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Call for Canadian Mental Health Commission December 03, 2006 9:38 AM

In May 2006, a Senate Standing Committee recommended that a Canadian Mental Health Commission be established and that it become operational by September 1st. To date, the federal government has done nothing to address this urgent need. Click the link below to join the Schizophrenia Society of Canada in calling on Ottawa to immediately fulfill this recommendation as a first step towards developing a vitally-needed national strategy to deal with mental illness and mental health issues.,81,1421,0,-html  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
anonymous sounds interesting December 03, 2006 1:11 PM

will the commission have teeth?  [report anonymous abuse]  [ accepted]
No teeth, just ears, eyes and brains December 03, 2006 1:25 PM

The Senate Committee's proposal reads: It is important to emphasize that the Commission is to be advisory and facilitative, not operational in nature. Specifically, the Commission will not: · Provide any services itself, except for its management of the Knowledge Exchange Centre and the national anti-stigma campaign, or in association with its doing work under contract for other institutions; · Monitor the performance of any government with respect to mental health services. The Commission will recognize explicitly that each government’s approach to providing mental health services must reflect the particular characteristics of that jurisdiction. The entire proposal is available at:  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
This just in March 19, 2007 1:25 PM

The Finance Minister's 2007 Federal Budget will follow through: "Establishing the Canadian Mental Health Commission, with $10 million over the next two years and $15 million per year starting in 2009–10. This commission will lead the development of a national mental health strategy." Also of interest: "Helping parents and others save toward the long-term financial security of persons with severe disabilities with a new Registered Disability Savings Plan." MORE INFO:  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 March 19, 2007 1:33 PM

In his speech, he announces the appointment of Senator Michael Kirby, who spearheaded the Senate Report on Mental Health, Mental Illness and Addictions, the very same report recommending the establishment of the Commission, to head it. The report also recommended that extra tax on alcohol to pay for it, which was soundly rejected the second it was announced.  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
More from the Budget docs March 19, 2007 2:07 PM

Canadian Mental Health Commission Mental illness and poor mental health have a profound impact on Canadian society. Mental illness affects individual Canadians of all ages and in all segments of the population, and is prevalent in all regions, including both rural and urban areas. It is estimated that one in five Canadians will develop a mental illness at some time in their lives. Many more individuals such as family, friends and colleagues are also affected. The economic costs associated with poor mental health and mental illness are also significant, both in terms of their impact on businesses and on the health care system. The Government is establishing a Canadian Mental Health Commission that will be a national focal point for addressing mental health issues. Budget 2007 invests $10 million over the next two years and $15 million per year starting in 2009–10 for the commission. The structure and role of the commission will be based on the recommendations of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, which were outlined in its comprehensive report relating to mental health, mental illness and addiction in Canada, titled Out of the Shadows at Last, that was released on May 16, 2006.  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
Some reaction March 19, 2007 2:20 PM

Federal Budget Reduces Stigma of Mental Illness (CAMIMH & MDSC) "We applaud the government on this important decision," said Phil Upshall, National Executive Director of MDSC. "We look forward to working with the government, the Honourable Michael Kirby, Chair of the Commission, and our partners at CAMIMH to make the Commission a success."  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 March 19, 2007 2:42 PM

Key Organizations laud Government Announcement of a Canadian Mental Health Commission "We would like to congratulate Michael Kirby on being named Chair of the new Canadian Mental Health Commission. His passion and commitment - as well as that of his Senate Committee colleagues - have resulted in the creation of this new commission today, and his leadership will ensure that it makes a real difference tomorrow. We are thrilled," said Dr. Paul Garfinkel, President & CEO of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. "The need for such a commission to focus on addiction and mental health issues across the country is undeniable," commented Jeff Wilbee, Executive Director of Addictions Ontario. "The quality of the addiction and 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."  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
anonymous Jennifer March 19, 2007 7:16 PM

I'm hoping that our new member Jennifer Forbes, who is also Canadian, would be interested in this Commission.  [report anonymous abuse]  [ accepted]
Mental Health Commission March 20, 2007 10:26 AM

Hello, Yes, I am very interested in seeing the establishment of this Commission. I have been following this issue and responded to the health consultations in January. While more money would be nice, this is a very good start. More than anything, I would like to see progress happen. This funding will be critical in getting it underway. Jennifer  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
anonymous thanks, Jennifer March 20, 2007 7:22 PM

I was hoping you would be curious about this topic.  [report anonymous abuse]  [ accepted]
 March 20, 2007 10:23 PM

I hope that the Commission's office will be downtown, where decisions are made, not lost at Tunney's Pasture where it will get sucked into being a tiny fiefdom in Health Canada's bloatedness. A lot of people are counting on this working, not churning out more studies and recommendations without some effective policy and program initiatives. *fingers crossed*  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
Location March 21, 2007 7:39 AM

The office will be located in Calgary, Alberta. I know!! I can't believe it either!  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
WTF?! March 21, 2007 11:03 AM

Calgary?! Down the street from the new National Portrait Gallery, I suppose. And Commissioner/Senator Kirby's from Nova Scotia. He'll be in airports and planes most of the time. Tabarnac! *slaps forehead*  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
anonymous Say what? March 21, 2007 2:15 PM

So, will this location make the site more or less accessible to agitators like ourselves and what if anything can be done to influence that decision?  [report anonymous abuse]  [ accepted]
 March 21, 2007 2:43 PM

Well, one solution would be for the Alberta-based Conservatives to lose the next election very soon. I would assume that the CMHC would work on burnout prevention, so having an elderly man flying around Canada to run it would not be a good idea, doy! With all the techno stuff we have, he could stay in Ottawa, in which case there will be some juicy jobs created here. I'm between jobs and, therefore, not privy to the grapevine. Keep us posted, Jennifer!  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
conservatives March 21, 2007 2:53 PM

I am not a conservative and do not vote conservative. But, I don't want an election right away because it could mean losing the funding for the commission. We need it to get started right away! I wish it were in Ottawa too.  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
Curiouser and curiouser March 22, 2007 2:40 PM

The Senate Debates transcript indicates that Senator Kirby is no longer a member of the Upper House: So this news hound did some digging and found out that he left last October, 10 years before he has to and one month before the committee's final report was submitted. Fast forward to Monday and he's found a new job! At the time, Kirby said he would "contribute to both the public and private sectors in new ways." As the Church Lady would say, "How conveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeenient!"  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
anonymous Canadian mental health March 29, 2007 10:36 AM

Improved Treatments Ease A Cruel Disease It's quite horrendous. First of all, you've got somebody that you love, a child that you've raised And then suddenly, the child becomes a crazy person. June Beeby speaks with disarming candor - her way of dealing with the horror that befell her family. It began in 1979, when Beeby's 17-year-old son, Matthew, started to hallucinate. Diagnosed as schizophrenic, the boy stayed at home in Toronto as his condition worsened. In his madness, Matthew believed that God wanted his mother and his sister Susan, to die. Frightened, Beeby tried to have Matthew committed so that he could be treated. But, she discovered that this was virtually impossible without Matthew's consent - which he would not give. Then on a dark, cold day in February, 1981, Beeby arrived home to discover her son dead in a pool of blood. "He had taken two ordinary dinner knives," says Beeby, "and plunged them into his eyes until they pierced his brain." The horror of Beeby's tragedy may be hard to fathom, but the affliction behind it is all too common. With different details and different - sometimes happier - outcomes, the madness is present in the lives of the estimated 270,000 Canadians who suffer from schizophrenia and in the lives of their families. For years, the prognosis for most schizophrenics has been hopeless. Many still languish on the margins of society, hidden in mental hospitals and lodged in prisons. They are the withdrawn and unemployable adults still living with aging parents, and they are the ragged, suffering souls who carry on conversations with invisible partners, or rant incoherently in the streets. "I live in a totally different world, a different reality," says Gus Boudens, a 30-year-old schizophrenic in Montreal who has been hospitalized frequently. "I've been through lots of different hells." Now, better drugs and new ways of treating schizophrenia are enabling more of the disease's victims to live in society instead of institutions, and even to hold down jobs. At the same time, pioneering Canadian scientists - whose findings have already paved the way for a greater understanding of schizophrenia - and researchers around the world are hunting for underlying causes of the disease. Improved drugs to combat psychosis - the loss of contact with reality that afflicts schizophrenics - are already coming on the market, and some researchers believe that within the next few decades scientists will find a way to virtually cure the baffling disease (page 76). On the other hand, budget reductions by debt-ridden governments are creating new problems for schizophrenics and other victims of serious mental illness. As hospitals reduce staff and close down beds, families often are unable to find institutions willing to take in schizophrenics who need medical help. Just as frustrating for many families are provincial laws designed to protect patients' rights, which make it difficult for families to have schizophrenics committed or treated against their will. "The myth is that if people exhibit bizarre behavior, men in white coats will come and take you away," says Fay Herrick, a Calgarian whose 28-year-old son suffers from schizophrenia. "There aren't any people who can do that. If only there were." Despite educational efforts by the 5,000-member Schizophrenia Society of Canada and its provincial counterparts, the disease remains poorly understood. Many Canadians cling to the erroneous belief that schizophrenia involves a divided psyche or multiple personalities. And many people assume that schizophrenics are prone to violence. The fact is that schizophrenics sometimes become violent, but most do not - they are far more likely to withdraw from society. And the stigma that clings to schizophrenia adds to the victims' difficulties. "The stigma is always there," says Sherri Matsumoto, a 32-year-old Winnipegger who is training to be a mental health worker. "I'm careful who I tell because, with some people, their attitude changes. They think I might come at them with a knife." Schizophrenia usually begins between the ages of 16 and 30, with men often being affected earlier than women. The first symptoms can include trouble concentrating or sleeping, and afflicted people may start avoiding their friends. In the next stage, many schizophrenics begin to speak incoherently and see or hear things that no one else does. As the disease takes hold, there are cycles of remission followed by frightening relapses marked by disordered thinking that causes many schizophrenics to leap illogically from one subject to another when they talk. They begin to experience hallucinations, paranoia and delusions - schizophrenics in their psychotic phases may become convinced that people are spying on them, or imagine that they have acquired godlike powers. When they are in the grip of psychosis, they frequently behave erratically, and they can become violent or suicidal. Often, it is parents and other family members who have to deal with the recurring crises. In September, Mary Lou Schaefer, a retired Peterborough, Ont., day care supervisor, went searching for her 30-year-old son after he fled into the streets. Her son was convinced, says Schaefer, that "someone was walking up and down in front of his apartment with a gun. When he gets like that, he thinks he has to defend himself. So he can be a danger to other people." Often, schizophrenics are more of a danger to themselves. An estimated 15 to 20 per cent of them take their own lives - in despair of ever finding peace of mind, or because their "voices" tell them to. Another 15 per cent do not respond to medication, and have no choice but to live in their madness - either in an institution or on the outside. With the help of antipsychotic drugs, which can reduce or eliminate a sufferer's hallucinations and delusions, about 70 per cent can live in society. And some - perhaps 15 to 20 per cent of those diagnosed - can do some  [report anonymous abuse]  [ accepted]
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