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"There are wait times to get everything from psychotherapy to assessments to get into supportive housing.''
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While mental illness accounts for about 10% of the burden of disease in Ontario, it receives just 7 per cent of health care dollars. Relative to this burden, mental health care in Ontario is underfunded by about $1.5 billion. This needs to be addressed.
A growing trend in the delivery of mental health services is the use of peer support workers. Peers, who have themselves experienced some kind of mental illness, can help meet some of the many needs that people with the most severe mental illnesses have. However, various ideological agendas have led the internationally powerful peer support movement in questionable directions.
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Thanks to political correctness, we often talk about mental health problems and issues rather than illnesses. Issues are something that policy wonks write papers about (which is what happens now) whereas illnesses are much more serious and require the intrusion of medicine and science.
One of the biggest complaints that families of the mentally ill have is the failure of the health system to provide them with information. Families provide ongoing care, support and housing,and yet the privacy legislation in most jurisdictions in both Canada and the U.S. prohibit staff from talking to them.
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One issue that needs to be discussed in this long election period is Canada's abysmal record dealing with mental illness. Despite Prime Minister Harper having established a Mental Health Commission in 2007 in order to act as "a catalyst for improving the mental health system," our record is abysmal.
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Efforts at improving mental illness literacy in Canada and the U.S. have been hampered by a problematic notion that education about biological aspects of mental illnesses will lead to greater stigmatizing of people with these disorders.
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The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) announced in April that the Hon. Michael Wilson was taking over as chair. He knows the pain of being a family member and of advocating for improvements which are ignored. What troubles me is the press release which says the MHCC will continue in its role of "advancing the promotion of mental health -- and the prevention of mental illness."
The use of medications is a matter between a patient and his/her doctor and, for schizophrenia, is considered to be the cornerstone of treatment. Peter Buckley, MD, a psychiatrist and expert in schizophrenia, and dean of the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University described it as the "bedrock of managing schizophrenia". Fixmentalhealth disagrees but provides no evidence or qualifications.
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The Mental Health Commission of Canada has just released the first of two reports on indicators showing how poorly we treat those with mental illness in Canada. I really have to ask why, as this is something we already know.
Every week, more than a half-million Canadians miss work because of mental health problems, costing the Canadian economy over $50 billion a year. So there's good reason why the Economic Club of Canada teamed up with business leaders and mental health organizations to launch the Wellth Management Mental Health at Work Challenge this fall in cities across the country.
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VANCOUVER - There has been a significant increase in the number of interactions between police and people with mental illness over the past five to seven years, says a new report by the Mental Health...
Mental health exists on a continuum from existential angst of the worried well to the serious illness of schizophrenia -- a disease of the brain. There is a concept in medicine of triage -- the one who is sickest and in most danger gets treated first and with the most resources. In mental health, that should be those with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and the other serious and debilitating illnesses and not those with existential angst.
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Psychotic disorders are frequently accompanied by significant and disabling cognitive losses. Why don't people learn about these cognitive losses? This lack of information has enormous negative consequences. For instance, families who have not been told about these cognitive losses, may have very different interpretations of a family member's difficulties in keeping a room clean or in not relaying phone messages. Parents will respond differently to these kinds of situations if they learn that this behaviour isn't willful, but is symptomatic of an ongoing brain disorder.
The Mental Health Commission of Canada got $110 million from Health Canada for a homelessness study conducted in five cities. While I am all in favour of research, I have to wonder if this project was necessary. This research has already been done in other countries. How many times do you have to replicate a study before you accept the results? This is more money spent on research and not on housing and treating the most vulnerable in our society.
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The establishment of a Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) by the Harper Tories in 2007 has been seen as a progressive step towards ensuring that those with mental illnesses begin to receive the same level of health care as those with other illnesses. But, in my opinion, it was nothing more than a clever ploy to make it look like something positive was finally being done. Those who suffer from mental illness deserve the same level of care and treatment as those who suffer with other illnesses. No society can call itself progressive when it allows such needless suffering as those with mental illnesses, addictions and their families do.
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I know what a mental illness is but I'm not really sure what a mental health problem is. Is it a problem for the worried well? Toronto Maple Leaf hockey fans have been depressed for years because their team misses the playoffs and has not won the Stanley Cup since 1967. Young Susie can't sleep at nights and is distraught because no one has asked her to the prom yet and her parents refuse to buy her the new dress she so desperately wants.
Not having proper services for serious mental illnesses has already resulted in all of the problems listed by the various reports done by governments -- homelessness, incarceration, destroyed lives and fractured families. What we need and we need it now is political action to bring about the needed changes.
Consider this. No one makes a decision to suddenly develop psychotic delusions or the mania of bipolar disorder or the crushing darkness of depression. These are illnesses that just happen as do other illnesses like MS or Parkinson's or rheumatoid arthritis. They are not our choice and they are not welcome but they happen and we have to contend with them as best we can.
If only a Canadian politician would do this. Republican Congressman Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania recently introduced a bill into Congress called Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act. Murphy is t...
OTTAWA - Cities across the country are seeing their homeless populations shrink thanks to efforts by the federal government and its partners to provide permanent housing to those languishing on the st...
In responding to homelessness today, we put our energy into emergency responses -- shelters, food and clothing donations and soup kitchens -- and then we stop. We need to move people quickly back into their homes, provide them with the support they need, and figure out how to prevent it from happening again.
Almost 4 per cent of the population develops schizophrenia or bipolar disorder and these disorders mostly appear in youth and young adults. The families who this year will discover the agony of psychotic illnesses need to know that genuine help is available. The path to that help is just much more treacherous than it should be.
Imagine the benefits if people with mental illnesses and their families could partake in this program? Family caregivers could receive information on their ill loved one and be able to provide on going information on progress and problems to the co-ordinator. It is time, Premier Wynne.
The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) has released its new guidelines for involving families in the mental health system. Since family caregivers for people with psychotic disorders often supply the majority of mental health support, these efforts to create a more family friendly mental health system represent a huge step forward.
This is Prevention Week, part of Mental Health Awareness Month in the U.S. Too bad that the policies promoted by the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), make it more likely that people with the most severe psychotic disorders -- schizophrenia and bipolar disorder -- will remain ill.
Advertisements and billboards around Canada are encouraging us to discuss mental health problems as part of Bell's "Let's Talk" campaign on Feb. 12. However, those of us who wish Canadians could finally receive much needed public education about psychotic disorders are disappointed. Canada is fortunate to have quite a few early psychosis intervention programs. But given the poor state of knowledge about both the early signs and the existence of programs, too many families aren't getting the knowledge they need. These are major public health problems. Let's talk about them.
Since my daughter experienced her first psychotic break while still a young teenager, she missed the kinds of gradual steps others get to take in developing work skills. Fortunately for her, Vancouver has an agency focused on helping people living with mental illnesses. But its funding might be cut back.
As National Family Caregivers month comes to a close, some caregivers have reason to celebrate as their concerns are receiving more attention than ever before. However, it's a precarious time for some of us. The organization that families caring for people with severe psychotic disorders had created has somehow slipped away from us.
Those involved in the mental health "Recovery Movement" believe the patient is the expert on treatment rather than the doctor and that there is no need for clinical evaluation or evidence-based treatment. This model does not accommodate the needs of individuals with severe mental illness who may lack insight into their illness and are unable to make appropriate treatment choices.
Current anti-stigma campaigns emphasize that most people with mental illnesses aren't violent. This is very true. They also point out that people with mental illnesses are much more likely to be the victims of violence rather than the perpetrators. Also true.
But the research is clear that people with untreated psychosis are a greater danger to themselves and others than people who aren't psychotic. People with untreated psychotic disorders have a higher rate of violence than do the general population.
It's ironic that at a mental health conference regarding anti-stigmatization, there should be a group of panelists who offer the most stigmatizing collection of ideas about families coping with mental illness. What's most distressing is that they advocate the cessation of the use of medicine and family support.