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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.

Common mental health problems and illnesses The most common mental health problems and illnesses among those being treated for cancer and cancer survivors. How do mental health and cancer interact?...
What are chronic diseases? Chronic (or non‑communicable) diseases last for at least three months, are not passed between people, and progress over time. What are mental health problems or illnesses?...
Background Physical and mental health co-morbidities are common, however, little is known about their prevalence, incidence, associated healthcare-related costs, shared etiology, prevention and management. A better understanding of how to...
Stepped Care 2.0© (SC2.0) is a transformative model for mental health and addictions services. Developed in Canada by Dr. Peter Cornish, the person-centred approach organizes and delivers evidence-based programming aligned...
Developed by Dr. Peter Cornish, and championed by the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC), Stepped Care 2.0© (SC2.0) is a transformative model for the delivery of mental health and...
Stepped Care 2.0 © (SC2.0) is a transformative model for the delivery of mental health and addictions services. The person-centered, strengths-based approach provides rapid, same day, flexible access to evidence-informed...
Providing clear leadership and expectations for workers living with mental illness. During your conversations, avoid stigmatizing language, speak naturally, and use words that fit your organization’s culture. Be kind, empathetic,...
Background: Transitions from the criminal justice system Criminal justice involvement can include a number of phases, such as being stopped by police, arrested, charged, detained, convicted, sentenced, incarcerated, paroled, or...
This inventory was created to establish a living directory of community-based mental health and substance use services and supports throughout Canada for people who are transitioning from the criminal justice...