Mental Health in Canada – 3 Things That Have Changed Over the Past 7 Years, and What’s to Come

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Today is World Mental Health Day. Throughout the seven years I’ve been involved in the mental health space, I’ve seen great progress that deserves to be celebrated. That being said, there are also great challenges that are important to address.

Here are three things (plus a bonus) worth celebrating on this very important day:

  1. More People are Talking – For those of you reading this article, this is definitely not the first time you’ve seen something about mental health. It’s all around you, people are talking about it. Amazing! This didn’t happen seven years ago.
  2. Workplace Mental Health in the Spotlight – “You’re not tough enough for this job”, “You don’t have what it takes to make it in this field”. Phrases like these are still common, but slowly becoming antiquated ways of treating employees. Companies that fail to keep up with the mental health needs of their employees won’t be able to attract and retain the top talent; it’s as simple as that. Incredible progress.
  3. Technology in Mental Health – Digital capabilities are coming to the mental health space in a big way. Organizations are doubling down their efforts on going digital on all internal operations to become more efficient, and new technologies are expanding to provide new ways of providing and receiving care. Take a look at Big White Wall for a great example of technology complimenting existing services.
  4. Talent – Going to work at non-profits is becoming the new sexy job out of school, or for those looking to shift careers. While this isn’t specific to mental health, it elevates the game of the entire social sector, and mental health falls right into this new wave of thinking. Working in the sector is fulfilling, challenging, and full of some of the most fascinating people you’ll ever meet. More people are realizing this, and that’s awesome.

With all of these exciting changes in the space, there is still a lot of work to be done. The silver lining? People are on the ground making change happen. Here are a few highlights:

  • Brain Knowledge – We still have a limited understanding of how the Brain works. The incredible folks at SickKids, the Ontario Brain InstituteBrain Canada, and many more are increasing our breadth and depth of brain knowledge to improve the care we can provide.
  • Fragmented System – The system of mental health care and support is fragmented and hard to navigate. The innovative individuals at the Graham Boeckh FoundationFoundry (BC), and the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (ON) are creating a single front door for mental health.
  • Youth Advocacy is Off the Charts – Simply put, young people are mobilizing in a way never before seen. Jack.org is doing game changing work that is making mental health a household discussion.
  • Wait Times – Because people are talking more than ever before, demand for services are at all time high which is increasing wait times. Capitalize for Kids is addressing this head on.

Celebrate today. Have a conversation about mental health or just think about your own mental health. Happy World Mental Health Day!

Justin Scaini

Justin Scaini

Associate Director, Capitalize for Kids

Justin came to Capitalize for Kids from Accenture where he was a Management Consultant in the Financial Services practice. In 2013, he founded the Jack Summit, Canada’s student-led mental health innovation summit. Justin graduated from Queen’s University with a major in Life Sciences and minor in Economics.