CanFASD had the pleasure of meeting with Dr. Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, as well as members of her staff and senior staff from the Public Health Agency of Canada. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the need for a National FASD Strategy.
Mental Health, FASD, and the National FASD Strategy
CanFASD highlighted the increased risk of mental health and addictions issues for individuals with FASD and the need for programs and supports that are FASD-informed. Ninety percent of individuals with FASD experience mental health challenges. When unsupported, individuals with FASD experience many difficulties, highlighting the need for a National FASD Strategy.
Minister Bennett understood this completely. She recognized the complexities of FASD and understood how a National FASD Strategy would help break down the silos in our field, address FASD prevention, and improve outcomes for individuals and their families.
Discrepancy in funding for FASD
CanFASD highlighted the large discrepancies in awareness and funding support between autism and FASD, with autism receiving over $15 million in the last federal budget (including $7 million to support a National Autism Strategy). Comparatively, FASD receives 1.5 million annually through the National Strategic Projects Fund, which funds a few sporadic projects across the country. Autism affects approximately 1.5% of Canadians. FASD affects at least 4%.
Minister Bennett and her team committed to working with the government and with CanFASD to get support for a National FASD Strategy to improve outcomes for individuals with FASD and their families.
Help us bring forward a National FASD Strategy
Show your support by asking Minister Bennett to commit to a National Strategy for FASD in Canada. You can email the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health at email@example.com.
Want to go one step further? Email your Member of Parliament (MP) to talk about the impact of FASD on you and your community and ask them to support a National FASD Strategy. Look here to find out who your local MP is. If you do meet with your MP, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can make sure to keep the conversation going.
Not sure where to start? Fill out this short form and we will help you connect with your MP and give you some key points to focus on.