Mental health remains the poor relation of the resources allocated to health in Quebec, deplore community organizations that are impatiently awaiting the Legault government’s first action plan.
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“Considering the importance that this represents in terms of the number of people affected and the impact it has on the life of the world, the resources intended for mental health do not even represent 6% of the health budget in the world. Quebec. I think we can do a lot better, ”said Charles Rice, director of the Alliance of Mental Health Recovery Intervention Groups (AGIR).
According to the Government of Quebec, 12% of the population has mental disorders, while the budget for mental health has been stagnant for several years.
According to AGIR, 5.9% of the health budget is spent on mental health, which is clearly insufficient.
According to groups such as the Mental Health Community Network, of which AGIR is a member, spending by the Ministry of Health and Social Services on mental health should be increased to at least 10%, considering the current underfunding and the importance of the needs.
Expected action plan
Rice cites the example of Britain, which has a share of mental health spending of almost 12%.
The latter recalls that thirty years ago, Quebec was one of the first governments to adopt a mental health policy.
“It was meant to be very avant-garde. There was recognition from community organizations, but since then, we have been on a downward trend. As much as we were good first, we are also good last now. (…) When we look at the distribution of budgets, we realize that very few are allocated to the community. The bulk of the budget stays in hospitals, ”Rice continued.
One of the consequences is that, in the current state of affairs, the community sector finds it difficult to go further than dealing with emergencies.
“You can’t work upstream to make sure people don’t fall into crisis and come back into the system,” he says.
So far, the Department of Health and Social Services has held two consultations that should lead to the Coalition Avenir Québec’s first action plan on mental health. This plan is eagerly awaited.