HEAL is advocating for all Canadians to have coverage for the mental health services which they need.
(OTTAWA – June 6, 2019) Today, the Organizations for Health Action (HEAL) released the findings of a national Abacus public opinion research poll, demonstrating a high degree of support for mental health parity across demographics.
Of the 1,500 Canadian adults surveyed, 56% strongly agreed that mental health care should be covered by provincial or territorial health plans, while 38% said they somewhat agreed. Only 2% of respondents strongly disagreed.
Mental health parity is the notion that mental health services, in the form of services delivered by social workers, psychologists, counsellors, psychotherapists, and other mental health professionals, should be covered by provincial and territorial health insurance plans to the same degree as a visit to a family physician or community medical clinic.
“There is no question that awareness of mental health has increased greatly in the last decade, and that related stigma has decreased,” said HEAL Co-Chair Ondina Love. “And while that is a very positive step, it’s time for governments to ensure that all Canadians can have access to the mental health services that they need – to the same extent which a visit to the family doctor is covered by their provincial or territorial health plans.”
The results reveal only small differences in support between age groups, with 56% of Millennials saying they strongly agreed with the statement, as compared to 54% for Gen X, 58% for Boomers, and 48% for those of the Silent Generation (born before 1945).
Although both sexes were generally supportive of mental health parity, it was observed that 48% of men strongly supported the notion of mental health parity as compared to 63% of women polled.
Support was also strong across regions in Canada, peaking at 64% of Manitoba and Saskatchewan respondents saying they strongly supported the statement, and lowest amongst Québec respondents with 53% attesting to that same level of support.
“If you look at the data across regions, sexes, age, and party affiliation, the percentage of those who strongly disagreed with mental health parity was extremely low – between 0 and 4% for any given segment,” said HEAL Co-Chair François Couillard.
“We believe these results provide a strong rationale for all federal parties to pledge support for such a move within their 2019 election platform, whereby the federal government would work closely with provincial and territorial governments to ensure that all Canadians have access to the mental health services which they need,” said Couillard. “We look forward to working across party lines to make these policy changes a reality, and therefore increase Canadians’ overall wellbeing.”
Through the tabling of its consensus statement last fall, The Canadian Way 2.0: Accelerating Innovation and Improving Health System Performance, HEAL has focused its most recent advocacy on measures related to seniors’ care and mental health services – areas which its 40 national member organizations have deemed federal priorities for 2019.
HEAL, Organizations for Health Action is a coalition of 40 national health organizations dedicated to improving the health of Canadians and the quality of care they receive. Our members are professional associations of regulated health care providers and organizations of health charities that provide a range of health care services across Canada. HEAL now represents more than 650,000 providers (and consumers) of health care, in over 20 different health care professions.