The Case for Diversity: Building the Case for Improved Mental Health Services for Immigrant, Refugee, Ethno-cultural and Racialized (IRER) Populations, released on October 18, 2016, is the fourth report in the MHCC’s growing body of research on the importance of addressing the mental health needs of IRER populations.

MHCC began this work in 2008, creating the Diversity Task Group to study the needs of IRER populations. The result was Issues and Options, released in 2009, which made 16 key recommendations for service improvement. Many of these recommendations were later brought forward in Changing Directions, Changing Lives: The Mental Health Strategy for Canada.

The importance of making the economic argument for closing the disparities in mental health care for IRER populations became clear in the fall of 2014, when the MHCC’s Provincial and Territorial Advisory Group (PTAG) met to discuss the need to articulate the financial implications of addressing gaps in culturally and linguistically competent services.

“I’ve had the pleasure of working with the MHCC in my capacity of Liberal Mental Health Caucus Chair. The MHCC has attended our meetings to shed light on suicide prevention, the criminal justice system, youth mental health needs and national mental health indicators, among many other topics. By amplifying stakeholder perspectives, the MHCC is helping to shape a crucial national mental health dialogue, with voices of lived experience at the heart of the discussion.” – Majid Jowhari, Member of Parliament, Richmond Hill, Chair, Liberal Mental Health Caucus

The Case for Diversity, a multi-year collaboration between the MHCC and researchers from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and the Wellesley Institute, bridges the gap from interest to action by providing policy makers and system planners with empirical evidence about current mental health disparities and the cost savings associated with closing the divide.

On March 24, 2017, the MHCC convened service providers, policy makers, system planners, researchers and people with lived experience for a two-day Action Table. They discussed and recommended priority actions to improve mental health services for IRER people
in Canada.

In January 2016, in response to Canada’s commitment to fast-track 25,000 Syrian refugees, the MHCC released a background document on Supporting the Mental Health of Refugees to Canada, and followed the release with a pan-Canadian round table on refugee mental health to provide provinces and territories with timely expertise.

“It’s been a pleasure to work with the MHCC to shape important conversations that will help drive more equitable access to mental health services for people living in Canada. In my work to support East Metro Youth Services and surrounding communities to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate services, the MHCC has been, and continues to be, an invaluable partner.” – Sheeba Narikuzhy, Clinical Manager,
East Metro Youth Services