he 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.
Had devastating impacts on the mental health, substance use and homelessness of Canadians and highlighted the pre-existing and increasing needs for mental health, addiction and support services.
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.
Made visible the current patchwork system of care provided in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors. The vital mental health and addiction programs, services and supports delivered by not-for-profits are crucial and need to be better integrated.
Laid bare the inadequate and unsustainable funding of not-for-profit mental health and addictions services delivered by charitable organizations
Strained the already-overstretched community mental health sector and its workforce.