Mental health care is influenced by multiple factors that must be considered in order to effectively to meet the needs of people living with mental illness. By providing the MHCC with advice on what Canada needs to create a high-performing mental health system, the former Service Systems Advisory Committee aimed to improve the way mental health services are delivered to all Canadians.

Improving services for culturally diverse groups
Through its Diversity Project, the former Committee promoted promising diversity-related practices for inclusion in the Mental Health Strategy for Canada. Coming out of this work was the Issues and Options report, which outlines best practices for developing mental health services that meet the needs of immigrants, refugees and ethno-cultural groups. Because of its broad applicability, this report is also available in Cantonese and Punjabi.

Calling for improvements to housing supply
The Committee informed the MHCC on housing and community support needs of Canadians living with mental health problems and illnesses with the release of Turning the Key. The report makes several recommendations, including developing and funding 100,000 supportive housing units over the next ten years in Canada.

Promoting the value of peer support
In its Making the Case for Peer Support report, the past Committee examined the importance of including people who have lived experience with mental illness in the planning and delivery of mental health services. Based on this report, the MHCC created the Peer Project, which aims to increase and enhance the use of peer support in Canadian mental health care.

Guiding MHCC projects
The former Committee also provided extensive input into the development and ongoing implementation of the Mental Health Strategy for Canada and the Opening Minds anti-stigma initiative.

Measuring Canada’s mental health system
At each of its meetings, the past Committee performed a ‘cross-country check-up’ where representatives from each province provided updates on how MHCC initiatives were being perceived across the country. These discussions were particularly helpful for connecting MHCC’s projects to the latest work being done at the federal, provincial and territorial levels and for helping to set future direction.