Healthy Brains for All — Neurologically and Mentally

Brain health has a huge impact on the way Canadians of all ages live their lives. In any given year, one in five people in Canada experiences a mental health problem or illness. Neurological conditions and mental health problems can have a profound effect on relationships, education or employment, our physical health and overall well-being. On a large scale, they also affect our country’s productivity and economy. Estimates peg the annual cost of mental illnesses to the Canadian economy at $51 billion. The need to address these conditions has never been greater than now.

“In order to give today’s young people the best chance to thrive, we need to build bridges to connect with them — bridges supported by an integrated, accessible and responsive mental health service system,” says Louise Bradley, MHCC President and CEO.

The Healthy Canada: Healthy Brains Across the Lifespan conference hosted by the Conference Board of Canada in Toronto, March 2, explored neurological conditions, mental health problems and illnesses, and their impact across the three key stages of life — childhood and youth, adulthood and late life.

Ed Mantler, MHCC Vice President of Programs and Priorities, discussed the challenges in transitioning children and youth to adult mental health services on a conference panel.

“The ultimate goal is to prevent harm and address the needs of people living with mental health problems and illnesses,” says Mantler.

The Healthy Brains conference was an intimate and diverse gathering of about 50 people, including physicians, researchers, policy makers and youth. Productive discussions examined how to raise awareness around neurological and mental health conditions, reducing stigma and implementing the appropriate services across the health care system.

The MHCC is advancing child and youth mental health in a number of ways. In the fall, we released Taking the Next Step Forward: Building a Responsive Mental Health and Addictions System for Emerging Adults, a comprehensive report with recommended solutions for youth transitioning from child and youth to adult mental health and addictions services. We also hosted the national Consensus Conference on the Mental Health of Emerging Adults: Making Transitions a Priority in Canada. Recommendations from the consensus conference are being assembled and will be released in the coming months.  

Read more about our Children and Youth initiatives.