A charter of values?

Let’s be frank...

Rest assured. If you develop an anxiety disorder after an accident at work, the government will help cover treatment costs, including costs for psychotherapy if necessary.

Your son committed suicide? Well

More than 20% of Quebecers aged 15 years and older have, at one time in their life, suffered from a mental disorder such as depression or a mood disorder. Although costs associated with mental health problems remain difficult to assess, it is estimated that in Canada mental illness represents nearly $50 billion in direct costs (e.g. for care) and benefits for work disability, not to mention various expenses incurred by our businesses, justice system and education system. Evidently, there are even more alarming statistics: according to recent estimates, costs associated with mental health problems are equivalent to nearly 4% of the GDP in industrialized countries.

In Quebec, the costs of mental health problems account for nearly 8% of spending for all health and health service programs. This percentage is still lower than most countries at the forefront of health care. Also in Quebec, about a quarter of patients consult a doctor for a mental disorder; they also receive twice as many medical procedures as patients presenting for other reasons. There is no indication that the situation will improve: according to the World Health Organization and the most recent epidemiological studies, mental disorders will soon be the leading cause of morbidity in the world…

Surely, these figures make you think. But don’t forget other costs associated with mental health problems; those that are more difficult to document and that cannot be translated into dollars or percentages without losing their true meaning. Twenty per cent of Quebecers, at one time or another,  have suffered from mental health problems. But, that’s not just one person in five; it’s one friend in five, one family member in five, one colleague in five. The individual doesn’t suffer alone. Loved ones suffer as well. Unfortunately, in Quebec, few treatment options exist, and psychotherapy is not reimbursed by the government. Your son committed suicide and you need help? Reach for your wallet…

We’ve been talking quite a bit about values lately. The Bible, the Torah and the Koran… sacred. Gender equality… sacred. Equality and access to services… this has cash value? Over the next few months, I suggest we talk about it, discuss and engage in debates.


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