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Opening Minds

60% of people with a mental health problem or illness won’t seek help for fear of being labeled.

Opening Minds is the largest systematic effort in Canadian history focused on reducing stigma related to mental illness. Established by the MHCC in 2009, it seeks to change Canadians’ behaviours and attitudes toward people living with mental illness to ensure they are treated fairly and as full citizens with opportunities to contribute to society like anyone else.

Tackling stigma on multiple fronts
Opening Minds is addressing stigma within four main target groups: health care providers, youth, the workforce and the media. As such, the initiative has multiple goals, ranging from improving health care providers’ understanding of the needs of people with mental health problems to encouraging youth to talk openly and positively about mental illness.

Ultimately, the goal of Opening Minds is to cultivate an environment in which those living with mental illness feel comfortable seeking help, treatment and support on their journey toward recovery.

Why stigma?
People living with mental health disorders often say the stigma they encounter is worse than the illness itself.

A number of programs across Canada are working on reducing stigma. Opening Minds has been evaluating more than 70 of these projects to identify those most effective at reducing stigma so they can be replicated across Canada. Evidence gathered through these evaluations will reveal best practices that will contribute to the development of anti-stigma toolkits and other resources, to be released soon.

At the same time, Opening Minds’ evaluation process is forging ties throughout Canada’s mental health field, creating a valuable network for sharing best practices and programs designed to reduce stigma.

Opening Minds Published Articles

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Resources

HEADSTRONG is an initiative built to inspire youth to become leaders in their schools. HEADSTRONG leaders challenge stigma, raise mental health awareness, and promote mental wellness and early help-seeking. The...
As stated in the CAMH’s Workplace Mental Health Playbook for Business Leaders, an imbalance between work and family life is a strong risk factor for mental illness – it’s been...
“These are challenging times. Whatever you’re feeling is OK.” Acknowledge and Listen Acknowledge that something happened. Review the facts without going into details. Listen and provide an opportunity for discussion....
Am I doing OK? Green: Healthy Use simple coping tools: walk, talk to friends, music Limit news and media What has changed? Yellow: Reacting Get good sleep and eat well...
Purpose Opening Minds coordinated and funded a series of evaluation projects of anti-stigma programs for healthcare providers, one of OM’s key target groups, with the purpose of determining program outcomes...
Purpose The Castlegar and District Health Centre, which is part of the Interior Health Authority of British Columbia, responded to a Request for Interest (RFI) issued by Opening Minds in...