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Public Policy

The Canadian Mental Health Association is the only association in Canada that addresses all aspects of mental health and mental illness. We promote and advocate through strong connections we forge with policymakers, mental health consumers and their families, educators, the media, stakeholders and other service providers.
CMHA’s National office influences public policy at the federal level with a multi-faceted approach that includes strengthening our relationship with government officials and politicians. In addition, we focus on the ongoing submission of briefs and presentations to Standing Committees on Finance, Health, Human Resources Development, Justice and others.
CMHA Policy Statements articulate the general principles and recommendations relating to a particular issue which are endorsed by the CMHA.

August 3, 2008 Stigma and Mental Illness: A Framework for Action

Mental illness can affect anybody, regardless of age, gender, culture, ethnicity, or social class. But no matter who they are, people who have been diagnosed with a mental illness are all likely to experience stigma. Public attitudes and beliefs, often based on fear and misunderstanding, stereotype individuals with mental illness, exposing them to prejudice and discrimination. Stigma infects every issue surrounding mental illness, often with worse consequences than the illness itself. In 2001, the World Health Organization declared stigma to be the “single most important barrier to overcome in the community.”

June 3, 2008 Out of the Shadows and Toward Recovery: Are We Getting There?

In June 2008, CMHA responded to the 2006 Out of the Shadows report with a position paper, “Out of the Shadows Redux”. Now that the Commission has released its draft framework for a national strategy, we are returning with a follow-up submission. We begin with a brief summary of CMHA’s previous messages.

February 3, 2008 Health Care in Canada 2008

Health Care in Canada 2008 (HCIC 2008) is the ninth in a series of annual reports on Canada’s health care system. Health Care in Canada 2008 continues the new format and focused content that was launched in HCIC 2007, providing a review of key analytic work undertaken at CIHI that highlights CIHI’s health care research priorities (access, quality of care, health human resources, funding/costs, etc.). Also included in this report is a review of seminal national and international health care research as it maps onto these health care priorities. HCIC 2008 is an important tool for health care researchers, persons involved in strategic decision-making in health care, the media and Canadians in general to identify current priorities in health care.

January 3, 2008 Making Sense of Health Rankings

From time to time, health ranking reports are published giving widely varying indications of Canadians’ health and health care systems—are we fifth in the world or twenty-fifth? This raises the question, “Which ranking is more meaningful?” This special methodological report will help readers understand and assess reports that rank the health status or health system performance of a country, province or jurisdiction. This paper outlines the components and processes that underlie health rankings and explores why such rankings can be difficult to interpret. The report also includes a plain-language checklist to use as a critical evaluative resource when reading health-ranking reports.

January 3, 2008 Reducing Gaps in Health: A Focus on Socio-Economic Status in Urban Canada

Canadians are among the world’s healthiest populations, but not all Canadians are equally healthy. Gaps (or differences) in health are particularly observable in urban Canada, where links between health and socio-economic status (SES) can be analyzed at small geographical levels. This report addresses multiple material and social dimensions of SES by using an index that incorporates education, income, employment, single-parent families, persons living alone and the proportion of persons separated, divorced or widowed.

January 1, 2008 Review of the Roots of Youth Violence

When Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty asked us to undertake this review in the aftermath of the fatal shooting of a high school student at school, he had the wisdom not to simply ask for short-term ideas about how to deploy yet more law enforcement resources to try to suppress this kind of violence. Instead, he asked us to spend a year seeking to find out where it is coming from — its roots — and what might be done to address them to make Ontario safer in the long term.

January 1, 2008 Improving the Health of Canadians: Mental Health, Delinquency and Criminal Activity

Mental health factors, such as one’s level of self-esteem or ability to handle stress, are linked to whether or not a young Canadian will display delinquent behaviour or become involved in criminal activity. According to a new study from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), youth aged 12 to 13 who reported hyperactivity and depression were more likely to report high levels of aggressive behaviour, as well as high levels of delinquent acts involving property. In contrast, new analyses show that youth aged 12 to 15 with high levels of self-esteem, good stress management and self-motivation are more likely to report never engaging in aggressive behaviour.

May 8, 2007 Men and Mental Illness

It’s being called a silent crisis, a sleeper issue. But there are signs that this sleeper is at last awakening. Around the world studies, surveys, web networks, journals and newspaper articles are shedding light on a shadowy subject: men’s mental health.

October 30, 2006 National Council of Welfare: Welfare Incomes 2005

Welfare Incomes 2005 estimates total welfare incomes for four types of households in each province and territory, for a total of 52 scenarios. The four household types we use are a single employable person, a single person with a disability, a lone-parent with a 2-year-old child, and a two-parent family with two children aged 10 and 15. The National Council of Welfare has published similar estimates since 1986.

May 3, 2006 Out of the Shadows at Last: Transforming Mental Health, Mental Illness and Addiction Services in Canada

Over the past year, the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology has received more than two thousand submissions from all across Canada on the subject of mental health, mental illness and addiction. Hundreds of Canadians shared heartbreaking stories that revealed to the Committee the true state of Canada’s mental health, mental illness and addiction “system.” The members of the Committee have come to recognize the reality that profound change is essential if persons living with mental illness are to receive the help they need and to which they are entitled. We trust that readers of this report will reach the same conclusion.