Let’s Talk About Let’s Talk

Let's TalkGood job Bell Canada.

Last year Bell’s “Let’s Talk” program raised $6,107,538.60 to support some programs in mental health.  They also raised awareness and bravo.  The problem is this is just a drop in the proverbial bucket for the most underfunded and misunderstood sector of the health industry in Canada.

According to figures from Mood Disorders Society of Canada (2009) “the cost of supporting someone with serious mental illness to live in the community: $34,418 per year (all costs). The cost of keeping someone with serious mental illness in the hospital: $170,820 per year.  That means the money raised by Bell could keep 35.75 people in hospital or 186 people in the community.

Facts from the Canadian Mental Health Association along with many others suggest 20%  of us deal with mental health issues.  That means if only 5% have serious mental health issues (and I’m not sure who draws that line) there are about 1,758,000 have a serious mental health issue.  Translation = another 1,723,000 still need help.

Ireally have trouble with huge numbers but I think I have it figured out.  The economic cost of mental illness in Canada was 7.9 billion in 1998.  That is things like time lost in work and all else economic.  It also says in the CMHA numbers that 4.7 billion was spent in care with another 3.2 billion in disability and early death.  Another 6.3 billion was spend on uninsured mental health servics like psychiatrists and therapists.

If my calculation is correct that means to support support that 5% we have a shortfall of about $52 billion.  ($52,000,000,000)

I’ve worked in mental health for 20 years and I know there are some great ways to save money and improve care which are already available but under utilized in the mental health system.  Cutting down the number of snacks per person in the hospital is not likely the way to improve the situation though cutting salaries in the six figures and putting it in the front line where it is needed might help.  Perhaps a more simplistic view is to just start caring for people.  If we all started to care for the people who need help, if we loved them a little and didn’t make them live on the street or feel ashamed of their issues we might have a beginning.

So thanks again Bell but until you can influence the heart of the country and the will of the politicians we don’t really have much chance of making a dent in this issue. Increasing the telephone usage for one day isn’t really going to help many people beyond the publicity department at Bell.


About Peggy Guiler

You just never know what show up on my blog. As the name implies it is about the stuff of life just like Spilt Milk. Everyday events spark thought and contemplation. Special events in the community, the country or the world may strike a cord and get me talking. Sometimes it's about people in my life or circumstances, sometimes about my garden, sometimes about a book or a political issue. Always it's about something I am passionate about. In my business, River of Hope Enterprises (www.riverofhopeenterprises.com), I work as an "Certified Coach" (International Coach Federation), a trainer, consultant and speaker. and as a spiritual director. I also drive a school bus to keep the wolf from the door while I build my business. I love the kids on the bus (most of the time). My family is grown and I have three grandkids who thrill my heart but I don't get to see any of them very often. Circumstances of life have made "family" difficult. My son died by suicide at age 16 in 2000 and the strain on our family relationships since has been huge. Mental health is a field where I worked for almost 22 years and where I still do some consulting and training. That combined with my own battle with depression and my son's death weave together to form some of my greatest soap box items: suicide intervention, suicide bereavement and peer support in mental health are right on the top of my list. Social justice is an underlying passion. Keeping the wolf from the door as a single parent was full-time work and my career path as a journalists was augmented with cleaning contracts, cooking, retail clerk, and bartending. I have known hard work and am grateful for the experience and perspective it has given me. A firmly grounded faith and a passion for learning has now taken me toward a new field as a Spiritual Director and I am soon adding to that a license to marry people. As I move toward retirement I am very aware that I have to keep working so I chose to do things which will meet my modest financial needs and also my love of supporting people in their life journey. Woven into all of this is my love of writing. Trained as a Journalist, and having worked in the field as a freelance news writer for many years, I have a great love for writing. This blog is a new beginning for me. As I hone my skills and begin to form a daily discipline of writing I hope it will lead to more writing in the future.
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