Don't let addiction and mental health return to the shadows says provincial mental health and addiction partnership



    TORONTO, Aug. 27 /CNW/ - In this year's provincial election campaign,
Ontario politicians must not allow mental health and addiction issues to
return to the shadows! That is the message from a partnership of provincial
mental health and addictions organizations that include: Addictions Ontario,
Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Ontario; The Centre for Addition and
Mental Health (CAMH); and The Ontario Federation of Community Mental Health
and Addiction Programs (OFCMHAP).
    This partnership has issued a challenge to all provincial leaders and
political parties to address the needs of the more than 20% of Ontarians who
will experience mental illness and substance abuse problems in their lifetime.
    These recommendations have been highlighted in a new pre-election
document titled Ontario Election 2007: Focus on Addiction and Mental Health.
The document urges provincial leaders to build access to community-based
mental health and addiction services, target the harms of alcohol and other
drugs through a Provincial Drug Strategy, and invest in housing, consumer
initiatives, and social supports. Ontario Election 2007: Focus on Addiction
and Mental Health has been distributed to all political parties and MPPs, and
is now available to the general public.
    "We can all see the human cost of addictions and mental health on the
well-being of Ontarians. It's the hidden costs in lost productivity, and the
use of costly emergency, shelter, and correctional services that diminishes
our standard of living," says David Kelly, Executive Director, OFCMHAP. "Our
network of addiction services is in particular need of greater support."
    Lorne Zon, CEO, CMHA, Ontario, noted that the Province of Ontario has
made important investments in community mental health during the current term
of government. "These investments are improving the lives of those with mental
illness," says Zon. "But we need to work much harder to support those with
mental illness to become full participants in our communities, by providing
affordable housing, adequate income support and improved access to employment
opportunities."
    Please visit www.camh.net, then click on Influencing Policy and scroll
down to What's New for a downloadable copy of Ontario Election 2007: Focus on
Addiction and Mental Health and for further information on key provincial
mental health and addiction election issues.


    PROVINCIAL MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION PARTNERSHIP BACKGROUNDER

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    This partnership was developed in 2004, and is comprised of four
organizations that include: Addictions Ontario, Canadian Mental Health
Association (CMHA), Ontario, The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
(CAMH), and The Ontario Federation of Community Mental Health and Addiction
Programs (OFCMHAP). Together, they are committed to raising the profile of
mental illness and addictions in Ontario, and to supporting the needs of those
living with mental health and addictions problems, their families, and their
communities.

    About the work of this partnership:

    As the province undergoes "health care transformation," the partnership
is advising the government on how to best support and enhance the mental
health and addictions system. The move to Local Health Integration Networks
(LHINs) is of particular importance. The partnership wants to ensure that in a
regionalized health system, mental health and addictions remains a priority.
The partnership is also advocating for maintaining a strong provincial
government role in mental health and addictions.




For further information:

For further information: Kismet Baun, Communications Officer, CMHA,
Ontario, Toronto, (416) 977-5580, ext. 4141, kbaun@ontario.cmha.ca; David
Kelly, Executive Director, OFCMHAP, Toronto, (416) 490-8900, ext. 22,
dkelly@ofcmhap.on.ca; Michael Torres, Media Relations Co-ordinator, CAMH,
Toronto, (416) 595-6015, michael_torres@camh.net; Norma Medulun, President,
Board of Directors, Addictions Ontario, St. Catharines, (905) 682-6411, ext.
63121, Norma.Medulun@niagarahealth.on.ca


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