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About Us

Who We Are

Improving mental health outcomes for all people in Canada

We believe everyone should get the chance to achieve their fullest health potential.

At the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC), we shine a light on mental health and work to improve the lives of people who experience mental health problems and illnesses (as well as their families and caregivers).

We offer accessible training programs that support mental health in communities and workplaces and lead research and program initiatives that emphasize people-centred values like lived and living experience. These include:

  • suicide prevention
  • stigma and discrimination
  • access to high-quality, culturally appropriate mental health services
  • workplace psychological health and safety
  • substance use health

The MHCC is a national not-for-profit corporation and a registered charity. We are supported by funding from Health Canada, partnerships with federal, provincial and territorial governments, foundations, private sector organizations, and donations from the public.

Our board, executive leadership team, directors, and advisory committees all share the same goal — creating a better mental health system for all Canadians.

How We Work

Opening minds, hearts, and doors

We deliver research, programs, training, and tools that bring real change to people in their communities.

How we work is as important as what we do. The values guiding our decisions inform our projects, partnerships, and the people we work with.

Our initiatives and projects are led by experts from across the country, who draw on the best evidence and bring a variety of perspectives and voices to the table, including those of lived and living experience.

By listening to people (and their families) who live with mental health problems or illnesses and embracing their knowledge and expertise, our work reflects the needs and preferences of the individuals who are most affected.

We provide our recommendations to governments, service providers, community leaders, and many others, and work with these partners to implement them.

We are proud to be a trusted partner and adviser to the government of Canada, provinces and territories, and non-governmental organizations on all matters related to mental health.

Our organization is also a member of HealthPartners, a group of trusted health charities seeking to build a healthier Canada through workplace giving campaigns that offer employees and retirees the opportunity to invest in direct services, public education, health promotion, and research.

Our Story

Our evolving mandate is responsive to changing Canadian and global priorities and allows us to have meaningful and measurable impacts.

Since 2007, MHCC programs, policy work, and research have been leading a change in attitudes and behaviours around mental health.

In 2006, the Senate standing committee on social affairs, science and technology completed the country’s first study of mental health, mental illness, and addiction: Out of the Shadows at Last: Transforming Mental Health, Mental Illness and Addiction Services in Canada.

The thousands of voices of lived and living experience it captured inspired the founding of a national mental health commission, which would be charged with leading several key challenges: break down stigma; create a mental health strategy; and share the best evidence-informed research to shrink the gap between what we know and what we do.

When the federal government created the MHCC the following year, it named Senate committee chair, the Honourable Michael Kirby, as its first chairperson.

The commission’s national mental health strategy (2012), Changing Directions, Changing Lives, remains the blueprint for addressing gaps in our patchwork of mental health services, while reminding us that trauma-informed, culturally appropriate, and accessible care are basic human rights denied to far too many people.

The MHCC’s current mandate aims to deliver on priority areas identified in the national mental health strategy, in keeping with our strategic plan.

In December 2022, the MHCC became a registered charity to help us expand our impact and meet the growing demand for our work across Canada.