The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) has released the country’s first mental health strategy.
The strategy focuses on improving mental health and well-being for all Canadians and on creating a mental health system that can truly meet the needs of people of all ages living with mental health problems and illnesses and their families, said MHCC.
"We all have a stake. Mental health problems and illnesses affect us all — mother, father, child, friend, colleague. But the unfortunate power of stigma prevents the pain and costs of mental health problems and illnesses from receiving a level of attention and support other serious health issues do," said MHCC president and CEO Louise Bradley. "The launch of the mental health strategy marks the first time that Canada has created a shared vision and set of priorities that will guide the efforts of the public and private sector, the service delivery sector and all Canadians to improve mental health outcomes."
Changing Directions, Changing Lives: The Mental Health Strategy for Canada draws on unprecedented input from thousands of Canadians and puts forward the best possible balance of different perspectives and will enable everyone to contribute to the improvement of mental health outcomes, said MHCC.
The report sets out six key strategic directions:
•Promote mental health across the lifespan in homes, schools and workplaces, and prevent mental illness and suicide wherever possible.
•Foster recovery and well-being for people of all ages living with mental health problems and illnesses, and uphold their rights.
•Provide access to the right combination of services, treatments and supports, when and where people need them.
•Reduce disparities in risk factors and access to mental health services, and strengthen the response to the needs of diverse communities and northerners.
•Work with First Nations, Inuit and Métis to address their mental health needs, acknowledging their distinct circumstances, rights and cultures.
•Mobilize leadership, improve knowledge and foster collaboration at all levels.
"Mental health problems and illnesses cost Canada more than $50 billion every year. We have made some progress, but more needs to be done to improve how we deal with mental illness in this country — we are still very far from where we need to be," said commission chair David Goldbloom. "Everyone has a role to play and that is why today's call to action is intended for every government, corporation, organization, community, service provider and Canadian to rally around the goals and priorities in the strategy."
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