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Mental Health in Canada: A review of 2017

Dec 21
The year 2017 has been very exciting for mental health. With so many programs and organizations celebrating milestones in 2017, we take a look at new initiatives started this past year that will shape the mental health landscape moving forward.
May 1 – 7th was Mental Health Week 2017. This year, the Center for Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH) held a week-long initiative to spread awareness about mental illness and share stories of recovery. Following the theme of “Finding Our Voice,” inviting mental health visionaries to share their journeys and promote peer support.
A review of the week can be found here: CAMH Mental Health Week 2017 
With Canada turning 150, we also see a strong push to invest in Mental Health. Budget 2017 proposes to invest $6 billion over 10 years for home care, and $5 billion over 10 years to support mental health initiatives. This will allow better access to mental health support for as many as 500 000 young Canadians under the age of 25 who cannot currently receive mental health services.
More can be found on Budget 2017 here: Canada Budget 2017
One of the initiatives supported by the Budge 2017 can be found here: BC Mental Health Initiative
The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) released “Advancing the Mental Health Strategy for Canada: A Framework for Action (2017 – 2022).” Through a series of consultations, the MHCC worked with stakeholders and through different communication channels to engage citizens, key informants, and healthcare professionals to develop an informed, relevant strategy plan. The Framework is comprised of four key pillars: Leadership and funding; Promotion and prevention; Access and services; and, Data and research. The MHCC Strategic Plan is centered around three objectives: Leadership, partnership, and capacity building; Promotion and advancement of the Mental Health Strategy for Canada; and, Knowledge mobilization.

The report can be found here: Advancing the Mental Health Strategy for Canada (2017 - 2022)

Health and Social Services of The Government of Northwest Territories (GNT) enhanced their mental health and set out the “Child and Youth Mental Wellness Action Plan.” This aligns with the GT’s mandate to focus on mental health and addictions by ensuring services are delivered locally with culturally-appropriate methods. The Action Plan is a collaborative report that reflects expertise and lived experience of policy makers and youth about mental wellness needs. Through a seamless care path strategy, the plan involves five objectives that work towards the goal of ensuring children, youth and emerging adults (ages 0 – 24) are supported in their mental wellness needs at every stage of their journey.

The full report can be found here: Child and Youth Mental Wellness Action Plan

Physical & Health Education Canada (PHE Canada) has developed Teach Resiliency, an online portal and community of practice offering teachers simple-to-use strategies and tools to assess resilience needs and resources to promote and enhance teacher and student mental health. The site was launched in May 2017 and a successful campaign was launched in October 2017.

More information about Teach Resiliency can be found here: Teaching Resiliency 
Stigma and Barriers to Access are key factors in achieving good mental health for post-secondary students. The Inquiring Mind is an initiative adapted from existing evidence-based programs for post-secondary students in stigma reduction, building resiliency, and moving on the Mental Health Continuum Model. In September 2017, this program was piloted across seven Canadian campuses. Staff, student leaders, and peer supporters will receive training on how to deliver the program, go back to their campuses and host as many workshops as they can to build the foundations for a supportive, mentally healthy campus environment.

More can be read on this initiative here:  The Inquiring Mind
FeelingBetterNow® has been expanding our capacity to support Canadians and their families. To date, we are a key pillar in good mental health and the go-to tool for over 1 million Canadians and their family members. FeelingBetterNow® was noted by the Mental Health Commission of Canada President and CEO, Louise Bradley, to be a key e-mental health tool that can be used in workplace settings to help employees identify mental health issues and take immediate action, allowing them to stay healthy and productive at work.
Read the full article here: Power of E-Mental Health

Kathleen Qu, M.Sc

Kathleen Qu is the Product Manager of FeelingBetterNow. She has a background in global health and policy research. She is an advocate in breaking down barriers for mental health access.