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Mental health key heading into next federal election

'We have the power to make mental health an issue that every politician and party in Barrie-Innisfil prioritizes,' says volunteer
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The pandemic has elevated mental health as a key issue for every single Canadian. Isolation, uncertainty, fear, and economic worries are all contributing to deteriorating mental health. It speaks volumes that in a time of political polarization, all major parties are talking about addressing the mental health crisis.

“Mental health has been a real struggle for me this past year,” said Archi, a volunteer, and Media Captain. “I’d never felt so alone and anxious about my future before. But I’m not alone. This crisis touches the lives of my friends, family, and colleagues. The solution is making mental health a priority issue for every politician.

"Because young people are the largest voting bloc and we’ve voted in record numbers the past two federal elections, we have the power to make mental health an issue that every politician and party in Barrie-Innisfil prioritizes.”

Today, youth volunteers from the non-partisan organization Future Majority announced an unprecedented cross-partisan agreement between local federal political leaders on the issue of mental health.

To celebrate this historic commitment to action on mental health, Future Majority is hosting a digital media event with confirmed attendance of Pekka Reinio and Aleesha Gostkowski of the NDP and Jen McAfee of the Liberal party, on May 5 at 7pm EST.

Representatives from the conservative and green parties, as well as several of Barrie’s city councilors, have been invited.

Future Majority volunteers in Barrie-Innisfil have engaged hundreds of youth to rally support for action on mental health. Through petitions, social media, meetings with local politicians, and innovative digital house parties—hundreds of young people have taken action to ask their local politicians to prioritize mental health.

“Having politicians from all four local parties sit down with us, join us on social media, and sign this cross-partisan letter is so important. Because it shows that our political leaders are responsive and can put aside their political differences to tackle pressing problems like the mental health crisis in Canada,” said Kaylyn, a Future Majority volunteer.

Mental illness indirectly affects all Canadians at some time through a family member, friend, or colleague. And every year, 1 in 5 Canadians will personally experience a mental health problem or illness.

Moreover, COVID-19 has exacerbated the mental health crisis in Canada, with most Canadians stating that the pandemic has negatively affected their mental health, and 80% of Ontarians believing that there will be a serious mental health crisis post-pandemic.

The digital media event will showcase local youth’s experiences and challenges with mental health, including a digital photo op to commemorate this historic cross-partisan commitment, as well as reflections from local political leaders in attendance on the mental health crisis.