Ottawa, ON – New research conducted by the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) makes a powerful case for the social and economic imperative of responding to the unique needs of immigrant, refugee, ethno-cultural and racialized (IRER) populations—this includes racialized populations born in Canada.
The Case for Diversity: Building the Case to Improve Mental Health Services for Immigrant, Refugee, Ethno-cultural and Racialized Populations (CFD) provides policy makers and system planners with empirical evidence about current mental health disparities, and the cost savings associated with closing the gap
“Provinces and territories were very responsive to our earlier work on this issue,” says Louise Bradley, MHCC President and CEO. “They were eager for us to build a case for investment that could serve as a foundation for action.”
The Case for Diversity (CFD) Report is the result of a multi-year research collaboration between the MHCC and researchers from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and the Wellesley Institute. The report shows why there is an urgent need to develop appropriate services for IRER populations and what can be done to improve existing services.
As the report points out, one size doesn’t fit all—tailored and culturally appropriate services are needed for the varied groups that make up IRER populations living in Canada.
“To ensure fair access to mental health services for IRER populations, equity must become part of health system planning, including setting targets and identifying those responsible for leading change,” says Dr. Kwame McKenzie, co-principal investigator on the project and Director of Health Equity at CAMH. “As a country with a diverse population and an increasingly knowledge-based economy, the mental health of all of Canada’s residents is an important investment and we cannot afford to leave anyone behind.”
MHCC is taking the next step to address the needs of one of these groups. “We are prepared to back this research with an investment of our own,” says Bradley, who announced today that the MHCC will provide funding to the Refugee Mental Health Project, an evidence-informed online course – available in English and French – to help settlement, social and health service providers build knowledge and skills around the needs of refugees. The course is offered for free in Ontario; however, the MHCC’s commitment will see 300 service providers trained outside the province.
ABOUT THE MENTAL HEALTH COMMISSION OF CANADA
The Mental Health Commission of Canada is a catalyst for change. We are collaborating with hundreds of partners to change the attitudes of Canadians toward mental health problems and to improve services and support. Our goal is to help people who live with mental health problems and illnesses lead meaningful and productive lives. Together we create change. The Mental Health Commission of Canada is funded by Health Canada.
Hélène Côté, Senior Communications Advisor, Marketing and Communications
Mental Health Commission of Canada