The daily mental health facts

The mental health facts are the foundation of The Push-Up Challenge. The target number of push-ups varies from day to day to reflect a different mental health statistic.

Accessing Mental Health Care

Day 23: 160 push-ups

Today’s target is 160 push-ups, for the 1.6 million Canadians who have an unmet need for mental health care.

In addition, one in two people in Canada have experienced a delay in accessing mental health services, or know someone who has. These numbers highlight the need for more resources and support in the mental health space, to allow all Canadians to receive the mental health support they need.

The Mental Health Commission of Canada has created a strategic plan for 2021-2031, which outlines some key objectives, including:

• Achieve mental and physical health equity by uplifting the strong stakeholder community and amplifying the voices of lived and living experience.
• Create an inclusive and discrimination-free Canada, where recovery from mental illness is not just possible - it’s expected.
• Influence governments and organizations to put mental health at the top of the agenda.

If you or someone in your life are experiencing unmet mental health needs, this can be a difficult and distressing time. If the cost of mental health care is preventing you from receiving the care you need, remember alternative options are always available. Community organizations like the Canadian Mental Health Association can offer free information, resources and in some cases, support. Find your local CMHA branch at

If you are in crisis, please call or text 9-8-8 toll free, 24/7.


Day 22: 153 push-ups

Today’s target is 153 push-ups, because journaling for just 15 minutes, three days a week can significantly improve your mental health.

A study conducted on people with heightened anxiety symptoms showed that journaling for this short time weekly does big things. Why? Spending this time logging thoughts was associated with reduced anxiety and mental distress. It also can lead to improved levels of resilience. Getting thoughts down on paper has been shown to be especially effective in reducing symptoms of PTSD.

Journaling is successful in improving our general mental health, as it can assist in bringing awareness to our feelings and experiences, which can help us to rationalise and regulate our emotions. It has also been shown to reduce stress and anxiety by providing an outlet for intrusive thoughts.

Over time, consistent journaling allows us to identify stressors or triggers in our lives and can assist us to know ourselves on a deeper level. Journaling is also a great opportunity for positive self-talk and affirmations.

If you want to try it, journal in a way that suits you. Research indicates that putting pen to paper, old-school style, can aid in processing our feelings better than via a screen, but there are many journaling apps available for a more convenient option. Journaling is most effective when it feels natural to you.

There are no rules when it comes to journaling. You can write about your goals, what you’re grateful for, what’s causing you stress, to-do lists, thoughts and feelings or just a general reflection of each day. Why not give it a shot today?

Physical Activity

Day 21: 150 push-ups

Today’s target is 150 push-ups, because a minimum of 150 minutes of physical activity per week is recommended by the World Health Organization.

When you exercise, your body releases feel-good neurotransmitters, endorphins, which are known to reduce feelings of pain and stress and increase feelings of pleasure - literally boosting your mood.

In fact, growing scientific evidence suggests that aerobic exercise can be used to prevent and treat depression. One study suggested that just three 45-minute exercise sessions per week is enough to provide antidepressant benefits to mental health.

The impact of exercise on mental health was recently demonstrated in a study involving 1.24 million people, which found that people who participated in exercise had less days per month of poor mental health. The biggest differences were associated with team sports and forms of aerobic exercise.

In addition, another study highlights that 12% of cases of depression could have been prevented by just one hour of exercise a week. Exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous to help, either. Moderate activity like fast walking, cycling, steady lap swimming, or anything that causes a rise in heart rate and a bit of a sweat is the best way to give your mind and mood a boost. Did we mention that push-ups count?


Day 20: 140 push-ups

Today’s target is 140 push-ups, for the 1 in 4 Canadians who experience moderate to severe anxiety.

Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental health problems in Canada, affecting an estimated 1 in 4 people. Anxiety is more than just feeling stressed or worried. It’s normal to feel stressed or anxious when we’re under pressure, but these feelings usually subside once the stressful situation has passed.

Anxiety disorders typically involve feelings of tension, distress or nervousness, which don’t go away or may not have a clear cause. A person may avoid situations they believe cause these feelings, potentially limiting their interactions with the wider world and impacting the way they live.

Females are more likely to experience anxiety, as are younger age groups, and people who identify as 2SLGBTQI+ - however it can affect anyone.

For those experiencing anxiety, there are many strategies that you can use to help manage it. Mindfulness, slow breathing, keeping physically active, spending time in nature and enjoying a healthy diet are some activities that research shows can help.

There are also many treatments for anxiety, including therapy and medication. If anxiety is an issue for you, talk to your suitably qualified health professional (for example, a doctor) to explore treatment options best for you. Each anxiety disorder is treated according to its specific symptoms and causes, but typically anxiety is treated with a combination of counselling, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), medication, support groups and/or self-help strategies, including stress management and mindfulness.

You can also contact your local branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association to learn more about support and resources in your local area.

Universal Mental Health Care

Day 19: 87 push-ups

Today’s target is 87 push-ups, for the 87% of Canadians who want to see universal mental health care available in Canada.

Universal mental health care means that mental health care is publicly funded and available to Canadians for free. It also means that mental health services are the same, regardless of where people live, or who they are.

Research by the Canadian Mental Health Association shows that almost 9 in 10 people living in Canada want access to universal mental health care.

So, why aren’t people receiving the mental health care they need under the current system? According to a recent survey by the Canadian Mental Health Association, more than a third of people who experienced a mental health concern in the past year said that they did not access help - primarily due to cost, or because they didn’t know where to find it.

While there is much more work to be done to improve accessibility to mental health care in Canada, remember that mental health support and services are available. Connect with your local CMHA if you or someone you love is struggling, or visit the Government of Canada’s Wellness Together portal at

If cost is a barrier to accessing mental health care for you, other options are available.

BounceBack is a free Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) program that helps you build skills to improve your mental health. You’ll receive workbooks and up to six phone counselling sessions. Learn more at

The Hope for Wellness Helpline is available to all Indigenous people across Canada. Talk to experienced, culturally competent counsellors about any topic or concern that you are facing. Available 24/7 via tollfree phone 1-855-242-3310 and text on 741 741.

If you are in crisis, please call or text 9-8-8 toll free, 24/7 or call 911

Day 18: Rest Day

Our third and final rest day before one last push for better mental health this week. 

Use today to pat your dog, catch up with a friend, or launch a search party for the sock you lost last week.

The mind and the body are hopefully feeling good after coming this far. Let's do this. 

Post pandemic youth mental health

Day 17: 177 push-ups

Today’s target is 177 push-ups, for the 17.7% of Canadians who reported average or poor mental health at the beginning of the Covid pandemic.

Since then, mental health has declined further and demand for mental health care has surged. While the pandemic affected us all, recent research has shown that it has adversely affected the mental health of adolescents in particular.

Overall, 40% of teenagers reached out for support for their mental health in 2020. Adolescents with anxiety, as well as those of gender or sexual minority status, were more likely than others to have discussed their mental health concerns with someone. This was most likely their family doctor or an adult at school. Teens with depression and/or anxiety, and those of gender or sexual minority, were the most likely to say that their mental health needs were unmet.

Since April 2020, data shows that major depressive disorder, generalised anxiety disorder, alcohol and cannabis use increased among adolescents.

Research shows that in the first half of 2021, 39.7% of teenagers showed symptoms of depression, 43.7% showed symptoms of generalized anxiety, 26.8% reported using alcohol in the past month, and 16.8% reported using cannabis in the past month.

For service providers, future interventions should aim to expand outreach to these underserved groups of adolescents, and focus on primary care, school-based interventions and in-person services.

For teens and their loved ones, these are some warning signs for common mental health problems:
• Anxiety that seems out of control or extreme given the situation.
• Low mood that lasts for a long time or frequent tearfulness.
• Unusually high mood, racing thoughts or ideas.
• Hopelessness, worthlessness, or talk of death or wanting to escape.
• Excessive irritability or anger.
• Changes in eating, weight, or sleeping patterns.
• Self-injury (such as cutting).
• Sensations (such as hearing voices) that aren’t real.
• Strange beliefs that can’t possibly be true.
• Difficulties remembering information or making decisions.

These signs do not necessarily confirm a mental illness, but if they are present, it’s time to speak up and make an appointment with a suitably qualified health professional to assess what’s going on.

If anyone talks about suicide or ending their life, take it seriously. Please call 9-8-8 (toll free, 24/7), Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868, or the First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line at 1-855-242-3310.

Sleep and Mental Health

Day 16: 130 push-ups

Today’s target is 130 push-ups, for the 1 in 3 Canadians who fail to meet the recommended hours of sleep per night.

So, how much sleep should you be getting? The Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines recommend that adults aged 18 to 64 get 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep on a regular basis. The sleep duration recommendation for adults aged 65 and older is 7 to 8 hours of sleep. Consistent sleep and wake times are also recommended.

Research shows that getting too little sleep or too much sleep both increase the risk of developing depression.

However, improving sleep can result in significant improvements in overall mental health, depression, anxiety and rumination. Adequate sleep can also improve our stress levels.

Research has found that two-thirds of Canadian adults use electronic devices within 30 minutes of falling asleep – so if this is you, putting your devices away earlier could help not only your sleep, but also your mood, anxiety and general mental health and wellbeing.

Four tips for getting a good night’s sleep include:
1) Reduce your exposure to blue light during the evening. Blue light reduces the sleep hormone melatonin, so stop watching TV and turn off any bright lights 1-2 hours before bed, and put your phone away (or install a blue light-blocking app).
2) Go to sleep and wake up at regular times each day.
3) Have your last coffee before 3pm. Drinking caffeine up to 6 hours before bedtime reduces your sleep quality.
4) Get outside during the brightest hours of the day. Exposure to natural sunlight during the day helps balance your circadian rhythm.

Nature and Mental Health

Day 15: 120 push-ups

Today’s target is 120 push-ups, for the 120 minutes of time spent in nature per week that is associated with good health and wellbeing.

Spending time amongst nature can produce significant and positive impacts on people’s psychological and physiological health. When compared to people who participate in similar activities in an urban environment, people immersed in nature report improved mood and lower feelings of stress.

Something as simple as visiting your local park, or anywhere else where you can witness the natural world is a proven way to reduce feelings of stress and improve mood. Studies also show that these benefits are maximised when people pay attention to the natural world around them, and are not distracted by other activities such as using smartphones or listening to media.

The effects of nature on wellbeing are especially true for children, with research indicating that regular exposure to nature and the outdoors has many positive effects on early brain development and long-term mental wellbeing.

You don’t even need to be running around - studies show that both active (i.e. running, sport, games) and passive (i.e. walking, sitting outside) exposure to nature help to improve physical, social and emotional wellbeing, and benefit cognitive and behavioural development in children. Natural environments encourage creative play, which has been shown to improve resilience, self-confidence and initiative in young people.

Spending time in nature has also been shown to reduce the symptoms of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children, and has been associated with enhanced attention, higher academic performance and strong social skills.

So, while it’s not always possible to engage in nature play 24/7, it’s worth encouraging any children in your life to step out for a bike ride, or even just relocate the train set from the living room floor to a blanket in the garden – every little bit of fresh air helps.

And for the adults, see if you can schedule spending some time in the wilderness in your calendar this week, whether getting bundled up and taking a walk in the woods or visiting your local park.


Day 14: 118 push-ups

Today’s target is 118 push-ups, for the 11.8% of Canadians who have contemplated suicide in their lifetime.

In Canada, around 12 lives are lost to suicide daily. And in total, approximately 4,500 lives are lost to suicide in Canada each year. In 2020, 23,300 Canadians were hospitalized or died by intentionally harming themselves.The impact reverberates across age, gender, and background. Suicide rates are about three times higher among men than women. For Canadian youth and young adults aged 15 to 34, it’s the second leading cause of death.

This is a staggering reality that touches lives, families, and our communities. Research shows that after a death by suicide, many people grapple with its shadow. For each life lost to suicide, the World Health Organization estimates that 10 people are deeply affected. Beyond these people, up to 120 additional people will also be affected by the death.

Behind the statistics lie stories of pain and strength, a struggle that demands our compassion and action. And within this darkness, there’s an opportunity to shine light. Behind a smile, there may be silent struggles. Reaching out, even when it’s uncomfortable, might make all the difference. Sometimes, knowing someone cares is the lifeline that someone in distress needs.

If you’re struggling with suicidal thoughts, remember that help is available. Reach out to a trusted friend, family member, or mental health professional. You don’t have to face your struggles alone and your presence matters.

In times of crisis, call or text 9-8-8 (Toll free 24/7)

You can also contact Wellness Together Canada if you need support urgently or are worried about someone else. Text WELLNESS to 741741 (adults) or text WELLNESS to 686868 (youth) or visit

Indigenous peoples can call 1-855-242-3310 or chat online through

You can also find a Toolkit for People Impacted by a Suicide Attempt at 

Giving Back

Day 13: 99 push-ups

Today’s target is 99 push-ups, representing the $9.9 billion that Canadians gave to their favourite causes in 2018.

It seems that Canadians feel the glow of giving – which is great, because science shows that helping others is good for our mental health. In fact, helping those around you can actually make you happier. Scientists call this phenomenon the ‘Helper’s High’ - because it has been found that giving to others in a selfless act of service induces positive emotions in the giver.

Studies also suggest that the warm, glowy feeling that can accompany giving back has something to do with the way it helps us feel more connected with others. According to research, having strong connections with those around us leads to greater sense of belonging and meaning, and overall better wellbeing. Helping others – in time, or donations, or acts of kindness – is a great way to build social connection and connect with our community.

So for an easily accessible mood boost that benefits other people too, why not perform a random act of kindness today? Some ideas:
• Let someone go before you in the grocery store line.
• Stand up on the bus or train so someone else can take a seat.
• Pay for the person behind you at the drive-through.
• Buy flowers for someone just to make them smile.

Male Suicide

Day 12: 75 push-ups

Today’s target is 75 push-ups, representing the fact that approximately 75% of lives lost to suicide are male.

With suicide rates approximately three times higher among men than women, men’s mental health deserves attention. A variety of social, biological and psychological factors can contribute to male suicide. Major depressive disorder is a leading risk factor for suicide, as are anxiety, bipolar and schizophrenia.

Men may have different experiences of depression than women. Some men may experience what’s sometimes known as ‘male-type’ depression, characterized by symptoms such as irritability, anger, substance use, impulsivity and risk-taking. Increasing awareness of these symptoms is crucial.

To address the higher rates of suicide among men, we must recognize that cultural norms may sometimes discourage men from openly discussing their emotions and seeking help when needed. By reshaping the concept of masculinity through open conversations and supportseeking, we can make a positive change. Together, let’s create a society that values the wellbeing of men and encourages seeking support when needed.

Learn More:
Buddy Up : 
Spot the signs:
Canadian Men’s Health Foundation:
Men’s Sheds Canada:

Day 11: Rest day

Great work so far everyone. We certainly do love our push-ups here at Push-Up HQ, but it's true, you can get too much of a good thing. So take time to chill, chat with friends and family, or do something fun today.

Push-ups are back tomorrow. 

Perinatal Mental Health

Day 10: 100 push-ups

Today’s target is 100 push-ups, representing the fact that at least 10% of pregnant women and new mothers experience a mood and/or anxiety disorder.

Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders are those that occur during pregnancy or in the first year postpartum. Data shows that they affect between 10 and 20 percent of pregnant women and new mothers. It’s important to remember that the non-child-bearing parent can experience problems as well.

Bringing a child into the world can be one of the most rewarding, yet daunting experiences in a person’s life. It is not uncommon for new parents to experience some form of distress following the birth of their child, whilst recovering from the birthing process and their new roles and responsibilities as parents.

For people who have previously experienced a mental illness, relapse is common during the perinatal period, while mental health challenges may also arise in those who have never experienced them before.

Some common symptoms of perinatal anxiety include: persistent worry, mood swings, intrusive thoughts and/or a fear of being left alone with your baby. Some common symptoms of perinatal depression include: withdrawal from family and friends, changes in appetite, disrupted sleep unrelated to baby; difficulty concentrating and/or lowered self-esteem. Professional help should be sought if symptoms last for more than two weeks.

Many new parents feel reluctant to report mental health symptoms - some feel guilt or shame about not being overjoyed with pregnancy or new parenthood; others are concerned about medications during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

However, it’s important to be aware that effective, safe treatments exist. Talk to a trusted friend or family member about how you’re feeling, and book an appointment with your doctor. Support is always available and reaching out for help is really important.

Eco Anxiety

Day 9: 84 push-ups

Today’s target is 84 push-ups, representing the 84% of young people who are worried about climate change.

An international study that surveyed 10,000 young people aged 16 to 25 across 10 countries, found that 85% were at least moderately worried about climate change. More than 45% of young people said their feelings about climate change negatively affected their daily life and functioning.

Growing public awareness around climate change and its implications has seen an increase in ‘eco-anxiety’, particularly in younger generations. This deep concern surrounding the state of our climate and future of life on earth can manifest in feelings of helplessness, frustration, anger and fear.

Severe climate-related natural disasters such as floods, storms and wildfires are becoming more frequent across Canada. For those directly impacted, displaced living conditions and loss of community can contribute to an increase in anxiety, depression and PTSD.

Thankfully, research suggests that participation in climate action can boost our mental wellbeing. Getting involved in activities that promote sustainability and help to reduce our carbon footprint can promote positive feelings of control and purpose.

Lifestyle changes such as riding a bike to work instead of driving in the summer, composting your food waste, or participating in climate action efforts in your neighbourhood will benefit the planet AND help to improve your mental wellbeing.

Workplace Mental Health

Day 8: 76 push-ups

Today’s target is 76 push-ups, for the 76% of Canadians who say they would be supportive of colleagues who may be experiencing mental illness.

Despite this, the stigma around mental health conditions still persists. Three-quarters (75%) of working Canadians say they would either be reluctant to admit (48%) or would not admit (27%) to a boss or coworker that they were experiencing a mental illness.

The top reasons respondents in this study said they would be reluctant to admit, or would not admit to a mental illness, were:

• Belief that there is a public stigma around mental health (45%);
• Wouldn’t want to be treated differently (44%);
• Wouldn’t want to be judged (40%);
• Afraid of negative consequences, such as losing their job (36%).

Half of working Canadians worry that if they disclosed they were experiencing a mental illness to a boss or co-worker, their ability to do their job would be questioned.

Breaking down the stigma around mental illness is so important. A great way to start is to have open conversations with your buddies, colleagues and family around mental health.

If you would like to see the mental health of your colleagues or employees better supported, CMHA has created the Not Myself Today workplace mental health program specifically to build greater mental health awareness, reduce stigma and foster safer workplace cultures. You can find out more at

Violence Against Indigenous Women

Day 7: 63 push-ups

Today’s target is 63 push-ups, representing the 63% of Indigenous women who have experienced physical or sexual assault in their lifetime.

The violence experienced by six out of 10 Indigenous women and girls in Canada stems from a long history of colonialism that stretches into the present day and continues to impact Indigenous families and communities.

Before colonialization, Indigenous women were highly valued and held positions of leadership and decision-making power. Yet, colonialization replaced traditional matrilineal views with patriarchal norms, while contributing to the normalization of violence against women. Policies such as the Indian Act refused Indigenous women many rights and excluded them from community governance.

Today, the threat and incidence of violence has created a culture of fear for many Indigenous women and girls, a burden of trauma and mental distress for survivors of violence, and grief for families and communities who have had their Sisters stolen from them.

In 2019, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls released their final report, which stated that there are 231 steps that need to be taken by governments and Canadians to end the genocide against Indigenous women and girls.

Some of these steps that can be taken by all Canadians include:
• Denounce and speak out against violence against Indigenous women and girls
• Decolonize by learning the true history of Canada and Indigenous history in your local area
• Create time and space for relationships based on respect as human beings, supporting and embracing differences with kindness, love, and respect.

2SLGBTQI+ Mental Health

Day 6: 60 push-ups

Today’s target is 60 push-ups, for 6 ways to bolster mental wellness in our 2SLGBTQI+ communities.

2SLGBTQI+ individuals experience unique mental health journeys. Transgender and gender diverse people in Canada face an amplified risk of mental health challenges compared to cisgender peers. 2SLGBTQI+ individuals experience higher rates of depression, anxiety and suicide, and higher risk of substance abuse.

The disparities in mental health outcomes for 2SLGBTQIA+ people are believed to be largely due to minority stress. According to the minority stress theory, internalized cis-hetero-normativity (the assumption that everyone is cis-gendered and heterosexual) together with anticipated or experienced stigma and discrimination results in high levels of chronic stress for 2SLGBTQI+ individuals. This ongoing stress directly impacts physical and psychosocial health. In addition, a lack of cultural competency in the health care system can negatively impact the 2SLGBTQI+ community.

Creating environments of acceptance, inclusivity, and understanding is vital to improve mental health outcomes for 2SLGBTQI+ people. Dispelling stigma related to sexual orientation and gender identity is a crucial step toward creating spaces that genuinely embrace all Canadians.

Consider these six ways you can make a positive impact:
1) Create Welcoming Spaces
Embrace all identities in spaces you influence, emphasizing inclusivity.
2) Learn and Listen
Gain insights into the unique experiences & challenges of different 2SLGBTQI+ individuals, offering your support & understanding.
3) Stand Against Bullying
Actively challenge any form of discrimination, standing up as an ally.
4) Educate Yourself
Understand the distinctive mental health challenges faced by all areas of the 2SLGBTQI+ community, extending empathy & knowledge.
5) Promote Self-Care
Encourage a culture of mental health awareness, sharing coping strategies and self-care tips.
6) Champion Change
Advocate for policies that protect rights and mental health, lending your voice to equality.

By taking any of these steps, you’re helping to create a brighter, more inclusive future.
Find more resources at:
Egale Canada:
You Can Play:
LGBT YouthLine:
Trans Lifeline: or Call: (877) 330-6366


Day 5: 50 push-ups

Today’s target is 50 push ups, for the 5 minutes per day of mindfulness that has been shown to reshape your mood.

Taking some time from your day to practice mindfulness can have significant positive impacts on stress and anxiety levels. One study even showed that mindfulness appears to change the brain in depressed patients.

Mindfulness is a simple, yet powerful tool for improving mental wellbeing. Being mindful involves giving your attention to the present moment. To practice mindfulness, simply bring awareness to the thoughts, emotions and senses you notice, without judgement. You can do this by focusing on your breathing or on sensations in different parts of your body.

By pausing to observe our current physical and mental state, we can come to better understand ourselves and our emotions. When we are not ruminating on the past or worrying about the future, we can reduce distractions and calm our minds and bodies.

Mindfulness doesn’t have to involve sitting in meditation for long periods. We can practice mindfulness while doing simple everyday activities such as walking, eating, sitting on the bus or even brushing our teeth.

For example, next time you go for a walk, notice any thoughts that pop into your head, let them go, and then return your focus to the feel of your boots on your feet, and the sound they make as they crunch in the leaves or snow. Each time a new thought arises, notice it, then let it float by, and bring your attention back to another sensation, such as the feel of the cool air on your cheeks. Give it a go!

Day 4: Rest day

Time to give the yourself a rest from push-ups. One of three rest days during the event. Use it wisely, we're back on tomorrow.

Social Determinants of Mental Health

Day 3: 55 push-ups

Today’s target is 55 push-ups, for the 5 out of 5 Canadians who can and should do things to look after their mental wellbeing. Mental health exists on a spectrum for each and every one of us, and there are many factors that can impact this. 

Social and economic factors are inseparable from mental health and wellbeing. Our level of mental health can fluctuate depending on social determinants like stress, life stage, life events, level of support and also socioeconomic factors. 
Just like physical health is something we all experience at different levels (whether good, bad or somewhere in between), each individual’s level of mental health sits somewhere on a continuum. Where we sit isn’t static, and our mental health can range from strong mental wellbeing to mental illness; often affected by social determinants. 
Research suggests that socioeconomic factors may play an even greater role in determining mental health outcomes than clinical interventions. The following social and economic factors were found to have a big impact on mental wellbeing: 
• education 
• employment 
• family and social support 
• community safety 
• income 

It’s important for us to remember that the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age can have an important influence on the mental health of all Canadians. 

Indigenous Mental Health

Day 2: 54 push-ups

Today’s target is 54 push-ups, representing the 54% of children in foster care in Canada who are Indigenous – despite making up only 8% of Canada’s child population.

This high representation of Indigenous children in foster care is a legacy of colonialism and the residential schooling system. While the last residential school closed in 1996, the establishment of the child welfare system has continued a policy of removing Indigenous children. In the child welfare system, Indigenous children are removed from their culture and community supports. It is believed that this practice has contributed to intergenerational trauma and mental health challenges among Indigenous communities. Traditionally, Indigenous peoples typically share a community-centered approach to caring for children. Under this system, when children needed alternative care, they were placed with members of their extended family, and all family members helped to care for the children.

While there is still more work to be done, the Canadian government’s 2020 implementation of new legislation to reduce the number of Indigenous children and youth in care represents an acknowledgement of the need for change. Continued support of culturally relevant childcare is crucial to ensure better mental health for Indigenous Canadians.


Day 1: 49 push-ups

Today’s target is 49 push-ups, for the 4.9 times increased likelihood of poor mental health among those experiencing a low sense of community 

How connected you feel with your neighbours has a direct impact on your mental health. One study found that people with a weak sense of community were 3.2 times more likely to report poor general health outcomes, and 4.9 times more likely to report poor mental health outcomes.   

On the flipside, research also suggests that being more integrated with people in your neighbourhood is associated with feeling happier. The same study noted that interacting more often with our neighbours is associated with an increase in subjective wellbeing.   

Interacting more with others in your neighbourhood may lead to better wellbeing and mental health - and being a kind and social neighbour could lead to higher life satisfaction for everyone involved. Here are some ideas for bonding with your neighbours: 

- Drop off a card with some homemade apple pie or pecan pie brownies on Thanksgiving. 
- Let them know when you’ll be out of town. Perhaps even ask them to water your plants or keep an eye on your place – and offer to do the same when they head on vacation. 
- Host a party and invite your neighbours along. 

Accessing Mental Health Care

Day 23: 160 push-ups

Today’s target is 160 push-ups, for the 1.6 million Canadians who have an unmet need for mental health care.

In addition, one in two people in Canada have experienced a delay in accessing mental health services, or know someone who has. These numbers highlight the need for more resources and support in the mental health space, to allow all Canadians to receive the mental health support they need.

The Mental Health Commission of Canada has created a strategic plan for 2021-2031, which outlines some key objectives, including:

• Achieve mental and physical health equity by uplifting the strong stakeholder community and amplifying the voices of lived and living experience.
• Create an inclusive and discrimination-free Canada, where recovery from mental illness is not just possible - it’s expected.
• Influence governments and organizations to put mental health at the top of the agenda.

If you or someone in your life are experiencing unmet mental health needs, this can be a difficult and distressing time. If the cost of mental health care is preventing you from receiving the care you need, remember alternative options are always available. Community organizations like the Canadian Mental Health Association can offer free information, resources and in some cases, support. Find your local CMHA branch at

If you are in crisis, please call or text 9-8-8 toll free, 24/7.