A National Action Plan for Mental Illness and Mental Health : A Call for Action
This consensus statement was drafted at the National Summit on Mental Illness and Mental Health held on October 3, 4, 2002. The consensus statement was ratified subsequently by each of the signatory organizations.
We envision a country where all Canadians enjoy good mental health. Canadians with mental illnesses*, their families and care providers must have access to the care, support and respect to which they are entitled and in parity with other health conditions.
We are committed to a National Action Plan that upholds the following principles:
1. Mental illness and mental health issues must be considered within the framework of the determinants of health and recognizes the important linkages among mental, neurological and physiological health.
2. Given the impact of mental health issues and mental illness (i.e. on the suffering of Canadians, on mortality, especially from suicide, on the economy, on social services such as health, education and criminal justice), Canadian governments and health planners must address mental health issues commensurate with the level of their burden on society.
3. Mental health promotion and the treatment of mental illnesses must be timely, continuous, inter-disciplinary, culturally appropriate, and integrated across the full life cycle and the continuum of care (i.e. physical and mental health; social supports and tertiary care to home/community care).
KEY ELEMENTS OF A NATIONAL ACTION PLAN
1. National Mental Health Goals. These goals would provide a framework to, for example, evaluate both processes and outcomes, set minimum standards, and assess systemic change.
2. A Policy Framework. The framework must provide for a comprehensive health promotion and service delivery plan, an enhanced research program, a surveillance and national data/information system, a public education strategy, a health human resources plan, and an innovations fund that embraces both mental illness and mental health promotion as well as the principles of recovery and citizenship.
3. Dedicated, Sustained and Adequate Resources tied to the National Mental Health Goals and specific outcomes.
4. An Accountability Mechanism, such as annual reporting on, for example, access, mental health status, systemic change and the application of best practices.
* NOTE: The use of the term "mental illness" in this "Call for Action" includes diseases, disorders, conditions or problems. It also includes the spectrum of addictions.
A CALL FOR LEADERSHIP AND ACTION
We, the undersigned, urge the federal, provincial and territorial governments to work together with federal leadership to recognize and act upon the compelling moral, social and economic case for mental health promotion and mental illness care.
Canadian Medical Association
Canadian Psychiatric Association
NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS REPRESENTED AT THE OCTOBER 2002 SUMMIT
Autism Society of Canada
Canadian Academy of Child Psychiatry
Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness & Mental Health
Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention
Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists
Canadian Association of Social Workers
Canadian Coalition for Seniors Mental Health
Canadian Council of Professional Psychology Programs
Canadian Federation of Mental Health Nurses
Canadian Health Care Association
Canadian Medical Association
Canadian Mental Health Association
Canadian Psychiatric Association
Canadian Psychiatric Research Foundation
Canadian Psychological Association
College of Family Physicians of Canada
Mood Disorders Society of Canada
National Network for Mental Health
Native Mental Health Association of Canada
Note: These Guidelines are not intended to encourage people who choose to abstain for cultural, spiritual or other reasons to drink, nor are they intended to encourage people to commence drinking to achieve health benefits. People of low bodyweight or who are not accustomed to alcohol are advised to consume below these maximum limits.
Do not drink in these situations:
When operating any kind of vehicle, tools or machinery; using medications or other drugs that interact with alcohol; engaging in sports or other potentially dangerous physical activities; working; making important decisions; if pregnant or planning to be pregnant; before breastfeeding; while responsible for the care or supervision of others; if suffering from serious physical illness,
mental illness or alcohol dependence.
If you drink, reduce long- term health risks by staying within these average levels:
0–2 standard drinks* per day
0–3 standard drinks* per day
No more than 10 standard drinks
No more than 15 standard
drinks per week
Always have some non-drinking days per week to minimize tolerance and habit formation. Do not increase drinking to the
upper limits as health benefits are greatest at up to one drink per day. Do not exceed the daily limits specified in Guideline 3.
If you drink, reduce short- term risks by choosing safe situations and restricting your alcohol intake:
Risk of injury increases with each additional drink in many situations. For both health and safety reasons, it is important not to drink more than:
Three standard drinks* in one day for a woman
Four standard drinks* in one day for a man
Drinking at these upper levels should only happen occasionally and always be consistent with the weekly limits specified in Guideline 2. It is especially important on these occasions to drink with meals and not on an empty stomach; to have no more than two standard drinks in any three-hour period; to alternate with caffeine-free, non-alcoholic drinks; and to avoid risky situations and activities. Individuals with reduced tolerance, whether due to
low bodyweight, being under the age of 25 or over 65 years old, are advised to never exceed Guideline 2 upper levels.
When pregnant or planning to be pregnant:
The safest option during pregnancy or when planning to become pregnant is to not drink alcohol at all. Alcohol in the mother's bloodstream can harm the developing fetus. While the risk from light consumption during pregnancy appears very low, there is no threshold of alcohol use in pregnancy that has been
definitively proven to be safe.
Alcohol and young people:
Alcohol can harm healthy physical and mental development of children and adolescents. Uptake of drinking by youth should be delayed at least until the late teens and be consistent with local legal drinking age laws. Once a decision to start drinking is made, drinking should occur in a safe environment, under parental guidance and at low levels (i.e., one or two standard drinks* once or twice per week). From legal drinking age to 24 years, it is
recommended women never exceed two drinks per day and men never exceed three drinks in one day.
Approved by the CMA Board in March 2011
Last reviewed and approved by the CMA Board in March 2019.
The above is excerpted from the report, Alcohol and Health in Canada: A Summary of Evidence and Guidelines for Low-Risk Drinking Available: https://www.ccsa.ca/sites/default/files/2019-04/2011-Summary-of-Evidence-and-Guidelines-for-Low-Risk%20Drinking-en.pdf (accessed 2019 March 01).