A re-elected Liberal government will move forward to deliver better mental health care for Canadians, particularly those who need it most, Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau announced on Tuesday in Kanata, Ontario.
Trudeau said that mental health is health. With half of Canadians saying their mental health worsened throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, it is clear that better mental health services are necessary to ensure we recover from the pandemic in a way that is fair and inclusive for everyone.
“In a typical year, one in five Canadians experience mental health challenges,” said Trudeauty of Canada. “The pandemic intensified those existing challenges, especially for front-line health care workers, youth, seniors, Indigenous people, people with disabilities, and racialized and Black Canadians. That’s why the Liberal government had their backs – providing more support for those who need it most to get through the pandemic. And we can’t stop there.”
A re-elected Liberal government will support better mental health for Canadians by:
- Providing permanent, ongoing funding for mental health services through a new Canada Mental Health Transfer to provinces and territories to deliver high-quality, accessible, and free mental health services for more Canadians;
- Introducing a new fund for student well-being to increase access to mental health care at colleges and universities by hiring 1,200 new counsellors;
- Establishing a national, three-digit mental health crisis and suicide prevention hotline;
- Developing a mental health and wellness strategy with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation partners;
- Reviewing access to disability benefits and programs to ensure they are available for people experiencing mental health challenges;
- Working with community partners on the design and establishment of a fund to support the mental health of Black Canadians in the public service; and
- Working with federally-regulated employers and labour groups to co-develop a new policy to support the right to disconnect for workers.
These actions build on the work the Liberals have already done to improve access to mental health services, including:
- Increasing the availability of mental health care and home care, in collaboration with the provinces and territories;
- Providing immediate mental health support for Canadians who need it most during the pandemic, including Canadians experiencing homelessness or substance use, front-line health care workers, youth, seniors, Indigenous people, people with disabilities, and racialized and Black Canadians;
- Launching the Wellness Together portal, which has been accessed by more than one million Canadians during the pandemic;
- Supporting a distinctions-based mental health and wellness strategy for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation partners, including for the Indian Residential Schools Health Supports Program and Crisis Line and Hope for Wellness Line; and
- Supporting veterans’ mental health to cover costs related to PTSD, depressive and anxiety disorders.
“We were there for Canadians when they needed it the most – supporting better access to mental health care, and that’s what we will continue to do,” said Trudeau. “When Erin O’Toole and the Conservatives had the chance to support our investments in mental health, they said no. We can’t afford to move backward. We need to keep moving forward – for everyone.”
Backgrounder: Improving Mental Health Care across Canada