MHCC releases Government Engagement Toolkit

As the October federal election draws near, mental health advocacy groups and organizations across the country are striving to keep the topic at the forefront of a crowded political agenda.

That’s why the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) created its new Government Engagement Toolkit — an easy-to-use guide to help those who work or volunteer in the field communicate their message to elected officials and decision makers at all levels of government.

“It’s not always simple to get a meeting with the right person, to find out who to ask for funding and support, or to follow up with information that will get favourable attention,” explained Stephanie Machel, the MHCC’s director of public affairs and a seasoned politico with many years of Parliament Hill experience. “I know first-hand how frustrating it can be for stakeholders who’ve been given the runaround. This toolkit is designed as a road map to help eliminate false starts.”

Louise Bradley, MHCC president and CEO, concurred. “You know, I’ve been an advocate of one kind or another for years and, to this day, there are times when I’m stymied as to who to meet, what to say, where to be, and how to make the best use of time. I read this toolkit myself, and I’m convinced it will help demystify the process.”

The plain language toolkit includes details about

  • the roles of various levels of government vis-a-vis mental health
  • how to contact the right person
  • what to bring to a meeting
  • appropriate followups to get the response you deserve.

“We see this engagement toolkit as an extension of the broader messaging the MHCC is articulating as the pan-Canadian voice of mental health in the lead-up to the election and beyond,” explained Machel. “Whatever your political stripe, we all have mental health to look after.”

While one in five people may experience a mental health problem in any given year, promoting and protecting mental health takes five in five. Playing on that theme, the MHCC’s #fiveinfive social media campaign highlights the importance of casting a “Vote for Mental Health.”

“Whether you’re preparing to attend an all-candidates debate, deciding who to volunteer for, or seeking support for a specific initiative, this toolkit will tell you who to reach out to and how to effectively ask for what you want,” explained Bradley, who expressed tremendous pride in this work.

“We have an obligation, not only to promote mental health literacy, but also to support those grassroots organizations that are uplifting people in communities — be that through caregiver initiatives, social employment, peer-support, or other valued programs that could benefit tremendously from an infusion of government support,” said Bradley.

This October, “Vote for Mental Health,” because we are all the #fiveinfive