YELLOWKNIFE (June 7, 2012) – Building on last month’s overwhelmingly successful release of Canada’s first-ever mental health strategy, the Mental Health Commission of Canada is in Yellowknife to launch Changing Directions, Changing Lives: The Mental Health Strategy for Canada. The Strategy was shaped and informed by the experiences and input from thousands of Canadians, including considerable engagement in Northwest Territories.
“The release of this Strategy marks a historic milestone for our country, the millions of Canadians living with mental health problems and illnesses, their families and, all those who are working to ensure that every Canadian can enjoy the best mental health,” said Commission President and CEO, Louise Bradley. “Ensuring that the mental health needs of people in Northwest Territories are met will require participation on all levels, working together in areas like funding, incentives for professionals in remote regions, enhanced training locally, and better use of technologies.”
The Commission is holding regional events across the country to extend the conversation about how the Strategy can improve mental health and about what can be done to bring the Strategy to life in our communities. While in Yellowknife, Commission representatives presented the Strategy to members of the Standing Committee on Social Programs, as well as members of the Legislative Assembly, representatives from Aboriginal community health organizations, family caregivers and government officials.
“Mental health is an issue that affects us all,” said Tom Beaulieu, Minister of Health and Social Services. “We are pleased that our northern voice was heard in the development of this National Strategy on Mental Health, and even more pleased to be part of the northern launch of Changing Directions, Changing Lives. I am also happy that many of our territorial partners were able to be with us today. I look forward to our continued collaboration on this important issue.”
The release of Changing Directions, Changing Lives: 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.
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:
- Promote mental health across the lifespan in homes, schools and workplaces, and prevent mental illness wherever possible;
- Foster recovery and well-being for people of all ages living with mental health problems and illnesses, and uphold their rights;
- Provide access to the right combination of services, treatments and supports, when and where people need them;
- Reduce disparities in risk factors and access to mental health services, and strengthen the response to the needs of diverse communities and Northerners;
- Work with First Nations, Inuit and Métis to address their mental health needs, acknowledging their distinct circumstances, rights and cultures; and,
- Mobilize leadership, improve knowledge and foster collaboration at all levels.
ABOUT THE MENTAL HEALTH COMMISSION OF CANADA
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 spark change.
The Mental Health Commission of Canada is funded by Health Canada. www.mentalhealthcommission.ca
Kyle Marr, Senior Communication Specialist
Mental Health Commission of Canada
Office: (403) 385‐4050
Cell: (587) 226-8782
Department of Health and Social Services
Office (867) 920-8927