Since its inception over seventy years ago, the Canadian Mental Health Association has been a unique advocate for the chronically mentally ill. During the past decade, CMHA has expanded its mandate from promoting service delivery to active support of self-help initiatives and the community resource base. The protection of individual rights in therapeutic programs and in the community has become a major focus.
The CMHA reaffirms its commitment to the following principles:
- Persons with long-term mental health problems have the right to appropriate care, treatment and rehabilitation, within the least restrictive environment. They have the right to remain in their own community wherever possible.
- Government, caregivers, the voluntary sector and individuals must work toward improved quality of life for mental health consumers.
- Continuing public education is necessary to sensitize society and to fight the stigma of chronic mental illness.
- Community reinvestment is a fundamental building block in treatment and rehabilitation.
- The consumer self-help movement possesses the capacity for positive change. The CMHA should continue to support the growth of this movement toward autonomy, within a reciprocally helpful relationship.
- The CMHA must expand its efforts to recruit qualified persons who have been seriously mentally ill, as staff and for leadership roles throughout the Association.