COVID-19, Mental Health and the Role of Cities
The mental health crisis facing our country has grown more severe with the COVID-19 pandemic, compounded by a year of disruptions to the economic and social foundation of our communities. The growing number of COVID-related deaths, economic uncertainty and a public health response limiting social interaction have taken a toll.
Cities have stepped up in response to these complex challenges, developing and rapidly deploying innovative pilots and programs at a community-level. In many cities, targeted strategies have ensured those who need support the most are able to receive it, but these need to extend beyond the pandemic to ensure positive outcomes.
Now is the time to scale-up the approaches that have demonstrated success, and find new ways to work with other orders of government to improve access to frontline mental health services, supportive housing and other vital solutions.
Action requires cross-sector collaboration and cities benefit when they are able to learn from one another about what has worked, what has not, and where to go next.
The City of Calgary and the Urban Project brought municipal leaders together with key players from federal and provincial governments, civil society, academia and the private sector to share their most effective approaches and explore the barriers to, and opportunities for, greater collective action and mobilization.