Mental Health Toolkit

This toolkit has three main objectives:

  1. To engage and educate self-identified women on the mental health issues that affect the daily lives of Canadians coast to coast to coast
  2. To enable women across Canada to explore different ways to take action, make change, and become a strong voice for mental health advocacy
  3. To provide strategies for engagement, resources, and tools for engaging in politics and policy on mental health issues in Canada

Content warning: suicide, substance use, self harm…

What is mental illness & mental health?

  • Mental illnesses may affect a person’s ability to cognitively function, relate to, and communicate with others
  • Mental illnesses may be temporary – lasting a few months or years- or it may be chronic and affect the person their entire life
  • Mental illnesses affect people of all ages, education levels, income levels, and culture
  • For more information: Public Health Agency of Canada

DEFINITION

Mental Illness

Any disorder in the brain that affects mood, thinking, or behavior, believed to be “the result of a complex interaction among social, economic, psychological, biological, and genetic factors”

DEFINITION

Mental Health:

The capacity of each and all of us to feel, think and act in ways that enhance our ability to enjoy life and deal with the challenges we face. It is a positive sense of emotional and spiritual well-being that respects the importance of culture, equity, social justice, interconnections, and personal dignity.

Mental health and mental illness, and their causes and consequences, are complex and important policy issues. For example, substance abuse, family and workplace stress can cause mental illness. Poor mental health can contribute to poor academic success, inability to gain or maintain employment, and can lead to vulnerabilities to poverty and social isolation.

Stigma:

  • Despite growing acceptance of mental health and having open conversations about mental illness, there continues to be barriers to talking about mental health due to stigma
  • Many individuals are left unable to seek care for the fear of being ostracized or ridiculed. In addition to the significant impact on individuals, families, and communities, there are costs and concerns for Canada

DEFINITION

Stigma

A negative attitude and beliefs towards individuals suffering from mental illnesses, creating prejudice and discrimination.