Mental Health Week

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.

Your United Way supports community mental health efforts through its partnership with 2-1-1, the funding provided to non-profits through the Community Services Recovery Fund, and with a focus on youth mental health through our collaboration with YouthCALL. This free live-answer helpline assists young people who need help planning their path forward. Through a Community Service Navigator, YouthCALL offers accessible, transitional-age youth-focused services that will strip away many of the barriers faced by this population and help create a seamless transition to adult services. A YouthCALL client was recently assisted and had this to say  “… my Community Navigator helped me find mental health help while simultaneously helping me find a job and checking in on me weekly to see if she could be of any assistance. Finally, I was referred to a psychotherapist to help me, and my navigator helped me find a job… and reassured me that I would be able to ace any interview! Her work helped me so much!”

Everyone in our communities deserves access to supports as we continue our journey towards an equitable future and recovery for all. If you or someone you know needs support call 2-1-1 or email or YouthCALL Service Link can be accessed by calling (705) 790-2338 or email

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