Government of Canada invests $1.2 million in mental health support for long-term care frontline workers and essential service providers
Funding commitment will address PTSD and trauma in those most affected by COVID-19
October 4, 2022 | Ottawa, ON | Public Health Agency of Canada
As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, we must address the mental health challenges faced by frontline workers, and those they continue to face, especially for people working in long-term care (LTC) homes. Mental Illness Awareness Week gives us a chance to reduce stigma and break down the barriers to care for those suffering with mental illness, mental health challenges and substance abuse use. We need to spread the message that mental illness affects people of all ages and backgrounds and in any industry.
Today, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, announced an investment of $1.2 million for the Canadian Association for Long Term Care (CALTC) to work with the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) to customize and adapt The Working Mind program for managers, supervisors and frontline employees in LTC homes.
This investment will build the mental health expertise within LTC homes by equipping them with facilitators certified in The Working Mind, an evidence-based program that aims to reduce the stigma of mental illness and address and promote mental health and resiliency in the workplace.
The funding is part of a larger investment in Budget 2021 of $50 million over two years to help those experiencing, or at risk for, PTSD and trauma due to the pandemic, including frontline and essential service providers. The Government of Canada recognizes that frontline and essential workers are at greater risk of developing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and is committed to supporting them both now and throughout our pandemic recovery.
“Canada’s long term care workers have done such tremendous work and sacrificed so much to keep older people healthy and safe throughout the pandemic. With the funding announced today, we are working to support frontline workers most at risk of PTSD and investing in their healing process. To all frontline long term care workers – Thank you all for your continued dedication and unwavering commitment during these very difficult times. We appreciate all that you do.”
The Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, and Associate Minister of Health
“The last two years have served to highlight the essential role that long term care workers in Canada play in keeping seniors healthy. But it is not without its toll. Today’s announcement is an important step forward in supporting and empowering long term care workers.”
Member of Parliament for Ottawa West-Nepean
“Throughout the pandemic, the employees in LTC homes shown incredible dedication during the unprecedented experiences that COVID-19 brought. As we work to improve senior care in Canada, CALTC is incredibly pleased to be the recipient of this grant from the Government of Canada that allows us to partner with the Mental Health Commission of Canada to deliver mental health training that will support LTC employers and employees for the future- ultimately resulting in better care for our residents”.
CEO of the Canadian Association for Long Term Care
Every long-term care worker deserves psychological health and safety in the workplace. The Mental Health Commission of Canada is pleased to collaborate with the Government of Canada and CALTC to empower long-term care workers with our program The Working Mind.”
Michel Rodrigue, President and CEO
Mental Health Commission of Canada
Stressors from the pandemic may increase the number of Canadians experiencing symptoms of PTSD. Those who already have PTSD may experience more severe symptoms.
In late 2020, the prevalence of screening positive for PTSD was higher among frontline workers (10%) than other Canadians (5%).(Statistics Canada, Survey on COVID-19 and Mental Health, September to December 2020)
PTSD symptoms may affect various aspects of daily life, making it hard for people to function in their day-to-day activities.
This funding opportunity aims to promote mental health, wellness and resilience, as well as provide support following exposure to trauma to mitigate mental health impacts.
The Government of Canada is committed to supporting the mental health of people in Canada through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. If you or a loved one is struggling, you can access the Wellness Together Canada portal, or call 1-866-585-0445 or text WELLNESS to 741741 (adults) or 686868 (youth). The Wellness Together Canada portal provides free access to educational content, self-guided therapy, moderated peer-to-peer support, and one-to-one counselling with qualified health professionals.
To further protect people in long- term care settings and improve infection prevention and control, the Government of Canada has also invested up to $1 billion through the Safe Long-term Care Fund.
Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health
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