Statements by the Prime Minister of Canada on Mental Health Week and World Press Freedom Day

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  • “This week, I encourage all Canadians to #GetLoud to raise awareness about mental health, an important, but sometimes invisible, aspect of our general health.

    “This year’s campaign, led by the Canadian Mental Health Association, asks us to speak up to make sure Canadians get the mental health care they need, when they need it. Mental health is a core part of our well-being, but too often long wait times or limited services stop Canadians from getting the mental health care they need.

    “That is why the Government of Canada will provide $5 billion over the next 10 years to provinces and territories to support mental health initiatives. These investments will help improve access to evidence-based interventions and mental health services and care for people across the country. With a particular focus on youth and young adults, this will help as many as 500,000 young Canadians.

    “We also know that providing greater access to care and support is just half of the equation. Having access to safe, adequate and affordable housing, and being able to find and keep a good paying job are also part of what makes a difference in people’s health. That is why the Government of Canada is making major investments in both housing and employment initiatives. As part of the new $5 billion National Housing Fund, persons with mental health and addiction issues will receive greater support.

    “The Government of Canada remains committed to help communities address their unique mental health challenges. To build on Indigenous-led initiatives like the First Nations Mental Wellness Continuum Framework and the National Inuit Suicide Prevention Strategy, Budget 2017 pledges over $200 million over the next five years to increase support for mental health services for First Nations and Inuit. This includes making available, for the first time, the services of traditional healers as part of the Non-Insured Health Benefits Program administered by Health Canada.

    “The struggles of mental illness have affected so many of us, including my own family. For everyone who has struggled with a mental illness: thank you for sharing your stories, and for showing that being open is a strength. You are not alone. Today, I join Canadians to celebrate your resilience, and to get loud about the need for timely access to mental health services and support. Together, we can make sure all Canadians have the care and support they need to live full and healthy lives.”

    Here is the statement on World Press Freedom Day:

    “Every year, on May 3rd, we celebrate the fundamental principle of freedom of the press, and the important role journalists play in promoting democracy around the world. On this day, we take a hard look at the current state of press freedom, and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the pursuit of truth.

    “The theme of this year’s World Press Freedom Day is ‘Critical Minds for Critical Times: Media’s role in advancing peaceful, just and inclusive societies.’ It reminds us that peace, justice and inclusiveness are foundational values for any society that empowers individual citizens and promotes government transparency and accountability.

    “The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms – now in its 35th year – established the freedom of the press as a fundamental freedom. Journalists start conversations, shine light on stories that would otherwise not be told, and give Canadians the facts they need to engage in public debate and shape events around them. A free and open press is crucial to an informed and engaged citizenry, which is at the heart of a healthy democracy.

    “While journalistic freedom is widely recognized and respected in Canada, we cannot ignore the censorship, intimidation, false arrests and violence that many journalists face in other parts of the world. These acts give rise to fear and self-censorship, stifle societies, and undermine the right to freedom of expression. Canada will continue working to promote a vibrant and free press here and abroad.

    “Today, we recognize the many journalists who seek out the truth, challenge assumptions and expose injustices, often at great personal risk. They are the cornerstones of any strong and healthy democracy, informing and challenging us all to think more critically about the world around us.”

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