Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Mental Health Strategy for Canada

From Mental Health Commission of Canada 
Changing Directions, Changing Lives

The Mental Health Commission of Canada is a catalyst for improving the mental health system and changing the attitudes and behaviours of Canadians around mental health issues. Through its unique mandate from Health Canada, the MHCC brings together leaders and organizations from across the country to accelerate these changes. Each of its initiatives and projects is led by experts from across the country who bring a variety of perspectives and experience to the table. The MHCC’s staff, Board and Advisory Committee members all share the same goal – creating a better system for all Canadians. The MHCC is funded by Health Canada and has a 10-year mandate (2007-2017).


Mother, father, neighbour, friend – mental health affects over one in five Canadians and costs our economy over $50 billion every year. We need a national strategy to help combat mental health problems and illness.

 The Mental Health Strategy for Canada is the first of its kind and is a culmination of the hard work and advocacy of thousands of people all across the country. The Strategy offers recommendations to improve mental health and well-being throughout Canada.

How you can make a difference today in the lives of the one in five Canadians who live with mental health problems and illnesses.

 1. Promote mental health across the lifespan in homes, schools, and workplaces, and prevent mental illness and suicide wherever possible. Reducing the impact of mental health problems and illnesses and improving the mental health of the population require promotion and prevention efforts in everyday settings where the potential impact is greatest.

2. Foster recovery and well-being for people of all ages living with mental health problems and illnesses, and uphold their rights. The key to recovery is helping people to find the right combination of services, treatments and supports and eliminating discrimination by removing barriers to full participation in work, education and community life.

3. Provide access to the right combination of services, treatments and supports, when and where people need them. A full range of services, treatments and supports includes primary health care, community-based and specialized mental health services, peer support, and supported housing, education and employment.

4. Reduce disparities in risk factors and access to mental health services, and strengthen the response to the needs of diverse communities and Northerners. Mental health should be taken into account when acting to improve overall living conditions and addressing the specific needs of groups such as new Canadians and people in northern and remote communities.

5. Work with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis to address their mental health needs, acknowledging their distinct circumstances, rights and cultures. By calling for access to a full continuum of culturally safe mental health services, the Mental Health Strategy for Canada can contribute to truth, reconciliation, and healing from intergenerational trauma.

6. Mobilize leadership, improve knowledge, and foster collaboration at all levels. Change will not be possible without a whole-of-government approach to mental health policy, without fostering the leadership roles of people living with mental health problems and illnesses, and their families, and without building strong infrastructure to support data collection, research, and human resource development.

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