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Canada adopts mental health strategy

May 11, 2012
by News release
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Canada's first national mental health strategy has been welcomed by the province's specialty mental health centers, including the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences (Ontario Shores), The Royal, and Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care.

Until recently, Canada was the only G7 country without a national strategy on mental health.

"The strategy is comprehensive, focusing on children and youth through to older adults. We know that prevention and early intervention are critical," said Carol Lambie, Waypoint President and CEO. "This means that we need to ensure that our workplaces, our schools and our communities have the right supports."

"Mental Illness is a societal issue. The Mental Health Strategy for Canada prompts Canadians to take action and help those affected by a mental illness on their journey to recovery," said Glenna Raymond, President and CEO of Ontario Shores. "Integration and collaboration among all sectors is crucial to ensure that key supports such as housing, employment, education and specialized services are available for mental health and addictions recovery."

George Weber, President and CEO of The Royal Ottawa Health Care Group, noted that "far too many people who need care are ending up in the criminal justice system; we should be providing treatment to people with mental illness, not warehousing them in our prisons. This strategy paves the way forward for us to work together to increase care and reduce the criminalization of the mentally ill."

The strategy also addresses the diverse needs of our Canadian population—in particular, the health inequities experienced by our aboriginal population. "Today a young aboriginal person is more likely to die from suicide than go to college," said Dr. Catherine Zahn, President and CEO of CAMH. "This needs to change."

The four hospitals are working together as part of the Ontario Mental Health and Addictions Quality Initiative committed to improving care, education and innovative research in mental health.