CMHA at a Glance
Since 1918, the Canadian Mental Health Association has worked to better the lives of Canadians living with mental health problems or illnesses, as well as raise awareness and educate people so they can better understand the importance of maintaining mental health.
To better service Canadians living with mental health problems, we work in four major categories:
This area of our work is directly involved with servicing clients. This includes programs and workshops such as our Toronto division’s transitional programs for youths aged 16-24 and Halifax-Dartmouth’s Among Friends Social Club for adults living with mental illness. Creating and maintaining environments where clients can better understand or contextualize their problems or illnesses is important in helping clients recover.
Survey and Social Action
Better known as our Advocacy field, Survey and Social Action not only includes informing Canadians in and out of public office about the importance of mental health, but also helping clients apply for services. Survey and Social Action in our Cariboo-Chilcotin division, for example, would mean helping complete Person With Disability or Social Assistance applications, or advocating for clients and doctors’ appointments or with social workers.
In our field, education is important for the purposes of prevention and promotion. Prevention, in the sense of preventing self-harm and the stigmatization of people living with mental health problems and illnesses; promotion, in the sense of promoting self-care and services that can better help. One example of these programs is Thunder Bay’s “Photovoice: Exposing Our Path To Wellness,” an anti-stigma education program which allows participants to share their experiences with mental illness and their recovery through photographs. According to a study conducted in 2015/16, people who attended these presentations reported having a decreased perception of people with mental illness as dangerous.
Though we are not engaged in as much scientific research as we used to be, this is still one of our biggest areas. Last year, for instance, we conducted a survey of various workplaces to see how their mental health standards held up. Such research is done to see how standards in Canada have changed, and which areas need to be changed in order to better support and accommodate others.