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HomeWhat We DoMental Health and Substance Use

Mental Health and Substance Use

What is the issue?

People living with mental illness are twice as likely as other Canadians to experience problematic substance use. These individuals also account for nearly one-third of inpatient mental health admissions.

Currently, service providers supporting people living with mental illness and problematic substance use work across multiple programs and sectors, many of which operate under different funding streams and reporting mechanisms and do not share information.

As a result, people living with mental illness and problematic substance use have difficulty getting the care they need.

Additionally, the MHCC has received funding to examine the risks and benefits related to cannabis use and mental health. 

What are we doing?

To address this issue we are filling key knowledge gaps in

  • the relationship between cannabis use and mental health
  • opioid training for health-care providers

Cannabis

  • Mental Health and Cannabis Research
    The MHCC was allocated $10 million over five years in the 2018 federal budget to investigate the risks and benefits of cannabis as well as the varying needs of diverse subpopulations of people living in Canada. 
  • Community-Based Research Projects: Cannabis and Mental Health
    The MHCC is funding 14 projects that will be community led, culturally safe, focused on equity, and centred on lived and living experience. These innovative projects from across the country will address knowledge gaps in the relationship between cannabis and mental health for priority populations.

Opioids

  • Stigma and the Opioid Crisis: Final Report
    A qualitative study that reveals key findings on opioid-related stigma, including insights on its character (in direct care), impacts, and sources and the promising approaches to tackling it 
  • Stigma and the Opioid Crisis: Summary
    A two-page summary of the major points from the stigma and the opioid crisis final report 
  • The Opening Minds Provider Attitudes Toward Opioid Use Scale (OM-PATOS)
    The OM-PATOS scale is designed for those in the helping professions that may respond to or care for people living with opioid use or at risk of overdose or poisoning. Among its many applications are to evaluate the impact of stigma-reduction initiatives, measure an organization’s level of stigma (as part of a needs assessment), raise awareness, and track performance.
  • Opioid Training for Health-Care Providers Course Catalogue
    Programs to help health-care providers support people with lived and living experience of opioid use, which is mainly focused on starting and maintaining treatment for opioid use disorder 

Using the OM-PATOS, we evaluated four stigma reduction programs for their effectiveness at reducing opioid and substance use-related stigma among health-care and other direct service providers. The findings are useful for helping health-care provider, first responder, and other organizations create or improve stigma reduction programs and services. Read our evaluation reports

Related Initiatives
Cannabis information and educational materials

Resources

PurposeThe purpose of this brief is to identify mental health and substance use policy issues in relation to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on correctional populations. These populations include...
POLICY BRIEF: HIGHLIGHTS COVID-19, Mental Health and Substance Use in Correctional Settings ABOUT THE ISSUE During a pandemic, attention to mental health and substance use is needed more than ever....
While alcohol use is linked to as many as one-third of suicide deaths, this connection is rarely discussed. In this webinar, Drs. Norman Giesbrecht, Heather Orpana, Sarah Konefal, and Robert...
Learn about the Opening Minds Provider Attitudes Toward Opioid Use Scale (OM-PATOS), geared to those in the helping professions that may respond to or care for people living with opioid...
Purpose The Opening Minds Provider Attitudes Toward Opioid Use Scale (OM PATOS) was developed as part of a larger project the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) completed in 2019....
Purpose Join us on our journey As I sit down to write this, our world reminds me of a snow globe that’s been shaken and hasn’t yet been put to...
Purpose In 2019, the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) launched a program to better understand the problem of mental illness- and substance use-related structural stigma in health-care environments. The...
The MHCC is funding 14 two-year projects (2020-22) to address knowledge gaps in the relationship between mental health and cannabis among priority populations.