This strategy was published in 2012. The data may be out of date.
The Mental Health Strategy for Canada
Changing Directions, Changing Lives, released in May 2012, is the first mental health strategy for Canada. It aims to help improve the mental health and well-being of all people living in Canada, and to create a mental health system that can truly meet the needs of people living with mental health problems and illnesses and their families.
A blueprint for change
Mental health concerns us all. Mother, father, neighbour, friend – one in five Canadians will experience a mental health problem or illness every year, with a cost of well over $50 billion to our economy. And many people either don’t seek or can’t get the services and supports they need to recover a meaningful life.
The Strategy draws on the experience, knowledge and wisdom of thousands of people across the country, and provides an opportunity for everyone’s efforts – large and small – to help bring about change.
Transforming Canada’s mental health system
A first phase of work was completed in 2009 with the release of Toward Recovery and Well-Being: A Framework for a Mental Health Strategy for Canada, which put forward a vision and broad goals for transforming the mental health system.
The Strategy translates this vision into 26 priorities and 109 recommendations for action, grouped under the following 6 Strategic Directions:
- Promote mental health across the lifespan in homes, schools, and workplaces, and prevent mental illness and suicide wherever possible.
- Foster recovery and well-being for people of all ages living with mental health problems and illnesses, and uphold their rights.
- Provide access to the right combination of services, treatments and supports, when and where people need them.
- Reduce disparities in risk factors and access to mental health services, and strengthen the response to the needs of diverse communities and Northerners.
- Work with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis to address their mental health needs, acknowledging their distinct circumstances, rights and cultures.
- Mobilize leadership, improve knowledge, and foster collaboration at all levels.
To see a summary of our internal review of the Strategy as well as Health Canada’s evaluation click here.
Join the conversation: #MHCCstrategy
Informing the Future
Mental Health Indicators for Canada
Stigma and Discrimination
Changing How We See Mental Ilness
The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) created Changing Directions, Changing Lives: The Mental Health Strategy for Canada to draw on the experience, knowledge and wisdom of thousands of people across the country and provide an opportunity for everyone’s efforts – large and small – to help bring about change. We are using this foundational document to map a course of action. Click on the links below for more information.
THE COMMUNITY OF BURIN PENINSULA The Burin Peninsula, an area that stretches southwest from the main island for some 130 km, has a population of about 19,000, spread across several…
THE WELLINGTON COUNTY COMMUNITY Waterloo Region: Wellington County: COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES AND ACHIEVEMENTS To minimize potential risks following a suicide death, the Roots of Hope community in Wellington County has focused…
THE WINDSOR-ESSEX COMMUNITY Windsor and Essex County has a population of more than 420,000 across seven municipalities. Windsor itself, with about 230,000 residents, is home to Canada’s busiest border crossing…
THE MEADOW LAKE AND AREA COMMUNITY While the City of Meadow Lake has a population of around 5,400, our Roots of Hope project serves the rural residents of 11 surrounding…
THE MADAWASKA-VICTORIA COMMUNITY The Madawaska and Victoria region in northern New Brunswick is home to about 50,000 people. The area is predominantly French‑speaking and has an economy centred on forestry,…
THE LA RONGE COMMUNITY The La Ronge and Area Roots of Hope Project lies in Woodland Cree territory in northern Saskatchewan within the Precambrian Shield’s boreal forest. Woodland Cree people…
THE HAMILTON COMMUNITY The City of Hamilton, at the west end of Lake Ontario between Niagara Falls and Toronto, is Canada’s ninth largest city, with a population of 767,000 (as…
THE HALTON COMMUNITY Halton is a rapidly growing community with a population of 600,000 (an increase of about 60 per cent from 2001 to 2021). The Halton Suicide Prevention Coalition…
THE EDMONTON COMMUNITY Edmonton is situated in a central Alberta area that measures 648 square kilometres. Its urban population of more than 970,000 reaches nearly 1.5 million across the wider…
Roots of Hope is a community-based model that supports populations across Canada in reducing the impact of suicide in their local context. The model builds on community expertise to implement…