Report

Running on Empty: How Community Mental Health Organizations Have Fared on the Frontlines of the Pandemic

2022

Running on Empty: How Community Mental Health Organizations Have Fared on the Frontlines of the Pandemic

7 months ago 7 months ago Published by
This report was published by the Canadian Mental Health Association.

HERE’S HOW THE AUTHORS DESCRIBE THIS REPORT:

The pandemic has had a devastating impact on mental health, substance use, and homelessness in Canada. In 2021, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) undertook a federation-wide research project to understand how community mental health organizations have been impacted by and responded to the pandemic. Our research helped us formulate which federal policy responses are required so that community mental health organizations — and the people they serve — can get through and recover from the pandemic. Twenty-one participants representing 18 individual CMHA branches and/or divisions from 10 provinces and the Yukon territory were interviewed for this research, which was led by Dr. Leyna Lowe.

Key findings from the research:

  • The pandemic has had devastating impacts on the mental health, substance use, and homelessness of Canadians, and highlighted pre-existing and increasing needs for services.
  • The current system of care is a patchwork of programs, services, and supports offered by the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors.
  • The current funding of not-for-profit mental health and addiction services delivered by charitable organizations is inadequate and unsustainable.
  • The community mental health system and its workforce are experiencing significant strain.

Key recommendations from the research:

  • Increase funding for and strengthen capacity of core Community Mental Health and Addictions services and supports.
  • Increase support for mental health promotion and mental illness and addiction prevention programs and strategies.
  • Publicly fund community-based counselling and psychotherapy.
  • Prioritize investment in housing, income supports, and food security.

Canadian Mental Health Association. (2022). Running on Empty: How Community Mental Health Organizations Have Fared on the Frontlines of the Pandemic. https://cmha.ca/brochure/running-on-empty-report/

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