Greetings and Welcome
Dear colleagues, friends, and supporters.
There is strength in mental health. Although most are implicitly aware of this, in some way or another, as a society we do little to encourage our government to increase access to services that improve or maintain good mental health. In fact, access to services by psychologists is quite limited in Manitoba. Even if someone has the resources to pay for a psychologist in private practice out of pocket, there are only a few limited number of us available. There is literally only 1 psychologist per 5000 people in Manitoba. This ratio reflects all of the psychologists (private and public sector) available in Manitoba. The majority of psychologists in Manitoba work in a private setting, and thus the actual number of psychologists available within the public health care system are far more dismal than the startling ratio I’ve noted above.
Too often is the concept of health interpreted unilaterally to refer to only physical health. In truth, good health is often a combination of both mental and physical health; both of these components leading to a good quality of life. From this perspective, it then follows that advocating for increased access for publically resourced psychologists is not just a concern for those struggling with mental health concerns, but rather for all of us. The truth is that mental health is often not seen on par with our physical health, when in fact the two are often intertwined. Although the recent statistic provided by Health Canada reports that 1 in 5 Canadians is diagnosed with a mental illness, this is but a conservative estimate. Interestingly enough, Health Canada statistics also inform us that at least 1 in 4 Canadians will suffer from a form of anxiety disorder (only one form of many mental health problems) in their life time. Clearly these two rates are in conflict, the latter suggesting that one form of mental illness is already greater in frequency than the entire number of people diagnosed with mental illness. My understanding of this, is that the scope of mental health is already greater than the now popularly touted rate of “1 in 5”. Rates of mental illness are greater than we believe. Mental health is everyone’s concern.
To that end, MPS’ Mind Your Mental Health campaign encourages all of us to be mindful of our mental health (look for Facebook and Twitter pages of our initiative). And in doing so, make a strong and concerted statement to inform government that access to a psychologist in the public health care system is critically important to us as a society, and the health of each individual citizen. The MPS board encourages you all to send letters into your government, from our sister website, www.mymh.ca . By simply clicking on a button, entering your name and postal code, and hitting “send” a weighty 4 letters are sent to government; one to your MP, another to your MLA, and two more to the Minister of Health, and the Minister of Health Living. Our government needs to know that access to care for mental health is an important concern for all of us. It is time we made our voices heard, so that a change that affects all of our health in a positive way, can finally be made.
With respectful regards,