Access to mental health services in Canada is woefully inadequate. To build a thoroughgoing mental health infrastructure, the Left must confront anti-psychiatry advocates and insist that mental illness exists — and that the best care is publicly funded.
Madeleine Ritts works as the team lead for a community mental health and addictions program at a hospital in downtown Toronto. She is involved in organizing work around poverty and homelessness and holds a practice-based research position at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute.
The anti-psychiatry movement advanced a radical critique of the role that capitalism and power play in the medical profession. Its motives were noble, but it ended up closing the door to understanding, and properly treating, psychological suffering.
Canada’s public health system is often seen as a model for the US. When it comes to pharmacare, however, Canada imitates its neighbor’s lousy practices, and Justin Trudeau has broken his pledge to establish a public prescription system that would be more just and more efficient.
COVID-19 has exposed the catastrophic failure of Ontario’s private long-term care facilities. We urgently need a system of elder care that’s universal and publicly funded.