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Presentation to the Minister’s Advisory Committee on Health – Addendum Report

An addendum report submitted by Tom Shand, Executive Director of CMHA Alberta, following up David Copus’ October 29, 2009 presentation before the Minister’s Advisory Committee on Health.


As per the request of the Committee, I am pleased to submit the following specific recommendations on how the system can better meet the needs of Albertans, from a mental health perspective:

1. Increase Accessibility

2. Enhance community supports

3. Increase capacity

4. Increase research

Collaborate with universities, private sector and NGOs to increase focus on mental health research in Alberta – both clinical and community/systemic research. There is a great dearth of information and knowledge, even of basic statistics relating to the numbers of people receiving treatment in Alberta. The research is not only much needed, but will attract quality people in those fields to Alberta, thereby helping us to move to the cutting edge of treatment and systems, as well as research.

5. Advocacy

Currently, only the estimated 9,000 patients certified under the Mental Health Act have their advocacy needs being handled, through the Patient Advocate office. This leaves about 300,000 Albertans, having a diagnosable mental illness in a given year, without somebody to hear and act on their concerns.

Groups such as CMHA, the Alberta Mental Health Self Help Network (Fellowship) and the Alberta Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health do represent some of their systemic advocacy needs, but do not have the resources to help with their individual needs.

We would recommend two possible solutions.

Thank you for your consideration of these recommendations. We would welcome an opportunity to discuss them further.

Respectfully submitted,

Tom Shand
Executive Director
Alberta Division
Canadian Mental Health Association

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