CHRA Applauds Launch of Canada’s First Mental Health Strategy
May 29, 2012
On May 8th 2012, the Mental Health Commission of Canada released “Changing Directions, Changing Lives: The Mental Health Strategy for Canada”. The first of its kind in Canada, the strategy focuses on promoting mental health, preventing mental health problems and illnesses and creating a mental health system that meets the needs of all people living with mental health problems and illnesses, along with their families.
The strategy outlines six areas of strategic direction. One of the six areas, Access to Services, details the importance of housing to mental well-being and recovery from mental health illness. “The strategy is a tremendously important milestone for Canada” said Canadian Housing & Renewal Association (CHRA) President Phil Brown. “It also appropriately recognizes the importance of safe and secure housing to mental wellness. This acknowledgement is a positive step, and we applaud theMental Health Commission of Canada for identifying the need for more affordable housing options”.
Specific housing-focused recommendations in the strategy include:
- “Increase the availability of safe, secure, and affordable housing with supports for people living with mental health problems and illnesses”; and
- “Expand approaches such as ‘housing first’ for homeless people living with mental health problems or illnesses”.
"The strategy points to the importance of affordable housing with supports for people with a mental illness, as demonstrated by the important work of MHCC's At Home/Chez Soi Housing First program. We are also optimistic that the federal government will provide the new funding needed to keep the 900 current participants of this program housed beyond March 2013" said Brown.
It is estimated that at least one in five Canadians each year will be affected by a mental illness, and that the cost to the Canadian economy is $51 billion dollars annually. “Given the pervasiveness and consequence of issues the strategy addresses, an important next step will be the implementation plan for the strategy” said CHRA Executive Director Jody Ciufo. “We stand ready to work with and support the federal government in the implementation of the housing component of the strategy”.