Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ontario partners with Healthy Interactions to promote better mental health across Canada



    TORONTO, Jan. 15 /CNW/ - Today, two health leaders announced a five-year
partnership intended to promote mental health and support the recovery of
those living with mental illnesses through education. CMHA, Ontario is
partnering with patient education innovator Healthy Interactions to create new
tools and programs to help change the way Canadians perceive, live with, and
care for individuals affected by mental illness.
    The partnership will include the development and distribution of Healthy
Interactions Conversation Map(R) tools which will help Canadian mental health
consumers increase their general life skills and also better enable
professionals to care for individuals who are living with mental illnesses.
    The Conversation Map approach uses the power of small group dialogue and
collaborative learning to improve health. Through this method, groups of
patients engage in a discussion about a disease or subject, recognize how
their beliefs or attitudes affect their perceptions, and discover ways they
can change behavior and improve their personal health management. This
innovative and interactive style of learning is the exact opposite of a
healthcare professional speaking with the patient in a didactic way, which is
so commonplace in much of health education today. Healthy Interactions
Conversation Map tools were first introduced to Canadians living with diabetes
in 2005, and it is now becoming the standard of education for diabetes in
Canada.
    "Mental illness is one of the most complex and costliest illnesses from
both a personal and societal perspective and we need to respond to it with
tools and programs that we are confident will really make a difference," says
Lorne Zon, CEO, CMHA, Ontario. "We've seen the success that Healthy
Interactions is having improving the quality of life for patients living with
other chronic diseases and we are really excited by this innovative new
program. We know that Healthy Interactions is the right partner for us."
    Over 20 percent of all Canadians will experience a mental illness during
their lifetime. Conservative estimates suggest that the total economic burden
of mental health is over $30-billion dollars annually.
    The program will be developed under the auspices of CMHA, Ontario, and
will be introduced across Canada in 2009.

    About Healthy Interactions Inc.

    A global leader in health education, Healthy Interactions is devoted to
driving Personal Health Engagement -- our term for helping individuals commit
to healthier actions. We create "Aha!" moments that inspire people to change
personal health behaviors. Healthy Interactions builds partnerships with
leading medical and disease associations, not-for-profit organizations,
corporations, and caring healthcare professionals trained in our approaches,
enabling millions of people to take control of their health and live their
best lives. Founded in 2003, Healthy Interactions is headquartered in Chicago.
For more information, visit http://www.healthyinteractions.com.

    About CMHA, Ontario

    Founded in 1952, Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ontario, is a
non-profit, charitable organization committed to improving the lives of people
with mental illness and their families, and to the promotion of mental health
for all Ontarians. CMHA, Ontario achieves its mission through public
education, applied research and policy analysis, and advocating for healthy
public policy and an effective and efficient health system. Ontario's 32 local
CMHA branches provide direct services and supports to communities across the
province. More information about CMHA, Ontario may be found on our website at
www.ontario.cmha.ca.




For further information:

For further information: Paul Lasiuk, Co-founder, Healthy Interactions,
Chicago, (312) 755-9901, paullasiuk@healthyi.com; Kismet Baun, Senior
Communications Advisor, CMHA, Ontario Division, Toronto, (416) 977-5580, ext.
4141, kbaun@ontario.cmha.ca

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Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario Division

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