IMAGE: Genevieve Pizzale
A roundup of programs and services in Canada that’ll help those suffering from mental illness (and their families) get the support they need
Even though half of us before age 40 will experience mental illness, it still faces a lot of stigma. The Mental Health Commission of Canada reports that 60 per cent of people with mental health problems won’t ask for help because they’re afraid of that stigma.
In spite of that, there are many support groups and programs available to not only help with management and recovery, but to also remind those suffering from mental health problems that they’re not alone.
Read on to learn about eight programs available and five web-based services, so you can find the one that’s best for you or your loved one.
Family Mental Health Support Network of Niagara
Who it’s for: The workshops the FSN Niagara offers focus on helping caregivers better understand mental health, learn more about the other resources available in the community and develop coping skills.
Location: Workshops are available across the Niagara Region, including St. Catharines, Niagara Falls, Welland, Fort Erie and Port Colborne.
Mood Disorders Association of Ontario
Who it’s for: The Mood Disorders Association offers free support programs for people with depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder as well as their families.
Location: Peer support groups are available throughout the entire province. Click here for the full list.
The LifeLine Canada Foundation
Who it’s for: This country-wide non-profit is focused on suicide prevention by educating people on risk factors, offering access to online resources and building local support programs both for those in crisis and people who have lost a loved one. The LifeLine Canada Foundation also has an app with e-counselling and chat functions.
Location: At least one program is available in every province and four programs in the Northwest Territories. See the full list here.
CAFconnection Mental Health Programs and Services
Who it’s for: With an aim to help ensure the mental health of Canadian Armed Forces members and their families, the CAF health services have a variety of health professionals, crisis tools, counselling services and resources.
Location: There are more than 30 CAF locations across the country, including most military bases, as well as locations in the U.S. and Europe for those stationed overseas.
Network for Aboriginal Mental Health Research
Who it’s for: The Network for Aborginal Mental Health Research aggregates programs that are designed to help Indigenous people care for their mental health, including suicide prevention groups, youth groups and addiction services.
Location: Programs are offered in every province and territory and some U.S. states.
Battered Women’s Support Services
Who it’s for: The BWSS helps women recovering from abuse connect with each other to share information, raise awareness and work on coping skills to continue towards an abuse-free future.
Location: Vancouver, B.C.
Schizophrenia Society of Canada
Who it’s for: Each society chapter of Schizophrenia Society of Canada and its branches offer programs and support groups to help people with schizophrenia and their loved ones understand and cope with the disorder.
Location: Every province has its own society. See the locations of the Schizophrenia Society of Canada.
Peer Support Canada
Who it’s for: Developed by the Canadian Mental Health Association, the Peer Support Canada initiative connects sufferers with someone who has had a similar mental health experience to yours to give you one-on-one guidance and support.
Location: Certified Peer Supporters, Family Peer Supporters and Peer Support Mentors are offered across the country.
Getting out of bed or out of the house can be a struggle when your mental health isn’t at its peak—and that’s what these digital tools and resources are there for.
- Not Myself Today gives employers the tools and resources to help improve the mental health of their employees, raise awareness and break down the stigma.
- Check Up From The Neck Up is working to remind us that mental health is just as important as physical health. It offers a check-up quiz to help you understand your own mental health.
- Big White Wall is an anonymous online community where you can access peer support via their chat service, self-guided courses, assessments and creative outlets like an image and word-based interface.
- Mind Your Mind uses its social media channels to distribute daily mental wellness tips. The site is packed with resources designed to help young people aged 14 to 29 take care of their mental health.
- Anxiety Canada is an online resource for those with anxiety disorders, and it also created the app MindShift to keep anxiety-coping tools at your fingertips.
- Beacon is a paid app that offers digital one-on-one support with a dedicated therapist. Using evidence-based psychotherapy (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), patients can get the help they need with treating and managing concerns like mild to moderate depression, anxiety, PTSD and panic disorders.