Mental Health Support

70% to 80%

of homeless people have been diagnosed with a mental health problem at some point in their life

50% to 75%

of homeless women have experienced violence or abuse in their lifetime

The situation

One in five Canadians will experience mental health issues in their lifetime. Mental health problems can lead to homelessness, as can many other life situations — such as losing the ability to live independently because of a mental health or substance abuse problem, a lack of financial means, an unstable work situation, a lack of affordable housing, the loss of a job, and trauma that can stem from various sources.

Our action

Psychological support is an important part of what we do since physical health is undeniably linked to mental well-being.


Support for excluded and marginalized people

Doctors of the World conducted a study that showed that mental health care is unequal and inconsistent, and that homeless people over the age of 25 have difficulty accessing this type of service. Concerned by the needs expressed by homeless or at risk people, Doctors of the World partnered with Mission Bon Accueil and Maison Benoît Labre, to offer these groups various mental health services. The people we meet are mostly between 31 and 64 years old. They have a high school diploma, are unemployed, live on less than $23,000 a year, have had at least one homeless period in the past three years, and are in a process of reintegrating into society.


Helping those who help

Community workers are constantly giving of themselves, personally, organizationally and professionally. Doctors of the World offers them psychological support when dealing with people in vulnerable situations. Our psychologists also meet with various community groups to explore ethical issues and discuss difficult situations at work.


Strengthen abilities and knowledge

CASMI, a learning community that educates on mental health and homelessness, was established by Doctors of the World in 2016. Community workers working in this field had formerly expressed their need for capacity building pertaining to mental health, difficulties in navigating the healthcare system in order to direct people, and their frustrations with the way the services were organized. CASMI, a closed, multidisciplinary group of 12 participants, aims to equip community workers on how to better understand the mental health needs of homelessness people, to provide information that will help redirect them to the public health system, and act as a focal point on all mental health issues within their organization.

Our Impact

In 2016:
  • 67
  • 613

Our partners

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