Mental Health and Substance Use Responses to COVID-19
Message from the Scientific Director, Dr. Samuel Weiss
As the national COVID-19 pandemic response continues, it is clear that Canadians are experiencing a collective traumatic event. As we focus on keeping ourselves, our families and our loved ones physically safe and healthy, COVID-19 also has substantial mental health implications that require attention. The sharp increase in uncertainty, worry, anxiety and stress can negatively affect our mental health, and certain individuals and groups – including those currently receiving or seeking mental health and/or problematic substance use supports – may be at particularly high risk.
To support the mental health of all Canadians and address the increase in needs during this unprecedented time, the Government of Canada is complimenting its current pandemic response with two new mental-health focused funding opportunities through CIHR:
- The Knowledge Synthesis Grant: COVID-19 Rapid Research Funding Opportunity in Mental Health and Substance Use funding opportunity will support the immediate health services needs through rapid knowledge syntheses and knowledge mobilization plans for existing mental health and substance use services in the COVID-19 context. Funded projects will identify and support the adaptation and growth of current infrastructure, offering timely, accessible and relevant evidence to decision makers at municipal, provincial/territorial, and federal levels, in a rapid timeframe.
- A second competition, which is expected to launch later this spring, will tackle the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health and substance use and develop new models of health services for mental illness and problematic substance use to address the expected increased needs due to COVID-19.
Taken together, this funding will rapidly inform effective mental health and substance use services for all Canadians, and in particular for those with the greatest needs and/or vulnerability. These funding opportunities are one component of a developing COVID-19 and Mental Health Initiative that is a coordinated effort effort by CIHR-INMHA, in collaboration with Health Canada (HC) and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).
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