Key Organizations laud Government Announcement of a Canadian Mental Health Commission

    TORONTO, March 19 /CNW/ - Creating a new Canadian body empowered to throw
a national spotlight onto the marginalized issues of mental health and
addictions and keep it there until effective solutions are implemented has won
the praise of four of Ontario's leading mental health and addiction
    The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ontario, the Ontario
Federation of Community Mental Health and Addiction Programs (OFCMHAP),
Addictions Ontario, and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)
today applauded the announcement in the federal budget of the creation of a
Canadian Mental Health Commission, as recommended by Senator Kirby's Senate
Committee. This Commission, with a mandate to lead the development of a
national mental health strategy, will move these long-neglected health issues
into the mainstream.
    "We would like to congratulate Michael Kirby on being named Chair of the
new Canadian Mental Health Commission. His passion and commitment - as well as
that of his Senate Committee colleagues - have resulted in the creation of
this new commission today, and his leadership will ensure that it makes a real
difference tomorrow. We are thrilled," said Dr. Paul Garfinkel, President &
CEO of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
    "The need for such a commission to focus on addiction and mental health
issues across the country is undeniable," commented Jeff Wilbee, Executive
Director of Addictions Ontario. "The quality of the addiction and mental
health services you receive should not depend on where in Canada you live. A
national commission to make objective, evidence-based 'best practice'
information on mental illness and addictions equally available to communities
and governments across Canada will have an incredibly positive effect on the
quality of care and services received by some of the most vulnerable people in
our country."
    "While needing to recognize the unique services of addiction providers,
the creation of a national body is an important step towards helping the many
vulnerable Canadians facing an addiction and or mental illness," said David
Kelly, Executive Director of OFCMHAP. "It also recognizes that we in Canada
have a lot of catching up to do. Mental health and addictions have fallen
behind other health issues despite the fact they directly affect one in five
Canadians and have severe social, employment and economic implications."

For further information:

For further information: or to schedule interviews, contact: Michael
Torres, CAMH, (416) 595-6015; David Kelly, OFCMHAP, (416) 490-8900 ext. 22;
Michelle Gold, CMHA, Ontario, (416) 977-5580 ext. 4151; Jeff Wilbee,
Addictions Ontario, (519) 772-0113 ext 222

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