The Canadian Mental Health Association applauds Canada’s first-ever mental health strategy
New strategy provides broad vision but will require a truly coordinated, adequately funded implementation plan to result in real improvements for Canadians
Ottawa — The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) applauds the Mental Health Commission of Canada for spearheading the development of Canada’s first-ever mental health strategy.
The strategy release is timely given this week is CMHA’s Mental Health Week, which focuses on the theme, “Mental Health for All.”
“This is a celebratory milestone for all Canadians living with mental health problems and for all organizations and front-line service providers who work to help people maintain and improve their mental health and support those managing or recovering from mental illness and addictions,” says Peter Coleridge, National CEO, CMHA. “We all own this national mental health strategy.”
According to Coleridge, Canada’s new mental health strategy provides an evidence-based road map for governments, policy-makers and service providers to improve access for all Canadians to adequate mental health and mental illness supports and services.
Until today, Canada was the only advanced industrial country without a national strategy on mental health. It is estimated at least one in five Canadians each year will be affected by a mental illness and it is estimated to cost the Canadian economy $51 billion dollars annually.
“A key next step will be the development of a detailed implementation plan for the strategy. This plan should continue to build partnerships with the many key stakeholders involved in the strategy’s creation,” says David Copus, National Board Chair, CMHA. “All departments of government and all levels of government need to take a “whole of government” approach and adequately fund the strategy’s implementation. Without this commitment, Canada’s first-ever national mental health strategy blueprint will join the many other reports and recommendations that are not implemented and will result in no real improvements in mental health and mental illness services for Canadians.”
“The Federal government has the opportunity to lead by example by improving its capacity to develop mental health policy and deliver services in areas for which it has direct responsibility such as First Nations, Inuit and Métis, National Defence, Veterans Affairs and Corrections,” adds Copus.
The new mental health strategy provides a broad evidence based vision that will require a different way of working among governments, policy-makers and service providers.
“We must all work together to ensure action. The not-for-profit mental health and addictions sector and the community must have an integrated and equitable role with the public sector in mental health service planning and program delivery,” says Coleridge. “We look forward to being a lead partner and working with other key stakeholders to implement the strategy.”
Since 1918 the CMHA has been a nation-wide leader and champion for mental health and mental illness in over 120 communities across the country. CMHA offers a variety of programs and services in keeping with the strategy’s goals and directions. Two examples include:
- CMHA’s BC Division, for example, is launching during Mental Health Week the “Living Life to the Full” program. Originally developed by a British psychiatrist, this 12-hour, eight-week course helps people improve their moods, their feelings and their behaviours by offering practical advice and suggestions for making life more liveable.
- CMHA’s Lambton-Kent Branch provides seamless access to community services for people being discharged from the region’s mental health centre. The service ensures that people’s immediate needs are met and that they have been successfully linked to resources in the community. The program has seen a significant reduction in hospital readmission rates. Programs such as this are a success because they are located in a community-based agency that also provides other key mental health services such as housing advocacy and case management.
About Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA)
CMHA was founded in 1918 and is one of the oldest voluntary health organizations in Canada. Each year, CMHA provides direct service to more than 100,000 Canadians through the combined efforts of more than 10,000 volunteers and staff across Canada in over 120 communities. As the nation-wide leader and champion for mental health, CMHA facilitates access to the resources people require to maintain and improve mental health and community integration, build resilience and support recovery from mental illness. Please visit www.cmha.ca.
For more information on the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s national strategy, go to www.mentalhealthcommission.ca.
Senior Communications and Media Advisor
Canadian Mental Health Association, National
303-595 Montreal Road
Ottawa, ON K1K 4L2
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