Statement from the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health on Mental Illness Awareness Week

Press Release

From: Public Health Agency of Canada

October 3, 2022

Mental Illness Awareness Week gives us an opportunity to talk about our mental health and break down the barriers that contribute to the stigma surrounding mental illness.

Mental illnesses such as anxiety disorders and mood disorders can affect anyone including our families, friends and colleagues. Many of us will experience challenges regarding our mental wellbeing, but not everyone will experience a mental illness.

This week, join me in talking about mental illness, its impacts on people in Canada and the supports that are available to those who are struggling.

We all know that the past two years have been challenging. The pandemic has disproportionately affected already marginalized populations, such as women, youth, racialized communities, 2SLGBTQIA+, First Nations, Inuit and Metis. There have been, and continues to be, significant impacts on peoples’ mental well-being. New gaps and needs became apparent leading to further inequities.

As the Government of Canada’s first Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, I am committed to working with people with lived, and living experience experts, people working on the front-lines, my Provincial and Territorial counterparts, and all our partners on a comprehensive, evidence-based plan to improve supports for the mental health of all people in Canada. Mental health care must be treated as a full and equal part of our universal health care system.

If you need help, please reach out. If you are struggling, know that you can access the Wellness Together Canada (WTC) portal and its companion app PocketWell for free 24/7 educational content, and self-guided and moderated peer-to-peer support, as well as  one-to-one counselling with qualified health professionals. .

Indigenous Peoples who need immediate emotional support, crisis intervention, or referrals to community-based services can access experienced and culturally sensitive counsellors through the Hope for Wellness Help Line. This service is available in English and French, and, upon request, in Cree, Ojibway, and Inuktitut.

We are also working to implement 9-8-8, a national three-digit suicide prevention and mental health crisis number by next Fall. In the meantime, people can continue to access Talk Suicide Canada by calling 1-833-456-4566, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This service offers bilingual crisis and suicide prevention support. For residents of Quebec, call 1-866-277-3553 or visit for support by text and online chat.

Children and young adults in Canada in need of mental health supports and crisis services can contact Kids Help Phone. Text CONNECT to 686868 from anywhere in Canada, any time, about anything.

This Mental Illness Awareness Week, let’s talk about our mental health, mental illness and know that you are not alone.

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, P.C., M.P.


Maja Staka
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health

Media Relations
Health Canada
[email protected]


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