This year, one in five people in Canada will experience a mental health problem, according to the Canadian Mental Health Association – and this is in pre-pandemic times. Persistent stigma means many people struggle in silence, while others don’t have a place to turn if they want to reach out. The critical services offered by mental health professionals at charitable organizations range from prevention and counselling, to crisis intervention and serious mental illness treatment.
The uncertainties and traumas of the COVID-19 pandemic, including lost access to counseling and services, have led to anxiety and fear for many Canadians. The result has been a spike in calls to helplines for adults, teenagers and children in distress. Young people, in particular, are facing complex challenges if they’re isolated from school, friends, and family.
On top of that, the financial stresses caused by job losses and the economic recession have also increased mental and physical health concerns. Individuals and families need knowledge and resources to understand what they are going through and how to find solutions and services as they regain financial stability and better mental health.
How Canadian mental health charities are there for those in need
Many Canadians may think of mental health treatment as something offered by hospitals and doctors exclusively, but it is much broader than that in reality. Thousands of charities in Canada are there for individuals and families in their times of need, including:
- Local charities address urgent mental health issues in their neighbourhoods, where people can build strong supports and adapt resources and services so that they improve mental health among individuals in their own communities.
- Charitable organizations work with government agencies and companies to educate workplaces and the public and to increase their awareness about mental health issues.
- Organizations improve the psychological and emotional health of individuals facing emergencies, including their families and caregivers, connecting with them one-on-one care and referring them to other services.
- Some non-profit institutions and groups specialize in consistent care and advocacy for people living with complex and treatment-resistant mental-health issues.
- Research associations advance Canada’s knowledge and clinical research, especially in the overlap between mental health, domestic abuse, lifestyles, and/or addictions.
- For families with children struggling with severe anxiety, experts from charities provide crisis intervention and help survivors to overcome traumatic experience.
- At a provincial or national level, some charities do the heavy lifting of advocating for mental health for youth, adults, and at-risk communities, developing programs that confront stigma, discrimination and violence directed at people with mental health issues.
You can help improve mental health awareness in Canada
You can help end the stigma and Stand Up for Mental Health with the new Cause Fund by CanadaHelps. Your donation will be pooled with others to support community programs, research foundations, therapy groups, crisis helplines, treatment centres, advocacy initiatives, and much more at more than 470 charities across Canada.