If you are in distress, you can text WELLNESS to 741741 at any time. If it is an emergency, call 9-1-1 or go to your local emergency department.

HomeWhat We DoMental Health Strategy for Canada

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.

It has been two years since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since October 2020, the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) and the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and...

Toronto Education Workers Local 4400 (TEW) is made up of approximately 17,000 education workers working primarily within the Toronto District School Board (TDSB). TEW is also home to childcare workers from various childcare centres and caretakers from Viamonde French Board, representing over 400 job classifications and over 1,000 worksites

Of the estimated 4,000 suicide deaths in Canada each year, 75 per cent are men. Suicide is the country’s second leading cause of death for men aged 15-39 (after accidental...

People 65 years and older, especially men, have a high risk of suicide. As Canada’s largest population group, the baby boomers, approach the plus 65 age range, we may see...

Founded in 1983 in Canada, nabs is a unique charity specifically designed to support the health and well-being of all individuals in the media, marketing, and communications industry in Canada.

From anxiety and depression to pandemic-related stress, COVID-19 has intensified the mental health needs of people across Canada. While research and policy typically focus on promoting timely and equitable access...

Mental health problems in Canada are both common and costly (and have only increased during the COVID-19 pandemic). Yet the lack of mental health resources means that many workers’ needs...

Stepped Care 2.0© is an approach to delivering mental health and addictions services that helps people access the right care at the right time, from low-intensity informational resources to intensive...

The pandemic has profoundly impacted the mental health and well-being of people working in the retail and hospitality industry. Our October 2021 roundtable set out to examine some of the...