The Ontario government published in March 2020 their healthcare proposal, Roadmap to wellness: a plan to build Ontario’s mental health and addictions system (https://www.ontario.ca/page/roadmap-wellness-plan-build-ontarios-mental-health-and-addictions-system). The introduction states the following:
- Every year, more than one million Ontarians experience a mental health or addiction issue. This can have a serious impact on their quality of life and that of everyone around them. It can reduce their ability to go to school, make a living or raise a family. With 500,000 Canadians per week calling in sick because of mental health and addictions issues, there are clear consequences for the province’s economic productivity. By way of reference, the economic burden of mental health issues in Canada can be upwards of $50 billion per year.
Ontario will invest $3.8 billion over 10 years to enable this plan.
The Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) recognizes a group of Regulated Health Professions (each associated with their own regulatory college) that help manage and certify healthcare programs. These include the following: Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology, Chiropody and Podiatry, Chiropractic, Dental Hygiene, Dental Technology, Dentistry, Denturism, Dietetics, Homeopathy, Kinesiology, Massage Therapy, Medical Laboratory Technology, Medical Radiation Technology, Medicine, Midwifery, Naturopathy, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Opticianry, Optometry, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy, Psychology, Psychotherapy, Respiratory Therapy, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture.
Members of the Canadian Association of Music Therapists (CAMT) can apply to become Registered Psychotherapists, and, upon acceptance, will be connected to OHIP through the College of Psychotherapy as medical practitioners. In the aforementioned government paper, psychotherapy is mentioned twenty times as a solution to Ontario’s mental health and addiction needs. Positioning musicking as a lifelong health commitment could provide a cost-efficient cradle-to-grave alternative to a needy healthcare industry. Musicking provides solutions for early childhood education, mental health and wellbeing, physical health and rehabilitation, exercise, community participation, and senior’s issues such as falling and a lack of social connection.
Music therapy is an important component in the pursuit of improved mental health and addiction conditions in Ontario (Rx Music 2020).
Tax Notes – Medical Expenses
Tax Notes – Medical Practioners
Re: Music in Healthcare
The inroads made into healthcare by the arts over the past ten years have been significant.
Some levels of government have entered a phase of Social Prescribing recommending that doctors promote arts solutions for ailments such as dementia, psychosis, lung conditions, and mental health issues. Recommendations include singing lessons, dance lessons, visiting museums, or simply listening to preferred music playlists.
The importance of community has exploded and issues regarding isolation and mental health have become headline news in every type of media. The position of Minister of Loneliness wasn’t even a twinkle in anyone’s eye ten years ago, yet, today, many countries worldwide, including Canada, have begun addressing mental health issues with similar government positions.
The role of arts promotion by government has been significant, and although efforts are appreciated, the work is not done. Bringing the arts into healthcare addresses three critical politically-correct causes currently front-and-centre in the government agenda:
– more access to artists and the arts
– more community-building initiatives
– more healthcare offerings for mental health
These are world-class initiatives worthy of promotion by all levels of government. From a fiscally-responsible government perspective, perhaps the most appealing aspect of the Music in Healthcare movement is the cost-saving potential for addressing mental health issues. That is, promoting proven and efficient arts solutions, in lieu of expensive pick-a-pill pharmaceutical solutions, will improve the bottom line.
Reframing our personal health and wellbeing as a lifelong journey rather than a series of quick-fix destinations will help consolidate a view toward practical and real solutions.
Thank you for your support in bringing arts solutions to healthcare.
Yours very truly,
A riding constituent