This is the first mental health strategy for Canada. Its release marks a significant milestone in the journey to bring mental health ‘out of the shadows’ and to recognize, in both words and deeds, the truth of the saying that there can be no health without mental health.

Changing Directions, Changing Lives is the culmination of many years of hard work and advocacy by people across the country. A key driver behind its development has been the testimony of thousands of people living with mental health problems and illnesses. In increasing numbers they have found the courage to speak publicly about their personal experiences and the many obstacles they face in obtaining the help and support they need from an underfunded and fragmented mental health system. Family members have echoed this assessment while pointing to the many challenges that they also confront. Service providers (within the mental health system as well as outside of it), researchers, and policy experts have added their voice to the chorus calling for much-needed change. They have all had a voice in the development of this Strategy.

The Strategy will help to ensure that people who experience mental health problems and illnesses — especially those with the most severe and complex mental health problems and illnesses — are treated with respect and dignity, and enjoy the same rights as all Canadians.

Together we can ensure that everyone living in Canada has the opportunity to achieve the best possible mental health and well-being.

There is a growing sense across Canada that the time for action on mental health is here. This Strategy will help to turn our aspirations for change into reality.


Explore the Strategy