Minister’s Statement – World Health Day – April 7, 2017

Each year on April 7, we mark the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1948 by commemorating World Health Day and raising awareness about a specific global health issue. This year’s theme, “Depression: Let’s Talk,” is an international call to action to reduce the stigma attached to mental illness and to encourage open dialogue.

One in three Canadians will be affected by a mental illness, such as depression, in their lifetime. We must talk openly about mental health and mental illness, and this is our government’s goal as we work with provinces and territories, community organizations, mental health experts and other stakeholders to increase public awareness and combat the stigma associated with mental illness.

As part of Budget 2017, the federal government will provide targeted funding of $5 billion over 10 years to provinces and territories to improve access to mental health services for Canadians, including youth, who can benefit most from early intervention.

My colleagues and I also recognize the depth and seriousness of the mental health issues facing Indigenous communities, particularly among youth. We are committed to working with First Nations partners, Chiefs and Councils to support community-based mental wellness programming. One example of this work is the national 24/7, toll-free crisis response line for First Nations and Inuit. It provides counseling services in French, English, and upon request in Cree, Ojibwe and Inuktut to those who seek help. The toll-free First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line can be reached at 1-855-242-3310.

We are also proud to support the Canadian Distress Line Network as it works to bring together multiple existing crisis and counselling lines to develop a national, 24/7, free and confidential counseling and support service to individuals in crisis, regardless of where they live. This new national suicide prevention service will be available by chat, text or phone, in late 2017. For a list of crisis centres across Canada, please visit the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention website.

By joining me in the #LetsTalk campaign, you can help build a positive, resilient and open Canadian society in which those who need help feel safe and hopeful when they speak up and seek assistance.

The Honourable Jane Philpott, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Health


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