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Mental Health Strategy for Canada

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:

  1. Promote mental health across the lifespan in homes, schools, and workplaces, and prevent mental illness and suicide wherever possible.
  2. Foster recovery and well-being for people of all ages living with mental health problems and illnesses, and uphold their rights.
  3. Provide access to the right combination of services, treatments and supports, when and where people need them.
  4. Reduce disparities in risk factors and access to mental health services, and strengthen the response to the needs of diverse communities and Northerners.
  5. Work with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis to address their mental health needs, acknowledging their distinct circumstances, rights and cultures.
  6. 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 on Twitter: #MHCCstrategy

Related Initiatives
Informing the Future

Mental Health Indicators for Canada

Stigma and Discrimination

Changing How We See Mental Ilness

Resources

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.

A National Quality Framework with Recommended Measures Collaborative mental health care is a proven approach for improving: Yet collaborative care varies significantly across the country and can also depart from...

This short, animated video tells the story of our investment in 14 community-based research (CBR) projects to address knowledge gaps in the relation between cannabis and mental health. CBR meaningfully...

Guiding questions in the brief: What barriers and facilitators support psychological self-care and protection from moral distress for long-term care workers and their organizations? How has the pandemic impacted these...

Mental health and substance use concerns have remained elevated in all province. The Mental Health Commission of Canada and the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction tracked the relationship...

Support for Psychological Self-Care and Protection from Moral Distress in the Workplace: Facilitators and Barriers Psychological health and safety in the workplace is directly tied to our well-being. It is...

This resource can help Canada’s post-secondary community build and improve their student mental health strategies — based on emerging evidence on COVID-19 and guided by the National Standard for Mental...

Jes is a community harm reduction support navigator and peer support worker, who has been helping people with lived and living experience of opioid use for over 25 years. Melinda...

In March 2020, the entire world experienced something new and scary. A pandemic that con ned us to our homes suddenly and changed the way we lived, worked and attended...

This webinar explores the Cannabis and Mental Health project, created to give youth the education, tools, and support they need to make informed and healthy decisions. Highlights include: • The...