Study: Most Canadians want universal mental health care

New data reveals that 87% of people living in Canada want universal mental health care.
Study: Most Canadians want universal mental health care

New data reveals that 87% of people living in Canada want universal mental health care

Research found that almost all Canadians would like access to free, publicly funded mental health care

Toronto, ON (May 1, 2023) – People living in Canada believe that we are in a mental health crisis and that governments are not doing enough about it. A recent survey conducted for the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) found that almost nine-in-ten agree that people living in Canada should have access to universal mental health care.

Universal mental health care means the services needed are available, they are funded through public health insurance plans and free to the individual, and they are the same – no matter where a person lives or who they are. Universal mental health care meets everyone’s needs.

“We hear stories from people across the country every day that services are hard to find and not available to everyone,” says Margaret Eaton, National CEO, CMHA. “Just like physical health, mental health is important to living a fully engaged life. Which is why mental health services should be fully covered.”

The survey found that of the 35% of people who have experienced a mental health concern in the past year, more than one-third did not reach out for help primarily because it is too expensive or because they don’t know where to find it. The research also showed that more than half of people living in Canada (57%) would access mental health care through a community organization with a free program.

“Mental health care doesn’t just happen in a doctor’s office or in a hospital. There are community-based mental health services that work together with the medical system, and they need to be properly funded. They must also be easy-to-find, free and available where people live, work and play,” says Eaton.

A summary of the data by province can be found here.

The release of these findings aligns with CMHA’s 72nd annual Mental Health Week, May 1-7, 2023. This year’s theme is MY STORY and aims to shine a spotlight on community mental health care champions, programs and communities while showcasing the importance of securing universal mental health care.

This Mental Health Week, we can harness the power of storytelling to help build connections and understanding between each other while strengthening our communities. To get involved, you can:

  • Share your story and support for universal mental health care using the hashtags #MyStory and #MentalHealthWeek;
  • Learn about different types of mental health supports and how they can be used to support you or someone in your community;
  • Visit for more information and to download resources;
  • Donate to support CMHA mental health programs and services;
  • Connect with CMHA Kelowna if you or someone you love is struggling or visit the Government of Canada’s Wellness Together If you are in crisis, please call 1-833-456-4566 toll free in Canada (1-866-277-3553 in Quebec) or dial 911.