Psychiatrists hope all parties will support funding in budget to kick start mental health strategy

    OTTAWA, March 19 /CNW Telbec/ - Canada's psychiatrists are pleased
today's federal budget establishes a National Mental Health Commission.
    "This is an important first concrete step toward getting a mental health
strategy for Canada," says Dr. Manon Charbonneau, President of the Canadian
Psychiatric Association (CPA). "We are especially pleased that the government
is taking steps to act on the recommendations of the Senate Standing Committee
on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, Out of the Shadows at Last, which
was based on three years of testimony from so many Canadians.
    "We have great hope that with a national mental health strategy Canadians
will soon have better access to the mental health care they need, from the
right provider, at the right time and in the right place.  As we see in our
communities every day, so many people are just not getting care and this has
devastating consequences," she added. Currently, it is estimated that only one
quarter of individuals with depression are receiving care that is consistent
with treatment guidelines.
    Canada remains the only G8 country without a national mental health
strategy. Like all G8 countries Canada's economy relies on knowledge-based
industries for its growth; yet disability from mental illness is an escalating
issue for employers and insurance companies.
    "The appointment of Senator Kirby is also very good news for mental
health today. He has earned the confidence of the diverse groups in our sector
- from patients, to provinces and doctors.  We are confident he will turn this
Commission into a legacy of action on mental health for Canada.  We see the
appointment of Michael Kirby as a continued non-partisan approach to this
priority national problem. We have been waiting for action since 1964 when Mr.
Justice Emmett Hall first made sweeping recommendations to bring mental health
care into the 20th century. We now join our partners in the Canadian Alliance
on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH) in hoping that the Commission
will bring Canada's mental health care system into the 21st century.
    "We also hope all parties will support this budget item in a non partisan
manner so the Commission can begin its work quickly", said Dr. Charbonneau.
    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 about CPA's view on the role and importance of
the Commission, see

For further information:

For further information: Hélène Côté, Canadian Psychiatric
Association,(613) 234-2815 ext. 232, E-mail; Francine
Knoops, Canadian Psychiatric Association, (613) 234-2815, ext. 238, Email:, Cell: (613) 297-5038

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Canadian Psychiatric Association

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