Canada Helps Drive Global Action on Mental Health

News release

The Minister of Health wraps up participation at global summit

October 11, 2018        Ottawa, ON        Public Health Agency of Canada

Poor mental health or mental illness affects many of us, directly or indirectly, at some point in our lives. Mental health issues also challenge health systems, the economy, productivity and sustainable development — a challenge shared by all countries, including Canada. The impacts of poor mental health and mental illness are complex and wide ranging, with no one country having all of the solutions to prevent or address these impacts.

To meet this challenge, it will take global, collective action on mental health that engages all sectors of society including people with lived experience. Canada is working with other countries and sectors to share research and best practices, and to identify actions that can contribute to positive mental health and prevent mental illness for Canadians and people around the world.

The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, participated in the Global Ministerial Mental Health Summit. At the Summit, political leaders, innovators, experts-by-experience, policy makers and civil society from countries around the world shared innovative approaches to scale up mental health and social services; accelerate research and investments; reduce stigma and discrimination; and prevent mental health conditions in children and youth and support those who have symptoms early in life.

With half of all mental illness worldwide beginning by age 14, youth have an important role to play in improving mental health care, supports and outcomes for young people. The Canadian delegation included youth delegate Nicholas van den Berg, a mental health advocate who works to normalize mental health discussions among his peers and break down stigma. Mr. van den Berg provided his perspective on solutions that impact youth.

Minister Petitpas Taylor also co-chaired, with Steve Brine, UK Parliamentary Undersecretary of Public Health and Social Care, the first meeting of the Alliance of Champions for Mental Health and Wellbeing. During this meeting, Ministers from countries around the world discussed their challenges and successes in addressing mental health in their countries and explored opportunities for the Alliance to coordinate global action on mental health across various sectors, governments and organizations.


“Improving mental health and preventing mental illness is one of the most critical global health challenges of our time. That is why we came together — to face this challenge head on. It’s also why I joined my colleagues from Australia and the United Kingdom in launching the Alliance of Champions for Mental Health and Wellbeing earlier this year. Global, collective action on mental health that engages everyone — from health care workers and the business sector to civil society and people with lived experience — will help us meet this challenge more quickly and effectively both at the global level and for Canadians.”
The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health

“Navigating the mental health care system can be challenging, particularly for young people, who are among the most susceptible to mental illness. The partnership between countries to address this issue is a pivotal step for destigmatizing mental health and making mental health care globally accessible. When paralleled with the inclusive dialogue between stakeholders at every level – including youth with lived experience – the mental health care system can be transformed to address the challenges we have been facing."
Nicholas van den Berg,
Advisory on Youth Matters, Frayme

Quick facts

  • Globally, one out of every four people will be impacted by poor mental health or mental illness at some point in their lives.

  • The Global Ministerial Mental Health Summit, held October 9-10, 2018, in London was hosted by the UK Government and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, and supported by the World Health Organization.

  • In May 2018, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom launched the Alliance of Champions for Mental Health and Wellbeing. The Alliance is an informal group of like-minded Ministers committed to increasing political will for improving mental health, preventing mental illness and decreasing stigma on a global scale. The Alliance also aims to improve coordination of action across various sectors and actors.

  • In September 2018, leaders and stakeholders gathered in New York for the United Nations General Assembly High-Level Meeting (HLM) on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and committed to implement actions to control and prevent chronic diseases, including integrating mental health into national responses to NCDs.

  • The Public Health Agency of Canada funded a side event at the General Assembly, organized by United for Global Mental Health, to share global progress on mental health and bolster a growing united effort for global mental health.

Associated links


Thierry Bélair
Office of the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health

Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada

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