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September 8, 2014 Steve Lurie's letter to the Globe and Mail, published Sept 6, 2014, in response to the article, "Provincial challenges, federal dollars."

2014-simpson-headThe Parliamentary Budget Officer has indicated that provinces will encounter major difficulties maintaining health services post 2017 when the transfer formula changes. This will be especially problematic in areas like mental health care that did not receive much investment over the past 10 years. For example, Ontario added over $16 billion to health care spending from 2004-2011 and only invested $220 million in community mental health care. Numerous reports including the Mental Health Commission’s mental health strategy have called on provinces to raise the mental health share of health spending to 9% from 7% and increase social spending by 2% to provide housing for the estimated 520,000 people who are living with mental illness and are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

It is time to reconsider establishing the $5.3 billion mental health transition fund recommended by Michael Kirby and Wilbert Keon in the 2006 Senate Report – Out of the Shadows at Last. Without this, services for people living with mental illness will continue to be starved for resources and be overshadowed by other areas of health care spending.

Steve Lurie

Executive Director, CMHA Toronto Branch

To read the article, click Here

 

September 4, 2014 Steve Lurie's letter to the Toronto Star, published Sept 3, 2014, in response to the article, "Social groups applaud plan to end homelessness in Ontario, but urge deadline "

matthews_jpg_size_xxlarge_promoMinister Matthews’ announcement today about funding 1,000 supportive housing units for people living with mental illness in Ontario is welcome news. Unfortunately it will not end homelessness here in Toronto where the wait list now numbers 8,000. Each month 400 people apply for supportive housing and only 100 can be housed. The wait list will continue to grow. There are 40,000 people living with mental illness in Ontario who are homeless and 117,000 are vulnerably housed. We hope that the government responds favorably to the proposal received from Addictions and Mental Health Ontario to develop 28,000 supportive housing units over a six year period in the next budget. Evidence from the Mental Health Commission At Home Chez Soi project shows that for every $2 invested in housing for a high need individual, $3 are saved. Now is the time to invest.

To read the article click Here

August 28, 2014 CBC's The National looking at Sudent Stress

Dr. Kwame McKenzie, Chair of the CMHA Toronto Board of Directors and Medical Director of Children and Adolescent Services at CAMH, was part of a panel discussion on CBC’s The National looking at what impacts the mental health and wellbeing of students, and how differential between normal stress and anxiety, and when something is wrong.

http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/ID/2498706029/

July 24, 2014 Steve Lurie's letter to the Globe and Mail, published July 24, 2014, in response to the article, "Are Police Soldiers or Social Workers?"

G&MJudge Iaccobucci’s comprehensive report is very clear that improvements to policing will require improvements to mental health services in Toronto. He notes that there really is no system, and that mental health has been less of a priority for investment than other areas of health care. Unless this changes, as outlined in his recommendation for more funding for community based programs that can divert people from hospital emergency departments and jails, police will continue to be a default mental health service. Both the Canadian Chiefs of Police and the Ontario Chiefs have called for improvements in mental health services. Let’s hope governments heed the calls.

To read the article, click Here.

July 24, 2014 Steve Lurie's letter to the Globe and Mail, published July 24, 2014, in response to the article, "Deficit Slaying: It's all about timing"

Bill-ScarthWhen governments tackle deficits they also need to consider the costs of cutting or not investing. Mental illness costs the economy $50 billion per year and affects 20% of the population directly, and a higher proportion if we consider the effects on family and friends. The mental health share of health spending has been declining steadily over the past 35 years while needs are growing. For example, there are over 8,000 on a waiting list for supportive housing in Toronto. The Mental Health Transition fund recommended by Senators Kirby and Keon in 2006 would add 0.29 % annually to health care spending and start to correct the deficit in mental health care across the country.

To read the article click Here

 

May 28, 2014 Steve Lurie's letter to the Globe and Mail, published May 28, 2014, in response to the article, "Mental-health care: An issue at the heart of California tragedy," (May 26, 2014)

folio-california26nw01Andre Picard is correct in identifying access to mental health care as an underlying problem in the California shootings. While previous history of violence, rather than mental illness is a predictor of violent acts, it should be noted that most people living with mental illness are not violent. That said, people living with mental illness and their families encounter major problems accessing appropriate care. For many, there are only two options, long waits in emergency or call the police. While mental illness accounts for 13% of disease burden, other areas of health care have received much more investment. Unless this changes and we focus on early intervention, these kind of tragedies as well as death by self harm will continue to happen.

Steve Lurie, Executive DIrector

To read the article Click Here

April 30, 2014 On April 28, 2014 Steve Lurie attended the Graham Boekh Foundation Workshop in Montreal and proposed his top 10 ideas to get Mental Health funding on the federal/ provincial agenda

Steve

Top 10 Funding Ideas

Steve Lurie, Executive Director
CMHA Toronto Branch, Adjunct Professor
Factor Inwentash Faculty of Social Work

Remarks delivered at the Graham Boekh Foundation Workshop: How can we increase public spending in Mental Health in Canada to 9% of total health care spending?

April 28, 2014, Montreal.

My weekend horoscope said: “You are entitled to your opinions, but you are not entitled to expect that everyone will agree with you….”

Facts: Canada and its provinces lag other high income countries with respect to mental health, and over the past 10 years far more was invested in other areas of health care, than mental health – despite the fact that disease burden is 1.5 x that of cancer and over 7x greater than infectious disease. Mental Health spending has been declining as a share of health spending over the past 30 years, despite an annual $50 billion cost to our economy, and estimates that the costs will increase to $2.5 trillion over the next 30 years, despite the knowledge that suicide is the leading cause of death among Canadians between 18 and 35, and the known burden of mental illness on families. So with apologies to David Letterman (and possibly David Goldbloom) here are my top 10 ideas to get Mental Health funding on the federal/ provincial agenda.

April 9, 2014 Steve Lurie's letter to the Globe and Mail in response to the article, "Social development minister urges pro-active approach to homelessness," published April 8, 2014

G&M

The success of the Mental Health Commission Housing First study, “At Home/Chez Soi” should lead to major investments in housing and homelessness services across the country. In 2006 Senators Kirby and Keon proposed a 10 year mental health transition fund of $5.3 billion which would have created 57,000 units of supportive housing and related services. Now there is no excuse not to proceed, especially since the annual cost would be 0.29% of current expenditures on health care.

To read the article from the Globe and Mail Click Here

April 9, 2014 Steve Lurie, ED, is quoted in the following article "10 Troubling Truths about Toronto Panhandlers," published in The Grid April 8, 2014

logo-the-gridTo read the article Click Here

April 2, 2014 Steve Lurie, our Executive Director, had an article published last week in the Health section of Scientific Research, an open access journal, on mental health spending in Canada.

SteveSteve makes the argument as to why the provinces and the federal government should implement the Mental Health Commission  recommendations to increase the mental health share of the health and social services budgets so that we can fix the deficit in mental health care and supportive housing.

To read the Executive Summary Click Here

To read the article Click Here