May 21, 2018
Support groups and individuals are lobbying the Liberal government of Minister of Health and Social Services, Gaétan Barrette, to increase funding for those who care for a mentally ill family members. Provincial health care provides psychological services to those who experience mental illness, however there is no formal support system in place for family members and carers. Oftentimes, it’s non-profit and community organizations that work to fill this gap, however governmental subsidies haven’t been able to match the growing need.
“The demand for our services is enormous,” said René Cloutier of the Réseau Avant de craquer, a network that brings together 39 community organizations from across the province, and whose mission is to bring together, represent, support and mobilize organizations that work to break the isolation of those who accompany a loved one suffering from mental illness. In the last year, there has been a 22% increase in the request of family members for counselling and respite services. Family members offering support are three times more likely than the general population to experience psychological distress. Given the number of individuals who experience mental illness, it is important to keep in mind that their family members, friends, and loved ones are also in need of support.