The Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on World Mental Health Day:
“Kids and parents. Friends and loved ones. Colleagues at work and folks in our communities. Mental health affects all of us – and that’s why we need to talk about it. Having an honest conversation, sharing our stories with compassion and openness – these are ways we can make it easier for people to reach out and get the help they need. Yet too often, fear of stigma makes people suffer in silence. World Mental Health Day is a chance to change that.
This year, World Mental Health Day focuses on suicide prevention. No family should have to go through losing a loved one to suicide. No one should have to feel hopeless because they can’t get the support they need. That’s why we’re going to set clear national standards for access to mental health services – to make sure every Canadian can get quality support quickly, when they need it most.
In Canada, too many Indigenous communities lose young people, elders, parents, and friends to suicide. Over the last four years, we’ve made important progress through initiatives like the Inuit-led National Inuit Suicide Prevention Strategy, but much more needs to be done. Last month, we announced that a re-elected Liberal government will work together with Indigenous peoples to create distinctions-based Indigenous health legislation, to make sure Indigenous communities have access to high quality, culturally-relevant health care and mental health services.
We’ve made mental health a priority because no one should ever have to suffer in silence. Yet too many Canadians go through these struggles without the help they need – and that’s especially true for veterans. That’s unacceptable, and that’s why we will make sure every veteran has access to high quality mental health care, when and where they need it. We will move forward with a new rapid-response service, and we will reach out to every Canadian veteran to make sure they know about the help available. We will also make it easier for veterans to get disability benefits, and give our veterans up to $3,000 in additional free counselling services before a disability claim is required.
In the past four years, our Liberal government has made major strides to advance mental health. We made Canada’s largest-ever investment in mental health, and working with the provinces and territories, we made mental health a key priority in our health accords for the first time in Canadian history.
But this is just the beginning, and we’re going to keep building on our work. A re-elected Liberal government will include mental health as a specific element of occupational health and safety in the Canada Labour Code. Understanding that addiction is closely tied to mental health, we will invest to help more people access the addiction treatment services they need. We will also strengthen support for LGBTQ2 communities, including by further investing in the mental health crisis hotline we launched earlier this year.
No matter who we are or what we do, there is no shame in struggling with a mental health issue. Mental health affects all of us, whether someone we love is suffering or we’ve gone through these struggles ourselves. Let’s work together to break down stigma, move forward, and build a healthier Canada for everyone.”