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New charity to take aim at mental illness

From Wednesday's Globe and Mail

‘A national charity and a national army of volunteers are critical if we want to keep mental illness out of the shadows forever,' says head of Mental Health Commission ...Read the full article

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  1. mynalee johnstone from saltspring, Canada writes: Strange that there are so few comments.
    1 in 5 makes it a very big problem. Nothing is separate in our society, our environment, our universe.
    I seriously question why it is separated from other health. Mental health has like other health problems, chemical imbalances which means that their are deficiences in the system. In the past, people were not given extensive testing for malfunctioning internal systems. Is this being done now?
    Mental health has been associated with mental illness. Providing more shelters or hotel style accomodation will not help. Better to have a co-operative house and farm style accomodation where customers participate under facilitation in the daily chores of their living situation. People on the street lose their daily life skills.They can also develop other skills. Occupational therapy works wonders.
  2. Don Portz from Trochu AB, Canada writes: While the proposal may have a good deal of merit, I suggest that getting it off the ground will be fairly difficult. With the current economic conditions and the existing Charities chasing fewer dollars, it looks to be an uphill battle.
  3. doreen Savoie from Beaumont, Canada writes: It's the new millenium. All serious mental illnesses are very identifiable. The governments better start building insane assylums again and hiring staff agian. If the tax paying public doesn't want to deal with the street people and crime associated with these illnesses they should be prepared to pay to have these people permantly removed from society into institutions being handled by professionals.

    I am all for these ill people to be handled at institutions and get them off the streets and out of the news reels involving crimes.

    Great work to all involved and childrens mental health should be first and formost, because they will grow up and have more serious issues.

    I support all work to fine tune mental heatlh in Canada.
  4. Freelance Wordsmith from Canada writes: Maybe the reason there haven't been many comments yet is because the story was only posted at 6:59 p.m......
    But I'd be willing to bet that lines such as 'I am all for these ill people to be handled at institutions and get them off the streets and out of the news reels involving crimes' will get a fair amount of reaction.
    Ms. Savoie, I hope you have no siblings, and no children either.
    Mental health issues are not issues which affect only people such as your narrow-minded vision sees.... Most people whose mental health needs better care and research are extremely sensitive, decent people, better in their heart of hearts than most of us. It's the weight of their disappointments, betrayals and wrong turns in life which weights them down, they don't have the same resilience as others... Depression for example can cripple someone who otherwise manages, on occasion, to look like the life of the party -- except that 355 days out of 365, that same person cannot get to sleep, cannot get out of bed, cannot think straight, cannot envision living a normal day, let alone plan for the future. Some people end up in a hole of worry and desperation so deep, it's a miracle they still manage to breathe. Yet if you needed their shirt off their backs, they'd give it to you in the wink of an eye. Having a mental health problem does NOT equate criminal. Madame Savoie, honte à vous!
  5. Tor Hill from Canada writes: Shizophrenia is a devastating illness. It can affect all family members when just one member gets it. I have a set of well-to-do 'friends' who have told me to my face that they think she is actually stupid, when she has been taking medication for the past 30 years. I tell them that and they look on, stupidly. I will do what I can to support you, Mr. Kirby.
  6. Prairie Boy from Canada writes: Actually mental illness is becoming more acceptable in the work environment. If it is approached without stigma and poses no danger to anyone it becomes another fact of life. Work with anyone using anti-depressants? I have and they are 'normal' people that are having trouble coping right now thank you very much, Job, spouse, kids, schools,'s the norm. It isn't the same thing but I would think it is enough to gather empathy.
  7. brian bishop from Brantford, Canada writes: Do we really need another charity in Canada, what are we up to now around 60K, 70K registered charities in Canada, add together with "not for profit" groups & we have around 140,000 organizations paying no tax, with an annual untaxed haul in excess of $140 billion. could you imagine if Ottawa could get even a 10% tax from that total, $14 billion more would certainly go a long way to fixing our infrastructure in Canada.

    Sure mental illness is a problem & many die each year as a result of mental illness, but do the numbers even come close to deaths by cancers & heart disease, hardly! There's your reason for the differences in funding.

    I would however like to see a link to the research published that pegged costs at $51 billion annually, $23 billion in medical bills & another $28 billion to a reduction in health-related quality of life, whatever that means!

    For some strange reason I think these numbers have been fudged just a little, not unlike the cancer society's numbers on smoking related deaths! Maybe they used Nortel's accountants to get the figures.
  8. Eric B from Ottawa, Canada writes: brian bishop writes: ''Sure mental illness is a problem & many die each year as a result of mental illness, but do the numbers even come close to deaths by cancers & heart disease, hardly!''

    is that your only concern, avoiding deaths? as the article states, 1 in 5 canadians will one day be affected by a mental illness -- that's over 6 million people! sure the vast majority will not die of it, but may still be severely sick and unable to fully function... and if research could help reduce the severity & timeframe that these people are affected, then yes, I think Canadiens can find some funds to support this new charity.
  9. Onecheshirecat from Victoria from Canada writes: I am amazed, and horrified, at the ignorance of some these posts. Doreen Savoie and Brian Bishop. Have either of you ever met a person with mental health problems? Actually, I'll bet you have, but didn't know it.
    Psychiatric help and prescription costs can run up hundreds of dollars in bills per month. Many are unable to hold a job. But to meet them at the bus stop you would never know they have a problem. And they are far happier, and less cost to society if they can look after themselves. These people do not belong in an "insane asylum". (The very term is so 1920's!)
    That said, those homeless people who are mentally ill, often addicted to illegal drugs, and incapable of looking after themselves, should not be left to rot on the streets. It is often cheaper to society, and better for the individual, to have a safe, secure, place to stay.
  10. Tor Hill from Canada writes: I look back at my little message and see it could have stood a small bit of editing before being sent. The 'she' is my sister. I can only speak in generalities but I think we are less human than we could be. We have always been less human than we could be, but it seems to be worse at this current juncture. We see photos of Jean Charest gesticulating almost wildly in his defence of a financial system. Where is his true being? Has he encountered it? I can't say he has or hasn't. I know instinctively that our true selves are not circumscribed by money. We might try to say that we do not live for our money but our money still defines us, every inch of us. I am saying all this in a failed effort to also say that mental illness is part of today's societal sickness. I have seen documents from boards of directors of companies, universities and so on...that nobody in a healthy state of mind would want to know much about! From governments too. The language we use today is a symptom of our sickness. Deny it if you like. I won't deny it. I listen to a seemingly simple guitar melody, inexplicably beautiful. That strips things down for me. I guess we are all on our own paths. Not all of us will encounter our true selves, even though we are always headed in the direction towards encountering our true selves. 'Thanks for watching,' says Peter Mansbridge (bad joke on my part there, but really, we're not watching the news to be the recipients of a bit of customer appreciation!).
  11. Square Root Of 69 from Edmonton, Canada writes: Just what we need, another phone call at dinner time. What ever happened to the concept of the United Way? The number of untaxed "registered charities" in this country is a joke. There are many people working for "non-profits" and "charities" who get paid quite well, and they, along with their contracted telemarketing firms, take a big chunk out of the donations.

    As far as I'm concerned, I'll donate (a lot) to the United Way and tell the rest of the "charities" to join UW if they want my money.

  12. Vern McPherson from Canada writes:
    brian bishop from Brantford, Canada writes:


    Brian it's you who are fudging the numbers. 140 Billion to charities ?? are you kidding ??

    140,000 Charitable orgs ?? You are way off bud ...........
  13. Derek Lambert from Edmonton, Canada writes: brian bishop from Brantford, Canada writes: mental illness is a problem & many die each year as a result of mental illness, but do the numbers even come close to deaths by cancers & heart disease, hardly! There's your reason for the differences in funding.

    Mental illness is a root cause of poverty, homelessness and addiction, which leads to crime. To break it down in heartless terms: dealing with mental illness will reduce crime (saving police dollars) and panhandling. Brian, perhaps you should spend some more time on the streets of Vancouver or Toronto and see where and how the lost souls who need this help end up.

    On a side note, It's going to be interesting to see what Vancouver does to tidy up their streets for 2010.
  14. june Conway Beeby from Kingston, Canada writes: A real addition to your book shelf would be the recent publication in the "dummy" series. It's SCIZOPHRENIA FOR DUMMIES. It's a jewel in its clear presentation of facts of the illness in an easy-to-read format. It will go far to dispell the many myths of schizophrenia.

    We hope this series will soon include books on other mental illnesses. It's time to learn the facts so we can provide understanding and care based on the the reality, not the myths, of mental illness.
  15. Life Is Good from Canada writes: This new organization should take aim at parliment hill in Ottawa. Plenty of work for them there.
  16. Seymour Hersh from Thornhill, Canada writes: To Micheal Kirby


    Sign me up as a volunteer to work with you!
  17. Sue W from Canada writes: brian bishop from Brantford, Canada writes: Do we really need another charity in Canada, what are we up to now around 60K, 70K registered charities in Canada

    Actually 83,917 as of this minute. All looking for some kind of handout or exemption.

    But who's counting.
  18. Sassy Lassie from Canada writes: Every little bit of help and compassion helps, if person suffering from a mental illness gets proper support and treatment they become productive hardworking Canadians. It's an illness not a choice.

    Giving the mentally ill a disability cheque and leaving them to their own devices hasn't worked, they need help and support to build a strong foundation to move on and enter the work force and society again.
  19. Gord Z from Brampton, Canada writes: Based on many of the ignorant comments regarding the status of mental health in Canada it is clear that mental health is still a topic people don't want to hear about. The stigma of having a mental health problem keeps suffers from talking about about it or seeking help for their problems.
    Having a medical health charity that uses donated funds to research and find cures for problems that affect 1 in 5 canadians directly and has greater effects on the friends and families of those that suffer won't hurt you if you don't want to support it but why bad mouth something that will help many and your not going to support anyway.

    Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in teenagers, car crash deaths is first.

    This is not an insignificant problem just an under reported problem
  20. Sharon Unger from Leavitt, Canada writes: Michael,

    The answer is with the people and I am so grateful the Canadian Government has caught the vision. As I mentioned in my speech last month to the Canadian Mental Health Commission "We who have recovered and no longer struggle with mental illness plan to build the answer and take care of those still struggling and are calling on our government to help."

    I must say I do not think it is wise to use the word Psychiatric in the name of the foundation you use. Shinah means change or transformation, maybe Shinah House is a good name. Since really what we are taking about is a complete transformation not only in the industry but the approach and the views of society.

    As presented to the commission already Shinah House Foundation is a registered charity with a mission to cultivate wellness and healthy minds by building community based supportive housing and wellness centres with a recovery focus.

    Sharon Unger
    Shinah House Foundation
  21. Jenny charbonneau from TORONTO, Canada writes: I want it to read: New lawsuit to take aim at religion and extreme psychiatric interventions.
  22. Jenny charbonneau from TORONTO, Canada writes: The actual cost of mental health is the same as it is for peace.
  23. Richard Konopada from Canada writes: According a story published by the Globe and Mail on June 22, "Mental illness accounts for a stunning 40 per cent of disability claims and sick leaves in Canada. While employees jest about “mental-health days,&8221; they are no joke. Every day, 500,000 Canadians are absent from work due to psychiatric problems; the most recent estimate pegged the annual economic burden of mental illness at a staggering $51-billion". Imagine if research into mental illness could bring about advancements into treatments or cures that would allow those suffering from mental illness to become fully productive members of our society. To those suffering from or friends and family impacted by mental illness no monetary figure could be given to quantify the joys of being able eliminate this illness from their lives.
  24. Leona Byrne from Burlington, Canada writes: Definitely interested in signing up as a volunteer:
  25. june Conway Beeby from Kingston, Canada writes: I applaud the smarts of Micahael Kirby ad his colleagues for choosing to work with a research organization that dares to use the word "psychiatric" in its title and eschews the easy, politically correct term "mental health" that pervades the system. It demonstrates their clarity of purpose in funding MEDICAL research into these illnesses. It makes no sense for organizations who profess to care for the mentally ill to use the term mental HEALTH in their titles. I attended one meeing where a professional told us he had a client with a disgnosis of mental HEALTH. That's word abuse at its craziest. (No pun intended.)

    To be consistent we should also rename Sick Kids to WELL Kids . I realize here that there are those who seem to hate reality words who prefer the latter.) Maybe we should also rename the Cancer
    society the Non-tumor Society.

    If our language isn't precise and clear then maybe our thinking isn't either.

    The Kirby Committee has my support. ( Though, maybe they could change their name.

    Sorrry about all the quotes and brackets in my comment. Somehow my brain insisted I use them.
  26. V.J. Brandon from Canada writes: Congratulations to the Globe & Mail for continuing the Mental Health series. Your widespread coverage of the plight of people living with mental illness is one of the best tools to bring some ease to their existence. Please keep up the dialogue, this way wrongful stigma can be lessened if not dispelled.

    Your stories clearly demonstrate the priorities: Education especially in schools, Knowledgeable early intervention, diagnosis and understanding. Outreach support at all stages (crucial). Retention of secure institutions for those needing them. Understanding workplaces with creation of many more supportive jobs. Adequate housing with respect for individual.

    Formation of the Mental Health partnerships of Canada sounds like a good umbrella focus for achieving some real attention to these. Count me in.
  27. Angie Gemmell from Canada writes: My doctor mentioned this article to me today and have come online to review. All I can say is Thank God at Last. This venture is what I have wanted to somehow create but being just one person without a voice made it impossible. I hope this comes to fruition and I would gladly volunteer myself to do whatever I can to help make mental health be accepted and given to like all other health related charitable organizations.
  28. Angela Gallienne from London, Canada writes: Incredible perspectives! I’d like to respond to Doreen from Beaumont who decrees it’s the new millennium and then brings perspective from fifty years past. Mental illness is not identifiable if the average diagnosis time for bipolar is eight years. Would “these people” even want to be identified only to be permanently removed from society and placed in an asylum? If this is the perspective of the new millennium, we’ll need more than a ‘fine tune’. Like Onecheshirecat indicates, “I’m sure you’ve met many people who have experienced mental health problems and didn’t even know it”. I would also like to respond to the language enthusiast, June from Kingston, who compares mental illness to cancer. Generally we acknowledge that someone can recover from cancer and be well again. With mental illness we generally assume that someone has crossed a boundary, never to return. The term mental health speaks to a mental illness and mental wellness spectrum that everyone experiences. It also speaks to the personal development and human integration required, that goes beyond standard medicine. Two thousand years ago, someone from Africa used language best when they said, “I am a human being; nothing that is human is foreign to me”.
  29. willy bogdanovich from Bermuda writes: Angela Galliene is spot on with the quote “I am a human being; nothing that is human is foreign to me&8221;. The very definition of mental health is questionable especially when you consider some of the arbiters.
    "Some people end up in a hole of worry and desperation so deep, it's a miracle they still manage to breathe" is another quote from this site.....easy to negate unless it's your chest the demons are jumping on.Any help or better understanding of these conditions is better for a society that might soon be on it's knees. Without better understanding how will we look after those who may not have fallen but merely tripped?Whether it's yoga or simple company,people need support and understanding and as Angela points out the spectrum of wellness is far wider than some define.Who wouldn't love the adrenaline of asking "somebody stop me!"on a rush! Or perhaps being "clinicly happy"?
    As Angela is saying,just because someone overshoots the runway,it doesn't mean they can't land the plane......groundcrew appreciated!

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