On behalf of the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC), I commend Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland for including budget measures to improve mental health and substance use health for all people in Canada. These investments come at a critical time.
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased mental health and substance use health needs across the population. These impacts have been disproportionate, it is gratifying to see today’s budget take a step forward to promote mental health and well-being for people facing housing insecurity and for priority populations (Indigenous; African, Caribbean, and Black; and our 2SLGBTQ+ communities).
The MHCC also welcomes the federal government’s renewed commitment to the provinces and territories by expanding targeted mental health transfers, developing national mental health standards, and continuing to enhance the Wellness Together Canada portal. These strong commitments recognize that mental health is health. In addition, enhanced funding for harm reduction, treatment, and prevention will help reduce the tragic high rates of opioid-related deaths across Canada.
Increased access to stable, appropriate, and affordable housing is a direct investment in our overall mental health. For people living with a mental illness, access to stable housing is key to their recovery. Investing in rapid housing, in programs to end chronic homelessness, and in targeted housing for women will also promote the well-being of priority populations.
As well, we applaud the $228 million announced today to sustain trauma-informed, culturally appropriate, Indigenous-led services to improve mental wellness and further the development of a distinctions-based mental health and wellness strategy.
We also want to acknowledge important investments in research to improve treatment and outcomes for people living with dementia, accelerate innovations in brain health and aging, and address the mental health impacts these issues have on families and caregivers.
Leger polling, commissioned by the MHCC and Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, has found that people’s mental health and substance use health declined significantly early on in the pandemic and has since remained at levels that are concerning. The pandemic continues to cast a stark light on the urgency of addressing the growing mental health and substance use challenges people across Canada are facing.
Today’s investments reveal that the federal government is moving forward in its efforts to address long-standing gaps in our country’s patchwork of mental health and substance use health services.
President and CEO
Mental Health Commission of Canada
613-683-3748 / firstname.lastname@example.org