends about that, but many people will not talk about their mental
illness problem.95
Ibid.
Second Session, 16:20.
93 Watson and Corrigan, op. cit.
94 Second Session, 16:19.
95 Third Session, 6:55.
91
92
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42
Families of individuals living with mental disorders can also take on board the fear of
stigmatization, with potentially serious consequences. In her brief to the Committee,
Ms. Stuart referred to a case in which a mother whose daughter’s mental health was
deteriorating initially avoided treatment out of fear that her daughter would be branded as
“crazy” by medical personnel. Ultimately, the police had to intervene when the daughter’s
worsening condition degenerated into a full-blown crisis.96
Stigma is not a new phenomenon. In fact, stigmatization of people with mental disorders has
persisted throughout history.97 In this regard, Ms. Scheffer, in her brief to committee,
referred to the renowned sociologist Erving Goffman who pointed out that the word stigma
in the original Greek was used “to refer to bodily signs designed to expose something
unusual and bad about the moral status of the signifier.”98 While the exact content of the
mythology that contributes to the stigmatization of people with mental illness has no doubt
changed in the intervening millennia, it is striking the extent to which the term still describes
a situation in which the person being stigmatized is being set apart (and de-valued) because
of certain behavioural or physical traits.
In general, given the significance of the phenomenon of stigma, the Committee agrees with
Mr. John Arnett, Head, Department of Clinical Health Psychology, Faculty of Medicine,
University of Manitoba, who argued that the process of stigmatization itself has a real and
profound impact on individuals living with mental disorders. This is how he put it in his
testimony:
We know that stigmatization is characterized by bias, distrust,
stereotyping and so on. It frequently reduces an individual's access to
resources and opportunities for housing and jobs and ultimately leads to
low self-esteem, isolation and hopelessness. There is no question that this
occurs in many cases independently of the limitations that may be
imposed by the mental health disorders themselves. In other words,
stigmatization seems to have an independent capacity to do this.99
3.2.2
The Role of the Media and the “Attribution of Dangerousness” to
Individuals Living With Mental Disorders
One factor that has often been cited as contributing to the persistence of stigmatization of
persons with mental disorders is media coverage. About a third of people identify the media
— including print, radio, television, and internet-based news, advice, entertainment and
advertising — as their main source of information about people with mental illnesses.100
Unfortunately, the media often reinforces myths and stereotypes about people with mental
96
97
98
99
100
Brief to the Committee, May 14, 2003, p.3.
Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General of the United States, 1999. Also, Paul E. Garfinkel and
David S. Goldbloom, “Mental health — getting beyond stigma and categories,” Bulletin of the World
Health Organization, 2000.
Brief to the Committee, May 28, 2003, p. 3.
Second Session, 16:7.
Discrimination Against People with Mental Illnesses and their Families: Changing Attitudes, Opening Minds, A
Report of the BC Minister of Health’s Advisory Council on Mental Health, April 2002.
43
Overview of Policies and Programs
illnesses. Analysis of ways in which film and print represent mental illness have shown that,
in particular, two of the stereotypes of persons with mental disorders are spread by these
sources: people with mental illness are “homicidal maniacs who need to be feared”, and they
are “childlike and need to be protected by parental figures.”101
Content analyses of American television have shown that over 70% of major characters with
a mental illness in prime time television dramas are portrayed as violent; more than one fifth
are shown as killers.102 The typical newspaper depiction of individuals with mental illnesses
shows them to be psychotic, unemployed, transient, and dangerous—not as productive
members of a family or community. Similar studies of newspapers in Canada and Britain
have shown that stories featuring violent acts by people living with mental disorders appear
more frequently and are given greater prominence than articles containing a more positive
portrayal.103
Negative conditioning towards people with mental disorders that encourage stigmatization
may begin at an early age. The first study of children’s television programming in New
Zealand and the U.S., published in 2000, concluded that “the frequent and casual use of
fundamentally disrespectful vocabulary such as crazy, mad, nuts, twisted, wacko or loony
demonstrated for children that such expressions are acceptable or even funny.”104 The
researchers responsible for this study actively looked for, but were unable to identify, any
positive attributes associated with those who were depicted as mentally ill, nor did they find
any understanding of the suffering that mental illness involves.
Some of the stereotypical depictions of people with mental illness that occur regularly in the
media include the following: rebellious free spirit; violent seductress; narcissistic parasite;
mad scientist; sly manipulator; helpless and depressed female; and comedic relief.105 Most
often such characters have no identity outside of their stereotypical “crazy” behaviour, and
are primarily identified by an inferred mental illness.
At the centre of media accounts and public misperceptions is the attribution of a propensity
for violence to individuals living with mental disorders. For example, 88% of participants in
focus groups conducted by the Ontario Division of the Canadian Mental Health Association
in the early 1990s believed that people with a mental illness “are dangerous or violent.”106
Not only is this a persistent problem, but it would appear that it is getting worse over time.
In the United States, attitudes toward mental illnesses have apparently become more infused
with concerns about violence associated with these illnesses. Thus, between 1950 and 1996,
101
102
103
104
105
106
Corrigan and Lundin, op. cit.
Sampson, Stephanie “Countering the Stigma of Mental Illness”, online newsletter of the Anxiety
Disorders Association of America (ADAA), May-June 2002. Accessed on March 11, 2004 at
http://www.adaa.org/aboutADAA/newsletter/2002_stigma.htm.
Scott Simmie, The Last Taboo (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 2001) p. 304.
Wilson, Claire, Raymond Nairn, John Coverdale and Aroha Panapa, “How Mental Illness is Portrayed
in Children’s Television” British Journal of Psychiatry (2000) 176, p. 442.
Dara Roth Edney, “Mass Media and Mental Illness: A Literature Review” (Canadian Mental Health
Association, Ontario Division, 2004) p. 3.
Scott Simmie Out of Mind: An Investigation Into Mental Health (Torionto: Atkinson Charitable
Foundation, 1999) p. 65.
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44
the proportion of Americans who describe mental illness in terms consistent with violent or
dangerous behaviour nearly doubled.107
According to the U.S. Surgeon General this attribution of a propensity towards violence on
the part of individuals living with mental disorders is a key factor in explaining the
persistence of stigmatizing attitudes:
Why is stigma so strong despite better public understanding of mental
illness? The answer appears to be fear of violence: people with mental
illness, especially those with psychosis, are perceived to be more violent
than in the past.108
It is important to note that this fear of violence rests on what is largely a misperception of
the facts. In the words of a Health Canada sponsored study, “there is no compelling
scientific evidence to suggest that mental illness causes violence”.109 Some American studies
have argued that at most 4% of all violent incidents have any connection to mental
illnesses.110 At the very least this strongly suggests that public fears are largely misplaced,
although they are clearly widespread.
There is, however, evidence that suggests that people who do not receive treatment for their
mental illness, or who have concurrent disorders (that is, individuals who have a mental
disorder as well as a substance abuse disorder) are more likely to be violent than the general
population. Still, there is very little risk of violence or harm to a stranger from casual contact
with an individual who has a mental disorder and the overall contribution of mental
disorders to the total level of violence in society is exceptionally small.111 In this regard, Ms.
Scheffer commented that, “as a predictor of violence, mental illness ranks far behind other
risk factors like age, gender and history of violence or substance abuse.”112
And Ms. Hall noted:
…the sad thing is that actually people with mental illness are more at
risk of self-harm. In my province, a person a day commits suicide. Even
though the reality is that they are more at risk of doing harm to
themselves, the public perception is that they are indeed a danger to
others, which simply is not the normative truth…113
Ms. Jennifer Chambers, Empowerment Council Coordinator, Centre for Addiction and
Mental Health, also shared the following insight with the Committee:
107 Sampson, op. cit.
108 Surgeon General, ibid.
109 Julio Arboleda-Florez, Heather L. Holley, and Annette Crisanti Mental Illness and Violence: Proof or
Stereotype, Health Canada, 1996, p. x.
110 Simmie, op. cit., p. 49.
111 Ibid.
112 Second Session, 16:21.
113 Second Session, 16:16.
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One difficulty of shifting the discussion of the association between people
in the mental health system and violence is the circular reasoning that
happens. If a particularly violent crime is committed people say, “Oh,
that person is sick, psycho, weird,” so there is no way to get outside the
debate, even if they were not considered to have any particular mental or
emotional disturbance before committing the act.114
The influence of media accounts can be enormous, both for the public in general and for
those living with mental illnesses. One British study found that over 20% of the people they
interviewed were more inclined to accept the media portrayal of people with mental illnesses
as being prone to violent behaviour than they were to believe the reality they encountered in
their own interaction with people living with mental disorders. An example was given of a
young woman who lived near a mental hospital just outside Glasgow, Scotland, that has
since closed. She had worked there as a volunteer and mixed with the patients. She told the
researchers:
The actual people I met weren’t violent — that I think they are violent,
that comes from television, from plays and things. That’s the strange
thing — the people were mainly geriatric — it wasn’t the people you
hear of on television. Not all of them were old, some of them were
younger. None of them were violent — but I remember being scared of
them, because it was a mental hospital — it’s not a very good attitude to
have but it is the way things come across on TV, and films — you
know, mental axe murders and plays and things — the people I met
weren’t like that, but that is what I associated them with.115
The same study concluded that the most powerful negative effect seemed to be in the area
of self-stigmatization. As one interviewee put it: “You see a programme and it shows a very
bad image of what it feels like yourself and then you think, ‘What are my neighbours going
to think of it?’”116
3.2.3
Stigmatization of Mental Health Providers
Not only do individuals living with mental disorders suffer from misrepresentation in the
media, but so too do mental health practitioners. One study indicated that since the mid1960s, only three films portrayed therapists sympathetically (Good Will Hunting, 1997;
Ordinary People, 1980; and I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, 1977). In every other instance,
mental health practitioners were portrayed in one or more of the following ways: neurotic,
unable to maintain professional boundaries, drug- or alcohol-addicted, rigid, controlling,
ineffectual, mentally ill themselves, comically inept, uncaring, self-absorbed, having ulterior
114
115
116
Second Session, 15:14.
Greg Philo, “Changing Images of Mental Distress” Chapter 4 of Media And Mental Distress, edited by
Greg Philo (Longman: 1996), accessed at http://www.gla.ac.uk/Acad/Sociology/mental.htm on
March 11, 2004.
Ibid.
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46
motives, easily tricked and manipulated, foolish, and idiotic.117 Such portrayals tend to
convey the idea that helping others is an unworthy vocation requiring little skill or expertise.
Witnesses repeatedly indicated that stigmatization affects those who provide care and
services to individuals living with mental disorders. Dr. Gail Beck, Acting Associate
Secretary General, Canadian Medical Association, remarked that, “I regularly hear jokes that
I am not a real doctor. That is not related to what I do in practice; it is related to the fact that
there is a stigma and discrimination about the kind of illnesses that I treat.” And Dr. Rémi
Quirion, Scientific Director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Institute of
Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction, told the Committee that:
Psychiatrists are still stigmatized compared with the other types of
doctors. It is still often seen more as an art than a science. This needs to
change. We need to make sure that the young students will be stimulated
to go into psychiatry.118
According to Ms. Manon Desjardins, Clinical Administration Chief, Adult Ultra Specialized
Services Division, Douglas Hospital, recruiting medical students to the field remains a
problem:
In universities, it is still far more prestigious to go for cardiac, surgery,
[or] intensive care rather than psychiatry or geriatrics. Geriatrics and
psychiatry are seen to be at just about the same level: they are not very
attractive.119
Ms. Maggie Gibson, Psychologist, St. Joseph's Health Care London, also pointed to the fact
that the stigmatization of individuals living with mental disorders affects the whole range of
service providers in the mental health field:
With respect to the issue of family and caregiver stress, I want to
comment on the issue of stigma — in particular the neglected stigma
associated with using long-term care services. We would benefit greatly
from a cultural shift that takes a compassionate and pragmatic approach
to identifying the best care options for both older people and their family
members and allow for dependency, when it is part of the system. Systems
that allow for dependency without devaluing people go a long way to
improving mental health.120
Ibid., p. 5.
Second Session, 14:29.
119 Second Session, 14:124.
120 Second Session, 17:15.
117
118
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3.3
THE IMPACT OF STIGMATIZATION AND DISCRIMINATION
As noted earlier, for many people living with severe mental disorders, the stigmatization and
discrimination they confront can be as important a source of distress as the illness itself. Ms.
Stuart put it this way:
In the context of mental illness, consumers will describe stigma as worse
than having a mental illness. It is perceived to be a second dimension of
suffering, almost a second level of disease that they have to cope with that
is more debilitating and disabling than the mental illness they suffer.
You can well imagine some of the consequences of stigma. You are denied
social standing and rights and social entitlements. You are actively
discriminated against. We have to focus on the discrimination.121
Her insistence on the need to deal with the discrimination that is the concrete result of
stigmatizing attitudes was a recurring theme during the Committee’s hearings. Mr. Patrick
Storey, Chair, Minister's Advisory Council on Mental Health, Province of British Columbia,
insisted to the Committee that:
…we need to recognize discrimination against people with mental illness
and their family members as just as unacceptable as other forms of
discrimination. We need to devote the same energy to its elimination that
we devote to the elimination of other forms of discrimination.122
In this same vein, Mr. John Service, Executive Director, Canadian Psychological Association,
told the Committee about hearing a speech by “a young congressman from Rhode Island by
the name of Kennedy”123:
He conceptualized the discrimination against people with mental illnesses
in the United States as the same kind of discrimination experienced by
Black people and by women in the 1950s and 1960s. He said it is the
same system, and that we can correct it in the same way. He says you
solve that systemic discrimination by doing what we know works in
discrimination, which includes things like significant financial
investments to turn the system and for affirmative action.124
There are many ways that discrimination affects individuals living with mental disorders.
They are routinely excluded from social life and can even be denied a variety of civil rights
others take for granted. They are often denied basic rights in the areas of housing,
employment, income, insurance, higher education, criminal justice, and parenting, among
others.125 People with mental illnesses also face rejection and discrimination by service
121
122
123
124
125
Second Session, 15:10.
Second Session, 15:6.
Mr. Service is referring to Patrick Kennedy, the youngest of three children of Senator Edward M.
Kennedy, who has represented the First Congressional District of Rhode Island since 1994.
Third Session, 5:38.
B.C. Report, op. cit.
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48
providers in both the mental health and physical health care systems and discrimination by
policy makers and the media.
Professors Bruce Link and Jo Phelan of Columbia University have proposed a useful way of
dividing these different manifestations of discrimination into two broad categories: direct
discrimination and structural discrimination.126 In her testimony, Ms. Stuart offered a similar
distinction, that between overt discrimination and “acts of omission”:
More insidious is that you may neglect to do something just by virtue of
the fact that you think something is not important. You may have a
negative attitude or put something on the back burner. I like to think
there is as much or more damage done by those acts of omission, at every
level of policy or government. We can focus on overt discrimination, and
there are certainly huge issues there, but I would like to see it go farther
than that. I would like to see the acts of omission addressed as well. If we
could get at the stigma and the attitudes that underlie both of those
things, we might be in a better position. I recognize that that is difficult
to do. Sometimes the actions are easier to address.127
3.3.1
Direct Discrimination
Direct discrimination refers to the standard way of conceptualizing the connection between
labelling/stereotyping and discrimination. It points to direct discriminatory behaviour on the
part of the person who holds the stereotyped beliefs. Direct discrimination occurs most
obviously when a person in a powerful role withholds an opportunity.128 Landlords do not
rent an apartment to someone because he or she was in a psychiatric hospital. Employers fail
to offer a job interview because the person with mental illness has not worked recently.
The evidence indicates that this form of discrimination occurs with some regularity in the
lives of people who are stigmatized. For example, in a Canadian survey of people with
mental illnesses, half said the area in their life most affected by discrimination was housing.
Research shows that a person’s status as a psychiatric patient means he or she is less likely to
be leased an apartment.129
There remains a considerable amount of discrimination in the workforce, by both employers
and co-workers, towards people with mental illnesses. Surveys show that employers and
workers still feel justified distrusting and discriminating against people with mental illnesses.
As a result, people with serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia and related disorders,
have the highest rate of unemployment and underemployment of all people with disabilities,
at a rate of around 90%.130
Link and Phelan, op. cit.
Second Session, 15:27.
128 Corrigan and Lundin, op. cit.
129 B.C. Report, op. cit.
130 See Chapter 6, below.
126
127
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A number of surveys have consistently found that anywhere from one-third to one-half of
people with mental illnesses report being turned down for a job for which they were
qualified after their illness was disclosed, or had been dismissed from their jobs, and/or
forced to resign as a result of their mental illness. Surprisingly, the figures are not
dramatically lower for employment of individuals living with mental illness within mental
health agencies or for volunteer positions both inside and outside the mental health field.131
Not only do families of people with mental illnesses have to cope with the financial, practical
and emotional stressors of caring, but they face a kind of ‘discrimination by association.’
They have to deal with strained relationships with other family members or friends, fear,
violence, anxiety, conflict, lowered self-esteem, and guilt. Discrimination against family
members often stems from misconceptions about the family’s role in the causes of mental
illness.132
3.3.1.1 Discrimination Within The Health Care System
The importance of dealing with discrimination against individuals living with mental
disorders within the health care system itself was raised by numerous witnesses. There is
much evidence, Canadian and international, that mental health professionals and health
professionals in general can be among those who show discriminatory attitudes and
behaviour toward their own clients. People with mental illnesses frequently note that their
views are neither listened to, nor respected, and that mental health workers tend to focus on
clinical issues of care to the exclusion of social issues. Studies have identified a lack of
respectful treatment by GPs and emergency room clinicians as the most common complaint
among people with mental illnesses.133
This is a somewhat puzzling phenomenon, as Ms. Stuart remarked:
Why are health care workers so stigmatizing? They are among the most
knowledgeable people on mental illness that we have in our society. They
are invariably identified as the people who are the worst offenders.134
Other witnesses concurred that the problem was widespread. Mr. Storey told the
Committee:
In the discussions we had with people with mental illness, it was
remarkable that they all had stories to tell of mistreatment in emergency
rooms, as well as hospitals generally. Even when they were presenting
complaints of a physical nature, they were treated as mental patients.135
B.C. Report, op. cit.
Ibid.
133 Ibid.
134 Second Session, 15:24.
135 Second Session, 15:6.
131
132
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50
Dr. Jim Millar, Executive Director, Mental Health and Physician Services, Nova Scotia
Department of Health, also pointed to hospital emergency rooms as a place where
discrimination occurs, telling the Committee that:
One only needs to visit the local emergency room to see stigmatization by
health care providers. Mental health clients wait the longest. Their
privacy is violated. Their concerns are not dealt with appropriately.136
This seemingly widespread discrimination within the health care system has many negative
consequences for people in need of help. Ms. Pat Capponi pointed to the lack of trust that
ensues:
We have learned that we cannot depend on those working within the
system to advocate for us. We cannot even expect them to see us as full
individuals behind our obscuring labels.137
3.3.2
Structural Discrimination
However, discrimination against people with mental illnesses and their families is not limited
to overt acts of discriminatory behaviour by one person directed at another. It can also take
the form of what Link and Phelan call structural discrimination.
To see what they mean, suppose that because it is a stigmatized illness, less funding is
dedicated to research on schizophrenia than for other illnesses and less money is allocated to
adequate care and management. As a consequence, people with schizophrenia are less able
to benefit from scientific discoveries than they would have been if the illness they happened
to develop were not stigmatized. To the extent that the stigma of schizophrenia has created
such a situation, a person who develops this disorder will be the recipient of structural
discrimination regardless of whether or not anyone happens to treat him or her in a
discriminatory way.
There are many ways in which this kind of structural discrimination based on stigmatization
can occur. Stigma may influence access to treatment by creating undesirable conditions in
treatment settings that make seeking help far less desirable than it would otherwise be. For
example, there exists a fear of people with psychosis that is out of proportion to the actual
risk that people with psychosis pose. To the extent that this fear increases recourse to the
use of guards, locked wards, searches and the like, stigma produces very negative
circumstances in the treatment environment that could easily make people want to avoid
those settings.
Structural discrimination can also be manifested in the general levels of funding that are
made available for research and treatment of mental illnesses (see Chapter 9, below).
Moreover, within the health care community in general, mental health professionals often
feel treated as second-class citizens by their professional peers, and mental health services,
136
137
Third Session, 7:18.
Third Session, 7:51.
51
Overview of Policies and Programs
programs and research themselves still tend to be given a lower priority than physical health
care issues.
3.4
REDUCING THE IMPACT OF STIGMA AND DISCRIMINATION
There are both individual and community- or socially-based approaches to reducing the
impact of stigma and discrimination. On the one hand, individuals with mental illness can
seek out strategies that allow them to cope with, or contest, the stigmatization and
discrimination they encounter. On the other hand, socially- or community-based strategies
can be developed to attempt to reduce the overall extent and impact of stigmatization and
discrimination. In this section we will concentrate almost exclusively on the latter, but,
before doing that, a few words on individual approaches are in order.
Broadly speaking, the literature identifies three strategies that are available to individuals
living with mental illness:
1. They can attempt to completely conceal their illness from others with whom they
interact;
2. They can practice selective avoidance, limiting their social interaction to people
they know to be non-stigmatizers;
3. They can attempt to educate everyone with whom they come into regular contact
about the nature of their illness.
As noted earlier, maintaining secrecy about one’s mental illness can have many negative
consequences. According to one study that explored the value of all these individual
approaches, it is not just the first strategy listed above that can be counter-productive.
Rather, the study concluded unequivocally that all three were harmful and that “using these
methods made rejection more likely.”138
Given the difficulties associated with these strategies based on individual action it would
seem clear that, if there is to be progress in reducing both stigma and discrimination, some
form of community or socially based intervention will be necessary. This follows from the
fact that both stigma and discrimination are thoroughly social phenomena. They rely on the
propagation of myths about individuals living with mental disorders within the institutions
of society (schools, workplaces, the media, etc.), and take hold in discriminatory practices
that can be enshrined or condoned by law and by tradition.
There is, however, likely no simple or single strategy to eliminate the stigma associated with
mental illness.139 In the first place, stereotypes such as those that sustain the stigmatization of
people with mental illness are complex phenomena. They have components that are
somewhat changeable but they also have some that are fiercely resistant to change.140
138
139
140
The study was conducted in 1991 by Link, Mirotznik and Cullen and reported on by Keith Brunton
in his article “Stigma,” op. cit., p. 894.
Surgeon General, op. cit.
B.C. Report, op. cit.
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52
As noted earlier, the persistence over time of pervasive stigma attached to mental illness,
despite growing knowledge and public awareness of the nature of these disorders, raises an
important question with regard to the efficacy of education alone to reduce the effects of
stigmatization on the lives of people with mental illness. Stigma was expected to abate with
increased knowledge of mental illness, but just the opposite occurred: stigma in some ways
intensified over the past 40 years even though understanding improved.141
Since stigmatizing opinions are not always closely related to the extent of knowledge about
mental illness in general, it follows that campaigns to reduce stigma must be carefully
planned and probably have to do more than simply increase knowledge of the stigmatized
conditions.142 One hypothesis that has been advanced to explain why information alone is
unlikely to eliminate stigmatizing attitudes holds that stigmatizers need a new emotional
experience rather than, or in addition to, a new explanatory model, before they would be
likely to call into question any stereotypes they may have taken on board.143
Thus, the effectiveness of mass advertising campaigns in reducing stigma and discrimination
has been challenged.144 This is how Ms. Stuart put it:
With respect to anti-stigma interventions, how do we stop stigma and
discrimination? We are learning from the World Psychiatric Association
work that one size does not fit all. It is a waste of time and energy to
embark on a large, public education campaign that is designed to
improve literacy as an anti-stigma intervention because segments of the
population have different views. They understand their risks differently
depending on the diagnostic group.145
Results are more promising when media campaigns are backed by ongoing community-based
education and action. The general consensus internationally seems to be that public
education campaigns are most effective when they are locally based and focused on the
anxieties of their target groups.146 In Ms. Stuart’s words:
We are now talking about more focused and targeted interventions. We
have had the best success in all of the things that we have tried by going
into high schools and working with young people because they are more
malleable.147
Reducing stigma will therefore require campaigns that are carefully focussed and targeted to
specific audiences. Two recent articles indicate that such carefully targeted campaigns can
Surgeon General, op. cit.
Arthur H. Crisp, Michael, G. Gelder, Susannah Rix, Howard I. Meltzer and Olwen J. Rowlands,
“Stigmatisation of people with mental illness,” Royal College of Psychiatrists, 2000.
143 Rahman Haghighat, “A unitary theory of stigmatization,” British Journal of Psychiatry, No. 178, 2001.
144 Heather Stuart and Julio Arboleda-Flôrez, “Community Attitudes Toward People With
Schizophrenia,” Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, No. 46, 2001.
145 Second Session, 15:12.
146 Peter Byrne, “Psychiatric Stigma,” British Journal of Psychiatry, No. 178, 2001.
147 Second Session, 15:12.
141
142
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indeed alter attitudes towards people living with mental health disorders. An evaluation of
mental health awareness workshops directed at secondary school students in Britain
concluded that “educational workshops with young people can have a small but positive
impact on students’ views of people with mental health problems.”148 An assessment of
another British effort directed at police officers also indicated that workshop programs had a
positive impact on attitudes, and that “targeting a group in the work-place provides the
opportunity to challenge negative stereotypes while addressing specific work-based training
needs, thus creating a more favourable learning environment for addressing attitudes and
behaviours.”149
One leading anti-stigma researcher, Otto F. Wahl, Professor of Psychology at George Mason
University in Fairfax, Virginia, put it this way: “If we are going to truly eradicate stigma, we
need to have a more concrete, practical and personalized understanding of its effects – that
is, how stigma makes people feel and how it affects treatment and recovery.”150
One possibility would therefore be to explore destigmatizing strategies that provide forums
for the expression of fears that exist amongst the target group, in which people can ask
questions and communicate their worries.151 According to Ms. Stuart:
When we talked about targeting things, we were trying to target
experiences. We figured out we had to get them at an emotional level. We
had to make them aware that their whole system of beliefs was somehow
ill-founded. One of the best ways to do that was to construct situations in
which people who have a mental illness could meet people who have
perhaps never met someone with a mental illness, under controlled and
constructive kinds of situations. They would talk about their mental
illness. They would convey factual information, but more important, they
would convey information at a human level. That is what made the
difference.152
Indeed, it is contact with people with mental illness that appears to yield the best prospects
for improving attitudes about mental illness. There is research that shows that members of
the general public who are more familiar with mental illness are less likely to endorse
prejudicial attitudes.153 In this respect, Ms. Scheffer told the Committee that:
148
149
150
151
152
153
Vanessa Pinfold, Hilary Toulmin, Graham Thornicroft, Peter Huxley, Paul Farmer and Tanya
Graham, “Reducing psychiatric stigma and discrimination: evaluation of educational interventions in
UK secondary schools” in the British Journal of Psychiatry (2003), 182, p. 344.
Vanessa Pinfold, P. Huxley, G. Thornicroft, P. Farmer, H. Toulmin, and T. Graham, “Reducing
psychiatric stigma and discrimination: Evaluating an educational intervention with the police force in
England,” Journal of Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology (2003) 38, p. 343.
Sampson, op cit.
Haghighat, op. cit.
Second Session, 15:24.
Watson and Corrigan, op. cit.
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54
The most promising strategy for impacting negative perceptions is
increasing contact with mentally ill persons. No other strategy has been
shown to be more effective.154
This conclusion was further reinforced by the results of the Houston area survey of public
perceptions of mental illness referred to earlier. Its authors wrote that:
We have been struck continually throughout these analyses by the
dominating importance of personal knowledge in shaping public attitudes
toward mental health issues. When respondents were asked if they knew
of “anyone among your friends or family who has been diagnosed with a
mental illness, including clinical depression,” the 38 percent who
answered in the affirmative were consistently and significantly more likely
than the 62 percent without such personal experience to support both
corporate and tax policies to ensure access to mental health services, to be
unconcerned upon learning of a neighbor being treated for a mental
illness, and to believe that most people undergoing treatment for mental
illness are able to live a normal life.155
However, recent research also suggests that the way in which contact with individuals living
with mental disorders takes place may have a bearing on the extent to which stigmatizing
attitudes are challenged. A study by researchers at the University of Chicago Center for
Psychiatric Rehabilitation156 reached a number of interesting conclusions. In the first place,
the researchers confirmed previous work that showed that contact with individuals living
with mental disorders “yields significant change in attitudes about mental illness.”157 As well,
and contrary to their original expectations the researchers did not find any noticeable
difference in the extent of the impact of the contact when contact was via videotape rather
than in vivo.
However, they did find that stereotypes were not called into question when the contact with
the person living with serious mental illness highlighted the symptoms of that illness rather
than the possibility of recovery. Moreover, they concluded that their research offered a
plausible explanation for why many health care providers remain vulnerable to embracing
stigmatizing attitudes. In their words:
Meeting a person with mental illness whose symptoms and other
problems are highlighted is not likely to challenge one’s stereotype. This
may be one reason why mental health service providers are likely to
endorse the stigma of mental illness so highly. Treatment providers,
especially inpatient clinicians, largely interact with people with mental
154
155
156
157
Second Session, 16:21.
Op. cit., pp. 20-22.
Rebecca R. Reinke, Patrick W. Corrigan, Christoph Leonhard, Robert K. Lundin and Mary Anne
Kubiak, “Examining Media’s Use of Contact on the Stigma of Mental Illness,” unpublished
manuscript (n.d.), submitted to the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease.
bid., p. 10.
55
Overview of Policies and Programs
illness when they are acutely ill, a status which is likely to confirm the
stereotype rather than challenge it. Most of these people are frequently
discharged before recovery is evident so that the treatment provider does
not have an experience that disconfirms the stereotype.158
Ms. Scheffer also suggested that the most effective strategy “in creating understanding and
acceptance is a comprehensive health promotion approach combined with a social marketing
approach” that would “raise awareness, encourage seeking help and promote positive
understanding.”159
Mr. Service indicated that stigma can be reduced as a result of the successful treatment and
care of individuals living with mental disorders. He told the Committee that:
Stigma is reducing significantly in certain populations. It is the
populations who can access and use the service who do not have a
problem because their neighbour, their friend, brother or cousin have
accessed services and had a good experience. That is how you break down
stigma. In our business that is also one of the best referrals. It is not
from another professional, it is from somebody saying, “I went to see Mr.
Service and he did not a bad job so you might want to try him out.”
That is how you get most of your referrals and that is how you break
down stigma.160
The need to involve individuals living with mental disorders in all aspects of efforts to
eliminate stigma and discrimination, was further emphasized by witnesses. Ms. Chambers
recommended to the Committee that:
a national education program…directed and delivered by survivors,
should be launched to challenge the devastating prejudice and
discrimination that exists in our community.161
Ms. Capponi pointed to the broad anti-stigmatizing impact of facilitating the participation of
individuals living with mental disorders in meaningful and productive undertakings:
We began to tackle poverty and powerlessness directly through the
creation of psychiatric-survivor-run businesses. Led by my sister Diana,
who had battled mental illness and heroin addiction, they lobbied and
developed survivor businesses in the Province of Ontario — a radical
departure from traditional vocational rehabilitation. Our community
began to see that there were possibilities out there for us. We began to
have role models and leaders. We were achieving, breaking myths and
assumptions about who and what we were, and we were forming
Ibid., p. 11.
Second Session, 16:21.
160 Third Session, 5:48.
161 Second Session, 15:16-17.
158
159
Overview of Policies and Programs
56
community. Chronic psychiatric patients showed commitment in reporting
to work on time. In acquiring new skills, lasting friendships were created
and people grabbed every opportunity to learn from each other's
experiences. We were successfully attacking the stigma within and
without the mental health system where millions of dollars spent on
elaborate advertising campaigns had failed.162
Several witnesses also pointed to the importance of learning from other communities that
have had to confront issues relating to stigma and discrimination. Ms. Scheffer pointed to
some of these in her testimony:
If we look to other groups who have suffered the effects of social stigma,
like the gay and lesbian community or those with AIDS or cancer, they
have successfully ended or minimized stigma by creating widespread
change in attitudes.163
And Mr. Brian Rush, Research Scientist, Social Prevention and Health Policy, Centre for
Addiction and Mental Health, noted in the same vein:
The mental health field could learn a lot from the developmental
disability field and the kind of investment it might take to support people
in the community, which would still save money in addition to providing
people with dignity, respect and a choice to live in the community and not
in psychiatric institutions.164
Ms. Shoush reminded the Committee that different communities will have their own
distinctive approaches to helping individuals living with mental disorders, and that is
therefore essential to adapt efforts to these varying realities. She told the Committee that:
Aboriginal communities would say that they have a different world view
and that the community is the focus. They believe that the community
unit deserves to be the focus of concern and that information to help the
community be whole and well should be available and shared.165
3.4.1
The Need for a National Strategy
Although it is clear that there will not be a miracle solution to the problems of stigma and
discrimination, and that efforts to reduce their impact will have to be carefully tailored to
many different circumstances, several witnesses also insisted on the importance of having a
national mental health strategy. Mr. Phil Upshall, President, Mood Disorder Society of
Canada, put it this way:
Third Session, 7:48.
Second Session, 16:20.
164 Third Session, 8:28.
165 Second Session, 16:26.
162
163
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Overview of Policies and Programs
The move towards a federal national strategy would be incredibly antistigmatizing. It would be a leadership model that would say to the rest of
Canada, “This is something to which we need to pay attention.” It
would say to the rest of the provincial premiers and their health ministers
that this is something that we will finally take seriously.166
This view was supported by Dr. Blake Woodside, Chairman of the Board, Canadian
Psychiatric Association, who told the Committee:
The first thing is to make mental health a public priority, so a
declaration by the federal government that a national action plan for
mental health was being developed would be a huge step in the right
direction. Out of that would fall a wide variety of public educational
activities that would help combat this discrimination and stigma.167
Witnesses also argued that it was important to modify the Canada Health Act so that it placed
physical and mental illness on an equal footing. This is not the case today since, for example,
the CHA explicitly excludes psychiatric hospitals from its purview. Thus, Dr. Sunil Patel,
President, Canadian Medical Association, pointed out:
Simply put, how are we to overcome stigma and discrimination if we
validate these sentiments in our federal legislation? The CMA firmly
believes the development of a national strategy and action plan on mental
health and mental illness is the single most important step that can be
taken on this issue…168
The CMA proposed a number of measures that would redress this situation, including, as
Dr. Patel outlined:
…amending the Canada Health Act to include psychiatric hospitals;
adjusting the Canada Health transfer to provide for these additional
insured services; re-establishing an adequately resourced federal
organizational unit focused on mental illness and mental health and
addictions;169
For his part, Dr. Paul Garfinkel, Chair, Mental Health Working Group, Ontario Hospital
Association, and President and Chief Executive Officer, Centre for Addiction and Mental
Health, stressed the enormous symbolic value of reforming the CHA:
I think changing the Canada Health Act would be hugely powerful from
a symbolic point of view. It would be saying that we are correcting a
wrong. We did not understand mental illnesses years ago and now we
Third Session, 9:34.
Third Session, 5:26-27.
168 Third Session, 5:11
169 Ibid.
166
167
Overview of Policies and Programs
58
realize that they are like any other form of human pain and suffering.
That would be dramatic.170
Mr. Service also insisted on the significance of not treating mental health, mental illness and
addictions as if they were fundamentally different from other health issues:
If we conceive of mental health, mental illness and addictions as part of
and central to the operations of the entire health system, we then make
an extremely important structural change that brings mental illness into
prime time as opposed to it being ghettoized over here with just the “crazy
people” that nobody has to really deal with or the “worried well” for
whom we have no time to deal with.171
Ms. Chambers stressed to the Committee that in order to assist individuals living with
mental disorders to take full advantage of their rights, it was necessary also to provide
specific resources at the national level. She told the Committee:
I would like to emphasize that hand-in-glove with the idea of educating
people, it is important to have a national mental health legal advocacy
resource that is accountable to consumers. It is not just prejudice in the
general community, but particularly prejudice and discrimination in the
mental health system itself — it is allowed under the law — that needs
addressing. It is critical to have both those pieces involved.172
3.4.2
The Need for Policy Reform
In general, witnesses suggested that policy can be easier to change than attitudes, and that
every effort should be made to do so. This is how Ms. Stuart put it:
We are hoping that a third generation of research may focus on the kinds
of social structure that … really perpetuate social inequity and
discrimination — the structures and organizations, the policies and the
programs that make this happen. It is difficult to change attitudes but
you can change policies much more easily.173
In this vein, Dr. Patel called for a “review of federal health policies and programs to ensure
the mental illness is on par, in terms of benefits, with other chronic diseases and
disabilities.”174 Mr. Storey gave the following illustration of the kinds of change that he feels
are needed:
Third Session, 5:32.
Third Session, 5:37.
172 Second Session, 15:26.
173 Second Session, 15:10.
174 Third Session, 5:11.
170
171
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Overview of Policies and Programs
A number of policy changes are required in addition to protecting the
actual dollars for mental health. Medical billing schedules and
procedures, extended health benefits, pension plans, et cetera, do not
recognize the special features and challenges of mental illness and create
unnecessary obstacles to recovery and health. For example, in British
Columbia, a family doctor can bill for only four counselling sessions per
patient per year; yet, most people with depression go to see their family
doctor. Though antidepressant medication is a helpful adjunct, alone it is
not sufficient to help people deal effectively with that sometimes
debilitating condition. Doctors are not in a position to provide the help
required for a person in a depression.175
Finally, the need to adjust policy to changing social circumstances was stressed by Ms.
Capponi:
There are more mentally ill people on the streets not because of a
preference, but because the gulf between the haves and have-nots is getting
wider and wider. More people are using the food banks and so the share
for the chronic mental patient has been dramatically reduced. A landlord
will rent his house to people who he thinks will be less disruptive than a
former mental health patient. People get squeezed out. Shelters prefer to
house immigrants or battered women because they will not be seen as
potentially disruptive.176
3.4.3
Addressing the Issue of Violence
However, many believe that the most likely reason for the increase in stigma in recent years
is related to the exaggerated attribution of a propensity to commit acts of random violence
to people living with serious mental illness. There is a perception that an increasing number
of violent crimes are committed by individuals with severe psychiatric disorders.177
Witnesses suggested that a starting point for counteracting this exaggerated attribution of
dangerousness to individuals living with mental disorders is to recognize what the best
science tells us. Mr. Arnett summed up the essence of this for the Committee:
…there does appear to be some increased risk of violence from those with
mental illnesses. It is wise to acknowledge that. This occurs particularly
with those with severe mental illness and is magnified significantly when
the individuals are also substance abusers.178
175
176
177
178
Second Session, 15:7.
Third Session, 7:70.
Treatment Advocacy Center, “Briefing Paper on Stigma and Violence,” accessed at:
http://www.psychlaws.org/BriefingPapers/BP9.htm.
Second Session, 16:8.
Overview of Policies and Programs
60
Because incidents of violence do occur, some authors believe that a reduction in stigma
against people with mental illness is unlikely to take place until there has been a reduction in
violent crimes committed by them.179 They argue that it is necessary to avoid the kind of
situation in which the average commuter riding a bus to work will face an anti-stigma poster
proclaiming that “mentally ill persons make good neighbours” while simultaneously reading
a newspaper article detailing the most recent violent act committed by a mentally ill person.
3.4.3
The Media and Efforts to Reduce Stigma and Discrimination
There are no ready-made strategies available for reducing inaccurate and stigmatizing
portrayals of people with mental illnesses in the media, and for encouraging the media
themselves to contribute actively to the destigmatization of mental illness.
One example of an initiative directed specifically at altering the portrayal of people with
mental disorders in the media was a petition which criticized media coverage of mental
illness signed by three thousand psychiatrists in Britain in April 1995. Among their
proposals, they called for “a major debate to take place particularly within the media, within
broadcasting and the press, to question the persistent replication of stigmatizing and false
images of psychiatric illness.” They also encouraged “the making of programmes which give
a fair and accurate account of mental health issues [and asked] that the broadcasting and
print industries produce codes of conduct to guide journalists in this area.”180
In Australia a National Media Strategy was undertaken, where the government worked
directly with the media to promote more positive messages about mental health and suicide
prevention. The Australian media strategy operates in journalism schools and universities,
where journalists are taught how they should approach these issues when reporting them to
the community so as not to stigmatize individuals living with mental disorders.
Research also points to the importance of highlighting stories of successful recovery that, if
they are presented properly, can both educate and entertain audiences. Some examples of
positive media portrayal and discussion of mental health issues include:181
•
•
•
The September 2001 issue of Rosie magazine, which focused on depression.
The 1997 film As Good as It Gets, starring Jack Nicholson. In this film, Nicholson
plays a romantic lead who has obsessive-compulsive disorder. The film accurately
portrays the symptoms of this disorder and, even more encouragingly, shows the
character, with the assistance of therapy and medication, winning the woman of his
dreams and learning to live with and control his illness.
The television series Monk, which debuted in 2002. The main character is a private
detective named Adrian Monk suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder. Played
by Tony Shalhoub, Monk is given a realistic and respectful treatment, according to
the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI).
Ibid.
Philo, op. cit.
181 Roth Edney, op. cit., p. 9.
179
180
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The struggle for more accurate and positive representation of mental illness and of the
mentally ill in the mass media is often thought to be analogous to the struggles of other
minority and disenfranchised groups. In the opinion of Greg Philo of the Glasgow Media
Group, “the media will not change until there is a movement that demands it.”182
3.5
COMMITTEE COMMENTARY
Overall, the evidence suggests that combating stigma and discrimination requires a multipronged effort. Any campaign to change attitudes will have to convey a complex message
and be sustained over a long period of time, while rooting out the many forms of
discrimination will require great determination and perseverance.
The Committee believes that there is a strong case to be made that each of the key
phenomena, stigma and discrimination, must be tackled in appropriate ways. The battle can
and must be waged on both fronts simultaneously. Campaigning and educating people to
challenge stigmatizing attitudes should go hand in hand with resolute opposition to
discrimination in whatever form it is perpetrated against individuals living with mental
disorders. The Committee notes the success of other stigmatized groups in campaigning to
reduce stigma and discrimination, and the real benefits this has yielded.
A number of key elements stand out from the testimony the Committee heard and the
evidence it considered. First, the Committee sees much merit in the argument that the very
fact of having a national mental health strategy (over and above the concrete elements of
that strategy) will contribute to the struggle against stigma and discrimination. A national
mental health strategy would focus public attention on mental health issues in
unprecedented ways. Its adoption would indicate to people that the federal, provincial and
territorial governments attach as much importance to fostering the mental health of
Canadians and treating the mental illnesses that afflict them as they do to promoting the
physical health of the population.
As part of establishing the parity of mental and physical health, and illness, the Committee
took note of the suggestion that the Canada Health Act be opened to remove existing
disparities. During its two-year study of the acute care sector, the Committee was wary of
proposals to re-open the CHA because of the difficult debate that this would engender over
which services should or should not come under the purview of the Act. However, with
regard to this particular issue, the Committee feels that the option of modifying the CHA
should be seriously examined, because of its potentially enormous symbolic value.183
Several elements stand out to the Committee as warranting inclusion in national efforts to
reduce stigma and discrimination. First, it will be necessary to find ways of countering the
attribution of an exaggerated propensity to violence to people living with serious mental
illness. Second, efforts to reduce stigma and discrimination must be carefully targeted to
maximize their effect. Moreover, the involvement of people living with mental disorders in
the conception, design and delivery of these campaigns is essential to their success. It is also
182
183
Ibid.
These issues are discussed in greater detail in Chapter 10, below.
Overview of Policies and Programs
62
important to demonstrate the possibility of recovery and to promote better mental health in
order to encourage changes in attitudes towards people living with mental illness.
Finally, the Committee took note of the persistence of stigmatization and discrimination
within the health care system in general, and even within the mental health care system itself.
There are thus two levels at which it is necessary to work within the overall health care
community. First, it is necessary to diminish the stigmatization of mental health workers
within the broader health care community so that the structural discrimination that afflicts
the mental health sector can be eradicated. Second, it is necessary to work with all health
professionals to promote more positive perceptions of people living with mental illness.
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PART 2
The Prevalence and
Consequences of
Mental Illness and
Addiction
CHAPTER 4:
CONCEPTS AND DEFINITIONS
INTRODUCTION
The terms and concepts related to mental
health, mental illness and addiction are not easy A respectful, common language to
to define. Different countries have adopted discuss mental illness and mental
differing terminology and, within countries, health is lacking between disciplines
professionals and lay groups, organizations and and sectors.
associations often utilize different conventions [Phil Upshall, President, Canadian
in defining and describing key concepts relevant Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental
to mental health, mental illness and addiction. Health, Brief to the Committee, 18 July
Consequently, one concept may be referred to 2003, p. 8.]
by a variety of terms, while some terms will
hold different meanings for different groups. Even within Canada, some terms have multiple
meanings that are applied inconsistently, often creating confusion.
This chapter defines the various concepts used throughout the report related to mental
health, mental illness and addiction. It is divided into nine sections related to: mental health
and mental illness (Section 4.1); major mental disorders (4.2); substance use and addiction
(4.3); co-morbidity, concurrent disorders and dual diagnosis (4.4); suicidal behaviour (4.5);
services and supports (4.6); chronic disease management (4.7); promotion, prevention and
surveillance (4.8) and, individuals with mental illness/addiction and recovery (4.9).
4.1
MENTAL HEALTH AND MENTAL ILLNESS
Mental illness undermines mental health, but mental
health is more than simply the absence of illness. It is a
fundamental resource of all human beings and an essential
component of all health.
[Tom Lips, Health Canada (11:7)]
Mental health is defined as the capacity to feel, think and act in ways that enhance one’s ability
to enjoy life and deal with challenges.184 Expressed differently, mental health refers to
various capacities including the ability to: understand oneself and one’s life; relate to other
people and respond to one’s environment; experience pleasure and enjoyment; handle stress
and withstand discomfort; evaluate challenges and problems; pursue goals and interests; and,
explore choices and make decisions.
(184)
Health Canada, Mental Health Promotion Unit, Mental Health Promotion: Promoting Mental Health Means
Promoting the Best of Ourselves – Frequently Asked Questions.
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hppb/mentalhealth/mhp/e_faq.html).
67
Overview of Policies and Programs
Good mental health is associated with positive self-esteem, happiness, interest in life, work
satisfaction, mastery and sense of coherence. It is well recognized that good mental health
enables individuals to realize their full potential and contribute meaningfully to society.185
By contrast, mental health problems refer to diminished capacities – whether cognitive,
emotional, attentional, interpersonal, motivational or behavioural – that interfere with a
person’s enjoyment of life or adversely affect interactions with society and environment.
Feelings of low self-esteem, frequent frustration or irritability, burn out, feelings of stress,
excessive worrying, are all examples of common mental health problems.186 Over the course
of a lifetime, every individual will be likely, at some time, to experience mental health
problems such as these. Usually, they are normal, short-term reactions that occur in
response to difficult situations (e.g., school pressures, work-related stress, marital conflict,
grief, changes in living arrangements) which people cope with in a variety of ways,
employing internal resilience, family and community support, etc.
Mental health problems that resolve quickly, do not recur and do not result in significant
disability do not meet the criteria required for the diagnosis of a mental illness. Mental
disorders or illnesses generally refer to clinically significant patterns of behavioural or emotional
function that are associated with some level of
distress, suffering (even to the point of pain and A widely used definition of mental
death), or impairment in one or more functional illness or mental disorder is taken from
areas (e.g., school, work, social and family the American Psychiatric Associationʹs
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual,
interactions).187
Fourth Edition. (…) It is a definition
that allows for the possibility of either
biological or psychological causes of
illness. It excludes normal reactions to
stressful situations.
[Tom Lips, Health Canada (11:9)]
There are many different forms of mental
disorders. They vary widely in terms of the
course and pattern of illness, the type and severity
of symptoms produced and the degree of
disability experienced. An individual may have
only one or may have repeated episodes of illness
separated by long periods of wellness. While some mental disorders are episodic or cyclical
in nature, others are more persistent with lengthy or frequently recurring episodes.
Individuals with persistent illnesses usually require long term treatment and support.
4.2
MAJOR MENTAL DISORDERS
In Canada, the classification of mental illnesses follows either the Diagnostic and Statistical
Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) published by the American Psychiatric Association, or
the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), Mental Health Section, published by the
185
186
187
Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health, A Call for Action – Building Consensus for a
National Action Plan on Mental Illness and Mental Health, Discussion Paper, 2000, p. 7.
(http://www.mooddisorderscanada.ca/camimh/index.htm)
Thomas Stephens et al., “Mental Health of the Canadian Population: A Comprehensive Analysis,”
Chronic Diseases in Canada, Vol. 20, No. 3, 1999.
Canadian Psychiatric Association, Youth and Mental Illness, not dated.
Overview of Policies and Programs
68
World Health Organization.188 Each of the two classification systems lists more than 300
mental disorders that can be diagnosed; these are often grouped together on the basis of
similarities in their symptoms or patterns of illness.
The complete list of mental disorder diagnoses is available in the DSM and ICD manuals.
Some of the major groupings of mental disorders include: mood disorders (depression and
bipolar disorders), anxiety disorders (generalized anxiety disorder, phobias, panic disorder,
obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder), psychotic disorders
(schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder), eating disorders (anorexia nervosa and bulimia),
personality disorders, pervasive developmental disorders (autism and Asperger’s disorder),
attention deficit and disruptive behaviour disorders, and cognitive disorders (dementia and
delirium from a variety of causes).189 Substance use disorder is also included within the
classification of mental disorders. In this report, substance use disorders are discussed in a
separate section in order to highlight their importance and relationship to addiction.
Mood disorders include both major depressive
and bipolar disorders.
Major depressive When we talk about mental disorders, it is
disorder (also referred to as unipolar important to mention that the most prevalent
depression) is characterized by one or more of these are anxiety and depressive disorders.
depressive episodes lasting at least two (…) The third major area is substance abuse
weeks. The core symptom is a sustained (…). What that means is that these disorders
depressed mood (different than normal are highly prevalent. In contrast, you will also
feelings of sadness) and/or a marked be hearing about major psychiatric disorders,
decrease in pleasure from or interest in such as schizophrenia, bipolar affective
usual activities. This is accompanied by disorder, and in adolescent children, and
four or more other symptoms characteristic possibly in adults, autistic disorders. These
of depression such as disturbance, fatigue or are clearly major mental disorders.
loss of energy, appetite and weight loss or [Dr. Alain Lesage, Canadian Academy of
gain, decreased ability to concentrate, think, Psychiatric Epidemiology (11:12)]
and make decisions, and recurrent thoughts
of death. Females have higher rates of major depression than males by a ratio of 2:1. Bipolar
disorder, classically known as manic depressive illness, is a mental illness associated with
dramatic mood swings ranging from mania to depression. Mania, a condition recognized
since antiquity, is characterized by at least a week of an altered mood state of euphoria,
labiality or irritability. Like depression, it is associated with a number of other related
symptoms, often as the mirror image of depression, including a marked increase in energy,
decreased need for sleep, elevated self-esteem, and a propensity for risky activities. Bipolar
disorder usually begins in early adulthood; the average age of onset is around 18-24 years,
188
189
The DSM classification system addresses psychiatric disorders only, and no other illness or disease
categories. The DSM that is in common usage at the present time in Canada is a revision of the
fourth edition (DSM-IV-TR) and it is anticipated that the fifth edition (DSM-V) will soon be released.
ICD-10, the tenth edition of the ICD system, which addresses all disease areas and health conditions,
is currently being adopted across Canada, replacing ICD-9, which until recently has been the standard
diagnostic system in Canadian hospitals and health care organizations. Both the DSM and ICD
classification systems are updated regularly by experts in an effort to refine diagnostic accuracy and
incorporate new research evidence.
Canadian Mental Health Association, Mental Illnesses, pamphlet, not dated.
69
Overview of Policies and Programs
although it can sometimes start in childhood or as late as the 40s or 50s. Men and women
are equally affected.190
Anxiety disorders may take many forms. They include: generalized anxiety disorder, specific
phobias, panic disorder (with or without agoraphobia), obsessive-compulsive disorder and
post-traumatic stress disorder. Generalized anxiety disorder is defined by a protracted period
(i.e., over 6 months) of anxiety and worry that is accompanied by other symptoms such as
muscle tension, fatigue, poor concentration, insomnia, and irritability. Phobias reflect marked
fear of certain things (such as animals, insects, heights, elevators, etc.) or situations (social
phobia); exposure to the object of the phobia, either imaginary, on video or in real life,
invariably elicits intense anxiety which may include a panic attack. Panic disorder is diagnosed
when an individual has experienced a number of unexpected panic attacks – periods with
sudden onset of intense fear or discomfort, often associated with palpitations, rapid
breathing, and a sense of impending doom – coupled with worries about further attacks.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder involves either or both obsessions or compulsions which the
individual recognizes as excessive or unreasonable. Obsessions consist of persistent,
intrusive, inappropriate thoughts, ideas, impulses or images that cause marked anxiety or
distress. Compulsions refer to repetitive behaviours (such as hand washing) or mental acts
(such as counting) that sometimes occur in a ritualistic way or in response to an obsession.
Post-traumatic stress disorder involves re-experiencing a traumatic event through dreams and
recollections, avoiding stimuli reminiscent of the event, emotional numbing, and a
heightened level of arousal; it occurs following a traumatic event in which the person
experienced or witnessed threatened or actual physical harm (such as rape, child abuse,
war/battle, or natural disaster). Overall, anxiety disorders affect men and women equally;
they tend to begin early in life (during childhood or adolescence) and often persist for many
years.191
Schizophrenia is a mental illness that typically emerges in late adolescence and early adulthood.
Classically, it has often been a chronic, severe and disabling long term disorder. In the last
decade, systematic efforts at earlier detection and comprehensive biopsychosocial
intervention offer hope for a different trajectory for this often long term illness. Decades of
genetic, brain imaging, and other lines of research support a biological model of
schizophrenia, although its cause remains unknown. It seriously affects a person’s thinking,
causing hallucinations (such as hearing voices when there is no one there), delusions (fixed
false beliefs such as the fear that strangers are following the ill person or wanting to hurt
him/her), a loss of contact with reality and disrupted work and social interactions. The
disease often begins slowly; once it has taken hold, it usually manifests itself in cycles of
remission and relapse. Men and women are affected by schizophrenia with equal
frequency.192
Eating disorders involve serious disturbance in eating behaviours. While some cases of eating
disorders will resolve themselves spontaneously or with treatment during adolescence, others
190
191
192
According to information from the Internet site of the Mood Disorders Society of Canada
(http://www.mooddisorderscanada.ca/).
According to information from the Internet site of the Anxiety Disorders Association of Canada
(http://www.anxietycanada.ca/).
British Columbia Schizophrenia Society, Basic Facts About Schizophrenia, April 2002.
Overview of Policies and Programs
70
may become chronic conditions. Some long term follow-up studies reveal death rates of up
to 18% in affected individuals. The most common eating disorders include anorexia
nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder. Anorexia nervosa is characterized by low
body weight (under 85% of expected weight), intense fear of weight gain even when
markedly underweight, an inaccurate perception of body weight or shape, denial of thinness,
and an intense emphasis on weight as a yardstick of self-evaluation. Bulimia nervosa, by
contrast, most commonly occur in individuals of normal body weight. It is characterized by
recurrent episodes of gorging, followed by compensatory activities to eliminate the ingested
calories (such as self-induced vomiting, abuse of laxatives or diuretics, intensive exercise,
etc). It shares, with anorexia nervosa, however, many of the core psychological
preoccupations with weight and shape. Binge eating disorder is a newly recognized condition
featuring episodic uncontrolled consumption of food, without the compensatory activities of
bulimia nervosa. Eating disorders usually arise in adolescence and affect females
disproportionately.193
Personality disorders include a number of disorders that vary considerably in their
characteristics and patterns or behaviour.194 However, they all share the following
characteristics: an enduring pattern of inner experience and behaviour that deviates from the
expectations of society and behavioural patterns that are pervasive, inflexible and stable over
time, creating distress or impairment.195 Some forms of personality disorder result in
suffering that primarily affects the individual (e.g., avoidant personality disorder,
characterized by feelings of extreme discomfort and intense self-criticism in social
circumstances, leading to marked loneliness and isolation despite intense longings for social
contact). Other forms of personality disorder may not only cause distress to the individual,
but also produce profound harm to others and incur substantial cost to society (e.g.,
antisocial personality disorder, a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights
of others that often includes repeated criminal activity, impulsive violent behaviour,
deceitfulness and lack of remorse.) The onset of personality disorders usually occurs in
adolescence or early adulthood, but they can also first manifest themselves in midadulthood. In contrast to the mental illnesses described previously, personality disorders are
more intimately linked to the affected person’s individual temperament and character.196
Autism is a mental disorder which emerges in childhood and which, for some affected
individuals, may be an incapacitating and life-long disability. Generally, autistic individuals
display the following: impaired ability to engage in social interaction; impaired
communication skills; and specific behavioural patterns (e.g., preoccupation, resistance to
change, adherence to non-functional routines and stereotyped and repetitive behaviours).
Developmental delay or abnormality in interaction, language and play is evident before 3
years of age in affected individuals. Autism may be accompanied by other disabling
conditions, such as seizures or significant cognitive (intellectual) delays.197 The symptoms
and deficits associated with autism, however, may vary. For example, some individuals with
193
194
195
196
197
United States Surgeon General, Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General, 1999, p. 167.
Personality disorders include: borderline, antisocial, histrionic, narcissistic, avoidant, dependent,
schizoid, obsessive-compulsive, and schizotypal personality disorders.
Paula Stewart, A Report on Mental Illnesses in Canada, Health Canada, October 2002, p. 70.
Paula Stewart (2002), pp. 72-73.
Autism Treatment Services of Canada, What is Autism?.
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Overview of Policies and Programs
autism function at a relatively high level, with speech and intelligence intact, while others are
developmentally delayed, do not speak, or have serious language difficulties.198 Autism tends
to be three-to-four times more common in males than females.
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are terms
used to describe patterns of behaviour that appear most often in school-aged children. They
adversely affect the learning process by reducing the child’s ability to pay attention. Children
with these disorders are inattentive, overly compulsive and, in the case of ADHD,
hyperactive. They have difficulty sitting still, attending to one thing for a long period of
time, and may seem overactive. ADD and ADHD are diagnosed 10 times more often in
boys than in girls.199 The attention deficits associated with these disorders may persist
throughout childhood and adolescence into adulthood, whereas the symptoms of
hyperactivity and impulsivity tend to diminish with age. Although many children with ADD
and ADHD ultimately adjust, a higher proportion than in the population of unaffected
individuals are more likely to drop out of school and fare more poorly in their careers later.
As they grow older, some teenagers who have had severe ADHD since middle childhood
experience periods of anxiety or depression. They may also be vulnerable to problems with
substance abuse and antisocial behaviour.200
Alzheimer’s disease is an organic brain disorder that leads to the loss of mental and physical
functions. Together with a number of other illnesses including, for example, Parkinson’s
disease and Huntington’s disease, it is classified as a degenerative disease of the central
nervous system. Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia. Several changes occur
in the brain of the affected individuals, notably a progressive loss of neurons from the
cerebral cortex and other areas. Consequently, a person with Alzheimer’s disease has less
brain tissue than a person who does not have the illness; the shrinkage continues over time,
affecting how the brain functions.201 Memory loss is the most prominent early symptom of
Alzheimer’s disease, often followed by a slow deterioration of cognitive functions and
personality features and physical capacity. Some individuals experience hallucinations,
delusions, seizures and aggressive behaviour. Alzheimer’s disease affects both men and
women equally.202
Although not classified as mental disorders, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Fetal Alcohol Effects
(FAS/FAE) are major birth defects leading to disturbance in brain function. Damage to
fetal brain development is caused by the effects of the mother’s drinking alcohol during
pregnancy. Infants with FAS/FAE display irritability, jitteriness, tremors, weak suck
reflexes, problems with sleeping and eating, failure to thrive, delayed development, poor
motor control and poor habituation. In childhood, problems such as hyperactivity, attention
problems, perceptual difficulties, cognitive deficits, language problems and poor motor
coordination are common. In adolescence and adulthood, the primary difficulties are
memory impairment, problems with judgment and abstract reasoning and poor adaptive
198
199
200
201
202
National Institute of Mental Health, Briefing Notes on the Mental Health of Children and Adolescents, United
States, not dated. (www.nimh.nih.gov).
Canadian Mental Health Association, Children and Attention Deficit Disorders, Pamphlet Series, not
dated.
US Surgeon General Report (1999), p. 144.
Canadian Alzheimer’s Disease Centre, http://www.alzheimercentre.ca/english/default.htm.
Sonya Norris, Alzheimer’s Disease, PRB 02-39E, Library of Parliament, 2 October 2002.
Overview of Policies and Programs
72
functioning. Some common secondary disabilities, characteristic of adolescents and adults
with FAS/FAE, include easy victimization, unfocused and distractable behaviour, difficulty
handling money, problems in learning from experience, trouble understanding consequences
and perceiving social cues, low frustration tolerance, inappropriate sexual behaviours,
substance abuse and trouble with the law.203
4.3
SUBSTANCE USE AND ADDICTION
It is important to distinguish between substance use, abuse
and dependence. Psychoactive substance use is very
common. Abuse is less common and dependence affects only
a minority of people who use psychoactive substances. The
level of severity of consequences is higher for those with
abuse and even higher for those with dependence.
[Dr. David Marsh, Centre for Addiction and Mental
Health (16:44)]
According to Health Canada, substance use includes the use of any of a range of psychoactive
substances – i.e., substances that have an effect on a person’s mental state – including
alcohol, non-prescription and prescription drugs, illicit drugs, solvents and inhalants.
Patterns of use may range from abstinence, to occasional or regular use, to frequent heavy
use, to full-blown substance abuse.204
Substance use disorders, which are considered to be mental disorders under both the DSM and
the ICD, refers to a habitual pattern of alcohol or drug use that results in significant
problems in work, relationships, physical health, financial well-being, and other aspects of a
person’s life. Substance use disorders encompass two sub-categories: substance abuse and
substance dependence.205 Substance abuse refers to a maladaptive pattern of use despite the
affected person’s knowledge of the negative consequences associated with such use.
Substance dependence is characterized by a loss of control, preoccupation with and continued
use of substance(s) despite its negative consequences.206
Dependence can be physical, psychological, or both. Physical dependence consists of tolerance
(needing more of the substance for the same effect). Psychological dependence is present when a
person perceives an intense need to use the substance in order to function effectively or in
particular situations. The degrees of dependence range from mild to severe, the latter being
characterized as addiction.207
203
204
205
206
207
Fred J. Boland et al., Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: Implications for Correctional Service, Correctional Service
Canada, July 1998.
Colleen Hood, Colin Mangham, Don McGuire and Gillian Leigh, Exploring the Links Between
Substance Use and Mental Health, Section I (“A Discussion Paper”) and Section II, (“A Round
Table”) Health Canada, 1996, p. 44. (http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hecs-sesc/cds/publications/index.htm)
Health Canada, Best Practices – Concurrent Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders, 2002, p. 8.
Ibid., pp. 89-90.
BC Partners for Mental Health and Addictions Information, “What is Addiction?”, The Primer –
Fact Sheets on Mental Health and Addiction Issues, (http://mentalhealthaddictions.bc.ca/).
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Overview of Policies and Programs
Addiction implies uncontrollable use of one or more substances, associated with discomfort
or distress when that use is discontinued or severely reduced. Addiction may also describe
certain other behavioural problems, such as compulsive or pathological gambling, which can be
considered a process rather than a substance addiction. Research to date suggests that
pathological gambling may progress in stages similar to those in alcoholism.208
In this report, we often use the term “addiction” to refer to the broad field of substance
abuse. The addiction treatment system encompasses treatment, services and supports for those
suffering from substance abuse and substance use disorders.
4.4
CO-MORBIDITY, CONCURRENT DISORDERS AND DUAL
DIAGNOSIS
Co-morbidity simply denotes that two or more illnesses affect the same individual, whether
two different mental disorders, two physical illnesses or a mental disorder and a physical
illness. In this report, the concept of co-morbidity refers to the occurrence of a mental illness
together with a physical illness. For example, epidemiological data show that 25% of
arthritic patients have co-morbid depression or anxiety; there is a high level of co-morbidity
between cancer, diabetes, respiratory problems, hypertension or migraine and some mental
disorders. The interactions of physical and mental illnesses are, however, very complex.209
The term concurrent disorders most commonly refers to individuals who suffer from a mental
illness and a substance use disorder at the same point in time. The relationships between
mental illness and substance use are not In general terms, the “concurrent disorders”
straightforward. One the one hand, mental population refers to those people who are
health problems/illnesses may act as risk experiencing a combination of mental/
factors for increased substance use (e.g., emotional/psychiatric problems with the
increased anxiety may lead to increased abuse of alcohol and/or another
reliance on alcohol) and, on the other, psychoactive drugs. More technically
substance abuse may act as a risk factor for speaking, and in diagnostic terms, it refers
increasing mental health problems/illnesses to any combination of mental health and
(e.g., problematic alcohol use may be a risk substance use disorders, as defined for
factor for depression). In other situations, a example on either Axis I and/or Axis II of
shared causal explanation may apply in DSM-IV.
which both disorders are promoted by a [Brian Rush, Ph.D., CAMH, Brief to the
third factor such as genetic predisposition Committee ,May 2004, p. 2.]
or family environment. Research indicates,
however, that, in some circumstances,
mental illness and substance use disorder occur independent of each other.210
In this report, dual diagnosis refers to individuals who have a mental health problem or illness
together with developmental disability (formerly referred to as “mental retardation”).
Because there are difficulties in diagnosing mental illness in a person with developmental
disability, dual diagnosis is often unrecognized (undiagnosed) and untreated. Affected
Health Canada (1996), p. 30.
Paula Stewart (2002), p. 22.
210 Health Canada, Best Practices – Concurrent Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders, 2002.
208
209
Overview of Policies and Programs
74
individuals have complex and challenging needs and are certainly among the most vulnerable
members of the Canadian population. They are more likely to experience abuse (more
particularly sexual abuse), neglect and exploitation than other Canadians. They often “fall
through the cracks.”211
4.5
SUICIDAL BEHAVIOUR
The term suicidal behaviour encompasses
completed suicide (death by suicide), attempted
suicide (including intentional self-inflicted
harm) and suicidal ideation (thinking about
suicide).
Suicidal behaviour is often the
consequence of a number of factors that have
interacted, including acute stressors and
negative life events (e.g., bereavement, loss of
employment, separation, illness), symptoms
associated with an acute episode of mental
illness or substance use disorder (e.g., psychosis,
depression,
intoxication),
personality
characteristics, social and/or economic
circumstances.
The presence of mental health
problems is probably the single most
important
predictor
of
suicide.
Accordingly, approximately 90% of
suicide cases meet the criteria for a
psychiatric disorder, particularly major
depression, substance use disorders and
schizophrenia. However, it is only a
minority of people with these
diagnoses that will eventually commit
suicide indicating that a psychiatric
disorder may be a necessary, but
insufficient risk factor for suicide.
[Dr. Gustavo Turecki, Brief to the
Committee, 21 April 2004, p. 1.]
While not itself a mental disorder, suicidal
behaviour is highly correlated to mental illness
and addiction. Studies indicate that more than 90% of suicide victims have a diagnosable
mental illness or substance use disorder.212 Suicide is the most common cause of death of
individuals with schizophrenia. Suicide also accounts for 15% to 25% of all deaths among
individuals with severe mood disorders.213 Addiction often predisposes to suicidal behaviour
by intensifying a depressive mood swing and by reducing self-control.214
4.6
SERVICES AND SUPPORTS
Traditionally, mental health care in the formal health care system has encompassed primary,
secondary and tertiary care. Primary mental health care, i.e., first-line services, traditionally
included simple diagnostic procedures, basic treatment, and referral to more specialized
services as needed. A great deal of attention has been directed to enhance the capacity of
primary mental health care given that it is now recognized that a large proportion of the
population should receive services for mental health problems in this sector of the health
care system. Secondary care is more specialized care that provides more extensive and
211
212
213
214
Canadian Mental Health Association – Ontario Division, Dual Diagnosis: People with Developmental
Disability and Mental Illness – Falling Through the Cracks, Fact Sheet, 1998.
BC Partners for Mental Health and Addictions Information, “Suicide: Follow the Warning Signs”,
The Primer – Fact Sheets on Mental Health and Addictions Issues.
According to data from the Canadian Mental Health Association – Ontario Division
(http://www.ontario.cmha.ca/).
The Merck Manual on Diagnosis and Therapy, “Suicidal Behaviour”, Section 15, Chapter 190.
75
Overview of Policies and Programs
complicated procedures and treatment; it may be provided within hospitals, clinics or officebased practices, on an inpatient or outpatient basis. Tertiary care is generally defined as
specialized interventions delivered by highly trained professionals to individuals with
problems that are particularly complex and difficult to treat in primary or secondary settings.
In the mental health system, tertiary care also refers to the long term care that has historically
been provided in large psychiatric hospitals to individuals with persistent mental disorders.
Research and teaching activities are also undertaken within tertiary care institutions.
In this report, it is recognized that many and diverse services and supports are required by
those who experience mental illnesses and substance use disorders and, as such, they are
provided by numerous professional and non-professional service providers and
organizations. These services and supports extend beyond those provided in the traditional
mental health care system. A Canadian review of best practices suggests the need for the
following core mental health and addiction services and supports215:
215
216
•
Case management refers to the constant ongoing support provided to individuals with
mental illnesses/substance use disorders to help them obtain the services they need.
The case manager assesses needs, identifies skill deficits and refers the individual to
providers of the appropriate services. Case management is intended to help
patients/clients to develop skills for daily living, enhance their community tenure and
prevent hospitalization. Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) is acknowledged to be
the most appropriate model of case management to provide services to those with
severe and persistent mental illnesses and concurrent disorders. In the ACT model,
case management is provided by a multidisciplinary team in the community where
the individual lives rather than in an office-based practice or an institution. The team
involves psychiatrists, family physicians, social workers, nurses, occupational
therapists, vocational specialists, etc., and is available to the patient/client 24 hour a
day, 7 days a week.
•
A wide range of inpatient and outpatient services are needed, including: counselling;
psychotherapy; individual and group therapy; partial hospitalization (day treatment
programs); acute home treatment (as an alternative to acute hospitalization); specialty
services in both the community and psychiatric units/facilities; forensic psychiatry;
and shared care. Shared mental health care216 is of particular interest. This refers to a
broad spectrum of collaborative activities between primary health care providers and
psychiatrists or other mental health care providers; some have a strong clinical focus,
integrating mental health services into primary health care settings, while others offer
creative educational programs to primary health care providers through collaboration
among academic departments.
•
Community supports, including housing, vocational services, supported education and supported
employment are important components of the spectrum of services required by
individuals with mental disorders. It has been demonstrated that the availability of
such community supports can substantially improve outcomes. It is recognized that
Health Canada, Review of Best Practices in Mental Health Reform, prepared for the
Federal/Provincial/Territorial Advisory Network on Mental Health, 1997.
The College of Family Physicians of Canada and the Canadian Psychiatric Association, Shared Mental
Health Care in Canada – A Compendium of Current Projects, Spring 2002.
Overview of Policies and Programs
76
individuals with mental illness have the capacity to work and that employment
programs should be encouraged for even the most disabled of individuals. Similarly,
supported education programs enable individuals to return to school on a full-time
basis. Evidence also suggests that community residential programs can successfully
substitute for long-term inpatient care. Thus, a range of different housing
alternatives (e.g. supervised group homes or other residential settings) should be
provided.
•
Mental health crisis/emergency response provides a broad range of services to address the
widely varying manifestations of acute mental health/substance use. There are five
essential components to the crisis response/emergency service: telephone crisis lines,
mobile crisis outreach, walk-in crisis stabilization services, crisis residential (nonhospital) services, and hospital-based psychiatric emergency services.
•
Most importantly, there should be a strong focus on initiatives by individuals with mental
illness and addiction and their families: The involvement of individuals who themselves
have had mental illness/addiction problems in the planning, delivery, management,
evaluation and reform of mental health services and supports has led to the
development of a wide range of consumer/family initiatives that provide
information, education, training, self-help, mutual aid and peer support. More
importantly, significant strides have been made in this domain with the recent
development of consumer based businesses as a means to promote self fulfillment
and a reduce dependence on social services.
In this report, the mental health system refers to the broad range of services and supports
available to individuals with mental illness. Similarly, the addiction system describes the entire
range of services aimed at preventing or reducing/treating substance abuse, substance use
disorders and problematic gambling.
4.7
CHRONIC DISEASE MANAGEMENT AND SELF-MANAGEMENT
Chronic disease management is a relatively new approach that has been shown to be very
effective in the long term treatment of diseases. The approach is based on the "Chronic
Care Model" used by a United States
national program called Improving Chronic Chronic disease management as an
Illness Care (ICIC) based in Seattle, approach to mental health and addictions
Washington, at the MacColl Institute for care emphasizes assisting individuals to
Healthcare Innovation at the Group Health maintain independence and to maintain
optimal health through prevention, early
Cooperative of Puget Sound.217
detection, and management of chronic
mental disorders and substance use
disorders.
[Ministry of Health Services, British
Columbia, Brief to the Committee, 9
September 2003, p. 7.]
Chronic disease management rests on evidencebased clinical guidelines and protocols and
involves many health care professionals and
administrators througout all sectors of the
health care system that share a common
vision and collaborating on several
217
For more information, please go the ICIC Website (http://www.improvingchroniccare.org./).
77
Overview of Policies and Programs
initiatives in parallel. This approach contrasts with the model of treating a care episode as a
single event – a visit to a health care provider. In Canada and the United States, chronic
disease management has been applied with great success to many chronic diseases, such as
diabetes, arthritis and even asthma; it is now being contemplated for application to mental
illness and addiction. Chronic disease management emphasizes community based care and
aims to foster independence and fulfillment.218
An important element of chronic disease management is the active participation of affected
individuals themselves in the management of their illnesses on a day-to-day basis. This
participation of patients/clients is usually referred to as self-management. The concept of
self-management does not mean that individuals deal with their illnesses or disorders on their
own. It is a process that enables the individual to develop the knowledge, attitudes and skills
necessary to manage his/her illness or disorder and to make improved use of existing health
services and supports in order to access help when it is needed.219
4.8
PROMOTION, PREVENTION AND SURVEILLANCE
The goal of mental health promotion is to provide information to the public to raise and
enhance awareness and understanding of
mental health issues, reduce stigma and Mental health literacy refers to knowledge
promote positive mental health. Mental and beliefs about mental disorders, which
health promotion also includes education assist in the recognition, management or
and training of human resources in the prevention of mental health and substance
use problems, and mental and substance
formal mental health/addiction system.
use disorders. Mental health literacy
includes the ability to recognize specific
disorders; knowing how to seek mental
health information; knowledge of risk
factors and causes, of self-treatments, and
of professional help available; and attitudes
that promote recognition and appropriate
help-seeking.
[Ministry of Health Services, British
Columbia, Brief to the Committee, 9
September 2003, p. 9.]
The concept of mental health literacy is
often used in the context of mental health
promotion. Mental health literacy refers to the
knowledge, beliefs and abilities that support
the recognition, management or prevention
of mental illnesses or substance use
disorders. A high public level of mental
health literacy makes early recognition of
and appropriate intervention in mental
illnesses and substance use disorders more
likely. It is also effective in reducing
stigma.220
Prevention is categorized as primary prevention when directed at averting a potential mental
health/substance use problem; secondary prevention is directed at early detection and includes
the appropriate intervention to prevent or delay onset or mitigate a mental health problem;
218
219
220
Mental Health and Addictions, Ministry of Health Services, Government of British Columbia, Brief to
the Committee, 9 September 2003, p. 7.
BC Partners for Mental Health and Addictions Information, “Mental Health and Addictions
Information Plan for Mental Health Literacy”, The Primer - Fact Sheets on Mental Health and Addictions
Issues, British Columbia.
Ibid.
Overview of Policies and Programs
78
tertiary prevention is directed at minimizing disability or avoiding relapse in a successfully
treated, stable patient/client.
Surveillance usually refers to the ongoing systematic collection, analysis and interpretation of
health-related data used to determine the occurrence of diseases, assess relevant needs and
evaluate effectiveness of policies and programs. Currently, Canada has no national
surveillance system for tracking mental illnesses and substance use disorders.221
4.9
INDIVIDUALS WITH MENTAL ILLNESS/ADDICTION AND
RECOVERY
As described at the outset of this chapter, no commonly accepted language and terminology
exist to describe all concepts and issues in the field of mental illness and addiction. There is
little agreement in regard to the most respectful and appropriate terms to identify those
individuals who themselves have experienced a mental illness or substance use disorder.
Some individuals have very strong feelings about the language used in view of the societal
stigmatization and pejorative labelling that is far too commonly encountered by individuals
with mental illness and addiction.
Traditionally, individuals with mental illness and addiction being cared for by physicians are
called patients. Other health professionals often refer to such individuals as clients or service
users.
The individuals may describe
themselves by a number of terms, Recovery is a journey, rather than a
commonly consumers and survivors. destination. It is an active, ongoing, highly
Consumers usually refer to individuals with individualized process through which a
direct experience of significant mental person is encouraged to assume
health problems or mental illnesses who responsibility for his or her life, often in
have used the resources available from the collaboration with friends, families, peers
mental health system. Some individuals and professionals.
have chosen to refer themselves as
survivors, a term that they feel Each person’s recovery is unique. No two
acknowledges their strength in coping with people will have the same path or use the
mental illness and/or addiction. In this same measures to mark the success of their
report, the Committee uses the terms recovery. The real test for recovery is when
individuals with mental illness and addiction or people feel that they have recovered and are
living a quality of life that is not dominated
patient/client.
by their past situation or their current
Individuals with mental illness and addiction symptoms and stresses.
often talk about recovery. Recovery is not the
same thing as being cured. For many [Final Report of the Provincial Forum of
individuals, it is a way of living a satisfying, Mental Health Implementation Task Force
hopeful, and productive life even with Chairs, Ontario, December 2002, p. 28.]
limitations caused by the illness; for others,
recovery means the reduction or complete remission of symptoms related to mental illness.
221
Paula Stewart, The Development of a Canadian Mental Illnesses and Mental Health Surveillance System: A
Discussion Paper, prepared for the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health, 1999
(unpublished).
79
Overview of Policies and Programs
In the field of mental health, recovery is a personal process of overcoming the negative
impact of mental illness despite its continued presence. In the field of addiction, recovery
describes an abstinence-based approach to substance use disorders, such as those practiced
by Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. The recovery concept presupposes
that, with the appropriate treatment and supports in place, individuals with mental illness
and addiction can take charge of their lives, create new goals and aspirations, and engage in
society as productive citizens.222
222
Provincial Forum of Mental Health Implementation Task Force Chairs, The Time is Now: Themes and
Recommendations for Mental Health Reform in Ontario, December 2002, p. 21.
Overview of Policies and Programs
80
CHAPTER 5:
PREVALENCE AND COSTS
Mental disorders are not the exclusive preserve of any
social group; they are truly universal. Mental and
behavioural disorders are found in people of all regions, all
countries and all societies.
[WHO (2001), p. 23.]
INTRODUCTION
Mental illness and addiction are common,
affecting about 1 in 5 Canadians during their
lifetines. They affect individuals of all ages,
women and men, in all cultures and income
groups. They are prevalent in all regions, both
rural and urban. They have a huge economic
impact, not only on the individual and his/her
family, but also on the health care system, the
broader social system, the workplace and
society as a whole.
If mental illness were an infectious disease,
it would constitute an epidemic in Canada.
The number of people affected is
overwhelming (…).
[Phil Upshall, President, Canadian Alliance
on Mental Illness and Mental Health, Brief
to the Committee, 18 July 2003, p. 4.]
To plan adequately and organize the delivery of needed services and supports and to develop
sound public policy on mental health, it is essential to properly assess the prevalence and
economic burden of mental illness and addiction. In this chapter, existing information on
the prevalence and the economic cost of mental illness, addiction, pathological gambling and
suicide in Canada is reviewed. Where data are available, some international comparisons are
also presented.
Section 5.1 provides information on the prevalence of mental illnesses, substance use
disorders and pathological gambling. Section 5.2 reviews the prevalence of suicidal
behaviour. Section 5.3 examines the prevalence of mental illness and addiction in specific
population groups, including Aboriginals, homeless people and inmates. Section 5.4
provides data on the economic burden of mental illness and addiction in Canada. Finally,
the Committee makes some commentary and concluding remarks in Section 5.5.
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Overview of Policies and Programs
5.1
PREVALENCE OF MENTAL ILLNESSES, SUBSTANCE USE
DISORDERS AND PATHOLOGICAL GAMBLING
Canada does not collect, in a systematic manner, national
data on the mental health status of Canadians, nor the
extent of any particular mental illness.
[Phil Upshall, President, Canadian Alliance on Mental
Illness and Mental Health, Brief to the Committee, 18
July 2003, p. 6.]
Data on prevalence provide estimates of the proportion of individuals in a population who
suffer from an illness or a disorder. Prevalence rates differ depending on whether they refer
to individuals who have a disease at a certain point in time (point prevalence), during a
period of time (period prevalence – usually a year), or throughout their lifetime (lifetime
prevalence).
Currently, there is no national database
capable of providing precise information on
the prevalence of all mental disorders for all
age groups in Canada. Often, the best
estimates are derived from epidemiological
studies reported in the literature. However,
the 2002 Canadian Community Health
Survey (CCHS), Cycle 1.2 on Mental Health
and Well-Being, carried out by Statistics
Canada, provided for the first time
prevalence rates for some mental illnesses,
substance use disorders and pathological
gambling. These are described below.
5.1.1
The Statistics Canada mental health survey
that was published in the fall was an
excellent start. That was the first population
based survey of mental illnesses ever done
in this country. Can you imagine if 2003
were the year of the first survey of heart
disease or cancer in this country? That
would be appalling. We need a better
surveillance system.
[Dr. Blake Woodside, Chairman of the
Board, Canadian Psychiatric Association
(5:19)]
Canadians Aged 15 Years and Over
According to the CCHS (see Table 5.1), 1 out of every 10 Canadians aged 15 and over –
Mental
illnesses
addictions
no
about 2.6 million individuals – reported symptoms
consistent
withand
mental
illnessesknow
and/or
They can
anysame
age and
substance use disorders during the past year. Theboundaries.
overall prevalence
wasstrike
aboutatthe
for
any
population.
women as for men: some 1.4 million of womenin(or
11%
of total) experienced symptoms
Psychological
Brief
consistent with mental illnesses and/or substance[Canadian
use disorders,
comparedAssociation,
with 1.2 million
to the Committee, 2003, p. 5.]
(or 10%) of men.
There were, however, gender differences by type of disorder. Mood disorders and anxiety
disorders were more common among women (6%) than men (4%), while substance use
disorders were more common in men (4%) than women (2%).
Overview of Policies and Programs
82
TABLE 5.1
ONE-YEAR PREVALENCE OF MENTAL DISORDERS AMONG CANADIANS
AGED 15 YEARS AND OLDER, 2002
Total
Males
Females
Number
Rate
Number
Rate
Number
Rate
(000’s)
(%)
(000’s)
(%)
(000’s)
(%)
Unipolar Depression
1,120
4.5
420
3.4
700
5.5
Bipolar Depression
190
0.8
90
0.7
100
0.8
Any Mood
1,210
4.9
460
3.8
750
5.9
Panic Disorder
Agoraphobia
Social Phobia
Any Anxiety
400
180
750
1,180
1.6
0.7
3.0
4.7
130
40
310
440
1.1
0.4
2.6
3.6
270
140
430
740
2.1
1.1
3.4
5.8
Alcohol Dependence
Illicit Drug Dependence
Any Substance Use
Total – Any Disorder
640
170
740
2,600
2.6
0.7
3.0
10.4
470
120
540
1,190
3.8
1.0
4.4
9.7
170
50
200
1,410
1.3
0.4
1.6
11.1
Statistics Canada, “Canadian Community Health Survey: Mental Health and Well-Being”, The Daily, 3
September 2003.
The CCHS found that adolescents and young adults aged between 15 and 24 were more
likely to report suffering from mental illnesses and/or substance use disorders than other age
groups. In this age group, 18% reported having experienced mental illness and/or substance
abuse, compared to 12% of those aged 25-44, 8% of those aged 45-64, and 3% of seniors 65
and over.
The CCHS survey was limited in the range of
mental disorders observed in the Canadian
population. This contrasts with the National
Survey of Mental Health and Well-Being
undertaken in Australia in 1997. The Australian
survey covered a wider range of anxiety and
affective mood disorders. It also distinguished
between the harmful use of, and dependence
on, alcohol and drugs.
The Australian
government also plans a survey of low
prevalence psychotic disorders, such as
schizophrenia.223
223
(…) we need to see co-occurring
addiction
and
mental
health
problems as the norm, not the
exception. To detect the presence of
one problem should lead us to the
assumption that the other is present
unless it is determined otherwise.
[Wayne Skinner, CAMH, Brief to the
Committee, May 2004, p. 2]
The Australian’s National Survey of Mental Health and Well-Being covered the following anxiety
disorders – panic disorder, agoraphobia, social phobia, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessivecompulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder – and the following affective disorders –
depression, dysthymia, mania, hypomania, bipolar disorder. In addition, it surveyed alcohol use
83
Overview of Policies and Programs
It is unfortunate that the CCHS survey did not correlate or cross-tabulate data in order to
evaluate the prevalence rates of concurrent disorders (mental illness co-occurring with
substance use disorder) among Canadians aged 15 and over. The insufficiency of the
information on the prevalence of concurrent disorders creates obstacles to better
understanding them and to the effective planning and development of appropriate services
and supports for those affected. The design of the National Survey of Mental Health and
Well-Being of Adults in Australia permitted an assessment of both concurrent disorders and
co-morbidity (defined as the presence of both mental disorders and physical conditions).
In contrast to the Australian survey, the CCHS survey did Where there is gambling,
provide information on problem or pathological there will be people with a
gambling.224 Some 1.2 million Canadians (or 5% of the problem.
adult population) in 2002 were estimated to have the [Katherine Marshall and
potential to become problem gamblers or were so already Harold Wynne, “Fighting the
(see Chart 5.1). 700,000 Canadians were at low risk (2.8%), Odds”, p. 5.]
some 370,000 individuals were at moderate risk (1.5%) and
120,000 were already problem gamblers (0.5%). Men (8%) who gambled were significantly
more likely than women (5%) to be at-risk or problem gamblers. At-risk and problem
gamblers were also, on average, younger than non-problem gamblers (40 versus 45) and less
well educated (8% versus 5%).
CHART 5.1
GAMBLING BEHAVIOUR IN CANADA, 2002
Low-Risk
2.8%
Moderate-Risk
1.5%
Problem Gamblers
0.5%
Percentage of Adult Population
Non-Problem
71.0%
Non-Gamblers
24.4%
Katherine Marshall and Harold Wynne, “Fighting the Odds”, Perspectives on Labour and Income , Statistics Canada,
Catalogue No. 75-001-XIE, Vol. 4, No. 12, December 2003.
224
disorders and drug use disorders in terms of both harmful use and dependence. For more information,
visit the website of the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
(http://www.abs.gov.au/Ausstats/[email protected]/0/3F8A5DFCBECAD9C0CA2568A900139380?Open).
Data on gambling are analyzed in details by Katherine Marshall and Harold Wynne in “Fighting the
Odds”, Perspectives on Labour and Income, Statistics Canada, Catalogue No. 75-001-XIE, Vol. 4, No. 12,
December 2003, pp. 5-13 (http://www.statcan.ca/).
Overview of Policies and Programs
84
Interestingly, the survey suggested a link between pathological gambling, mental illness and
substance abuse. More precisely, 42% of problem gamblers reported a high or extreme level
of stress in their lives; 24% of them reported having had a major clinical depression; and
15% reported being dependent on alcohol. The survey also found that 18% of problem
gamblers had contemplated suicide in the past year.
Lifetime prevalence rates for mental illnesses and substance use disorders in Canada are
based on various epidemiological studies. Data compiled by Paula Stewart and her
colleagues (October 2002), showed that nearly one in five Canadian adults (21% of the
population or 4.5 million individuals) will personally experience a mental illness in their
lifetime.225 Chart 5.2 illustrates the lifetime prevalence of mental illness among Canadian
adults as derived from epidemiological studies.
C HART 5.2
MENTAL ILLNES S ES IN C ANADA: LIFETIME PREVALENC E AMO NG ADULTS
Organic Brain Disorders (1%)
Anxiety Disorders (12%)
Schizophrenia (1%)
Mood Disorders (9%)
P ersonality Disorders (6%)
No Symptoms (79%)
Nota: P ercentages may not add up to 100% as individuals may have symptoms in more than one category. Based on dat a
provided by P aula Stewart et. al., A Report on Mental Illnesses in Canada , October 2002.
As illustrated above, anxiety disorders and mood disorders are the most common mental
illnesses among Canadian adults; they affect 12% and 9% of adults respectively.
Schizophrenia affects about 1% of the Canadian population. Dementia associated with
Alzheimer’s disease and organic brain disorders which are the result of physical disease or
injury to the brain (e.g., AIDS dementia complex and vascular dementia), also affect some
1% of Canadian adults. Between 6% and 9% of adults in Canada suffer from personality
disorders.
225
Paula Stewart et al., A Report on Mental Illnesses in Canada, published by Health Canada, October 2002.
85
Overview of Policies and Programs
Similar rates of prevalence are found worldwide. With respect to point prevalence, the
World Health Organization (WHO) reported in 2001 that mental illness and addiction at any
point in time affect about 10% of the adult population – or some 450 million individuals
worldwide.226 In terms of lifetime prevalence, the WHO reported that, throughout their
lifetime, more than 25% of individuals develop one or more mental illnesses.227 The WHO
also estimated that, throughout the world, one in four families has at least one member
currently suffering from a mental illness or addiction.228
With respect to one-year prevalence rates, the WHO World Mental Health Survey
Consortium found that mental disorders are highly prevalent in both developed and less
developed countries, although there is substantial cross-national variation; the prevalence is
low in Asian countries in particular. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental
illnesses, with mood disorders next. Broken down by the degree of severity, a substantial
proportion of disorders were classified as mild; smaller proportions of the samples were
considered serious or moderate disorders, although they were often associated with
significant impairment in carrying out usual activities.229
5.1.2
Children and Adolescents (0 to 19 Years of Age)
Based on various epidemiological studies, Charlotte Waddell and Cody Shepherd (October
2002) estimated overall and disorder-specific prevalence rates of some mental disorders in
children and adolescents in British Columbia. Table 5.2 extrapolates from these rates to
estimate the number of children and adolescents in Canada who may be affected by mental
disorders.
The overall prevalence of mental illness in Canadian children and adolescents, at any given
point in time, is about 15%. This translates into approximately 1.2 million of children and
adolescents who experience mental illness and/or addiction of sufficient severity to cause
significant distress and impaired functioning. The most common are anxiety (6.5%),
conduct (3.3%), attention deficit (3.3%), depressive (2.1%) and substance use (0.8%)
disorders.
World Health Organization, Mental Health : New Understanding, New Hope, 2001, p. 23.
Ibid.
228 WHO (2001), p. 24.
229 The WHO World Mental Health Survey Consortium, “Prevalence, Severity, and Unmet Need for
Treatment of Mental Disorders in the World Health Organization World Mental Health Surveys”,
Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 291, No. 21, 2 June 2004, pp. 2581-2590.
226
227
Overview of Policies and Programs
86
TABLE 5.2
PREVALENCE OF MENTAL DISORDERS IN CHILDREN AND
ADOLESCENTS(a)
MENTAL
PREVALENCE
APPROXIMATE
DISORDER
RATE (%)
NUMBER
Anxiety Disorder
6.5
513,780
Conduct Disorder
3.3
260,842
ADHD
3.3
260,842
Depressive Disorder
2.1
165,990
Substance Abuse
0.8
63,234
Pervasive Developmental Disorder
0.3
23,713
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
0.2
15,809
Schizophrenia
0.1
7,904
Tourette’s Disorder
0.1
7,904
Eating Disorder
0.1
7,904
Bipolar Disorder
less than 0.1
less than 7,904
ANY DISORDER
15
1,185,645
(a) Based on a population estimate by Statistics Canada of 7,904,300 children and
adolescents (aged 0 to 19 years) in July 2002.
Source: Adapted from Charlotte Waddell and Cody Shepherd, Prevalence of Mental Disorders in Children and
Youth, Mental Health Evaluation and Community Consultation Unit, Department of Psychiatry, University of
British Columbia, October 2002.
An important fact that is not captured in the table is the presence of two or more mental
disorders occurring together. For example, an Ontario Child Health Survey reported that
amongst children and adolescents who experienced a mental disorder, over two-thirds (68%)
of them had two or more mental disorders. Similarly, a recent study of adolescents with
substance use disorders found that over three quarters (76%) had concurrent anxiety, mood
or behaviour disorders.230
Dr. Joseph H. Beitchman, Psychiatrist-in-Chief, Hospital for Sick Children (Toronto),
stressed in his brief that most adult mental disorders begin or originate in childhood or
adolescence; they are serious, lifelong illnesses.231 This underscores the need for early
detection and intervention. It also highlights that the best opportunities for prevention and
reduction in the emergence of new cases are in childhood and adolescence. As pointed out
by Charlotte Waddell et. al. (2002): “Good-quality epidemiological information is essential
for developing sound public policies to improve children’s mental health.”232 It is interesting
to note that the National Mental Health Strategy adopted by the Commonwealth, State and
Territory governments of Australia called for a child and adolescent survey to be undertaken
230
231
232
Data quoted in Charlotte Waddell et. al., Child and Youth Mental Health: Population Health and Clinical
Services Considerations, Mental Health Evaluation and Community Consultation Unit, Department of
Psychiatry, University of British Columbia, April 2002, p. 15.
Dr. Joseph H. Beitchman, Psychiatrist-in-Chief, Hospital of Sick Children (Toronto), Brief to the
Committee, 30 April 2003, p. 7.
Charlotte Waddell et. al., “Child Psychiatric Epidemiology and Canadian Public Policy-Making: The
State of the Science and the Art of the Possible”, Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 47, No. 9,
November 2002, pp. 825-832.
87
Overview of Policies and Programs
as well as their National Survey of Mental Health and Well-Being of Adults. Such a study
has never been done in Canada.
5.1.3
Seniors (65 Years and Over)
The CCHS survey, as reported above, found that, during the past year, some 3% of
Canadians aged 65 and over (or some 107,283 seniors) reported symptoms associated with
the five mental disorders and the two substance dependencies surveyed. The one-year
prevalence rate was 1.8% for unipolar disorder, 0.2% for panic disorder, 0.9% for social
phobia and 0.4% for agoraphobia. Mental illnesses and substance use disorders were more
prevalent among women (3.2%) than men (2.5%). The survey also found that about 2% of
Canadian seniors reported having had suicidal thoughts in the past twelve months.
Other information was presented to the Committee on the prevalence of mental disorders
among Canadian seniors:
•
The incidence of depression in seniors in long term care settings is three to four
times higher than in the general population. The prevalence of mental disorders
among nursing home residents is extraordinarily high, between 80% and 90%. The
prevalence of psychosis ranges from 12% to 21% depending on how psychotic
symptoms are measured.233
•
Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias currently affect more than 360,000
Canadians, including 1 in 13 over the age of 65 and 1 in 3 over 85 years of age.
Women are more affected by the disease than men.234
•
Estimates suggest that 25% to 50% of seniors who abuse or misuse alcohol also
suffer from mental disorders.235
•
The incidence of suicide among men 80 years old and over is the highest of all age
groups (31 per 100,000 population).236
5.1.4
Canadian Forces237
The more than 83,000 CF members (Regular Force and
Reserve) are doubly concerned by [mental disorders] as they
are exposed not only to the problems of a “normal” life,
but also to those of a high-risk career.
[National Defence, Statistics Canada CF Mental Health
Survey: A “Milestone”, 2003.]
233
234
235
236
237
Dr. David Conn, Co-Chair, Canadian Coalition for Seniors Mental Health, Brief to the Committee, 4
June 2003, p. 4 and p. 6.
Alzheimer Society of Canada, Brief to the Committee, 4 June 2003, p. 3.
Margaret Gibson, Department of Psychology, University of Western Ontario, Brief to the
Committee, 4 June 2003, p. 2.
Dr. David Conn (4 June 2003), p. 5.
National Defence, Statistics Canada CF Mental Health Survey: A “Milestone”, 2003.
Overview of Policies and Programs
88
The CCHS included a separate mental health survey of the Canadian Forces (CF). It found
a one year prevalence rate of 7.6% and a lifetime rate of 16.2% for unipolar depression
within the CF regular force; the comparable prevalence rates for reservists were respectively
4.1% and 9.7%. In the regular forces, the prevalence rate of social phobia is 3.6% (one year)
and 8.7% (lifetime), and 2.3% and 7.1% for the reservists. The one year and lifetime
prevalence of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is 2.8% and 7.2% for members of the regular
forces and 1.2% and 4.7% for reservists. The one year and lifetime prevalence of general
anxiety disorder is 1.8% and 4.6% for members of the regular forces and 1.0% and 2.9% for
reservists. The comparable prevalence of panic disorder is 2.2% and 5.0% in the regular
forces, and 1.4% and 3.3% in reservists. The one year prevalence rate for alcoholism is 4.2%
and the lifetime prevalence rate is 8.5% for the regular forces; the rates are respectively 6.2%
and 8.8% for reservists.
5.1.5
FAE/FAS and Dual Diagnosis
The prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
and Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAS/FAE) in
Canada has not been properly evaluated.
Based on worldwide prevalence rates, Health
Canada estimated that there were some
341,901 individuals with FAS/FAE in Canada
in 2001. The prevalence rates of FAS/FEA
in some communities, particularly among
Aboriginal Canadians, are higher than the
national average.238
At least one baby a day in Canada is born
with fetal alcohol syndrome, FAS, a
disability that will have repercussions for
the child, his or her family and the
community for the individualʹs entire life.
FAS is the leading cause of preventable
birth defects and developmental delays in
Canada. It is more common than Downʹs
Syndrome.
[Pam Massad, Health Canada (13:5)]
As described in Chapter 4, dual diagnosis refers to individuals who have a mental health
problem or illness together with developmental disability (formerly referred to as “mental
retardation”). Because of the difficulty of diagnosing mental illness in individuals with
developmental disability, dual diagnosis is often unrecognized and untreated. Data indicate
that between 1% and 3% of Canadians have moderate or severe developmental disability.
Conservatively estimated, 30% of these individuals also have mental illness; some researchers
estimate the prevalence as high as 50% to 60%.239
5.2
PREVALENCE OF SUICIDAL BEHAVIOUR
One in twenty-five Canadians will attempt suicide during
their lifetime. [Mental Health Evaluation and
Community Consultation Unit, Department of
Psychiatry, University of British Columbia, At-a-Glance
Suicide Facts]
238
239
Health Canada, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, Brief to the Committee, 30 April 2003.
Canadian Mental Health Association – Ontario Division, Dual Diagnosis: People with
Developmental Disability and Mental Illness – Falling Through the Cracks, Fact Sheet, 1998.
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Overview of Policies and Programs
As discussed in Chapter 4, the concept of
suicidal behaviour is broad, encompassing
completed suicide (death by suicide), attempted
suicide (including intentional self-inflicted
harm) and suicidal ideation (thinking about
suicide). This section presents recent data on
the extent of suicidal behaviour in Canada and
provides some international comparisons.
5.2.1
Suicide is a “stoppable” problem. It is an
action, not an illness. (…) Moreover,
attempted suicides, where the individual’s
actions have been non-fatal – are like the
submerged unseen base of an iceberg.
[Diane Yackel, Centre for Suicide Prevention,
Brief to the Committee.]
Completed Suicides
Chart 5.3 shows that suicide rates in Canada rose sharply from 1950 to the early 1980s, with
a peak in 1983, after which the rates remained more or less stable, with a slight decrease
between 1995 and 1998 (latest year for which data are available).
Per 100,000 population
25
CHART 5.3:
SUICIDE RATES BY GENDER, CANADA, 1950-1998
Males
20
15
Total
10
Females
5
0
1950
1955
1960
1965
1970
1975
1980
1985
1990
1995
1998
Source: Economics Division, Parliamentary Research Branch, Library of Parliament, March 2004. Data
from the World Health Organization (2003).
In 1998, 3,699 Canadians took their own lives, an average of 10 suicides per day. Their
Looking at the epidemiology of suicide we realize
distribution by age group is shown in Table 5.3. Overall, these completed suicides
that suicide is an important problem from the public
represented 2% of all deaths in Canada in 1998.
TABLE 5.3
NUMBER OF SUICIDES
AND SUICIDE RATES BY
AGE GROUP AND SEX,
AGE
health perspective. It ranks among the 10 top causes
of death for individuals of all ages.
[Dr. Gustavo Turecki, Director, McGill Group for
Suicide Studies, McGill University (:)]
CANADA, 1998
NUMBER OF SUICIDES
SUICIDE RATES (PER 100,000)
Overview of Policies and Programs
90
GROUP
TOTAL
MALES
FEMALES
TOTAL
MALES
FEMALES
5-14
15-24
25-34
35-44
45-54
55-64
65-74
75+
46
562
701
895
672
366
260
197
30
457
568
713
513
296
201
147
16
105
133
182
159
70
59
50
1.2
13.5
13.7
19.0
19.2
15.5
14.9
16.5
1.5
21.6
22.1
30.3
29.0
25.9
26.7
31.6
0.8
5.1
5.2
7.7
9.2
5.8
6.0
6.9
TOTAL
3,699
2925
774
12.2
19.5
5.1
* Per 100,000 population.
Source: World Health Organization, Suicide Prevention – Country Reports and Charts, Geneva, 2003.
In every age group, males had a higher suicide rate than did females (see Chart 5.4);
approximately four men committed suicide for every woman who did so.
According to Langlois and Morrison (2002),
suicide was the leading cause of death for
men in the age groups between 25 to 29 and
40 to 44, and for women between the ages
of 30 to 34. For the three age groups from
10 to 14, 15 to 19 and 20 to 24, it was the
second leading cause of death for both
sexes, surpassed only by motor vehicle
accidents.240
I am sure you will agree that taking oneʹs own
life at 14 or 15, while thousands or even
millions of people fight against death every
day, remains a paradox. Suicide among young
Canadians is a serious problem that should be
made a priority.
[Dr. Johanne Renaud,Centre hospitalier SainteJustine (13 :13-14)]
CHART 5.4
SUICIDE RATES BY AGE GROUP AND SEX, CANADA, 1998
Per 100,000
35
Males
30
Females
25
20
15
10
5
0
5 to 14
15 to 24
25 to 34
35 to 44
45 to 54
55 to 64
65 to 74
75 and over
Stéphanie
Langlois
Peter Morrison,
“Suicide
and Suicide
Attempts”,
Health
Source:
Economics
Division, and
Parliamentary
Information and
Research Deaths
Services, Library
of Parliament,
March 2004.
Data Reports,
Statistics
Catalogue(2003).
82-003, Vol. 13, No. 2, January 2002.
from
the WorldCanada,
Health Organization
240
91
Overview of Policies and Programs
Langlois and Morrison (2002) also demonstrated large provincial differences in suicide rates.
In 1998, Québec had the highest age-standardized suicide rate (21.3 suicide deaths per
100,000 population)241, significantly above the national average of 14.0 suicide deaths per
100,000. New Brunswick and Alberta also exceeded the national average (16.6 and 16.2
suicide deaths per 100,000 respectively). Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, Ontario and
British Columbia reported rates significantly below the national average (see Chart 5.5).
According to WHO data, Canada’s suicide rate for the entire population ranks 9th among 12
industrialized countries (see Chart 5.6). Age-standardized suicide rates range from a low of
7.5 per 100,000 population in the United Kingdom to a high of 22.5 in Finland. The suicide
rate in Canada (12.2 per 100,000 population) is higher than that in the United States (10.7
per 100,000). It is important to note that international comparisons must be interpreted
with caution as the methods for certifying the cause of death vary from one country to
another.
CHART 5.5
AGE-STANDARDIZED SUICIDE RATES IN CANADA BY PROVINCE, 1998
Rate Per 100,000
Population
25
20
15
10
5
Source: Stéphanie Langlois and Peter Morrison, "Suicide Deaths and Suicide Attempts", Health Reports ,
Vol. 13, No. 2, January 2002.
241
With the exception of the territories.
Overview of Policies and Programs
92
British
Columbia
Alberta
Saskatchewan
Manitoba
Ontario
Québec
New
Brunswick
Nova Scotia
Prince Edward
Island
Newfoundland
Canada
0
CHART 5.6:
AGE-STANDARDIZED SUICIDE RATES, SELECTED COUNTRIES, 1998 TO 2000
Finland (2000)
New Zealand (1998)
France (1999)
Denmark (1998)
Sweden (1999)
Germany (1999)
Australia (1999)
Norway (1999)
Canada (1998)
United States (1999)
Per 100,000
population
Netherlands (1999)
United Kingdom (1999)
0
5
10
15
20
25
Source: Economics Division, Parliamentary Research Branch, Library of Parliament, March 2004. Data from the World Health Organization (2003).
Estimates from the WHO indicate that suicide is the leading cause of violent deaths
worldwide, greater than homicide or war-related deaths (see Chart 5.7).
CHART 5.7:
ESTIMATED VIOLENCE-RELATED DEATHS WORLDWIDE, 2000
Homicide - 31.3%
War-Related Deaths - 18.6%
Suicide - 49.1%
Source: World Health Organization, World Report on Violence and Health , Geneva, Table 1.2, October 2002, p. 10.
93
Overview of Policies and Programs
5.2.2
Attempted Suicides
While we know that the number of attempted suicides exceeds that of completed suicides, it
is difficult to determine their number exactly. The World Health Organization estimates that
there are as many as 20 attempts for every suicide death. In Canada, hospitalization rates are
used as a measure of attempted suicides.
In 1998-1999, a total of 23,225 hospitalizations of Canadians aged 10 or older were related
to attempted suicide and intentional self-inflicted injuries. Female hospitalization rates for
attempted suicide were consistently higher than for males, except for the group 75 years and
over (see Table 5.4). The hospitalization rate for attempted suicide among females peaked at
age 15 to 19. Male hospitalization rates for attempted suicide were highest at ages 20 to 29
and 30 to 44. Hospitalization for attempted suicide was less common at older ages.
Overview of Policies and Programs
94
TABLE 5.4
HOSPITALIZATIONS FOR ATTEMPTED SUICIDE BY AGE GROUP AND
SEX, CANADA, 1998-1999
(Rate Per 100,000 Age-Specific Population)
AGE GROUP
TOTAL
MALES
FEMALES
10 to 14
15 to 19
20 to 29
30 to 44
45 to 59
60 to 74
75 and over
40.8
152.2
117.9
118.3
68.3
25.0
21.0
15.5
87.3
98.0
97.6
55.1
24.7
27.6
67.5
220.8
138.4
139.3
81.3
25.2
17.2
Source: Stéphanie Langlois and Peter Morrison, “Suicide Deaths and Suicide Attempts”, Health Reports,
Statistics Canada, Catalogue 82-003, Vol. 13, No. 2, January 2002.
5.2.3
Suicidal Ideation
According to the CCHS, about 3.7% of Canadians aged 15 years and over had suicidal
thoughts during the previous year (see Table 5.5). Women were slightly more likely than
men to contemplate suicide (3.8% versus 3.6%). Suicidal ideation occurred three times more
often among Canadians aged between 15 and 24 than those aged 65 or older (6.0% versus
1.7%).
TABLE 5.5
PERCENTAGE OF CANADIANS WHO HAD SUICIDAL THOUGHTS IN THE
PAST 12 MONTHS, 2002
AGE GROUP
SUICIDAL THOUGHTS (%)
Total, 15 Years and Over
3.7
Men
3.6
Women
3.8
15-24 Years
6.0
Men
4.7
Women
7.3
25-64 Years
3.6
Men
3.7
Women
3.4
65 Years and Over
1.7
Men
1.3
Women
n.a.
n.a.: Not available due to extreme sampling variability.
Source: Economics Division, Parliamentary Information and Research Services, Library of Parliament, March
2004. Based on data from the Canadian Community Health Survey, Cycle 1.2, Mental Health and WellBeing, 2002.
95
Overview of Policies and Programs
5.3
SPECIFIC POPULATION GROUPS: ABORIGINAL PEOPLES,
HOMELESS PEOPLE AND INMATES
Although mental disorders affect individuals of all genders, ages and cultures, and in all
occupations, educational and income levels, it appears that the prevalence in some
population groups is higher than in others. This section provides information on the
prevalence of mental illness among Aboriginal peoples, homeless people and inmates.
5.3.1
Aboriginal Peoples
There is a significant amount of missing information in
respect of the range of mental health problems [among
Aboriginal Canadians]. There have been no studies to
date that have really used up-to-date psychiatric
epidemiological methods to estimate the range of psychiatric
disorders in Aboriginal communities. Instead, we have
health surveys that ask some general questions about
people's understanding of their problems, their experience
and their sense of what the dominant problems are. [Dr.
Laurence J. Kirmayer, Department of Psychiatry, McGill
University, Proceedings (9:41)]
Although data on the prevalence of psychiatric disorders among Aboriginal peoples are quite
limited, there is a consensus in the general literature that Aboriginal communities suffer
significantly higher rates of mental illness, addiction and suicidal behaviour than the general
population. What follows is a summary of key case studies and relevant findings.
242
•
The Aboriginal Healing Foundation reported in 2003 on the mental health profiles
of residential school survivors in British Columbia. Mental illness was indicated in all
but two of the 127 case files examined. The most common mental disorders were
post-traumatic stress disorder (64.2%), substance use disorder (26.3%) and major
depression (21.1%). Half of those with post-traumatic stress disorder also had
concurring mental disorders including substance use disorder (34.8%), major
depression (30.4%); and, dysthymic disorder, a chronic form of depression
(26.1%).242
•
A 2002 report by Statistics Canada, which examined the health of the off-reserve
Aboriginal population, found that Aboriginal peoples who live off-reserve were 1.5
times more likely than the non-Aboriginal population to have experienced a major
depressive episode in the previous year. About 13% of the off-reserve Aboriginal
population had experienced a major depressive episode in the year before the survey,
compared with 7% for the non-Aboriginal population, suggesting that Aboriginal
Aboriginal Healing Foundation, Mental Health Profiles for a Sample of British Columbia’s Aboriginal Survivors
of the Canadian Residential School System, Research Series, Ottawa, 2003.
Overview of Policies and Programs
96
peoples living in urban areas may experience feelings of alienation, isolation,
marginalization and cultural dislocation.243
•
The Flower of the Two Soils Project (1993) examined the relation among academic
performance, psychosocial variables and mental health in Aboriginal children aged 11
to 18 years at several sites in the United States and Canada. The Canadian locations
included parts of Manitoba and British Columbia. Among Aboriginal respondents,
the most frequent diagnoses were disruptive behaviour disorders (22%), substance
use disorders (18.4%), anxiety disorders (17.4%), affective disorders, including
depression (9.3%), and post-traumatic stress disorder (5.0%). Almost half of the
children with behaviour and affective disorders also reported concurrent substance
use disorders.
•
The 1996 Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples found that the
suicide rate of Aboriginal Canadians was roughly three times that of the general
population. Amongst Aboriginal adolescents, suicide occurred roughly five to six
times more frequently than for their non-Aboriginal counterparts. The Commission
reported that suicide was the leading cause of death among males aged 10 years to 49
years.244
•
A study by Chandler and Lalonde (1998), in which they surveyed 196 Aboriginal
communities in British Columbia over a five-year period, found wide variation across
communities in the prevalence of suicidal behaviour. Communities with some
measure of self-government had the lowest rates of suicide. They also found that
land claims and education were the second and third most important factors in
predicting low suicide rates in Aboriginal communities.245
Experts in the field suggest that, while many of the causes of mental illness, addiction and
suicidal behaviour in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities may be similar, there are
added cultural factors in Aboriginal communities that affect individual decision-making and
suicidal ideation. These cultural factors include past government policies, creation of the
reserve system, the change from an active to a sedentary lifestyle, the impact of residential
schools, racism, marginalization and the projection of an inferior self-image.246
5.3.2
Homeless Peoples
Measuring the prevalence of homelessness and the personal characteristics and state of the
health of homeless persons presents significant challenges. The “Pathways to Homelessness
Project” in the City of Toronto attempted, over an 18-month period, to estimate the
prevalence of mental illness and addiction among people who are homeless. Key findings
about lifetime prevalence rates included:
243
244
245
246
Statistics Canada, “Health of the Off-Reserve Aboriginal Population”, The Daily, 27 August 2002.
Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, Choosing Life: A Special Report on Suicide Among
Aboriginal Peoples, 1995.
J.J. Chandler and C. Lalonde, “Cultural Continuity as an Hedge Against Suicide in Canada’s Fisrt
Nations”, Transcultural Psychiatry, Vol. 35, No. 2, 1998, pp. 191-219.
Laurence J. Kirmayer, Gregory M. Brass and Caroline L. Tait, “The Mental Health of Aboriginal Peoples:
Transformations of Identity and Community”, Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 45, September 2000, pp.
607-616.
97
Overview of Policies and Programs
•
Approximately 66% of homeless persons had a lifetime diagnosis of mental illness.
This was 2-3 times the rate in the general population.
•
About 66% of homeless persons had a lifetime diagnosis of substance abuse (of
alcohol, marijuana and cocaine in particular), 4-5 times the rate in the general
population.
•
Some 86% of homeless persons had either a lifetime diagnosis of mental illness or
substance abuse, 2-3 times the rate in the general population. In other words, only
14% of homeless persons exhibited no symptoms of either mental illness or
substance abuse.
•
Some 75% of homeless persons in every diagnostic category of mental illness also
had substance abuse disorders.
•
The lifetime prevalence rate of severe mental illness (psychotic disorders, including
schizophrenia) was 5.7%, and that of mood disorder was 38%.
•
Some 22% of homeless persons
claimed that either mental illness
(4%) or substance abuse (18%) was
the reason for their becoming
homeless.
•
In the year immediately prior to
becoming homeless, 6% of
homeless persons had been in a
psychiatric institution, 20% had
received services for substance abuse, 25% had received psychiatric outpatient
services, and 30% had spent time in police stations or jails.247
(…) contrary to popular misconceptions,
only a small proportion of the homeless
population suffers from schizophrenia, (…)
affective [mood] disorders are much more
common.
[Bill Cameron, Director General, National
Secretariat of Homelessness, Brief to the
Committee, 29 April 2004, p. 2.]
A causal relationship between homelessness and mental illness/addiction remains difficult to
establish because mental disorders can lead to homelessness, but they can also be caused by
homelessness given the traumatic impact of being destitute and living on the streets.
5.3.3
Inmates
Research studies are confirming that those with serious
mental health problems are being “trans-institutionalized”:
Canadian prisons have replaced former psychiatric
hospitals or wards.
[Canadian Mental Health Association, Brief to the
Committee, June 2003, p. 21.]
The prison population is another group in which mental illnesses and substance use
disorders are more prevalent than in the general population. A study by Boe and Vuong
247
Mental Health Policy Research Group, Mental Illness and Pathways into Homelessness: Proceedings and
Recommendations, Toronto, 1998. Similar findings are reported by Stephen W. Hwang, “Homelessness
and Health”, in Canadian Medical Association Journal, Vol. 164, No. 2, pp. 229-233, 23 January 2001.
Overview of Policies and Programs
98
(2002) showed that, between 1997 and 2001, the percentage of new offenders with a
diagnosis of mental illness on admission into federal custody rose from 6% to 8.5%, an
increase of 40%. During the same period, the number of new offenders being prescribed
medication to treat mental illness on admission increased by 80%, from approximately 10%
to 18%.248
Data from Moloughney (2004) suggested that a
high proportion of inmates have substance Literature on offenders with mental
abuse problems on admission, with drug abuse disorders has shown that they are…
being more commonly identified than alcohol • more vulnerable to arrest because of
their behaviour
abuse (see Table 5.6). His study showed that on
•
more likely entangled in a cyclical
average, some 3% of inmates were identified
pattern
of recurrent and brief
with a mental disorder at intake, with higher
encounters with both the mental health
proportions in female (from 2.5% to 8.6%) than
and criminal justice system
in male (from 1.4% to 3.3%) inmates. An
average of 7% of male and female inmates were • found in both provincial and federal
correctional systems as well as under
identified on psychological assessment as in
the care of provincial health systems in
need of immediate attention. Some 31% of
specialized forensic facilities
female inmates and 15% of male inmates
[Correctional
Service Canada, Brief to the
reported emotional or mental health problems
Committee,
April
2004, p. 3.]
at intake, and overall, 14% of inmates were
under recent psychiatric or psychological
treatment prior to incarceration. Substantial proportions of inmates (21% female and 14%
male) had attempted suicide in the preceding 5 years.
There are no data from recent national studies that provide prevalence rates for specific
mental disorders among federal inmates. The latest data are from 1988 for federal male
inmates and 1989 for federal female inmates (see Table 5.7). Female inmates had
substantially higher prevalence of all mental disorders than male inmates, with the exception
of antisocial personality disorders.
248
Roger Boe and Ben Vuong, “Mental Health Trends Among Federal Inmates”, FORUM on Corrections
Research, Vol. 14, no. 2, May 2002.
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TABLE 5.6
PROPORTION OF INMATES IDENTIFIED AT INTAKE WITH MENTAL
HEALTH PROBLEMS, 2002
MALE
FEMALE
Min. Med. Max. Min. Med. Max.
Alcohol Abuse
34.3
45.8
42.1
29.3
49.4
69..6
Drug Abuse
36.4
51.2
51.4
40.1
67.5
78.3
Appears mentally disordered
1.4
2.9
3.3
2.5
4.4
8.6
Emotional/mental health
requiring immediate attention
4.4
7.3
7.6
6.8
15.4
17.1
Reporting emotional/mental
health problems
11.4
15.7
13.6
17.08
40.4
37.1
Recent mental health
intervention/hospitalization
10.6
14.5
15.3
12.2
24.7
19.6
Shows signs of depression
9.0
9.7
9.4
8.8
16.2
2.2
Previous suicide attempt(s)
9.5
14.5
16.4
10.9
23.4
41.3
May be suicidal
3.4
5.2
5.5
2.7
5.8
6.5
Nota: Min., Med. And Max. refer to minimum, medium and maximum security.
Source: Brent Moloughney, “A Health Care Needs Assessment of Federal Inmates in Canada”, Canadian
Journal of Public Health, Vol. 95, Supplement 1, March-April 2004, p. S37.
TABLE 5.7
LIFETIME PREVALENCE (%) OF MENTAL DISORDERS
AMONG FEDERAL INMATES, CANADA
DISORDER
MALE (1988)
FEMALE (1989)
Major Depression
13.6
32.9
General Anxiety Disorder
31.9
19.7
Psychosocial Dysfunction
19.6
34.2
Antisocial Personality Disorder
57.2
36.8
Alcohol Use/Dependence
47.4
63.2
Drug Use/Dependance
41.6
50.0
Source: Correctional Service Canada, Brief to the Committee, April 2004, p. 9.
No studies have been done to determine if the prevalence rates of mental illnesses and
substance use disorders among federal inmates have changed over time. Officials from
Correctional Service Canada are of the view, however, that, based on recent trends, the
percentage of the federal inmate population with mental health problems and disorders is
growing, even though overall prison admissions and the institutional population counts are
in decline.249
249
Correctional Service Canada, Brief to the Committee, April 2004, p. 13.
Overview of Policies and Programs
100
5.4
ECONOMIC BURDEN OF MENTAL ILLNESS, ADDICTION AND
SUICIDE
5.4.1
The Cost of Mental Illness
According to Stephens and Joubert (2001), the economic burden of mental illnesses
(substance use disorders were not included in their study) in Canada was estimated to be
$14.4 billion in 1998; direct health care costs amounted to $6.3 billion, and indirect costs
related to lost productivity and premature death totalled $8.1 billion.250 The relative
magnitude of the major cost components is given in Table 5.8. Hospital care represented by
far the largest direct cost, at $3.9 billion (26.9%) of the total burden of mental illness.
TABLE 5.8
ECONOMIC BURDEN OF MENTAL ILLNESSES IN CANADA, 1998
In Millions of
Percentage
Cost Component
Dollars
of total
Direct Costs (Health Care) (1):
6,257
43.5
642
4.5
ƒ Medications
854
5.9
ƒ Physicians
3,874
26.9
ƒ Hospitals
887
6.2
ƒ Other Health Care Institutions
Indirect Costs (Lost Productivity):
8,132
56.5
6,024
40.6
ƒ Short Term Disability(2)
1,708
11.9
ƒ Long Term Disability
400
2.7
ƒ Premature Death
Total
14,389
100.0
(1) This category also includes $278 million in professional costs for social workers and
psychologists incurred as a result of depression or distress.
(2) Attributable to depression and distress only.
Source: Thomas Stephens and Natacha Joubert, “The Economic Burden of Mental Health Problems”, Chronic
Diseases in Canada, Vol. 22, No. 1, 2001.
The principal indirect cost component was the value of short term disability, estimated at
$6.0 billion, or some 40.6% of the total economic burden. The authors stressed that their
data under-estimated the true situation due to the limitation of their dataset (only depression
and distress were included were covered in their survey).
In 1998, mental illnesses accounted for 4.9% of the overall cost (direct and indirect) of
disease in Canada. As such, they ranked seventh among all diseases, behind cardiovascular
diseases (11.6%), musculo-skeletal diseases (10.3%), cancer (8.9%), injuries (8.0%),
respiratory diseases (5.4%) and diseases of the nervous system (5.2%).251 Mental illnesses
were second only to cardiovascular disease in terms of direct health care costs alone.252 In
250
251
252
Thomas Stephens and Natacha Joubert, “The Economic Burden of Mental Health Problems”, Chronic
Diseases in Canada, Vol. 22, No. 1, 2001.
Health Canada, Economic Burden of Illness in Canada, 1998, Government of Canada, 2002.
Ibid.
101
Overview of Policies and Programs
terms of indirect costs, mental illnesses ranked fourth as the main cause of long term
disability, behind musculo-skeletal diseases, diseases of the nervous system and
cardiovascular diseases. 253
A joint study by the World Health Organization, the World Bank and Harvard University –
The Global Burden of Disease Study – estimated that mental illness, including suicide, accounts
for 10.5% of the total burden of disease worldwide. Their projections show that this
proportion could increase to almost 15% in 2020.254 This study developed a single measure
to allow comparison of the burden of disease across many different disease conditions. This
measure, called the Disability Adjusted Life Year (DALY), reflects the number of years of
healthy life lost due to premature death or disability. The study revealed that in established
market economies, unipolar major depression ranks only second to ischemic heart disease in
terms of DALYs. In comparison, cardiovascular disease and alcohol abuse rank 3rd and 4th
respectively in terms of leading sources of DALYs. Schizophrenia, bipolar disorder,
obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder also
contribute significantly to the total burden of illness as measured in terms of DALYs.255
It its 2001 report, the WHO stressed that the economic burden of mental illness is wideranging, long lasting and huge – but remains largely underestimated. In particular, in
addition to meeting the expenses of treatment, the burden for families in which one member
suffers from a mental illness ranges from economic difficulties to emotional reactions to the
illness, from the stress of coping with disturbed behaviour, to the disruption of household
routine and the restriction of social activities.256
5.4.2
The Cost of Substance Abuse
The total cost (direct and indirect) of alcohol abuse was estimated at $7.5 billion in Canada
in 1992, while the cost of illicit drug abuse amounted to some $1.2 billion (see Table 5.9).
The largest economic costs of alcohol abuse were $4.1 billion for lost productivity due to
illness and premature death, $1.4 billion for law enforcement and $1.3 billion in direct health
care costs. Similarly, the greatest cost associated with illicit drug abuse was lost productivity
due to illness and premature death ($823 million), followed by law enforcement ($400
million) and direct health care costs ($88 million).
253
254
255
256
Ibid.
The information on The Global Burden of Disease is well summarized by the National Institute of
Mental Health, The Impact of Mental Illness on Society, January 2001. This fact sheet is available at
www.nimh.nih.gov.
Ibid.
WHO (2001), pp. 24-25.
Overview of Policies and Programs
102
TABLE 5.9
THE COST OF ALCOHOL AND ILLICIT DRUG ABUSE IN CANADA, 1992
ALCOHOL
ILLICIT DRUGS
TOTAL
Millions of Dollars
Direct Costs:
3,385.6
547.9
3,933.5
Health Care
1,300.6
88.0
1,388.6
Workplace (e.g.: EAP)
14.2
5.5
19.7
Social Programs
52.3
1.5
53.8
Prevention and Research
141.4
41.9
183.3
Law Enforcement
1,359.1
400.3
1,759.4
Other Costs
518.0
10.7
528.7
Indirect Costs (Productivity
4,136.5
823.1
4,959.6
Losses Due To)::
Morbidity
1,397.7
275.7
1,673.4
Mortality
2,738.8
547.4
3,286,2
TOTAL
7,522.1
1,371.0
8,893.1
Source: Eric Shingle, Linda Robson, Xiaodi Xie, Jurgen Rehm et. al., The Costs of Substance Abuse in Canada,
Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, 1996 (http://www.ccsa.ca/).
5.4.3
The Cost of Suicide
To date, no national figures on the economic cost of suicide deaths are available, although a
1996 study in New Brunswick estimated the average cost per suicide death (direct and
indirect) to be $850,000.257
5.5
COMMITTEE COMMENTARY
Canada currently lacks a national information base to enable us to identify accurately the
prevalence of either mental illness or addiction, to measure the mental health status of
Canadians and to assist in the evaluation of policies, programs and services in the fields of
mental health, mental illness and addiction. This is a major impediment to determining the
need for and the level of provision of appropriate and adequate treatments and services.
The recent release of Statistics Canada’s Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) has
helped to alleviate this situation by providing, for the first time, a set of data on some mental
illnesses, substance use disorders and gambling. However, the Committee feels that this
survey should be repeated soon and that its base should be expanded to cover a wider range
of disorders. We also believe that a national study, like the one being planned in Australia,
should be undertaken to assess the prevalence rates of mental disorders among children and
adolescents.
The economic burden of mental illness, addiction and suicidal behaviour is enormous. It is
clear that governments must take the necessary steps to contain or reduce such a heavy
burden. The Committee concurs with the Canadian Psychological Association that mental
257
Dale Clayton and Alberto Barceló, “The Cost of Suicide Mortality in New Brunswick, 1996”, Chronic
Diseases in Canada, Vol. 20, No. 2, 1999, pp. 89-93.
103
Overview of Policies and Programs
health is as essential to a healthy society as physical health. We believe that now is the time
to develop mental illness and addiction policies and programs that reflect their burden, social
and financial, to Canadian society.
The indirect costs attributable to mental
illness and addiction – the cost of
absenteeism and lost productivity – are
substantial and exert great pressures in the
workplace. In contrast to other illnesses,
the indirect costs of mental disorders appear
to be higher than the associated direct
health care costs. In the next chapter, we
examine the prevalence and consequences
of mental illness and addiction in the
workplace.
Overview of Policies and Programs
Mental health is at the core of a healthy
society. The prevention and treatment of
mental illness and addiction require the
same attention and resources as any other
disease based on prevalence, burden and
outcomes research.
[Canadian Psychological
Brief, 2003, p. 12]
104
Association,
CHAPTER 6:
MENTAL ILLNESS, ADDICTION AND WORK
The effects of mental health are not just mental. (…)
What is good for individual mental health is good for firm
performance.
[Professor E. Kevin Kelloway, Saint Mary’s University,
Halifax]258
INTRODUCTION
The relationship between mental illness/addiction and work can be characterized as bidirectional. On the one hand, mental illness and addiction are a major cause of absenteism
from work, under-performance, employee turnover and reduced productivity. On the other
hand, the workplace can be a major cause of stress affecting mental health and work
performance. Some forms of workplace stress may even trigger the onset of mental illnesses
and/or substance use disorders.
Whatever the direction of causality between
mental illness and work, there is strong The employers have a vested interest to
consensus among those who testified before support a strong mental health system as a
the Committee that the workplace is a result of absenteeism, or loss of
critical environment for the promotion of productivity, and financial losses.
mental health, the early detection of mental [Rod Phillips, President and CEO, Warren
illness
and
addiction,
and
the Shepell Consultants, (18:9)]
accommodation/integration of employees
suffering from mental disorders. Such attributes of a healthy workplace will benefit not only
the individual and the employer but society as a whole by enhancing Canada’s productivity
and reducing the overall economic burden of mental illness.
This chapter is divided into nine sections. Section 6.1 briefly describes the benefits of
employment and the consequences of unemployment for individuals with mental illness and
addiction. Section 6.2 summarizes the existing information on the prevalence of mental
illness and addiction in the workplace. Section 6.3 provides some data on the cost related to
mental illness and addiction in the workplace. Section 6.4 examines the issue of disability
attributable to mental illness and addiction. Section 6.5 highlights the role of employers with
respect to Employee Assistance Programs and accommodation for workers with mental
illness. Section 6.6 summarizes the testimony heard by the Committee with respect to the
role of governments in helping to reduce the economic cost of mental illness and addiction
in the workplace. Section 6.7 provides some information on businesses established and run
by individuals with mental illness and addiction. Section 6.8 discusses the need for a
research agenda on mental illness, addiction and work. Section 6.9 presents the Committee’s
commentary.
258
E. Kevin Kelloway, Ph.D., Professor of Management and Psychology, Saint Mary’s University
(Halifax, Nova Scotia), Brief to the Committee, 2004.
105
Overview of Policies and Programs
6.1
THE BENEFITS OF EMPLOYMENT
Recently, Professor Heather Stuart, Community Health and Epidemiology, Queen’s
University, eloquently pointed out that:
(…) no single activity conveys a sense of self more so than work. Work
influences how and where one lives, it promotes social contact and social
support, and it confers title and social identity.259
For those affected by mental illness and addiction, employment is an important contributor
to recovery. It may aid recovery and reduce the frequency and severity of episodes of acute
illness by providing structure, the opportunity for social connections and a fuller life.
Through regular remuneration, employment can end or reduce dependence on social
assistance and reduce individual need for mental health services and supports.
In contrast, loss or lack of employment due to mental illness may jeopardize a person’s
recovery. Income and standard of living are reduced, resulting in economic dependence and
low self-esteem. Inadequate employment also leads to the loss of personal relationships with
fellow workers, social marginalization and changed relationships with family and friends.
Many individuals with mental illness succeed in their employment without any assistance
being provided to them; recent advances in treatment and drug therapy have increased their
capacity to join the mainstream and live independently. Those who participate in the labour
force contribute to Canada’s productivity and competitiveness. Others, however, need
assistance to get and keep a job. In this context, the issue of mental illness, addiction and
work can be explored from three different perspectives. The first addresses the issue of
making employment accessible to individuals who never had a job. The second emphasizes
mental illness and addiction that may affect currently employed individuals. The third
focuses on individuals who have lost their job due to mental illness or addiction and wish to
reintegrate the labour market.
As discussed in Chapter 4, the onset of a mental disorder tends to occur in late adolescence
or early adulthood, at a time when the affected person’s education and training are not yet
complete. The process of obtaining qualifications is interrupted, often never to be resumed.
The young individuals affected are significantly disadvantaged, as their lack of skills and
qualifications is a major lifelong barrier to their future employment.
For those who do find work, periods outside the labour force caused by their mental illness
often impede re-entry into the labour force. Three key barriers apply. First, individuals may
be subject to discrimination by their employer and/or work colleagues. Second, they may
require flexible work arrangements that employers are unwilling, or do not know how to
provide. And third, those who have been outside of the labour force for extended periods
are unlikely to possess the type of credentials, skills and employment experiences that make
them attractive to employers.
259
Heather Stuart, Stigma and Work, discussion paper commissioned by the workshop supported by the
Institute of Population Health and the Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction of
the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, April 2004, p. 80.
Overview of Policies and Programs
106
The Committee was told that unemployment rates among individuals with mental illness are
unacceptably high. International evidence suggests that the unemployment rate of
individuals affected by severe and persistent mental illness is around 90%. This contrasts
with the approximately 50% unemployment rate of individuals with physical or sensory
disabilities. In other words, only 10% of individuals with severe mental disorders who wish
to work are judged capable of working and are in fact working.260
In Canada, information from the Canadian Psychiatric Association reveals that persons
diagnosed with a mental illness are likely to experience long term unemployment,
underemployment and dependency on social assistance. The Association believes that, of all
individuals with disabilities, those with a mental illness face the highest degree of
stigmatization in the workplace and the greatest barriers to employment opportunities.261 A
major problem with unemployment is that the longer a person is away from a job, the less
likely it is that he or she will ever resume a productive work life. Statistics show that after
six months on disability leave an individual has a 50% probability of returning to work; this
is reduced to 20% after one year, and to 10% after two years.262
Two main factors make mental illness specifically a workplace issue. First, mental illness
usually strikes younger workers. Second, many mental illnesses are both chronic and cyclical
in nature, requiring treatment on and off for many years. There is a vital role for employers
and government to play in addressing mental illness and addiction in the workplace,
including through accommodation policies, return to work programs and disability
management.
In saying this, the Committee is not suggesting that this is an easy or an inexpensive task for
either employers or governments. Nevertheless, we feel strongly that increased attention to
workplace mental health and addiction issues is essential.
6.2
PREVALENCE OF MENTAL ILLNESS AND ADDICTION IN THE
WORKPLACE
There is currently no single source of information available in Canada that provides
comprehensive and accurate information on the prevalence of mental illness and addiction
in the workplace. However, a review of the relevant literature provides some indication of
the scope of the problem:
•
260
261
262
Addiction (alcohol and drug abuse) is a serious concern in the Canadian
manufacturing sector. The rate of addiction among employees in this sector is
estimated to be almost twice the national average; this may be a substantial underestimate given that addiction in the workplace is often not reported. Levels of
Gaston Harnois and Phyllis Gabriel (2000), Mental Health and Work: Impact, Issues and Good Practices,
joint publication of the World Health Organization and the International Labour Organization,
Geneva, 2000, p. 19.
Canadian Psychiatric Association, Mental Illness and Work, pamphlet available on the Internet
(accessed on 15 June 2004).
Ontario Medical Association, Mental Illness and Workplace Absenteeism: Exploring Risk Factors and Effective
Return to Work Strategies, April 2002.
107
Overview of Policies and Programs
anxiety and anger have been rising significantly among employees in the
manufacturing sector over the last three years. A survey has shown anxiety disorders
in the manufacturing sector to be more prevalent in male-dominant populations in
which addictions issues are also present.263
263
264
265
266
267
268
•
Compared to national averages, the rates of depression and anxiety are high in the
information technology sector. Depression rates vary widely from one year to
another, reflecting the volatility of the technology sector.264
•
Some segments of the workforce appear to be more vulnerable to mental illness and
addiction, in particular men and women in their prime working years who have had
10 to 14 years of service with the same employer, and new entrants to the labour
market.265
•
A recent survey indicates that more and more hospital workers are accessing
employee assistance programs. Hospital workers are experiencing progressively
higher levels of stress than workers in other sectors. This may be explained in part
by hospital restructuring, downsizing and human resource shortages. Addressing
stress in the hospital sector may be even more important than in other sectors since
stress-related errors in patient care can have a very negative impact on patients.266
•
Similarly, a survey by the Canadian Medical Association in 2003 reported that stress
and dissatisfaction among physicians was rising. More particularly, the survey found
that 45.7% of physicians were in an advanced state of burnout. In addition, women
physicians appeared to be at a higher risk of suicide than others in the general
population.267
•
Relative to other sectors, workers in the retail and hospitality sectors face a number
of particular stress factors in their work environments, for example, the occurrence
and threat of armed robbery. Individuals working in the retail sector also report a
higher incidence of domestic violence. Employees of both the retail and hospitality
sectors report greater stress and depression symptoms than employees in most other
sectors. Workers in the hospitality sector experience a higher frequency of substance
use, including alcohol and tobacco, and a higher incidence of distress and anxiety
than other workers.268
Based on a sample size of 136 companies and 54,050 employees. Data from Warren Shepell
Consultants Corporation, Sector Review: Organizational Health & Wellness Trends in Manufacturing, March
2003 (available at www.warrenshepell.com).
Based on a sample size of 153 organizations with 86,000 employees across Canada. Data from
Warren Shepell Consultants Corporation, Sector Review: Organizational Health & Wellness: Trends in
Technology, February 2003 (available at www.warrenshepell.com).
Global Business and Economic Roundtable on Addiction and Mental Health, Roundtable Roadmap to
Mental Disability Management in 2004-2005, 25 June 2004, p. 4.
Warren Shepell Consultants Corporation, Sector Review: Organizational Health & Wellness Trends in the
Healthcare/Hospital Sector, Winter 2004 (available at www.warrenshepell.com).
Dr. Sunil V. Patel, President, Canadian Medical Association, Brief to the Committee, 31 March 2004,
p. 3.
Warren Shepell Consultants Corporation, Sector Review: Organizational Health & Wellness Trends in
Retail/Hospitality, Winter 2004 (available at www.warrenshepell.com).
Overview of Policies and Programs
108
•
The Canadian Bar Association reported alarming and increasing rates of depression
and addiction among lawyers. The rate of alcoholism is three times that of the
general population. It has been suggested that excessive working hours, relentless
competition, and unyielding pressures by law firms for increased billable hours are
important contributors to these problems.269
•
In the Canadian workforce overall, some 3.5% of women and 3.0% of men report
psychological distress (defined as depression and anxiety). Psychological distress
tends to be high among workers in jobs with high demands but little latitude for
decision-making. About 40% of workers in such jobs indicated high levels of
psychological distress (see Table 6.1 below).270
TABLE 6.1
PERCENTAGE OF CANADIAN WORKERS REPORTING HIGH
PSYCHOLOGICAL DISTRESS BY JOB DECISION LATITUDE AND JOB
DEMANDS
JOB
JOB DECISION LATITUDE
DEMANDS
High
Moderate
Low
Very Low
High
27
33
33
40
Moderate
24
26
30
35
Low
19
20
21
30
Very Low
16
18
22
20
Source: Kathryn Wilkins and Marie P. Beaudet, “Work Stress and Health”, Health Reports, Statistics Canada,
Catalogue 82-003, Winter 1998, Vol. 10, No. 3, p. 52.
269
270
271
•
In Québec, a 2001 study by Bourbonnais and colleagues found that individuals who
experienced work-related stress were twice as likely to have a mental illness than
those who did not (23% versus 11% for men and 30% versus 15% for women).271
•
Workplace stress and work-related conflict and harassment are among the top eight
reasons why Canadian employees request help from an Employee’s Assistance
Program (EAP). Stress associated with work-related issues accounts for about 40%
of all work-related EAP cases. The number of employees seeking help for workrelated conflict has increased from 23 percent of all work related cases in 1999 to
Bill Wilkerson, Since September 11th – The Business State of Mind: Mental Health in the Knowledge Economy,
Speech before the “Beyond Awareness Conference (A Campaign to Reduce the Stigma of Mental
Illness), 6 February 2002, p. 7.
Kathryn Wilkins and Marie P. Beaudet, “Work Stress and Health”, Health Reports, Statistics Canada,
Catalogue 82-003, Winter 1998, Vol. 10, No. 3, pp. 52-53.
Renée Bourbonnais, Brigitte Larocque, Chantal Brisson and Michel Vézina, «Contraintes
psychosociales du travail», in Portrait Social du Québec, Institut de la Statistique du Québec, 2001, pp.
267-277.
109
Overview of Policies and Programs
close to nearly 30 percent in 2001. The number of employees seeking help for
harassment almost tripled from 1999 to 2001.272
•
6.3
In the United States, 40% of all EAP referrals in several leading companies relate to
symptoms of depression.273
THE COST AND CONSEQUENCES OF MENTAL ILLNESS AND
ADDICTION IN THE WORKPLACE
In the labour market, productivity can be linked to the concept of disability. More precisely,
the less disabled a worker, the more productive she/he is and vice versa. Productivity is
affected both by ‘presenteeism’ – days during which an individual is present at work but
functions at less than full capacity – and by absenteeism – days during which an employee
did not report to work.
Mental illness and addiction are among the most important causes of absenteeism and
presenteeism worldwide: the 1998 report of the World Health Organization stated that
“more working days are lost as a result of mental disorders than physical conditions.”274 In
Canada, 20% of the normal work time of employees suffering from an undetected mental
illness or addiction is not productive because it is “taken off”. This is four times the rate of
their co-workers.275
When compared with all other diseases
(such as cancer and heart disease), mental
illness and addiction rank first and second
in terms of causing disability in Canada, the
United States and Western Europe (see
Chart 6.1).276 Of the ten leading causes of
disability worldwide, five are mental
disorders: unipolar depression, alcohol use
disorder, bipolar affective disorder,
schizophrenia and obsessive-compulsive
disorder.277
We would suggest that employers are
already bearing a significant burden of
the costs associated with mental health in
Canada. In that sense, they are
subsidizing what we have in the public
health care system and, in some cases,
compensating for deficiencies in that
system.
[Rod Phillips, President and CEO, Warren
Shepell Consultants (18:9)]
As reported in Chapter 5, the value of lost productivity in Canada that is attributable to
mental illness alone has been estimated at some $8.1 billion in 1998.278 More recently, it has
been estimated that if substance abuse is taken into account as well, Canada’s economy loses
272
273
274
275
276
277
278
Warren Shepell Consultants Corporation, Workplace Trends Linked to Mental Health Crisis in Canada,
Press Release, 15 November 2002.
Bill Wilkerson, A Business Charter for Mental Health an Addiction in the Knowledge Economy, Speech to the
Ontario Public Service Commission and Management Board, 25 September 2002, Toronto, p. 9.
World Health Organization, Life in the 21st Century: A Vision for All, Geneva, 1998.
Bill Wilkerson, Text of Speech, Warren Shepell Consultants Business Forum, 16 October 2002, p. 14.
President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, Interim Report, United States, 29 October
2002.
Ibid.
According to calculation by Thomas Stephens and Natacha Joubert, “The Economic Burden of
Mental Health Problems”, Chronic Diseases in Canada, Vol. 22, No. 1, 2001.
Overview of Policies and Programs
110
some $33 billion annually to lost productivity caused by mental illness and addiction.279 This
corresponds to 19% of the combined corporate profits of all Canadian companies or to 4%
of the national debt.280 In other words, the business sector pays two-thirds of all costs
associated with mental illness and addiction in the form of lost productivity, absenteeism,
disability, wage replacement costs, employee group health care premiums and prescription
drugs.281
CHART 6.1
CAUSES OF DISABILITY
CANADA, THE UNITED STATES AND WESTERN EUROPE, 2000
Mental Illnesses
Alcohol and Drug Use Disorders
Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementias
Musculoskeletal Diseases
Respiratory Diseases
Cardiovascular Diseases
Sense Organ Diseases
Injuries (Disabling)
Digestive Diseases
Communicable Diseases
Cancer (Malignant neoplasms)
Diabetes
Migraine
All Other Causes of Disability
0%
4%
8%
12%
16%
20%
24%
As a Percentage of All Disabilities
Note: Causes of disability for all ages combined. Measures of disability are based on the number of
years of “healthy” life lost with less than full health (ie. YLD, years lost due to disability).
Source: President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, Interim Report, United States, 29
October 2002.
Overall, there are many consequences deriving from mental illness, addiction and workrelated stress in the workplace (see Table 6.2). The Committee heard repeatedly that no one
benefits from ignoring the existence of mental illness, addiction and occupational stress in
the workplace and from the marginalization of potentially productive citizens– not the
affected individuals, nor employer, nor society at large . Given both the economic and social
costs associated with these disorders, it is essential that the public and private sectors
urgently address the issue.
279
280
281
Martin Shain et. al., Mental Health and Substance Use at Work: Perspective from Research and Implications for
Leaders, Backgrounder, prepared for the Global Business and Economic Roundtable on Addiction
and Mental Health, 14 November 2002 (unpublished).
Estimated by the Economics Division, Parliamentary Information and Research Services, Library of
Parliament.
Bill Wilkerson (6 February 2002), p. 8.
111
Overview of Policies and Programs
Again, as the Committee noted at the end of Section 6.1, addressing this issue is not a simple
task. Nonetheless, there are both economic reasons and compassionate ones that require
that it be done.
TABLE 6.2
CONSEQUENCES OF MENTAL ILLNESS, ADDICTION AND WORKRELATED STESS IN THE WORKPLACE
• increase in overall sickness absence, particularly frequent short
periods of absence
• poor health (depression, stress, burnout)
Absenteeism
• physical conditions (high blood pressure, heart disease, ulcers,
sleeping disorders, skin rashes, headache, neck- and backache,
low resistance to infections)
• reduction in productivity and output
• increase in error rates
Presenteeism
• increased number of accidents
• poor decision-making
• deterioration in planning and control of work
• loss of motivation and commitment
• burnout
• staff working increasingly long hours but with diminishing
Staff Attitude
returns
And Behaviour
• poor timekeeping
• labour turnover (particularly expensive for companies at top
levels of management)
• tension and conflicts between colleagues
Relationships
• poor relationships with clients
at Work
• increase in disciplinary problems
Source: Gaston Harnois and Phyllis Gabriel, Mental Health and Work: Impact, Issues and Good Practices, joint
publication of the World Health Organization and the International Labour Organization, Geneva, 2000, pp. 89.
6.4
MENTAL ILLNESS, ADDICTION AND DISABILITY
Coverage for disability resulting from psychiatric disorder
should be available just as it is for disability resulting from
either medical or surgical illness.
[Canadian Psychiatric Association]282
The unpredictable and episodic nature of disability resulting from mental illness is an
important factor that distinguishes it from many other disabilities. Individuals with mental
282
Canadian Psychiatric Association, Insurability of the Psychiatrically Ill or Those With a Past History of
Psychiatric Disorder, Position Paper, 1988.
Overview of Policies and Programs
112
illness tend to cycle between periods of illness and wellness. When they are symptom-free,
they are usually able to work and carry out the normal tasks of life. During episodes of
psychiatric illness, however, they may be incapable of functioning at a level that would
permit them to work in regular employment.
The Committee was informed that disability Mental illness and addiction in Canada
claims attributable to mental illness have generates tremendous suffering and
overtaken
claims
associated
with disability – a situation we do not believe
cardiovascular disease as the fastest growing would be tolerated for physical illnesses of
category of disability costs in Canada. 283 similar prevalence and severity.
Currently, mental illness and addiction [Centre for Addiction and Mental Health,
account for 60-65% of all disability Brief to the Committee, 27 June 2003, p. 6.]
insurance claims among selected Canadian
and American employers.284 It is expected that disability insurance claims for mental health
problems and illnesses may climb to more than 50% of the total number of claims
administered through employee group health plans over the next five years.285
The following sections provide information on the disability insurance claims associated with
mental illness and addiction available through employer sponsored disability benefit plans,
workers’ compensation boards (WCBs), the Canada Pension Plan Disability program
(CPP(D)) and Employment Insurance (EI).
6.4.1
Employer-Sponsored Disability Insurance Plans286
There are two types of disability income insurance plans offered by employers: short term
(STD) and long term disability (LTD). STD plans replace a percentage of pre-disability
employment earnings (70% for example) for periods less than one year of duration (e.g., six
months). They are generally harmonized with sick leave, other employee benefits and EI
benefits, providing continuity of income for the plan member who has suffered a disabling
illness or injury.
LTD plans focus on longer periods of disability. They typically commence payments after
the disabled individual has been off work for a significant period, such as six months, and
replace a specified percentage of the person’s pre-disability employment income, for
example 70%. LTD benefits typically run for up to two years for recipients who are unable
to perform their own jobs, and can continue to a limit of age 65 or the onset of retirement
benefits for recipients who cannot perform their own or any reasonably comparable job.
LTD benefits provided by the employer’s plan may be reduced by the amount obtained by
the recipient under CPP(D).
283
284
285
286
Mental Health Works, Mental Health in the Workplace: Facts and Figures, Canadian Mental Health
Association – Ontario Division, 2003.
Global Business and Economic Roundtable on Addiction and Mental Health (25 June 2004), p. 14.
Bill Wilkerson, Mental Health – The Ultimate Productivity Weapon, Summary of Remarks to the Industrial
Accident Prevention Association Conference and Trade Show, Toronto, 22 April 2002, p. 5.
Unless otherwise indicated, the information contained in this section is based on the following
document: Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association Inc., The Role of Disability Income Insurance
Plans in Canada’s Disability Income System, Submission to the House of Commons Sub-Committee on
the Status of Persons with Disabilities, May 2003.
113
Overview of Policies and Programs
An important aspect of STD and LTD plans is the commitment to assiste recipients to
return to the workplace, preferably to their own jobs, or to another job if that proves not to
be feasible. Consistent with this commitment, disability income insurance plans are designed
to ensure that there is a financial incentive for recipients to return to work; thus disability
income replacement benefits do not exceed and are usually less than pre-disability
employment income.287
There is no comprehensive Canadian survey that provides information on the total cost
borne by employers for STD and LTD benefits associated with mental illness and addiction.
The information given to the Committee on this issue is summarized below:
•
Since 1994, depressive disorders alone have doubled as a percentage of STD and
LTD claims and have grown 55% across all categories of disability-related absences
from work. 288
•
Similarly, a 2002-2003 survey by Watson Wyatt Worldwide estimated that mental
illness and addiction were the leading cause of STD claims, and 73% of the
respondents confirmed that these disorders were also the leading cause of LTD
claims.289
•
An analysis by the Global Business and Economic Roundtable on Addiction and
Mental Health estimates that between 640,000 and 1,075,000 full-time employees in
Canada are currently on disability leave with mental illness as their primary or
secondary diagnosis. This translates into 35 million days of work lost for the
Canadian economy. In other words, mental illness and addiction account for 46% of
all long term and short term disability claims.290
Three specific issues were raised with respect to employer-sponsored disability insurance
plans. First, Watson Wyatt Worldwide, a global consulting firm focussing on human
resources and group benefits and health care plans, stressed that all corporations should
conduct a review of their STD and LTD claims in order to properly assess the incidence of
mental illness and addiction in their workplaces. The results of the review would help to
identify the type of action that is required.291
Second, it would be important to understand the influence that the type and extent of
disability coverage have on the duration of claims in order to determine the conditions
necessary to optimize individual situations. Disability insurance should not be a disincentive
to work. In this context, the Canadian Psychiatric Association explained:
287
288
289
290
291
Disability income insurance plans are frequently part of a group benefits program that includes
extended health care coverage (which may include prescription drugs, special nursing services, and
special services that fall outside government plans such as registered psychologists, chiropractors,
massage therapists, etc.).
Bill Wilkerson (6 February 2002), p. 7.
Watson Wyatt Worldwide, Addressing Mental Health in the Workplace, June 2003.
Global Business and Economic Roundtable on Addiction and Mental Health, “Full-Time Employees
in Canada Losing 35 Million Days of Work a Year Due to Mental Disorders; Half of All Days Lost to
Illness and Disability”, Press Release, 14 July 2004.
Watson Wyatt Worldwide, Addressing Mental Health in the Workplace, June 2003.
Overview of Policies and Programs
114
Disability insurance for any illness requires a precise definition of that
illness. Whereas it is important that disabled psychiatric patients receive
an adequate income to protect themselves from serious financial reverses
over the time that they are not able to work, it is just as important to
recognize that disability payments may constitute a major secondary gain
actually impeding a patient's progress and delaying rehabilitation. There
are two factors to be considered: a) the prevalent misconception that work
is ipso facto stressful and likely to aggravate a diagnosed psychiatric
disorder; and b) the recognition that some patients who have undergone a
serious psychiatric disorder may want to avoid exposure to what they
presume to be stressful factors at work because of lack of confidence even
after they have improved clinically. It should be recognized that return to
work as soon as possible is likely to improve the patient's self-esteem, reestablish him/her in a familiar social network and otherwise aid
rehabilitation. There is some evidence that work deprivation may be one
of the causes of psychiatric disorder.292
Third, and perhaps more importantly, employers, managers and insurers must become more
knowledgeable about mental illness and addiction in order to better manage disability claims.
During a recent speech, Bill Wilkerson, co-founder and CEO, Global Business and
Economic Roundtable on Addiction and Mental Health, commented:
In a landmark Supreme Court of Canada case in Saskatchewan, a
woman was disabled by a mental disorder, was off work and on longterm disability and was in hospital. While there, her disability insurance
benefits continued. Once released, they were cut off – this, incredibly,
because her institutionalization established the criteria of her continued
eligibility. The Supreme Court ruled the practice discriminatory, because
those with physical disabilities remained eligible for their benefits outside
hospital while recuperating at home.
Meanwhile, were the insurer’s practices simply obsolete or malevolent?
Either way, the company suffered its own perceptual disorder of what the
reality of mental illness is or isn’t. The insurer, presumably, was
confounded by the nature of mental disorders, by the treatment process
and the critical even superior role of out-patient care and community
family support in the patient’s sustainable recovery.
I tell this story not to belittle or criticize the insurance industry at large. I
am part of that community and, to be sure, there are examples where the
life and health insurance industry has shown leadership in the promotion
of mental health. Rather, I speak to a broader point. This industry must
develop a perspective based on knowledge of mental health issues. Like
292
Canadian Psychiatric Association (1988), op. cit.
115
Overview of Policies and Programs
business generally, the insurance sector needs a mental health education
agenda.
An example of where this is especially true is in the comorbidity of
mental illness and physical chronic diseases as this pertains to: origin and
the duration of human disability; the complexity, lengths and risks of
treatment and recovery; and, the pace and timing of the sufferer’s return
to work.
The insurance industry needs – at the levels of claims management – to
know more about the medical science of mental health. (…). The
industry needs to develop a knowledge base about the expanding universe
of neuroscience and its illumination of the origins of behaviour.293
6.4.2
Workers’ Compensation Boards
In all provinces and territories, Workers’ Compensation Boards (WCBs) receive an
increasing number of mental health related claims (referred to as “occupational stress”) and,
in a growing number of cases, the Boards have provided compensation for claims related to
mental illness. A review of occupational stress claims reported to WCBs was undertaken by
the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada to find out how many types of
claims were filed on an annual basis, whether they were of an episodic or chronic nature, and
how much compensation was paid in each case. This review proved to be very difficult. In
many cases, the Boards do not collect this type of data, or if they do, the data are not
comparable because the definitions employed by each WCB may be different (see Table 6.3).
The review could not, therefore, provide a national perspective on the number of claims
resulting from occupational stress and the associated costs of compensation.294
293
294
Bill Wilkerson, Notes for Remarks, 55th Annual Meeting of the Canadian Life Insurance and Medical
Officers Association, 17 May 2004, p. 9.
Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada, Occupational Disease and Occupational Stress
Legislation and Policies, 1998.
Overview of Policies and Programs
116
TABLE 6.3
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION BOARDS IN CANADA:
INTERJURISDICTIONAL COMPARISON OF OCCUPATIONAL STRESS
COMPENSABILITY
Compensation for occupational stress provided if:
•
there is a confirmed diagnosis under the American Psychiatric Association’s
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders;
Alberta
• the work-related events or stressors are the predominant cause of the injury;
• the work-related events are excessive or unusual in comparison to the normal
pressures experienced by the average worker in a similar occupation; and
• there is objective confirmation of the events.
Compensable forms of stress include:
• stress caused by a sudden and unexpected traumatic event; and
British
• stress that results from a compensable injury such as severe anxiety following
Columbia
the amputation of a leg.
Stress that is caused by the pressures encountered in daily personal and work life
is not compensable.
Definition of accident/occupational disease excludes stress except as an acute
Manitoba
reaction to a traumatic event.
Definition of accident/occupational disease excludes stress except as an acute
New Brunswick
reaction to a traumatic event.
Legislative definition of injury covers stress only where it results from an acute
Newfoundland
reaction to a sudden and unexpected traumatic event and to exclude stress due to
and Labrador
labour relations issues.
Claims for occupational stress are considered on a case-by-case basis.
NWT &
Nunavit
Definition of accident/occupational disease excludes stress except as an acute
Nova Scotia
reaction to a traumatic event.
Mental stress is compensable in respect of situations where there is an acute
response to a sudden and unexpected traumatic event arising out of and in the
Ontario
course of employment.
Mental stress due to the employer’s employment decisions does not entitle a
worker to benefits.
Prince Edward Definition of accident/occupational disease excludes stress except as an acute
Island
reaction to a traumatic event.
Stress is compensable if the worker can show a relationship between the illness
Quebec
and the work or a risk in the work.
Compensation for occupational stress is specifically allowed for as a matter of
policy where clear and convincing evidence is provided that the work stress was
Saskatchewan
excessive and unusual; routine industrial relations actions taken by the employer
are considered normal and not unusual.
Post-traumatic stress considered compensable under legislation; current practice
Yukon
is to assess all other stress-related claims on a case-by-case basis.
Source: Paul Kishchuk, Expansion of the Meaning of Disability, paper commissioned by the Yukon Workers’
Compensation Board, March 2003, p. 12.
A major issue raised with respect to compensation by WCBs concerns the fact that it is more
difficult to prove the genesis of a mental disorder than it is of a physical illness. As a result,
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Overview of Policies and Programs
there is some controversy about whether and how mental disorders should be covered under
worker’s compensation schemes. Under an occupational disease model, compensation for a
disability is based on whether the disability arises from continuous exposure to hazardous
conditions related to an individual’s employment. Yet, most advanced etiological models of
mental disorders include the variety of factors discussed in Chapter 4, such as genetic
vulnerability, developmental circumstances and neurobiological factors, in addition to life
events such as a stressful work environment. The relative weight of each of these
dimensions is not yet understood, nor is it clear how they fit together. As a result, some
WCBs are more reluctant than others to provide mental health related disability benefits.
They are left wrestling with the question of the extent to which disability benefits related to
mental disorders should be paid by worker’s compensation rather than by health care
insurance.295
6.4.3
Federal Income Security Programs
The Canada Pension Plan Disability program or CPP(D) is the largest single disability
income program in Canada. It is generally the first payor of disability benefits preceding
other entities such as provincial workers’ compensation boards and private insurance
companies.
CPP(D) benefits are paid to contributors under age 65 who have a physical or mental
disability which is “severe and prolonged” (lasting at least one year and preventing work on a
regular basis) and meets specific requirements relating to the level of earnings and years of
contribution (contributions must have been paid in four out of the last six years).
In the past two decades, there has been a sharp increase in the number of CPP(D)
beneficiaries due to mental illness. Between 1980 and 2000, the proportion of individuals
receiving CPP(D) benefits attributable to mental disorders increased from 11% to 23%.
Mental illness ranked second, behind disease of the musculoskeletal system, and affected a
higher proportion of females than males. In 2000, mental disorders also represented the
most prominent cause of CPP(D) disability among younger beneficiaries.296
For many years, individuals with mental illness and addiction and their representatives have
raised concerns that CPP(D) does not address the question of mental illness and disability
appropriately. More specifically:
•
295
296
Many individuals with mental illness have limited work histories. Because mental
illness often strikes in early adulthood at a time when education, job skills and careers
are being developed, many of these individuals are not eligible for CPP(D) due to
insufficient years of employment. Out of necessity, many turn to provincial social
assistance programs for support.
Carolyn S. Dewa, Alain Lesage, Paula Goering and Michèle Caveen, The Nature and Amplitude of Mental
Illness in the Workplace, discussion paper commissioned by the workshop supported by the Institute of
Population Health and the Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction of the Canadian
Institutes of Health Research, April 2004, pp. 2-19.
Office of the Chief Actuary, Canada Pension Plan – Experience Study of Disability Beneficiaries, Actuarial
Study No. 1, November 2002.
Overview of Policies and Programs
118
•
To qualify for CPP(D) disability benefits, the beneficiary must accept the designation
of “permanently unemployable” by declaring him/herself as entirely incapable of
pursuing any employment on a regular basis. Because of the cyclical and
unpredictable nature of mental disorders, individuals with mental illness can work,
but often only on a part-time basis; they are not necessarily capable of achieving full
financial independence. Individuals with mental illness and addiction have
recommended that CPP(D) pay partial or reduced benefits rather than full benefits
to enable them to work part-time while still retaining a portion of their benefits.
•
Since disability is currently equated with permanent unemployability, individuals on
CPP(D) are reluctant to look for or take employment for fear of losing their benefits.
Those affected are penalized for trying to improve their circumstances even if they
are not capable of participating in regular full-time work again.
•
Some 66% of all initial applications to CPP(D) are denied and almost two-thirds of
those rejected do not apply for reconsideration It has been suggested that the
proportion of applications rejected from those with mental illness is much higher.
Some experts claim that the system is designed in such a way as to discourage
individuals from pursuing rightful claims. This is particularly true for individuals
with mental disorders who, because of their illness, may lack the ability to “push the
system”.297
In its 2003 report, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Human Resources
Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities recognized that CPP(D) does not
address the question of mental illness and disability appropriately. The Committee made a
number of recommendations to ensure that CPP(D) takes into account of the cyclical and
unpredictable nature of mental illnesses. In addition, it recommended that the federal
government develop, in consultation with stakeholders and health care professionals,
specific evaluation tools for these particular disabilities to be used in assessing eligibility for
CPP(D).298
In its response to the House of Commons Committee’s report, the federal government
indicated that CPP(D) guidelines already recognize recurrent and episodic disabilities,
including mental disorders, and that many individuals with mental disorders currently receive
CPP(D) benefits. Furthermore, it stated:
The Government therefore does not believe regulations and guidelines
need to be changed to accommodate the needs of individuals with episodic
or recurring conditions. Because the determination of disability for CPP
is based on the functional limitations that prevent a person from
working, and not simply on a medical diagnosis or prognosis, the
adjudication process is able to take into consideration the short- and
297
298
Wendy Steinberg, Position Paper on Federal Income Security Programs, prepared for the Canadian Mental
Health Association, December 2001.
Subcommittee on the Status of Persons with Disabilities (Dr. Carolyn Bennett, Chair), Listening to
Canadians: A First View of the Future of The Canada Pension Plan Disability Program, June 2003.
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Overview of Policies and Programs
long-term impacts of recurrent or episodic medical conditions on the
client’s ability to function in the workplace.299
Individuals with mental illness may also be eligible to receive EI benefits as a source of
temporary income replacement. They have raised some concerns, however, with respect to
EI:
•
In terms of EI eligibility, employees who are dismissed because of “misconduct” or
quit “without just cause” are not eligible for EI benefits. Due to stigma, individuals
with mental illness in the workplace often conceal their illness. When they
experience difficulty on the job, they may be fired or may quit as a result of their
illness, but would not be in a position to claim EI benefits because they have not
previously disclosed their illness.
•
When a person applies for EI sickness benefits, he/she is required to obtain a
medical certificate indicating how long the illness is expected to last. The
unpredictable nature of mental illness makes it difficult to provide this kind of
medical information.
•
Individuals with mental illness and addiction share the view that EI should exempt
individuals with recurring illnesses or disabilities from fulfilling the additional
number of insurable hours required of those who are considered new to the labour
force. In their view, without this exemption, individuals with mental illness are
unjustly disadvantaged. Few are able to meet the eligibility criteria in terms of the
total number of insurable hours required of new workers.
In his brief to the Committee, Dr. Sunil V. Patel, President of the Canadian Medical
Association, recommended that the federal government review CPP(D) and other federal
income support policies to ensure that mental illness is on a par with other chronic diseases
and disabilities in terms of the benefits available to affected persons.300
6.5
THE ROLE OF EMPLOYERS
There is a compelling case for employers to address mental illness and addiction in the
workplace. In the global economy, information and innovation have become the keys to
competitive success. And using these keys requires skilled, motivated, reliable workers.
Human capital – motivation, knowledge, perspective, judgement, the ability to communicate,
share ideas and have relationships – drives the global economy. In short, it is mental
performance that drives competitive success in the worldwide economy.301 According to Bill
Wilkerson, co-founder and CEO of the Global Business and Economic Roundtable on
Addiction and Mental Health:
299
300
301
Human Resources Development Canada, Government of Canada’s Response to “Listening to Canadians: A
First View of the Future of the Canada Pension Plan Disability Program”, November 2003, p. 22.
Dr. Sunil V. Patel, President, CMA, Brief to the Committee, 31 March 2004, p. 5.
Bill Wilkerson (6 February 2002), p. 6.
Overview of Policies and Programs
120
(…) it falls to business to protect its strategic investment in its people –
its vital asset – and, therefore, by definition of the economy of mental
performance in which we compete, in their emotional and mental
health.302
The Committee heard over and over again
that, given the burden of mental illness and Given recent estimates that about 75 per
addiction on society and on individual cent of the new jobs in the economy have to
workers, and given the rising cost of do with cognitive ability, not physical
occupational disabilities, employers must help ability, and that the heavy lifting in the
to enhance the level of awareness about economy is now being done with peopleʹs
mental illness and addiction in their minds, not with their backs, this aspect of
organizations; they also must devote more mental disability is more significant than it
attention to improving access to treatment might have been a number of years ago.
and rehabilitation services for workers [Rod Phillips, President and CEO, Warren
through their EAPs. Employers must also Sheppell ConsultantsCorporation (18:8)]
place greater emphasis on work flexibility and
accommodation for employees who suffer from mental illnesses.
Although the Committee was repeatedly told that employers had to do all the things listed in
the previous paragraph, none of the testimony recognized explicitly how difficult this would
be to do it in practice or how much it would cost. The Committee hopes therefore that
during the nationwide public hearings which will follow the release of the Committee’s
Issues and Options paper in November 2004, we will receive advice on how employers can
actually implement the changes suggested in the previous paragraphs and how much this
would cost.
Consistent with the Committee’s earlier reports that contained
recommendations for reform of the acute health care system, we are determined that the
recommendations contained in our final report on mental health, mental illness and
addiction, which will be released in November 2005, will be pragmatic and implementable,
rather than merely pious statements of good intentions.
6.5.1
Employee Assistance Programs
EAPs are employer-sponsored programs designed to alleviate and assist in eliminating a
Employee assistance programs, EAPs, play a role in the
variety of workplace problems. The source of these problems can be either personal (legal,
current system of how mental health is delivered in
financial, marital or family-related, mental health problems and illnesses, including addiction)
Canada.
Essentially,
they
provide
professional
or work-related (conflict on the job, harassment, violence, stress, etc.).
Typically
EAPs
provide
counselling,
diagnostic,
referral and treatment services.
The staff of EAP programs
usually hold a degree in a
mental health or social service
302
assessment, short-term counselling, and referral services
as a benefit to employees. In most cases, Canadian EAPs
also cover employees and their dependents, similar to
drug or other employee benefit plans.
[Rod Phillips, President and CEO, Warren Shepell
Consultants (18:8)]
Bill Wilkerson (6 February 2002), p. 8.
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Overview of Policies and Programs
discipline (social work, psychology, psychiatry, counselling and/or marital and family
therapy). Some services may also be contracted out to persons with other degrees, diplomas
and qualifications.
EAP services are available both in private and public organizations and are usually
administered completely independently of other programs within the organization.
Confidentiality is the cornerstone of an effective EAP. The anonymity of clients, the
confidentiality of interviews, the maintenance, transfer and destruction of files are subject to
the applicable federal and provincial laws which define the conduct of counsellors.
Generally, information may be released by an EAP counsellor only in situations where the
client has provided informed and signed consent specifying what information is to be
released and to whom.
The Committee was told that between 60 and 80 per cent of Canadians who are employed in
a medium- or large-sized company (over 500 employees) currently have access to some form
of EAP. According to Rod Phillips, President and CEO, Warren Shepell Consultants
Corporation, EAPs are very effective; they have become the primary portal through which
working Canadians often get their first access to mental health care and addiction treatment:
In many cases, in our experience, you would have about 85 per cent of
the people who we see in a given year getting sufficient treatment through
the EAP program that they would require no further treatment. About
15 per cent of the people would then be referred into community programs
or into the public health care system.303
EAPs also have a strong prevention component. Much of the work being done with
employers focuses on wellness and other programs that support a healthy mental health
work environment,
Watson Wyatt Worldwide have recommended that employers who do not offer EAPs
should consider implementing such programs in order to address mental illness and
addiction, and a variety of other issues. They pointed out that some insurers provide
disability rate discounts to smaller employers who implement an EAP, usually through a
preferred provider.304
For those organizations that already have an EAP in place, Watson Wyatt Worldwide
recommended that their programs be reviewed and revised as needed to better address
better the needs of employees affected by a mental illness and/or an addiction. Specific
elements to be examined should include the need for meaningful reports, performance
standards and user feedback. Internal reviews that compare EAP utilization and
absenteeism data should be undertaken by operating units in order to identify internal ‘best
practices’ which can then be introduced across the organization. Finally, Watson Wyatt
303
304
Rod Phillips (18:9).
Watson Wyatt Worldwide, Addressing Mental Health in the Workplace, June 2003.
Overview of Policies and Programs
122
Worldwide recommended that employees be told about the availability of the organization’s
EAP on an ongoing basis.305
Ash Bender and his colleagues (2002) warned that EAP programs are effective only when
the working environments into which they are injected actively promote healthy workplaces.
In other words, it is very important for employers to be well informed about mental illness
and addiction, to address stigma and discrimination properly within their organization and to
establish healthy workplaces.306
Another concern raised by Bender et al. related to the number of therapeutic sessions being
offered to EAP clients; based on anecdotal evidence, these have decreased dramatically from
7 per individual to less than 3 over the last ten years. The authors concluded that the
likelihood of effectively addressing any serious substance abuse or mental illness problem in
this limited therapeutic timeframe would be low.307 This concern requires particular
attention.
6.5.2
Accommodation
The solution will certainly require involvement on the part
of the workplace. We cannot consider the workplace as if it
were a school or a hospital. It is an entity in itself, a family
with its own rules and its own way of behaving and we
cannot do without its involvement.
[Jean-Yves Savoie, President, Advisory Board, Institute of
Population and Public Health, CIHR (18:6)]
Accommodation refers to “any modification of the workplace, or in the workplace
procedures, that makes it possible for a person with special needs to do a job.”308 Just as
individuals with physical disabilities may require physical aids or structural changes to the
workplace, individuals with mental disorders most often require social and organizational
accommodations to be made. These generally involve changes to the way things have
traditionally been done in a particular workplace. Permitting someone with a mental illness
to work flexible hours, for example, provides him or her access to employment in the same
way that a ramp does for an individual in a wheelchair. Such accommodation does not
constitute preferential treatment. Accommodation means equitable treatment for individuals
with disabilities.309
According to the Canadian Psychiatric Association, accommodation should be built on
positive arrangements that promote equality in employment, including:
305
306
307
308
309
Ibid.
Ash Bender et al., Mental Health and Substance Use at Work : Perspectives from Research and Implications for
Leaders, background paper prepared for the Global Business and Economic Roundtable on Addiction
and Mental Health, 14 November 2002.
Ibid.
Lana M. Frado, Diversity at Work: Accommodations in the Workplace for People with Mental Illness, Canadian
Mental Health Association, 1993, p. 8.
Lana M. Frado (1993), p. 10.
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Overview of Policies and Programs
•
Creating an environment in which arrangements are made in relation to the
individual needs of each employee;
•
Respecting the employee’s desire for confidentiality as well as identifying specific the
form and the degree of confidentiality required;
•
Being willing to engage in joint problem solving;
•
Making all arrangements voluntary for the employee, and being prepared to review
plans periodically to meet changing needs;
•
Being flexible in enforcing traditional policies;
•
Being concrete and specific when identifying accommodations that are made.
Putting them in writing is a good idea.310
One study suggests that the cost of accommodating an employee with a mental illness is
fairly low, usually well under $500. Moreover, for those who get effective treatment, the
employer will save between $5000 to $10,000 per employee per year in the cost of
prescription drugs, sick leave, and average wage replacement alone. Employees who are
diagnosed with depression and take appropriate medication will save their employer an
average 11 days a year in prevented absenteeism.311
Another study found that over a 10 year period, 240 persons with serious mental illnesses
were able to maintain gainful employment, largely because of formal work reintegration
programs. These individuals earned $5 million, paid $1.3 million in income taxes, and saved
the government an estimated $700,000 in welfare costs. The result was a net $2 million
increase in collective wealth.312
For its part, the Global Business and Economic Roundtable on Addiction and Mental
Health believes that employers must provide an appropriate environment for the promotion
of good mental health, awareness of mental illness and addiction, early detection of mental
illness and addiction, and integration of and accommodation for employees suffering from a
mental disorder. In this regard, the Roundtable published the 12-step business plan to
mental illness and addiction, summarized in Table 6.3.
310 Canadian Psychiatric Association, op. cit.
311 Mental Health Works (2003), op. cit.
312 Gaston Harnois and Phyllis Gabriel (2000),
Overview of Policies and Programs
op. cit., p. 47.
124
TABLE 6.3
12 STEP BUSINESS PLAN TO DEFEAT MENTAL ILLNESS
AND ADDICTION AT WORK
Step One:
Step Two:
Step Three:
Step Four:
Step Five:
Step Six:
Step Seven:
CEO briefing on mental illness and addiction
Early detection of mental illness and addiction
Reforming EAP and group health plans
Establishing a healthy mental workplace
Reducing the overflow of e-mail and voice-mail messages
Developing flexible return to work policies
Educating managers and supervisors on connections between mental illness and
physical illness
Step Eight:
Reducing emotional work hazards
Step Nine:
Promoting work/life balance policies
Step Ten:
Encouraging people to seek the necessary professional assistance
Step Eleven: Monitoring the health status of the organization through specific targets
Step Twelve: Eliminating the 10 main sources of workplace stress.
Source: Adapted from Bill Wilkerson, Mental Health – The Ultimate Productivity Weapon, Summary of Remarks
to the Industrial Accident Prevention Association Conference and Trade Show, Toronto, 22 April 2002, pp.
10-14.
More recently, the Roundtable drafted its “Roadmap to Mental Disability Management”
which unifies physical and mental health within a single environmental, health and safety
system. The Roadmap also provides standards for governing return-to-work policy. More
precisely:
•
Employers do not need to know the nature of the diagnosis of the disabling illness
that is involved in any given case. This information is private and confidential.
•
Employers do need to understand, support and participate in return-to-work plans
which will inevitably involve customized adjustments in the content of the
employee’s job or hours of work in order to make the transition go smoothly.
•
Employers need to know that while the employee is coming back, he/she is not 100
per cent and gradual return-to-work is necessary to help the individual catch up with
things, get up to speed and build tolerance and endurance.313
The Roadmap stressed that unions also share the responsibility to accommodate an
employee’s return-to-work. In particular, unions have a duty to represent their members at
the higher end of the salary scale in matters concerning a disabled employee. This is
particularly true when an employee is mentally disabled and the issue is termination.314
Again, the Committee wants to emphasize the critical importance of turning the goals and
objectives described throughout Section 6.5 into achievable recommendations. The
Committee will only be able to do this if it receives concrete suggestions from both workers
and employers, along with estimates of what is would cost to implement these proposals.
313
314
Global Business and Economic Roundtable on Addiction and Mental Health (25 June 2004), p. 11.
Ibid., p. 23.
125
Overview of Policies and Programs
6.6
THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENTS
The Committee was told that governments must share responsibility with employers for
shouldering the economic burden of mental illness and addiction in the workplace.
According to Rod Phillips, such cost sharing could take the form of tax incentives:
Progressive employers are subsidizing Canada’s inadequate public
mental health care system. Their investment in mental health programs
for their employees and family members should be encouraged through
tax-based incentives and rebates, cost sharing, and joint service delivery.
(…) The absence of accessible publicly-funded mental health services in
Canada is a significant failing of our health care system. Given that a
great percentage of the rising costs of mental illness are being borne by
employers, there is a huge incentive for the costs associated with reducing
these to be shared between employers and government. This avenue for
cost sharing is, in our opinion, under explored and underused. I urge the
Committee to consider innovative options.315
For its part, the Canadian Mental Health Association (Ontario Division) strongly blamed
governments from their lack of action with respect to mental illness and addiction:
For several years we have been talking about the projections by the
World Health Organization that by 2020 mental illness will be the
leading cause of days lost to disability. What we have not heard is the
commitment that governments usually make when faced with a growing
health problem, particularly one that impacts not only on the individual,
but on society as a whole, including the economy. The WHO
[projections] need to be treated as a challenge and wake up call, not an
inevitable result.
(…)
Governments have an obligation to lead. The federal, provincial and
territorial governments should commit to working together – and to
support businesses – to achieve specific goals in terms of reducing the
potential days lost to disability from mental illness. This requires a
commitment on the part of all stakeholders to address the conditions that
make people more vulnerable to mental illness and make the recovery or
remission harder.316
During the hearings that the Committee will hold on its Issues and Options paper, the
Committee will be seeking advice on how governments should go about implementing the
315
316
Warren Shepell, “Warren Shepell Calls for Tax Incentives to Support Employer Mental Health
Programs”, Press Release, 12 June 2003.
Canadian Mental Health Association (Ontario Division), Brief to the Committee, 12 June 2003, pp. 67.
Overview of Policies and Programs
126
suggestion that “governments have an obligation to lead”. We need to hear the views of
Canadians on what this actually means in practice.
6.7
BUSINESSES RUN BY INDIVIDUALS WITH MENTAL ILLNESS AND
ADDICTION
During its hearings, the Committee learned about the Ontario Council of Alternative
Business (OCAB). This is a provincial organization that assists in the development of
economic opportunities for individuals with mental illness and addiction. It is an umbrella
organization of 11 businesses operated by individuals with mental illness and addiction and
which employ some 600 workers in various initiatives across the province.317
Evaluation of businesses run by individuals with mental illness and addiction demonstrates
that individuals with mental disorders, even severe and persistent illnesses, can succeed and
be competitive in the business they undertake.318 The Committee strongly encourages the
development of these initiatives.
6.8
A RESEARCH AGENDA ON MENTAL ILLNESS, ADDICTION AND
WORK
The issues related to mental illness,
addiction and work are complex and From the currently existing body of literature,
multifaceted. Society is confronted with a we know that mental health problems present
rapidly growing problem which has huge a serious threat to the nation’s productivity.
financial implications and involves a At the same time, we are only beginning to
multitude of stakeholders. However, there fully comprehend the prevalence and
is currently no coordinated comprehensive magnitude of the impact of mental health
strategy for pursuing research, disseminating problems in the workplace. There is still
information, implementing results, and much work to be done.
evaluating them. Such a strategy should [Dewa, Lesage, Goering and Caveen, Nature
include not only research on disease, and Amplitude of Mental Illness in the
treatment and therapy; it should also Workplace, April 2004.]
examine the relationship of the workplace
to mental health, how therapies and treatments can be carried into the workplace and the
home, as well as looking at how employers, employees and families can take action.
The need for more research in the field of mental illness, addiction and work was highlighted
in a recent workshop organized jointly by the Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and
Addiction and the Institute of Population and Public Health of the Canadian Institutes of
Health Research (CIHR). It enabled researchers to take stock of the nature and severity of
mental illness and addiction in the workplace, to review the state of research in Canada in
this field, and to develop a research agenda.
317
318
Additional information can be found at http://www.icomm.ca/ocab/.
Heather Stuart (April 2004), p. 84.
127
Overview of Policies and Programs
Participants at the workshop identified many areas that require more research, such as:
understanding the patterns of mental disorders among the different occupational groups and
industry sectors; understanding the relationship between employer– sponsored benefits and
the prevalence and pattern of disability related to mental illness; examining the relationship
between stress at work and the onset of disability; understanding how mental health is
affected by prominent trends in workplace organizational practices; identifying effective
methods to improve diagnoses and treatment interventions for mental illnesses amongst
working individuals; analyzing policy and guidelines that relate to occupational disability; and
determining the scope and nature of stigma in work settings.
The Committee welcomes this initiative by CIHR. We hope that the workshop will lead to
the development of a research agenda which will help advance the understanding of mental
disorders and the disabilities they cause, and identify innovative business practices that can
help employees with a mental disorder.
The Committee also heard about a research plan called the “Research and Return on
Investment Initiative”, a joint initiative undertaken by the Global Business and Economic
Roundtable on Addiction and Mental Health, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
and the Institute for Work and Health, that is funded by CIBC, TD Bank, Scotiabank, RBC,
BMO and Great-West Life. The purpose of this research is to survey Canadian and
American companies and gather and share information about successes in managing mental
disability and facilitating the return-to-work of individuals with mental illness and
addiction.319 The Committee strongly encourages the Roundtable and business leaders to
share best practices in the management of mental disability in the workplace and in the
development of effective return-to-work strategies.
6.9
COMMITTEE COMMENTARY
The Committee agrees with numerous witnesses that securing and sustaining meaningful
employment is beneficial to individuals with mental illness; it is also an essential part of the
recovery process. In addition, we believe strongly that enabling these individuals to
participate in the workforce can be beneficial to the companies employing them; recent
advances in treatment now make it possible for people with mental illnesses to make
valuable contributions in the workplace.
There is still a debate as to how much an employer wants to or should know concerning an
employee’s mental illness. The Committee is of the view that legislation should not allow
disability to be a sufficient ground to refuse employment unless it is clearly impossible for
the person to do the job. The assurance that there will be quick and easy access to
appropriate mental health services and supports has been found to influence very positively
the willingness of employers to offer employment to persons with mental illness. In the
Committee’s opinion, the disability associated with mental illness and addiction can no
longer serve as an excuse to deny employment to those who want a job and are able to do it.
319
Honorable Michael Wilson, Text of Remarks, CIHR IRSC Workshop, 28 April 2004.
Overview of Policies and Programs
128
There is no doubt that employers bear a large burden in terms of lost productivity as a result
of mental illness and addiction in the workplace. The presence of mental health and
addiction problems in the workplace triggers the following question: “to what extent are
these disorders imported into the workplace by individual employees and to what extent are
they engendered by the workplace itself?” Obviously, the answer given to this question has
profound implications for strategies aimed at preventing and managing mental illness and
addiction in the workplace; it could also impact substantially on how disability claims
attributable to mental disorders should be managed.
The Committee believes that more research must be undertaken in the field of mental
illness, addiction and work. For example, we believe that it is important to understand the
influence that the type and extent of disability coverage have on the duration of claims and
to define the best model. It is important to understand the influence of healthy and nonhealthy workplaces on the incidence of mental illness claims. It is also important to assess
the impact of EAP programs.
The Committee strongly supports the view that it is imperative to provide education and
awareness programs to inform everyone in the workplace, from the top down, about the
causes, symptoms and treatment of mental illness and addiction. This would help overcome
the stigma associated with mental disorders. While the implementation of such programs
cannot eliminate stigma or guarantee that all employees will seek early treatment, they would
certainly reduce the stress faced by those suffering from mental illness and addiction.
We also agree with experts that return-to-work policies must be reviewed and revised where
necessary. Mental disorders do not fit the typical model of disability; many employers still
view disability in terms of a physical impairment. Accordingly, the needs of employees
returning to work following a mental health-related absence may be quite different from
those of an employee returning after back surgery. Existing return-to-work arrangements
should be reviewed and revised to address such different situations.
Furthermore, the Committee believes that an organization’s internal culture can make a huge
difference to how mental illness and addiction is approached in the workplace. Employers
should examine carefully all workplace issues (i.e., harassment, adversarial relationships
between management and employees, etc.) that are creating unnecessary stress and hostility.
Such situations have a detrimental impact on all employees, but especially on employees
affected by mental illness and addiction. Employers should take steps to remedy problems
that emerge as a result of such examinations.
Finally, the concern raised with respect to the need to review CPP(D) and EI in order to
take into account the cyclical and unpredictable nature of mental disorders must be
examined. The federal government should also consider how to share more equitably with
employers the costs associated with mental illness and addiction.
129
Overview of Policies and Programs
PART 3
Service Delivery and
Government Policy in
the Field of Mental
Illness and Addiction
CHAPTER 7:
MENTAL HEALTH SERVICE DELIVERY AND ADDICTION
TREATMENT IN CANADA: AN HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
INTRODUCTION
The history of mental health services and addiction treatment in Canada parallels the
European and American experience. The delivery of mental health services has, for the
most part, evolved differently from the provision of addiction treatment throughout the last
century. This has led to the emergence of two distinct systems of care and support – one for
individuals with mental illness and another for individuals suffering from addiction. It is
only during the last decade that efforts have been encouraged to better integrate the two
systems.
The mental health service system and the addiction treatment system have struggled to
provide the most compassionate and responsive treatment possible, but both have been
dogged by the problem of stigma which had a negative impact on their development.
Arising out of widespread misunderstanding and broad misconceptions, individuals with
mental illness were often labelled as “idiots”, “imbeciles” and “lunatics”, while addiction
problems were perceived as a sign of personal weakness. In some cases, a punitive attitude,
exemplified by a desire to remove individuals with mental illness and addiction from public
sight, has hampered the delivery of appropriate services. Despite many advances in models
of care, policies and legislation, negative perception and stigma still persist today (see
Chapter 3, above).
Although dramatic improvements have been made in the past two decades in the delivery of
mental health services and addiction treatment, the Committee concurs with numerous
witnesses that neither area has gained sufficient public support or government funding to
ensure that Canadians obtain the same quality of services as they do when they receive
treatment for physical illnesses, such as cancer or heart disease.
This chapter provides a chronological overview of the development of mental health
services and addiction treatment in Canada. Section 7.1 summarizes the evolving views of
mental illness that, over the course of time, have influenced the approach taken in Canada.
Section 7.2 provides an historical perspective of the development of the mental health
service system in Canada. Section 7.3 briefly reviews the evolution of the addiction
treatment system.
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Overview of Policies and Programs
7.1
EVOLVING VIEWS OF MENTAL ILLNESS THROUGHOUT THE
CENTURIES320
The care of people with mental and behavioural disorders
has always reflected prevailing social values related to the
social perception of mental illness.
[WHO, 2001, p. 49]
For many centuries, religious, spiritual or cultural beliefs dominated the way in which
individuals with mental illness were treated and regarded by society. Psychiatry is a “young”
science relative to other scientific disciplines.
Stein and Santos (1998) recount that 5,000 year old skulls have been found in Eastern
Mediterranean and North African countries with openings in them of up to two centimetres
in diameter. It is thought that these holes were made by sharp instruments and that the
procedure, trephination, was performed for therapeutic reasons. Some individuals were
believed to have a mental illness which, at the time, was assumed to be the result of having
evil spirits in their heads. The purpose of trephination was to allow the evil spirits to be
released.321
In ancient Greece, individuals with severe mental illness were thought to be influenced by
angry gods; they were undoubtedly abused. Those with relatively mild conditions remained
free but were treated with contempt and humiliation.322 According to Prince (2003), the
cultural values of ancient Greece were precursors to the modern stigma that is associated
with mental illness.323
In Europe, during the Middle Ages (5th to 16th century), people thought mental illness had
supernatural causes and was associated with demonic or divine possession. The affected
individual was either tortured, burned at the stake, hanged or decapitated to liberate the soul
from demonic possession.324
In the 17th and early 18th centuries, the dominant view was that mental illness was an
impaired physical state self-inflicted through an excess of passion. This view did not
encourage compassion or tolerance; rather, it was used to justify poor living conditions and
320
321
322
323
324
The information contained in this section is based on the following five documents: 1) Leonard I.
Stein and Alberto B. Santos, Assertive Community Treatment of Persons with Severe Mental Illness, New York,
1998; 2) World Health Organization, “Historical Perspective”, Section 3, in The Mental Health Context,
Mental Health Policy and Service Guidance Package, Geneva, 2003; 3) World Health Organization,
“Solving Mental Health Problems”, Chapter 3 in Mental Health: New Understanding, New Hope, Geneva,
2001; 4) Pamela N. Prince, “A Historical Context for Modern Psychiatric Stigma”, in Mental Health
and Patients’ Rights in Ontario: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, published by the Psychiatric Patient
Advocate Office, Ontario, 2003, pp. 58-60; 5) Canadian Mental Health Association, More for the Mind
– A Study of Psychiatric Services in Canada, Toronto, 1963.
Stein and Santos (1998), p. 6.
Stein and Santos (1998), p. 6.
Prince (2003), p. 58.
WHO (2003), pp. 17-19, WHO (2001), p. 49, and Stein and Santos (1998), pp. 6-7.
Overview of Policies and Programs
134
the use of physical restraints in places of confinement. Some individuals were chained to
walls or even kept in cages.325
In the late 18th century, Philippe Pinel, a French physician, and William Tuke, an English
layman, pioneered the belief that those who behaved in strange and unexplainable ways did
so because they were mentally ill. Pinel reformed the Bicêtre and Salpêtrière hospitals in
France; he unchained the inmates and related to them as reasonable individuals, providing
decent living conditions and treating them with respect. Similarly, Tuke, guided by
humanistic ideals, founded the York Retreat in England where individuals with mental illness
were provided with decent living conditions, related to in a respectful manner, and were
expected to work to the extent they could.326
The approach developed by Pinel and Tuke became known as “moral treatment”. Its
success, based on considering of individuals with mental illness to be medical patients, led to
the building of many psychiatric institutions, once known as “lunatic asylums”, in European
countries and the United States. In parallel, this period saw the field of psychiatry burgeon
as a medical discipline.327
In the 19th and 20th centuries, a more “scientific
approach” to the treatment of mental illness
was introduced. Attempts were made to explain
mental illness as a result of disease and/or
damage to the brain, or as the sequella of
congenital and hereditary defects. Because
damaged, devitalized brain tissue cannot be
renewed and little can be done to correct
inherited constitutional defects, this new
“scientific” approach led to an era of pessimism
regarding the possibility of treatment.328
Asylum: A place of refuge and
protection for people with long term
mental illnesses who do not require
acute hospital treatment, but do
require ongoing supervision, care and
treatment in a community facility or
institution.
[The 1998 British Columbia Mental
Health Plan, p. 85.]
It only dawned on people that a rational, even scientific, psychological treatment of mental
illness was possible dawned only when thousands of World War I “shell shock” casualties
demonstrated poignantly that everyone is vulnerable to psychological, social and physical
stress and has a breaking point.329 This realization led to the development of modern
psychiatry and clinical psychology.
Stein and Santos (1998), pp. 6-7.
Stein and Santos (1998), p. 8.
327 Stein and Santos, (1998), pp. 6-8, and WHO (2001), p. 49.
328 Canadian Mental Health Association (1963), p. 2.
329 Ibid.
325
326
135
Overview of Policies and Programs
7.2
DELIVERY OF MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES IN CANADA330
The evolution of mental health service delivery in Canada, as in other developed countries,
has been marked by three distinct periods, beginning with a moral or humanitarian approach
to treating mental illness, followed by institutionalization and, finally, deinstitutionalization.
7.2.1
Moral or Humanitarian Approach to Mental Illness (Before the 1900s)
Prior to Confederation, many individuals who suffered from mental illness were either jailed
or cared for within the family home or by religious bodies.331 At that time, few physicians
practised psychiatry in either Upper or Lower Canada. There were even some who held that
it was a waste of time to attempt any kind of treatment, either medical or psychological, for
individuals with mental illness; they were considered incurable, non-functioning members of
society.332 The treatment of individuals with mental illness, then, was mostly custodial.
In the late 19th century, both Upper and Lower Canada borrowed from the European
experience and developed a number of small institutions that patterned themselves after the
Tuke and Pinel approaches to provide patients the benefit of moral or humanitarian
treatment. Initially, however, there were insufficient moral hospitals to accommodate all
who needed them. Many individuals with mental illness remained locked in a room in their
homes, or were incarcerated with common criminals.
The success of moral treatment led eventually to the building of numerous large asylums
across the country. Thus began the process of institutionalization for individuals with
mental illness. Initially, the patient-to-staff ratio was sufficient to provide moral treatment
and decent living conditions, but, for reasons explained below, most of these institutions
were unable to sustain the success rate of the dedicated pioneers of moral treatment.
7.2.2
Institutionalization (1900 to 1960)
Following European and American experience, lunatic asylums proliferated across Canada.333
These large institutions were usually self-contained and located in very isolated areas. Many
330
331
332
333
The information contained in this section is based on the following nine documents: 1) Health and
Welfare Canada, Mental Health Services in Canada, Ottawa, 1990; 2) .E. Appleton, “Psychiatry in Canada
A Century Ago”, Canadian Psychiatric Association Journal, Vol. 12, No. 4, August 1967, pp. 344-361; 3)
Elliot M. Goldner, Sharing the Learning – The Health Transition Fund: Mental Health, Synthesis Series,
Health Canada, 2002; 4) Cyril Greenland, Jack D. Griffin and Brian F. Hoffman, “Psychiatry in
Canada from 1951 to 2001”, in Psychiatry in Canada: 50 Years, Canadian Psychiatric Association, 2001,
pp. 1-16; 5) Quentin Rae-Grant, “Introduction”, in Psychiatry in Canada: 50 Years, Canadian Psychiatric
Association, 2001, pp. ix-xiii; 6) Henri Dorvil et Herta Guttman, 35 Ans de Désintitutionalisation au
Québec, 1961-1996, Annexe 1 du rapport du Comité de la santé mentale du Québec intitulé Défis de la
Reconfiguration des Services de Santé Mentale, 1998; 7) Julio Arboleda-Florez, Mental Health and Mental Illness
in Canada : The Tragedy and the Promise, Brief to the Committee, 19 March 2003; 8) Paula Goering, Don
Wasylenki and Janet Durbin, « Canada’s Mental Health System », in International Journal of Law and
Psychiatry, Vol. 23, No. 3-4, May-August 2000, pp. 345-359; 9) Donald Wasylenki, “The Paradigm
Shift From Institution to Community”, Chapter 7, in Psychiatry in Canada: 50 Years, Canadian
Psychiatric Association, 2001, pp. 95-110.
Health and Welfare Canada (1990), p. 13.
V.E. Appleton (1967), pp. 344-361.
Elliot Goldner (2002), p. 1.
Overview of Policies and Programs
136
individuals with mental illnesses, once admitted, would spend the rest of their lives there.
Some patients were admitted involuntarily using legal processes and were retained in locked
wards. Treatment attempted to incorporate work through occupational or industrial therapy
(which gave patients small amounts of remuneration), together with recreational and social
activities. Relationships between the staff and patients were marked by paternalism. Most
patients remained isolated from their families and communities.334
Many psychiatric treatments common in use in this period – hydrotherapy, insulin coma,
crude psychosurgery (namely lobotomy) – have since fallen into disfavour or been
abandoned as unethical or scientifically invalid.335 Electroconvulsive therapy (or ECT), given
initially without general anaesthetics or muscle relaxants, was a commonly used but
controversial treatment.336 The convulsions accompanying ECT often caused serious
complications – seizures that lasted longer than expected, increased blood pressure, changes
in heart rhythm, and compression fractures of the spine. Since then, ECT, while still the
subject of controversy in some circles, has been widely recognized and endorsed by
psychiatry and medicine generally as a safe and effective treatment for schizophrenia, severe
depression and extreme mania.337 The lack of effective treatments for patients with mental
illness is generally acknowledged to have significantly contributed to the relatively low
esteem in which psychiatry was held throughout this period.338
It should be noted that, during the process of institutionalization, efforts were made to
promote mental health and de-stigmatize mental illness. For example, in 1948, the federal
government established the Dominion Mental Health Grants to improve training and
services. Funds from this source also led to the development of public awareness campaigns
to promote the mental health of infants and children. “Mental Health Week” was
designated in Canada for the first time in 1951. Similarly, during this period, the Canadian
Mental Health Association fought to change the language used in legislation, and that also
appeared in public discourse, that referred to individuals with mental illness as “idiots”,
“imbeciles”, and “lunatics”.339
After World War II, psychiatric institutions in Canada became overcrowded. In 1950, there
were some 66,000 patients in psychiatric hospitals in Canada; they outnumbered patients in
non-psychiatric hospitals.340 Most psychiatric institutions operated at more than 100%
capacity. Understaffing, overcrowding and the lack of effective treatments led to an
emphasis on custody rather than therapy. Contrary to the initial intent of moral treatment,
334
335
336
337
338
339
340
Greenland, Griffin and Hoffman (2001), p. 2.
Hydrotherapy, which is also called the water cure, is a mode of treating diseases by the copious and
frequent use of pure water, both internally and externally. Insulin coma treatment was a rarely used
treatment of mental illness by means of hypoglycaemic coma induced by insulin.
ECT is a procedure that consists in passing a small electric current through a region of the brain for a
period of 1-3 seconds for the purpose of inducing neurochemical changes associated with the relief of
psychiatric symptoms; the electrical stimulation also induces a brief seizure, whose appearance is
modified by muscle-relaxing drugs. It generally lasts 20-30 seconds and then ends spontaneously.
The patient is anaesthetized and asleep during the treatment and the seizure.
Health and Welfare Canada (1990), p. 13.
Quentin Rae-Grant (2001), p. x.
Greenland, Griffin and Hoffman (2001), p. 3.
Greenland, Griffin and Hoffman (2001),, p. 2.
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Overview of Policies and Programs
institutional care became primitive and restrictive, relying on methods involving seclusion, as
well as on chemical and physical restraints.341 All these negative consequences contributed
to the process of deinstitutionalization described in the following section.
7.2.3
Deinstitutionalization (1960 Up to Now)
(…) deinstitutionalization is not merely the administrative
discharge of patients. It is a complex process in which dehospitalization should lead to the implementation of a
network of alternatives outside mental hospitals. In many
developed countries, unfortunately, deinstitutionalization
was not accompanied by the development of appropriate
community services. (…) It has become increasingly clear
that if adequate funding and human resources for the
establishment of alternative community-based services do
not accompany deinstitutionalization, people with mental
disorders may have access to fewer mental health services
and existing services may be stretched beyond capacity.
(WHO, 2003, p. 18)
A number of factors encouraged the trend [At] the time of the revolution in
towards deinstitutionalization. First, as a result psychiatry (…) [w]e started by meeting
of overcrowding and understaffing, many with priests and community leaders to
psychiatric institutions were seen as non- tell them that psychiatric patients are
therapeutic environments wherein individuals not dangerous, at least not any more
were thought to be housed and dealt with in an dangerous than other people, and that
inhumane, custodial fashion.
Second, they should be given a chance. We
numerous studies in Canada, Europe and the could not take patients out of
United States highlighted the negative impact of psychiatric hospitals and integrate them
long term institutionalization on the well-being into the community until they had
of individuals with mental illness.
These acquired certain social skills. That is
included:
indifference,
apathy,
passive when social workers, psychological
obedience, self-neglect and, sometimes, educators, started teaching psychiatric
aggressive behaviour, as well as substantial loss patients the skills they would require to
of social abilities, increased dependence and function in society.
added chronic physical illness resulting from [Henri Dorvil, Professor, School of
isolation, in addition to authoritarian Social Work, UQAM (14:39)]
relationships between staff and patients.342
Third, with the advent of chlorpromazine – an
effective medication that controls psychosis and severe mood disorders – and other
neuroleptic medications came the hope that “cures” for severe and persistent mental
illnesses such as schizophrenia were on the horizon (it is interesting to note that these early
research findings stimulated considerable research interests in psychopharmacology and
neuroscience in Canada). At the very least, it was expected that with these new medications
341
342
Health and Welfare Canada (1990), p. 13.
Dorvil and Guttman (1998), p. 116.
Overview of Policies and Programs
138
individuals with mental illness could live comfortable lives outside of hospitals, allowing
them to resume the functions of everyday life without constant supervision and care. And
fourth, financial incentives that were offered to provincial governments through federalprovincial cost-sharing arrangements to fund psychiatric units in general hospitals proved
hard to resist.343
Two important national reports, along with the reports of several provincial commissions,344
highlighted these observations and encouraged the shift toward deinstitutionalization. In
1963, the National Scientific Planning Council of the Canadian Mental Health Association
released More for the Mind which insisted that mental illness should be dealt within the same
organizational, administrative and professional framework as physical illness.
It
recommended that psychiatric services be integrated with the physical and professional
resources of the rest of the health care system.345
Similarly, in 1964, the Royal Commission on Health Services, chaired by Emmett Hall stated:
“Any distinction in the care of physically and mentally ill individuals should be eschewed as
unscientific for all time”. The Hall Commission recommended that patients capable of
receiving care in general hospital psychiatric units should be moved from psychiatric
hospitals with all due speed. It was expected that patients would occupy beds in psychiatric
units of general hospitals for brief periods of time during episodes of illness, but otherwise
would live successful and satisfying lives in their communities.346
Thus, in the 1960s the process of deinstitutionalization began. It was a long journey.
Indeed, the deinstitutionalization process itself can be described in three distinctive phases
covering the period beginning in the early 1960s and continuing to the present. The first
phase (section 7.2.3.1) involved a shift from care in psychiatric institutions to care in the
psychiatric units of general hospitals. The second phase (section 7.2.3.2) focussed on the
need to expand mental health care into the community and to provide necessary community
supports for individuals with mental illness and their families. In the third and current phase
(section 7.2.3.3), the emphasis is on integrating the various mental health services and
supports available within communities and enhancing their effectiveness.347
7.2.3.1
Psychiatric Units in General Hospitals (1960s)
Deinstitutionalization (…) evolved as a natural
phenomenon following the advent of new pharmacological
treatment, with the first era of anti-psychotic medication.
Patients who spent years in institutions could now be
treated with effective medications and their conditions often
improved to the point that they could re-enter the
343
344
345
346
347
Donald Wasylenki (2001), pp. 95-110.
Such as the Bédard Commission in Québec (1961-1962) and the Blair Commission in Alberta (19671969).
Canadian Mental Health Association, More for the Mind – A Study of Psychiatric Services in Canada,
Toronto, 1963.
As quoted and reported in Donald Wasylenki (2001), p. .96.
Donald Wasylenki (2001), pp. 95-110.
139
Overview of Policies and Programs
community. In following years, deinstitutionalization
became a desirable goal. In the beginning of community
psychiatry, it was thought that behavioural problems of
many chronic patients were secondary to some form of
“institutional neurosis”. By taking steps to remove these
patients from a pathological milieu and rehabilitating them
in the society, it was hoped that social reinsertion would be
successful for a large number of them.
[Dr. Dominique Bourget, Forensic Psychiatrist, Royal
Ottawa Hospital, Brief to the Committee, June 2003, pp.
2-3.]
The first phase of the deinstitutionalization process involved discharging large numbers of
long-term stay individuals from psychiatric hospitals both into the psychiatric units of
general hospitals and directly into relatively unprepared communities. This resulted, during
the 1960s, in the closing of several of Canada’s larger, more isolated institutions. Long term
hospitalization was slowly being replaced by shorter, intermittent stays. From 1960 to 1970,
the number of patient days in psychiatric institutions was cut in half. The bed capacity of
psychiatric hospitals decreased from approximately four beds per 1,000 population in 1964
to less than one bed per 1,000 in 1979.348
It was intended that this shift from psychiatric institutions to general hospitals’ psychiatric
units would have a significant impact, in particular by lessening the stigma associated with
mental illness and psychiatry, as these illnesses and the practitioners who treated them
became more closely integrated with the rest of medicine.349
Initially, both general hospitals and psychiatric institutions resisted the placement of
psychiatric patients in general hospitals; some general hospitals did not want psychiatric
patients, while some psychiatric institutions worried that their resources were being
dramatically reduced.350 However, there were benefits to shifting care to general hospitals.
The general hospital units had the potential to enable early identification, to facilitate
preventive psychiatry, and to treat a wide range of less serious psychiatric disorders.351
Unfortunately, the psychiatric units of general hospitals did not adequately serve the patient
population discharged from the former psychiatric institutions. On the one hand, human
and financial resources were not reallocated to general hospitals as individuals were
discharged from psychiatric institutions. Indeed, studies in the late 1970s showed that
individuals with severe and persistent mental illnesses who were treated in the psychiatric
units of general hospitals benefited from far fewer resources than had been available in the
psychiatric institutions in which they accommodated.352
Health and Welfare Canada (1990), p. 15.
Donald Wasylenki (2001), pp. 107-109.
350Greenland, Griffin and Hoffman (2001), p. 4.
351Greenland, Griffin and Hoffman (2001), p. 7.
352 Don Wasylenki (2001), p. 97.
348
349
Overview of Policies and Programs
140
On the other hand, general hospital psychiatric units tended to be used on a voluntary basis
by middle and upper income individuals who were referred to them by private psychiatrists,
while psychiatric institutions continued to provide services to poorer individuals and to
those who had been admitted involuntarily. This, in effect, created a two-tiered system of
mental health care: the general hospitals and psychiatric institutions served groups of
patients that rarely overlapped.
Most importantly, the closing or downsizing of psychiatric institutions was achieved without
providing adequate funding at the community level to provide for psychological support and
rehabilitation outside the hospital. Thus, communities were left ill-prepared to provide
discharged patients with appropriate support. Many individuals, disabled by persistent
psychiatric illnesses, were left merely to subsist in the community. Although now living in a
less restrictive environment, they received dramatically fewer services and less care if any
care at all. According to numerous witnesses, this is a critical lesson that should never be
forgotten in any movement to reform the mental health system.
The lack of proper services and supports in the community for those suffering from mental
illnesses resulted in:
•
a high frequency of relapse (back to the psychotic state) and, therefore, increased
readmission rates to hospitals;
•
the “revolving door syndrome”, where patients, after readmission to the hospital and
treatment, were discharged back to inadequate care in the community, only to
become ill again and start the process all over again;
•
increased homelessness;
•
increased criminal behaviour and incarceration (sometimes for minor crimes).
This situation was tragic for individuals with mental illnesses and their families. Some
experts came to believe that the deinstitutionalization policy itself was a major mistake. They
came to believe that patients would be better off if they lived their lives in institutions. By
and large, however, most experts, including individuals afflicted with mental illness, did not
agree. They resisted joining the chorus for massive re-institutionalization and advocated the
provision of long term services and supports for everyday needs so that they could live
stable lives in the communities.
7.2.3.2
Community Mental Health Services and Supports (1970s and 1980s)
In this second phase of deinstitutionalization, the shift from institutional to community care
continued with an emphasis not only on community mental health care per se, but also on
community mental health supports.
In this phase, provincial governments began to fund mental health services outside the
hospital setting, mainly in response to deficiencies in the general hospitals’ psychiatric units.
These services were provided by community mental health clinics. In addition, this phase
also focussed on the need for an extensive array of community supports and services (such
141
Overview of Policies and Programs
as residential services, vocational rehabilitation programs, and income support) to maintain
individuals with mental illness, particularly those with serious and persistent illnesses, in the
community. People believed that a more balanced approach was needed in the allocation of
funding for mental health services between expensive, facility-based, treatment-oriented care
and community mental health care and support. Case management was needed to ensure
the coordination of services in a community-based delivery system.
During this phase, proponents of community
care were pitted against facility-based providers, History has taught us that mental
and hospitals were seen to be part of the health and mental illness transcend
problem rather than part of the solution. Also, pure health boundaries, and intersect
the interests of professionals were sometimes many social policy areas such as
seen to be divergent both from those of housing, income supports, social
individuals with mental illnesses and their services, employment and justice.
families. Increasingly, provincial governments [Canadian Mental Health Association,
became less responsive to the advice of Brief to the Committee, June 2003, p. 1.]
professionals and more responsive to the voice
of individuals with mental illnesses and family members. Nongovernmental organizations,
in particular, became especially strong and effective during this phase; pressure on
governments to provide housing, income support, and opportunities for socialization
matched the pressure that was exerted by professionals to secure treatment.353
The 1970s and 1980s were also marked by advances in biological psychiatry, which showed
that abnormal neurotransmitter systems may underpin at least some mental illness. Research
in this area of psychiatry was also key in explaining the effectiveness of psychotropic
medications. During this period, research done in Canada contributed significantly, both
nationally and internationally, not only to expanding knowledge about the brain functions,
but also to developing new drugs and to the better therapeutic management of mental
disorders. These years were also marked by major contributions from Canadian scientists in
the field of genetics and mental disorders, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
By the end of the 1980s, mental health services and supports, although they existed in most
provinces, were not well integrated. Indeed, it was often said that these were “three
solitudes” – psychiatric hospitals, psychiatric units in general hospitals and community
mental health clinics, supports and services.
7.2.3.3
Enhancing Effectiveness and Integrating Mental Health Services
and Supports (1990s to Present)
As in the previous phase, it was recognized that there was a need for more community
mental service interventions, including more home visits, outreach services, mobile crisis
mental health teams, as well as better partnerships with self-help groups, and more assertive
community treatment (ACT) teams, etc. But in this third phase of the deinstitutionalization
process, individuals with mental illness and their families, through various nongovernmental
organizations, continued to pressure governments to provide more and better community
supports in various areas such as housing, income support, employment opportunities, etc.
353
Wasylenki (2001), pp. 107-109.
Overview of Policies and Programs
142
In contrast with the previous phase, however, this third phase has been marked by an
emphasis on empirical research. In fact, there is an important trend toward the adoption of
the “best practice” framework by policy makers, professionals, individuals with mental
illness and family members. It is believed that the evidence-based approach will lead to a
much greater degree of cooperation and collaboration in facilitating mental health reform.
Hospitals (both general hospitals and psychiatric institutions) are no longer seen to be
outside evolving systems of comprehensive care; rather, they are regarded as essential
components even though they may require a rethinking of their key functions and
mechanisms in order to better link facility and community-based care. This third and
current phase is thus characterized by a greater degree of inclusiveness in planning and
implementation activities as well as by a much clearer consensus on the reforms that are
needed.354
In many provinces, the preferred model of
mental health service delivery currently
includes a broad range of coordinated
community
services
operating
in
conjunction with the psychiatric units in
general hospitals and an associated regional
tertiary mental health care centre.
In my view, deinstitutionalization makes
sense for most — not all — but only if the
community has the service capacity; if
society has been informed in an appropriate
public education policy; if safe and
affordable housing exists; and if enhanced
employment opportunities exist. Can you
imagine a time-sensitive institutionalized
consumer is suddenly discharged to find
employment in a stigmatized society where
a ʺnot-in-my neighbourhoodʺ housing
policy exists?
[Michael J. Grass (17:44)]
Major challenges remain, however. Simply
put, mental illness has a social dimension
that is not exhausted by the health care
sphere. As those in larger cities are aware,
the number of homeless people is
increasing. As well, forensic psychiatry
programs are under ever-increasing pressure
for space. In addition, Canada is a multicultural society and mental health services and
supports must accordingly be provided in a culturally appropriate manner.355 Perhaps most
importantly, the many and changing needs of children, adolescents and transitional-aged
youth suffering from mental illnesses – the “orphans’ orphan” – require major collaborative
cross-sectoral action from the still poorly coordinated mental health, health care, social
services, education, correctional, recreational, vocational and addiction systems.
7.3
PROVISION OF ADDICTION TREATMENT IN CANADA356
The development of addiction treatment in Canada has been characterized by five (5)
distinct phases. The first phase, ending in the late 1940s, was dominated by moralistic
attitudes and a general lack of attention to treatment. Some addiction treatment was
354
355
356
Don Wasylenki (2001), pp. 107-109.
Quentin Rae-Grant (2001), p. xi.
This section is based on information provided in the two following documents: 1) Health Canada,
“The Development of Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment in Canada”, in Profile of Substance Abuse
Treatment and Rehabilitation in Canada, Ottawa, 1999, pp. 3-5; 2) Colleen Hood, Colin McGuire and
Gillian Leigh, Exploring the Links Between Substance Use and Mental Health – A Discussion Paper, prepared
under contract to Health Canada, 1996.
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available in private asylums and some counselling services were established in prisons.
However, most individuals with addiction problems (either with alcohol or other drugs) had
little access to treatment services. The dominant view was that these problems resulted from
a “lack of will power” or from “personality defects”.
The second phase, ending in the mid-1960s, was marked by a change in attitudes towards
alcoholism and, to a lesser extent, towards problems involving other drugs. A major
influence during this period was the growth of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). AA promoted
the view that alcoholism, although incurable, could be arrested if treatment was provided for
withdrawal and the alcoholic followed a 12-step recovery program. With the support of
some community leaders, AA members lobbied successfully for government-sponsored
treatment and education programs. Efforts to secure government support for alcoholism
services were also spurred by the view of alcoholism as a preventable and treatable “disease”
rather than an expression or sequella of moral weakness.
During this phase, most provinces
established departments, commissions or
foundations to provide or coordinate
addiction treatment services; many new
services established.
Initially, these
agencies were principally concerned with
alcohol-related problems but later, as
individuals with addiction to other drugs
began to increase in number, their
mandates were expanded to encompass
problems involving other drugs. It is
important to note, however, that
treatment for individuals who used illegal
drugs took place in the shadow of a
strong punitive approach to dealing with
drug addiction.
In contrast with the moral model that « blamed
the victim » for the development of addiction,
the new view was that addiction was a disease
caused by genetic and biological factors. No
longer was the addict held personally
responsible for engaging in « bad habits » since
the determinants of their habitual behaviour
were biogenetic factors beyond their individual
control. The disease model was first advanced
by academic specialists in the alcoholism field.
In more recent years, the concept of alcoholism
as a disease has been generalized to other
habitual drug use.
[Ministry of Health Services, British Columbia,
Every Door is the Right Door, May 2004,
Appendix III, p. 72.]
The third phase began in the mid-1960s.
It accompanied a surge in drug use and was characterized by a rapid expansion of addiction
services. The most rapid growth occurred between 1970 and 1976. Of approximately 340
specialized agencies operating in 1976, two-thirds were established after 1970; expenditures
on treatment services increased from $14 million to $70 million during the same period. The
range of services established during this period included detoxification centres, outpatient
programs, short- and long-term residential facilities and aftercare services. Some services for
individuals with problems involving drugs other than alcohol were provided by programs
established primarily to serve those with alcohol problems, but some specialized “drug”
treatment services were also established during this period, including a number of
therapeutic communities. Throughout this period, individuals in treatment were increasingly
found to have been abusing other drugs simultaneously with alcohol.
The fourth phase began during the 1980s. It featured the relative autonomy of the
provincial foundations and commissions within their respective health and social service
systems. In many cases, addiction research, education and treatment occurred in systems
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144
that paralleled but were far from fully integrated with the general community health and
social services systems. Despite this, there was a growing appreciation for the role of nonspecialized health and social services in identifying and supporting specialized substance
abuse treatment services.
This phase can also be characterized by the diversification and specialization of alcohol and
drug treatment services, and with growth in special services particularly for women,
adolescents and Aboriginal peoples. This trend was driven by research indicating that
individuals respond differently to different types of treatment and by a growing belief that
treatment should be adjusted for different populations and types of addiction problems.
While various modifications of the medical model of treatment were prevalent across the
country, a number of other treatments based on cognitive, behavioural and social theories
and research also emerged during this period, an approach that has come to be known as the
cognitive-behavioural (CB) model. Canada’s Drug Strategy, conceived as a multi-sectoral
partnership, was launched in 1987. It helped stimulate a range of activity, including support
for innovative treatment and rehabilitation services across the country.
The fifth and current phase, which began in the early 1990s, has been fuelled by dramatic
changes in the structure of health service delivery across the country. Within a general
environment fostering health care reform, most government addiction services have been
integrated into community health and social services delivery systems. During this phase,
there has been increased awareness of the need to better integrate alcohol and drug services,
not only into the mental health service system, but also into larger social welfare policy and
social support systems. Such integration of services is the result of the adoption of a
population health approach in all provinces and territories. The holistic population health
model emphasizes a complex set of health determinants – social, economic, cultural and
environmental conditions, including behavioural choices – that impact both psychological
status and biological states.
During this phase, new breeds of more potent drugs have emerged, putting young children
and adolescents are at risk of addiction earlier than ever before. In addition, with the recent
proliferation of gambling opportunities available to Canadians, problem gambling is an
emerging concern in the field of addiction in many provinces and territories. Moreover, as
corporate interest in addiction increases, the number of referrals from business and industry
to Canadian addiction treatment services is growing.
7.4
COMMITTEE COMMENTARY
The stigma associated with mental illness and addiction in Canada has created serious
obstacles to the provision of effective mental health services and addiction treatment. The
Committee strongly believes that addressing stigma and discrimination is an important step
towards the more efficient planning and provision of adequate mental health/addiction
services and supports.
During the past 50 years, biomedical and clinical research, scientific advances in
neuroscience, genetics and biology, and progress in cognitive and behavioural sciences have
contributed to a better understanding of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. They
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have led to the development of effective medications, treatments and therapies to which
Canadian scientists have been major contributors. In fact, Canada was at the forefront of
applying advances in neuroscience to mental disorders. In addition, the field of
neuroscience has traditionally been a major international strength of Canadian research.
Moreover recent breakthroughs may have a significant impact on the ability to treat many
mental disorders including in preventing suicide. For example, advances in neurogenetics
may help us better understand the nature of schizophrenia, while progress in
neuropharmacology can yield gains in the treatment of depression. The Committee concurs
with many witnesses that, thanks to health research, there are grounds for believing that the
21st century will see a significant improvement in the care and treatment of individuals with
mental illness and addiction and perhaps in the prevention of diseases of this kind as well.
The deinstitutionalization process of the 1960s through the 1980s has yielded some
important lessons with implications for how services and supports are delivered to
individuals with mental disorders. In particular, significant reform at the system level must
be undertaken to ensure the seamless provision of the full continuum of services and
supports needed by individuals with mental illness and addiction. This can only be achieved
through the integration of the ‘three solitudes’ – institutions, community services, and
community supports – along with the integration of the currently separated systems – one
for mental illness and the other for addiction. Individuals with mental illness and addiction
must be regarded as people first, not as diagnoses or psychiatric labels. They must be
engaged with their families in determining their path to recovery. This requires collaboration
and the establishment of partnerships amongst players at all levels. Governments must play
a leadership role in this very important undertaking.
The participation of individuals with mental illness and addiction and their families in
community life must accompany every step along the road of reform and renewal.
Individuals with mental illness/addiction and their families have important knowledge of
how the system works (and doesn’t work). The Committee concurs with numerous
witnesses that, by including the perspectives of individuals with mental illness and addiction
and their families in planning, policy making, service design and delivery, many false steps
can be avoided.
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CHAPTER 8:
MENTAL ILLNESS AND ADDICTION POLICY AND
LEGISLATION IN CANADA:
REVIEW OF SELECTED PROVINCIAL FRAMEWORKS
INTRODUCTION
Policies, programs and legislation in the fields of mental health, mental illness and addiction
are the responsibility of both provincial/territorial jurisdictions and the federal government
and involve numerous departments and agencies. The organization, governance, funding
and delivery of mental health services and supports and addiction treatment in Canada are
primarily the responsibility of provincial and territorial governments. Provinces and
territories also govern mental health legislation in their respective jurisdictions.
The federal government has a direct responsibility for the delivery of mental health services
and addiction treatment to: Status Indians and Inuit; the military; veterans; civil aviation
personnel; the RCMP; inmates in federal penitentiaries; arriving immigrants; and federal
public servants. The federal government also has various responsibilities, such as health
promotion and disease prevention; disease surveillance; health research; human rights; drug
approval; employment and disability benefits; etc. which have direct or indirect implications
for the provision of mental health services and supports and addiction treatment in the
provinces and territories.
The purpose of this chapter is to provide a general overview of the role and responsibilities
of provincial and territorial governments with respect to mental health, mental illness and
addiction. The role of the federal government in the field of mental health, mental illness
and addiction is discussed in detail in a subsequent chapter.
Section 8.1 briefly describes and compares the organizational structure and level of
integration of the mental health services and addiction treatment system in selected
provinces – Alberta, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Québec; it also provides
some information on recent reforms. Section 8.2 identifies a number of problems related to
the provincial/territorial systems arising out of the testimony received by the Committee.
Section 8.3 examines the mental health acts of all Canadian jurisdictions and highlights the
major differences among them. Section 8.4 present the Committee’s commentary.
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8.1
PROVINCIAL SYSTEMS OF MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES AND
ADDICTION TREATMENT
8.1.1
Alberta357
The Ministry of Health and Wellness has responsibility for overall policy development,
implementation, funding, service planning and evaluation in the fields of mental illness and
addiction. Responsibility for the provision of community-based and facility-based mental
health services is split between nine regional health authorities (RHAs) and the Alberta
Mental Health Board. Provision of addiction treatment is the responsibility of the Alberta
Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission (AADAC).
Since the beginning of April 2003, the delivery of mental health services and the
management of Alberta’s four mental health facilities are the responsibility of the nine
RHAs. Service delivery in the province encompasses Aboriginal mental health and reflects a
strong integrated care/case management orientation. In other words, the vast majority of
provision of front-line clinical services is under the direction of the RHAs and is integrated
with the provision of physical health services.
The Alberta Mental Health Board, a provincial health authority accountable to the Minister
of Health and Wellness, governs and operates province-wide services and programs such as
forensic psychiatry, suicide prevention, tele-mental health (video-conferencing) and
promotion activities. The Board also advises the Minister of Health and Wellness on
matters related to the integration and performance of the provincial mental health system.
AADAC is a Crown agency accountable to the Minister of Health and Wellness. It is
mandated to operate and fund services addressing alcohol, other drug and gambling
problems (such as detoxification, residential treatment services; prevention, education,
counselling), and to conduct related research. The Commission offers hospital-based
addiction services in all regions. AADAC is also responsible for coordinating the
implementation of the Alberta Tobacco Reduction Strategy.
RHAs, the Alberta Mental Health Board and AADAC work in partnership with the Ministry
of Health and Wellness and other ministries and agencies in the implementation of the
province-wide Children’s Mental Health Initiative (July 2001). This Initiative focuses on
reducing the risk of mental health problems and substance abuse and on providing support
and treatment for children, adolescents and their families.
357
Unless specified otherwise, the information contained in this section is based on the following
documents: Provincial Mental Health Planning Project, Advancing the Mental Health Agenda – A
Provincial Mental Health Plan for Alberta, April 2004; Alberta Children and Youth Initiative, Children’s
Mental Health Initiative, Fact Sheet, February 2004; Alberta Mental Health Board, Brief to the Committee,
2003; Alberta Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health, Partnership, Participation, Innovation – A
Blueprint for Reform, March 2003; Alberta Health and Wellness, “Transition Underway to Fewer Health
Regions, Integrated Mental Health”, News Release, 23 January 2003; Alberta Mental Health Board,
Business Plan, 2002-2005, 2002; Information on the website of the Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse
Commission (www.aadac.com).
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8.1.2
British Columbia358
In British Columbia, responsibility for policy development, implementation, funding, service
planning, monitoring and evaluation in the fields of mental illness and addiction rests
essentially with the Ministry of Health Services and the Ministry of State for Mental Health
and Addiction Services. Responsibility for mental health policy for children and adolescents
belongs to the Ministry for Children and Family Development which works in collaboration
with the Ministry of Health Services and the Ministry of State for Mental Health and
Addiction Services.
Governance, management and delivery of mental health services and addiction treatment,
including community-based services, are the responsibility of RHAs which operate in 5
defined geographic areas. Core mental health and addiction services provided by the RHAs,
with the assistance of the Ministry of Health Services, include: emergency response and
short-term intervention services; intensive case management; outreach services; clinical
services (assessment, diagnosis, treatment and consultation); addiction treatment (since
2002), preventive measures (research, education, early identification and intervention);
psychosocial rehabilitation; case management and social supports, including respite care for
family caregivers; residential services; and, when required, assistance in accessing housing,
income assistance and rehabilitation services and benefits.
British Columbia has one large long-stay psychiatric hospital, Riverview Hospital, six
community forensic psychiatric clinics and a Forensic Psychiatric Services Commission.
RHAs are responsible for the community forensic psychiatric clinics. The Provincial Health
Services Authority, the sixth health authority of the province, administers services provided
province-wide by the Riverview Hospital and the Forensic Psychiatric Services Commission.
The Forensic Psychiatric Services Commission is a multi-site organization that provides
specialized hospital and community-based assessment, treatment and clinical case
management services for adults with mental illnesses and substance use disorders who are in
conflict with the law. This unique, single-entry service ensures that forensic psychiatric
clients have equitable access to mental health and addiction services throughout British
Columbia.
The position of a provincial ministry of state responsible for mental health and addiction
services in British Columbia is unique in Canada. It suggests strong recognition by the
provincial government of mental illness and addiction as a serious public policy concern:
358
Unless specified otherwise, the information contained in this section is based on the following
documents: Mental Health and Addictions, Ministry of Health Services, British Columbia, Brief to the
Committee, 9 September 2003; Mental Health and Addictions, Ministry of Health Services, British
Columbia, Development of a Mental Health and Addictions Information Plan for Mental Health Literacy, 20032005, 4 February 2003; Government of British Columbia, Child and Youth Mental Health Plan for British
Columbia, February 2003; Addictions Task Group, Kaiser Youth Foundation, British Columbia,
Weaving Threads Together – A New Approach to Address Addictions in BC, March 2001; Minister’s Advisory
Council on Mental Health, Moving Forward, Annual Report, 2001; Ministry of Health Services, British
Columbia, Revitalizing and Rebalancing British Columbia’s Mental Health System – The 1998 Mental Health
Plan, 1998; Information on the Website of the Provincial Health Services Authority (www.phsa.ca)
and the British Columbia Mental Health Society or Riverview Hospital (www.bcmhs.bc.ca).
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A unique approach has recently been implemented in British Columbia
with the establishment of a Minister of State for Mental Health. This
appears to be a direct acknowledgment of the importance of mental health
issues within society and provides prominent office, with a seat in cabinet,
to oversee governance and administration of the provincial mental health
system.359
British Columbia has tried to implement best practices in mental health care. This has
translated into the development of regionally integrated mental health services, with tertiary
care provided in smaller, community-based facilities.
In recent years, British Columbia has established an addiction planning framework (May
2004), a child and adolescent mental health plan (February 2003), a depression strategy
(October 2002) and an anxiety disorders strategy (April 2002). These province-wide
initiatives are aimed at improving the quality and effectiveness of prevention, early
detection/intervention, treatment and supports to individuals with mental illness and
addiction.
8.1.3
Nova Scotia360
The Department of Health is responsible for the planning, organization, funding,
management, monitoring and evaluation of mental health services and addiction treatment.
These functions are achieved mainly through the Mental Health Services Section and the
Drug Dependency Services of the Department of Health. The nine RHAs (called “District
Health Authorities”) are responsible for the provision of mental health services and
addiction treatment (alcohol, tobacco, drugs, gambling) in their respective geographic areas.
The Provincial Forensic Psychiatric Service, also administered by the Department of Health,
provides inpatient treatment and assessment, and a few community support programs. All
inpatient forensic psychiatric services are located in a single institution - the Nova Scotia
Hospital.
The IWK Grace Health Centre is an academic health sciences centre affiliated with
Dalhousie University. The IWK operates the provincial child and adolescent psychiatry unit,
some outpatient clinics and telemedicine consultation services.
Nova Scotia was the first province to introduce, in 2003, formal standards for mental health
service delivery. These standards were developed through collaborative efforts involving
individuals with mental illness and addiction, their families, community groups and the
359
360
Dr. Elliot M. Goldner, The Health Transition Fund – Sharing the Learning: Mental Health, Synthesis Series,
Health Canada, 2002, p. 11.
Unless specified otherwise, the information contained in this section is based on the following
documents : Canadian Mental Health Association (Nova Scotia Division), 2004 Report Card on Mental
Health Services Core Standards, 8 March 2003; Department of Health, Nova Scotia, Strategic Directions for
Nova Scotia’s Mental Health System, 20 February 2003; Department of Health, Nova Scotia, Standards for
Mental Health Services in Nova Scotia, 20 February 2003; Roger Bland and Brian Dufton, Mental Health:
A Time for Action, submitted to the Deputy Minister of Health, Nova Scotia, 31 May 2000; IWK
Health Centre’s Website (http://www.iwk.nshealth.ca/).
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Mental Health Services Section of the Department of Health. It has been argued that more
funding is needed to implement these standards province wide.361
8.1.4
Ontario362
Responsibility for the planning, organization, funding, management, monitoring and delivery
of mental health services and addiction treatment rests with the Ministry of Health and
Long-Term Care (MOHLTC). In contrast to other provinces, there are no RHAs in
Ontario. There are 16 District Health Councils, but their mandate is limited to advising the
Minister of Health on the health matters and needs in their respective districts; they do not
control funding of any service, including mental health and addiction services. As a
consequence, the many mental health services, supports and addiction treatment providers
function largely independently of one another.
The MOHLTC also coordinates the provincial forensic strategy in partnership with the
Ministry of Community, Family and Children’s Services, the Ministry of the Attorney
General, and the Ministry of Public Safety and Security.
The mental health and addiction treatment system in Ontario is currently in transition. In
December 2002, 9 regional mental health implementation task forces released their reports
on how to reform and renew the organization and delivery of mental health services and
addiction treatment throughout the province. The main recommendation of these reports
relates to the establishment of regional mental health authorities with responsibility for
funding allocation and the delivery of mental health services and addiction treatment in their
respective geographical areas. These regional systems would deliver a core basket of services
and supports that would allow individuals to access a continuum of community-based
services and supports where and when they need it. The Ontario government has not yet
acted on the recommendations of these task forces.
8.1.5
Québec363
The Ministère de la Santé et des Services Sociaux (MSSS) (Department of Health and Social
Services) has responsibility for planning, organization, management, funding, monitoring
361
362
363
Canadian Mental Health Association (Nova Scotia Division), www.cmhans.org.
Unless specified otherwise, the information contained in this section is based on the following
documents : Provincial Forum of Mental Health Implementation Task Forces, The Time Is Now :
Themes And Recommendations For Mental Health Reform In Ontario, Final Report, December 2002;
Forensic Mental Health Services Expert Advisory Panel, Assessment, Treatment and Community
Reintegration of the Mentally Disordered Offender, Final Report, December 2002; Ministry of Health and
Long-Term Care, Make it Happen – Operational Framework for the Delivery of Mental Health Services and
Supports, Government of Ontario, 1999;
Unless specified otherwise, the information contained in this section is based on the following
documents : Ministère de la Santé et des Services Sociaux, Agir Ensemble – Plan d’action gouvernemental
sur le jeu pathologique, 2002-2005, Government of Québec, 2002; Ministère de la Santé et des Services
Sociaux, Plan d’action en toxicomanie, 1999-2001, Government of Québec, 1998; Ministère de la Santé et
des Services Sociaux, Québec’s Strategy for Preventing Suicide, Government of Québec, 1998; Ministère de
la Santé et des Services Sociaux, Plan d’action pour la transformation des services de santé mentale,
Government of Québec, 1998, Comité de la santé mentale du Québec, Défis de la reconfiguration des
services de santé mentale, Government of Québec, 1997.
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and evaluation of mental health services and addiction treatment. The Minister for MSSS is
guided in this responsibility by two distinct advisory bodies: the Comité de la santé mentale
du Québec and the Comité permanent de lutte à la toxicomanie. The 18 RHAs are
responsible for the provision of inpatient, outpatient and community mental health services
and supports as well as addiction treatment in their respective regions.
The MSSS is responsible for implementing and coordinating the provincial action plan on
addiction; the plan covers promotion, prevention, early detection and intervention,
detoxification, social rehabilitation and reintegration. In addition, the MSSS coordinates
Québec’s Strategy for Preventing Suicide. The purpose of this strategy is to consolidate and
coordinate the various suicide prevention efforts to ensure equitable access to essential
services in all regions. Essential services include: telephone hotline on a 24/7 basis; suicide
crisis intervention (assessment, referral services, support services, monitoring); postintervention (individual or group debriefing services for friends, relatives and caseworkers
within 48 hours of a completed suicide). The strategy involves not only governmental
departments, but also RHAs, CLSCs, hospitals, suicide prevention centres, police, schools,
youth centres, community organizations, etc.
8.1.6
Brief Comparative Analysis
In two important aspects, British Columbia is unique in its approach to mental health and
addiction policy in Canada. It alone has a minister of state responsible for mental health and
addiction who can bring mental health issues to the forefront in Cabinet discussions. And
second, only in British Columbia have the policy framework, governance and service delivery
for both mental health and addiction been integrated.
In Alberta, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Québec, responsibility for mental health and addiction
policy development and service planning rests with the provincial department of health. A
number of provincial reports have noted, however, that policy development which impacts
on individuals with mental illness and addiction has not been well coordinated across various
social policy ministries. This has diminished the impact which would be derived from more
thorough, consultative and inclusive inter-ministerial planning among the several ministries
that must inevitably be involved in the provision of services to individuals with mental illness
and addiction.
In all provinces but Ontario (which does not have RHAs as yet), programs and services to
support individuals with mental illness and addiction are organized and provided by RHAs.
Devolution through regionalization has facilitated the tailoring of services and supports to
meet regional needs more closely. It has also facilitated collaboration among the various
stakeholders involved in service delivery.
Reform of the mental health and addiction treatment system is occurring in most
jurisdictions. While there are variations across provinces, a number of best practices criteria
have been identified and largely agreed upon:
1. a shift from hospital to community-based services to create a more balanced
approach to the delivery of mental health/addiction services;
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152
2. specified, protected funding for an integrated mental health and addiction
treatment system, including community, hospital-based and community-based
tertiary care;
3. a single point of accountability where responsibility for the operation of an
integrated system at the local/regional level;
4. mechanisms for the meaningful involvement of individuals with mental illness
and addiction and communities in decision-making.
During its hearings, the Committee did not hear from individuals with mental illness and
addiction or others about whether a particular province, region or RHA can be considered as
a model to emulate in terms of policy development, organizational structure, governance and
service delivery. Significant questions remain. For example, should the central authority for
mental illness and addiction be at the provincial rather than at the regional level? Has any
province or region been particularly successful at integrating hospitals and community
services and supports? How can mental health services and supports best be integrated with
addiction treatment? Has a particular province or region been able to coordinate mental
health and addiction services with the broader social system (education, housing, justice,
income support, etc.)?
8.2
COMMON PROBLEMS IDENTIFIED WITH RESPECT TO
PROVINCIAL/TERRITORIAL FRAMEWORKS FOR MENTAL ILLNESS
AND ADDICTION
8.2.1
Fragmentation and Lack of Integration
The Committee heard repeatedly that the mental health and addiction system is not, in fact, a
real system, but rather a complex array of services delivered through federal, provincial and
municipal jurisdictions and private providers, including initiatives by individuals with mental
illness/addiction themselves. This system is a mix of acute care services in general hospitals,
specialized services for specific disorders or populations, outpatient community clinics,
community-based services providing psychosocial supports (housing, employment,
education, and crisis intervention) and private counselling, all of varying capacity and quality,
often operating in silos, and all-too-frequently disconnected from the health care system. In
most jurisdictions, there are limited if any ties between the “formal” mental health and
addiction system and self-help initiatives that have taken root in communities nationwide.
The result is, in most jurisdictions, a highly fragmented (non-) system that has become
increasingly difficult to navigate by both individuals with mental illness and addiction and
service providers.
Compounding this fragmentation is the fact that while mental health services/supports and
addiction treatment are delivered by many different agencies, data information systems are
not yet adequately linked across the sectors concerned (e.g. health, housing, education,
family benefits, work environment, etc.). This makes it virtually impossible to monitor
mental health services and addiction treatment other than those provided by hospitals or
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Overview of Policies and Programs
primary health care providers where some records are kept and can be accessed under the
right circumstances.
The Committee was told that ensuring coordinated access to a broad continuum of services
and supports is critical to the development of an effective strategy to address mental illness
and addiction. This means that governments must invest in the community-based sector, as
well as in hospitals and other institutions. Many witnesses stressed that a broad continuum
of services and supports, including supportive housing and income supports, is key to
meeting effectively the different needs of individuals at different stages of their illness and
recovery; it is also key to ensuring a responsive mental health and addiction system capable
of preventing acute episodes of illness, or of reducing their intensity or duration. Moreover,
it is imperative that addiction be included in mental health reform initiatives.
A review of selected documents from a number of jurisdictions suggests that most provinces
face very similar problems and challenges with respect to the current delivery of mental
health services and addiction treatment. These problems and challenges are summarized
below:364
364
•
First, as mentioned above, existing services and supports for individuals with mental
illness and addiction are fragmented among many separate agencies and many access
points. There is also the need to better integrate the mental health system with the
health care system and the mental health system with the addiction treatment system.
•
Second, the current mental health services system still reflects to a large extent an
institutionally-driven philosophy of care; services and supports should be patientcentred and community-based.
•
Third, the current mental health services system is not comprehensive; it does not
provide the continuum of services and supports needed. As a result, individuals with
mental illness and addiction often do not receive the services and supports they need
when and where they need them.
•
Fourth, historically, mental health services have been under-funded. This has been
detrimental to those with severe and persistent mental disorders, particularly to those
hardest to serve – individuals from different ethnocultural communities, people who
are homeless, and those with concurrent disorders.
Information based on the following documents: Department of Health, Strategic Directions for Nova
Scotia’s Mental Health System, Government of Nova Scotia, February 2003; Elliot M. Goldner, Synthesis
Series – Mental Health, Sharing the Learning: The Health Transition Fund, Government of Canada,
2002; Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, Valuing Mental Health – A Framework to Support
the Development of a Provincial Mental Health Policy for Newfoundland and Labrador, September 2001;
Minister’s Advisory Council on Mental Health, Moving Forward, Annual Report, Government of
British Columbia, 2001; Ministry of Health, Making It Happen – Operational Framework for the Delivery of
Mental Health Services and Supports, Government of Ontario, 1999; Comité de la santé mentale du
Québec, Défis – De la Reconfiguration des Services de Santé Mentale, Gouvernement du Québec, October
1997; Health Systems Research Unit, Clarke Institute of Psychiatry, Best Practices in Mental Health
Reform, Discussion Paper Prepared for the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Advisory Network on
Mental Health, 1997; Alberta Mental Health Board, Building A Better Future – A Community
Approach to Mental Health, Government of Alberta, March 1995.
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•
Fifth, there are major human resource shortages in the mental health sector.
•
Sixth, there is a significant lack of measures of accountability in the mental health
services system. The roles and responsibilities of service providers are not clearly set
out and an information system is needed to support the planning and operation of a
more effective, comprehensive system and to monitor the effectiveness of the
services it provides.
•
And seventh, widespread stigma persists throughout society despite many efforts to
educate the general public and the health care system as a whole. It has been said
that stigma is the largest barrier to change in every level of the system.
Several witnesses stressed that recovery from mental disorders requires much more than
what are considered traditional mental health services. For certain individuals, recovery may
require – in addition to medication, therapy and case management – access to housing,
transportation, employment and peer support. Yet, the various mental health systems have
been slow to acknowledge and respond to these needs. In many provincial reports,
reference is made to mental health services “and supports” to highlight the critical
importance of each in providing the tools that an individual with a mental illness may need
to recover from his/her illness, to overcome isolation, and to gain or regain economic selfsufficiency.
The lack of coordination among the various sectors, the absence of clear authority at the
regional level and limited community-based supports have had tragic consequences for
individuals and society. As pointed out in Chapter 5, a significant number of individuals
with severe mental illnesses are homeless, living on the streets or in public shelters. In
addition, a high proportion of incarcerated individuals have a mental disorder. Many of
these individuals are jailed for non-violent misdemeanours, others for “crimes of survival”
such as stealing food, loitering, or trespassing; their incarceration is often the result of their
unmet needs for mental health services or addiction treatment and for housing.
Many witnesses pointed to the particular needs of children and adolescents. In fact, the
system of child and adolescent mental health services and supports has been called by
witnesses the “orphan’s orphan” of the health care system. Mental health services for
children and adolescents at the provincial and territorial levels often involve a variety of
departments and agencies (e.g., mental health, child welfare, young offender, addiction
services, and special education services). There is general dissatisfaction in most jurisdictions
with the present delivery of children and adolescents services. Information suggests that:
•
The current system is highly fragmented; services are delivered in an uncoordinated
fashion through multiple providers. The problems of children and adolescents do
not come as neatly divided in terms of responsibility as government departments are.
•
The prevalence of mental illnesses among children and adolescents far exceeds the
capacity of the current service delivery system; there is a lack of access to needed
services and there are long waiting lists for the limited services that are available.
•
Mental health policies and programs have focussed largely on the treatment of the
adult population; consequently, services for children and adolescents have developed
slowly and only as an adjunct to programs for adults.
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•
There is insufficient funding for mental health services directed at children and
adolescents.
•
There is an urgent need to enhance preventive and early intervention services.
•
Currently, many effective interventions are not made widely available to children and
adolescents, and many ineffective interventions continue to be used even when
shown to be more expensive and restrictive than available alternatives. Thus, there is
a need to better incorporate research evidence about effective practices into decision
making at all levels, including clinically.
•
No clear goals and objectives have been set and few indicators of outcomes relevant
to children and adolescents are reported on a regular basis to assess the performance
and effectiveness of the system of mental health services.
•
Nobody seems to be in charge, that is, there is no executive component with
authority to cause the whole system of care to decide upon and implement coherent
action.
•
There are no external incentives for efficiency – surplus dollars must often be
returned to central coffers rather than being reinvested locally.365
Witnesses also raised a number of concerns with respect to the specific needs of individuals
with concurrent disorders (mental illness and addiction). These individuals may access
needed services and supports through various entry points, either within the mental health
system or within the addiction treatment sector. However, numerous barriers affect the
ability of these individuals to access and obtain appropriate treatment:
365
•
The mental health and addiction systems often operate in parallel, a barrier to
ensuring that a person receives treatment for both problems in an integrated fashion.
Current services provided for this population are poorly linked, both within and
between the addiction and mental health systems.
•
There are no systematic approaches and effective assessment tools to better identify
this population.
•
Because of inappropriate identification, individuals fail to receive proper care or
receive care for only one disorder (either substance use or mental illness) but not
both.
•
Many mental health programs exclude individuals with active substance abuse
problems, and similarly, many addiction programs exclude individuals with mental
health problems.
Federal/Provincial/Territorial Working Group on the Mental Health and Well-Being of Children and
Youth, Celebrating Success: A Self-Regulating Service Delivery System for Children and Youth, Discussion Paper,
Health Canada, 2000, pp. 8-10; External Advisory Committee for Child and Youth Mental Health,
Child and Youth Mental Health Plan for British Columbia, February 2003 (Revised July 2004), pp. 4-9;
Charlotte Waddell et. al. (April 2002).
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156
•
Staff in both the mental health and addiction fields need cross-training to improve
the identification of this client population and provide better treatment planning
based on client needs.
•
The fear/stigma associated with both mental illness and addiction often prevents
individuals with concurrent disorders from seeking treatment and may lead to selfmedication.
•
Individuals with concurrent disorders and their families lack information on existing
services and how they may be accessed.
Very similar concerns – such as fragmentation, the existence of silos, stigma, lack of
specialized human resources, the need for early intervention and preventative measures –
were expressed with respect to the mental health needs of senior Canadians and individuals
in forensic psychiatry services.
8.2.2
Community Services and Supports
While a higher proportion of individuals than ever will make a complete or significant
recovery from their mental illness/addiction, the illness will continue to have a significant
impact on aspects of the lives of many for long periods, even a life time. Once the initial
symptoms have been diagnosed and controlled properly, individuals with mental illness and
addiction need three broad types of services: relapse prevention, clinical services and
rehabilitation/support services. All three elements require management; for an individual
with mental illness and addiction, the process is called “case management”.
As explained in Chapter 4, case management refers to the continuing and ongoing support
provided to individuals with mental illnesses/substance use disorders to assist them to
obtain needed services. When the severity of an individual’s illness or the complexity of the
system precludes the affected person from accessing the needed services him/herself, case
management may be provided by clinical and support service staff. For individuals with
multiple needs intensive case management is essential. While case management is highly
regarded as a core function in the system, a number of different approaches to providing
case management have been used.
Relapse prevention consists in helping individuals maintaining their recovery. The
Committee was told that the most important component of relapse prevention is to ensure
that the affected person continues to take his/her medication. Often, individuals stop taking
their medication because they feel well and are no longer motivated to continue. They may
also experience what they consider to be intolerable side effects and stop medication. In
both cases, they then lose insight into the benefits of taking medication and suffer relapse of
their illness. Once-a-day dosing and minimizing toxicity/side effects can help to reinforce
patient compliance. However, education, counselling and regular monitoring are also vital to
improve compliance. Witnesses told the Committee that developing standards and
guidelines for relapse prevention measures, in consultation with health and educational
authorities, is critical.
Clinical services are a core component of overall services and supports because many
individuals do experience relapse. Even when they follow a treatment plan faithfully, many
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individuals can become severely ill and require acute treatment. For some, where safety or
complexity is an issue, hospital admission is also necessary. Clinical services include
inpatient services, hospital-based clinics, support groups, information sessions, outpatient
clinics, mental health centres, visiting clinical teams, emergency teams and a variety of other
clinical services located in community settings; all are necessary to meet the varying needs of
individuals with mental illness. Such clinical services, together with NGOs, are needed to
provide a full spectrum of care for affected individuals and their families. Coordinating such
a complex system is essential. Again, the Committee was told that clinical guidelines or
standards are essential to promote their effectiveness and efficiency.
Rehabilitation and ongoing support services must be available to help optimize the quality of
life of affected individuals and help them recover their abilities to the fullest extent possible.
These services include: housing, ranging from professionally staffed group homes to
independent apartments with regular consultation and the availability of 24-hour 7-day crisis
response; vocational services including job finding and support and skill training; social and
recreational services including assisting people to join in normal community activities and
“drop in” places; and income support, as many individuals have difficulty in obtaining and
maintaining employment. All these services and more should contribute to ensuring the
continuum of care of a seamless system.
8.2.3
Uneven Regional Distribution and Quality of Services
The Committee was told that, as with other health services, mental health services and
addiction treatment are especially lacking in rural and remote areas of the country, including
most Aboriginal communities. In many such areas, there is no resident psychiatrist. The
result is that individuals with mental disorders living in rural and remote regions and
Aboriginal settings are forced to travel far from their homes to receive needed services. This
hardship, ironically dubbed “Greyhound Therapy”, is doubly stressful for someone affected
by mental illness and addiction.
When individuals must travel from their communities to access mental health and addiction
services, they are separated from their natural support systems and informal care networks
that provide the kind of financial, emotional and social supports for recovery that are not
found in the formal system. Although for some the anonymity of the city is a welcome
respite from the shame and stigma that usually affect individuals with mental illness and
addiction in a small community, being removed from that community can also compromise
treatment interventions and outcomes.
The Canadian Mental Health Association pointed out that rural and remote communities
also experience particular mental health issues such as those triggered by drought, flood and
other environmental disasters.
Such communities may also be characterized by
compounding factors, such as lower educational and income levels, higher adolescent birth
rates, a higher proportion of unwed mothers, and higher unemployment rates, that can
contribute to the development and exacerbation of mental health problems and illnesses.
According to the Association, transplanting urban professional mental health workers into
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158
rural settings, even if they are willing to relocate, would not necessarily qualify or equip them
to deal with the distinctive rural and cultural issues affecting their clients.366
8.2.4
Primary Health Care Sector
The primary health care sector is usually the first point of contact of individuals with mental
illness and addiction with the health care system. Yet, the Committee heard repeatedly that
many family physicians lack sufficient knowledge, skills and motivation to manage patients
with mental illness and addiction, to accurately screen for mental disorders, or to navigate
the appropriate referral pathways to access the more specialized mental health and addiction
system. Dr. Sunil V. Patel, President of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), told the
Committee:
While family physicians can deal with a number of mental illnesses, most
are not trained in the complicated medical management of severe mental
illness. Many family physicians’ offices are also not sufficiently resourced
to deal with family counselling, or related issues such as housing,
educational and occupational problems often associated with mental
illness.367
Witnesses also told the Committee that many provincial health care insurance plans limit the
amount of mental health services that can be billed by family physicians. For example,
Patrick Storey, Chair of the Minister’s Advisory Board on Mental Health (British Columbia),
stated:
Medical billing schedules and procedures, extended health benefits,
pension plans, et cetera, do not recognize the special features and
challenges of mental illness and create unnecessary obstacles to recovery
and health. For example, in British Columbia, a family doctor can bill
for only four counselling sessions per patient per year; yet, most people
with depression go to see their family doctor. Though antidepressant
medication is a helpful adjunct, alone it is not sufficient to help people
deal effectively with that sometimes debilitating condition. Doctors are not
in a position to provide the help required for a person in a depression.368
Dr. James Millar, Executive Director, Mental Health and Physician Services, Nova Scotia
Department of Health, expressed similar view when he stated:
Even physician services are restricted. (…) Many provincial health plans
restrict the number and types of mental health services that can be
provided by general practitioners. In many cases, family practitioners are
366
367
368
Canadian Mental Health Association, Brief to the Committee, June 2003, pp. 8-9.
Dr. Sunil V. Patel, President of the Canadian Medical Association, Brief to the Committee, 31 March
2004, pp. 1-2.
Patrick Storey, Chair of the Minister’s Advisory Board on Mental Health, British Columbia (15:8).
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Overview of Policies and Programs
ill prepared to treat the serious mental disorders that appear [sic] in their
offices. There is little support for education or on-site consultations.369
Another concern brought to the attention of the Committee is that, currently, primary health
care reform is occurring in relative isolation from the reform of the mental health and
addiction system in communities across the country. Yet, many witnesses felt that these two
systemic reforms ought to share the same goal of improving the provision of quality,
accessible, comprehensive, integrated, timely services to all those who need them regardless
of the type of underlying disease.
The Committee was told that progress could be made, however, with support for “shared
mental health care” initiatives across the country. These initiatives, which stem from a
partnership between the College of Family Physicians of Canada and the Canadian
Psychiatric Association, appear to be a success story; they refer to collaborative activities
between primary health care providers and psychiatrists. Some shared mental health care
initiatives have a strong clinical focus and integrate mental health services within primary
health care settings.370
Irene Clarkson, Executive Director, Mental Health and Addictions, British Columbia
Ministry of Health Services, stated that shared mental health care initiatives within primary
heath care settings would help to enhance early detection and intervention:
Through primary health care 60% of persons with mental disorders and
substance use disorders currently access their services in B.C., and
therefore improved primary care is a priority for change. (…) Evidence
in the medical literature supports the delivery of these interventions by
multidisciplinary teams. (…) In many instances physicians are the only
source of mental health and addictions services for people at risk or with
mental disorders and substance use disorders, therefore, attention to
primary care can promote early detection and intervention for mental
health and addictions problems which in turn leads to better long-term
prognosis; allows for teaching clients self-management of their health;
and, ensures ongoing, periodic assessments and treatment to promote
stability and community tenure.371
Many witnesses felt that the federal government could play a major role in ensuring that
successful shared care initiatives continue to be funded and that best practice models be
implemented and converted into permanent programs and policies in all provinces and
territories.
369
370
371
Dr. James Millar, Executive Director, Mental Health and Physician Services, Nova Scotia Department
of Health, Brief to the Committee, 28 April 2004, pp. 5-6.
Canadian Psychiatric Association and The College of Family Physicians of Canada, Shared Mental
Health Care in Canada – Current Status, Commentary and Recommendations, A Report of The Collaborative
Working Group on Shared Mental Health Care, December 2000.
Irene Clarkson, Executive Director, Mental Health and Addictions, British Columbia Ministry of
Health Services Brief to the Committee, 9 September 2003, pp. 5-6.
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160
8.2.5
Human Resources
Like other areas in the health care system, mental health services and addiction treatment
suffer from a lack of coordinated planning for its human resources. There is no central
planning mechanism to coordinate hiring or to ensure the appropriate distribution of
appropriately qualified and experienced service personnel across communities. The growing
geographical concentration of mental health and addiction professionals in large urban
centres is also a major concern.
Witnesses told the Committee that there are chronic shortages of providers, including of
psychiatric nurses, psychiatrists, social workers, case managers and occupational therapists
with knowledge of mental health and addiction issues.
The growing need for expert services is exacerbated by a shortage of psychiatrists and
limited access to psychologists. According to the Canadian Psychiatric Association, the ideal
psychiatrist to population ratio (1:8,400) is far from being achieved, especially outside urban
centres. To compound the problem, an increasing number of the Canada’s 3,600 currently
counted licensed psychiatrists are not working full time, particularly women and young
graduates just entering the field who have made lifestyle choices to work fewer hours.
Certain specialties are especially under-resourced, such as child, geriatric and forensic
psychiatry. Individuals with concurrent disorders (mental illness and addiction) and dual
diagnosis (mental disorder and developmental disability) have particularly limited access to
appropriate psychiatric care.372 In addition, particular groups such as immigrants/refugees
lack a level of services appropriate to meet their needs.
For psychological services, equality of access appears to be the major problem. Publicly
funded psychology services through hospitals or mental health clinic programs are spotty
and limited in their availability. As general hospitals face budgetary constraints, their
departments of psychology are frequently reduced or eliminated. Moreover, many low- and
middle-income individuals, together with people who are unemployed and/or those who do
not have private health care insurance, cannot afford to pay for private psychological
services which are not covered under publicly funded provincial health care insurance.
Long waiting lists and significant delays in diagnosis, treatment and support are direct byproducts of a mental health system that lacks the human resources to deliver care effectively.
While there are no standardized sources of data currently available for compiling national
information on waiting lists, provincial estimates depict a pretty grim picture. The Canadian
Mental Health Association stated in its brief that:
(…) about half of the adult population who need services must wait for
eight weeks or more – an eternity in the lifetime of a person, a family or
a community struggling with serious mental illness or addiction. For
some individuals, having to wait for services is the difference between life
and death. While the crisis in surgical waiting lists makes the headline
news, society remains fairly oblivious to the suffering and isolation of
372
Canadian Psychiatric Association, Human Resource Planning for Psychiatry in Canada – A Background Paper,
unpublished document.
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Overview of Policies and Programs
those experiencing a mental health crisis who suffer and wait in silence
for critical and medically necessary supports. It is most tragic that when
a person finally finds the strength and courage to reach out for help, more
often than not their first contact with the mental health system becomes a
discussion of how long they must wait.373
Dr. Cornelia Wieman, Psychiatrist from the Six
Nations Mental Health Services (Ohsweken,
Ontario) informed the Committee that currently
there are only four Aboriginal psychiatrists in
Canada. In her view, it is important, indeed critical,
to train an increased number of Aboriginal health
professionals. This would help ensure that services
are provided in a more culturally appropriate
manner and remove some of the barriers to those
seeking mental health services in communities
universally acknowledged to have particular need
for them.
My last plea in this area is that
there is a common saying that ʺno
one is irreplaceableʺ - so I ask you
today : after 7 years of working in
the Six Nations community and
providing psychiatric services to
over 400 patients for well over 600
episodes of care, who will replace
me? (…) We desperately need to
train more Aboriginal health
professionals (…).
[Dr. Cornelia Wieman, Brief to the
Committee, 13 May 2004, pp. 5-6.]
Many recommendations were suggested to the
Committee with respect to the planning of human
resources in mental health, mental illness and addiction. For example, it was recommended
that the provinces and territories, in partnership with the federal government, develop a long
term plan that will ensure high quality appropriately trained service providers – both
professionals and para-professionals – to address the mental health needs of Canadians.
This plan would include:
373
•
a detailed national human resource plan for mental health and addiction personnel
based on forecasted needs and projected trends;
•
a compilation of information on waiting lists; development of national standards and
guidelines for maximum waiting times across the full continuum of mental health
care and addiction treatment services;
•
review of the effective use of alternatives to professionals outside the medical field,
such as home support workers, social workers, peer support workers and informal
social networks to decrease the demand for psychiatrists;
•
creation of a task force to review and make recommendations on how to improve
the knowledge of and training in mental health intervention and promotion strategies
as part of the curricula of training of all health professionals and of undergraduate
and graduate students within the health disciplines, education, social work and other
related programs at the university and college levels.
•
analysis of the extent to which interdisciplinary opportunities for joint education
(undergraduate, graduate and continuing education) could be used between
Canadian Mental Health Association, Brief to the Committee, June 2003, p. 8.
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162
physicians and psychologists, nurses, social workers, occupational therapists and
addiction counsellors;
•
incentives for the recruitment and retention of mental health professionals and
students in these disciplines;
•
a study of various models of mental health service delivery in rural areas, including
the use of telehealth.
8.2.6
Unmet Needs
[The] problem of access occurs across the continuum of
services from primary care for common disorders to urgent
and crisis services for more severe and persistent disorders.
[Dr. Donald Addington, Professor and Head,
Department of Psychiatry, University of Calgary, Brief to
the Committee, 29 May 2003, p. 3.]
Despite efforts by provinces and territories to improve the delivery of mental health
services/supports and addiction treatment, a majority of Canadians suffering from mental
illness and addiction still do not seek and receive professional help. Statistics Canada’s
Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS), Cycle 1.2 on Mental Health and Well-Being,
found that only 32% of those suffering from mental illnesses and substance use disorders
saw or talked to a health professional during the 12 months prior to the survey.374 These
professionals included either a psychiatrist, a family physician, a medical specialist, a
psychologist or a nurse.
When individuals did see a health professional for mental illnesses or alcohol or drug use
and abuse, family physicians were most often consulted. Nearly 26% of those individuals
surveyed consulted a family physician; some 12% consulted a psychiatrist, and 8% a
psychologist. About 10% saw or talked to a social worker.
The CCHS also showed that adolescents and young adults (15 to 24 years old) were the least
likely of all age groups to use any resources for mental illness and addiction than other age
groups, although they exhibited higher prevalence rates for mental disorders. Only 25% of
affected adolescents and young adults reported having consulted a professional or using
other assistance during the previous year.
In his submission to the Committee, Phil Upshall, President of the Canadian Alliance on
Mental Illness and Mental Health, enumerated the various factors that lead to unmet needs
in mental health services/supports and addiction treatment:
“Why do people not receive treatment and, most likely, the other services
they require?
374
Statistics Canada, “Canadian Community Health Survey: Mental Health and Well-Being”, The Daily, 3
September 2003.
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Overview of Policies and Programs
• In part, it is due to a general lack of awareness in the Canadian
population of mental illness, or a lack of understanding of the
symptoms of mental illness.
• Stigma stands in the way – the fear of having a mental disorder
continues to be strong.
• Services are scarce. Governments choose to make their health
investments in narrowly defined biomedical services at the expense of
services for the mentally ill and those with psychological complications
in physical illness and disability.
• Not all services are available to all Canadians. Only those with
average to above average incomes can afford private practice services,
and the mentally ill are often at the other end of the spectrum. They
make up a disproportionately large percentage of marginalized
populations – those without adequate income, housing or support
systems to meet their basic needs.
• On the part of the medical community, low awareness and
understanding of the symptoms of mental illness, and time constraints
come into play.”375
Dr. Donald Addington, Professor and Head, Department of Psychiatry, University of
Calgary, recommended the establishment of a patient charter that would establish standards
for access to mental health services in primary health care, specialized mental health services
and acute care.376 In Ontario, the Champlain District Mental Health Implementation Task
Force (2002) also recommended the creation of a “Provincial Mental Health Patients’
Charter of Rights”. The preamble of the proposed provincial patients’ charter of rights
stated:
People living with mental illness are entitled to the full range of rights
and privileges as citizens of Canada, including the right to health care,
income maintenance, education, employment, safe and affordable housing,
transportation, legal services, and equitable health and other insurance,
and are not limited to the rights listed in this Charter.377
This charter would not be limited to mental health services but would also encompass
broader social supports. More precisely, the proposed charter included, for example:
375
376
377
Phil Upshall, President, CAMIMH, Brief to the Committee, 18 July 2003, p. 8.
Dr. Donald Addington, Professor and Head, Department of Psychiatry, University of Calgary, Brief
to the Committee, 29 May 2003, p. 3.
Champlain District Mental Health Implementation Task Force, « Consumer Charter of Rights for
Mental Health Services”, in Foundations for Reform, Section 3.1.4, Ontario, December 2002.
Overview of Policies and Programs
164
•
Mental heath services that are safe, secure, evidence-based, timely, culturally
appropriate and relevant to the individual’s needs;
•
Services and supports that encourage the involvement of individuals with mental
illness and addiction and are based on the principles of recovery, self-help and
independent living and functioning;
•
Treatment that is respectful of relevant legislation (Mental Health Act, Canadian
Charter of Rights and Freedoms, etc.);
•
Respect for privacy and informed choices.
Other witnesses suggested some form of “mental health equitable act”, a piece of legislation
intended to bridge the gap between physical illnesses and mental disorders in terms of public
coverage and the services provided. Still, others supported the need for a “mental health
advocate”, a contact person for individuals experiencing difficulty in accessing needed
mental health services and supports. A mental health advocate existed for some time in
British Columbia, but the position was eliminated when the Ministry of State for mental
illness and addiction was created.
8.2.7
Early Detection and Intervention
The high level of unmet needs in the field of mental illness and addiction underscores the
importance of early detection and intervention. As a matter of fact, numerous witnesses
stressed that early intervention – which encompasses detection, assessment, treatment and
supports – can interrupt the negative course of many mental disorders and lessen long term
disability. New understanding of the brain indicates that early detection and intervention can
sharply improve outcomes and that long periods of abnormal thoughts and behaviour have
cumulative effects that can limit a person’s capacity for recovery. For example, the
Schizophrenia Society of Canada stated:
For most diseases, the earlier they are detected and treated the better the
expected outcome is for the person affected by the illness. (…)
Unfortunately, because of a lack of public and professional knowledge
about the symptoms, stigma and denial of the illness, many people delay
seeking treatment. It is estimated that half of the people with
schizophrenia go for an average of about 2 years before they receive a
diagnosis and treatment after first manifesting symptoms.
(…)
Research has shown that the longer the psychotic symptoms are left
untreated the worse the long term prognosis. There is greater evidence of
brain damage in persons who experience long, untreated psychotic
episodes compared to those who experience shorter, more efficiently treated
episodes. In addition to longer periods of non-treatment causing more
evidence of brain damage, the person is more likely to lose employment or
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Overview of Policies and Programs
educational standing, lose friends and interpersonal skills, and is more
likely to run afoul of the law due to the symptoms of the illness.378
The benefits of early intervention extend to numerous mental illnesses and to individuals of
all age groups. Without early intervention and treatment, child and adolescent disorders
frequently continue into adulthood. If the system does not appropriately screen and treat
them early, these childhood disorders are likely to persist and lead to a downward spiral of
school failure, poor employment opportunities, and poverty in adulthood. No other set of
illnesses damage so many children so seriously.
Currently, no agency or system is clearly responsible or accountable for children and
adolescents suffering from mental disorders. They are invariably involved with more than
one specialized service system, including mental health services, special education, child
welfare, youth justice, addiction treatment, and health care.
Schools are where children spend most of each day. While schools are primarily concerned
with education, good mental health is essential to learning as well as to social and emotional
development. Because of this important interplay between mental health and academic
success, schools should be partners in the mental health care of children.
Early intervention is also essential to reduce the pain and suffering of children, adolescents
and adults who have concurrent disorders (mental illness and addiction). Too often, these
individuals are treated for only one of the two – if they are treated at all. If one disorder
remains untreated, both usually get worse and additional complications often arise, including
the risk for other medical problems, unemployment, separation from families and friends,
homelessness, incarceration, and suicide. The Committee was told that few providers or
systems that treat mental illness or addiction adequately address the problem of concurrent
disorders.
Early intervention should occur in readily accessible settings such as primary health care
settings and schools and where a high level of risk for mental illness exists, such as youth
justice and child welfare services. A coordinated approach is necessary together with
training the school workforce to screen for and recognize early signs of mental illness;
training primary health care providers; and eliminating barriers to publicly funded heath care
insurance, particularly for psychology services.
8.3
MENTAL HEALTH LEGISLATION
In addition to their primary responsibility for delivering mental health services and addiction
treatment within their jurisdiction, provinces and territories are responsible for enacting
mental health legislation. Such legislation governs the provision of psychiatric treatment to
individuals who are severely afflicted by mental illness and who are unable to seek out and
accept needed care. At the present time, each province and territory has its own mental
health act, except Nunavut in which the Northwest Territories law applies.
378
Schizophrenia Society of Canada, Brief to the Committee, 2004, p. 5.
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166
All provincial and territorial mental health legislation defines criteria for involuntary
admission to hospital for psychiatric treatment, treatment authorization and refusal,
conditional leave, and review and appeal procedures. Without compulsory hospital
admission and psychiatric treatment, individuals who will not accept voluntary treatment are
abandoned to the consequences of their untreated illness. Individuals affected by untreated
mental disorders have a high mortality rate and higher lifetime disability rates than those
affected by most physical illnesses.
Mental health legislation is also meant to reflect a balance between the rights and dignity of
the individual, the protection of society, and society’s concern to help those not able to help
themselves. In fact, all provincial and
territorial legislation must comply with While compulsory treatment will usually
the Canadian Charter of Rights and restore someone’s freedom of thought from a
Freedoms. The pertinent sections of the mind-controlling illness and restore their
Charter are sections 7, 9, 12, 15, as well liberty by releasing them from detention, their
as section 1. Under section 7, an feelings of autonomy and legal and civil rights
individual cannot be deprived of life, may be impacted. For this reason, it is
liberty or security of the person unless necessary for legislation to balance all their
that deprivation is in accordance with needs and those of society as a whole.
the principles of fundamental justice; [Gray, Shone and Liddle (2000), Canadian
under section 9, a person is guaranteed Mental Health Law and Policy, p. 5.]
the right not to be arbitrarily detained or
imprisoned; under section 12, a person has the right not to be subjected to cruel and unusual
treatment or punishment; and, under section 15, every person is equal under the law and has
the right not to be discriminated against on the basis of mental disability. Although the
Charter guarantees certain rights under the sections mentioned, a qualification under section
1 serves to limit the absolute scope of those guarantees. Under section 1, Charter rights are
subject to reasonable, justifiable limits. Thus, a court may decide that the violation of a right
that is guaranteed under the Charter is reasonable and therefore justified in today’s society.379
In 1984, prompted by anticipation that much of existing mental health legislation was
susceptible to possible challenge under the Charter, a “Uniform Mental Health Act” was
developed by a working group established under the Uniform Law Conference as a model
for provincial mental health legislation. The working group consisted of a lawyer and a
senior mental health official from each participating province and territory. The Uniform
Mental Health Act was adopted by Uniform Law Conference representatives in 1987. The
ensuing principles form the essence of the proposed Uniform Mental Health Act:
379
•
A system that promotes voluntary admission and treatment with informed consent is
preferred to compulsory services;
•
Where there is no alternative to involuntary detention and treatment which limit a
person’s liberty or right to make decisions, these limitations must conform with the
Charter;
Maureen Anne Gaudet, Mental Health Division, Health Services Directorate, Health Programs and
Services Branch, Health Canada, Overview of Mental Health Legislation in Canada, 1994, p. 4.
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Overview of Policies and Programs
•
A range of appropriate treatment options, including the least restrictive and intrusive
alternatives, are offered and explained to the person;
•
The duty of confidentiality of information in the medical file/record is heightened by
the vulnerability of mentally-ill persons and the potentially severe consequences of
improper release of such information;
•
The patient has the right to view, for purposes of accuracy, documents gathered for
the purpose of his/her medical treatment;
•
If a person’s rights and freedoms are affected by legislation, an independent body or
a court can review the decision to determine whether or not the decision was
reached fairly.380
Although the Uniform Mental Health Act
and territory, many jurisdictions have
fundamental principles. There remain,
however, significant differences in the
provisions of the relevant mental health
statutes among the various jurisdictions.
These differences can have profound
effects on individuals with severe mental
illness, many of whom may not receive
timely needed treatment. They can also
create significant ethical dilemmas for
psychiatrists. Gray and O’Reilly (2001)
pointed to the following major disparities:
•
380
381
was never implemented as such in each province
enacted legislation which conforms with its
Mental health legislation can be a critical factor
in determining whether a person who is
severely afflicted by mental illness does or does
not receive psychiatric treatment and whether
this treatment occurs in a timely fashion.
[Gray and O’Reilly, “Clinically Significant
Differences Among Canadian Mental Health
Acts”, Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 46,
No. 4, May 2001, pp. 315-321.]
In some jurisdictions, involuntary admission criteria stipulate that a person must be
likely to cause serious physical harm to himself/herself or others (Alberta, Nova
Scotia, Northwest Territories and Nunavut). In the other jurisdictions, the criteria
for involuntary admission also include the potential of non-physical (mental) harm.
The criterion which limits involuntary admission and treatment to physical harm
raises ethical issues for psychiatrists, who may see a patient who is extremely
distressed because of a psychotic illness but who is not likely to be dangerous
(physically) to himself/herself or others. In such cases, while psychiatrists know that
treatment would be quickly effective and would relieve suffering, they can neither
hospitalize nor treat the affected person. As a result, some individuals with severe
mental illness and in need of psychiatric treatment will not receive timely care.
According to Gray, Shone and Liddle (2000): “The rise in the number of people with
mental illness in prisons and homeless on the streets is blamed in part on laws
restricting involuntary admission to the physically dangerous.”381
Maureen Anne Gaudet (1994), pp. 17-18.
John E. Gray, Margaret A. Shone and Peter F. Liddle, Canadian Mental Health Law and Policy, 2000, p.
5.
Overview of Policies and Programs
168
•
Following involuntary admission, some jurisdictions do not Court processes can delay treatment of
allow the individual to refuse involuntary patients inordinately. Unfortunately,
treatment (British Columbia, treatment must be stopped according to the
New Brunswick, Newfound- Ontario Health Care Consent Act, as soon as a
land, Québec and Saskatche- person appeals to the court. One study showed
wan)382; these provinces use an that where people appealed to the court,
appointed officer of the state treatment was stopped for an average of 253 days.
to authorize treatment (either This means that people were detained against
the attending physician, the their will for over 8 months, causing undue
director of a psychiatric unit, a anguish for the individual, the family and
tribunal or the court). The wasting a significant amount of taxpayer’s
other jurisdictions do allow a money. A simple change to the law could remedy
refusal, that may be overruled this problem.
in the individual’s best [Schizophrenia Society of Canada, Brief to the
interests by a substitute Committee, 2004, p. 9.]
decision-maker
(either
a
guardian, relative, public trustee, review board or court). Still, three other
jurisdictions (Ontario, Northwest Territories and Nunavut) honour a previously
expressed wish not to be treated, even if that prolongs detention and suffering. All
jurisdictions provide for a board or panel to review the validity of involuntary
hospitalization. When the process for obtaining treatment authorization involves a
tribunal, the court or a substitute decision-maker, there may be delays lasting a few
days, months or even years before treatment can be provided.
•
All jurisdictions recognize that compulsory treatment in the community is a less
restrictive option compared to involuntary admission and treatment in hospital.
Accordingly, provincial/territorial mental health acts contain provisions that
authorize conditional leave from hospital or community treatment orders (CTOs).
The conditional leave provisions authorize an involuntary patient to be discharged in
the community; the patient remains under the authority of the hospital but is
continuing his/her treatment there. Under the CTO (Saskatchewan and Ontario),
the individual is not an involuntary patient but is put on the order for the purpose of
compulsory treatment while living in the community. CTOs are intended to reduce
the “revolving door syndrome”, make hospital beds available to others and assist
with integration into the community. For CTOs to be effective, however, the
services and supports required to support the conditions must be available. A major
criticism of CTOs is that the necessary services are not available out of hospital and,
thus, individuals will fail in the community and be hospitalized. A similar criticism is
that hospitals will prematurely discharge someone on leave and “dump” him/her on
the community. Only four provincial mental health acts (British Columbia,
Manitoba, Ontario and Saskatchewan) do not allow a person to be on CTO unless
appropriate supports exist in the community.
It is clear that psychiatric management of individuals with severe episodes of mental illness
differs greatly depending on where affected persons live in Canada. In some jurisdictions,
382
In some cases, however, the patient may choose to have the court order the hospital to suspend
treatment.
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Overview of Policies and Programs
where individuals with severe mental disorders are admitted to hospital and treatment starts
promptly, there is a good chance for their returning to “normal” daily activities. In other
jurisdictions, many months, if not years, may elapse before an individual’s mental health
deteriorates to the point where he or she is deemed to be at risk of inflicting serious bodily
harm on himself/herself or on others, sufficient to warrant involuntary hospitalization.
Even when hospitalized, treatment may be delayed for months or years in jurisdictions in
which its initiation is prevented while an appeal is outstanding or those concerned are bound
by a previous, capable, applicable wish not to be treated.
In their review of provincial and territorial mental health legislation, Gray and O’Reilly
(2001) commented:
It is of considerable concern that such disparities of practice exist among
Canadian provinces and territories. There is an increasing body of
evidence that the duration of untreated psychosis is correlated with a poor
prognosis and that early intervention may prevent progression of the
underlying disease process. Moreover, it is also clear that psychosis
occurring at a young age can interfere with the completion of such
important developmental tasks as schooling, vocational training, and
psychosocial treatment. (…) [t]here is evidence (…) that higher rates of
homelessness, violence, victimization, and criminalization occur when
individuals with a mental illness are not treated than when they are
treated. Conditional leave and community treatment order measures are
now common in Canadian jurisdictions and are becoming widespread in
other countries. They have been shown to effectively reduce hospitalization
and to facilitate treatment adherence.383
Should more uniformity among the various provincial and territorial mental health legislation
be encouraged? Do disparities in mental health law reflect diverging views on the balance
between protection of vulnerable persons, individual rights and freedom, and public safety?
Gray, Shone and Liddle (2000) eloquently pointed out that, ultimately, mental health
legislation is a matter of societal values:
Society must ask itself whether, in the name of freedom, people with a
treatable brain illness who are escaping delusional enemies should be left
suffering and homeless because they are not physically dangerous. Does
society value the “right to be psychotic” to the degree that it should allow
people to refuse treatment and, therefore, stay detained and warehoused at
great public expense for long periods of time, putting themselves and
others at risk of serious harm? Or should society keep people in hospitals
when, with appropriate legislation, they could be at home in the
community? Does society prefer to have people functioning in the
community because they are legally required to take treatment or does it
383
John E. Gray and Richard L. O’Reilly, “Clinically Significant Differences Among Canadian Mental
Health Acts”, Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 46, No. 4, May 2001, p. 320.
Overview of Policies and Programs
170
want these people to have repeated psychotic episodes and involuntary
hospitalizations? A compassionate and just society must weigh these
options including concerns for minimizing state intrusion in people’s
lives.384
8.4
COMMITTEE COMMENTARY
All provinces and territories have undertaken the reform and renewal of their mental health
care and addiction treatment system. Some jurisdictions are more advanced than others, but
all share similar goal and principles. Similarly, most provinces face similar challenges and
barriers to improving the provision of mental health services and supports and addiction
treatment.
The Committee concurs with witnesses that the “silo philosophy” of policy planning and
delivery of mental health services/supports and addiction must be addressed, through better
integration, partnerships and collaboration. This is a critical step towards the development
of a truly effective and genuine mental health and addiction system.
We also agree with witnesses that individuals with mental illness and addiction and nongovernmental organizations must participate in the reform of the system. The development
of a seamless system will only occur with the benefit of their first-hand experience and
knowledge.
Achieving a truly seamless system of mental health services/supports and addiction
treatment that is oriented to individuals with mental illness and addiction also requires
tackling numerous challenges related to human resource planning and primary health care
reform. In addition, more emphasis must be placed on early detection and intervention. In
particular, the unique needs of children and adolescents must be addressed in a timely
fashion.
The Committee also agrees that individuals living with severe mental disorders are
particularly vulnerable and that, accordingly, the provision of mental health services and
addiction treatment must reflect an appropriate balance between the rights of these
individuals and the role of society in caring compassionately for them. It is important to
decide whether the current disparities found in mental health legislation across the provinces
and territories require formal review.
384
John E. Gray, Margaret A. Shone and Peter F. Liddle, Canadian Mental Health Law and Policy, October
2000, p. 358.
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Overview of Policies and Programs
CHAPTER 9:
MENTAL ILLNESS AND ADDICTION POLICIES AND
PROGRAMS:
THE FEDERAL FRAMEWORK
Given the level of burden of mental health issues and
mental illness on society, Canadian governments can no
longer afford to ignore reality. The time has come to redress
historical imbalances. Canada can only achieve the holistic
vision of mental health (…) if it addresses complex
interrelated issues in a coordinated fashion. What is
needed now is collaborative national leadership in a
national action strategy. We hope that the federal
government will embrace this challenge. As citizens, we all
serve to benefit.
[Canadian Mental Health Association, Brief to the
Committee, June 2003, p. 29.]
INTRODUCTION
This chapter examines the role and responsibility of the federal government in developing
policies and programs in the field of mental health, mental illness and addiction. It also
outlines various federal initiatives relevant to the development of an overall framework for
mental health, mental illness, and addiction. In doing so, it attempts to separate the
initiatives of the federal government for populations directly under its jurisdiction from
others with a broader national focus involving multi-jurisdictional issues, notably those of
primary concern to Canada’s provinces and territories.
Section 9.1 provides an overview of the direct and indirect roles of the federal government
in mental health, mental illness and addiction. Section 9.2 describes and assesses the direct
role of the federal government with respect to the specific population groups that fall under
its responsibility, including First Nations and Inuit; federal offenders; veterans and the
Canadian Forces; Royal Canadian Mounted Police; and federal public servants. Section 9.3
examines federal interdepartmental coordination relevant to its direct role in mental health,
mental illness and addiction. Section 9.4 reviews the roles and responsibilities of the federal
government from a national perspective (indirect role); it also examines the legal and
financial levers available to influence policy in the field of mental health, mental illness and
addiction. Section 9.5 provides a general assessment of some federal policies and programs
affecting the delivery of mental health services, addiction treatment and social supports.
Section 9.6 discusses the potential for a national action plan. Section 9.7 examines mental
health, mental illness and addiction from a population health perspective. Section 9.8
contains the Committee’s commentary.
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Overview of Policies and Programs
9.1
DIRECT AND INDIRECT ROLES OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
To provide a “picture” of the extent of the federal government’s role in mental health,
mental illness and addiction, the Committee’s researchers searched the federal consolidated
statutes and regulations using the terms “addiction”, “disability”, “mental disorder”, “mental
health”, “mental illness”, and “substance abuse”. Table 8.1 provides the list of federal
legislation that makes reference to these terms.
It appears clearly that the federal government has a role on two fronts in mental health,
mental illness and addiction. On one front, it is directly responsible for specific groups of
Canadians. According to the 2003 Canada’s Performance Report to Parliament: “The
federal government provides primary and supplementary health care services to
approximately 1 million eligible people – making it the fifth largest provider of health
services to Canadians. These groups include veterans, military personnel, inmates of federal
penitentiaries, certain landed immigrants and refugee claimants, serving members of the
Canadian Forces and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, as well as First Nations
populations living on reserves and the Inuit.”385 In addition, the federal government is a
major employer with management of a large workforce with particular health-related
concerns.
On the second front, the federal government is expected to bring a national perspective to
the social policy field that includes mental health, mental illness and addiction. This is an
indirect role incorporating broad responsibility to oversee the national interest of all
Canadians. It discharges this responsibility in several ways, including funding transfers to the
provinces, surveillance activities and data collection, funding and performance of research
and development activities, drug approval process, the provision of income support and
disability pension provisions for affected Canadians, social programming such as housing
initiatives, funding the criminal justice system, and the operation of a number of programs to
promote overall population health and well-being.
385
Treasury Board of Canada, Canada's Performance 2003 – Annual Report to Parliament, Ottawa,
2004, p. 30.
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174
TABLE 9.1
FEDERAL LEGISLATION WITH RELEVANCE TO
MENTAL HEALTH, MENTAL ILLLNESS AND ADDICTION
Canada Elections Act
Canada Pension Plan
Canada Student Financial Assistance Act
Canada Student Loans Act
Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety Act
Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse Act
Canadian Forces Superannuation Act
Canada Health Act
Canadian Human Rights Act
Canadian Institutes of Health Research Act
Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
Corrections and Conditional Release Act
Criminal Code
Department of Health Act
Emergencies Act
Excise Tax Act
Extradition Act
Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act
Food and Drugs Act
Income Tax Act
Members of Parliament Retiring Allowances Act
Parliament of Canada Act
Pension Act
Pension Benefits Standards Act
Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act
Privacy Act
Public Service Employment Act
Public Service Superannuation Act
Royal Canadian Mounted Police Superannuation Act
Supplementary Retirement Benefits Act
Vocational Rehabilitation of Disabled Persons Act
War Veterans Allowance Act
Youth Criminal Justice Act
Source: Law and Government Division, Library of Parliament.
In both roles, any consideration of a framework for mental health, mental illness and
addiction cannot displace the primary responsibility of the provinces/territories for program
design and delivery. There is, however, an overriding need to move toward a framework
that works for all Canadians regardless of whether they fall under federal or provincial
jurisdiction.
The distinction between the federal and the provincial/territorial responsibilities with respect
to mental health addiction services has been clearly emphasized by Tom Lips, Senior
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Overview of Policies and Programs
Advisor, Mental Health, Healthy Communities Division, Population and Public Branch,
Health Canada, when he stated:
The federal and provincial-territorial roles and responsibilities differ
where mental health and mental illness are concerned. (…) Provincial
and territorial governments have primary responsibility for the planning
and delivery of health services for the general population. As you know,
federal transfer payments contribute to health services delivery. The
federal government has a special mandate for health service delivery to
certain populations, notably First Nations people on reserve and Inuit. It
also undertakes national health promotion efforts. Both levels of
government have been involved in health promotion, research and
surveillance, and have collaborated to address some service delivery issues,
for example, identifying best practices.386
In fact, the range of federal programs and services relevant to mental health, mental illness
and addiction is very large. It includes multiple initiatives aimed at specific groups under its
direct responsibility and many endeavours to address broader national population concerns.
The following sections examine the more specific federal and the broader national
perspectives and, where possible, provide some information to assess those program and
service activities.
9.2
THE FEDERAL DIRECT ROLE387
The following sections identify and assess the programs and initiatives in place for particular
groups under direct federal jurisdictional responsibility.
9.2.1
First Nations and Inuit
Aboriginal peoples are defined in the Constitution Act, 1982 (section 35) as the “Indian, Inuit
and Métis peoples of Canada.” Despite this broad constitutional definition, the federal
government currently takes responsibility only for Indian people residing on-reserve and
specified Inuit. Health Canada estimates that it serves approximately 735,000 eligible First
Nations and Inuit people.
The provincial and territorial governments have general responsibility for Aboriginal peoples
living off-reserve, including Métis and non-status Indian populations. These groups have
access to programs and services on the same basis as other provincial residents. These
jurisdictional divisions, in combination with the multifaceted nature of the Aboriginal
population in Canada, have created serious barriers to the establishment of a comprehensive
plan for the development of a genuine system of mental health, mental illness and addiction.
386
387
Tom Lips, Senior Adviser, Mental Health, Healthy Communities Division, Population and Public
Health, Health Canada (11:6).
The information contained in this section is based on a paper by Nancy Miller-Chenier, Federal
Responsibility for the Health Care of Specific Groups, Parliamentary Information and Research Services,
Library of Parliament, forthcoming.
Overview of Policies and Programs
176
Over the years, the federal government has made several attempts to address mental illness
and addiction in Aboriginal communities. In the early 1990s, the federal department of
health, with the assistance of a multi-stakeholder steering committee, produced an “Agenda
for First Nations and Inuit Mental Health.” It also targeted Aboriginal peoples in broader
strategies such as the Drug Strategy, Family Violence Prevention Initiative, and Building
Health Communities Initiative. In 1996, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples drew
particular attention to the mental health problems that were linked to poverty, ill health and
social disorganization in many communities.
The federal government’s response to the Royal Commission, Gathering Strength – Canada’s
Aboriginal Action Plan,388 was announced in January 1998; it provided a strategy to begin a
process of reconciliation and renewal of its relationship with Aboriginal peoples. Two
significant initiatives had as their goal to give Aboriginal peoples more autonomy when
addressing some of the concerns related to health and mental health. First, in 1998, the
federal government funded the Aboriginal Healing Foundation, an Aboriginal-run, nonprofit corporation to support community-based healing initiatives of Métis, Inuit and First
Nations people on and off reserve directed to those who were affected by physical and
sexual abuse in residential schools and to those affected indirectly by intergenerational
impacts. Second, in 1999, Health Canada collaborated with several Aboriginal organizations
to establish the National Aboriginal Health Organization. Officially incorporated as the
“Organization for the Advancement of Aboriginal Peoples’ Health”, this new organization
focuses on priority areas of health information and research, traditional health and healing,
health policy, capacity building and public education.
In 2003, $1.3 billion over five years was committed to develop an effective and sustainable
health care system for First Nations and the Inuit.389 In the Throne Speech of February
2004, the federal government made further commitments aimed at ensuring a more coherent
approach to multiple issues affecting Aboriginal communities. It promised to set up an
independent Centre for First Nations Government, renew the Aboriginal Human Resources
Development Strategy, expand the Urban Aboriginal Strategy, and establish a Cabinet
Committee on Aboriginal Affairs.390
9.2.2
Assessment Relevant to First Nations and Inuit
At present, Health Canada and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada are the two major
federal departments that provide health care, mental health services, addiction treatment and
social services to First Nations and the Inuit.
Health Canada, through its First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, is responsible for the
following programs that address mental illness and addiction:
•
National Native Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program (NNADAP): This program is
largely controlled by First Nations communities and organizations; it incorporates a
network of 48 treatment centres and community-based prevention programs.
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, Gathering Strength–Canada’s Aboriginal Action Plan, Ottawa, 1997.
Department of Finance Canada, The Budget Plan 2003, p. 13.
390 Government of Canada, Speech from the Throne, 2004, pp. 9-11.
388
389
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•
National Youth Solvent Abuse Program: This program delivers, through 10
treatment centres, assessment, inpatient treatment and counseling intended for First
Nations and Inuit adolescents with solvent abuse problems.
•
Indian Residential Schools Mental Health Support Program: This program provides
mental health and emotional support to eligible individuals who are resolving claims
against the Government of Canada for abuse(s) suffered while attending Indian
Residential Schools. It is provided by Health Canada in collaboration with Indian
and Northern Affairs Canada.
•
First Nations and Inuit Fetal Alcohol Syndrome/Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAS/FAE)
Initiative: This purpose of this initiative, which is part of the Canada Prenatal
Nutrition Program, is to raise awareness about FAS/FAE and to deliver programs
that provide mental health services to persons at risk and detoxification services for
pregnant women at risk, their partners, and their families.
•
Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) Program: NIHB provides eligible registered
Indians and recognized Inuit and Innu with medically necessary health-related goods
and services that are not covered by other federal, provincial, territorial or third-party
health insurance plans. These benefits complement provincial/territorial insured
health services and include drugs, medical transportation, dental care, vision care,
medical supplies and equipment, crisis intervention and mental health counseling.
•
Aboriginal Head Start on Reserve: This initiative is designed to prepare young First
Nations children for their school years, by meeting their emotional, social, health,
nutritional and psychological needs. This initiative collaborates with Health Canada's
Brighter Futures and Building Healthy Communities programs. Additional
collaboration involves Human Resources Development Canada's Child Care
Initiative and the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs' Kindergarten
program, both at national and local levels, to ensure that Aboriginal Head Start on
Reserve fills gaps and complements existing programs.391
At Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, social policy and programs include Child and
Family Services, Social Assistance, Adult Care, the National Child Benefit program and other
social services that address individual and family well-being. All have components relevant
to mental health. Specific programs addressing mental illness and addiction include:
391
•
Aboriginal Suicide Prevention Program: This program, which is provided in
collaboration with the RCMP, teaches young adults and community caregivers how
they can help prevent suicides. Participants are selected by elders and other
Aboriginal community leaders.
•
Aboriginal Shield Program: This program is provided in collaboration with the
RCMP; it offers education on substance abuse to Aboriginal communities. The
program assists Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal police officers as well as community
leaders, health care workers, teachers and youth leaders.
•
Family Violence Prevention Program: The program provides operational funding to
shelters located in First Nations communities. It also funds community-based family
Health Canada, Report on Plans and Priorities, 2003-2004, Estimates.
Overview of Policies and Programs
178
violence prevention programs that aim to prevent incidents of family violence on
reserves.392
Witnesses told the Committee that federal programs addressing mental illness and addiction
in First Nations and Inuit communities do not adequately address the needs of Aboriginal
peoples. For example, Dr. Cornelia Wieman, Psychiatrist from the Six Nations Mental
Health Services (Ohsweken, Ontario), talked about the psychiatric counseling sessions
available under Health Canada’s Non-Insured Health Benefits Program:
[Under NIHB], the limit is 15 sessions with the possibility of renewing
for a further 12. A total of 27 sessions for many people is not sufficient
to help them adequately address their mental health concerns. The
mandate of the NIHB program is to provide support for clients in crisis
or who cannot access counseling by other means. That counseling could be
from an outpatient psychiatric clinic or health service that is funded by
the provincial health care system. They could also pay for private
counselling.
The vast majority of my patients live on a limited income and would not
be able to pay for private counseling. As a result of transportation and
access issues, many are also not able to access counseling services in
smaller communities nearby or in larger urban settings such as Brantford
or Hamilton. You can tell that these people do fall through the cracks in
the system.393
Perhaps more importantly, witnesses
identified the existing First Nations and Some of the recommendations that the
Inuit program “silos” as a significant barrier Native Mental Health Association of
to accessing needed mental health services Canada would like to offer is the
and addiction treatment. Services and elimination of operations of programs for
supports are provided without much services in what we call silos. Instead of
collaboration by different departments, or funding for mental health, funding for
by various departmental directorates or social services and funding for other issues
divisions. Moreover, the Committee was in the community, we favour more team
told that the current practice is to isolate approaches based on partnerships, so that
problems on the basis of their symptoms – what is available to a community is
addiction, suicide, FAS/FAE, poor housing, integrated and made available and
lack of employment, etc. – and to design accessible to our clients in a holistic way
stand-alone programs to manage each one. from the top to bottom — from policyThis fragmented approach has had little makers and planners to local governance.
success. Witnesses told the Committee that, [Brenda Restoule, Native Mental Health
in order to restore the well-being in First Association of Canada (9:51)]
Nations and Inuit communities across the country, a significant re-thinking of, and departure
from, current practice is needed.
According to information provided on the Website of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
(http://www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/sg/sg4_e.html).
393 Dr. Cornelia Wieman (9:55).
392
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Overview of Policies and Programs
The Committee was also informed that the fragmentation of services set up to solve
interconnected issues is a real problem. In particular, we heard that First Nations and Inuit
are poorly served by government program delivery models that stress services to individuals
over holistic, more culturally-appropriate, services to communities. For example, Dr.
Laurence Kirmayer, Director, Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry, Department
of Psychiatry, McGill University, stated:
Mental health perspectives tend to be focused on the individual and on
individual vulnerability and affliction. This kind of data really points to
the working of social forces – things that are affecting entire generations
of people and we need to conceptualize it in that way. Within this
pattern there is individual vulnerability; not everyone is affected the same
way by the same adversity. However, the overall high rate suggests that
many people are being affected and that there are things that lie outside of
the individual that are at play. We have the challenge to characterize
social forces and to think about ways of helping people to take that in
hand.394
Witnesses also stressed that the “one size fits all” approach to program and service delivery
has not met the needs of Aboriginal peoples effectively. By and large, Aboriginal peoples
know what their problems are, and are in better position to identify appropriate solutions,
and to know what resources should be applied in accordance with community priorities.
What this means, in structural terms, is that it would be far preferable for government
departments to delegate to Aboriginal communities the authority to customize services and
react flexibly to local circumstances. Accordingly, Aboriginal peoples should be supported
in their development of their own solutions, rather than having solutions imposed upon
them from “outside”.
To be successful, community-based initiatives must be accompanied by the development, in
parallel, of community capacity adequate to deliver such programs effectively. Witnesses
identified a critical shortage – if not absence – of adequately trained mental health and
addiction professionals. In this perspective, Dr. Wieman stated:
One of the important ways in which access to health services and health
outcomes, including mental health, can be improved is by training an
increased number of Aboriginal health professionals. Barriers to seeking
various mental health services could be overcome and providing more
culturally relevant care could be accomplished. The Royal Commission on
Aboriginal Peoples in 1996 recommended that 10,000 Aboriginal
peoples be trained as health professionals in the next 10 years. We are
now only two years away from 2006, and I do not believe that we are
anywhere near that goal. Estimates state that there are approximately
150 Aboriginal physicians in this country, most of whom have trained to
be family physicians. Off the top of my head, I would estimate the
394
Dr. Laurence Kirmayer (9:42).
Overview of Policies and Programs
180
number of Aboriginal specialists at probably less than 25. I am only
aware of two other Aboriginal psychiatrists in this country, with a fourth
individual graduating from the residency program in Manitoba this
June.395
The Committee was also informed that the needs of Aboriginal peoples are complex and
that short term approaches often fail. More precisely, short term funding can materially
restrict the ability of Aboriginal governments to develop the long term strategies needed to
address the needs of their communities. It can take years to develop effective programs, and
often, the shorter the time frame of a given project, the less potential there is for it to be
effective.
There was also a general consensus among witnesses that the current funding levels for
mental health services and addiction treatment in First nations and Inuit communities are
inadequate. Brenda Restoule, Psychologist and Ontario Board Representative, Native
Mental Health Association of Canada, explained:
Current funding is already inadequate, at best, and does not meet the
needs of the community and its members. Since the funding formula is
based on population size, many communities receive a small amount of
funding, making it difficult or, in many cases, impossible, to deliver
mental health counselling and intervention services. Most communities
must use their funding to establish mental health promotion and mental
illness prevention programs. Although these types of programs are needed,
the funding does not allow for a continuum of care that is desperately
needed for First Nation communities.
(…)
The funding is so low for the salary of mental health workers that
professionals such as social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists often
do not find it desirable to work in First Nation communities.396
The Committee was informed that some provinces have integrated Aboriginal issues within
their mental health strategies. To be truly successful, then, federal initiatives for Aboriginal
mental health either on reserve or off-reserve should harmonize with the relevant provincial
mental health plans and implementation strategies.397
To sum up, federal and provincial programs directed to Aboriginal mental health, which
focus on individuals or specific aspect of an issue, have been criticized for operating with a
silo mentality that precludes their smooth coordination with other programs. The result is
an hodge-podge of similar programs, different tiers of service delivery and a complex array
Dr. Cornelia Wieman (9:55-56).
Brenda Restoule (9:49).
397 According to Ray Block, CEO, Alberta Mental Health Board, Brief to the Committee, 28 April 2004,
p. 9.
395
396
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Overview of Policies and Programs
of funding mechanisms that is bewildering to the individuals they are intended to serve and
their families and communities. Ideally, a holistic or global approach would entail
government departments pooling their resources so that interconnecting factors such as
health, education, housing, and employment needs of individuals, families and communities
could all be met or at least alleviated in a planned, structured and integrated way. Horizontal
government initiatives would
assist Aboriginal communities The ways in which [mental health issues] have been
to plan and coordinate addressed on behalf of Aboriginal people have not
worked well. One of the results is that Aboriginal people
services better.
are significantly over-represented in the criminal justice
system and in the child welfare system. Aboriginal
people have a significantly worse well-being and health
status than other Canadians. We have heard from
community members that that status will not change
until we are able to focus on those communities rather
than on individuals.
[Ms. Bronwyn Shoush, Board Member, Institute of
Aboriginal Peoples’ Health, CIHR (16 :10)]
From a financial perspective,
the lack of coordination often
results in expensive and
unnecessary program duplication. An environmental scan
is required to determine what
programs exist, where there is
duplication across departments and organizations,
where there are significant gaps in programming, as well as how best to maximize resources.
9.2.3
Offenders under the Federal Correctional System
Inmates in federal correctional institutions and others under the federal correctional system,
those offenders who are sentenced to two years or more of incarceration, constitute another
significant group of Canadians under federal health-related responsibility. Currently,
Correctional Service Canada (CSC) manages about 12,600 inmates and 8,500 offenders on
conditional release under parole officer supervision.398 The quality of mental health services
and addiction treatment for federal offenders is a consideration for CSC but it is secondary
to the primary focus of corrections, which is described as the “criminogenic” needs.
Federal offenders come completely under federal responsibility and are not considered as
beneficiaries of provincial health care insurance plans. Françoise Bouchard, Director
General, Health Services at CSC, observed that the legislative health care mandate of federal
corrections is through the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, which states:
The service shall provide every inmate with essential health care and
reasonable access to non-essential mental health care that will contribute
to the inmate’s rehabilitation and successful reintegration into the
community.”399
398
399
Correctional Service Canada, Report on Plans and Priorities, 2003-2004, p. 5.
Françoise Bouchard (7:50).
Overview of Policies and Programs
182
With respect to mental health care, the goal of CSC is to provide: “a continuum of essential
care for those suffering from mental, emotional or behavioural disorders (…) consistent
with professional and community standards.”400
When admitted to the correctional system, each individual is assessed and asked fundamental
questions about his/her mental health, mental illness and addiction. Following assessment, a
correctional plan is developed for each offender and the offender is directed to either a
regular institution or one in which treatment is available.
Over the last decade, CSC has issued specific directives on mental health services and
addiction treatment provided to federal offenders. In 1994, directives from the
Commissioner were implemented for psychological services, including assessment;
therapeutic intervention; crisis intervention; program development, delivery and
evaluation.401 In 2002, directives on mental health services provided standards on
assessment, diagnosis and treatment that affect the access to mental health professionals,
emergency and community care, as well as transfers to psychiatric care and addiction
treatment centres.402 The same year, the CSC Commissioner issued directives for methadone
maintenance treatment (diagnosis and treatment).403 In 2003, directives for the purpose of
offenders who are suicidal or self-injurious were released; they include prevention,
assessment and treatment guidelines.404 Also in 2003, a directive on health services was
issued that stipulates that the cost of providing mental health and addiction treatment will be
the responsibility of CSC.405
In addition to these directives, CSC has worked to develop a comprehensive health care
strategy to address both the physical and mental health needs of offenders, including the
integration of issues related to drugs and alcohol. Specific work on mental health policy
included a 1991 Task Force report on mental health oriented to all offenders, a 1997
National Strategy on Aboriginal Corrections, and a 2002 mental health strategy for women
offenders.
At CSC, the Aboriginal Initiatives Branch is mandated to create partnerships and strategies
that enhance the safe and timely reintegration of Aboriginal offenders into the community.
Aboriginal peoples represent less than 3% of the Canadian population, but account for 18%
of the federally incarcerated population. Aboriginal-specific and culturally appropriate
programs and services to address the needs of Aboriginal offenders in corrections include
initiatives such as Aboriginal Healing Lodges (9 across Canada); Aboriginal Community
Residential Facilities (23 across Canada); Aboriginal Community Reintegration Program;
Ibid. (7:51).
John Edwards, Commissioner, Commissioner’s Directive – Psychological Services, Correctional Service
Canada, 30 December 1994.
402 Lucie McClung, Commissioner, Commissioner’s Directive – Mental Health Services, Correctional Service
Canada, 2 May 2002.
403 Irving Kulik, Assistant Commissioner, Guidelines – Methadone Treatment Guidelines, Correctional Service
Canada, 2 May 2002.
404 Lucie McClung, Commissioner, Commissioner’s Directive – Prevention, Management and Response to Suicide
and Self-Injuries, Correctional Service Canada, 3 September 2003.
405 Lucie McClung, Commissioner, Commissioner’s Directive – Health Services, Correctional Service Canada,
17 March 2003.
400
401
183
Overview of Policies and Programs
Elders working in institutions and in the community; and Transfers of Correctional Services
to Aboriginal Communities (5 agreements signed).406 CSC is also responsible for the
“National Strategy on Aboriginal Corrections” (currently being revised) that focuses on
Aboriginal
programs,
Aboriginal
community
developments,
Aboriginal
407
employment/recruitment and partnerships on Aboriginal issues.
Women with particular mental health needs at all security levels may receive treatment in a
specialized, separate 12-bed women's unit at the Regional Psychiatric Centre in the Prairies
(RPC). This unit serves also as a national mental health resource for Anglophone women.
Francophone women may receive treatment at Institute Phillipe Pinel in Montréal (Québec)
where CSC has contracted for inpatient treatment services. Furthermore, the “2002 Mental
Health Strategy for Women Offenders” provides a framework for the development of
mental health services covering a continuum of care. The goal is to apply the elements of
the strategy to all offenders and to include crisis intervention, acute care programs, chronic
care programs, special needs units, outpatient treatment, consultation services, discharge and
transfer planning, follow-up as well as interconnection with other programs and services.408
CSC also delivers the “Substance Abuse Program” which consists of a range of institutional
and community-based programs that are matched to the severity of the offender’s substance
abuse problem. The program is cognitive-behavioural in orientation and includes a strong
emphasis on structured relapse prevention techniques. The program is also responsible for
the provision of methadone maintenance treatment.409
9.2.4
Assessment Relevant to Offenders under the Federal Correctional
System
Officials from CSC told the Committee that mental health care and addiction treatment are
required to: reduce the disabling effects of mental disorders in order to maximize each
inmate’s ability to participate electively in correctional programs, including their preparation
for community release; help keep the prison safe for staff, inmates, volunteers and visitors;
and decrease the needless extremes of human suffering caused by mental disorders.410
The Committee heard that access to mental health services and addiction treatment,
however, requires an enhanced CSC response capacity. CSC has 5 specialized treatment
centres411 spread across the country, but they are not resourced at levels comparable to that
of provincial forensic facilities. Although CSC has many psychologists, these are primarily
engaged in risk assessment for conditional release decision-making. In addition, there is no
406
407
408
409
410
411
Aboriginal Initiatives Branch, Aboriginal Offenders Overview, Correctional Service Canada.
Correctional Service Canada, National Strategy on Aboriginal Corrections.
Jane Laishes, Mental Health, Health Services, Correctional Service Canada, The 2002 Mental Health
Strategy for Women Offenders, 2002.
Correctional Service Canada, Substance Abuse Program.
Correctional Service Canada, Brief to the Committee, April 2004, pp. 13-15.
The Shepody Healing Centre (Atlantic region) with 40 beds; the Archambault unit (Quebec region)
with 120 beds; the Regional Treatment Centre (Kingston, Ontario) with 149 beds; the Regional
Psychiatric Centre (Prairie region) is a 194 bed facility linked to the University of Saskatchewan
through a special agreement; the Regional Treatment Centre in Abbotsford (Pacific region) with 192
beds.
Overview of Policies and Programs
184
specific training for correctional staff on mental illness and addiction.412 With respect to the
Mental Health Strategy for Women Offenders, the Committee was told that the challenge of
this new approach is that women requiring mental health intervention must move to another
part of the country to obtain needed services.
Witnesses also talked about the need for better links between the federal and provincial
governments and between the justice system and the provincial mental health services
system. For example, Ms. Bouchard from CSC stated:
There is a need for a comprehensive, inter-jurisdictional strategy for the
identification and management of offenders with mental disorders. While
we try to do a comprehensive assessment at reception, much still needs to
be done in respect of those identifying offenders who have mental health
problems early in their sentences. That should also occur within the
provincial systems as early as possible.
There is a need to have better links between the justice system and the
health care system within the provinces. The search for solutions should
start before imprisonment for those afflicted with mental health disorders.
Within the federal corrections system, work is under way to improve
capacities to assess and treat. However, we have no guarantees we will
ever have additional resources to do that. We are, right now, conducting a
review of our utilization of beds in our treatment centres to maximize
and direct them to those who have the most needs. Sometimes that calls
for a change of culture between correctional culture and treatment culture,
so there is lots of work still to be done.
Our last observation is the issue of continuity of care when people are
released. This calls for better links between us, at the federal correctional
level, and our provincial counterparts and the community mental health
care out there. Partnerships are key to address those gaps, but what will
be the incentive to create those partnerships?413
The Committee also heard about some discriminatory aspects of the judicial system. For
example, Patrick Storey, Chair of the Minister’s Advisory Board on Mental Health (British
Columbia), stated:
For federal offenders, it is difficult to access provincially funded mental
health services in the community due to specific provisions of the Mental
Health Act of British Columbia. This act is, in itself, discriminatory to
this population. It directs that directors of provincial facilities not provide
care to people from federal institutions. That is a federal government
funding responsibility, and so people who are in federal prison with
412
413
Correctional Service Canada, Brief to the Committee, April 2004, p. 19.
Françoise Bouchard (7:54-55).
185
Overview of Policies and Programs
mental illness trying to get a release into the community will not get
service from the local mental health centre or from other services, which is
intolerable. (…) Federal and provincial correctional authorities and
health authorities must work together to address these deficiencies and
reduce the discrimination faced by people in conflict with the law.414
In addition, the Committee was told that there is a need to harmonize better the Criminal
Code with provincial mental health legislation. The Schizophrenia Society of Canada
explained that under the Criminal Code a judge may order a person who is found not fit to
stand trial to undertake treatment to make them fit. However, neither the judge nor the
Board of Review can order treatment of a person found not criminally responsible based on
mental illness to make them well enough to be discharged. The theory is that the provincial
mental health acts will do that. In some provinces, however, that does not happen. The
Schizophrenia Society of Canada recommended that the federal government should amend
the Criminal Code to allow the Review Board to order treatment necessary for the probable
release of a person affected by treatable mental illness. In their view, this is preferable to
requiring the same person to stay incarcerated for an unreasonable time because the
untreated illness makes him/her a significant threat to the safety of the public.415
Ms. Bouchard from CSC made some observations about the need for better community
supports:
Addressing the needs of offenders who require specialized mental health
intervention can reduce the “revolving door”' phenomenon. There is what
we call a revolving door between corrections, both federal and provincial,
but also the community, where often people who are afflicted with mental
health disorders find themselves in the criminal justice system. While
mentally disordered offenders are often less likely to reoffend – including
violently – they are more likely to return to prison due to a breach of
their release conditions – often as a result of inadequate support while
they are in the community.416
9.2.5
Veterans and Active Members of the Canadian Forces
Veterans Affairs Canada is responsible for delivering health services and pensions and for
providing social and economic support to more than 150,000 aging Canadian veterans and
members of the Canadian Forces (CF). The main beneficiaries are those veterans and
civilians granted a pension or allowance.417
The Canada Health Act specifically excludes CF members from the definition of “insured
persons”. Therefore, CF members are not eligible for hospital care and physician services
insured under provincial health care insurance plans.418 The Canadian Forces Health
Patrick Storey (15:8-9).
Schizophrenia Society of Canada, Brief to the Committee, 2004, p. 9.
416 Françoise Bouchard (7:54).
417 Veterans Affairs Canada, Health Care Program.
418 National Defence, Canadian Forces Health Services, Fact Sheets.
414
415
Overview of Policies and Programs
186
Services (CFHS) is the designated health care provider for 83,000 Regular and Reserve
Forces personnel at home and on deployment. The CFHS provides access to more than
85,000 providers across the country. Atlantic Blue Cross Care has responsibility for program
administration and payment.
Veterans Affairs Canada administers Ste. Anne’s Hospital, located in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue,
Québec. The hospital provides medical and paramedical services to its residing veterans, in
addition to a wide range of recreational and social activities. Ste-Anne’s Centre, part of the
hospital, provides mental health services to CF members and veterans; it has developed
specialized expertise in the fields of post traumatic stress syndrome and dementia.419
Inpatient and outpatient care are also provided in contract hospital beds, in veterans’ homes,
and in hospitals of choice.
Veterans Affairs Canada also provides pensions for disability or death and economic support
in the form of allowances to various groups. These include: members of the Canadian
Forces and Merchant Navy veterans who served in the First World War, the Second World
War or the Korean War; certain civilians who are entitled to benefits because of their
wartime service; former members of the Canadian Forces (including those who served in
Special Duty Areas) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police; as well as survivors and
dependents of military and civilian personnel.420
The Department of National Defence is responsible for “Strengthening the Forces”, a health
promotion initiative designed to assist CF and Regular and Primary Reserve members to take
control of their health and well-being. Suicide prevention and substance abuse interventions
for tobacco and alcohol are two important components of this initiative. Mental health is an
issue of concern within Strengthening the Forces. Beside its focus on active living, injury
prevention and nutritional wellness, the initiative includes: “Addiction Free” (alcohol and
other drug abuse, tobacco use cessation, problem gambling) and “Social Wellness” (stress
management, anger management, family violence prevention, healthy families, suicide
prevention, and spirituality).421
Health Canada is responsible for occupational health and safety of CF members. The
“Canadian Forces Member Assistance Program” is organized by the Workplace Health and
Public Safety Program (WHPSP) at Health Canada; it is a 24/7 toll-free telephone service
that provides confidential counseling services to help members and their families when they
have personal concerns that affect their well-being or work performance.422
9.2.6
Assessment Relevant to Veterans and Canadian Forces
Several reports have identified gaps in the care and treatment of CF personnel by the
Department of National Defence specifically and, by extension, Veterans Affairs Canada.
These included: the McLellan and Stow reports in April 1998, the Goss Gilroy Report in
Veterans Affairs Canada, Ste. Anne’s Hospital.
Veterans Affairs Canada, Disability Pensions.
421 National Defence, Strengthening the Forces.
422 Ibid.
419
420
187
Overview of Policies and Programs
June 1998 and the October 1998 report from the House of Commons Standing Committee
on National Defence and Veterans Affairs.423
The departments responded with a series of initiatives relevant to mental health. In April
1999, the DND-VAC Centre for the Support of Injured and Retired Members and Their
Families opened in Ottawa to provide information, referral and assistance support to former
and current CF members and their families. Subsequently, legislative and regulatory reform
made access to services and benefits more equitable to all CF members, regardless of
whether the injury occurred in Canada or on foreign deployment. In April 2001, Veterans
Affairs launched an Assistance Service for former members of the CF and their families who
require professional counseling.424
Recently, the major mental health focus for Veterans Affairs Canada and the Department of
National Defence has been on the needs of CF members and veterans suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder and other operational stress injuries. In February 2004, they jointly
announced a Canada Mental Health Strategy for the Canadian military. This strategy creates
a network of mental health assessment and treatment facilities, educational forums,
continuing education program and research for post-traumatic stress disorder and
operational stress injuries.425
9.2.7
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is an agency of the Ministry of Public Safety
and Emergency Preparedness Canada. In addition to federal policing services for all
Canadians, it provides policing services under contract to the three territories, eight
provinces (all except Ontario and Quebec), approximately 198 municipalities and, under 172
individual agreements, to 192 First Nations communities. The on-strength establishment of
the Force as of January 1, 2004, was 22,239.426
The definition of “insured persons” under the Canada Health Act excludes members of the
RCMP. The administration of health care insurance for the RCMP has been the
responsibility of Veterans Affairs Canada since 2003. Veterans Affairs Canada also assumes
responsibility for the direct payment of disability pensions for approximately 3,800 RCMP
pensioners as well as the provision of health care benefits for approximately 800 retired and
civilian pensioners.427
9.2.8
Assessment Relevant to Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Information about mental health, mental illness and addiction concerns within the RCMP
was not readily available to the Committee.
423
424
425
426
427
Veterans Affairs Canada, Government of Canada’s Response to the Standing Committee on National Defence and
Veterans Affairs on Quality of Life in the Canadian Forces, 2001.
Ibid.
Veterans Affairs Canada, Canada Mental Health Strategy, Backgrounder, 27 February 2004.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police, About the RCMP.
“Veterans Affairs Canada and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Partner to Improve Services”,
RCMP News Release, 17 February 2003.
Overview of Policies and Programs
188
9.2.9
Federal Public Servants
The federal government is a major employer. Although the size of its workforce diminished
between March 1995 to March 2001 from 225,619 to 155,360 employees, it is reported to
have grown in the last few years.
In its role as the general manager and employer of the federal public service, Treasury Board
oversees benefits available to public servants such as the Public Service Health Care Plan
that covers medical benefits and the Disability Insurance Plan that assures a reasonable level
of income during periods of long-term physical or mental disability. It has mandated Health
Canada to provide occupational health and safety services such as Employee Assistance
Programs for Part I, Schedule I, Public Service employers.428
The Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP) is a private health care insurance plan
established for the benefit of federal public service employees, CF members, the RCMP,
members of Parliament, federal judges, employees of a number of designated agencies and
corporations, and persons receiving pension benefits based on service in one of these
capacities. The PSHCP is funded through contributions from the Treasury Board of
Canada, participating employers, and the Plan members. The administrator, Sun Life
Assurance Company of Canada, is responsible for the consistent adjudication and payment
of eligible claims.429
PSHCP reimburses participants for all or part of costs they have incurred for eligible services
and products, only after they have taken advantage of benefits provided by their
provincial/territorial health care insurance plan or other third party sources of health care
expense assistance. Eligible services and products are prescribed by a physician or a dentist
who is licensed to practice in the jurisdiction in which the prescription is made. PSHCP
reimburses eligible expenses on a “reasonable and customary” basis to ensure that the level
of charges are within reason in the geographic area where the expense is incurred.430
PSHCP covers the cost of visits to a psychologist up to a certain specified limit of maximum
eligible expenses. A psychologist prescription covers up to one year of services. The current
rate of payment from the plan is about 80 percent of $1,000 per calendar year, covering
between 5 and 6 sessions per client.
Under the Long Term Disability Insurance Plan, benefits are payable for up to 24 months in
respect of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which a) results in the
withdrawal of any mandatory licence required by the employee to carry out his or her
occupation or employment, or b) renders the employee completely incapable of performing
substantially all of the essential duties of his or her occupation or employment.431
Short term counseling is offered through Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) that can
assist people seeking help in juggling personal and work-related demands. A nationwide 24
hour toll-free (1-800) telephone line is operated by qualified and experienced bilingual
Treasury Board of Canada, Information for Federal Employees.
Treasury Board of Canada, Public Service Health Care Plan – Benefits Coverage and Plan Provisions, July 2001.
430 Ibid.
431 Treasury Board of Canada, Disability Insurance Plan, November 1993.
428
429
189
Overview of Policies and Programs
counselors; access to counseling to over 600 qualified psychologists and social workers (or
equivalent) is also provided. Referrals can also be made for employees with personal or
work-related problems to resources within the Public Service or in the community, when
appropriate, and follow-up is provided. Federal organizations that are clients of the
Employee Assistance Society of North America include: Department of National Defence,
Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Justice, Office of the Auditor General of
Canada, Health Canada, Parks Canada, Environment Canada, Citizenship and Immigration,
Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Fisheries and Oceans, and the
Transport Safety Board.432
The services described above do not replace those provided by the Public Service Health
Program. Within the Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch at Health
Canada, the Workplace Health and Public Safety Program (WHPSP, formerly called the
Occupational Health and Safety Agency) is mandated by Treasury Board to provide
occupational health and safety services (including psychological services) for Part I, Schedule
I, Public Service employers.433
In addition, Critical Incident Stress Management Services (CISMS) are available for dealing
with traumatic incidents such as the death or serious injury of a co-worker on the job, a mass
casualty, a threat, personal assault or other forms of violence in the workplace. Employees
in certain occupational groups known as “emergency service workers” ( e.g., law
enforcement officers, firefighters, nurses and other health care workers, search and rescue
teams) are at greater risk of experiencing traumatic incidents.
Services include
education/prevention, intervention, and evaluation.434
9.2.10 Assessment Relevant to Federal Public Servants
Recent studies have explored the issue of stress and the need for the federal government as
an employer to make a greater effort to ensure work/life balance and healthy living for its
employees. In January 2003, the federally-sponsored National Study on Balancing Work,
Family and Lifestyle conducted by Linda Duxbury and Christopher Higgins for Health
Canada was released. It confirmed that employed Canadians wanted flexible work
schedules, limits on overtime, opportunities for part-time work, telework and family care
provisions to help them achieve a better sense of balance in their lives. The study included
public (including 8 federal departments) as well as private sector employees and found that
public servants take a significant number of “mental health” sick days and spend more on
prescription drugs than private sector employees.435
Another study conducted in 2002 by the Association of Professional Executives of the
Public Service of Canada (APEX) found a significant increase in rates for coronary and
cardiovascular diseases (CVD), particularly hypertension, among public employees. It also
pointed to other key indicators of health status that demonstrated gradual deterioration.
Among respondents, 95% reported sleep disturbances and an average of only 6.6 hours sleep
432
433
434
435
Treasury Board of Cannda, Employee Assistance Program.
Health Canada, Workplace Health and Public Safety Program.
Health Canada, Ibid., “Traumatic Stress Management”.
Linda Duxbury, Christopher Higgins and Donna Coghill, Voices of Canadians: Seeking Work-Life Balance,
Health Canada, January 2003.
Overview of Policies and Programs
190
per night; 15% reported depressed mood; 53% reported high levels of stress, almost twice
the rate for the average Canadian of the same gender and age; and 19% reported musculoskeletal problems related to tension. Overall, the data showed that as a group, public service
executives experience stress in the high to extreme range.436
Bill Wilkerson, co-founder of the Global Business and Economic Roundtable on Addiction
and Mental Health stated that: “As an employer, the public sector needs to look deep within
itself,” arguing that “we need governments as employers who lead by example in the
promotion of mental health and prevention of mental disability.” Referring to the APEX
study, he noted that “more than fifteen per cent of executives in the public service suffer
depression – 50 per cent higher than the national average. (…) For senior civil servants,
psychotropic medication is the prescription drug of necessity in 17.5 per cent of all drug
utilization.”437
9.2.11 Landed Immigrants and Refugees
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has responsibility for the assessment of landed
immigrants and refugees. In the past 10 years, Canada has welcomed yearly an average of
some 220,000 immigrants and refugees. A landed immigrant is one who has been granted
the right to live in Canada permanently by immigration authorities. Refugees who are
accepted to Canada are also landed immigrants. Refugee claimants do not have landed
immigrant status; they arrive in Canada requesting to be accepted as refugees.438
Those claiming refugee status who are needy or living in a province with a three month
eligibility waiting period for coverage under the provincial health care insurance plan can get
emergency or essential health services through the Interim Federal Health Program at
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). Landed immigrants arrange their own health
care, including private insurance to cover the three month waiting period imposed in four
provinces (British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick).439
All applicants for permanent residence in Canada have a medical examination of their
physical and mental condition. Based on this examination, applicants may be refused entry
into Canada if they have a health condition that is likely to be a danger to public health or
safety, or that could be very demanding on health or social services. Departmental
information is not specific about possible responses to applicants with mental disorders of
any severity.440
With the knowledge that newcomers to Canada face tremendous challenges, Citizenship and
Immigration Canada has several programs aimed at easing the stress of integrating into
Canadian society. The department works with provincial/territorial governments and nongovernmental organizations on several initiatives relevant to the positive mental health of
immigrants. These include:
APEX, Study on the Health of Executives in the Public Service of Canada, 27 November 2002.
Bill Wilkerson, Text of a Speech to the Royal Ottawa Hospital Business Luncheon, 6 May 2004.
438 Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Report on Plans and Priorities, 2003-2004.
439 Ibid.
440 Ibid.
436
437
191
Overview of Policies and Programs
•
Immigrant Settlement and Adaptation Program that funds organizations to provide
services such as reception, orientation, interpretation, counselling and job search.441
•
Host Program that matches new arrivals with Canadian volunteers who offer
friendship and introduce them to services in their community.442
•
Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada Program that provides basic
language instruction to adult immigrants to help them to integrate successfully.443
For refugee claimants, the Interim Federal Health Program is available to cover some health
care costs. Administered by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, it ensures emergency and
essential health services for needy refugee protection claimants and those protected persons
in Canada who are not yet covered by provincial health care insurance plans. The 2002-2003
Departmental Performance Report refers to additional funding of $7.6 million for the
Interim Federal Health program, but does not indicate the program’s original cost.444 The
Report for Plans and Priorities for 2003-2004 refers to the program as a “$50 million federal
health insurance program covering emergency and essential health care for refugee
claimants.”445 There is no breakdown of particular expenditures that might relate to mental
illness or addiction. However, these could be significant, given that many refugee claimants
have been victims of torture and other threats to their mental health.
9.2.12 Assessment Relevant to Landed Immigrants and Refugees
No information was readily available to assess federal mental health policies and programs
designed for landed immigrants and refugees.
9.3
FEDERAL INTERDEPARTMENTAL COORDINATION RELEVANT
TO ITS DIRECT ROLE
In looking at federal government activities with respect to the specific groups under its
responsibility, there is little evidence to suggest that there are specific population-targeted
strategies, let alone a broad all-encompassing federal strategy applicable to all groups.
Efforts are not apparent currently to develop an overall coordinated federal framework with
collaboration by all involved departments or agencies. In most cases, there is little indication
of a thorough and inclusive population specific strategy for addressing the mental health
needs of any of the groups under federal responsibility. The provision of mental health
services and addiction treatment and efforts toward mental health promotion and mental
illness prevention remain highly fragmented, divided among numerous departments and
departmental directorates.
There are, however, two examples of federal interdepartmental efforts to coordinate
activities with respect to health care and substance abuse that may provide some lessons for
Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Immigrant Settlement and Adaptation Program.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Host Program.
443 Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Language Training.
444 Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Performance Report for the Period Ending March 31, 2003.
445 Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Report on Plans and Priorities, 2003-2004, p. .34.
441
442
Overview of Policies and Programs
192
future efforts to do the same in the specific field of mental illness and addiction. These are
the Health Care Coordination Partnership and Canada’s Drug Strategy.
9.3.1
Federal Health Care Partnership446
The Federal Health Care Partnership, formerly called the Health Care Coordination
Initiative, was established in 1994 by a partnership of federal departments that were
separately providing health care products and services to specific groups of Canadians.
These departments believed that they could lower costs and improve delivery by working
together. At present, Veterans Affairs has the lead role with other partners including the
Department of National Defence, the RCMP, the Canadian International Development
Agency, Correctional Services, Citizenship and Immigration, the Treasury Board Secretariat,
Public Works and Government Services, and the Privy Council Office.
The key objectives of the initiative are to negotiate joint agreements with professional
associations, suppliers and retailers; coordinate purchases of specific health care supplies and
services; improve the competitive environment by identifying alternatives to traditional
service delivery; improve information sharing and collective decision making; facilitate joint
policy analysis and development; support cooperative development of health and
information management across federal jurisdiction; and create joint health promotion
activities.
In 2002-2003, the partners jointly negotiated fees, bulk purchases and collaborative policy
development that collectively resulted in improved quality of service to clients and $11.6
million in cost savings. Savings of $17.6 million were forecast for 2003-2004. To date
however, although there is great potential for joint action, no such activities have been in the
field of mental health, mental illness and addiction.
9.3.2
Canada’s Drug Strategy
The initial 1987 National Drug Strategy emerged from concern about the abuse of illegal
drugs. In 1988, a national non-governmental organization, the Canadian Centre on
Substance Abuse, was created by legislation to provide a focus for efforts to reduce the
health, social and economic harm associated with substance abuse.
In 1992, Canada’s Drug Strategy was renewed and combined with the Driving While
Impaired (DWI) Strategy. The continued objective was to reduce the harmful effects of
substance abuse on individuals, families and communities by addressing both the supply of
and demand for drugs. Coordinated by Health Canada (formerly the Department of
National Health and Welfare), and involving several other departments, the Strategy sought
to enhance existing programs and to fund new ones. Of the $210 million allocated to the
initiative, 70% was directed to reducing the demand for drugs through prevention, treatment
and rehabilitation and 30% to enforcement and control.
In 1998, the federal government reaffirmed its commitment to the principles of Canada’s
Drug Strategy. Health Canada continued in its lead role and provided the chair for the
446
Treasury Board of Canada, Federal Health Care Partnership.
193
Overview of Policies and Programs
Assistant Deputy Ministers’ Steering Committee on Substance Abuse and interdepartmental
committees such as the Interdepartmental Working Group on Substance Abuse. The federal
departments involved in the Strategy extended beyond those with direct responsibility for
the health of Canadians; they included others with broader national and international
relevance: Solicitor General, Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Finance, Canadian
Heritage, Justice, Canada Customs and Revenue, Transport, Human Resources
Development, Status of Women, Indian and Northern Affairs, Canada Mortgage and
Housing Corporation, Treasury Board, and the Privy Council Office.
In its 2001 report, the Office of the Auditor General criticized Canada’s Drug Strategy for its
fragmented approach and called for changes to the organizational culture throughout the
federal government to emphasize structures and processes to maximize the benefits of
working horizontally. When the comprehensive Drug Strategy for Canada was renewed in
May 2003, the federal government committed $245 million and the support of fourteen
collaborating federal departments. There will be a report to Parliament on the Strategy’s
direction and progress in two years.
9.4
FEDERAL INDIRECT ROLE
In addition to its direct federal responsibility, the federal government has a major indirect
role in developing a national, long term, cross-jurisdictional, integrated, mental health plan.
Although some witnesses claimed that mental health has never been a priority for any level
of government, they also stressed their belief that mental health, mental illness and addiction
are concerns affecting the entire population of Canada. Therefore, the federal government,
the ten provincial governments and the three territories have interconnected roles to play in
meeting the health and health care needs of Canadians affected by mental illness and
addiction.
There is, however, no centralized departmental capacity, either within Health Canada or any
other federal department, or through some form of national structure, to coordinate or
respond from a national perspective to the full gamut of mental health, mental illness and
addiction issues. Moreover, few resources are devoted to the intergovernmental aspects of a
national framework in this area. Currently, work through various federal, provincial and
territorial forums is limited to exploring options in shared care initiatives in primary health
care reform, homecare proposals, and telehealth. The federal government is sensitive to the
need to approach all such issues in a way that respects the federal/provincial/territorial
division of responsibilities and the primary responsibility of the provincial and territorial
goverments for the provision of mental health services and addiction treatment.
A formal structure – the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Advisory Network on Mental Health
– was established on 17 April 1986 to advise the Conference of Deputy Ministers of Health
on ways and means of ensuring federal, provincial and territorial cooperation on mental
health issues. It was mandated to:
•
Consider issues delegated by the Conference of Deputy Ministers of Health, or
accepted by a significant number of the provinces as matters where a general
Overview of Policies and Programs
194
consensus of informed opinion would be helpful, and make recommendations,
where appropriate;
•
Advise on the development and implementation of policies and programs for mental
health services, with the aim of developing a uniformly high level of quality and
effectiveness across Canada;
•
Provide a forum to assist the provinces and territories in the development,
organization and evaluation of mental health services within each jurisdiction;
•
Serve as a forum for the presentation and exchange of information, relevant data,
current research findings and expert opinion between the federal and provincial
governments, universities and treatment settings, on problems of jurisdiction,
organization, legislation, service delivery, evaluation and other relevant issues;
•
Make proposals for federal, federal-provincial and provincial strategies for mental
health promotion, to enhance the mental health status of the population at large and
particularly that of children and adolescents;
•
Receive reports on current mental health activities and programs at the national level
and give advice, direction and support to these, as may be appropriate.447
The work of the F/P/T Advisory Network on Mental Health was at the time supported by
the Mental Health Division of Health and Welfare Canada. This division was then part of
the department’s Health Services and Promotion Branch.448 In the late 1990s, however, the
Council of Deputy Ministers of Health withdrew its support for the F/P/T Advisory
Network. As a result, it is now difficult to find funding even to bring together mental health
policy makers from across the country so that they can share information and develop
coherent policies and plans. A number of provinces still continue to participate in the
F/P/T Advisory Network, but their work is limited by the funding they can provide
themselves. According to Dr. James Millar, Executive Director, Mental Health and
Physician Services, Nova Scotia Department of Health, the dismantling of the F/P/T
Advisory Network on Mental Health:
(…) has cut off a major venue for sharing and joint planning. Some
jurisdictions continue to get together but struggle with funding. The
number of meetings and jurisdictions participating has dropped off over
the years. Special projects are funded on a formula basis with Ontario
covering the majority of the costs with Health Canada second. Quebec
does not participate.449
What then could the federal government do to encourage national coordination,
collaboration and partnerships in the field of mental health, mental illness and addiction?
There are two different types of levers available – legal (or policy) and financial (or fiscal) –
for potential use in the mental health, mental illness and addiction area. While the federal
447
448
449
Health and Welfare Canada, Mental Health Services in Canada, 1990, Government of Canada, 1990, pp.
22-23.
Ibid.
Dr. James Millar, Nova Scotia Department of Health Brief to the Committee, 28 April 2004, p. 4.
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Overview of Policies and Programs
government has legal authority through the power of criminal law, it has used its fiscal
capacity to influence social policy. Neither lever, however, is well suited to achieve greater
uniformity, establish and maintain standards, bring harmonization or establish national
initiatives; these require a high degree of intergovernmental contact and willing
collaboration.
9.4.1
Legal Levers
The federal government has several legal avenues for application in mental health, mental
illness, and/or addiction. Over the years, criminal law, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and
human rights have been applied.
The Criminal Code has particular sections that relate to mental disorders. For example, a
person can be found not criminally responsible for an offence on account of mental
disorder. The Court can order the initial part of a custodial sentence to be served in a
treatment facility, when an offender is found to be “suffering from a mental disorder in an
acute phase” and is in need of immediate treatment.
With respect to addiction, Parliament has used the power of criminal law in several
instances. This authority was used to pass laws regulating the sale, distribution and
possession of psychoactive substances through the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. The
Tobacco Act provides for a broad range of restrictions on the composition of tobacco
products, the access of young persons to tobacco products, tobacco product labelling, and
tobacco product advertisement endorsement and sponsorship. For alcohol, the Criminal
Code covers driving while impaired and the Broadcasting Act and the Code for the Broadcast
Advertising of Alcoholic Beverages regulates advertising.
As discussed in the previous chapter, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees
certain legal rights that have application in mental health and addiction. Relevant sections
deal with such matters as the right to life, liberty and security and the right not to be subject
to cruel and unusual punishment. The Charter also has emerged as a mechanism for the
creation of national standards which Canadians can demand that both federal and provincial
governments meet.
The Canadian Human Rights Act of 1977 provides a process for resolving cases of
discrimination in areas of federal jurisdiction. Discriminatory actions and attitudes are
discouraged by means of persuasion and education and by ensuring that those who have
discriminated will bear the costs of compensating their victims. The Act applies to all
federal government departments, agencies and Crown corporations, as well as federally
regulated businesses and industries (e.g., banking, transportation and communications).
9.4.2
Financial Levers
Generally speaking, however, the federal government’s involvement is essentially fiscal in
nature. As long as it does not legislate directly in relation to matters within the
provincial/territorial jurisdictions, the federal government has used its taxing and spending
power to launch a number of social program initiatives that are national in scope. Restraints
on transfer payments to the provinces in the 1990s, however, prompted many provinces to
Overview of Policies and Programs
196
demand that federal actions taken unilaterally with respect to transfers be replaced with
processes involving greater provincial and territorial participation.
The federal spending power forms the basis for the Canada Health Act as well as for the
current Canada Health Transfer and the Canada Social Transfer. It is the impetus for federal
participation/incursion in other social policy areas such as housing and income security.
The Canada Pension Plan (CPP), established by legislation in 1965, is another area where
federal/provincial involvement. There are other such examples of social policy initiatives,
income security for the disabled being one, that can enhance the mental health of all
Canadians and, in particular, the quality of life of individuals with mental illness and
addiction.
The area of mental illness, however, provides one example where the federal government’s
constitutional spending power was applied and then withdrawn over the last 55 years. From
the National Health Grants of 1948 to the First Ministers’ Accord on Health Care Renewal
of 2003, federal funding arrangements have significantly affected mental illness and addiction
either implicitly or explicitly.
Ambivalence over the place of mental health services in a national health care system was
evident for many years the years. The 1948 National Health Grants Program, described as
“the first stage in the development of a comprehensive health care insurance plan for all
Canada,” encouraged “expansion of health services” including those for mental illness.450
One component of the program – the Mental Health Grant – was used to implement or
expand mental health services, to strengthen professional and technical training facilities and
to improve the quality and quantity of staff. In 1960-1961, the last year of the grant, some
53% of the funds were allocated to institutions, while 23% went to clinics and psychiatric
units, 13% to training and 8% to research.451
In 1957, however, the federal government’s Hospital Insurance and Diagnostic Services Act
explicitly excluded psychiatric hospitals, although it did cover psychiatric services in general
hospitals. This exclusion was based, at the time, by the view that mental hospitals provided
custodial care and, as such, together with tuberculosis hospitals, nursing homes and other
long term care institutions, they were not eligible for federal cost-sharing. In 1966, however,
with the enactment of the Medical Care Act, public coverage was provided for physician
services, including those provided by psychiatrists, regardless of setting.452
The Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements and Established Programs Financing Act, 1977 gave each
province “block-funding”, a federal transfer payment based on its population and paid partly
in cash and partly in tax points. This Act, under its definition of “extended health care
450
451
452
Department of National Health and Welfare, Annual Report for the Fiscal Year Ended March 31, 1948,
Ottawa: King’s Printer, 1948, p.77.
Health and Welfare Canada, Mental Health Services in Canada, 1990, Government of Canada, 1990, pp.
13-15.
Ibid.
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Overview of Policies and Programs
services”, listed mental hospitals together with nursing home intermediate care service; adult
residential care service; home care service; and ambulatory health care service.453
In 1984, the Canada Health Act was enacted “to protect, promote and restore the physical
and mental well-being of residents of Canada and to facilitate reasonable access to health
services without financial or other barriers.”454 Most provisions of the two previous
insurance Acts were consolidated in the new law; but one major change related to the new
definition of extended care services: all references to mental hospitals was deleted.
In the 1990s, the role of the federal government in health care nationally and by extension its
role in mental health was further curtailed as its transfer payments to the provinces and
territories were reduced. In 1996, the Canada Health and Social Transfer (CHST) was
established, merging the Established Programs Financing (EPF) and the Canada Assistance
Plan (CAP); this left the provinces to decide themselves how to allocate their block funding
among health care, post-secondary education and social programs.455
When departmental legislation established Health Canada in 1996, it provided general
guidance for the health minister concerning national health issues. More precisely, the
Department of Health Act assigned responsibility to the Minister of Health to oversee “the
promotion and preservation of the physical, mental and social well-being of the people of
Canada.”456 This was interpreted as limiting the Minister to broad programs that promote
and preserve mental and social well-being; monitoring mental health conditions or programs;
conducting research and/or investigating mental health among other public health issues;
and collecting and publishing statistics on mental health.
A turning point occurred in 1999 with the Social Union Framework and the related Health
Accord that committed the federal government to increase funding for health care through
the CHST, to ensure predictability of funding and to work collaboratively with all provincial
and territorial governments to identify Canada-wide priorities and objectives.457 By 2000, the
First Minister’s Communiqué on Health contained a pledge to “promote those public
services, programs and policies which extend beyond care and treatment and which make a
critical contribution to the health and wellness of Canadians.”458 In the 2003 Health Accord,
the First Ministers agreed to provide first dollar coverage for a core set of fully portable
home care services for community mental health services with access to them based on
453
454
455
456
457
458
Federal-provincial Fiscal Arrangements and Established Programs Financing Act 1977, Chapter 10, 1977,
Clause 27 subsection 8.
Canada Health Act, 1984 (An Act relating to cash contributions by Canada in respect of insured
health services provided under provincial health care insurance plans and amounts payable by Canada
in respect of extended health care services) Chapter C-6, 1984, Clause 3.
The CHST was established through separate budget bills tabled in February 1995 and March 1996.
Its operation is governed by the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act.
Department of Health Act, 1996, chapter 8.
A Framework to Improve the Social Union for Canadians, An agreement between the Government of
Canada and the Governments of the Provinces and Territories, 4 February 1999; and The Federal,
Provincial, Territorial Health Care Agreement, 4 February 1999.
News Release, First Ministers’ Meeting Communiqué on Health, September 2000.
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198
need. The plan is to have a range of services available including case management,
professional services and prescribed drugs by 2006.459
In addition to assistance with health-related services, the federal government has provided
access to other programs to assist individuals with mental disability. For example, in 1961,
the federal government agreed to share the cost of the Vocational Rehabilitation of Disabled
Persons Program for mentally disabled persons of working age. In 1965, the Canada
Pension Plan (CPP) offered disability benefits for a person with severe or prolonged mental
disability. In 1966, the Canada Assistance Plan (CAP) offered the provinces 50% of the cost
of shareable assistance and welfare services to people with disabilities, including mental
disability.460 Cost sharing under CAP was considered instrumental in establishing
community based social services integral to the provision of effective mental health supports
in the community.
At present, through its Office for Disability Issues, Social Development Canada is the focal
point within the federal government for work on the participation of Canadians with
disabilities in learning, work and community life. Its key objectives include fostering policy
and program coherence; building the capacity of the voluntary sector; creating cohesive,
action-oriented networks and providing knowledge and building awareness. Other players
include Canada Revenue Agency. Under the Income Tax Act, an individual with a severe and
prolonged mental or physical impairment, or a person caring for a person with such
impairment, can claim a disability tax credit.
Homelessness is another area in which the federal government used its spending power to
facilitate development of a national framework. More precisely, the federal government
launched in 1999 the National Homelessness Initiative (NHI), a community-based approach
designed to alleviate and prevent homelessness. The initiative involves partnerships with all
levels of government, the private sector and the voluntary sector. Its multidisciplinary
approach reflects the belief that homelessness has no single cause and that the problem
requires interventions in a number of areas, including the provision of shelter, opportunities
for employment, mental health care, programs to combat drug abuse and welfare services. It
recognizes the diversity of the needs of the homeless and the requirement for “tailored”
responses and solutions relevant to specific communities.461
While the federal government provides provinces and territories with funding in support of
mental health services, social programs, income support and housing, the levels of funding
for mental health services, per diem payments for transitional and supportive housing
providers, and income assistance for individuals are all within provincial, territorial and
municipal jurisdictions.
459
460
461
News Release, First Ministers' Accord on Sustaining and Renewing Health Care for Canadians,
23 January 2003.
For more details on these federal programs, see William Young, Disability: Socio-Economic Aspects and
Proposals for Reform, Current Issue Review 95-4E, Ottawa: Parliamentary Research Branch, 1997.
Government of Canada, National Homelessness Initiative.
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Overview of Policies and Programs
9.5
ASSESSMENT OF THE FEDERAL ROLE WITHIN THE CURRENT
NATIONAL FRAMEWORK
9.5.1
The Canada Health Act
(…) when the Canada Health Act was developed, mental
health services provided in psychiatric hospitals were
excluded. The Act provides that only medically mental
health services provided in general hospitals and physician
services will be covered by the Act. This significant
omission has left those trying to provide mental health
services at a serious disadvantage when providing
community based services.
[Dr. James Millar, Executive Director, Mental Health
and Physician Services, Nova Scotia Department of
Health (Brief to the Committee, 28 April 2004, p. 5.]
As mentioned above and previously, the Canada Health Act expressly excludes from its
definition of comprehensiveness services provided in psychiatric institutions. Numerous
witnesses stated that this omission reinforces an artificial distinction between physical and
mental illness and contributes to the stigma and discrimination associated with mental
disorders. For example, Dr. Sunil V. Patel, CMA President stated:
(…) it is (…) important to recognize the deleterious effect of the
exclusion of a “hospital or institution primarily for the mentally
disordered” from the application of the Canada Health Act. Simply put,
how are we to overcome stigma and discrimination if we validate these
sentiments in our federal legislation?462
Dr. Patel recommended that the Canada Health Act be amended to include psychiatric
hospitals and that federal funding under the Canada Health Transfer be adjusted to provide
for these additional insured services.
The Committee also heard that the exclusion of psychiatric hospitals from the Canada Health
Act generates problems with respect to the principle of portability. More precisely, because
psychiatric hospitals are explicitly excluded from the Act, they are not subject to reciprocal
billing arrangements between provinces. Ray Block, CEO, Alberta Mental Health Board,
stated that:
Case management also needs to be considered at a cross-jurisdictional
level for those occasions when mental health patients from one jurisdiction
need services while in another jurisdiction. Reciprocal arrangements
relating to access and payment should facilitate their access to care as well
as to the consistency and continuity of that care across jurisdictions. This
462
Dr. Sunil V. Patel, President, Canadian Medical Association, Brief to the Committee, 31 March 2004,
p. 3.
Overview of Policies and Programs
200
would be a matter for discussion at a future federal/provincial/territorial
Conference of Ministers of Health.463
Moreover, numerous witnesses pointed out that many mental health services are provided in
the community by providers other than physicians and are thus not covered under the
Canada Health Act. This is particularly true for services provided by psychologists. In this
context, Dr. Diane Sacks, President, Canadian Paediatric Society, told the Committee:
(…) currently, the majority of professionals who offer [cognitive
behavioural] therapy are uninsured by most provincial health plans.
There are trained, regulated professionals that, if society’s will was there,
could treat many of our children and youth. (…) Having said that, there
are professionals who can help make the diagnosis and treat these
illnesses, but only if you have money, and lots of it. The waiting list to get
the public school system or a community mental health centre to diagnose
ADHD in Toronto today is 18 months – that is two full school years.
That is if you do not have money. If you happen to have $2,000, I can
get you a psychologist within a week or two who will make a diagnosis
and, if necessary, lay out for the school an extensive program to help your
child succeed. Most employer-run insurance programs cover an average of
only $300 for psychology. Most public programs cover zero.464
In its brief, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (Toronto) stated that the Canada
Health Act should apply to more than general hospitals and physicians and should include
home care and prescription drugs prescribed outside of hospitals. In the view of the Centre,
public funding for the cost of medications would make a tremendous improvement in the
lives of many individuals with mental illness who require long term pharmacotherapy. For
these individuals, access to medication is key to their ability to maintain employment,
housing and the other community connections that support treatment and recovery.465
Many witnesses supported the work already underway by First Ministers to expand home
care to individuals with mental illness. They contended that any national home care program
should encompass both mental illness and addiction.
9.5.2
Federal Funding
Federal transfers to the provinces and territories for the purpose of health care are provided
under the Canada Health Transfer (CHT). There has never been any, nor is there now, an
identified, specific transfer to any province or territory dedicated to mental health care and
addiction treatment. Currently, as a result of the 2003 First Ministers’ Accord on Health Care
463
464
465
Ray Block, CEO, Alberta Mental Health Board Brief to the Committee, 28 April 2004, p. 7.
Dr. Diane Sacks, President, Canadian Paediatric Society (13:53-54).
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (Toronto), Brief to the Committee, 27 June 2003, p. 3.
201
Overview of Policies and Programs
Renewal, the CHT provides funding for acute community mental health care,466 but no
specific proportion of the transfer is expressly designed for this purpose.
The Mood Disorders Society of Canada recommended that federal transfer payments for the
purpose of health care should have a portion dedicated specifically to the delivery of mental
health care. The Society argued that two conditions should be attached to this funding:
1) provinces and territories should be prevented from reducing their spending on mental
health care; 2) ongoing evaluations of provincial mental health care programs should be
undertaken to ensure value for money.467
Another proposal to raise revenue to support the treatment and prevention of addiction was
made to the Committee. Called the “Behavioural Insurance Model”, this proposal is based
on raising money for the purpose of addiction prevention and treatment through a certain
dedicated percentage of revenues generated from behaviour associated with addiction
(tobacco, alcohol, gambling).
The Ontario Federation of Community Mental Health and Addiction Programs informed
the Committee that a Behavioural Insurance Model was introduced in 1999 by the
Government of Ontario to fund an integrated array of services to address pathological
gambling. Under this model, 2% of gross revenues from slot machines in provincial charity
casinos and race tracks are dedicated to treatment, prevention and research. In 2002-2003,
this formula generated approximately $36 million, an amount sufficient to support a
comprehensive response to this serious problem.
In his brief, Dr. Wayne Skinner, Clinical Director, Concurrent Disorders Program, Centre
for Addiction and Mental Health (Toronto), stated
(…) it is important to recognize that a number of behaviours that have
addictive liability are regulated by the state, which also derives
considerable tax revenue from them. This includes tobacco and alcohol,
and more recently gambling. It has been estimated that more than half
the revenues from alcohol and gambling come from 10 per cent of people
who spend the most money on these activities. This 10 per cent
population is the one at highest risk to being addicted to these
behaviours. Given that over half of tax revenues from these behaviours
are coming from that part of the population that is most vulnerable,
government, if only from a crisis of conscience, should challenge itself to
develop a proactive strategy toward the prevention, treatment and research
of addictive behaviours and their mental health comorbidities. But beyond
that, there is strong evidence that social spending to prevent and treat
addiction and mental health problems provides an enviable return on
investment. It is not unreasonable to expect that more of the revenues
466
467
Acute community mental health care refers to acute care provided in the community to individuals
with mental illness who have an occasional acute period of disruptive behaviour; the aim is to prevent
or minimize recurrent institutionalization.
Mood Disorders Society of Canada, Brief to the Committee, 12 May 2004, p. 7.
Overview of Policies and Programs
202
that behaviours with addictive potential provide be invested in helping
people who are harmed by these behaviours.468
9.5.3
The National Homelessness Initiative (NHI)
In his submission to the Committee, Bill Cameron, Director General of the National
Secretariat on Homelessness, stated that the NHI addresses mental health issues in two ways
through 1) financial support for community initiatives and 2) partnership agenda on
research.469
The “Horizon Housing Society” is an example of community-based initiatives funded
through the NHI; the Society acquired an apartment building in Calgary to be used as
transitional housing for individuals with mental illness and addiction who are homeless or at
risk of becoming homeless. The research agenda includes issues surrounding the availability
and accessibility of mental health services for homeless people, the incidence of mental
illness among homeless people and the causal relationship between deinstitutionalization and
homelessness. Research under the NHI is also undertaken in partnership with CIHR.470
According to Bill Cameron, many mental health services to homeless people end up being
delivered in emergency departments. Moreover, the homeless population faces many
barriers that impact their access to the mental health services they need. For example, many
are unable to make health appointments, and their ability to access coordinated care is
impaired by their lack of an address and/or place of contact. In particular, many women
with serious mental disorders do not receive needed care, apparently because, in part, they
are not perceived to have mental health problems and also because of a lack of services
designed to meet the special needs of homeless women.471
Mr. Cameron also identified other major gaps in community services and supports directed
to the homeless population, including emergency housing, supportive housing, and
community-based mental health services.472 According to Mr. Cameron, safe and affordable
housing with individualized supports is a key factor in the in helping the homeless generally,
but he stressed that this may not be enough for those with severe mental illness and
addiction. Long term supporting facilities such as emergency shelters and supports and
transitional housing are necessary to help the chronically homeless. There is also a need for
preventative measures such as dedicated affordable housing for individuals discharged from
psychiatric institutions and the provision of short term intensive support services to be
available immediately to those discharged from acute care hospitals, shelters and jails.473
Dr. Wayne Skinner, Clinical Director, Concurrent Disorders Program, Centre for Addiction and
Mental Health (Toronto), Brief to the Committee, 2004, p. 6.
469 Bill Cameron, Director General of the National Secretariat on Homelessness, Brief to the Committee,
29 April 2004, p. 1.
470 Ibid., pp. 1-2.
471 Bill Cameron (2004), p. 2.
472 Bill Cameron (2004), p. 3.
473 Bill Cameron (2004), p. 4.
468
203
Overview of Policies and Programs
9.6
THE NEED FOR A NATIONAL ACTION PLAN ON MENTAL
HEALTH, MENTAL ILLNESS AND ADDICTION
Witnesses told the Committee repeatedly that
Canada needs a national action plan on mental Canada has no national framework
health, mental illness and addiction.
Many for mental health. There is no
countries have already adopted such a national national commitment to mental
mental health policy or action plan. For example, in health services.
1992, Australia developed a national mental health [Dr. James Millar, Nova Scotia
strategy to improve the lives of individuals with Department of Health, Brief to the
mental illness; also in 1992, the United Kingdom Committee, 28 April 2004, p. 4.]
developed an action plan in five key health areas,
one of which was mental health, which established targets for improvement of the health of
individuals with mental illness and to reduce the suicide rate; in 1999, the report of the US
Surgeon General made a commitment to improve mental health within the United States.474
Canada is currently characterized by a serious lack of leadership on mental health, mental
illness and addiction which, in the view of many witnesses and the Committee, has created a
large void: there is no focus on mental illness and addiction within health care reform
initiatives; there is no clear delineation of roles and responsibilities of the various
stakeholders. Phil Upshall, President, Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental
Health (CAMIMH), stated:
The current status of mental illness and mental health in Canada paints
a very bleak picture, beginning with a large void in leadership. (…) no
policies and very few processes exist to address mental illness and mental
health at a national level in Canada. There is no clear identification of
the roles and responsibilities of the government players involved. One of
the most significant barriers to securing a national action plan appears to
be the division of powers between provinces/territories and the federal
government for health and social services. This need not be a hindrance to
developing a coherent approach that will meet the needs of Canadians
equitably.475
Many witnesses recommended a strong leadership role for the federal government in the
(…)current
the piecemeal
work being
done in
development of a national action plan. The
lack of leadership,
of course,
has
isolation
by
the
provinces,
territories
contributed significantly to the piecemeal approach of addressing mental illnessand
and
advocacy
is leading
to duplication
addiction, to the development of various models
in groups
different
jurisdictions,
resultingofin
effort and
duplication and waste of resources. For example,
Dr.wasted
Jamesresources.
Millar, Executive Director,
[Dr.
James
Millar,
Executive
Mental Health and Physician Services, Nova Scotia Department of
Health, Director,
stated: Mental
Health and Physician Services, Nova Scotia
Department of Health (7:19).]
Nationally, we are not doing
(…) well. Provinces, individually, have been struggling with providing
474
475
See the Committee’s second report, Mental Health Policies and Programs in Selected Countries, for a
full description of national mental health strategies in Australia, New Zealand, England and the
United States.
Phil Upshall, President, CAMIMH, Brief to the Committee, 18 July 2003, p. 7.
Overview of Policies and Programs
204
appropriate services and developed various models from the Mental
Health Commission of New Brunswick to the Alberta Mental Health
Board. The federal government has not provided leadership in developing
a national strategy.476
Similarly, Dr. Sunil V. Patel, President, Canadian Medical Association, told the Committee:
Canada is the only G8 country without such a national strategy. This
oversight has contributed significantly to fragmented mental health
services, chronic problems such as lengthy waiting lists for children’s
mental health services and mental health.477
National leadership on mental illness and addiction is long overdue. The federal
government can play a major role in collecting national data, supporting research and
knowledge dissemination, and educating Canadians about mental health, mental illness and
addiction. Many witnesses stated that the federal government has a key role in addressing
the housing, income and employment needs of individuals with mental illness and addiction.
Moreover, there is the direct role of the federal government in the provision of mental
health services and addiction treatment to Aboriginal peoples, federal inmates, the veterans
and members of the Canadian Forces, RCMP and federal employees.
While numerous witnesses favoured national leadership, it was stressed that progress can
only be achieved by the federal government in close partnership with the provinces and
territories. For example, Dr. Pierre Beauséjour, Senior Medical Advisor, Alberta Mental
Health Board, stated:
While we agree that national leadership by the federal government for the
development of a national action plan on mental illness and mental
health is crucial, we will propose that building consensus on national
mental health goals, standards and accountability is imperative and that
provincial/territorial leaderships in mental health are as necessary as
federal leadership in that regard.
We firmly believe that a result-oriented partnership approach, a clear
redefinition of roles and responsibilities and a synergy of efforts between
the federal government and the provinces/territories will be needed for the
development and implementation of a national cross-jurisdictional policy
framework on mental health.478
476
477
478
Dr. James Millar, Executive Director, Mental Health and Physician Services, Nova Scotia Department
of Health, Brief to the Committee, 28 April 2004, p. 3.
Dr. Sunil V. Patel, President, Canadian Medical Association Brief to the Committee, 31 March 2004,
p. 2.
Dr. Pierre Beauséjour, Senior Medical Advisor, Alberta Mental Health Board, Brief to the Committee,
2003, p. 1.
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Overview of Policies and Programs
Witnesses argued that the national framework must
set standards for service delivery covering all Mental illness and poor mental
aspects of mental health from prevention, health are significant contributing
promotion and advocacy through community-based factors in suicide with more people
services to inpatient and specialty services. It must dying worldwide from suicide than
also provide services throughout the lifespan and war and homicide combined.
ensure clarity of roles and responsibilities along the Increasing the quality of mental
continuum of care. In addition, because most health, and responding to mental
mental illnesses have their roots in childhood and illness on a timely basis will save
adolescence, there must be a new focus on child lives.
and adolescent mental heath. Child and adolescent [Phil Upshall, President, CAMIMH,
mental health has been ignored for too long. We Brief to the Committee, 18 July 2003,
must deal with problems early at their root before p. 3.]
serious damage is done. In addition to children and
adolescents, population groups also identified as in need of urgent action include Aboriginal
peoples, senior Canadians, federal inmates, women and landed immigrants.
Another priority area within a national action plan is suicide prevention. The fact is that
Canada, unlike Australia, Finland, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden,
the United Kingdom and the United States, does not have a national suicide prevention
strategy. Many witnesses who appeared before the Committee urged the federal government
to work with the provinces/territories and relevant stakeholders in the development of such
a strategy. According to Dr. Paul Links, Arthur Sommer Rotenberg Chair in Suicide Studies,
countries that have implemented national strategies on suicide prevention have experienced
reductions of between 10% to 20% in suicide rate.479 Moreover, the Centre for Suicide
Prevention told the Committee that only two provinces – New Brunswick and Quebec –
have implemented a suicide-specific prevention strategy. Witnesses urged the federal
government to work with the provinces/territories and relevant stakeholders in the
development of a national suicide prevention strategy.
A number of witnesses mentioned that there is an opportunity to coordinate a national
mental health strategy with the National Drug Strategy. Given the high rate of concurrent
disorders (mental illness and addiction), it is critical that links be forged between them. For
example, national monitoring of the prevalence of substance use disorders through the
National Drug Strategy would be of tremendous benefit to efforts to plan services for
individuals with concurrent disorders.
Through the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH), some 20
NGOs representing individuals with mental illness/addiction, their families and service
provider organizations have reached a consensus on the need for a national action plan on
mental health, mental illness and addiction.480 This national action plan addresses four main
areas: education and awareness; national policy framework; research; and surveillance:
479
480
Dr. Paul Links (11:20).
The following organizations have joined together to form the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness
and Mental Health: Autism Society of Canada, Mood Disorders Society of Canada, Canadian Medical
Association, Canadian Health Care Association, National Network for Mental Health, Canadian
Council of Professional Psychology Programs, Canadian Federation of Mental Health Nurses,
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206
•
Public awareness campaigns and professional education in a wide range of social and
medical courses can help reduce the stigma and discrimination that is associated with
mental illness, addiction and suicidal behaviour.
•
A national policy framework is required in terms of identifying and implementing
best practices (for treatment, prevention and promotion) and planning human
resources (psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurses, addiction specialists, social
workers, etc.). National leadership is also necessary to develop a comprehensive
cross-jurisdictional policy framework that can ensure equitable access to professional
and community supports across the country.
•
The federal government is best positioned to establish and support a national
research agenda for mental health, mental illness and addiction. Priorities for
research need to be identified, research funding needs to be increased, and the
voluntary fundraising sector needs to be strengthened.
•
A national surveillance system must be implemented to monitor accurately and
evaluate the incidence and prevalence of mental illness and addiction (including
suicidal behaviour). The information collected nationally could also be used to
report on how well the system is meeting the needs of individuals with mental illness
and addiction.481
Many witnesses stressed that a national action plan for mental health, mental illness and
addiction can only be developed through collaboration among the federal government,
provincial and territorial jurisdictions, NGOs and other stakeholders including individuals
with mental illness/addiction. In this context, the Schizophrenia Society of Canada stated:
It will take the work of all levels of government, working in concert with
non-governmental organizations, to create and facilitate a national action
plan. (…) Existing, capable agencies such as hospitals, professional
associations and volunteer organizations that have been acting as bandaids in the current system are poised to be part of the mental health care
solution in Canada. The biggest challenge governments will face is
coordinating a multi-tiered government system that was not designed to
work together and integrating non-governmental organization into the
system as a contributing partner. It is only through a concerted effort in
these areas that Canada will witness a shift in mental health care that
will effectively and efficiently treat and support individuals with mental
481
Canadian Coalition for Seniors’ Mental Health, College of Family Physicians of Canada, Canadian
Psychiatric Research Foundation, Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, Canadian Association
of Occupational Therapists, Schizophrenia Society of Canada, Canadian Mental Health Association,
Canadian Academy of Child Psychiatry, Canadian Association of Social Workers, Canadian
Psychiatric Association, Canadian Psychological Association, Native Mental Health Association of
Canada.
Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health, A Call for Action: Building Consensus for a
National Action Plan on Mental Illness and Mental Health, Discussion Paper, September 2000.
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illness and their families and reduce the burden to individuals, families
and society caused by [mental disorders].482
As stated by Phil Upshall, CAMIMH President, action must be taken now:
The time is now. (…) It has been fifteen years since the federal
government released Mental Health for Canadians: Striking a Balance.
Its policy document linked the national health promotion vision of
“Achieving Health for All” to mental health. Other major reports,
together with numerous provincial and regional policy and discussion
documents have recommended significant changes to improve services and
programs for: individuals with serious mental illnesses, children’s mental
health services, suicide prevention, aboriginal peoples, and offender and
prison populations. These reports continue to gather dust and
Canadians continue to wait, as few of the recommendations and ideas
have been implemented.483
Overall, witnesses called for a commitment by all levels of government to act, to work
together on developing common goals and on creating a cohesive, integrated national
framework on mental health, mental illness and addiction. One overlooked element of
federal government activity in this field appears to be its direct responsibility for over a
million Canadians, some of whom are facing serious mental health issues.
9.7
AN APPROACH BASED ON POPULATION HEALTH
Not only must the health care system treat mental illness
(…) but Canada needs to take proactive steps based on
the broader health determinants to protect and preserve the
mental health of its entire population, including those living
with mental illness. Improving the social conditions that we
know are necessary for overall good mental health (e.g.
healthy physical and social environments, strong coping
skills, along with health services) is essential to support
positive mental health and recovery from mental illness.
[Canadian Mental Health Association, Brief to the
Committee, June 2003, p. 3.]
Mental health, mental illness and addiction are strongly influenced by a wide variety of
factors including biology and genetics, income and educational achievement, employment,
social environment, and more. This fact points clearly to the need to address mental health,
482
483
Schizophrenia Society of Canada Brief to the Committee, 2004, p. 3.
Phil Upshall, President, Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health, Brief to the
Committee, 18 July 2003, p. 7.
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208
mental illness and addiction from a population health approach, a broad perspective
extending well beyond health care per se.
The Committee heard repeatedly that treatment and recovery are difficult to achieve when
basic needs for shelter, income and employment are not met. Many witnesses pointed out
that it would be good public policy to take action to address these needs since access to
housing, income and employment has been demonstrated to improve clinical status, reduce
hospitalization, and enable individuals with mental illness to stay in their homes and
communities. Access to housing, income and employment are also key to someone’s ability
to participate in society and to enjoy the rights of citizenship free from stigma and
discrimination.
Housing has been widely acknowledged as a priority in mental health policy at both the
federal and provincial levels. What is needed now is action from both levels of government
to implement new housing and supported housing programs based upon the foundation of
existing policy and research that has shown convincingly that a diverse population of
individuals with mental disorders can succeed in housing if appropriate supports are
available. Appropriate housing and supports can substitute for long term inpatient care
thereby decreasing society’s and affected individuals’ reliance on high cost hospital and
institutional beds.
Access to adequate income and employment is another key determinant of health that must
be a priority in any mental health strategy. Many individuals with mental illness must rely on
government income programs, at some time during their illness, as their only source of
income and access to prescription drug coverage. Unfortunately, many government income
programs provide benefits that are too low, don’t cover realistic living costs, create barriers
to employment, and are not flexible enough to respond to the episodic nature of mental
illness. In addition, disability is often defined too narrowly for many individuals with mental
illness or addiction to qualify. In Ontario, for example, provincial income support programs
exclude individuals affected by addiction from the definition of disability altogether. These
systemic barriers within government income support programs must be addressed to ensure
that individuals with mental illness and addiction are able to access the basic supports that
will help restore them to health and keep them well.
Support for employment is also a key area in which governments can do more. Individuals
with a range of mental health problems can succeed in employment if flexible supports,
responsive to their changing needs throughout treatment and recovery are available. Greater
emphasis must also be placed on ensuring that individuals with mental illness are
meaningfully accommodated in the workplace. Access to skills development, training and
education must also be improved by encouraging academic institutions and other learning
environments to accommodate more appropriately individuals with mental illness.
9.8
COMMITTEE COMMENTARY
At present, the federal government has no comprehensive framework for mental health,
mental illness and addiction federally or nationally. While several witnesses pointed to the
fact that Canada stands alone among similar G8 countries in not having a national mental
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Overview of Policies and Programs
health policy reaching across the applicable jurisdictional boundaries, others noted the
absence of an integrated framework even at the federal level with its responsibility for the
provision of mental health services and addiction treatment to specific groups.
The lack of a federal framework may be primarily a function of inadequate collaboration,
cooperation and communication among the various federal departments that have
involvement in related or overlapping areas. However, it may also be a consequence of the
difficulties of trying to address the multiple needs of very diverse populations. Whatever the
reason, the Committee believes that despite its direct responsibility for the mental health
needs of specific groups in the Canadian population, the federal government has made too
little effort to coordinate its initiatives internally. In these areas, the federal government has
both the right and the obligation to act and can do so without intensive (or even any)
negotiations with other jurisdictions.
Similarly, the absence of an overall national framework may be attributed to some extent to
the lack of clear role differentiation in these areas where provincial/territorial responsibility
takes precedence. In general, the Constitution Act, 1867 gives the provinces power to legislate
in the fields of health care, education, provincial jails, and the administration of the courts;
while giving Canadian Parliament power over criminal law and procedure, as well as the
management of penitentiaries. In addition to the power of criminal law, this leaves the
federal government with two other potential constitutional powers when acting in a national
capacity: its spending power; and the ability to pass laws for the peace, order and good
government of Canada.
From both the federal and the national perspectives, it is obvious that the federal
government’s role with respect to mental health, mental illness and addiction is not limited
to the activities of the Health Canada. Related policies, programs and services fall in the
broader social sphere as well as in the justice arena, outside the traditional health care sector.
Other federal departments such as Human Resources Development Canada, Indian and
Northern Affairs Canada, Veterans Affairs Canada, Correctional Services Canada, Justice
Canada are among those that currently play a role in federal and national initiatives. And at
the workplace level, Treasury Board as the employer of public servants has a major role to
play in assisting its employees with issues related to mental health and addiction.
In looking at federal government activities with respect to the specific groups under its
responsibility, there is little evidence to suggest the existence of strategies targeted at specific
populations, let alone a broad all-encompassing federal strategy. No current efforts to
develop an overall coordinated federal framework with collaboration by all involved
departments or agencies are apparent. In most cases, there is little indication of thought
being given to the development of a thorough and inclusive population specific strategy for
addressing the mental health needs of any of the groups under federal responsibility. The
provision of mental health services and addiction treatment and efforts toward mental health
promotion and mental illness prevention remain highly fragmented, provided by numerous
departments and departmental directorates. More collaboration would lead to a more
integrated approach towards mental health. This would be an important step toward a
policy based on population health.
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210
The Committee also concurs with witnesses that better links are needed between the federal
and provincial governments and among the various overlapping systems – health care,
mental health, addiction, justice, social supports, etc.
Finally, it would also be important for the federal government to lead by example. If it is to
play a leadership role in the development of a truly national action plan on mental health,
mental illness and addiction, it must also show that it is willing and capable of providing
mental health services to the populations for which it has direct responsibility. Clearly, there
is a need to correct the ambivalent approach taken over the years by the federal government
about the place of mental health in its policies and programs.
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PART 4
Research and Ethics
CHAPTER 10:
RESEARCH INTO MENTAL HEALTH,
MENTAL ILLNESS AND ADDICTION IN CANADA
We believe that research is our most important weapon in
our search for a better understanding, improved treatments
and eventually a cure for devastating mental illnesses.
[Canadian Psychiatric Research Foundation, Today,
Newsletter, Vol. 3, No. 1, Spring 2003.]
INTRODUCTION
In Canada, the federal government is the major sponsor of research into mental health,
mental illness and addiction, while university-based scientists in research institutes and
university-affiliated hospitals are the major performers. The Canadian Institutes of Health
Research (CIHR), through its Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction
(INMHA), is the primary federal funding agency for research into mental health, mental
illness and addiction.
As with all CIHR-funded health research, research in mental health, mental illness and
addiction encompasses the full spectrum of activities ranging from biomedical, to clinical, to
health services, and to population health research:
•
Biomedical research pertains to biological organisms, organs and organ systems. For
example, this type of research would study the level of serotonin (a brain chemical)
in patients suffering from eating disorders such as Bulimia Nervosa.
•
Clinical research relates to studies involving human participants, healthy and ill. An
example would include clinical trials on humans to test the toxicity and effectiveness
of a possible new treatment for schizophrenia that, in basic biomedical research, has
shown promising results and can then be safely studied in terms of its net and
comparative (relative to other drugs) benefit to patients.
•
Health services research embraces the administration, organization and financing
mental health services delivery and addiction treatment. An example might be
research into the mechanisms for caring for patients with bipolar disorder, from the
manner of their diagnosis, through their treatment in hospital, then on an out-patient
basis, or at home, to their long-term follow-up through hospital and community
care.
•
Population health research focuses on the broad factors that influence mental health
status (socio-economic conditions, gender, culture, literacy, genetics, etc.). An
example might be a study using large databases of health information to learn
whether the incidence of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder is associated
with environmental or other factors.
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Overview of Policies and Programs
This chapter provides an overview of the state of research into mental health, mental illness
and addiction in Canada. Section 10.1 summarizes the role and mandate of CIHR and
INMHA and highlights a number of issues raised by witnesses. Section 10.2 provides
information on federal research funding for mental health, mental illness and addiction and
examines the question of whether funding should reflect the burden of disease. Section 10.3
briefly reviews other sources of funding for mental health and addiction research. Section
10.4 discusses issues related to the translation of research knowledge into actual services and
supports for individuals with mental illness and addiction. Section 10.5 discusses the need
for a national research agenda for mental health, mental illness and addiction. Section 10.6
provides some Committee commentary.
10.1
CIHR AND INMHA
In Canada, there has been a net improvement in the past
three years following the creation of the Canadian
Institutes of Health Research, as well as an improvement
in research funding, particularly for mental health.
However, there is still great room for improvement.
[Michel Tousignant, Professor, Centre de recherche et
d’intervention sur le suicide et l’euthanasie, Université du
Québec à Montréal (14:41)]
As part of its commitment to becoming one of the top five research nations in the world,
the federal government created in 2000 the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).
CIHR is an arms-length organization reporting to the federal Minister of Health.
CIHR takes an innovative, multi-faceted, problem-based and multidisciplinary approach to
health research. This approach applies all types of research (biomedical, clinical, health
services, population health) to disease mechanisms, treatment, prevention and health
promotion. The majority of research funded by CIHR is investigator-driven (70%); 30% is
reserved for strategic initiatives to respond to health challenges and scientific opportunities
of high priority to Canadians.
CIHR's approach to research is facilitated by its structure, which brings together researchers
across disciplinary and geographic boundaries in its 13 Institutes, each of which addresses a
specific domain of health research. One of these 13 institutes is the Institute of
Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction (INMHA).484
INMHA’s creation marked the first focal point established in Canada for research into
mental health, mental illness and addiction. INMHA supports research to enhance mental
health, neurological health, vision, hearing, and cognitive functioning and to reduce the
burden of related disorders through prevention strategies, screening, diagnosis, treatment,
support systems, and palliation. As shown in Table 10.1, INMHA covers a wide range of
research areas.
484
The first three paragraphs of this section are based on information contained on CIHR’s website,
under “About CIHR – Who We Are” (http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/about/7263.shtml#?).
Overview of Policies and Programs
216
TABLE 10.1
•
AREAS OF RESEARCH SUPPORTED BY INMHA
Mental health and neurological health promotion policies and strategies
•
Addiction prevention policies and strategies
•
Health determinants – to elucidate the multi-dimensional factors that affect the health of
populations and lead to a differential prevalence of health concerns
•
Identification of health advantage and health risk factors related to the interaction of
environments (cultural, social, psychological, behavioural, physical, genetic)
•
Disease, injury and disability prevention strategies at the individual and population levels
•
Head injury prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation
•
Addiction, mental health, and dysfunction of the nervous system affecting sensation,
cognition, emotion, behaviour, movement, communication, and autonomic function
•
Clinical research and health outcomes research into diagnostic technologies and
methods; therapies; treatment, care, and rehabilitation models (long and short-term)
•
Co-morbidity of conditions and impacts on prevention, diagnosis, treatment, care and
rehabilitation
•
Design and implementation of health services delivery – from prevention, to screening,
to diagnosis, to intervention or treatment, to rehabilitation, to palliation
•
Development and implementation of health technologies and tools (e.g. imaging, bioengineering, drug delivery technologies)
•
Development, regulation, function and dysfunction of the central, peripheral, and
autonomic nervous systems
•
Human psychology, cognition and behaviour; sleep and circadian biology; pain
•
Ethics issues related to research, care strategies, and access to care (e.g. informed
consent; hospitalization; addiction, mental health and the justice system)
Source: CIHR’s Website (http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/institutes/inmha/9591.shtml#).
INMHA’s strategic plan for 2001-2005 lays out five strategic priorities:
1. To foster and develop a capacity for innovation in research in neurosciences,
mental health and addiction that will strengthen Canada’s health research
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Overview of Policies and Programs
milieu in these fields and enhance its competitive position on the
international scene. The focus areas include training, strategic initiatives,
research in emerging areas and, research in bioethics;
2. To pursue and sustain collaborative partnerships with governmental, nongovernmental and volunteer health organizations as well as pharmaceutical
and biotechnology industries that will enable the INMHA to share, develop,
obtain or leverage resources required to accomplish its mandate;
3. To promote linkage and exchange between the research community and
municipal, provincial and national levels of decision-makers as well as the
users of research results, including NGOs, through structured efforts aimed
at knowledge translation (see section below);
4. To develop the INMHA’s presence on the international stage through joint
research, training and funding initiatives with scienctific and research funding
agencies in other countries; and,
5. To establish an organizational and an operational structure that will enable
the INMHA to accomplish its goals.485
Witnesses and researchers largely supported CIHR’s new approach to mental health, mental
illness and addiction research. There also exhibited strong trust in the fairness and rigour of
CIHR’s peer-review mechanism. For example, in their paper to the Committee, Dr. Shitij
Kapur and Dr. Franco Vaccarino, from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
(Toronto), stated:
(…) there is an important recognition and valuation of the role of
CIHR in [mental health, mental illness and addiction] research. The
rigour and transparency that CIHR brings to its evaluations and
competitions is highly regarded and is seen as an indispensable
mechanism to fill the “investor-driven” spectrum of research.486
Witnesses acknowledged the multidisciplinary approach taken by CIHR as a positive step in
research into mental health, mental illness and addiction. For example, Dr. Alan Bernstein,
President of CIHR, observed:
Canada has an exceptionally strong and internationally recognized
neuroscience community. By creating a single Institute that embraces
neuroscience, mental health and addiction, we have explicitly embraced
an integrative vision that is helping to bring together laboratory-based
neuroscientists, psychologists, psychiatrists, social scientists, and health
services researchers to focus on mental health and addiction.487
485
486
487
Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction, Strategic Plan – 2001-2005, December 2001.
Shitij Kapur and Franco Vaccarino, Translating Discoveries into Care – Enhancing Research in
Mental Illness and Addictions, paper commissioned by the Committee, 2004, p. 5.
Dr. Alan Bernstein, Letter to the Committee, dated 8 July 2003.
Overview of Policies and Programs
218
Dr. Rémi Quirion, Scientific Director of INMHA, also pointed to the excellence of research
into mental health and mental illness in Canada, but stressed that research capacity was an
issue in the field of addiction:
Canada is one of the world leaders in the area of neuroscience research.
In terms of the impact of our discoveries in neuroscience, we rank second
or third. We therefore have excellent capacity. We are quite strong in the
area of mental health. We need to do some rebuilding on the addiction
side: we lost many of our significant researchers in the 90s.488
Furthermore, most witnesses welcomed the inclusion of population health research and
health services research as part of CIHR’s mandate. They explained that this contrasted with
the historical focus of CIHR’s predecessor, the Medical Research Council, on biomedical
research. The Committee was told, however, that population health research and health
services research remain relatively weak in the fields of mental health, mental illness and
addiction. In their paper, Kapur and Vaccarino contended that it is important to redress this
situation, given the effects of the broader determinants of health on mental illness and
addiction.489
With respect to health services research, a Research must inform mental health
literature review suggested that there is still service delivery. We need to know what
much to be learned in Canada about best works and what doesn’t. We need to
practices to provide care and supports to make informed decisions. We also must
individuals with mental illness and addiction translate research knowledge into
whether in inpatient care, outpatient care, crisis action.
response, housing, employment or self-help.490 [Dr. James Millar, Nova Scotia
The authors of the review indicated that, for Department of Health, Brief, 28 April
those interventions where there is the strongest 2004, p. 11.]
evidence relating to their effectiveness, there
remains a pressing need for more detailed information about what works for whom. Where
the evidence of effectiveness is unclear, more creative approaches are needed to assess
effectiveness of specific interventions when traditional randomized controlled trials are not
feasible or appropriate. Identifying best practices is essential to guide decisions about who
should receive treatment resources and where, what treatment interventions should be
provided, and how to provide the assurance that the care delivered is appropriate for the
patient/client’s needs.
Although many witnesses lauded the unique Canadian approach of fostering collaboration
amongst researchers and between researchers and other organizations, some complained
about heavy restrictions and major obstacles that prejudice the validity and quality of
research and consume too much of the researchers’ time. For example, Michel Tousignant,
Professor, Centre de recherche et d’intervention sur le suicide et l’euthanasie, Université du
488
489
490
Dr. Rémi Quirion (14:9).
Kapur and Vaccarino (2004), p. 5.
Health Systems Research Unit, Clark Institute of Psychiatry, Best Practices in Mental Health Reform –
Discussion Paper, prepared for the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Advisory Network on Mental Health,
Health Canada, 1997, pp. 27-28.
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Overview of Policies and Programs
Québec à Montréal, told the Committee that researchers could spend many months,
sometimes up to year, to fulfill all INMHA/CIHR’s criteria before even starting a research
project. He explained that as many as three ethics committees – university, research centres
and hospital, –review a proposal. While ethics committees exist to protect everyone’s
interests, Professor Tousignant pointed out that very little time is allocated by them to
consult with researchers who may also be required to submit protocols to the Access to
Information Commission, which further delays the initiation of research projects and places
another layer of bureaucratic burden on investigators.491
10.2
FEDERAL FUNDING FOR RESEARCH INTO MENTAL HEALTH,
MENTAL ILLNESS AND ADDICTION
(…) the funding of mental health and addictions research
in Canada is currently inadequate. Mental health and
addictions are under funded in an absolute and a relative
sense. When one combines this systemic under funding,
with the impact of stigma, the limitations of the NGOs
fund-raising in this area as well as the lack of commercial
incentives for a lot of these activities, the under funding
becomes even more acute. Given that the other constraints
cannot be easily overturned (stigma, limits to fund-raising
in this area, lack of commercial incentives) – it is critical
that the federal government show leadership in securing fair
funding for mental health and addictions research.
[Dr. Shitij Kapur and Dr. Franco Vaccarino, Centre for
Addiction and Mental Health (2004)]
10.2.1 Level of Federal Funding
CIHR, the primary funding agency for mental health and addiction research in Canada, has
allocated $93 million to INMHA from its total base budget of $623 million for the 20032004 fiscal year. About $33 million from the INMHA budget goes to mental health and
addiction research, or 5.3% of the total envelope of CIHR health research funding. The
remaining $60 million is spent on fundamental neuroscience research, some of which, along
with other health research, may well also contribute to a greater understanding of mental
illness and addiction.
Dr. Bernstein stressed that INMHA currently receives the largest allocation of CIHR funds,
followed by the Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health ($64 million) and the
Institute of Infection and Immunity ($52 million).492
INMHA, together with the Institute of Aboriginal People’s Health, created the National
Network for Aboriginal Mental Health Research (NNAMHR) in the spring of 2003 with a
491
492
Professor Michel Tousignant (14:43).
Dr. Bernstein (8 July 2003).
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220
budget of $170,000 per year for four years. Its mandate is to conduct research in partnership
with Aboriginal communities and academic researchers with the goal of training new
researchers and developing the research capacity necessary to address the particular mental
health needs of Aboriginal peoples.
In addition to CIHR, federal funding for research into mental health, mental illness and
addiction is also available from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
(SSHRC). In particular, SSHRC supports research in the broad area of social psychology.
Some 1.5% (approximately $2.5 million) of its total base budget of $167.5 million went to
mental health research in 2002-2003.493
The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) is the third and final
federal funding agency for health research. Clinical psychology is not eligible for NSERC
support nor is brain research a key focus. But NSERC will consider projects relating to
fundamental psychological processes, their underlying neural mechanisms, their
development within individuals and their evolutionary and ecological context. Funding
allocations specific to mental health, mental illness and addiction are included within the
category “psychology” under “brain, behaviour and cognitive science”. In 2003, 113
projects were funded within this category at a cost of approximately $3.25 million,494 which
corresponds to 0.5% of the NSERC grants and scholarships budget of just over $600
million.
Other sources of federal funding for research into mental health, mental illness and
addiction may include Statistics Canada, Canada’s Drug Strategy (which funds the Canadian
Centre on Substance Abuse), Health Canada, Correctional Service Canada (Addictions
Research Centre), and the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation. The Committee
did not receive information on the level of funding provided by these sources.
10.2.2 How Much Should the Federal Government Spend?
Several witnesses supported the view that the proportion of health research dollars allocated
to mental health, mental illness and addiction was
I want to make it very clear that the
not adequate.
research in mental health and
mental illnesses is underfunded in
Canada compared with the costs to
society.
In their report, Dr. Kapur and Dr. Vaccarino noted
that there are no guidelines in Canada (nor
elsewhere, for that matter) for what the total
funding envelope for health research should be and [Dr. Rémi Quirion, INMHA (14:8)]
how funding for health research should be allocated
among disciplines/research fields. In the absence of such guidelines, they suggested two
approaches: first, to examine health research funding as a function of the relative burden of
illness, and second, to compare research funding patterns in other jurisdictions.495
As discussed in Chapter 5 and Chapter 6, the prevalence of mental illness and addiction in
Canada is high and the economic burden enormous. Nearly as many individuals battle with
Information obtained from personal communication.
Information obtained from the Website at: www.nserc.gc.ca.
495 Dr. Kapur and Dr. Vaccarino (2004), p. 3.
493
494
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Overview of Policies and Programs
depression as have cardiovascular disease. Many witnesses have argued reasonably that
mental illness and addiction impact on society as powerfully as any other class of disease or
condition and that this burden should be reflected directly in the funding dedicated to
research into mental health, mental illness and addiction.
A paper by the Autism Society Canada ranked 14 diseases according to prevalence rates and
CIHR dollars for research per affected person. AIDS, which affects 1 Canadian in 500, is
the most richly funded area of research, receiving from CIHR over $1,500 per affected
person. Attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which affects as many as 1
Canadian in 17, is last on the list at $0.09 (nine cents) per affected person. Schizophrenia,
probably the most disabling of mental illnesses, ranked 7th; it affects 1 in 100 and receives
from CIHR about $84 per affected person. Autism, with a prevalence rate of 1 in 200,
ranked 8th with CIHR funding amounting to $67.10 per patient/client.496
In a letter to the Committee, Dr. Alan Bernstein, President of CIHR, estimated that, if
funding were to be provided in relation to the burden of disease, CIHR’s support for mental
illness and addiction would be at least $80 million per year. By this standard, CIHR’s current
expenditure of approximately $33 million is very low. Nevertheless, Dr. Bernstein
maintained that research into mental health, mental illness and addiction receives an
appropriate a proportion of CIHR’s budget,497 given that many factors have to be taken into
account, including the capacity of researchers in the field to use research funding to best
advantage.
The second approach suggested by Dr. Kapur and Dr. Vaccarino consists in comparing the
federal government’s performance in terms of funding research into mental health, mental
illness and addiction to that of other industrialized countries. The National Institutes of
Health (NIH) in the United States function similarly to CIHR through a number of
“institutes”, the relevant ones for comparison being the National Institute of Mental Health
(NIMH), the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on
Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). In 2003, the total envelope of funding to the
NIH amounted to US $27 billion; NIMH received US $1.4 billion, NIDA US $1 billion and
NIAA US $0.4 billion. Thus, research into mental health, mental illness and addiction in the
United States received US $2.8 billion dollars, or just over 10% of the total funds allocated
for health research, double the CIHR’s 5.3%.498
In the United Kingdom, the main funding agency for biomedical research is the Medical
Research Council (MRC) which funds six research areas: people and population studies,
including health services and the health of the public; genetics, molecular structure and
dynamics; cell biology, development and growth; medical physiology and disease processes;
immunology and infection; and neuroscience and mental health. The most recent data
available indicates that of the £292.6 million total base spending for the MRC in 2001-2002,
some £74 million was allocated to neuroscience and mental health research and £18.9
496
497
498
Autism Society Canada, Canadian Autism Research Agenda and Canadian Autism Strategy: A White Paper,
March 2004.
Dr. Bernstein (8 July 2003).
Information obtained from the NIH Website at: www.gov.nih.
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222
million specifically to research into mental illness. This corresponds to 6.5% of the total
allocated for biomedical research.499
On the basis of this information, a number of researchers in the field contended that
Canada’s investment is not sufficient.
What measure should be used to determine the proportion of research funds for any given
disease? Should it be merely prevalence rates, morbidity and mortality, disability, or the
economic burden associated with the disease? Should funding be determined on the basis of
international comparative analysis? Should it be allocated competitively on the basis of merit
and promise among all the applications submitted to the granting agency concerned? Should
it be determined after consideration of a combination of all of these measures?
Dr. Bernstein testified that formally allocating research spending on the basis of burden of
disease to Canadian society implicitly assumes that there is no spill over in concepts,
techniques or results from one area of research to another. He explained that some of the
most important advances in one disease area had their origins in a completely different area.
Therefore, it would not be appropriate to allocate research funding solely on the basis of
prevalence rates or burden of disease.500 Dr. Bernstein provided two examples:
CIHR is funding several teams, in Vancouver, Toronto and Québec
city, to identify the genes involved in bipolar disease/schizophrenia. The
science and technology to do this came out of a much broader goal to clone
the genes involved in any human disease. It’s reasonable to say that the
identification of the gene(s) for human bipolar disease will be the single
most important advance to date in bipolar disease research, and will
transform approaches to diagnosis, treatment and perhaps prevention.
And yet, the fundamental research that is making this possible had
nothing originally to do with mental illness or indeed any particular
human disease.
CIHR’s Institute of Aging, Genetics and Population and Public Health
are planning a major initiative – The Canadian Lifelong Health
Initiative (CLHI) – that will follow cohorts of newborns and seniors,
and measure the genetic, psychosocial, economic, environmental and
cultural determinants of health and disease. This initiative, which will
require in excess of $100 million over 20-30 years, promises to tease out
the multiple determinants of healthy aging and disease, particularly
common and complex disorders like mental illness. How should we
classify our investment in CLHI – mental illness, cardiovascular disease,
arthritis, healthy aging, or all of the above?501
Information obtained from the MRC Website at: www.mrc.ac.uk.
Alan Bernstein (8 July 2003).
501 Ibid.
499
500
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Determining the level of research funding on the basis of international comparisons also has
drawbacks. First, a large number of countries should be examined before making such a
comparison; second, the data should be truly comparable; and third, the research capacities
of the countries concerned should also be truly comparable.
10.3
OTHER CANADIAN SOURCES OF FUNDING
10.3.1 Pharmaceutical Industry
The pharmaceutical industry is the largest single source of funding for health research in
Canada. In 2002, the pharmaceutical industry invested $1.4 billion in health research and
development, or approximately 36% of the total health research in the country.502
It is not known just how much funding of research by the pharmaceutical industry in Canada
goes into mental illness and addiction. However, there are at present more than 100
potential pharmaceutical agents for a variety of mental disorders that are either in human
clinical testing or awaiting approval.
These investments by the pharmaceutical industry are made both in laboratory research (inhouse, in universities and in research institutes) to discover new molecules, and in clinical
trials to test the efficacy of new agents on individuals with mental illness and addiction and
look for side effects. Clinical trials in this category of patients raise many ethical issues, and
these are discussed in Chapter 16.
As well, pharmaceutical companies support training and research in mental illness and
addiction through CIHR’s Industry Partnered Strategic Initiatives. Examples of recent
multi-partnered initiatives involving CIHR and the industry include the Biological
Mechanisms and Treatment of Alzheimer Disease Grants Program, the Neurobiology of
Psychiatric Disorders and Addictions Program (both with AztraZeneca) and the Vascular
Health and Dementia Initiative (with Pfizer).
Pharmaceutical research has had, and continues to have, a major impact on the provision of
health care to individuals with mental disorders. For example, it was noted in Chapter 7 that
the discovery of neuroleptic agents in the 1970s made possible the safe deinstitutionalization
of many individuals with mental illness. More recently, new drugs for schizophrenia and
depression have contributed to the reduction of treatment costs for these disorders; it has
been estimated that these costs fell by more than 15% between 1992 and 1999 largely
because new therapeutic drugs reduced the need for hospitalization.503
Important research is being pursued by the pharmaceutical industry in Canada. Agents are
presently being tested for a number of conditions such as addiction to illicit drugs (for
example, a therapeutic vaccine to treat cocaine addiction), and dependence on alcohol and
502
503
Statistics Canada, “Estimates of Total Spending on Research and Development in the Health Field in
Canada, 1988 to 2002”, Science Statistics, Service Bulletin, Catalogue 88-001-XIB, Vol. 27, No. 6,
September 2003.
See Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), “New Medicines for Mental
Health Help Avert a Spending Crisis”, Value in Medicines, 14 January 2004.
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224
tobacco.504 Research on new agents for depression and for schizophrenia is also expected to
improve greatly the prognosis for these conditions.505
Currently, the most prominent Canadian pharmaceutical companies in mental illness and
addiction are Wyeth, Lilly, Glaxo-Smith-Kline (GSK) and Lundbeck. Lilly and GSK, with
the addition of Pfizer, will continue to play a lead role in mental illness and addiction in
Canada, given that these companies have a rich candidate drug pipeline in this area and are
likely to invest heavily in future clinical trials.
10.3.2 Provincial Funding Agencies and NGOs
There are numerous other sources of funding for mental health, mental illness and addiction
research. In most provinces, there are
governmental bodies devoted to mental There are two key ways for NGOs to support
health and addiction research (e.g.: Réseau research. First, organizations can financially
santé mentale du Québec; Ontario Mental support research initiatives. Either through
Health Foundation, Alberta Mental Health independent fundraising efforts, or by
Board; Manitoba Health Research Council, partnering with other organizations, NGOs
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health have the ability to offer significant funds for
research. (…)
(Toronto), etc.).
[Dr. John Gray, President, Schizophrenia
There are also many voluntary health Society of Canada, Brief, 12 May 2004, p. 2.]
charities and foundations (NGOs) that are
effective at responding to the needs of different disease groups. As an example, the
Committee heard about the excellent working relationship between the Schizophrenia
Society of Canada (SSC) and CIHR. Last year, SSC was able to provide $75,000 in matching
funds for research.
The Committee also heard, however, that rarely are
NGOs able to attract the funds required to sponsor (…) there are not many [volunteer
research. Moreover, there are only two national organizations] right now who raise
non-profit organizations whose mandate specifically a lot of money from the Canadian
focuses on raising money and funding mental health public, compared to the National
and addiction research: the Canadian Psychiatric Cancer Institute or the Heart and
Research Foundation and NeuroScience Canada. Stroke Foundation.
The Canadian Psychiatric Research Foundation [Dr. Rémi Quirion (14:23]
(CPRF) told the Committee that the stigma
associated with mental illness and addiction creates significant barriers to its attracting
appropriate publicity, getting corporate sponsorship, and raising research funding. This
experience differs from other disease groups such as cancer and cardiovascular disease where
the respective health charities are strong and successful fundraisers and supporters of
research:
504
505
See the Website of Canada’s Research Based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx&D) at:
http://www.canadapharma.org/Patient_Pathways/Health_Info/02mentalheal/index_e.html.
Ibid.
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CPRF faces a difficult challenge in raising awareness and research funds
to determine the causes, treatments and ultimate cures for a variety of
mental illnesses. Tragically, the stigma of mental illness persists and as
a result, millions suffer unimaginable despair in silence, fearful of adverse
personal consequences that public acknowledgement of their illnesses
might bring. Under these conditions, awareness remains low,
understanding minimal, support mechanisms few, misconceptions rife and
critical funding for research is critically low.506
Nevertheless, voluntary organizations still play an important role in research into mental
health, mental illness and addiction in Canada, a role that must be recognized and expanded.
Dr. Quirion told the Committee that when INMHA was created, it sought out and fostered
collaboration with 60 volunteer and non-governmental organizations. These groups
participated in drafting the Institute’s strategic plan; they were also involved in developing a
strategy for increased funding.507
Dr. Gray, from the SSC, also suggested that NGOs need to participate in the process of
research. For example, where appropriate, NGOs can assist in the creation of research
questions and their representatives can sit on review panels. He explained that, by doing so,
scientists are better able to identify and conduct research that is most needed by the mental
health and addiction sector. Importantly, their participation would reinforce the human
aspects of science and be a continual reminder of the need for the practical application of
research outcomes.508
A major concern raised with respect to research funding for mental health, mental illness
and addiction is that there is currently no central database for all sources of funding. There
is no information held by governments and non-governmental organizations on what is
being investigated. The Canadian Psychiatric Research Foundation pointed out that there is
no coordination among research funding bodies and no central responsibility for data
collection. As a result, researchers find it difficult to negotiate their way through not only
the government granting agencies, but also the private and the voluntary sector funding
sources. Researchers are frequently not aware of similar research questions under
investigation in different labs across the country. In many cases, the opportunity to
collaborate would enhance productivity and work to eradicate the negative impact of
competition among universities and hospitals. The Foundation recommended the
establishment of a central database of research funding agencies that would encompass nongovernment sources of funding, a listing of what and where research is being conducted and
a site for maintaining research findings.509
Canadian Psychiatric Research Foundation, Brief to the Committee, June 2003, p. 2.
Dr. Rémi Quirion (14:24).
508 Dr. John Gray, President, Schizophrenia Society of Canada, Brief to the Committee, 12 May 2004, p. 3.
509 Canadian Psychiatric Research Foundation (June 2003), p. 6.
506
507
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226
10.4
KNOWLEDGE TRANSLATION
In terms of applying research findings to daily life (…) we
have to dare to encroach a little on the autonomy of the
medical and teaching professions in this field.
[Dr. Laurent Mottron, Professor, Department of
Psychiatry, University of Montreal (14:21)]
In their paper, Dr. Kapur and Dr. Vaccarino stressed to the Committee that the major
impetus for health research in our society is the promise to deliver better outcomes for
patients, their families and their communities.510 This involves taking discoveries from the
bench to the community where care and support is delivered, a process often referred to as
“knowledge translation”.
Although knowledge translation is within the CIHR’s mandate, many witnesses testified that
it is not done well in mental health and addiction research. Biomedical research has
established that mental illness and addiction are disorders of the brain, providing promising
leads into the genetics of mental illness and addiction, and elucidating the role of a wide
array of risk-factors. Many new system-level best practices and identified many new
opportunities for pharmacological interventions in these disorders have also been identified.
But many believe that all too frequently these discoveries have remained with researchers in
their laboratories and have had limited impact on patients and their families.511
This state of affairs was highlighted in the 1999 U.S. Surgeon General’s Report entitled
Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General. This 500-page publication, the first of its kind
on mental health, confirmed that research has provided the knowledge needed to deliver
effective treatment and better services for most mental disorders. The report also stated,
however, that gaps exist between what have been shown to be optimally effective treatments
and what many individuals receive in actual practice settings.512
Similarly, the United States President’s New Commission on Mental Health, chaired by
Michael F. Hogan, reported in 2003 on long delay that exist before research reaches practice.
More precisely, the Commission stressed that the 15 to 20 year lag between discovering
effective forms of treatment and incorporating them into routine patient care is far too long.
The Commission also reported that, even when these discoveries become routinely applied
at the community level, too often actual clinical practices are highly variable and often
inconsistent with the original treatment model that was shown to be effective.513
The translation of a new idea or discovery into an accepted practice has three distinct phases.
The first is the basic discovery that identifies a new genetic association, a new method of
delivering care, a new way of engaging patients in therapy or a new idea for using an
established treatment. The second phase is proof-of-principle, which involves translating
510
511
512
513
Dr. Kapur and Dr. Vaccarino (2004), p. 6.
Ibid.
United States Surgeon General, Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General, 1999.
The President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, Achieving the Promise: Transforming
Mental Health Care in America, Final Report, 22 July 2003, p. 67.
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Overview of Policies and Programs
that discovery into care and demonstrating that it works in a controlled setting, the clinical
trial phase. The third phase, dissemination and application, involves incorporating the new
practice into the community and into the pre-existing continuum of care.514 Eric Latimer, a
health economist at the Douglas Hospital (Montreal), told the Committee that mental illness
and addiction research has had many successes at the level of discovery, especially given the
level of funding and number of researchers involved, but that the other two phases remain
major challenges and will require greater investment.515
Clinical trials are necessary to test the efficacy of basic discoveries; their completion requires
appropriately trained and experienced clinician scientists. Some witnesses emphasized that
insufficient numbers of physicians are participating in research and that a major deficiency
remains the fact that not enough clinician scientists are being trained to carry out crucial
clinical trials. Among the top priorities in INMHA’s strategic plan for 2001-2005 is the
creation of more training opportunities for clinician scientists.
The dissemination and application phase of knowledge translation involves bringing
validated new ideas or practices into the community. As stated earlier, one of the strategic
priorities for INMHA is to promote linkage and exchange through structured knowledge
translation programs between the research community and the municipal, provincial and
national levels of decision-makers as well as users of research results, including NGOs.
While witnesses agreed that this is not only a laudable but also a necessary goal, they felt that
it could not be achieved at the current funding level. During his testimony, Professor
Tousignant suggested that research budgets should contain funds dedicated to “scientific
popularization”.516
The Committee was informed that knowledge translation and clinical research will be two of
the top priorities of CIHR over the coming years. The Committee strongly supports this
policy.
10.5
TOWARD A NATIONAL RESEARCH AGENDA FOR MENTAL
HEALTH, MENTAL ILLNESS AND ADDICTION
Mental health and mental illness are critical and we
should have a national type of agenda.
[Dr. Rémi Quirion (14:34)]
The Committee heard that in the field of mental health, mental illness and addiction there is
no coherent policy or strategy in place to deal with the complex issues involved and produce
a coherent and coordinated response to them. Mental disorders are generally complex and
chronic medical illnesses. Their determinants cut across many sectors, their management
involves many different health professionals, and their impact on how society functions is
broad. Witnesses stressed the need for better coordination of the efforts to deal with the
many challenges posed by mental illness and addiction currently being undertaken by the
Dr. Kapur and Dr. Vaccarino (2004), p. 6.
Eric Latimer (14:44 to 14:48).
516 Professor Tousignant (14:43).
514
515
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228
federal and provincial governments along with non-governmental organizations and the
pharmaceutical industry. Dr. Kapur and Dr. Vaccarino stated:
(…) the issues of mental illness and addictions defy simple solutions.
These illnesses have multiple determinants – biological, psychological and
social, and adequate responses to them require coordination of multiple
sectors. At present, research in these areas is a well-intentioned but
uncoordinated effort. We strongly call for the development of a national
policy or guiding framework to form the bases for a coordinated effort in
the areas of Mental Health and Addictions Research.517
Witnesses who addressed issues related to research in the mental health and addiction field
unanimously agreed on the need for a national research agenda. In their view, such an
agenda would build on current Canadian expertise, coordinate the research activities
performed by a variety of actors (governments, non-governmental organizations,
pharmaceutical corporations) that are now fragmented and ensure a balance between
biomedical, clinical, health services and population health research applied to mental health,
mental illness and addiction. Perhaps more importantly, many witnesses stressed that now is
the time to address the critical issues in mental health and addiction research. In particular,
Dr. Quirion stated eloquently:
The time is now. There is a great deal of expertise in Canada because of
the national health care system. That allows us to collect data and to
have data banks that are much more impressive than in the United
States. Take the new genome research, for example.
I think we could have a major impact and we should not be afraid to
forge ahead. If we forge ahead with the expertise we currently have, we
will succeed in finding the causes of brain diseases and of mental
illnesses.518
10.6
COMMITTEE COMMENTARY
The Committee notes that, during the past several decades, research in the fields of mental
health, mental illness and addiction has advanced our understanding of how to improve the
conditions of individuals with mental disorders and addiction. New treatments have made it
possible to care for individuals in the community, without the need for long periods of
confinement in public institutions. We are also closer to understanding the pathophysiology
of mental disorders, and this knowledge has important implications for both treatment and
prevention. The Committee also believes that research in the fields of mental health, mental
illness and addiction can play an important role in informing policy decisions relating to the
allocation of resources for treatments, services and supports that are needed by individuals
with mental illness and addiction.
517
518
Kapur and Vaccarino (2004), pp. 11-12.
Dr. Rémi Quirion (14:15).
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Overview of Policies and Programs
The Committee also acknowledges the major contribution made by Canadian researchers in
the area of mental illness and addiction. Canada leads both nationally and internationally in
many research fields including neuroscience, psychopharmacology and genetics. It is critical
that this historical strength be preserved and enhanced.
The Committee recognizes the federal government’s role in creating CIHR and the decision
to create INMHA. We also applaud the increase in federal funding allocated to CIHR in
recent years. In particular, we wish to highlight the major contribution of Dr. Rémi Quirion,
INMHA’s Scientific Director, in the promotion and conduct of research into mental health,
mental illness and addiction.
The Committee is of the opinion that research is of enormous importance, and that it points
the way towards a path that can lead to fundamental solutions to the problem of mental
illness and addiction in Canada. However, an adequate level of resources must be allocated
to make progress down that path. We believe the federal government should devote
additional funding to mental health and addiction research, including for the education and
training of more researchers and clinician scientists in order to expand Canada’s capacity to
do first class research in this area. Similarly, voluntary organizations should be strongly
encouraged to develop or strengthen their fundraising activities in order to raise research
funds.
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230
CHAPTER 11:
THE QUESTION OF ETHICS
INTRODUCTION
“Ethics” is usually defined as the systematic,
reasoned attempt to understand values and
principles underlying decisions about matters of
fundamental human importance. Put simply, it is
about the right and the good.
A general research question (…)
regards diverse and sometimes
opposed understandings of “ethics”
or “the good” as it relates concretely
to the care of persons trying to cope
with a mental illness. Any response
to particular ethical challenges entails
some commitment to a more general
notion of the good.
In many fields, difficult decisions usually involve
consideration of numerous factors, each
implicating different – and often conflicting –
values,
principles,
viewpoints,
beliefs,
expectations, fears, hopes, etc. When facing such [Canadian
Catholic
Bioethics
decisions, people may reach different conclusions Institute, Brief to the Committee, 20
not only because they consider different factors, February 2004, p. 6]
but also because they weigh them against each
other in different ways. The practical effect of the discipline of ethics is to help those who
face difficult decisions to identify the inherent values and principles that apply, to weigh
them against each other, and to come to the best possible decision.519
In the context of health and health care – either in practice, delivery or research – the
ultimate goal of ethics is to improve the health and quality of life of individuals. In a paper
commissioned by the Committee, Gordon DuVal and Francis Rolleston refer to longstanding and well-established ethical values and principles underlying this goal:
•
beneficence and non-maleficence – to practice in accordance with established
standards of quality care and the best interests of the patient, and not to harm him or
her;
•
autonomy – to show respect for the patient as an individual and to encourage the
patient’s right to self determination, choice, and the protection of sensitive
information; and,
•
justice – to ensure that patients and research subjects are treated fairly and resources
are allocated based on considerations of equity and fairness.520
Other important values mentioned by DuVal and Rolleston include the familiar elements of
virtuous behaviour such as compassion, honesty, promise-keeping, moral courage, patience,
tolerance, preserving dignity and accountability, as well as community and relational
values.521 These key ethical dimensions are largely reflected in professional and institutional
Senate Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, Recommendations for Reform,
Volume Six, October 2002, p. 222.
520 Gordon DuVal and Francis Rolleston, Ethics Issues in Mental Health, document commissioned by the
Committee, 20 April 2004.
521 Ibid.
519
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Overview of Policies and Programs
codes of ethics and the law. Altogether, these principles and values guide decision-making in
the programming and delivery of health services and supports, clinical care and related
research.
This chapter examines various ethical issues related more specifically to mental illness and
addiction. Section 11.1 analyzes ethical issues associated with the delivery of services and
supports to individuals with mental illness. Section 11.2 discusses capacity to consent to
treatment. Section 11.3 deals with privacy and confidentiality issues. Section 11.4 examines
ethical issues with respect to specific population groups – children/youth, seniors and
forensic patients. Section 11.5 discusses the ethical implications of advances in genetics and
neuroscience. Section 11.6 reviews ethical concerns raised with respect to mental health and
addiction research. Section 11.7 provides some Committee commentary.
At the root of many of the ethical issues and
concerns canvassed throughout this chapter lies
the social stigma associated with individuals
affected by mental illness and addiction and
their families.
In itself, stigmatization
contributes to a relative lack of compassion and
withdrawal of the dignity and respect with
which all individuals should be treated. In the
end, stigmatization is at the base of injustice, the
of access to needed services and supports.
11.1
I see three major ethical issues around
mental health in Canada (…). The first
problem in our society remains that of
stigma of a mental health problem. (…)
[Mark Miller, Ethicist, St. Paul’s Hospital,
Saskatchewan, Letter to the Committee, 27
September 2003.]
absence of beneficence and the inequality
ACCESS TO SERVICES AND SUPPORTS
According to DuVal and Rolleston, the ethical issues that relate to the provision of services
and supports arise from the fact that “society has not taken practical steps necessary to
ensure justice and beneficence for individuals with mental illness and addiction, both within
Canada’s publicly funded health care system and beyond it.”522 First, the complexity of
mental disorders significantly increases the challenges faced by society in addressing the need
for effective services and supports for individuals with mental illness relative to other
categories of illness. Second, proper diagnosis, treatment and the continuing care of mental
disorders involve not only many different health care providers, but also, to an extent not
found in other illnesses, other professions, such as school teachers, law enforcement
officers, clergy, social workers. Absent a well coordinated health care system, individuals
suffering from mental illness and addiction and their families have greater difficulty than
most in accessing adequate health care, resulting in a form of systemic discrimination.
In their paper, DuVal and Rolleston argue that the relatively poor treatment of individuals
with mental illness and addiction arises not simply because people or systems want to
discriminate against them, but because of the factors that derive directly from the nature of
mental disorders. Mental illness and addiction often show themselves through behavioural
signs whereas almost all other illnesses present with physical signs. Behavioural aberrations
caused by mental disorders are the basis for the fear and incomprehension that they
522
Ibid., p. 3.
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232
engender in many individuals. Such behaviours often result in problems with, for example,
law enforcement authorities, or in school, which then, in effect, become the first line of
treatment.523
Although there is no justification for adopting
different standards of access, quality of care or People with schizophrenia are still
priority setting when treating individuals with mental treated like people with cancer
illness and addiction as compared to individuals with were treated long ago, as if it were a
physical illness, this does seem to happen. This is moral disease instead of a physical
particularly problematic in crisis situations, when one.
timely and effective care is required. Dr. James [Murray (9:18)]
Millar, Executive Director, Mental Health and
Physician Services, Nova Scotia Department of Health, told the Committee:
[We] must also put the same time emphasis on mental health as society
does for physical health. It is unacceptable for people with chest pain to
wait to determine the cause. If the cause is cardiac, people want
immediate attention. Unfortunately, those with emotional pain do not get
the same consideration. They will probably wait to seek help, wait
further to see a professional caregiver, be treated with outdated and
inappropriate methods, and continue to suffer much longer than is
necessary.524
Carlyn Mackey, Aurise Kondziela and Dorothy Weldon, from the Christ the King Family
Support Group, wrote to the Committee that ethical standards that apply to mainstream
medicine are not applied consistently to the provision of mental health care:
Ethical standards for the care and treatment of the mentally ill do not
appear to be consistent with normal ethical standards of mainstream
medicine. One must question the ethics of tolerating dysfunctional mental
health systems, or systems which can even be described as non-systems. It
follows that the ethical issues of continuing and knowingly discriminating
against the mentally ill in the area of safe and adequate health care
provision must be addressed at all levels of government.525
An additional challenge in providing services and supports to individuals with mental illness
arises because many different professions and areas of expertise are involved. DuVal and
Rolleston offered the example of a school teacher who first brings to a family’s attention the
possibility that their child’s difficulties in school may be due to Attention Deficit
Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). In cases of disruptive behaviour, the school system will
give the priority to the protection of other students. Actions such as disciplining, suspension
523
524
525
Ibid.
Dr. James Millar, Executive Director, Mental Health and Physician Services, Nova Scotia Department
of Health, (7:).
Carlyn Mackey, Aurise Kondziela and Dorothy Weldon (Christ the King Family Support Group Winnipeg), Brief to the Committee, 24 October 2003, p. 2.
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or expulsion reinforce stigmatization of the affected child. Retention in the school system
requires special classes or special teaching support to minimize the impact on other students.
If the mental illness leads to violence, law enforcement officers may become involved.
Clergy may be an early recourse for affected individuals who feel themselves possessed by
forces outside their control. Since recognition of mental illness by the sufferer himself or
herself is so important to their management of their condition, school teachers, law
enforcement officers, clergy and others in parallel professions often find themselves,
sometimes inadvertently, thrust into the first line of diagnosis and treatment for individuals
with mental illness.526
There are, however, multiple barriers based on split jurisdictions between the mental health
system and the social services system which inhibit proper treatment of affected individuals.
For example, Dr. Robert Quilty, a registered psychologist working with the Durham County
School Board, informed the Committee about the “diagnostic halo” that inhibits the
diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses in children with developmental disorders. With
autism, for example, this “halo” phenomenon often results in failure to recognize a disorder
that could have been treated successfully if caught early enough. This problem is
compounded by difficulties in entering children with developmental disability into
behavioural service agencies within mental health agencies thus further clouding an already
uncertain future. Children with high functioning autism (Asperger’s Syndrome) may fare
somewhat better. However, even with partially successful treatment, on reaching adulthood,
developmentally disabled individuals who need further mental health care often do not
receive it because they are labelled as being in need of community support; this is the result
of the lack of coordination in service provision between various provincial ministries.527
As a consequence, the delivery of mental health services and addiction treatment is highly
fragmented, disconnected and uncoordinated. For individuals with mental illness, the
problem of navigating this complex system of services and supports is compounded by the
nature of their illness. Numerous individuals with mental illness and addiction and other
experts told the Committee that this lack of cohesion and coordination has led to an increase
in addiction, homelessness and incarceration.
DuVal and Rolleston pointed out that the fragmentation of the system is evident even when
it is clear that institutional care is required. A telling recent case in Ottawa, that has received
extensive media attention, concerns a young woman with violent and self-destructive
behaviour. The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario could not admit her because they do
not have facilities for such patients; the Royal Ottawa Hospital, an adult institution which
has the necessary secure facilities, could not take her because she is too young. This
illustrates the serious ethical issues that flow from fragmentation of the “system” that is
supposed to provide acute and long term care for patients of different ages and with
differing mental conditions.528
The Committee was told that it is, above all, the family that usually bears the brunt of caring
for an individual with mental illness who has been entrusted to home or community care
Gordon DuVal and Francis Rolleston (2004), p. 6.
Ibid., p. 10.
528 Ibid., p. 5.
526
527
Overview of Policies and Programs
234
where resources are, more often than not, inadequate or insufficient to meet their needs.
Mark Miller, Ethicist, St-Paul’s Hospital (Saskatoon), wrote:
And, I would say, the biggest ethical issue beyond the health care system
itself is how often resources are lacking for family members caring for
loved ones at home or in the community. Many parents, siblings and
other caregivers are mostly abandoned to their own resources, which is
grossly unfair and arguably creating more health problems among
caregivers than necessary. Despair is not an uncommon feeling among
families with a challenging member.529
11.2
CONSENT AND CAPACITY ISSUES
Society preserves individual choice – the right to consent to, or to refuse treatment – based
on the individual’s fundamental right of autonomy. But for consent to mental health
services or addiction treatment to be genuine, the individual must be mentally and legally
capable of making that choice.
While decision-making capacity is essential for valid
consent, applicable clinical tests to assess competence
are controversial, especially for those with mental
illness and addiction. Decision-making capacity
includes in the ability to understand the relevant
information concerning treatment, to appreciate the
significance of that information, and to reason so as
to weigh the available options logically.
In the context of mental illness,
decision-making capacity can
vary, and be highly dependent on
the nature of the decision to be
made.
Difficulties relating to
decision-making capacity include
worries about capacity to manage
financial affairs and to make
personal care decisions, including
decisions about housing.
Determinations of decision-making capacity raise
special issues regarding the vulnerability of those
suffering from mental disorders. Clinical assessments [DuVal and Rolleston (2004), p.
of decision-making capacity focus primarily on 11.]
cognitive functioning. Because mental illness and
addiction can affect cognition, individuals with such disorders, particularly in severe cases,
will often lack decision-making capacity. They may do so intermittently, however, as in the
case of a person suffering from addiction, or gradually, as in the case of a person who is
aging, slowly succumbing to dementia or some other degenerative process affecting
cognitive function. Adapting the delivery of services, as the patient fluctuates in, or
gradually loses, his/her capacity, is a challenge for the mental health and addiction treatment
system. Respect for the person requires that the changing or diminishing capacity is
identified and diagnosed, and that the system adapt accordingly, in order not to infringe
unduly on the autonomy of the person affected.
Non-cognitive as well as cognitive functioning can also be influenced by mental disorders in
ways that affect decision-making. For example, clinical depression and other pathological
affective states may diminish an individual’s capacity to choose or reject treatment even
529
Mark Miller, Brief to the Committee, 27 September 2003, p. 2.
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though an understanding of the relevant information is largely unimpaired. Accepted
conceptions of capacity do not account well for non-cognitive deficits such as the pessimism
about the future that may characterize depression. The test for mental capacity is unclear in
the presence of, for example, dominant but potentially transient feelings of hopelessness,
worthlessness, or impulsivity.
Similarly, in patients with schizophrenia, the delusional and paranoid nature of the disease
may undermine decision-making capacity in ways not clearly related to an absence or loss of
cognition. Individuals suffering from addiction may have compromised decision-making by
reason of difficulties in controlling the urge to engage in addictive behaviour. In some eating
disorders, where a pathological body image distortion is experienced, the incapacity may be
narrowly focused; the role of such distorted thinking in determining capacity is unclear.
Therefore, the clinical assessment of mental capacity in the presence of mental illness and
addiction is a complex matter. Mental capacity to
make decisions can exist at different levels and to Mental health care is compromised
varying degrees and can fluctuate over time. Yet, when capacity is mistakenly denied
in law, upon expert testimony and at a given point or presumed.
in time the legal capacity to make decisions is [Canadian
Catholic
Bioethics
decided by a judge. It is judged either to be Institute, Brief to the Committee, 20
present or absent in respect of distinct purposes February 2004, p. 3.]
(the capacity to care for one’s property or to care
for one’s person, for example). There are no degrees of capacity or incapacity. The process
for reviewing a judicial decision to establish protective supervision and to appoint a legal
representative with each fluctuation in mental state can be time-consuming and
cumbersome. In its brief to the Committee, the Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute
explained:
The legal system tends to distinguish sharply between those who are
deemed “capable” of decision-making regarding their health care and
those who are incapable. Many persons with an active mental illness,
such as severe depression or schizophrenia, may not meet the legal criteria
for being declared “incapable”, and yet they do have significant
impairment of their ability to understand their condition, appreciate their
options, make prudent decisions about their mental health care and
follow through on these decisions. Since patient autonomy plays such a
central role in contemporary medical ethics, it is helpful to consider the
ethical challenges that arise when capacity is denied when in fact some
level of capacity is retained, on the one hand, and when capacity is
presumed when in fact it is significantly impaired, on the other.530
The Committee was told that Ontario and some other provinces have legislated community
treatment orders (CTOs). A CTO is a doctor’s order, obtained with the affected person’s
consent, for an individual to receive treatment or care and supervision in the community.
To give consent, the individual must be capable of consenting to treatment under the law. If
530
Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute, Brief to the Committee, 20 February 2004, p. 5.
Overview of Policies and Programs
236
found incapable of consenting under the law, and a substitute decision-maker has been
authorized, the substitute decision-maker must consent to the CTO, even if the incapable
person disagrees. There is concern among individuals with mental illness and addiction,
however, that CTO legislation is too intrusive. Alternatively, families who in the absence of
access to formal caregivers are sometimes the primary caregivers, believe that without such
legislation they would at times lack the ability to help a loved one.
Witnesses explained that while family members and health care providers may wish to
protect the health and well being of an individual who is vulnerable by reason of diminished
capacity, it is still important to respect the individual’s autonomy. It was suggested that
families and health care givers must therefore tread a delicate balance between seeking to
help an individual with mental illness/addiction and respect his/her autonomy – even partial
autonomy. The answer is never black and white, but requires a response that seeks to
understand the individual and the particularities of his/her condition.
More than with other types of disease, individuals with mental illness and addiction may lack
insight into the existence and nature of the illness caused by their disorder. The result may
be a high degree of mistrust of health care providers and high rates of refusal of treatment or
of non-compliance. At what point does respecting a patient’s refusal of treatment become
tantamount to abandoning a vulnerable person in clear need of help or care when
intervention or treatment is indicated?
There is little doubt that a person with unimpaired decision-making capacity may refuse
treatment and that such refusal must be respected. However, when a person meets the legal
standard of capacity – but nevertheless has compromised decision-making abilities – and is
in need of care but refuses treatment, the situation for family members may be very difficult.
A related dilemma arises when a patient who is judged to be mentally and legally incapable of
decision-making in respect of his or her own person resists the intervention needed to treat a
mental disorder. Although a substitute decision-maker may legally authorize the treatment
on behalf of the patient, the practical problem remains how to administer such treatment in
the face of what may be stubborn resistance. The only available options may be to
administer the treatment surreptitiously (such as by mixing medicine in food or drink), or
employing force, or not at all.
Administering treatment using force or deception, particularly with vulnerable individuals
such as those suffering from a mental disorder, raises serious ethical issues for family
members and health care professionals. Force or deception may undermine trust, a vital
ingredient in the relationship with the patient/client, making continued communication,
cooperation and care even more difficult. Yet, it may be equally inappropriate not to provide
treatment to a patient, who by virtue of incapacity, is vulnerable and in critical need of
protection by some trusted person. Patients may later be grateful for treatment given against
their will at a time when they were incapable of making treatment decisions or they may
continue to harbour resentment and not seek treatment subsequently if their symptoms
recur.
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11.3
PRIVACY AND CONFIDENTIALITY
In its October 2002 report entitled Recommendations for Reform, the Committee explored the
need to protect the privacy of electronic health records and their use in research.
Considerations of privacy are equally and perhaps of greater concern in mental health,
mental illness and addiction.
In their paper, DuVal and Rolleston suggest
that a central presumption in society’s
preservation of privacy is that society as a
whole, and each individual within it,
benefits from strict preservation of the right
of an individual to control the use of his or
her personal information.531
It is always used in a crisis situation. (…)
The person is considered a danger to self or
others. (…) It is not a matter of casually
sharing information. There is a purpose to
the action, which is to give the person the
best possible and the most knowledgeable
assistance. That is not sharing information
widely.
Moreover, the fiduciary relationship
between health care provider and patient is [Nancy Hall, Mental Health Consultant
built on trust and premised on the (16:27-28]
fundamental principle of confidentiality, as
reflected in most professional codes of ethics. The testimony that we have heard, however,
forces the Committee to ask whether our present legal and policy frameworks on privacy
and confidentiality, which generally serve the mentally competent well, can act against the
best interests of those who, because of the nature and pervasiveness of mental illness and
addiction, become partially or completely dependent on the multiple care providers they
encounter along the continuum of care. Mr. John Arnett, Head of the Department of
Clinical Health Psychology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba, stated:
As a clinician, I cannot go down the hall to ask a colleague of mine, who
has seen a patient that I am about to see, what they know that might
help me to better evaluate that patient. The intent of the law is noble,
there is no question about that, but it does impose limitations that
impact negatively on patient care. A large part of patient care is having
access to knowledge of history and information. The law creates a
significant limitation.532
Concern arising from strict observation of privacy and confidentiality rules also extends to
the family of individuals with mental illness and addiction. Without the patient’s permission,
which those with mental illness/addiction may not be competent to give, a physician cannot
share personal information with his or her caregivers, parents, siblings or children. Murray,
whose paranoid schizophrenic son was killed by a bus after escaping from hospital, asked:
Why is it that the medical profession is not allowed to share information
with family members when it has been shown that family support is
beneficial to the patient? The patient is on meds because his thinking is
531
532
Gordon DuVal and Francis Rolleston (2004), p. 15.
John Arnett (16:26).
Overview of Policies and Programs
238
affected; yet the medical profession believes that sharing information with
a family member must be a decision of the patient, who cannot make a
reasonable or thoughtful decision.533
Bronwyn Shoush, Board Member, Institute of Aboriginal Peoples’ Health, Canadian
Institutes of Health Research, added to this by saying:
I wish to identify one area of law that I think has had a significant,
negative impact in the mental health area and stigma in particular.
Privacy legislation is seen, at least in Aboriginal communities and I
believe it is true elsewhere, to be a detriment to promoting secrecy
concerning health matters. It is seen as not allowing people to discuss
matters and feel that they are a normal part of the human condition.
They do not allow people who might be able to offer supports to have a
way to do that in a timely way.534
These thoughts were echoed by the brief from the Christ the King Family Support Group in
Winnipeg which stated that: “confidentiality requirements are cited to justify lack of
adequate information to family care-givers regarding the nature and severity of the illness”.
They further wrote that family members are excluded from information about medication,
safety issues and the care and treatment plans at the time of discharge; that family concerns
are arbitrarily dismissed and not documented in the patient’s files; and that families are not
adequately supported in attempting to cope with the devastating consequences of severe and
persistent mental illnesses.535 It should be noted, however, that in circumstances of clear,
serious and imminent danger, a physician may have an overriding duty in law to break
his/her patient’s confidence in order to warn third parties and protect public safety.
11.4
SPECIAL POPULATIONS
11.4.1 Children/Adolescents
In previous chapters, the Committee described a number of issues concerning access to
mental health services and supports for children and adolescents. In addition to these,
mental health treatment for children and adolescents raises unique ethical challenges relating
to vulnerability, decision-making capacity, and the use and disclosure of confidential
information.
Mental health professionals must be aware of heightened vulnerability due to age when
treating children and adolescents as well as the potential presence of co-occurring mental
disorders and any history of social disruption. The capacity to consent to treatment
interventions, and to do so voluntarily, is already compromised by mental illness but is even
more difficult for young people. While parental and other family involvement in treatment
533
534
535
Murray (9:18).
Bronwyn Shoush (16:12).
Carlyn Mackey, Aurise Kondziela and Dorothy Weldon (Christ the King Family Support Group Winnipeg), Brief to the Committee, 24 October 2003.
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can be extremely helpful, those providing care must be aware of the potential for mistrust,
dysfunctional relationships, or undue pressure resulting from parental guilt or overprotective
attitudes toward the child. Complex issues of confidentiality may arise when having to
determine whether particular circumstances warrant disclosure of patient information to
parents and/or relevant governmental or social service agencies.
11.4.2 Seniors
A variety of specific ethical issues are raised in the provision of mental health services to
seniors. For example, many patients in geriatric in-patient units lack decision-making
capacity and either have no close family or may be in conflict with family members.
Geriatric patients are sometimes homeless; family members may be difficult to locate,
uncooperative, uninvolved or reluctant to play a significant role. It is estimated that only 10
to 20% of such geriatric patients benefit from any active family participation, and the balance
have no involved family members. Many senior patients “fall through the cracks”, in that
general hospitals may be ill equipped to manage individuals with mental illness and
psychiatric hospitals may lack the resources to manage the patient’s general medical
condition. Thus, geriatric patients with mental disorders often receive inadequate care.
In psychiatric hospitals, staff may misread pain symptoms, while expressions of pain by
elderly patients with mental illness are often not taken seriously in general hospitals.
Inexperience with opiate pain medication and worries about drug interactions with
antipsychotic and other psychiatric medications can lead to inadequate management of pain
in this population. Anecdotal evidence indicates that care and pain control may well be
inadequate; long waits for attention may be followed by discharge back to the psychiatric
hospital where the care may also be inadequate.
Stigma often makes palliative care difficult for patients and their families to access. Staff
may lack clear direction in caring for psychiatric patients who are at the end of life. They are
often uncertain when to initiate aggressive treatment as opposed to treatment oriented
primarily for pain management. Psychiatric nurses may have minimal experience using
morphine and other narcotics and feel uncomfortable using them assertively.
11.4.3 Forensic Patients
In its written submission, the York University Centre for Practical Ethics stated:
Many inmates are in our prisons because of the emotional instability or
mental disorder, and once there, are not given appropriate treatment
unless they are threatening others or themselves. Moreover, their
condition is likely to deteriorate in such an inappropriate environment.536
DuVal and Rolleston identified two types of ethical dilemmas in relation to forensic
psychiatry.537 First, mental disorders, particularly when untreated, sometimes manifest in
behaviour that would otherwise be seen as criminal. While individuals with mental disorders
536
537
Centre for Practical Ethics, York University, Brief to the Committee, 2004.
Gordon DuVal and Francis Rolleston (2004), pp. 17-18.
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240
who are accused of offences may sometime be found unfit to stand trial or not criminally
responsible, police and courts often face a choice between referring mentally disturbed
individuals for treatment or to the criminal justice system. Lack of effective training of
police and other criminal justice officials may contribute to inappropriate referral of such
persons away from mental health resources. Many believe that our jail and prison system
house too many individuals with mental illness and addiction and insist that they, and society
at large, would benefit from treatment rather than incarceration.
The second issue is that mental health
professionals practicing in forensic Are we incarcerating people because they are
institutions have a “double agency” mentally ill rather than people who are fully
problem. In assessing a person charged capable who commit crimes? There are many
with an offence, or in giving ongoing mentally ill who are incarcerated. When in
treatment to a person under the court, many of these people do not comprehend
Provincial Review Board system, or what is happening to them.
otherwise giving evidence before [The Salvation Army, Brief, October 2003, p. 3]
administrative bodies or courts, these
health care professionals have two distinct and often conflicting sets of obligations. Their
obligations as medical caregivers to their patient are unquestioned duties that include acting
in their patient’s best interests, and to do no harm. But at the same time, they also have the
perfectly legitimate obligation to society to offer their candid and objective judgement and
advice to courts, Review Boards, and other administrative bodies with respect to the mental
status, diagnosis, and prognosis of the persons under their care. Clearly, any such testimony
and advice that places the priority on the benefits to society will not always be in the best
interests of their patients/clients.
These conflicting obligations can be difficult to manage and can threaten the clinical
relationship in a number of ways. Most importantly, while giving expert opinion serves a
socially valuable role, the quality of care may be compromised because the forensic mental
health practitioner is unable to promise the patient confidentiality. This has clear
implications for the trust between the two. The practitioner may also be obliged to use
information gathered in the clinical relationship that can be of detriment to the patient in
court or administrative proceedings.
11.5
ETHICAL IMPLICATIONS OF ADVANCES IN GENETICS AND
NEUROSCIENCE
11.5.1 Genetics and Mental Health
According to DuVal and Rolleston, the stigma associated with mental illness and addiction
gives rise to particular worries about the privacy of genetic information and the traumatizing
effects that disclosure may have on already vulnerable individuals. Genetic research and
diagnosis relating to behaviours may be particularly threatening. Research thus far suggests
that straightforward linkages between a given gene and specific psychiatric conditions are
unlikely to be established. It seems more likely that genetic components of particular
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phenotypes will involve complex interactions of genetic and environmental factors.538 Still,
safeguards must be in place to protect sensitive personal information, particularly that which
alone, or when linked with other information, reveals, or may reveal some potential mental
disorder or behavioural condition.
DuVal and Rolleston explained that attempting to adequately inform patients, or their
surrogates, of genetic test results using the language of susceptibility and risk will raise
difficult problems for individuals with mental illness and addiction. Affected and healthy
individuals alike will have to cope with their own vulnerabilities. Social stigma and privacy
risks complicate this burden, particularly since therapeutic benefit may lag behind diagnostic
reliability. The genetic component of mental illness and addiction also raises challenging
questions for families and relatives of the patient or research subject, where heritability
patterns are often difficult to predict. The individual’s right not to know must be balanced
against the responsibility to inform people of a genetic predisposition. How this balance is
reached will depend in part on the likelihood of the person’s developing the condition
concerned, when it might manifest itself, and the chances of their being able to take steps to
prevent or reduce the effects of developing a mental illness in the future.539
The Committee was also informed of “genetic essentialism”, the view that persons can be
defined or characterized solely in terms of their genetic makeup. This raises special concerns
for those with mental illness and addiction. People with genetic defects may come to feel
they are flawed. Decisions about reproduction may also be affected; for some the availability
of pre-natal screening may raise eugenic concerns. Since the social stigma of mental illness
remains strong, worries about discrimination in insurance, employment, education, housing
and others may be particularly acute.540 Proper management of predictive genetic
information is a challenge generally, and it is even more acute when dealing with those with
mental illnesses that are already marked by social stigma.
11.5.2 Neuroscience and Mental Health
Recent advances in both the technological and theoretical understanding of neuroscience
raise difficult ethical problems and challenge traditional notions of free will, responsibility
and the self. Society’s response to these issues will have far-reaching consequences, perhaps
as much or more than those related to emerging genetic technologies.
Here we provide just a few of these issues raised by DuVal and Rolleston. Our evolving
understanding of brain function and processes, together with developing imaging
technology, will increasingly permit behaviours, personality traits and other mental events to
be identified, monitored and correlated with observable changes in the brain. Employment,
education, insurance, legal processes, immigration, counter-terrorism and other social
activities and relationships may all be affected by the ability to identify and possibly predict
both positive and negative behavioural dispositions to, for example, violence, addiction,
dishonesty, stress, sympathy, cooperativeness and other behaviours.541
Ibid., p. 18.
Ibid.
540 Ibid.
541 Ibid., p. 19.
538
539
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242
Advances in neuroscience will also make cognitive and behavioural enhancements possible.
DuVal and Rolleston contended that, aside from important questions about the ethics of
enhancements involving behaviour, personality and cognitive abilities, there are real
concerns for social justice if such enhancement technologies are initially expensive and
available only to the wealthy and privileged. Further, as mental events become increasingly
described in terms of brain structures and mechanisms, society may be obliged to re-examine
accepted notions of free will, responsibility, and accountability – the so-called neuroscience
of ethics. In the forensic context, for example, if criminal or other aberrant behaviour is
found to be causally related to differences in brain structure or function, what would be the
basis for appropriate criminal responsibility and punishment?542
11.6
ETHICS AND MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION RESEARCH
As mentioned in the previous chapter, there has been an acceleration of clinical research into
mental illness and addiction in the last two decades that has produced significant advances in
treatment. Much of this important research, however, requires the participation of research
subjects who suffer from mental disorders themselves.
In their paper, DuVal and Rolleston stressed that the history of psychiatric research is
littered with public and private sector studies that have exploited the vulnerability of
individuals with mental disorders, the neurologically impaired and developmentally disabled
research subjects. In one particularly infamous example, the American CIA sponsored
clinical trials conducted at the Allan Memorial Institute at McGill University during the
1950s and early 1960s in which psychiatric patients were given hallucinogenic drugs without
their knowledge. The history of the unacceptable treatment of these vulnerable participants
has played a pivotal role in the movement toward increased scrutiny and regulation of
research involving human subjects; this provides an important context for the consideration
of the ethics of research into mental illness and addiction.543
Advances in mental health science promise great benefits for those who suffer, or will come
to suffer, from mental disorders and, in some cases, for research subjects themselves. While
individuals with mental illness may be particularly vulnerable in a number of ways, research
policies and regulations that focus primarily on their vulnerabilities and deficits could
encourage and possibly exacerbate the stigmatization already suffered by this population.
But on the other hand, it may be unjust to exclude, by overly restrictive regulation, those
individuals with mental disorders who could benefit from their participation in research.544
There is a particular need for special precautions in research involving individuals with
mental illness and addiction. While all subjects of clinical research are vulnerable to some
degree, the vulnerability of individuals participating in clinical mental illness/addiction
research warrants particular attention. On the other hand, most individuals with mental
illness function reasonably well and it may be unnecessary to put too much focus on special
regulations for research involving individuals with mental illness. Nevertheless, it is clear
Ibid.
Gordon DuVal and Francis Rolleston (2004), pp. 19-20.
544 Ibid., p. 20.
542
543
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Overview of Policies and Programs
that ethical principles must be applied with care to the particular vulnerabilities of individuals
with mental illness.545
An ethically appropriate framework for psychiatric research ethics balances rigorous
protections for human subjects with recognition of the enormous social and individual
benefits that flow from well-designed and ethically conducted scientific research. Ethical
concerns that are particularly germane to mental health research and give rise to the need for
special sensitivity and insight, include decision-making capacity and research design issues.
11.6.1 Decision-Making Capacity
This subject has been discussed in considerable detail earlier in this chapter. Decisionmaking capacity to give valid consent is an essential condition for research involving human
subjects. The vigilance that must be applied when assessing decision-making capacity and
determining the appropriate decision-maker in the context of clinical care, must be applied
even more vigorously in the context of research where participation in a study may not be
for the direct benefit of the patient concerned. For instance, article 21 of the Civil Code of
Quebec requires that, in order for an adult who is incapable of giving consent to participate in
research, substitute consent must be obtained not just by a family member (as in the context
of necessary care), but by a formally appointed mandatory, tutor or curator. As a result of
this heightened protection, however, incapable adults who do not have legally appointed
representatives, cannot participate in research in Québec, apart from rare emergency
situations.
11.6.2 Research Design Issues
Some study methodologies have drawn particular ethical scrutiny when used in mental health
and addiction research, both because of their inherent risks and because the subject
population are individuals with mental disorders. Three types of study design have raised
particular ethical concerns.
545
•
Placebo-Controlled Studies: The randomized, controlled trial is generally accepted as
the “gold standard” experimental design for comparing the efficacy and safety of
medications. Comparison with placebo is regarded by regulators as providing the
best evidence for the efficacy and safety of a new medication. However, the use of a
placebo control design has been strongly criticized where there is an existing
established effective treatment for the disease being studied; such criticisms have
been aimed prominently at research in psychiatry, where research subjects enrolled in
the placebo arm of the trial might have to be deprived of their much needed existing
treatment, suffer potential negative effects of withdrawal and potentially relapse into
a state of mental illness for the duration of the study.
•
Washout Studies: A washout study is one in which researchers discontinue the
medication of a subject patient in order to study the patient in an unmedicated state
or to initiate another therapy, often an experimental one. Accordingly, the existing
medication is discontinued, usually following a gradual reduction in dosage. The
withdrawal period typically must last long enough that the drug has completely
Ibid.
Overview of Policies and Programs
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cleared from the patient’s system, so that the residual effects from the withdrawn
medication do not confound the study results, or result in unwanted drug
interactions. Depending on the particular study design and the medication involved,
the washout can last indefinitely, or until acute symptoms return.
•
Challenge Studies: A “challenge” study is one in which a psychopharmaceutical
agent or psychological challenge is administered to research subjects under
controlled conditions to measure or observe behavioural response, a neurobiological
response (using brain imaging), or both. In psychiatry, these designs have proven to
be extremely valuable in testing hypotheses and characterizing a variety of
neurochemical and pathophysiological processes. Research of this kind may lead to
improved predictions of treatment response and effective new therapies.546
In order for placebo-controlled clinical trials to be considered ethically permissible, certain
conditions must prevail. Currently, in Canada, existing regulatory frameworks and national
research ethics guidelines differ on what those conditions must be. One major difference
between the existing International Conference on Harmonization’s (ICH) Harmonized Tripartite
Guideline for Good Clinical Practice (E-10) and the existing Tri-Council Policy Statement on Ethical
Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS) is that TCPS currently allows placebo-controlled
trials only if no standard treatment is available to, appropriate for, or wanted by the
individual, whereas ICH E-10 allows placebo-controlled trials to take place even if there is
established effective treatment, as long as there is no risk of death or permanent ill effect to
the individual. CIHR and Health Canada have undertaken a major initiative in an attempt to
review the scientific, ethical and legal principles underlying these documents with a view
towards harmonizing both national policies on the appropriate use of placebos in
randomized controlled trials. The Committee highly encourages CIHR and Health Canada
to pursue these collaborative efforts and to adopt and implement a harmonized national
policy.
In the case of challenge studies, for practical reasons subjects must usually be deceived, or at
best only partially informed about the details of the study. Even without impaired decisionmaking capacity, this has clear ethical implications for informed consent.
Despite a history that has included serious abuses, mental health and addiction research is
vitally important, not least to those who suffer, and those who will come to suffer, from
mental disorders. Clinical psychiatric research gives rise to challenging ethical dilemmas.
The particular vulnerabilities attending mental illness/addiction merit particularly close
attention to the design, review and conduct of research.
11.7
COMMITTEE COMMENTARY
As mentioned above, the Committee believes strongly that many of the ethical issues raised
with respect to mental illness and addiction originate from the stigma associated with these
disorders. Addressing stigma and discrimination through awareness campaigns designed for
both mental health professionals, researchers and the general public would be an important
step in responding to these ethical concerns.
546
Ibid., pp. 20-21.
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The ethical principles underlying the delivery of mental health services and addiction
treatment – particularly those of beneficence and justice – must be addressed carefully and in
a timely manner. It is clear that mental health and addiction lag behind other diseases and
conditions covered under Canada’s health care system. They are technologically less
advanced and critically more fragmented, and the development of evidence-based guidelines
to inform best practices has not reached the level of other specialties. For these reasons, the
Committee believes very strongly that the prevention and treatment of mental illness and
addiction should be coordinated across the wide spectrum of potential services both within
and outside health care, and should be given priority in decisions about the allocation of
scarce resources.
The Committee acknowledges that decision-making capacity may be impaired by mental
illness and addiction, and also that not all mental disorders impair decision-making capacity.
Furthermore, decision-making capacity of those suffering from mental illness and addiction
may be impaired to varying degrees and at different times. Given the structure of existing
laws that draw rather rigid conclusions about the presence or absence of decision-making
capacity, and the relative inflexibility of changing or adapting protective supervision regimes,
there should be a more fulsome debate about how to give meaningful effect to a person’s
partial and/or fluctuating capacity to make decisions for himself or herself. An appropriate
balance must be struck between the respect owed to the right to individual autonomy and
the need to protect vulnerable persons when their decision-making capacity is impaired by
reason of mental illness or addiction.
With respect to privacy and confidentiality issues, the Committee is well aware that any
erosion of privacy and confidentiality protections can have serious negative consequences on
an individual’s trust in his or her caregivers. However, as noted above, witnesses have told
us that rigid adherence to privacy and confidentiality rules in certain circumstances can work
against the interests of individuals whose mental health is compromised. The unique
challenges they describe must be recognized when developing, interpreting and applying
privacy and confidentiality rules, so as to allow health care providers and family caregivers to
provide patients with the much needed support they sometimes require.
As stated in Chapter 10, the Committee strongly supports research into mental illness and
addiction; it is the foundation for future advances in treatment and prevention. Research
involving human participants must be designed and performed in accordance with the
highest scientific and ethical standards and must protect the dignity of individuals and their
families who make this valuable contribution to scientific progress.
The Committee acknowledges that individuals suffering from mental illness and addiction
are particularly vulnerable as research subjects. It is therefore of paramount importance to
protect the rights and well-being of those research participants, while promoting ethically
responsible research. Research advances should not be pursued, however, at the expense of
human rights and human dignity. But nor should protections be so stringent so as to
exacerbate existing social stigma associated with mental illness and addiction and potentially
exclude this vulnerable population from vitally important research that can improve
scientific knowledge about their condition and even benefit them as individuals.
Overview of Policies and Programs
246
It is clear that interdisciplinary research is needed to address adequately many of the
challenging ethical, legal and socio-cultural issues arising from mental illness and addiction.
The Committee was told of the need to conduct this kind of research in a comprehensive
and fundamental manner. In a letter to the Committee, Dr. Julio Arboleda-Florez, Professor
and Head, Department of Psychiatry, Queen’s University, suggested that there is a pressing
need for further research into mental health ethics and research ethics to address effectively
issues such as those discussed above:
There is not much applied ethical research in Canada or elsewhere and
no oganizational or financial capacity. (…) Applied research in the
sense of testing the social take and realities of ethical concepts, their
transcultural reach and implications in terms of transcultural
dissonances, their population acceptability, their social meaning, their
ease of implementation, or even their usefulness, is sorely missing so the
field is becoming a theoretical morass.547
We believe that Canada could play an important leadership role in this regard, both
nationally and internationally.
Finally, the Committee agrees with experts that the acute and complex ethical concerns that
arise in the context of neuroscience and genetic research must be addressed carefully so as to
understand better the underlying values and principles associated with these and other
evolving and rapidly advancing technologies in modern medicine.
547
Dr. Julio Arboleda-Florez, Brief to the Committee, 5 November 2003.
247
Overview of Policies and Programs
CONCLUSION
This report is the first comprehensive document on mental health, mental illness and
addiction in Canada. It brings together, for the first time, historical analysis of the
development of mental health and addiction services, a description of their current state and
an assessment of how they are being delivered. It also provides the basis for a greater
understanding of the mental health needs of Canadians, by describing the problems and
challenges faced by individuals with mental illness and addiction.
This report was based on the testimony of many experts as well as on a review of relevant
literature. This report is intended to serve as a useful reference document to anyone who
wishes to participate in the Spring, 2005 phase of the Committee’s study on mental health,
mental illness and addiction.
During this next phase, the Committee will hold extensive public hearings across the country
to hear the views of Canadians on how to reform and restructure the delivery of mental
health services and addiction treatment. We hope that the Committee’s report which will
result from these hearings, and which will be released in November 2005, will serve as a
catalyst for an informed debate on mental health, mental illness and addiction.
249
Overview of Policies and Programs
APPENDIX A:
LIST OF WITNESSES
THIRD SESSION OF THE 37TH PARLIAMENT
(FEBRUARY 2, 2004 – MAY 23, 2004)
APPEARANCE
ISSUE
NO.
June 4, 2003
17
March 20, 2003
11
Nancy Hall, Mental Health
Consultant
May 28, 2003
16
J. Michael Grass, Past Chair,
Champlain District Mental
Health Implementation Task
Force
June 5, 2003
17
Loїse
David
Murray
Ronald
February 26,
2003
9
March 19, 2003
11
ORGANIZATION
Alzheimer Society of
Canada
NAME
Steve Rudin, Executive
Director
Thomas Stephens, Consultant
As individuals
DATE OF
Canadian Academy of
Psychiatric Epidemiology
Dr. Alain Lesage, Past
President
Canadian Academy of
Psychiatry and the Law
Dr. Dominique Bourget,
President
June 5, 2003
17
Canadian Coalition for
Senior Mental Health
Dr. David K. Conn, Co-Chair;
President, Canadian Academy
of Geriatric Psychiatry
June 4, 2003
17
Dr. John S. Millar, VicePresident, Research and
Analysis
March 20, 2003
11
Carolyn Pullen, Consultant
March 20, 2003
11
John Roch, Chief Privacy
Officer and Manager, Privacy
Secretariat
March 20, 2003
11
May 28, 2003
16
Canadian Institute for
Health Information
Canadian Institutes of
Health Research
Bronwyn Shoush, Board
Member, Institute of
Aboriginal Peoples’ Health
I
Overview of Policies and Programs
NAME
DATE OF
APPEARANCE
ISSUE
NO.
Jean-Yves Savoie, President,
Advisory Board, Institute of
Population and Public Health
June 12, 2003
18
Dr. Rémi Quirion, Scientific
Director, Institute of
Neurosciences, Mental Health
and Addiction
May 6, 2003
14
June 12, 2003
18
Dr. Diane Sacks, PresidentElect
May 1, 2003
13
Marie-Adèle Davis, Executive
Director
May 1, 2003
13
Jennifer Chambers,
Empowerment Council
Coordinator
May 14, 2003
15
Rena Scheffer, Director,
Public Education and
Information Services
May 28, 2003
16
Centre hospitalier Mèreenfant Sainte-Justine
Dr. Joanne Renaud, Child and
Adolescent Psychiatrist;
Young Investigator, Canadian
Institutes of Health Research
April 30, 2003
13
Children’s Hospital of
Eastern Ontario
Dr. Simon Davidson,
Chairman, Division of Child
and Adolescent Psychiatry
May 1, 2003
13
June 12, 2003
18
Eric Latimer, Health
Economist
May 6, 2003
14
Dr. James Farquhar,
Psychiatrist
May 6, 2003
14
Dr. Mimi Israёl, Head,
Department of Psychiatry ;
Associate Professor, McGill
University
May 6, 2003
14
ORGANIZATION
Canadian Institutes of
Health Research
Canadian Mental Health
Association – Ontario
Division
Canadian Paediatric
Society
Centre for Addiction and
Mental Health
CN Centre for
Occupational Health and
Safety
Douglas Hospital
Overview of Policies and Programs
Patti Bregman, Director of
Programs
Kevin Kelloway, Director
II
ORGANIZATION
Douglas Hospital
DATE OF
APPEARANCE
ISSUE
NO.
Myra Piat, Researcher
May 6, 2003
14
Ampara Garcia, Clinical
Administrative Chief, Adult
Ultraspecialized Services
Division
May 6, 2003
14
Manon Desjardins, Clinical
Administration Chief, Adult
Sectorized Services Division
May 6, 2003
14
Jacques Hendlisz, Director
General
May 6, 2003
14
Robyne Kershaw-Bellmare,
Director of Nursing Services
May 6, 2003
14
June 12, 2003
18
June 4, 2003
17
Tom Lips, Senior Advisor,
mental Health, Healthy
Communities Division,
Population and Public Health
Branch
March 19, 2003
11
Pam Assad, Associate
Director, Division of
Childhood and Adolescence,
Centre for Healthy Human
Development, Population and
Public Health Branch
April 30, 2003
13
Dr. Michel Maziade, Head,
Department of Psychiatry,
Faculty of Medecine
May 6, 2003
14
Jean-Jacques Leclerc,
Director, Rehabilitation
Services and Community
Living
May 6, 2003
14
Dr. Pierre Lalonde, Director,
Clinique jeunes adultes
May 6, 2003
14
NAME
Global Business and
Economic, Roundtable
and Addiction and
Mental Health
Rod Phillips, President and
Chief Executive Officer,
Warren Sheppell Consultants
Hamilton Health
Sciences Centre
Venera Bruto, Psychologist
Health Canada
Laval University
Louis-H. Lafontaine
Hospital
III
Overview of Policies and Programs
ORGANIZATION
McGill University
Province of British
Columbia
Queen’s University
Registered Nurses of
Canada
Statistics Canada
St.Joseph’s Health Care
London
St. Michaels Hospital
Université du Québec à
Montréal
University of British
Columbia
Overview of Policies and Programs
DATE OF
APPEARANCE
ISSUE
NO.
May 1, 2003
13
Patrick Storey, Chair,
Minister’s Advisory Council
on Mental Health
May 14, 2003
15
Heather Stuart, Associate
Professor, Community Health
and Epidemiology
May 14, 2003
15
March 20, 2003
11
May 29, 2003
16
March 20, 2003
11
June 4, 2003
17
March 19, 2003
11
Henri Dorvil, Professor,
School of Social Work
May 6, 2003
14
Dr. Michel Tousignant,
Professor, Centre de
recherche et intervention sur
le suicide et l’euthanasie
May 6, 2003
14
Dr. Charlotte Waddell,
Assistant Professor, Mental
Health Evaluation and
Community Consultation
Unit, Department of
Psychiatry, Faculty of
Medecine
May 1, 2003
13
NAME
Dr. Howard Steiger,
Professor, Psychiatry
Department; Director, Eating
Disorders Program, Douglas
Hospital
Dr. Julio Arboleda-Florèz,
Professor and head,
Department of Psychiatry
Margaret Synyshyn, President
Lorna Bailie, Assistant
Director, Health Statistics
Division
Maggie Gibson, Psychologist
Dr. Paul Links, Arthur
Sommer Rothenberg Chair in
Suicide Studies
IV
ORGANIZATION
University of Calgary
University of Manitoba
University of Montreal
University of Ottawa
APPEARANCE
ISSUE
NO.
Dr. Donald Addington,
Professor and Head,
Department of Psychiatry
May 29, 2003
16
John Arnett, Head,
Department of Clinical Health
Psychology, Faculty of
Medicine
May 28, 2003
16
Robert McIlwraith, Professor
and Director, Rural and
Northern Psychology
Program
May 29, 2003
16
Laurent Mottron, Researcher,
Department of Psychiatry,
Faculty of Medicine
May 6, 2003
14
Dr. Richard Tremblay,
Canada Research Chair in
Child Development,
Professor of Pediatrics,
Psychiatry and Psychology,
Director, Centre of
Excellence for Early
Childhood Development
May 6, 2003
14
Dr. Jean Wilkins, Professor
and Paediatrics, Faculty of
Medecine
May 6, 2003
14
Dr. Renée Roy, Assistant
Clinical Professor,
Department of Psychiatry,
Faculty of Medecine
May 6, 2003
14
Tim D. Aubry, Associate
Professor; Co-Director,
Centre for Research and
Community Services
June 5, 2003
17
Dr. Jeffrey Turnbull,
Chairman, Department of
Medicine, Faculty of Medicine
June 5, 2003
17
NAME
V
DATE OF
Overview of Policies and Programs
ORGANIZATION
University of Toronto
Overview of Policies and Programs
APPEARANCE
ISSUE
NO.
Dr. Joe Beitchman, Professor
and Head, Division of Child
Psychiatry, Department of
Psychiatry; Psychiatrist-inChief, Hospital for Sick
Children
April 30, 2003
13
Dr. David Marsh, Clinical
Director, Addiction Medicine,
Centre for Addiction and
Mental Health
May 29, 2003
16
NAME
VI
DATE OF
APPENDIX B:
LIST OF WITNESSES
SECOND SESSION OF THE 37TH PARLIAMENT
(SEPTEMBER 30, 2002 – NOVEMBER 12, 2003)
ORGANIZATION
NAME
DATE OF
APPEARANCE
ISSUE
NO.
Alberta Mental Health
Board
Ray Block, Chief Executive
Officer
April 28, 2004
7
Alberta Mental Health
Board
Sandra Harrison, Executive
Director, Panning, Advocacy
& Liaison
April 28, 2004
7
Anxiety Disorders
Association of Canada
Peter McLean, Vice-President
May 12, 2004
9
April 29, 2004
7
Dermot Casey, Assistant
Secretary, Health Priorities
and Suicide Prevention
Branch, Department of
Australia, Government of Health and Ageing
(by videoconference)
Jenny Hefford, Assistant
Secretary, Drug Strategy
Branch, Department of
Health and Ageing
April 20, 2004
6
British Columbia
Ministry of Health
Services
Irene Clarkson, Executive
Director, Mental Health and
Addictions
April 28, 2004
7
Canadian Association of
Social Workers
Stephen Arbuckle, Member,
Health Interest Group
March 31, 2004
5
March 31, 2004
5
May 12, 2004
9
Charles Bosdet
As individuals
Pat Caponi
Don Chapman
Canadian Medical
Association
Canadian Mental Health
Association
Dr. Sunil Patel, President
Dr. Gail Beck, Acting
Associate Secretary General
Penny Marrett, Chief
Executive Officer
VII
Overview of Policies and Programs
ORGANIZATION
NAME
DATE OF
APPEARANCE
ISSUE
NO.
Canadian Nurses
Association, the
Canadian Federation of
Mental Health Nurses
and the Registered
Psychiatric Nurses of
Canada
Nancy Panagabko, President,
Canadian Federation of
Mental Health Nurses
March 31, 2004
5
Annette Osten, Board
Member, Canadian Nurses
Association
March 31, 2004
5
Canadian Psychiatric
Association
Dr. Blake Woodside,
Chairman of the Board
March 31, 2004
5
Canadian Psychological
Association
John Service, Executive
Director
March 31, 2004
5
May 5, 2004
8
Christine Bois, Provincial
Priority Manager for
Concurrent Disorders
Centre for Addiction and
Mental Health
Wayne Skinner, Clinical
Director, Concurrent
Disorder Program
Brian Rush, Research
Scientist, Social Prevention
and Health Policy
Centre for Suicide
Prevention
Diane Yackel, Executive
Director
April 21, 2004
6
Cognos
Marilyn Smith-Grant, Senior
Human Resources Specialist
April 1, 2004
5
Larry Motiuk, Director
General, Research
April 29, 2004
7
Françoise Bouchard, Director
General, Health Services
April 29, 2004
7
Douglas Hospital
Dr. Gustavo Turecki,
Director, McGill Group for
Suicide Studies, McGill
University
April 21, 2004
6
House of Commons
The Honourable Jacques
Saada, P.C., M.P., Leader of
the Government in the House
of Commons and Minister
responsible for Democratic
Reforms
April 1, 2004
5
Correctional Service of
Canada
Overview of Policies and Programs
VIII
ORGANIZATION
NAME
DATE OF
APPEARANCE
ISSUE
NO.
Human Resources and
Skills Development
Canada
Bill Cameron, Director
General, National Secretariat
on Homelessness
April 29, 2004
7
Human Resources and
Skills Development
Canada
Marie-Chantal Girard,
Strategic Research Manager,
National
April 29, 2004
7
Institute of
Neurosciences, Mental
Health and Addiction
Richard Brière, Assistant
Director
April 21, 2004
6
McGill University
(by videoconference)
Dr. Laurence Kirmayer,
Director, Division of Social
and Transcultural Psychiatry,
Department of Psychiatry
May 13, 2004
9
Mood Disorder Society
of Canada
Phil Upshall, President
May 12, 2004
9
Native Mental Health
Association of Canada
Brenda M. Restoule,
Psychologist and Ontario
Board Representative
May 13, 2004
9
May 5, 2004
8
April 28, 2004
7
May 5, 2004
8
March 31, 2004
5
Janice Wilson, Deputy
Director General, Mental
Health Directorate, Ministry
of Health
New Zealand,
Government of
(by videoconference)
David Chaplow, Director and
Chief Advisor of Mental
Health
Arawhetu Peretini, Manager
of Maori Mental Health
Phillipa Gaines, Manager of
Systems Development of
Mental Health
Nova Scotia Department
of Health
Dr. James Millar, Executive
Director, Mental Health and
Physician Services
Ontario Federation of
Community Mental
Health and Addiction
David Kelly, Executive
Director
Ontario Hospital
Association
Dr. Paul Garfinkel, Chair,
Mental Health Working
Group
IX
Overview of Policies and Programs
DATE OF
APPEARANCE
ISSUE
NO.
Privy Council Office
Ron Wall, Director,
Parliamentary Operations,
Legislation and House
Planning
April 1, 2004
5
Privy Council Office
Ginette Bougie, Director,
Compensation and
Classification
April 1, 2004
5
April 1, 2004
5
ORGANIZATION
Public Service Alliance of
Canada
NAME
John Gordon, National
Executive Vice-President
James Infantino, Pensions and
Disability Insurance Officer
Schizophrenia Society of
Canada
John Gray, President-Elect
May 12, 2004
9
Simon Fraser University
(by videoconference)
Margaret Jackson, Director,
Institute for Studies in
Criminal Justice Policy
April 29, 2004
7
Six Nations Mental
Health Services
Dr. Cornelia Wieman,
Psychiatrist
May 13, 2004
9
Treasury Board
Secretariat
Joan Arnold, Director,
Pensions Legislation
Development, Pensions
Division
April 1, 2004
5
U.S. Campaign for
Mental Health Reform
William Emmet, Coordinator
April 1, 2004
5
U.S. President’s New
Freedom Commission on
Mental Health
(by videoconference)
Michael Hogan, Chair
April 1, 2004
5
Anne Richardson, Head of
the Mental Health Policy
Branch, Department of
Health
May 6, 2004
8
United Kingdom,
Government of
(by videoconference)
Overview of Policies and Programs
Adrian Sieff, Head of the
Mental Health Legislation
Branch
X
APPENDIX C:
LIST OF INDIVIDUALS WHO RESPONDED TO A LETTER FROM
THE COMMITTEE ON PRIORITIES FOR ACTION
CANADIAN RESEARCH GROUP
CancerCare Manitoba
Harvey Max Chochinov, MD, PhD, FRCPC, Canada
Research Chair in Palliative Care, Director, Manitoba
Palliative Care Research Unit, CancerCare Manitoba,
Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Community
Health Sciences and Family Medicine(Division of
Palliative Care) University of Manitoba
Carleton University
Dr. Hymie Anisman, Canadian Research Chair in
Neuroscience, Ontario Mental Health Foundation
Senior Research Fellow
Douglas Hospital Reseach Centre
Ashok Malla, MD, FRCP Canada Research Chair in
Early Psychosis, Professor of Psychiatry, McGill
University, Director, Clinical Research Division
McGill University Health Centre
Eric Fombonne, MD, FRCPsych, Canada Research
Chair in Child Psychiatry, Professor of Psychiatry,
University McGill, Director, Montreal Children’s
Hospital
University of Alberta
Glen B. Baker, PhD, DSc, Professor and Chair,
Canada Research Chair in Neurochemistry and Drug
Development
University of Manitoba – Faculty
of Medecine
Brian J. Cox, Ph.D., C. Psych., Canada Research Chair
in Mood and Anxiety Disorders, Associate Professor
of Psychiatry, Adjunct Professor, Departments of
Community Health Sciences and Psychology
XI
Overview of Policies and Programs
DEANS OF MEDICAL SCHOOLS
Kingston General Hospital
Samuel K. Ludwin, M.B.B., Ch., F.R.C.P.C., VicePresident, (Research Development)
McGill University Health Centre
Joel Paris, M.D., Professor and Chair, Department of
Psychiatry
University of Alberta
Dr. L. Beauchamp, Dean, Faculty of Eduction
University of Sherbrooke
Pierre Labossière, P. Eng., Ph.D., Associate ViceRector, Research
University of Western Ontario
Dr. Carol P. Herbert, Dean of Medicine and Dentistry
ILLNESS RELATED GROUP
Canada’s Research-Based
Pharmaceutical Companies
Murray J. Elston, President
Eli Lilly Canada Inc.
Terry McCool, Vice-President, Corporate Affairs
GlaxoSmith Kline
Geoffrey Mitchinson, Vice-President of Public Affairs
Merck Frosst Canada
André Marcheterre, President
NSERC
Thomas A. Brzustowski, President
Ontario Mental Health Foundation
Howard Cappell, Ph.,D. (C.Psych) Executive Director
Roche Pharmaceuticals
Ronnie Miller, President & C.E.O.
Schizophrenia Society of Canada
Fred Dawe, President
MENTAL HEALTH ETHICS GROUP
Centre for Addiction and Mental
Health
Paul E. Garfinkel, MD, FRCPC, President and CEO
McGill University – Douglas
Hospital Research Centre
Maurice Dongier, Professor of Psychiatry
Overview of Policies and Programs
XII
Parkwood Hospital, St.Joseph’s
Health Care London
Maggie Gibson, Ph. D., Psychologist, Veterans Care
Program
Queen’s University
J. Arboleda-Florèz, Professor and Head, Department
of Psychiatry
Salvation Army – Territorial
Glen Shepherd, Colonel, Chief Secretary
Headquarters Canada and Bermuda
St-Paul’s Hospital
Mark Miller, C.S.s.R., Ph.D. Ethicist
University of Alberta
Wendy Austin, RN, Ph. D., Canada Research Chair,
Relational Ethics in Health Care, Faculty of Nursing
and John Dosseter Health Ethics Centre
University of Alberta, Faculty of
Nursing
Genevieve Gray, Dean and Professor, Faculty of
Nursing
University of British Columbia
Peter D. McLean, Ph.D. Professor and Director,
Anxiety Disorders Unit
University of Western Ontario
Nancy Fedyk, Executive Assistant to the Dean
Winnipeg Regional Health
Authority
Linda Hughes, Chair, WRHA Mental Health Ethics
Committee
York University
David Shugarman, Director
PRESIDENT OF UNIVERSITY
Institute of Mental Health
Research – University of Ottawa
Zul Merali, Ph. D., President and CEO
McGill University
Heather Munroe-Blum, Professor of Epidemiology
and Biostatistics
University of Lethbridge
Lynn Basford, Dean, Health Sciences
XIII
Overview of Policies and Programs
GOVERNMENT RESPONSIBILITY
Canadian Coalition for Seniors
J. Kenneth Le Clair, MD, FRCPC, Co-Chair,
Canadian Coalition for Seniors Mental Health,
Professor and Chair, Geriatric Division, Department
of Psychiatry, Queen’s University, Clinical Director,
Specialty Geriatric Psychiatry Program
Canadian Coalition for Seniors
Mental Health
David K. Conn, MB., FRCPC, Co-Chair Canadian
Coalition for Seniors Mental Health, Psychiatrist-inChief, Department of Psychiatry, Baycrest Centre for
Geriatric Care, Associate Professor, Department of
Psychiatry, University of Toronto, President,
Canadian Academy of Geriatric Psychiatry
Canadian Institute of Health
Research
Dr. Jeff Reading, PhD, Scientific Director – Institute
of Aboriginal Peoples’s Health
Canadian Mental Health
Association
Bonnie Pape, Director of Programs & Research,
Canadian Mental Health Association – National
Office
Dalhousie University –
Department of Psychology
Patrick J. McGrath, OC, PhD, FRSC, Co-ordinator
of Clinical Psychology, Killam Professor of
Psychology, Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry,
Canada Research Chair, Psychologist IWK Health
Centre
Dalhousie University, Faculty of
Medicine
David Zitner, D. Ph., Director, Medical Informatics
Department of Health and
Wellness New-Brunswick
Ken Ross, Assistant deputy Minister
Douglas Hospital Research Centre
Michel Perreault, Ph. D., Researcher, Douglas
Hospital, Professor, Department of Psychiatry
McGill University
Douglas Hospital Research Centre
-
Rémi Quirion, Scientific Director, (INMHA)
Institute of Neurosciences, Mental
Health and Addiction
Overview of Policies and Programs
XIV
Faculty of Medicine – University of Jacques Bradwejn, MD FRCPC, DABPN, Chair of
Ottawa
the Department of Psychiatry, Psychiatris-in-Chief,
Royal Ottawa Hospital, Head of Psychiatrist, The
Ottawa Hospital
Family Council: Empowering
Families in Addictions and Mental
Health
Betty Miller, Coordinator, The Family Council
Global Business and Economic
Roundtable on Addiction and
Mental Health – Affiliated with the
Centre for Addiction and Mental
Health
Bill Wilkerson, Co-Founder and Chief Executive
Officer
Human Resources Development
Canada
Deborah Tunis, Director General, Office for
Disability Issues
McGill University Health Centre
Juan C. Negrete, MD, FRCP(C) Professor of
Psychiatry, McGill University, Chair, Addictions
Section, Canadian Psychiatric Association
McMaster University
Dr. Richard P. Swinson, MD, FRCPC, Morgan
Firestone Chair in Psychiatry, Psychiatry &
Behavioural Neurosciences, McMaster University,
Chief, Department of Psychiatry, St.Joseph’s
Healthcare
NAHO National Aboriginal Health Judith G. Bartlett, M.D. CCFP, Chairperson
Organization
Ottawa Hospital
Paul Roy, MD, FRCPC, Assistant Professor of
Psychiatry, University of Ottawa, Director, Ottawa
First Episode Psychosis Program
Royal Ottawa Hospital
J. Paul Fedoroff, M.D., Associate Professor of
Psychiatry, University of Ottawa, Research Director,
Forensic Unit, Institute of Mental Health Research
Six Nations Mental Health Services
Cornelia Wieman, M.D., FRCPC, Psychiatrist
Syncrude
Eric P. Newell, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
XV
Overview of Policies and Programs
University of British Columbia –
Mental Health Evaluation &
Community Consultation Unit,
Department of Psychiatry
Elliot Goldner, MD, MHSc, FRCPC, Head, Division
of Mental Health Policy & Services
University of Ottawa – Office of
the Vice-President, Research
Yvonne Lefebvre, Ph.D., Associate Vice-President,
Research
University of Ottawa- School of
Psychology
John Hunsley, Ph.D., C. Psych., Professor of
Psychology
University of Toronto –
Sunnybrook & Women’s College
Health Sciences Centre
Nathan Herrmann, M.D., F.R.C.P. (C)
Overview of Policies and Programs
XVI
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