Mobilizing Leadership and Fostering Collaboration

Strategic Direction #6 – Summary Version

Leadership at many levels, guided by the best available knowledge, is required to achieve the objectives set out in this Strategy. Mental health and mental illness are much more than ‘just’ a health issue or ‘just’ a challenge for some individuals. Issues relating to mental health and mental illness affect us all in varying ways and to varying degrees, and are relevant to many aspects of government and private sector activity.

Governments across the country need to take a ‘whole-of-government’ approach to the coordination of mental health-related policies and practices across multiple departments, with the full engagement of political leaders.  In addition, while the organization and delivery of health and other services are largely the responsibility of the provinces and territories, there are many areas in which the federal government has an important role to play and where pan-Canadian initiatives could help all jurisdictions to improve mental health outcomes.

Measuring progress in improving outcomes across the country is essential and will require common indicators and measures, supported by accurate data. To get there, we need to proceed along two tracks: first, identifying indicators for which data could be collected relatively easily and, second, developing a comprehensive data collection framework and a system to collect the required data.

The serious underfunding of mental health research must be corrected and a research agenda developed to enable research funding to be put to the best possible use. In addition, the development of a range of guidelines and standards is needed to help accelerate the translation of knowledge into action and enhance quality.  Better planning to address current mental health human resource shortages and to help the mental health workforce adapt to new and expanded service requirements will also be critical to achieving change.

The value of leadership by people with lived experience needs to be better appreciated and more opportunities made available for them to exercise this leadership. This shift will require investing in leadership training and organizational development for people with lived experience at the local, regional and national levels.


  • Coordinate mental health policies across governments and across sectors.
  • Improve mental health data collection, research, and knowledge exchange across Canada.
  • Strengthen mental health human resources.
  • Expand the leadership role of people living with mental health problems and illnesses, and their families, in setting mental health-related policy


For a full version of this Strategic Direction, including the recommendations for action, download the Strategy