Canadian Psychiatrists Press for Equal Treatment of Mental Illness and Petition Fellow Physicians to Fight Discrimination Towards Mentally Ill Persons

    MONTREAL, Aug. 18 /CNW Telbec/ - Historically the care for patients with
psychiatric illnesses has been loaded with prejudice and discrimination, the
Canadian Psychiatric Association (CPA) told delegates at today's Canadian
Medical Association (CMA) meeting. CPA also commends the CMA for putting a
spotlight on mental health issues today at its annual meeting of Canadian
    "In our presentation to colleagues, we pointed out that despite
medicine's ability to treat and diagnose psychiatric illness as effectively
and accurately as it can diagnose and treat most chronic conditions in
internal medicine, far too many people don't get access to care," said
Dr. Patrick White, CPA president and meeting delegate.
    "We must commit to ensuring that such discrimination is no longer
tolerated. This includes advocating for parity of resources for care.
Resources devoted to treating psychiatric illnesses should be similar to that
committed to physical illnesses with equivalent levels of disability," he
added. "We asked our colleagues to work together as physicians to transform
patient care for mental illnesses beginning by fighting stigma within our own
profession and physician organizations. We also asked that they advocate for
parity of resources for mental health research and the full range of services
needed to treat mental illness. We are encouraged by the support shown by our
colleagues in passing a number of motions for collaborative action."
    This year's annual CMA survey of Canadians on the state of health care
reinforces many studies that show that Canadians' personal experience with
mental illness is very prevalent and that they think mental health care is
    "Today's announcement of additional funding for the Mental Health
Commission of Canada is an encouraging sign that we are on the right track
toward transforming mental health care in Canada," added Dr. White.
    Dr. Donald Milliken represented the CPA on a mental health panel at the
CMA annual meeting alongside Michael Kirby Chair of the Mental Health
Commission and Austen Mardon, a patient living with schizophrenia.

    The Canadian Psychiatric Association is the national voice for Canada's
4,100 psychiatrists and more than 600 psychiatric residents. Founded in 1951,
the CPA is dedicated to promoting an environment that fosters excellence in
the provision of clinical care, education and research.

For further information:

For further information: For interviews: Hélène Côté, (613) 234-2815
ext. 232; CPA Media Cell, (613) 794-9663; Francine Knoops, (613) 297-5038

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Canadian Psychiatric Association

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