CCSA welcomes new head of the Mental Health Commission of Canada



    OTTAWA, Feb. 18 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse
(CCSA), a national organization working to reduce alcohol- and drug-related
harm, today welcomed the appointment of Michael Howlett as President and Chief
Executive Officer of the newly formed Mental Health Commission of Canada
(MHCC), a non-profit organization created to focus national attention on
mental health issues.
    "The establishment of the Mental Health Commission is a significant
achievement that will have a tremendously positive impact on the field of
mental health services in Canada, and CCSA looks forward to supporting its
operations in our capacity as Canada's national addictions centre," said Rita
Notarandrea, CCSA's Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Director of Policy and
Research. "With a person of Mr. Howlett's calibre heading the Commission, we
are confident it will fulfil its important mandate to enhance health and
social outcomes for Canadians living with mental illness and experiencing
mental health problems."
    The new Commission, like CCSA, is funded by the federal government, but
operates at arm's length from all levels of government. The two organizations
also share a number of common interests, including continued efforts to
improve the detection and treatment of concurrent disorders, where addictions
and mental health issues overlap, and to improve coordination of mental health
and addiction services.
    "We also applaud the new Commission's plan for a 10-year campaign to
reduce the stigma associated with mental illness and mental health problems-a
phenomenon that also hampers our work in addictions," said Ms. Notarandrea.
"As well, we welcome the proposed Knowledge Exchange Centre whose goal is to
improve cross-sector communication. We look forward to working in close
partnership with the Commission in all these key areas."
    The new Commission was announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in
response to a recommendation in the report by the Standing Senate Committee on
Social Affairs, Science and Technology, entitled Out of the Shadows at
Last-Transforming Mental Health, Mental Illness and Addiction Services in
Canada.

    About CCSA

    With a legislated mandate to reduce alcohol- and other drug-related
harms, the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse provides leadership on national
priorities, fosters knowledge-translation within the field, and creates
sustainable partnerships that maximize collective efforts. CCSA receives
funding support from Health Canada.




For further information:

For further information: Heather Wilcox, Communications Advisor, CCSA,
(613) 235-4048, ext. 243, Mobile: (613) 291-9165, hwilcox@ccsa.ca


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