Mental Health Emergency Room….Why Not? No Seriously..Why Not?


I raised the point last week that I believe we need Emergency Rooms more geered towards Mental Health. If you look at the stats below it is obvious we need change. Mental Health issues cause at least 500 000 employed Canadians a week to lose time at work. That doesn’t include the large number of unemployed that are that way because of Mental Health issues. It also doesn’t include the number of family members, spouses, parents, children, siblings end up missing time to try to deal with a Mental Health crisis of a loved one. Most of the physical illnesses that present in Emergency rooms are there due to stress, addiction to cigarettes, food or other substances. If the Mental Health issues causing hundreds of thousands to miss work, 11 to die a day and hundreds of thousands more Canadian families and individuals to suffer alone were given priority we would be able to turn the crisis around, save lives, lower health care costs, make happier more supportive, productive homes, workplaces, schools and communities. I am not saying revamp the emergency room and build a new one, start small. Turn a bay, a unit of the Emergency department into Compassion care for Mental Health issues. Have it designed to better meet their needs instead of having them sit in a physical trauma or first aid room.  In case my argument isn’t convincing enough that we need a change I thought I would find some logical reasons why we need this type of change…statistics.

Below are some statistics from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.:

  • Mental illness is the second leading cause of disability and premature death inCanada.
  • In any given week, at least 500,000 employed Canadians are unable to work due to mental health problems. This includes:
    • approximately 355,000 disability cases due to mental and/or behavioural disorders14 plus
    • approximately 175,000 full-time workers absent from work due to mental illness.15
  • The economic burden of mental illness in Canada is estimated at $51 billion per year. This includes health care costs, lost productivity, and reductions in health-related quality of life.
  • The disease burden of mental illness and addiction in Ontario is 1.5 times higher than all cancers put together. This includes years lived with less than full function and years lost to early death.
  • Tobacco is the leading cause of premature mortality in Canada. Evidence suggests that smoking is responsible for about 17% of all deaths.
  • In Ontario the annual cost of alcohol-related health care, law enforcement, corrections, lost productivity, and other problems is estimated to be $5.3 billion


  • Nearly 4,000 Canadians die by suicide each year – an average of 11 suicides a day.
  • More than 75% of suicides involve men, but women attempt suicide 3 to 4 times more often.
  • After accidents, suicide is the second leading cause of death among youth aged 10-19. Suicide accounts for 11% of deaths among youth aged 10-14 and 23% of deaths among youth aged 15-19.
  • First Nations youth die by suicide about 5 to 6 times more often than non-Aboriginal youth. Suicide rates for Inuit youth are among the highest in the world, at 11 times the national average.
 Access to services
  • While mental illnesses constitute more than 15% of the burden of disease in Canada, these illnesses receive less than 6% of health care dollars.
  • Almost a third of Canadians who seek mental health care report that their needs are unmet or partially met.4 The rate is even higher for children and youth.
  • 60% of family physicians rank access to psychiatrists in Ontario as fair to poor.

This entry was posted in Compassion in Health Care and Poverty Solutions, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Mental Health Emergency Room….Why Not? No Seriously..Why Not?

  1. vinnay77 says:

    Wow this is a really great post! I can totally relate!

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