This site has 2 goals:

1. Creation of a Secretariat for Mental Health and Addictions within the Prime Minister's Office.

A Secretariat would created a national focus for mental health and addictions in the Canada's highest political office. A secretariat would have several functions, including:

  • directly advise the Prime Minister and Members of Parliament on the issues

  • provide a national, ongoing forum for politicians from all levels of government to discuss and understand the importance of  governments cooperating and working together. Annual meetings of Ministers of Health and  the Premiers and the Prime Minister are insufficient of politicians to have meaningful discussions on the complexities of  mental health and addictions. A Secretariat would also provide a way for  local politicians to become more involved and informed about an issue which has no political or geographic boundaries.

  • provide an open door for ordinary Canadians -- who find themselves on the front lines dealing with people suffering mental and health addictions issues -- to express their concerns and suggestions. This could include teachers, fire fighters, police officers, seniors, teenagers, unions, religious groups, parents, families...and the list goes on.

To work, the secretariat must:

  1. Acknowledge that mental health and addictions are a Canadian epidemic.

  2. Acknowledge that the current system for treating mental health and addictions has failed Canadians. It's time for new thinking. There's no point in discussing a firmly entrenched system which continues to fail Canadians despite a long history of promising improvement.

  3. Avoid any real or perceived political or ideological bias. Mental health and addictions are not political games.

At least one government is using a secretariat to deal with a serious mental health situation. In response to the Nunavut Premier's declaration, on Oct. 25, 2015, of a suicide crisis, that government created the Quality of Life Secretariat. It is solely responsible for programming to address suicide prevention, intervention and post-vention. The Secretariat chairs a committee where every government department meets to discuss suicide prevention and to assume responsibilities and make recommendations in a holistic and systemic way.

 

In 2011, in a report titled Not to be Forgotten: Care of Vulnerable Canadians, the Parliamentary Committee on Palliative and Compassionate Care recommended creation of a federal suicide prevention secretariat. That hasn't happened. Click here to see the committee's report.

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