The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) is a catalyst for improving the mental health system and changing the attitudes and behaviours of Canadians around mental health issues. Through its unique mandate from Health Canada, the MHCC brings together leaders and organizations from across the country to accelerate these changes.
Each of its initiatives and projects is led by experts from across the country who bring a variety of perspectives and experience to the table. The MHCC’s staff, Board, Advisory Council and Network of Ambassadors all share the same goal—creating a better system for all Canadians.
The MHCC is funded by Health Canada and has a 10-year mandate (2007-2017). Among its initiatives, the MHCC’s work includes the country’s first mental health strategy, working to reduce stigma, advancing knowledge exchange in mental health, and examining how best to help people who are homeless and living with mental health problems.
How We Work
In its role as a catalyst, the MHCC has created partnerships to focus on key projects and issues, and to make recommendations on how best to improve the systems that are directly related to mental health care. Examples include the justice system, primary health care, workplace, housing and others that impact the lives of Canadians living with a mental health problem or illness and their families.
The MHCC provides its recommendations to governments, service providers, community leaders and many others, and works with these partners to implement them so improvements are made.
Consulting with people who have experience living with a mental health problem or illness and their families is also a key aspect in all of the MHCC’s work.
In 2006, a Standing Senate Committee completed the first-ever national study of mental health, mental illness and addiction. It found an alarming number of challenges facing Canadians with mental health issues.
The Committee’s concerns were detailed in its report, Out of the Shadows at Last—Transforming Mental Health, Mental Illness and Addiction Services in Canada. The Committee also reaffirmed the need for a Mental Health Commission to provide an ongoing national focus for mental health issues.
The federal government created the MHCC the following year and named the head of the Senate Committee, the Honourable Michael Kirby, as the first chairperson.
All federal parties voted in favour of the creation of the MHCC, and it was endorsed by all provincial and territorial governments (with the exception of Québec).