Ottawa, Ontario – The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) today released the full report of Informing the Future: Mental Health Indicators for Canada. This report completes the release of the first-ever national-level set of indicators that identifies and reports on the mental health of Canadians.

Building on the preliminary report, which contained 13 indicators that was released on January 22nd, 2015, this document offers a detailed look at 42 additional indicators.

“The Government of Canada is pleased that, through our continued investment in the Mental Health Commission of Canada, innovative work such as Informing the Future is helping to advance the promotion of mental health and the prevention of mental illness in Canada,” said the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health; adding, “We commend the MHCC and their research partners on this ground breaking project.”

Drawing from diverse data sources and covering a wide range of focus areas, Informing the Future: Mental Health Indicators for Canada is the result of a collaborative effort to gather national data and make it widely accessible to all Canadians and better support mental health and recovery. The MHCC worked in partnership with Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health and Addiction, the Canadian Institute for Health Information and the Public Health Agency of Canada, this pioneering project reveals the current landscape of the mental health of Canadians.

“The Mental Health Strategy for Canada identified the need to improve mental health data collection, research, and knowledge exchange across Canada and with this project we are moving this important goal forward,” says Louise Bradley, MHCC President and CEO.

Research, and consultation with stakeholders, focused on key indicators with considerable effort focused on the introduction of several non-traditional indicators in order to broaden the scope of measurement and monitoring and provide a more complete picture of mental health and illness.

Today’s report provides detail on indicators that have been organized into the following 13 key focus areas as identified in Changing Direction, Changing Lives: The Mental Health Strategy for Canada:

  • Access and Treatment
  • Housing and Homelessness
  • Adults
  • Population Well-being
  • Caregiving
  • Recovery
  • Children and Youth
  • Seniors
  • Diversity
  • Stigma and Discrimination
  • Economic Prosperity
  • Suicide
  • First Nations, Inuit, Metis

 

Informing the Future: Mental Health Indicators for Canada, the first report of its kind, identifies several important areas where previously inadequate data set have been available. The coordinated efforts of the research team serve to improve the availability of information on the mental health of Canadians. Allowing the MHCC, and our partners, to move forward with the best available tools to effectively shape policy and programs to transform the mental health system of Canada.

The complete report can be found online here


ABOUT THE MENTAL HEALTH COMMISSION OF CANADA

Guided by Changing Directions, Changing Lives: The Mental Health Strategy for Canada, 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 – at home, work, and school, as well as with the media and healthcare providers – from coast to coast to coast. Through its unique mandate from Health Canada, the Commission is Canada’s coordinating agent, bringing together the best and most influential minds in the mental health community. The MHCC is collaborating with hundreds of partners towards a mental health system that is inclusive, adaptable, and supports Canadians living with mental health problems and mental illnesses in their recovery journey. Together we accelerate change needed to transform Canada’s mental health system and the wellbeing of all.
www.mentalhealthcommission.ca | strategy.mentalhealthcommission.ca

Media Contact:
Patti Robson, Director of Marketing and Communications
Mental Health Commission of Canada
Office: 613.683.3742
Mobile: 613.282.1573
probson@mentalhealthcommission.ca

            

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The views represented herein solely represent the views of the Mental Health Commission of Canada.
Production of this document is made possible through a financial contribution from Health Canada.

 

Backgrounder

Informing the Future: Mental Health Indicators for Canada is an important step in the implementation of Changing Directions, Changing Lives: The Mental Health Strategy for Canada, released by the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) in 2012. The Strategy called for the creation of a comprehensive set of indicators to track and monitor progress. These indicators represent the first-ever centralized set of mental health and mental illness indicators that can be used to inform and track policy and practice decisions across Canada.

The first phase of the Report, released on January 22, 2015, included the first 13, national mental health and mental illness indicators that serve as a foundation for evidence informed mental health policy and practice in Canada. The final report released on June 4, 2015 contains an additional 42 indicators. Over the past two years, MHCC has funded and coordinated the development of these indicators through the Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health and Addictions at Simon Fraser University. The data sets were made available through a variety of sources including Statistics Canada, the Canadian Institute for Health Information, the Pan-Canadian Joint Consortium for School Health, the American College Health Association, and Service Canada.

The goals of Informing the Future include:

  1. Move toward implementing a key recommendation of the Mental Health Strategy for Canada by creating:
    • A set of indicators that provides the ability to track and monitor progress and
    • A technical and online dashboard report.
  1. Improve collaboration in mental health and illness data in Canada through the:
    • Creation of a Mental Health and Addictions Information Collaborative and
    • Enhancement of strong relationships with the Public Health Agency of Canada, Health Canada, the Canadian Institute for Health Information, the Mental Health and Addictions Quality Initiative, and Statistics Canada.
  1. Support international efforts to promote collaboration and uptake through:
    • Collaboration with the International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership; the MHCC is championing efforts towards recovery.

The project was initiated in July 2013 and has continued along the following timeline:

The full set of indicators are organized into 13 focus areas:

  • Access and Treatment
  • Housing and Homelessness
  • Adults
  • Population Well-being
  • Caregiving
  • Recovery
  • Children and Youth
  • Seniors
  • Diversity
  • Stigma and Discrimination
  • Economic Prosperity
  • Suicide
  • First Nations, Inuit, Metis

 

These indicators provide a broad range of information and include snapshots of the influence of mental illness in diverse groups. For example, anxiety and mood disorders among lesbian, gay, or bisexual individuals; rates of self-rated mental health in the general population; employment among people with common mental health conditions; and suicide rates for youth, adults, and seniors.

On its own, each indicator does not paint a complete picture. However, with Informing the Future we have a much more comprehensive view of the national landscape. While some gaps remain, this project provides a framework that can be expanded over time as more information becomes available. It will also provide a benchmark for future reports.

This report is more than simply numbers. There is a Canadian story of courage, recovery, and triumph behind every statistic. Additional research is required in order to determine root causes and the best levers for improving the system. By compiling this information however, we can start taking collective and strategic action to better inform policy development and program decisions.

In addition, the MHCC has been instrumental in the creation of a nation-wide Mental Health and Addictions Information Collaborative for the support and alignment of initiatives aimed at enhancing mental health and substance misuse information in Canada. Membership includes the following organizations:

  • Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse
  • Health Canada
  • Canadian Institute for Health Information
  • Public Health Agency of Canada
  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research
  • Statistics Canada

 

References and Description of the Mental Health Commission of Canada:

Additional information on this subject may be found in the MHCC document: Data Needs in Canada: Background, Needs and Gaps, released September 2014 and is available online at: http://www.mentalhealthcommission.ca/English/node/37826 .

The full text of “Changing Directions, Changing Lives – The Mental Health Strategy for Canada” may be found at: http://www.mentalhealthcommission.ca/English/initiatives-and-projects/mental-health-strategy-canada.

The Mental Health Commission of Canada is a catalyst for improving the mental health system and changing the attitudes and behaviours of Canadians toward mental health issues. Each MHCC initiative and project is led by experts who bring a variety of perspectives and experience to the table.

The MHCC was created by the Government of Canada in 2007 and is funded by Health. The work of the MHCC 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.

As a catalyst for change, the MHCC has created partnerships that focus on key projects and issues, and make recommendations on how best to improve the systems that are directly related to mental health care. The MHCC provides 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.