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The Future of Mental Health

 

The Future of Mental Health: Using Futures and Foresight Thinking for a Post-COVID-19 Response

Overview:

Our wellbeing is connected to so many other areas of our lives, from work, education, service and care, to more complex issues like food and income security, the safety of our children and elders, and the most vulnerable in our society. In the wake of COVID-19, so many of these areas have been compromised, which is having an impact on our mental health.

To address this impact, we need to not only respond to the impact of this crisis today, we need to think and plan for the future and understand how this pandemic will shape mental health in Canada for years to come. IAM, together with the Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCADU), is leading this work and inviting a diverse range of partners across the mental health space to join us. Using futures- foresight thinking, we are rethinking the ways our society’s mental health will change in the next five to ten years.
 
We are currently moving into the survey & interview stage of our research and will be reaching out to partners once again. If you are interested in participating in our survey or would like to share it, please find it here: SURVEY
 

Why Future & Foresight Thinking?

We have an immediate need to rethink how we plan for the future of our mental health. We need new approaches to get ahead of our uncertain and ever-changing circumstances, and begin thinking about the ‘aftershocks’ of the COVID-19 crisis.                    

Futures literacy is a proven, evidence-based, methodology that allows us to work backwards from the future, not from our current place of urgency and reaction. Instead of predicting what this pandemic will mean for our mental health, through this initiative we are asking ourselves questions about what we don’t necessarily know and what we assume. We are trying to better understand the economic, technological, social and health challenges that lie in the future. By doing this, we can better envision the future and then begin to plan and make decisions for it.  
                             

Project Outline:

OCADU, specifically its Innovation Programs, is leading IAM and its partners through this initiative, relying on a process that will use futures-foresight at the systems level to try and evolve several possible futures that might unfold in Canada over the coming years. This project will take place over 12 week and through several key phases:

Weeks 1-4: Research (Current stage)
Over the month of January, we sent out emails asking a diverse range of partners across Canada to share some of what they are hearing and seeing in terms of the impact this pandemic is having on the mental health of their clients and communities. This includes reports, data or insights that partners are comfortable sharing. We continue to welcome these.
 
We are currently moving into the survey & interview stage of our research and will be reaching out to partners once again. If you are interested in participating in our survey or would like to share it, please find it here: SURVEY

Weeks 5-7: Systems Mapping & Scenario Development

Week 8: Strategy Development

Weeks 9-11: Report Development

Week 12: Project Conclusion
 

Results:

The end goal of this project is to pull our findings together into a final report that we will ‘gift’ back to our partners and the broader system. We hope this work will help partners and players in mental health plan for the future, and to develop strategies and solutions.  
As we move this process, we will share more updates. In the meantime, if you have any questions about this project or would like to participate, please contact us here.