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5. A vision for quality mental health care in Canada

COVID-19 has intensified the pressures on many people. Before the pandemic, about 2% of people in Canada reported moderately severe or severe symptoms of depression. Since, that number has skyrocketed to 14%. Even before COVID-19, health-care workers were suffering from stress, depression, anxiety, burnout and risk of suicide. Health workers were 1.5 times more likely to miss work due to illness or disability than workers in any other sector.  A recent review revealed that 1 in 4 health care workers reported depression and anxiety and 1 in 3 experienced mood and sleep disturbances since COVID-19.


The well-being of health-care workers directly affects the quality of care they can provide. So how can we improve mental health inside health care organizations and improve the quality of care that gets delivered to people in Canada? 


Join us for a conversation with health leaders on quality mental health care for both service users and health-care workers. This panel discussion offers an engaging conversation with health leaders resulting from the work of the Quality Mental Health Care Network (QMHCN), including lived and living experience, and a recent study on the unique impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the capacity of the mental and substance use health workforce.  


The new vision for quality mental health care, based on the Quality Mental Health Care Framework (Framework), builds on the expertise of people with lived and living experience, health-care administrators, and practitioners. The Framework was developed by the Quality Mental Health Care Network, the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC), and HealthCareCAN, a partnership that brings together physical and mental health sector leaders from across Canada to improve access to quality mental health care. Health-care leaders and organizations can use this tool to assess the critical elements that impact the quality, delivery, and accessibility of mental health care and services.


The capacity of the mental and substance use health workforce plays a critical yet often overlooked role in access to quality mental and substance use health care.  Findings from a recent study led by the Canadian Health Workforce Network and the MHCC point to six policy priorities for increasing capacity: universal public funding, comprehensive workforce data for better planning, cultural competence, burnout, regulation, and public/private sector collaboration. 

The learning objectives are: 

1. Illustrate the barriers and facilitators to quality mental health care, including the health and wellness of health-care workers

2. Explain the benefits of the Framework for providers, service users and organizations

3. Share concrete actions that can be taken immediately at organizational, governmental, and various policy levels



Nicholas Watters - Director Access to Quality Mental Health Services, MHCC

Jonathan Mitchell - Vice-President Research and Policy, HealthCareCAN



Dr. Mary Bartram - Director of Policy, MHCC

Samaria Nancy Cardinal - Patient Partner, Patients for Patient Safety Canada

Dr. Guylaine Lefebvre - Executive Director of the Office of Membership Engagement and Programs, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada

Mike Villeneuve - Principal, Villeneuve Associates, former CEO of CNA

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