The world needs a new definition of health
More than 6.7 million Canadians experience mental illness annually.1 It is one of the world’s leading causes of disability,2 and suicide accounts for nearly 800,000 deaths each year.3 We know that people with mental illness face barriers to timely and effective mental health care, and many receive no care until they are critically ill.
At CAMH, we advocate equitable mental health resources and supports in our publicly funded health care system. We deploy new treatments and implement new models of care and support. We build new spaces to facilitate recovery and community reintegration.
Meanwhile, the population ages and diversifies. New technologies and global challenges revolutionize our day-to-day lives. COVID-19 accelerated access to virtual care and remote working platforms at the same time as it shone a spotlight on the importance of human connection to our well-being. Our #apartnotalone campaign, our COVID-19 resource hub and our part in Ontario’s pandemic response reminded the world that mental health is health. We saw a growing willingness to talk about the health impacts of anxiety. We also saw people without safe housing, stable incomes or food security—many of whom experience mental illness—face much higher levels of risk.
Our changing landscape compels us to reconsider the meaning of health. It is time for a new definition, one that places mental health at the centre of the health care system and acknowledges the personal, social, environmental and political forces shaping health. These ideas form the core of our vision:
We are steadfast in our belief that mental health is health. This conviction animates our mission:
We are dedicated to patient, family and community well-being. We improve access to integrated care, answer the most difficult questions about mental illness and remove barriers to belonging. Together, we choose hope.
"It's important to acknowledge that CAMH is unlearning and unravelling the deep-rooted legacy, stigma and deeply unequal treatment and care that mental health patients have received.”
Engagement participant, CAMH strategic plan development
In year 1 of our plan, we will identify indicators to measure our overall performance, then assess and monitor them in response to changing needs. Priority areas for measurement will include those related to:
- timely access to patient-centred care
- engagement and well-being of CAMH people
- growth in the mental health movement
- improvement in equity, diversity and inclusion
- influence of CAMH discoveries and innovations
- quality of patient experiences
- enhanced safety and effectiveness of care.
One CAMH embodies a promise to our community and to ourselves. It is a road map toward our vision of health redefined.
We will inspire the world and ourselves. We will ask whose voices are missing, and we will include them. We will focus on opportunities for maximum impact.
For all of our communities, One CAMH represents a collective vision and a reflection of your voices.