Community-Based Organizations Critical to Better Mental Health Across Canada
The pandemic has shone a light on long-standing societal inequities related to race, income, ability, gender, disability, and age, exposing deep cracks within our social safety net. In a similar fashion, COVID-19 has exposed the significant impacts of long-term underfunding, low wages, and diminishing capacity within the human and community services sector. These issues are especially acute within the housing and homelessness sector, gender-based violence work, food security, care work, and mental health sectors.
When it comes to mental health, community-based organizations play an important role in responding to people who are in a crisis by assessing their immediate circumstances, providing short-term counseling and peer-to-peer learning, and connecting them with medical professionals. Due to an increased demand for mental health services and the complexity of needs arising from the pandemic in our communities, concerns about access to timely health care remain in the headlines across Canada and non-profit and care sector workers are feeling the impact of the increased pressures on their own mental health. Although the federal government’s upcoming health transfers to the provinces and territories will include an investment in clinical mental health services, a stronger focus on further enabling the community-based organizations is required.