Canadians are reporting an increase in stress, anxiety, depression, and loneliness. In fact, almost half of all Canadians have reported that their mental health has worsened since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Distress centres are a vital part of our community providing mental health support and resources to those in need. Across the country, these centres are seeing a surge in demand for mental health services.
Today, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, announced an investment of $9,275,000 in 57 distress centres in Canada through the Public Health Agency of Canada. This investment will support a range of distress centres across the country, including in rural and remote areas. It will also support centres that provide crisis support for specific populations—including seniors, Indigenous communities, LGBTQ2 populations and racially and linguistically diverse communities. Project funding will support recruitment, training, operating costs, and knowledge exchanges.
This is part of a $50 million investment first announced in the 2020 Fall Economic Statement to support distress centres across Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. A second solicitation will be launched in the months ahead to provide funding to additional centres. A portion of these funds will support the development of resources that assist distress centres in meeting the needs of vulnerable populations during the pandemic.
All Canadians, including those who are at-risk and those living in rural and remote areas, need access to critical health and mental health resources and services. As we work with provinces and territories on expanding virtual services, we are making sure that Canadians can use emergency supports when they need them.
The Government is committed to supporting Canadians and their mental health through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. If you or a loved one is struggling, you can access the Wellness Together Canada portal, or call 1-866-585-0445 or text WELLNESS to 741741 (adults) or 686868 (youth).
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on all of us. Many are experiencing new or worsened mental health challenges during these times, and we are taking action to help Canadians in crisis. If you need help, know that you are not alone. This critical support will help distress centres offer assistance across the country, and boost other investments to improve mental health services. Connecting Canadians to appropriate supports and resources will have substantial benefits and will help those in crisis,” said Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health.