News - May 06 2019

National Mental Health Week


MONTREAL, May 6, 2019 - The importance of promoting mental health has become a major social issue at a time when more and more people are leaving the workforce, unable to keep up with its pace. It is estimated that two out of three high school students are feeling stress that will negatively affect their education, half of university students have depressive symptoms, one quarter of workers are experiencing psychological distress and three out of five farmers are suffering from anxiety. And today, we cannot forget the stress experienced by the thousands of people affected by the floods and the rise of eco-anxiety.

Seeing Differently

At a time when we are trying to find a work-life balance and are short of manpower, when work demands increase and daily life requires constant adaptation, it is urgent that we put forward strategies to promote good mental health. As part of National Mental Health Week, which will take place from May 6 to 12, Mouvement Santé mentale Québec is launching a heartfelt cry to mobilize society in the face of this “illness of the soul” so that we can collectively discover new solutions to these ailments.

Mental Health: A Priority

The World Health Organization claims that there is no health without mental health. We forget that many people live at the very limit of their capacities or in a state of significant vulnerability, on a regular basis. This situation has an impact on people and their environment. At work, for example, “work overload, intensity and complexity of tasks cause stress, burnout, symptoms of depression and anxiety, and even violence and psychological harassment,” says Sonia Ethier, president of the CSQ. “Studies clearly show it. This is a problem of work organization; not of individual performance."

It is estimated that one third of insurance claims are related to a mental health problem and that the cost of absenteeism is estimated at $16 billion on an annual basis in Canada.1 For Renée Ouimet, director of Mouvement Santé mentale Québec, "we too often contribute to this suffering, to demands of performance, the desire to do more with less and the “banality of evil”, as Hannah Arendt would say."

Yet, talking about mental health and reviewing our adaptation strategies and ways of doing things can be individually and socially beneficial. In fact, at the labour level alone, it is estimated that organizations that take care of the mental health of their employees make them happier; it also saves up to three times their investments.2 It is therefore necessary not only to better equip individuals, but to also establish collective strategies.

An Ally with Unsuspected Potential

“Mental health is essential to enable us to act, realize our potential and face the normal difficulties of life,” explains Renée Ouimet. “It allows us to build and maintain relationships, contribute to our communities, to discover hobbies that we enjoy and find the time to do them. Unfortunately, we do not make mental health a priority”. "I feel lucky to have crossed paths with professors and social workers who helped me identify my strengths and discover new horizons,” says David Goudreault, spokesperson for Mouvement Santé mentale Québec. “They allowed me to develop a passion, stay in school and find my way. Today this openness allows me to flourish as a novelist, poet, columnist and social worker. I try to take a different look at everyone’s challenges. Unfortunately, I regularly meet young people in distress and people who have lost their sense of purpose in life. I hope that the mental health issue will be put forward more importantly so that everyone can find their own way and contribute to a better world.”

An Invitation to Discover

“Exploring means seeing things differently” is the slogan of Mouvement SMQ’s annual Mental Health Promotion Campaign. Every day, we must face new situations, whether we chose them or not, that can induce stress and oftentimes bring about resistance. Our capacity to face change depends on our capacity to readjust our strategies and to be creative.

This theme invites people to discover how a world of possibilities can hide under what we think we already know in life. As part of National Mental Health Week, many activities are taking place throughout the province are organized by Mouvement SMQ, its member groups and many other organizations. To end the week, Mouvement SMQ—in collaboration with the Association des art-thérapeutes du Québec— invites the public to join them on Saturday, May 11 from 10 am to 5 pm at the Concordia University EV Pavilion, located at 1515 Sainte-Catherine Street West in Montreal (it is also possible to see the panels via Facebook live).

During this event we will hear from engaging panellists and meet “human books” that will share a chapter of their lives, including: a vendor for L’Itinéraire newspaper, an immigrant woman committed to her community, a transgender person involved in the feminist fight, a man who has chosen to leave his family and religious community to live more freely, as well as a retired RCMP member. Attendees will also be able to discover art therapy through many kiosks and participate in an urban drifting activity throughout the city. Find all the details on the Facebook page of the event: Please note that this day will be mostly in French, with bilingual speakers and volunteers who will gladly answer questions in English.

By visiting you can order and download French and English mental health tools (posters, pamphlets, activity cards) and watch webinars. 



About Mouvement Santé mentale Québec

Mouvement Santé mentale Québec regroups 13 community member organizations and is a leader in prevention and promotion of psychological well-being in Quebec. National Mental Health Week is the launch of an annual Mental Health Promotion Campaign. It is supported by the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux, FIG, Défi Santé and Groupe entreprises en santé.

To learn more about the Movement, visit and follow us on social media: Facebook (@mouvementsmq), Instagram (@mouvement_santementaleqc), Twitter (@mouvementsmq), YouTube (@MouvementSantémentaleQuébec), the Movement Blog (, and LinkedIn (@mouvement-sante-mentale-quebec). Tags: # mentalhealth # santementale # DiscoverMSMQ # decouvrirMSMQ # SNSM2019 # NMHW2019


1 Conference Board of Canada
2 Forest, J., Gilbert, M.-H., Beaulieu, G., Le Brock, P., & Gagné, M. (2014). Translating research results in economic terms: An application of economic utility analysis using SDT-based interventions. In M. Gagné (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Work Engagement, Motivation, and Self-Determination Theory (pp. 335-