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Mary Simon


    Northern Canadians a priority in national mental health strategy

    On Monday, the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) released their report, Changing Directions, Changing Lives: The Mental Health Strategy for Canada. The MHCC, funded by Health Canada, has a ten year mandate, which includes creating the recently released mental health strategy, working to reduce stigma, advancing knowledge exchange in mental health, and examining how best to help people who are homeless and living with mental health problems.
    The 150-page report, which is the result of 5 years of research and consultation, outlines the Commission’s recommendations for the public, private and third sector. It calls for a multi-faceted, comprehensive, and targeted approach to understanding and addressing mental health in Canada.  The Commission highlights the relationship between other social determinants of health, such as poverty, housing, unemployment and education to all forms of health, including mental health.
    In an interview with the CBC on Tuesday, Mary Simon, President of ITK, announced that the two areas on which she will focus her attentions when she leaves ITK will be mental health and education. Simon noted that mental health is inter-connected with many other issues and aspects of peoples’ lives, including education, employment, housing, and the impacts of residential school and other traumatic experiences. She spoke about the high rates of suicide in Inuit communities across the North, and her frustration with the lack of attention given by governments to mental health in the North. Simon stressed the difficulties she has had in particular, in getting the attention of the federal government:
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