On behalf of the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC), I applaud Finance Minister Freeland for shattering the glass ceiling as the first woman to table a federal budget. In breaking this new ground, it is only fitting that the theme of equity runs through the thread of the nearly $1 billion allocated to improve the mental health of people in Canada.
Among the most notable investments is $45 million over two years to our valued partners at Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to develop national mental health standards. The MHCC has already championed psychological safety standards for workplaces and post-secondary institutions and stands ready to support this important effort, which is a crucial step to creating a more equitable system of care.
We also applaud the federal government for extending funding to equity-seeking groups that reduce barriers to care. The mental health impacts of COVID-19 have been disproportionally borne by health-care workers, front-line employees, youth, seniors, Indigenous peoples, and racialized and African, Caribbean, and Black (ACB) populations. By dedicating $100 million over three years to support innovative mental health interventions for these groups, the government is taking important steps to redress these inequities.
Two further investments are especially noteworthy in the current pandemic climate: extending the life of the Wellness Together Canada portal, which gives many people access to e-mental health supports, including virtual psychotherapy, and providing funds to support the creation of a three-digit suicide prevention crisis hotline, an intervention the MHCC has long been advocating, together with our many sector partners.
We can only emerge from this pandemic with resolve and resiliency if we promote and protect the mental health and wellness of Canada’s people while being vigilant about ensuring that we view all investments — and innovations — with an eye to creating equity. As the MHCC begins to implement its new 10-year strategic plan, Answering the Call, we are heartened to see many of our current priorities and future ambitions reflected in a budget that brings mental wellness to the fore while aiming to improve outcomes for everyone.
President and CEO, Mental Health Commission of Canada
Mental Health Commission of Canada
613-683-3748 / firstname.lastname@example.org