Government of Canada co-founds Alliance of Champions for Mental Health and Wellbeing

News release

Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor calls for greater global action on mental health

May 20, 2018 - Ottawa, ON - Public Health Agency of Canada

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that globally one out of every four people will be impacted by poor mental health or mental illness at some point in their lives. Poor mental health and mental illness affect not only individuals, but also their families, caregivers, friends and communities. Improving mental health, preventing mental illness and tackling the stigma that surrounds mental health disorders are among the most critical global health challenges of our time--challenges that all countries face.

Today, in Geneva, on the margins of the World Health Assembly, the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, hosted an event to launch the Alliance of Champions for Mental Health and Wellbeing.

Minister Petitpas Taylor co-founded the Alliance with Jeremy Hunt, the United Kingdom's Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, and Greg Hunt MP, Australia's Minister for Health. The Alliance aims to catalyze and coordinate greater global public health and action to address mental health.

At the launch, ministers and officials from countries around the world reinforced the need for coordination and leadership on mental health. Ministers who join the Alliance commit to advancing the global mental health agenda through both domestic and international actions. To contribute to enhancing collaboration between nations, the UK will host the first ever Global Ministerial Mental Health Summit in London this autumn.

The Alliance of Champions for Mental Health and Wellbeing supports and builds on other global initiatives on mental health, including the United Nations' 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the United Nations Human Rights Council resolution on Mental Health and Human Rights, and the WHO Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020.

Ministers from other sectors--such as housing, education and finance--are invited to join the initiative since many of the levers to address mental health fall outside the health sector.

The Government of Canada will continue to engage with leaders from other countries and across sectors to promote good mental health and address mental illness on a national and global level.


"Governments, civil society and the private sector are all starting to mobilize to address mental health. Now is the time to build on this momentum by rallying global leadership. The Alliance of Champions for Mental Health and Wellbeing brings another level of commitment to global efforts to support good mental health and wellbeing and to address mental illness. Just as the world came together over the last century to tackle what seemed like insurmountable problems, today we must unite as one to make meaningful progress against mental illness."

The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health

"When you look at the extraordinary prevalence and impact on people's lives, it is clear that mental illness is fast becoming one of the defining global health challenges of the 21st century. Until recently, this hasn't had the profile it deserves on a global stage. I hope the Alliance of Champions for Mental Health and Wellbeing, along with the inaugural global summit, will be the next step that millions of people around the world need right now. Together we will bring about a new level of co-operation between nations and improve people's access to evidence-based services and bear down on stigma and other factors that are exacerbating this crisis."

The Right Honourable Jeremy Hunt
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, United Kingdom

"In Australia, four million people every year will face a mental health challenge, that's why addressing mental health is one of the four key pillars of the Government's long-term national health plan. Mental health is right up there with primary care, supporting hospitals and funding medical research as key priorities for us. Our commitment to supporting Australians living with mental health issues was further boosted in the recent Budget, with more than $338 million being invested in mental health. That's Australia's story, but I see the formation of this alliance as a fundamental step forward--we can learn from each other--we must support each other. I am proud to be a co-founder of the alliance and can assure you Australia will be a motivated contributor and we look forward to working with you."

The Honourable Greg Hunt MP
Minister for Health, Australia


Thierry BĂ©lair
Office of Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health

Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada

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