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Mental Health Addressed in 2013 Federal Budget

Attention: News, Health, Medical and Lifestyle Editors

Ottawa, ON, March 22, 2013—Canadian psychiatrists are encouraged by the federal government’s housing-first initiative announced in budget 2013.

The proposal provides $119 million per year over five years, nearly $600 million in total, to the Homelessness Partnering Strategy using a new “housing first” approach. The government attributes this investment directly to the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s At Home/Chez Soi project. Early results from this research project demonstrate that providing housing-first services and supports are a cost-effective way to reduce homelessness among people with mental illness and to improve their quality of life.

“With this housing-first initiative, the government is demonstrating the kind of national leadership needed to improve mental health standards and services across Canada,” said Dr. Suzane Renaud, the President of the Canadian Psychiatric Association.

In addition to the housing-first initiative, the 2013 budget also allots $4 million over two years to enhance community-based mental health services for First Nations by increasing the number of mental health wellness teams and specialized services available in First Nations communities. This is a positive step towards a culturally appropriate continuum of mental health services, as recommended by the Mental Health Strategy for Canada.

The budget further reallocates funds to improve data collection and reporting of mental illness and mental health, also recommended in the strategy. Data collection is a necessary step towards planning and setting targets for improving mental health services.

“We are pleased that these government budget measures support the Mental Health Strategy and the At Home project and are optimistic it signals an intent to further engage the provinces and territories in implementing the strategy,” added Dr. Renaud.

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The Canadian Psychiatric Association is the national voice for Canada’s 4,100 psychiatrists and more than 600 psychiatric residents. Founded in 1951, the CPA is dedicated to promoting an environment that fosters excellence in the provision of clinical care, education and research.

Contact:
Hélène Côté
Canadian Psychiatric Association
[email protected]
1-613-234-2815 (232) or 613-297-5038

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