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Are Mental Health Service Providers Understaffed and Underfunded?

July 26, 2013

Stabilization is possible for a person who has mental illness. Unfortunately, mental health services rarely seem to offer consistent support; they seem chronically understaffed and underfunded.

There are some major issues surrounding funding for mental health facilities and practices. As a result, many Canadians with mental illness struggle to find the support they need and can afford. They wait weeks to get short appointments and set follow-up times. Yet, the consequences of unmanaged mental illness are dire.


Ongoing problems concerning Canada’s mental health system, consequences of low funding, and the results of neglecting people with mental health issues are impacting individuals and society. This is a topic that needs to be discussed, and a debate that begs the question, what can be done?

The Ongoing Problem with Canada’s Mental Health System

It is no secret: government supported medical care units struggle for funding. Unfortunately, without adequate fiscal resources it is impossible to provide good care. These conditions often lead to employment shortages. Additional burdens put on nurses and doctors can negatively impact quality of care. After all, caring for people with mental illness requires training as well as compassion. Still, turnover rates in this industry remain high.

The absence of necessary services, affordable and timely appointment options, and proper encouragement of mental health recovery programs, makes it is difficult to draw people towards the care they need.

Consequences of an Understaffed and Underfunded System

A broken mental health care system cannot support patients long-term. It puts a person’s health and safety in jeopardy.

Delays getting people into the program they need may result in:

– Follow up appointments being neglected or hard to schedule

– Patient information getting lost between appointments

– Providers offering low quality services to large groups of people (who likely need more support than they receive in such a setting)

– Caregiver burnout

– Drawn out processing – it takes too long to see therapists, receive regular appointments, adjust medications, and ultimately, begin recovery treatment plans

Negligence Effects the Individual and Society

A person with mental illness, who does not receive proper treatment, may be a risk to him or herself and society. Poverty and homelessness are major concerns for this community. In addition, the chances of premature death are heightened in those who have undiagnosed mental disabilities.

In the case of individuals with severe mentally illness, lack of consistent care can lead to violent outcomes. This is worst case scenario and topic of heated debate. But when these situations arise, it leaves the country asking, “What could we have done?”

In turn, we want to ask you – what can be done?

What is your opinion of Canada’s Mental Health Care system?

Do you feel like you or loved ones receive necessary care?

Does lack of good care cause additional stressors?

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