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2006 Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health

CAMH Congratulates Health Minister Smitherman for going public with his own story of substance use

Dear Toronto Star Editor,

How wonderfully appropriate that George Smitherman was inspired by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)’s Courage to Come Back Awards ceremony to share his own successful struggle with drugs and alcohol with Toronto Star Reporter Robin Harvey. Robin Harvey received a CAMH Courage Award this week for transcending her own challenge of bipolar disorder.

When the Minister of Health of Canada’s largest province talks publicly about his personal substance use problems, he performs a real public service. He draws attention to the fact that addiction and mental health issues affect more than 1 in every 5 Ontarians. He helps break down the insidious stigma against these health problems that still keeps over 60% of affected people from seeking help. And he offers hope and encouragement to our patients, clients and families who realize that they are not alone.

As our Health Minister, George Smitherman makes important professional decisions every day that impact the health of Ontarians. I believe that his personal decision to go public today with his own substance use problems will prove to be one of his most powerful legacies.

George Smitherman is to be congratulated for sharing his story so generously with so many—a story that will make a real and positive difference to the millions of Ontarians currently struggling with addiction and mental health problems.


Paul Garfinkel

CAMH President and CEO

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