Canadians have spoken and the message is clear — mental health matters, and the time for action is now. Today, the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC), in partnership with Nanos Research, is releasing polling data that reinforce the impact of mental illness and the urgent need for mental health reform.
More than three-quarters of respondents say mental health is an important policy priority, and nearly nine in 10 want increased funding and access to services. With parliament poised to resume, the stage is set for a meaningful response to the successful anti-stigma efforts of the past decade. It is incumbent on MPs from all parties to work together to listen to Canadians and put mental health at the top of the agenda.
As the demand for mental health services continues to grow, more than half of Canadians report that they, or someone they know, have experienced delays in accessing services. Given that wait times exceed a year and a half in some provinces, there is a crying need for innovative models of care.
The MHCC has been working on solutions to address the mental health needs of people in Canada for more than a decade. Strengthening the Case for Investing in Canada’s Mental Health System outlines how we can reap returns on smart mental health investments while bending the cost curve across the life span.
The results are in — it’s time to heed the call of the vast majority of Canadians and take concrete action on mental health reform.
“Our poll confirms what the MHCC has always believed: we need smart, targeted, measurable investments in mental health to improve access to services. Stagnant waitlists and inadequate supports leave many Canadians out in the cold. It’s high time we heed the call for improved services echoing across the country. Over the next decade, with a bold vision and collaborative approach, we can apply the same efforts to eradicating wait-lists as we did to tackling stigma. Actions speak louder than words.”
— Louise Bradley, President and CEO, Mental Health Commission of Canada
- The total cost from mental health problems to the Canadian economy exceeds $50 billion annually – or nearly $1,400 for every person living in Canada.
- The Stepped Care 2.0 model contributed to the reduction in wait times by 68 per cent, with some communities reporting no waitlists.
- 4,000 lives are lost to suicide each year in Canada.
- Eight in 10 Canadians named suicide prevention as a funding priority.
- The MHCC’s Roots of Hope project has been adopted in eight communities across the country, reaching a combined population of 1.8 million people, including rural, urban, francophone, northern, and Indigenous populations.
- How Important is Mental Health for People in Canada?
- Roots of Hope
- Stepped Care 2.0 Demonstration Project
- Strengthening the Case for Investing in Canada’s Mental Health System: Economic Considerations
Compass Rose Group
About the Mental Health Commission of Canada
The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) leads the development and dissemination of innovative programs and tools to support the mental health and wellness of Canadians. Through its unique mandate from the Government of Canada, the MHCC supports federal, provincial, and territorial governments as well as organizations in the implementation of sound public policy.