Government of Canada Announces Funding of Quebec Projects That Support Positive Mental Health

Montreal, Quebec – June 8, 2011 – The Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of Industry, on behalf of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, today announced federal funding of over $5 million to support two community-based projects in Quebec designed to promote and strengthen mental health. This funding covers both Phase I and Phase II of a $27 million national funding announcement by the Government of Canada. Through the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Innovation Strategy, this funding seeks to improve the mental health of vulnerable populations in communities across Canada.”By equipping children and youth with coping behaviours and strategies, we can help them deal with issues familiar to their age group and also with problems they may face later in their lives,” said Minister Paradis.

The Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research at McGill University is receiving more than $2.9 million (Phase I and Phase II) to adapt and expand on a family-centered prevention program that is directly related to suicide prevention and will be supplemented with components addressing mental health literacy. The focus of the program will be on culturally-specific approaches to strengthening family relations in First Nations communities.

The Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) project is receiving more than $2.7 million (Phase I and Phase II) to develop a new program for seven to 11 year olds that builds on the success of the internationally recognized program Zippy’s Friends, which teaches coping skills to younger children. Through this program, children are led through stories that touch on friendships, communications, loneliness, bullying, change and loss, and making a new start – and learn the social skills that will help them cope.

Professor Brian Mishara and a team at the Université du Québec à Montréal are developing and rigorously evaluating their new school-based promotion program. “When children learn at an early age to expand their range of effective ways of dealing with common situations, such as frustrations and conflicts with friends, they will be better equipped to handle difficulties later in life and improve their life-long mental health, said Mishara. The new program, which focuses on collaboration rather than competition, involves entertaining games and exercises where children practice new skills.

Through the Declaration on Prevention and Promotion, Canada’s Ministers of Health have agreed to make health promotion a priority for action. The Government of Canada is committed to working with partners – within and outside the health sector – to design and implement new approaches to promote the health and well-being of Canada’s children and youth.

FACT SHEET

Innovation Strategy – Mental Health Promotion

The Government of Canada, along with provinces, territories, and community groups, is working to find better ways to promote positive mental health among Canadians.

Differences in economic circumstances, education, living conditions and the physical environment can prevent a proportion of our population from achieving optimal mental health and well-being. This includes children, youth and families living in northern, remote and rural communities.

Through the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Innovation Strategy, the Government of Canada funds projects that will help to improve our understanding of what works to promote positive mental health among children, youth and families.

In several communities across Canada, these projects will directly support positive mental health among children and youth through community-based education and family support.

These projects, with funding totalling over $27 million, will contribute to our knowledge of mental health promotion and be shared with communities and partners across the country.

Quebec-based projects:

Development and Implementation of a Mental Health Promotion Program Centred on Coping for Primary School Children in Quebec

The Centre de recherche et d’interventions sur le suicide et l’euthanasie (CRISE), Université du Québec à Montréal, is receiving more than $2.7 million over five years (Phase I and Phase II) to develop and implement a new intervention building on the concepts of “Zippy’s Friends”.

“Zippy’s Friends” is an internationally recognized program for children that uses illustrated stories that deal with friendship, communication, loneliness, bullying, change and loss and making a new start. The new program will target children ages seven to 11 and will be carried out in communities across Quebec, including Lachine, Gatineau, Maniwaki and Kitigan Zibi.

Culturally-based family centered mental health promotion for Aboriginal youth

The Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research at McGill University is receiving more than $2.9 million over five years (Phase I and Phase II) to adapt and expand on a family-centered prevention program that is directly related to suicide prevention and will be supplemented with components addressing mental health literacy.

The focus of the program will be on culturally-specific approaches to strengthening family relations in First Nations communities.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is funding these initiatives under its Innovation Strategy program. The Innovation Strategy supports population health innovation and learning through Health Canada which build practice-based evidence.

Contact Information

Cailin Rodgers
Office of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
Federal Minister of Health
(613) 957-0200

Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada
(613) 941-8189

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