The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) is a national charity that helps maintain and improve mental health for all Canadians. The first board meeting of the National Committee for Mental Hygiene was held April 26, 1918.
With more than 10,000 staff and volunteers in more than 300 communities across Canada, CMHA provides vital services and support to well over a million Canadians every year. As the nation-wide leader and champion for mental health, CMHA helps people access the community-based resources they need to build resilience and support recovery from mental illness in their own communities.
The work of CMHA focuses on four main areas: education, advocacy, research, and service. The structure is a National office, with Divisions in provinces and territories, and local Regions and/or Branches.
At the National level, a current program focus is on workplace wellness. Provincial and territorial Divisions and Branches advise and respond to the mental health policies and services of their area. Some offer specific programs for suicide prevention, ongoing wellness, and school programs. Branches often provide direct services to people living with mental illness and their families. Services often include drop-in and day social/recreation programs, employment readiness and support, self-help and education groups, and other programs that respond to the needs of the people of their communities.
As a Non-Government Organization (NGO), also known as a Community Based Organization (CBO), the work of CMHA at all levels depends on donations from individuals, businesses, foundations and other groups. Some of the programs and initiatives are also supported by government funding. Ride- Don’t Hide is a national fundraising day where people with mental illness and their allies on their bicycles provide a focus for mental health awareness.