Knowledge Exchange Centre

The Knowledge Exchange Centre is Canada’s only national mental health knowledge exchange centre, providing support to the mental health community across the country.

Created to Build Capacity, Synthesize Knowledge and Facilitate Knowledge Exchange, the KEC initiates the research of reports on mental health and wellness and disseminates the results through webinars, conferences, the MHCC website and social media channels, to spark connections within the mental health community.


The Knowledge Exchange Centre (KEC) fulfils a crucial role in the MHCC’s mandate to help transform the mental health care system. As Canada’s only national mental health knowledge exchange centre, KEC sparks connections across the mental health community and provides support in key MHCC focus areas through: commissioning research; hosting conferences; and, the use of webinars, as well as our web site and social media channels.

As the knowledge connection, the KEC is guided by three directions—synthesizing knowledge, facilitating knowledge exchange and building the capacity for people to work together:

Synthesize Knowledge – research, synthesize and evaluate available evidence to integrate and leverage evidence-based knowledge, best and promising practices, and innovations in mental health.

Facilitate Knowledge Exchange – develop and implement mechanisms and tools to facilitate sharing of resources, evidence-based knowledge, best and promising practices, and innovations in mental health.

Build Capacity – provide expertise and training to improve the capacity of mental health stakeholders to adopt knowledge exchange practices.

An example of an initiative designed to drive change using knowledge exchange is Innovation to Implementation (I2I). Built around the concept of innovation—developing new actions, services and relationships with the potential to improve mental health outcomes— I2I is a practical, step-by-step guide for creating an effective knowledge exchange plan. It highlights the importance of using a wide range of perspectives so that knowledge can be jointly identified, created and applied.

Mental Health Indicators

If you don’t know what’s going on – how do you make decisions and set priorities? Informing the Future – Mental Health Indicators for Canada released in June 2015 goes a long way toward answering these questions. The MHCC has compiled 55 indicators reflecting mental health for children and youth, adults, and seniors. The indicators examine mental health in different settings and report on aspects of services and supports used by people living with mental health problems and illnesses.

These indicators are being used to set priorities as well as to inform decisions and focus attention on strategies designed to improve the mental health of people living in Canada.

The Report

Informing the Future: Mental Health Indicators for Canada is the first national-level set of indicators that identifies and reports on the mental health of people living in Canada.

Drawing from diverse data sources and covering a wide range of focus areas, Informing the Future is the result of a collaborative effort to gather national data; make it widely accessible to all people in Canada; and, better support mental health and recovery.

The MHCC worked in partnership with Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health and Addiction, the Canadian Institute for Health Information, and the Public Health Agency of Canada to produce this pioneering project which reveals the current landscape of the mental health of people living in Canada.

Research, and consultation with stakeholders, focused on key indicators and introduced several non-traditional data sources that broadened the scope of measurement and monitoring and provided a more complete picture of mental health and mental illness.

These indicators provide us with a partial picture, uncovering several important areas where there are inadequate data to make evidence-based policies and decisions. Through continued coordinated effort, we can improve our information on mental health in order to move forward with the best tools to effectively shape policy and programs and improve mental health outcomes in Canada.everal non-traditional data sources that broadened the scope of measurement and monitoring and provided a more complete picture of mental health and mental illness.

Next Steps

The release of Informing the Future generated important national discussion on mental health data.  The MHCC will leverage this momentum to inspire improved data collection while at the same time, continuing to directly engage stakeholders through webinars on Informing the Future.

Several peer-reviewed publications are undertaking work to highlight the information contained in the indicators and additionally to develop supplemental materials (fact sheets, briefs, info graphics and reports) that highlight specific topics.


Specific information gaps were uncovered, related to the mental health of First Nations, Inuit and Métis (FN-I-M). While several indicators particular to FN-I-M populations were developed, key FN-I-M stakeholders expressed concern that these indicators did not provide an accurate picture of the mental health of their communities. Additional work must be done to create meaningful, relevant indicators that capture the mental health of Canada’s Indigenous peoples.

It has been noted that, due to the size of the data sets captured within the Statistics Canada Public Use Microdata File collection, it is not possible to replicate the “special group” analyses for a group comprised of individuals who indicated that French was their primary language and live in areas there are not predominantly French speaking.

Additionally, greater collaboration is required in order to gain access to information about rates of mental illness and mental health determinants, both in correctional settings and among those transitioning into the community.

SPARK Training Workshops

Did you know that it can take more than a decade for evidence-based knowledge to be translated into best practice?

The MHCC has created the SPARK Training Program to help participants apply techniques for transferring evidence-informed research and knowledge in mental health, substance use, and addictions into practice at a faster pace.

SPARK brings together participants from across Canada for training with knowledge translation experts, followed by individual assignments and ongoing group mentoring.

The International Knowledge Exchange Network for Mental Health

On the international front, KEC is a leader in the International Knowledge Exchange Network for Mental Health (IKEN-MH), which was created through cooperation between the MHCC and the International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership (IIMHL) to increase the capacity for effective knowledge exchange in mental health by connecting people, ideas, and resources on a global level. The goal of the IKEN-MH is to reduce the time from innovation to implementation to improve population mental health while focusing its efforts on:

  • building capacity and infrastructure;
  • Knowledge Exchange research and tool development;
  • utilizing technology to enhance connectivity; and,
  • increasing the uptake of evidence-informed knowledge.

In September 2015, the MHCC, in partnership with the Public Health Agency of Canada, was pleased to co-host a unique international forum consisting of two events, the IIMHL Combined Meeting and a series of Leadership Matches. The Combined Meeting was held in Vancouver, giving over 300 international mental health and addiction leaders the opportunity to examine research and best practices across a variety of themes: leading for the future, wellness, innovation, system transformation and change management.

Immediately before the Combined Meeting, the Leadership Matches provided an opportunity to thoroughly discuss important specific topics in mental health and addiction, at a variety of locations across Canada and the United States.  Highlights included the MHCC’s “Community Action for Suicide Prevention” hosted in Vancouver, Prejudice, Discrimination and Stigma hosted in Calgary, and “Recovery-Oriented Practice” hosted by the MHCC in Toronto.

Caregiver Mobilization Toolkit

The Taking the Caregiver Guidelines off the Shelf: Mobilization Toolkit is intended to build capacity among caregivers and organizations to help them understand and implement recommendations outlined in the National Guidelines for a Comprehensive Service System to Support Family Caregivers of Adults with Mental Health Problems and Illnesses.

The Toolkit was launched at the Collaborative Mental Health Care Conference held in Calgary in June 2015.  Caregivers have identified four supports that help them fulfill care-giving responsibilities:

  1. Appropriate care and access to services and supports that will maximize their loved one’s potential for quality of life;
  2. Care-giving role recognized by mental health service providers and to be meaningfully involved in assessment and treatment planning;
  3. Receive information and support from knowledgeable mental health service providers to enhance level of care provided; and,
  4. Recognize and support caregivers’ needs outside of their care-giving role.