Breakdown: Canada's mental health crisis



    TORONTO, June 19 /CNW/ - No one is safe from mental illness; it strikes
without regard for age, gender, or social status. And even though one in four
Canadians suffer from a mental illness, it remains a stigma, shrouded in
misconceptions.
    On Friday, June 20, The Globe and Mail launches "Breakdown: Canada's
mental health crisis," a week-long series that examines the toll that mental
illness takes on Canadians, their families and their colleagues, and on the
nation's economy and health-care resources. The multi-media project includes
documentary footage that will appear on www.globeandmail.com/breakdown, with
personal narratives by mental health sufferers, commentary and analysis from
Canadian experts working in the field, and photo galleries featuring the work
of Globe photographer Charla Jones.
    The series starts with a sad portrait of a woman who lived out most of
her life in a Toronto asylum in the late 1800s. More than 100 years later, the
mentally ill in Canada are still misunderstood and are still being warehoused
-- though now, instead of being in "insane asylums," they can be found in
hospital wards and prisons, or trapped in their own homes.
    Yet, even though the economic impact of mental illnesses is bigger than
any other disease group, cancer included, Canada is the only western country
without a national health-care strategy.
    "Canada still doesn't have a coherent strategy for treating the mentally
ill," said The Globe's Editor-in-Chief, Ed Greenspon. "As a country, we need
to articulate and address mental health issues with a modern sensibility. If
we don't, the consequences can be tragic and severe, for individuals who
suffer, for their families, and for Canada."
    Saturday's Focus section will be exclusively devoted to the topic and
includes moving accounts by Globe senior writers Erin Anderssen and Carolyn
Abraham. They chronicle the lives of a trial lawyer in New Brunswick who
suffers from bipolar disorder and now lives with his aging mother, a
26-year-old Toronto man whose family saw him led away in handcuffs after
schizophrenia caused him to suffer severe delusions, and a high-level Toronto
accounting firm executive struggling to overcome crippling anxiety disorders.
    Over the week, Andre Picard, Dawn Walton and Elizabeth Renzetti will
examine critical aspects of Canada's mental health crisis, including:

    
    -   How 70 per cent of people with severe mental illness are working,
        despite their illness;
    -   How one-third of general hospital beds are filled with mentally ill
        patients;
    -   How Canadian jails and penitentiaries have become a place to
        warehouse the mentally ill;
    -   The vicious circle of mental illness and addiction.
    

    The Globe and Mail, Canada's national newspaper, is a division of
CTVglobemedia, a dynamic multimedia company, which also owns CTV Inc.,
Canada's number-one private broadcaster.





For further information:

For further information: or to arrange an interview with Globe and Mail
reporters, please contact: Teresa Pagnutti at (416) 969-2721,
tpagnutti@environicspr.com; or Jennifer Hills, jhills@environicspr.com, (416)
969-2669

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