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Mental Health and the High Cost of Living: Policy Brief

The high cost of living in Canada has led to increased financial insecurity, income inequality, and pressures on food and housing affordability — which all significantly impact mental health and well-being.

This policy brief summarizes emerging evidence, discusses important mental health policy considerations, and highlights the amplified impact for equity-deserving populations using an intersectional lens. Key messages include:

  • Financial security and mental health have always been closely linked: negative mental health outcomes are more highly concentrated at lower income levels, and mental health problems and illnesses can lead to financial insecurity.
  • Inequities in finances and other social determinants of health present barriers to accessing mental health supports in Canada and need to be addressed through a system-wide response.
  • The impact of the high cost of living on mental health and access to services is magnifying existing inequities for diverse communities.
  • While the federal government’s focus on the Canada Disability Benefit and targeted funding for individuals with low incomes is promising, more comprehensive policies that target poverty, and the high cost of living are needed to address the associated impacts on mental health.

Short on time? Read our executive summary.

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