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Michael Kirby takes your questions

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Michael Kirby takes your questions ...Read the full article

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  1. Jung Frau from Switzerland writes: What I was really trying to get at with my question is the idea that people can and do recover, and I mean recover completely, not just "manage" their illness. When I talk about success stories I am not referring to people being successful poster children for compliance with medication. This, I fear, is where the government in its wisdom is heading. When I read comments about "anosognosia" (people not recognizing that they are ill) I get the chills. "Anosognosia" to my mind is a made-up psychiatric term for someone not agreeing with his psychiatrist. I recall that Dr E. Fuller Torrey even has a slide of a brain showing the a ravaged brain in so-called denial. Mental illness is tough and heartbreaking, but the danger of prolonging mental illness through well-intentioned government programs may be a greater heartbreak. Will the government take a broader approach by bringing in the full spectrum of views? The antipsychiatrist viewpoint is promoted by psychiatrists who do not agree with their mainstream peers about the way medication is used and what mental illness really is. (I wonder if there is DSM label for this kind of thinking?) Aren't different approaches to a problem a healthy thing? Won't more people get better if they can appreciate and learn about the full range of the options and viewpoints at hand?
  2. Tracy Bracy from Ottawa, Canada writes: Well, you did a good job for the police but thats about it. Forcing anything on a person's body without them directing it with intent is wrong!
  3. Philis Heffner from Calgary, Canada writes: I am interested in getting in contact with Mr. Michael Kirby. I would like to do some fundraising for mental health. I would like to start an annual fundraiser like the Terry Fox run. I don't want to do a run what i want to do is a travelling art sho and the art should be done by people who suffer from meental illness. I would like to raise the money by charging admission to the art sho and also by selling the art. I would like to have the show go to all the major centres of Canada from Vancouver to places like Red Deer, Moncton, and London and Kingston and places like that. The art show would create awareness of mental illness and also raise money for better facilities within communities. I would like to use the money for support groups that actually REHABILITATE people. If a person goes through an episode they need rehabilitation to get back on their feet. The same way as if a person breaks their leg they need rehabilitation to get their Range of motion and strength back. An hour of counselling per week is not enough. I think there should be centres where people can do art therapy, exercise programs and also talk therapy groups that are held on a daily basis in an outpatient capacity. I am not talking about a structured day program but a drop in centre where people can go to pass the time during the day and do activities that will assist their recovery. What we need across Canada are 24 hour walk in clinics ONLy for the mentally ill that are staffed with psychiatric nurses, social workers and Family Physicians who can treat them on sight if they are in the midst of a crisis and then refer them to the correct program if necessary. A person who is suicidal shouldn't have to wait for hours in a regular emergency room. I want to be a part of trying to make improvements to the mental health care in Canada. If someone is willing to help me set up this fundraising project I would be very grateful. Philis Heffner
  4. ruth thompson from Canada writes: Senator Kirby,
    I have just seen 'Milk'-the story of a murdered activist for human rights for homosexuals.One of the ideas to promote their cause was for their members to come out of the closet so the general population would realize they were 'regular' workers,friends,neighbors.The slogan on the marching signs were 'We Are You'.Is this an idea that could be useful for the mental health issue of stigma?It seems the possibility of eliminating stigma is insurmountable.Since my childhood ,I have hoped mentally ill patients would be treated the same as a cancer or diabetic patient.In my 40 years as a nurse ,I observed many indignities by health care professionals caring for these patients.
    One of the obvious signs of stigma-my neighbor erected a fence on only 1 side of her yard-towards our house ,when my son lived at home.
    My mom was in a State Hosp.for depression in the 40's for 15 months,before psychotropic drugs-without social systems to offer any assistance,counselling,etc.The treatment was ECT,insulin shock and hydrotherapy.This illness washed over the family of the parents and 4 children [5-14]like a tsunami .At that time ,I was 8 yrs and recall the troubles in our family.My son -a wonderful young man has BPD-leading a life that most people I know could NOT endure.He is a hero
    !As Dr.Fuller Torey states 'the suffering of the mentally ill and their families has never been recognized'
    Yes,it is time for change .Good luck in this mission.If there is any way I can be of help,please advise."WE ARE YOU!'
  5. Galina Zbrizher from Vancouver, Canada writes: The horrible tragedy that happened on Greyhound bus last year shows once again how Mental Health Act fails people suffering from mental illness as well as general public. The big questions are why Mr. Lee was on the bus being as sick as he was instead of being helped in the hospital? How come mentally ill people that believe they hearing voices from God or that they are the God are considered competent to decide whether they want to take medication? How come a person has to deteriorate to the point when he or she becomes "threat to himself or others" before medical help is available to them? One will think absurd to ask a paralyzed person to run a marathon to get medication that will make them well. But the same is asked of people with mental illness when mentally ill person is considered capable to decide whether they will take medication or not - they are asked to use their brain, the part of their body that is not functioning! The longer Mental Health Act stays the way it is, the more people will be killed. We need to think how to prevent tragedies like that from happening in the future instead of trying to figure out how to punish a very ill man. Everyone who was on this bus, their Families and all of us were failed and traumatized by the Mental Health System - they are the guilty party and should be held responsible for ruining thousands of lives.

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