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Organizations laud Kirby Committee's proposed new Canadian Mental Health Commission

Organizations laud Kirby Committee's proposed new Canadian Mental Health Commission

Organizations laud Kirby Committee's proposed new Canadian Mental Health Commission
For Immediate Release/November 24, 2005 - (Toronto) Creating a new Canadian body empowered to throw a national spotlight onto the marginalized issues of mental health and addictions and keep it there until effective solutions are implemented has won the praise of three of Ontario's leading mental health and addiction organizations.  The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ontario, the Ontario Federation of Community Mental Health and Addiction Programs (OFCMHAP) and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) today applauded the Federal Ministry of Health's decision to accept the proposal by Senator Kirby's Standing Committee to create a Canadian Mental Health Commission to move these long-neglected health issues into the mainstream through initiatives such as a national Knowledge Exchange Centre and anti-stigma campaign.
"The need for such a commission to focus on mental health and addiction issues across the country is undeniable," commented Karen McGrath, CMHA, Ontario's CEO today.  "The quality of the mental health services you receive should not depend on where in Canada you live.  A national commission to make objective, evidence-based 'best practice' information on mental illness and addictions equally available to communities and governments across Canada will have an incredibly positive effect on the quality of care and services received by some of the most vulnerable people in our country."
"While needing to recognize the unique services of addiction providers, the creation of a national body is an important step towards helping the many vulnerable Canadians facing an addiction and or mental illness," said David Kelly, Executive Director of OFCMHAP.  "It also recognizes that we in Canada have a lot of catching up to do-mental health and addictions have fallen behind other health issues despite the fact they directly affect one in five Canadians and have severe social, employment and economic implications."
But for Dr. Paul Garfinkel, CAMH President and CEO, it is the proposal's emphasis on reducing stigma and ending discrimination that resonates most strongly: 
"Every day we hear from patients and their families who delayed seeking treatment because they feared the social stigma that a diagnosis of mental illness or addiction would bring. In fact, research shows that two-thirds of affected people never seek treatment. The power of stigma cannot be underestimated, and this commitment by the Federal Government to create a national commission to help educate Canadians about the reality of mental illness-- with the ultimate goal of eliminating all forms of discrimination against people and families living with mental illness-- will be welcomed from coast to coast," Dr. Garfinkel said.
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For more information or to schedule interviews, contact:
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