In June 2002, CMHA National, building on work by the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH), embarked upon an ambitious 22-month project, Citizens for Mental Health. On September 19-20, 2003, 28 project participants from across Canada met in Toronto to further refine the recommended actions related to the common issues identified through the regional forums and, through this process, contribute to the development of a national mental health policy framework. This report documents that two-day session.
As one of six projects funded by Health Canada through the Voluntary Sector Initiative, Citizens has had two primary objectives:
- To strengthen the capacity of the voluntary sector for sustained partnership in national level policy initiatives;
- To engage voluntary organizations in building a vision for a national mental health policy framework.
Recognizing that the social determinants of health have a significant impact on the mental health status of the population, Citizens adopted a broad definition of “mental health policy” that includes policy related to such determinants as housing and employment. To implement this project, CMHA entered into contracts with five of its 13 provincial/territorial divisions to serve as lead sites for each of five regions across Canada. Coordinators in each region used a variety of strategies to consult with a broad spectrum of voluntary sector organizations.