Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 13:30 EDT

Changing directions, changing lives: Canada’s first mental health blueprint unveiled

May 8, 2012

OTTAWA, May 8, 2012 /CNW/ – Canada’s first strategy to improve the
mental health of all Canadians was publicly released today by the
Mental Health Commission of Canada (Commission) during Mental Health
Week. Following extensive consultations with thousands of Canadians
through regional dialogues, online surveys, roundtables on key topics,
and discussion groups with stakeholders, Changing Directions, Changing Lives: The Mental Health Strategy for
will bring about real change for people from coast to coast to coast.

The Strategy focuses on improving mental health and well-being for all
people living in Canada 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.

“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,” says Commission President and CEO Louise Bradley.
“The launch of the Mental Health Strategy for Canada 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.”

Our government is proud to have established the Mental Health Commission
of Canada, and recognizes the important achievements made by the
Commission since it was created in 2007,” says the Honourable Leona
Aglukkaq, Minister of Health. “The human cost of mental health problems
and illnesses is dramatic and has a significant impact on the health
and the economy of our country. The work of the Commission is already
shaping decision-making in Ottawa concerning health research and
initiatives. I encourage my provincial and territorial colleagues,
business leaders, and community leaders to review the Strategy, and
look for opportunities to apply recommendations in areas of their own
jurisdiction. I look forward to collaborating with all partners on
these important issues.”

Changing Directions, Changing Lives 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. It sets out recommendations for change that promise to
improve quality of life for Canadians in every province and territory,
grouping them into six key strategic directions:

      1. Promote mental health across the lifespan in homes, schools and
         workplaces, and prevent mental illness and suicide wherever
      2. Foster recovery and well-being for people of all ages living with
         mental health problems and illnesses, and uphold their rights;
      3. Provide access to the right combination of services, treatments
         and supports, when and where people need them;
      4. Reduce disparities in risk factors and access to mental health
         services, and strengthen the response to the needs of diverse
         communities and Northerners;
      5. Work with First Nations, Inuit and Métis to address their mental
         health needs, acknowledging their distinct circumstances, rights
         and cultures; and,
      6. 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,” says Commission Chair David
Goldbloom, MD. “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.”


The Mental Health Commission of Canada is a catalyst for change. We are
collaborating with hundreds of partners to change the attitudes of
Canadians toward mental health problems and to improve services and
support. Our goal is to help people who live with mental health
problems and illnesses lead meaningful and productive lives. Together,
we are sparking change.

The Mental Health Commission of Canada is funded by Health Canada.


SOURCE Mental Health Commission of Canada

Source: PR Newswire