Canada and Mental Health
On August 31, 2007, the Government of Canada (in the person of Prime Minister Stephen Harper) formally announced the launch of the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC), its board membership and its committee structure to delegates at the 2007 Conference for the International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership (IIMHL) and to all Canadians through the national media.
Studies have found that 1 in 5 Canadians will deal personally with a mental health concern at some point in their lives. When you consider that their families and peers are also affected, mental health issues have a broad impact in Canada. Therefore, improving mental health requires and deserves national dedication of significant resources and political will.
Though only a first step, the establishment of the MHCC was a step in the right direction that called upon domestic practitioners, advocates and survivors (with the advice of international partners) to work together to help improve the mental health of all Canadians.
My experience as the Poet In Residence for the 2007 IIMHL conference profoundly changed my opinion of mental health and altered my view on the use of art in society to effect change.
As a result of listening to and reflecting on the stories of abuse, neglect, isolation, over-medication, incarceration and systemic discrimination from people living all over the world, I came to recognize that mental health is a global crisis requiring immediate action from all of us. Just to emphasize this point -- by the year 2020, depression will cause disability to more human beings than any known condition affecting human beings except heart disease (source: World Health Organization). The time to act is now.
I challenge all Canadians to get involved in ways large and small to help improve mental health for everyone both at home and abroad. Find out more and work within your community to make life easier for those with mental health concerns. Contribute your time and money to research, supportive organizations, government institutions and others who are doing credible work on this issue.
Let's all work together to do what we can to make things better!
My Services For Mental Health Initiatives
I am committed to helping in whatever way I can to improving mental health around the world through art. If you are an organization anywhere in the world (government-sponsored or independent groups of practitioners, survivors, carers, etc.) looking to include art in their activities, please contact me at:
Greg Frankson a.k.a. Ritallin
174 Bank Street
PO Box 71076
Ottawa ON Canada
+1 (613) 252-1777