Collection of Art Work from Canadians Living with Mental Illness to Be Showcased

    Annual Canadian Psychiatric Association Meeting will Feature Exhibit from
    Outpatient Mental Health Program Clients

    VANCOUVER, Sept. 3 /CNW/ - In recognition of the 58th annual conference
of the Canadian Psychiatric Association (CPA) in Vancouver this week, Pfizer
Canada is sponsoring Blank Canvas: Picture the Potential, an exhibit featuring
art work created by clients of nine Prevention and Early Intervention Program
for Psychoses (PEPP) programs from across Canada. The event, hosted by the
Canadian Psychiatric Association, will be held at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver
Hotel. Blank Canvas will showcase selected works from nine programs across
Canada, to raise awareness of how art can be effective as a therapy as well as
of the importance of comprehensive early intervention in treating severe
mental illnesses.
    The Prevention and Early Intervention Program for Psychoses (PEPP)
programs are community focused mental health programs which provide prompt
assessment and comprehensive, phase-specific medical and psychosocial
treatment for individuals experiencing their first psychotic episode.
Psychosis is a symptom of a number of serious mental illnesses affecting up to
3% of the population. The symptoms can include loss of contact with reality
and significant changes in thinking, believing, perceiving and/or behaving.
With appropriate early intervention, the consequences associated with
untreated psychosis can be avoided or greatly minimized.
    Blank Canvas will showcase selected works from nine such PEPP programs
across Canada, raising awareness of the tremendous creative abilities of their
clients. This is the first time that a selection of work from programs across
the country will be on display to the general public.

    Featured PEPP programs participating in Blank Canvas include:

    -   Early Psychosis Intervention Program, Vancouver Island Health
        Authority, Victoria, BC
    -   Fraser Health Authority Early Psychosis Intervention Program,
        Vancouver, BC
    -   Early Psychosis Intervention Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region,
        Regina, SK
    -   Early Psychosis Intervention Clinic, Edmonton Mental Health Clinic,
        Edmonton, AB
    -   The Art Studio, Ottawa, ON
    -   Prevention and Early Intervention Program for Psychoses, London
        Health Sciences Centre, London, ON
    -   Prevention and Early Intervention Program for Psychoses, Douglas
        Mental Health University Institute, Montreal, QC
    -   Polyclinique Sainte Anne, Quebec City, QC
    -   Early Psychosis Program, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS

    Art therapy combines the creative process and psychotherapy, facilitating
self-exploration and understanding. Using imagery, colour, and shape as part
of this creative therapeutic process, thoughts and feelings may be expressed
that would otherwise be difficult to articulate(i).
    "This is the first time that a selection of work from programs across the
country will be on display to the general public. I would like to invite the
Vancouver public to join us on opening night of our conference to celebrate
the recovery and achievements of these young people who have uncovered their
potential through art and have benefited from art therapy," said Dr. Patrick
White, President of the Canadian Psychiatric Association. "Behind every piece
of it lies a story of hope and recovery from the symptoms of mental illness."
    Following the launch of the exhibit at the CPA conference, all of the
artwork will be showcased during Mental Illness Awareness Week (October 5-11,
2008) at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. "Blank Canvas presents a
unique opportunity to highlight the creative talents of the clients of local
PEPP programs across the country," says Phil Upshall, National Director,
Mental Illness Awareness Week. "We are honoured and proud to be able to
showcase these works at the Sixth Annual Champions of Mental Health Awards
which will be held in Ottawa during Mental Illness Awareness Week."
    Blank Canvas is supported by an unrestricted educational grant from
Pfizer Canada Inc.

    About the Canadian Psychiatric Association
    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.

    About Mental Illness Awareness Week
    Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) is an annual national public
education campaign designed to help open the eyes of Canadians to the reality
of mental illness. The week was established in 1992 by the Canadian
Psychiatric Association, and is now coordinated by the Canadian Alliance on
Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH) in cooperation with all its member
organizations and many other supporters across Canada.
    Campaign elements include: a grassroots public education initiative; a
nationally-distributed poster and bookmark series; the 6th Annual Champions of
Mental Health Awards in Ottawa, and an education initiative with federal
Members of Parliament, both in their home ridings and on Parliament Hill.

    About Pfizer Canada
    Pfizer Inc. is the world's leading pharmaceutical company. Pfizer invests
more than $7 billion annually to discover and develop life-saving and
life-enhancing medications for humans and animals. The company's Canadian
operation, Pfizer Canada Inc., is a strong supporter of Canadian R&D,
investing $130 million annually and is one of the largest private contributors
to health research in Canada. Headquartered in Kirkland, Quebec, Pfizer Canada
and its cross-Canada team of 1,200 employees are working together for a
healthier world. Pfizer Canada's commitment to helping Canadians live happier,
healthier and longer lives extends beyond medication. To learn more about
Pfizer Canada's more than medication philosophy and programs, visit

    (i) Canadian Art Therapy Association website:

For further information:

For further information: and to request visuals of the art work, please
contact: Christina Antoniou, Pfizer Canada, (514) 693-4766 or (514) 208-5960,; Farah Meghji, Thornley Fallis Communications,
(416) 515-7517 x249,; For more information about the
Canadian Psychiatric Program, please contact: Hélène Coté, Canadian
Psychiatric Association, (613) 794-9663

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