National Standards for Mental Health Services
The National Standards for Mental Health Services Initiative supports research to inform the development of national standards for mental health and/or substance use services to ensure all Canadians can access the support they need, when they need it.
All Canadians should have timely and equitable access to effective, evidence-based, culturally safe and appropriate mental health and substance use care. Before the pandemic began, almost one in ten Canadians reported that their mental health care needs were not met, and evidence is showing that this number continues to rise.
Budget 2021 committed $45 million over two years, starting in 2021-22 to Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and CIHR, to help develop national mental health service standards, in collaboration with provinces and territories, health organizations, and key stakeholders. Specifically, CIHR will support innovative health research and knowledge mobilization to inform equitable mental health and/or substance use service standards development and future evaluation. Standards will be developed to align with the Common Statement of Principles on Shared Health Priorities agreed upon by Health Ministers across all provinces and territories. The Government of Canada is partnering with the Standards Council of Canada to coordinate the development of these standards.
There remain many unknowns about how service standards (i.e., standards or principles to guide service delivery at the organizational level) are implemented and influence health outcomes or improved care. New national standards for mental health services may improve service delivery, health outcomes, and care, but there is an urgent need for high-quality research to inform their development. Through this recent investment in mental health services research, CIHR is helping to inform national standards for mental health services so Canadians can access the support they need, when they need it.
Integrated Youth Services – Network of Networks (IYS-Net)
IYS-Net will play a prominent role in informing Canada’s National Standards for Mental Health Services, a Government of Canada priority outlined in Budget 2021.
IYS-Net will contribute evidence and knowledge to inform the development of pan-Canadian standards for mental health and substance use services in IYS (e.g., standards for data gathering, quality of services, access to care, culturally informed care, and engaging youth and families in service design and delivery).
To learn more about the initiative and why it matters, please visit the IYS-Net webpage.
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