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2004 Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health

CAMH Launches ‘Transforming Lives’ Awareness Campaign to Challenge Stigma: Ontarians share gripping personal stories in support of CAMH’s work

CAMH Launches ‘Transforming Lives’ Awareness Campaign to Challenge Stigma

Ontarians share gripping personal stories in support of CAMH’s work

(TORONTO, Ontario - May 2, 2005) - The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) today launched a broad awareness campaign that focuses on personal stories of Ontarians’ experiences with addiction and mental illness. Celebrities and non-celebrities alike have come forward to share their stories in support of CAMH’s efforts to educate the public about these challenges, break down stigma, and improve access to the information and services available at CAMH. Print, radio and television ads will include Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor, The Honourable James K. Bartleman and former Toronto Maple Leaf Ron Ellis, who have faced depression, as well as former federal finance minister, The Honourable Michael Wilson, whose son’s struggle with depression culminated in suicide.
“Our goal is both remarkably straightforward and extremely challenging - we want to break down the stigma that adds to the burden of symptoms and prevents people from receiving timely and effective treatment; we also want Ontarians to be aware that they live in a province with one of the world’s leading academic health sciences centres dedicated to the improved understanding and treatment of people experiencing addictions and mental illnesses,” says Dr. David Goldbloom, Senior Medical Advisor, CAMH. “Through this campaign, we are letting people know that these problems are common, that there is reason for hope for recovery, and that help is available.”

The Honourable Michael Wilson
The Honourable Michael Wilson

The Honourable James K. Bartleman
The Honourable James K. Bartleman

Ron Ellis
Ron Ellis

Dan Carter
Dan Carter

Patricia Newman
Patricia Newman

Linda Stewardson
Linda Stewardson

Paulette Walker
Paulette Walker

CAMH is a world-renowned specialized teaching hospital affiliated with the University of Toronto that supports more than 20,000 outpatients each year, yet it is not well known in the city and province it serves.  
In addition to research and clinical care, education and health promotion initiatives, such as the ‘Transforming Lives’ campaign, are central to CAMH's mission.  Addiction and mental illness touch every family. With one in four Canadians expected to confront these challenges during their lifetime, such initiatives are critical in battling these health threats. Left undetected and untreated, mental illness alone costs Canada over $14 billion a year.
“Two-thirds of people who require treatment for a mental illness don't seek help,” says The Honourable James Bartleman, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, whose best-selling books, including the recently released Rollercoaster, have included accounts of his struggles with depression. “They either lack understanding of the symptoms or fear the stigma associated with the illness and its treatments - this campaign is about changing that perception.”  Mr. Bartleman is Honorary Patron of CAMH, and has made mental health one of his key themes while in office.
The pro bono advertising campaign features broadcast and print media created by award-winning Toronto advertising agency, Ambrose Carr Linton Carroll.
Featuring striking close-up photos of each of the seven people profiled, the ads highlight the challenges overcome in their personal and professional lives. Along with the celebrities, the stories include:
Dan Carter, a successful television host in Oshawa, overcame abuse and addiction.
Patricia Newman, a teacher, conquered crippling depression to return to a job she loved.
Linda Stewardson survived horrific abuse, multiple addictions and an eating disorder.
Paulette Walker’s addiction to crack-cocaine cost her everything.  She now works as a chef and speaks to inmates at various jails about how to rebuild their lives.
In addition to print ads, 30-second radio spots featuring the participants have been created, along with a PSA for television featuring former hockey star, Ron Ellis, who played for the Toronto Maple Leafs while battling depression. Using humour, the 30-second television spot compares the challenges of winning the Stanley Cup to the greater challenge of defeating depression.
“We are delighted to help CAMH fight the stigma associated with addiction and mental illness and to raise the awareness of the wonderful work CAMH does transforming the lives of Canadians," said Esmé Carroll, Chairman and CEO, ACLC Advertising, whose firm created the campaign.
The campaign will run for two years in order to have a sustained impact on stigma and public attitudes.  It includes a full-page colour advertisement in The Globe and Mail during Mental Health Awareness Week that runs May 2-9, and other magazine and newspaper placements
About CAMH
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada's leading addiction and mental health teaching hospital. CAMH succeeds in transforming the lives of people affected by addiction and mental illness, by applying the latest in scientific advances, through integrated and compassionate clinical practice, health promotion, education and research.
CAMH is a Pan American Health Organization and World Health Organization Collaborating Centre fully affiliated with the University of Toronto. Visit our website at
Attention TV and Print Public Service Directors: Several of the celebrities and spokespeople are available for interviews. For more information or to schedule an interview:
Sylvia Hagopian, Media Coordinator, CAMH, (416) 595-6015 
Stephanie Engel, Consultant, MAVERICK PR, 416-640-5525 x241
For more up-to-date information please visit
CAMH Switchboard 416-535-8501
CAMH General Information Toronto: 416-595-6111 Toll Free: 1-800-463-6273
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