The Schizophrenia Society of Canada, under the direction of its Public Policy and Advocacy Committee, has established the following advocacy priorities:
The Mental Health Commission of Canada website can be found at www.mentalhealthcommission.ca
In March 2007, the federal government announced plans for the establishment and initial funding of a Mental Health Commission of Canada.
The announcement followed extensive consultation, review and discussion around the needs of the mental illness system in Canada. Organizations such as the SSC have long been calling for a national strategy on mental illness and this commission is the first step toward that goal.
The establishment of the Mental Health Commission of Canada represents a significant advance for all individuals and family members in need of mental health help. Also significant is the appointment of Senator Michael Kirby as Commissioner. Senator Kirby, together with his colleagues on the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, led the review of the mental illness system.
The SSC and numerous other stakeholder organizations and consumers groups recognized the key role that a national mental health commission would play in improving the mental health system and building a national strategy. Long before the Commission was announced, individual and group advocacy efforts began to mobilize support for its establishment.
- The SSC launched a powerful campaign that educated people about the issue regarding mental health in Canada and asked them to register their support for the commission with the federal government.
- The Society conducted an online campaign that provided people with a chance to customize a letter of support and send it directly to their Member of Parliament, with copies sent to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Minister of Health Tony Clement.
- A simultaneous post card campaign was launched through the Society's newsletter, which is sent to all members across the country.
- Additionally, the Society engaged in ongoing communication with the Ministry of Health, Members of Parliament and others to ensure that the momentum of support for the commission was maintained.
The key to the success of the campaign launched by our Schizophrenia Society was spreading the word about mental health in Canada to as many people as possible. We thank everyone who supported the campaign by sending letters themselves and by encouraging their family, friends and colleagues to do the same.
On March 19th, 2007, the Schizophrenia Society of Canada and all supporters of the Mental Health Commission of Canada were very pleased to receive the news that the Conservative government's federal budget included funding for the Commission.