Together, with our stakeholder partners, we are making real and powerful change. Our collective successes have led to an era where mental health is better understood than ever before.
But with greater awareness and less stigma, our over-stretched system is bowing under the weight.
In Canada, more than 1.6 million people have an unmet need for mental health care, and one in two have experienced a delay in accessing services (or know someone who has).
The need for access to quality, timely, and culturally appropriate mental health care cannot be overstated. It is up to all of us to answer the call.
Our plan for doing so sets out three strategic objectives.
1.1 - Identify what works to erase the duplication of effort and multiply the impact of innovation. Doing so means researching leading practices (in Canada and around the world) while developing, delivering, and evaluating scalable solutions. Piggybacking on current innovations allows us to shorten the lag time between knowing and doing.
1.2 - Drive system transformation through the development of meaningful mental health measures. We can’t count what we don’t measure, and too often what isn’t measured doesn’t count.
2.1 - Achieve mental and physical health equity by uplifting the strong stakeholder community and amplifying the voices of lived and living experience. Until mental health is understood as being equally important to physical wellness, there is work to do. Mental illness is legitimate and treatable and must be respected as such.
2.2 - Create an inclusive and discrimination-free Canada, where recovery from mental illness is not just possible — it’s expected. Tearing down barriers that reduce access to services means addressing stigma and naming discrimination, whether at the interpersonal or systemic level.
2.3 - Influence governments and organizations to put mental health at the top of the agenda. Our role is to inspire and influence with the most powerful tools at our disposal: strong evidence, hard-won consensus, and innovative solutions. From improving access to reducing suicides, the more we share knowledge, the better our systems and organizations become.
3.1 - Advance the need for pan‑Canadian strategies to address inequities in mental health programs and services. A high-level strategy is crucial for on-the-ground solutions.
3.2 - Support First Nations, Inuit, and Métis in creating meaningful solutions to address the wellness needs of their communities. Our commitment is to walk in a good way with Indigenous communities and organizations, striving to be an ally and ready to serve when called upon.
3.3 - Improve resiliency and mental health literacy to build greater informal support networks to augment clinical services. As we strive to improve access to clinical services, mental health literacy training can help bridge the gap and support a person in crisis.
Over the next ten years, as we build on our progress in understanding and improving mental health, and on the partnerships we’ve nurtured since we began in 2007, we will continue leveraging the strength of grassroots change makers, thought leaders, and policy makers to level the playing field in pursuit of mental health parity.