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Building a Common Language: CMHA Ontario starts dialogue about equity and mental health

May 9, 2014

Equity issues have a significant and often negative impact on the people, communities and health care system of Ontario. Consider that:

  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers.
  • People with mental health issues face discrimination in employment, housing and many other essential and health-promoting areas of life.
  • Northern Ontarians face the highest rates of depression, hospitalization and medication use, but have access to less comprehensive, available and accessible mental health services and supports.

The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ontario is concerned about these and other equity issues impacting the people of this province, and is taking steps to initiate dialogue and action in the mental health system.

CMHA Ontario is pleased to launch Advancing Equity in Mental Health in Ontario: Understanding Key Concepts. This discussion paper seeks to increase understanding and dialogue within Ontario’s health system by creating a common language for talking about equity issues in mental health.

“Promoting health equity is one of our strategic directions,” said Camille Quenneville, CEO, CMHA Ontario. “This equity and mental health discussion paper is an important step forward in addressing stigma and discrimination and promoting mental health for vulnerable individuals in communities across the province.”

Following the launch of the discussion paper, CMHA Ontario will convene key stakeholders from the mental health, health and community sectors to plan action in five strategic areas: Embedding equity in provincial mental health policy and planning; expanding the evidence-base for equity issues in mental health; fostering collaboration with people with lived experience of mental health issues and other marginalized populations; building healthy communities by taking action to address the social determinants of health; and challenging discrimination, stigma and social exclusion.

For more information, please contact:
Uppala Chandrasekera
Director, Public Policy
Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario
416-977-5580 ext. 4151

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