Psychiatrists Call for Action to Improve Access to Services for Canadians with Mental Illness
OTTAWA, Oct. 7, 2013 /CNW/ - During Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW), October 6-12, the Canadian Psychiatric Association (CPA) is urging action on access to services for Canadians with mental illness. The CPA, the national voice for Canada's 4,500 psychiatrists, says that recovery is possible if evidence-based treatments are available. Poor coordination, uneven access to services, and stigma, remain as major stumbling blocks for Canadians who need help.
"Treatments work if patients have access. Close to 100 per cent of my early psychosis patients have at least a partial response to treatment," says Dr. Michael Teehan, president of the Canadian Psychiatric Association. "For many, the response can be quite dramatic, and allow them to get back on their feet, and function in their daily lives. They can go back to school, go back to work, and lead productive lives."
Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) was founded in 1992 by the CPA as an annual national public education campaign designed to raise awareness and reduce the stigma associated with mental illness. It is now coordinated by the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH) in cooperation with its member organizations. During MIAW, the Faces of Mental Illness campaign features the stories of five Canadians living with mental illness, representing the MIAW message that "recovery is possible". Media will have the opportunity to meet the Faces at a press conference on Parliament Hill tomorrow at 11:30 AM in the Charles Lynch Room.
"Many psychiatrists work with those suffering from severe and persistent mental illness. But even in these populations, treatments work. Sometimes progress is slow, but when I see the impact on my patients, it is so gratifying to me. That is why I am a psychiatrist. What people don't understand is that patients do get better," says Dr. Teehan.
This year's theme for MIAW is "From Awareness to Action: Moving Forward for Mental Health" which acknowledges the steady rise in mental illness awareness, as prominent individuals have stepped forward to tell their stories, although some individuals are still reluctant to access services because of the stigma attached to mental illness. "The next step, along with education, is implementing specific actions, policies and programs that improve access to mental health services and leverage the recommendations of the Mental Health Commission of Canada," says Glenn Brimacombe, CEO of the Canadian Psychiatric Association.
The CPA looks forward to contributing to the efforts of the Mental Health Commission of Canada, federal, provincial and territorial governments, and other stakeholders to ensure Canadians have access to the right treatment, at the right place, at the right time, and from the right provider.
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