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Edward Greenspon

Letter From the Editor

“The privacy laws make it difficult for family and friends to be involved with a loved one's treatment or even admission to hospital.”

“I live in Toronto and received a call from North Vancouver to say that my daughter had been hospitalized after hanging from a bridge. The doctor there wanted me to take her out of his hospital, but he made no attempt to facilitate her admission to a facility here in Ontario. And because of the provincial authority over mental health, her dangerous behaviour in British Columbia had no relevance to any Ontario institution.”

“He was released from the hospital on a Thursday, and they could not even find a psychiatrist to do follow-up. Friday afternoon he jumped in front of a subway.”

Dear Legislator,

Those are just three of the hundreds of comments from Globe readers responding to our recent series on the state of mental health care in this country.

Breakdown: Canada's mental health crisis told the stories of people whose suffering has been magnified by public policy shortcomings in the health care field. There aren't enough counsellors and psychiatrists, there is limited “portability” and wide disparities in the care available between provinces, sufferers carry the extra burden of stigmatization, it's too difficult to institutionalize family members who are manifestly unable to take care of themselves, police are ill-trained to deal with the mentally ill…the list goes on. Did you know that psychiatric hospitals are still excluded from the Canada Health Act?

When we began reporting for this project, many of us at The Globe and Mail were unaware of the scope of the problem in Canada. We've learned a lot, and now are urging you to do the same.

Public life can often be frustrating for its difficulty in helping out real people with real problems. This issue is made to measure for elected officials who want to make a difference. Such simple steps as the sponsorship of programs, as in Australia, aimed at overcoming the stigma related to mental illness can make a world of difference.

Our series of stories about mental health and the critical challenges this country faces highlights issues that can only be addressed by our legislators. I urge you to read - and act.

Yours truly,

Edward Greenspon
The Globe and Mail

Return to Breakdown: Canada’s Mental Health Crisis

Face it. Fund it. Fix it.

In Breakdown, The Globe and Mail documents the enormous, unaddressed cost of mental illness to Canadian individuals, families and society. The series closes with a search for solutions.


Speak about it

People with mental illness face a stigma that can prevent them from getting care. It also stops the public from seeing the problem.

We asked Globe and Mail readers to speak their minds and they shared stories and insights.

Featured reader photos


Ask about it

During our series we brought experts to Globe readers, who asked questions about mental illness, the system and erasing the stigma.

Here are two such discussions

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