A Historic Day for Mental Health: Canada’s First Mental Health Strategy

on May 11, 2012

by Meredith

May 8, 2012 has been dubbed a “historic day for mental health”. What made May 8th historic is that the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) released the first mental health strategy for Canada, entitled Changing Directions, Changing Lives.

While a draft of the strategy was released back in 2009, the final version has been re-worked and informed through consultations with thousands of Canadians, including those who have lived experience with mental health issues and their families. The strategy focuses on improving the mental health and well-being of all Canadians, and puts forward recommendations to create a mental health system that better meets the needs of those individuals experiencing mental health challenges and their families.

Six strategic directions are included within the strategy, each containing several recommendations. Briefly, the six strategic directions are:

  1. Promote mental health and prevent mental health challenges across the lifespan in numerous everyday settings.
  2. Foster recovery and well-being for people of all ages, and uphold their rights.
  3. Provide access to appropriate combinations of services, treatments, and supports.
  4. Reduce disparities in risk factors and access to services, and address diversity and the specific needs of different groups or communities.
  5. Work with First Nations, Inuit, and Metis to address their mental health needs.
  6. Mobilize leadership, improve knowledge, and foster collaboration at all levels.

The strategy notes that all Canadians can play a role in implementation. In addition to the strategy document, the MHCC has outlined a range of ways that individuals can become engaged, show support, and become part of the movement to improve mental health among all Canadians. For example, there is a new initiative called Partners for Mental Health that is dedicated to transforming how Canadians think about, act towards, and treat mental health.

I encourage everyone to take a look at the strategy and think about the role you can play to help improve the mental health and well-being of all Canadians. Talk about it with your friends, family, and co-workers, and feel free to share your ideas with us!


There are no comments

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

BC Children's Hospital

This is an agency of Provincial Health Services Authority, providing provincial tertiary mental health services to the citizens of British Columbia. Programs include: Adult Tertiary Psychiatry, Geriatric Psychiatry, Forensic Psychiatric Services, Child & Adolescent Mental Health, Women’s Reproductive Mental Health, as well as the Provincial Specialized Eating Disorders Program for children and youth located at the BC Children’s Hospital.

Provincial Health Services Authority

Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) is one of six health authorities – the other five health authorities serve geographic regions of BC.

Ministry of Health

British Columbia Ministry of Health

RBC Children's Mental Health Project

RBC Children’s Mental Health Project is RBC's cornerstone “health and wellness” pillar; RBC Children’s Mental Heath Project is a multi-year philanthropic commitment to support community-based and hospital programs that reduce stigma, provide early intervention and increase public awareness about children’s mental health issues.

BC Children's Hospital Foundation

Through a wide range of fundraising events and opportunities, The BC Children's Hospital Foundation is united with its donors by a single, simple passion - to improve the health and the lives of the young people who enter BC Children's Hospital every day.