Mental health problems disproportionately affect disadvantaged populations such as the poor, disabled, homeless and unemployed. 32% of individuals with low incomes have problems with depression, anxiety, or other mental health problems, vs. 16% of those with higher incomes.

Existing barriers to care—including the lack of available treatment resources, an intervention model predicated on formal medical diagnosis and the cost of treatment from psychologists—put treatment out of reach for many.

Our social program targets these populations and the front-line workers who serve them. The primary goal of the program is to equip participants with the skills they need to independently deal with life’s stressors. We provide mindfulness-based interventions for clients with mental illness. We also reach out to health workers with workshops designed to help them cope with the significant challenges they face daily.

The program has received seed funding from Ontario’s Social Housing Services Corporation to develop and deliver mindfulness workshops to tenants and employees in the social housing sector. Funding is being sought for the development of programs tailored to other specific groups including seniors, the homeless, under-privileged youth, and abused women.