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And early intervention for young Canadians is crucial — an ounce of prevention is still worth a pound of cure.
“It’s so important to address mental health issues early on,” Embrett said. “The trajectory often starts in childhood or youth.”
The barriers facing young people with any mental health issue, mild or severe, are daunting.The stigma around such issues continues, a huge consideration for youth.
Many don’t even know how to talk about what they’re experiencing, and few realize they can speak to their family doctor about it; a person’s GP can often help them find a therapist for virtual visits.
“There’s a lot of work to be done in Canada and globally to make it easier to talk about mental health issues and to make it easier to access care,” Embrett said.
Embrett said his main concern is that mental health seems to exist outside the health system in Canada. Treatment requires a more comprehensive lifestyle approach, and in an ideal world, that could mean counsellors, therapists, psychiatrists — a variety of help.
But right now access is difficult. There are issues with wait times, even just to be assessed, and after that a patient may wait again to see a psychiatrist or counsellor.
“And patients may have to pay out of pocket for some services. Some people have supplemental insurance, but it rarely pays for enough sessions.So there are access issues, and there’s a cost barrier with access, too.”