While we aren’t able to cover all government strategies, funding, or projects, we want to provide a small look at some of the things that the provincial, territorial, and federal governments are up to.
The Federal Government is currently addressing mental health issues in Canada in a myriad of ways, including: taking action on mental health in Indigenous communities, addressing the current opioid crisis, and providing a framework for suicide prevention.
- In 2016, the PM committed to investing $1.2 million towards two mental health teams in Saskatchewan and funds for services in remote Indigenous communities. This included:
- Two permanant MH workers in Attawapiskat
- 24-hour crisis line
- Crisis response team in high risk areas in ON, MB and Nunavut
- Increase mental awareness teams from 11-43 communities
The Federal Government in collaboration with multiple provincial government commitment to address the opioid crisis:
- Ear-marking of $75 Million to address the crisis anda minister responsible to addiction in BC.
The provinces, as the governments primarily responsible for mental health, have diverse approaches and policy.
- Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions
- Victoria Foundry mental health centre
- Dedicationg of $322 million over three years to public health emergency of drug overdoses
- Alberta Mental Health review Committee’s Report: “Valuing Mental Health: Report of the Alberta Mental Health Review Committee,”
- A commitment of $25.8 million over 3 years for mental health services at the post-secondary level
- In Saskatchewan, in 2014, the Commissioner of the Mental Health and Addictions Action Plan released a ten-year strategy to address addictions and mental health called “Working Together for Change.”
- In 2016-17, the Minister of Health invested $356, 000 into supporting University of Regina’s “Internet-delivered Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (I-CBT) program, which allows for adults with depression and anxiety to access “online clinic treatment.” This program has been provided to over 1,500 individuals in the province since 2010.
- Currently creating a provincial strategy on Mental Health and Addicts (MHA)
- There is a report card available on the performance of the government in different areas of health care, including mental health.
- 2017, funding agreement was signed increasing funding for “home care, mental-health services and addictions treatment” by $400 million over 10 years
- ‘Rising to the Challenge:’ A 5 year strategic plan for mental health and wellness
- In 2017, the province announced new initiatives around mental health
- In 2018 the province covered prescription medication for all youth under 25
- There has been a recent expansion of psychotherapy available to those in Ontario.
- In 2015 a 5 year mental health action plan investing $70 million was introduced to improve clinical management and services for youth
- A 2017 announcement focused on those with mental health issues including a crisis care unit and training for follow up and intervention
Newfoundland and Labrador
- The Mental Health Care and Treatment Act was adopted in 2007 expanding roles of nurses, nurse practitioners and peace officers. There have, however, been concerns that forced treatment.
- A New Mental Health and Addictions Plan Towards Recovery was announced in 2017
- There are drop-in counselling sessions
- “Downtown Healthcare Collaborative,” which is an interdisciplinary team that provides outreach services to various community organizations
A mobile crisis team in St. John’s
- The Action Plan for Mental Health in New Brunswick
- Specific initiatives involve greater collaboration between government, educators, employers and non-governmental organizations.
- In 2016 the government released a report stating it invests $270 million dollars annually to mental health, addictions, prevention, treatment and supports.
- Mental health care services wait times have dropped from 501 to 118 days
- School Plus Program has mental health clinicians
- 104 Gender and Sexuality Alliance
- $2.7 million is provided for community-based organizations focused on mental health
- A grants process (up to $150,000) for community groups interested in mental health and addictions.
Prince Edward Island
- In 2015 the Government of Nunavut asked local Inuit for advice regarding the creation of a new Mental Health Act
- Embrace Life Council: Council’s third suicide prevent action plan
- Inuusivut Anninaqtuq (United for Life) - covers the five years between 2017 and 2022.
- All resources are available in English and Inuktitut.
- In 2016 a 10- year mental wellness strategy was released to better deliver mental health and substance use care
- The government said 7,500 Yukoners out of 37, 000 struggle with mental health or substance abuse per year
- In 2017 the federal government was set to give $5.2 million to support initiatives for mental health
- The Mental Health Framework (2016 - 2021): You can find the strategy here and a summary here.
- The Framework includes three action plans: Territorial Mental Wellness Action Plan, a Territorial Addictions Recovery Action Plan, and a Child and Youth Mental Health and Addictions Action Plan.
As the level of government closest to citizens and responsible for many services that affect people’s daily lives and well being, cities and other municipal governments often engage on the issue of mental health.
Here are some noteworthy examples:
Vancouver: Mayor Gregor Robertson established a mental health and addictions task force, which released its reported, “Caring For All,” in September of 2014. This document outlines youth outcomes, ways to enhance the mental health care system, increasing access to services, ways to address gaps in services, creating a ‘peer-informed system’ and fighting stigmatization.
Victoria: The municipal government funds two Victoria police officers assigned to an integrated mental-health team for a two-year pilot project.
Airdrie: Funded largely through the city’s Family and Community Supports, Viewpoints is a “youth mental health and wellness project,” to support youth, increase awareness and access of resources and decrease stigma. It also provides youth, parents, and caregivers the tools they need to deal with mental health before it becomes a more serious issue.
If you want to read more, Feeling Better Now provides an interesting blog update annually on mental health initiatives in Canada - check it out here.