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Mental Health: Awareness and Education


  • Mental health,
  • Social environment,
  • Community,
  • Facilities & organizations,
  • Healthcare facilities,
  • Schools,
  • Workplace,

Awareness and Education

Research shows that stigma around mental illness often prevents people from asking for help and threatens recovery.1  Awareness and education campaigns can normalize mental illness, and help to reduce negative perceptions and common misunderstandings of mental health.

Students, residents, local businesses and service organizations rallied to encourage getting out in nature and taking a walk – both excellent ways to support mental wellness.

Ways to get started

  • Narrow down a topic area for your campaign based on community interest (men’s mental health, suicide awareness, addictions, loneliness, mental health literacy).
  • Invite people with lived experience to co-create your local campaign.
  • Identify local resources for your campaign; then link to regional, national and international experts and organizations (for speakers, material, volunteers and marketing).
  • Remove barriers to access by providing transportation, childcare and/or food for participants attending activities, where possible
  • Create a comfortable and inclusive environment.2,3
  • Use positive messaging to reduce stigma.
  • Be culturally sensitive and flexible.
  • Work with your municipality to incorporate opportunities for social connection into community plans. Municipal plans and policies on housing, natural environments, food systems and neighbourhood design can support social connection and have a positive impact on mental health.

For further action to promote/improve mental health in your community, see:

Multi-component community-wide interventions that increase awareness about and provide opportunities for positive mental health in your community will have greater impact than implementing single, one-off strategies.

Evaluation measures the impact of all the hard work that went into developing a community initiative. Evaluating impact examines: 

  1. What you expect to learn or change
  2. What you measure and report
  3. How to measure impact

What you expect to learn about awareness and education may include:

  • Learning that the strategy was implemented as planned
  • Learning that the strategy reached those you wanted to reach
  • Increased knowledge on topic
  • Increased mental health literacy

Mental Health: Awareness and Education

  1. Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Advisory Group. Respect, recovery, resilience: Recommendations for Ontario's mental health and addictions strategy. Toronto (ON): Minister's Advisory Group; 2010. Available from:
  2. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Coexisting severe mental illness and substance misuse: Community health and social care services. NICE guideline. London (UK): NICE; 2016. Available from:
  3. Mental Health Commission of Canada (2014). 308 Conversations found on: