Ottawa, ON – Today the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) released The Mental Health Strategy for Canada: A Youth Perspective. This document, which was written by the MHCC’s Youth Council, is an adaptation of Changing Directions, Changing Lives: The Mental Health Strategy for Canada. Drawing on personal experiences to lend context to the larger policy, the Youth Council created an original document that is more accessible to a broader audience, especially youth.
The Mental Health Strategy for Canada acknowledges our nation’s diversity, demonstrates the importance of advocacy, defines the impact of engagement, calls for action to make meaningful and sustainable changes in mental health policy, and offers hope in recovery.
“The new version of the Strategy – designed and written by young people – is a fresh, relatable and fun take on a critical policy document. Their efforts will ensure that it reaches more people and resonates with new audiences. I am so proud of their work, and delighted that the MHCC is helping to focus the talent of these emerging leaders,” says Louise Bradley, MHCC President and CEO.
Never before has a group of Canadian young people designed a project of this scope or contributed to the field of knowledge exchange by translating a mental health policy document written largely for, and by, adults.
The Mental Health Strategy for Canada: A Youth Perspective includes examples of best practices that help bring to life many of the recommendations in the Strategy. The Youth Council consulted with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis (FNIM) youth groups who offered culturally relevant insights, taking into account FNIM histories.
“During the past two years we have collaborated to highlight the experience and vision of young people working toward system change,” says Kristen Zaun, Youth Council Chair. “We hope our work will make health policy more accessible to everyone who advocates for the improvement of Canada’s mental health system.”
To continue advocating for change, members of the MHCC’s Youth Council will be speaking at the Children and Youth Mental Health Policy Symposium in Toronto on Friday, May 8, regarding the Youth Strategy. This symposium will also feature a presentation from the Canadian Institute for Health Information on their report Care for Children and Youth with Mental Disorders, which provides data on emergency department visits, inpatient hospitalizations and psychotropic medication use among children and youth with mental disorders. Factors such as age, diagnosis and trends over time are discussed.
Care for Children and Youth with Mental Disorders can be downloaded at www.cihi.ca.
The Mental Health Strategy for Canada: A Youth Perspective can be accessed here.
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.
Glenn Johnson, Senior Media Relations Specialist
Mental Health Commission of Canada