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Upcoming Canadian Mental Health Association Conference All About Changing How We Think About Mental Illness

October 6, 2010

TORONTO, Oct. 6 — The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) presents Thriving in 2010 and Beyond: Defining Our Roles, Exploring Control, Designing the Whole, a national mental health conference in London, Ontario on October 22 – 24, 2010 at the London Convention Centre. Special keynote speakers include: CBC Radio One’s The Next Chapter host Shelagh Rogers; former editor of Chatelaine Magazine and author of From Wanting to Die to Loving My Life: How I Beat Depression, Rona Maynard; and Mr. Justice Edward Ormston, among others.

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Over 400 mental health professionals, consumers, family members, service providers, researchers and policymakers will have an opportunity to network and attend more than 50 workshops during the three day conference. At the heart of the conference, Thriving in 2010 and Beyond examines the concept of “thriving.” What makes someone with a mental illness become a thriver? How can those successes be replicated inside and outside of the mental healthcare system? And, what would Canada’s mental health care system look like if everyone had a role to play in building and delivering it?

“The conference is an open, multi-faceted examination of the roles and responsibilities of all mental healthcare system participants; the control and influence they exert; and key elements needed for redefining and redesigning the mental healthcare system, says Lorne Zon, CEO, CMHA. “We envision creating a mentally healthier society for all Canadians, because there’s no health without mental health.” Twenty years ago it was generally accepted that one in six Canadians would suffer from a significant mental illness in their lifetimes; 10 years ago it was one in five; today we’re creeping up on one in four and wondering how long it’ll be until it’s one in three. The World Health Organization (WHO) is predicting that by 2020, depression will be the second-leading cause of premature death worldwide and that it may already be the leading cause of economic loss because of illness – mental or physical. This doesn’t take into account schizophrenia, anxiety and bi-polar disorders, and a host of other mental illnesses.

“Canadians need to start trying to reverse these trends by paying closer attention to the issues and impacts. If, for example, an Airbus A320 were to fall out of the sky every month, every aviation expert in the country would be called upon to help find a solution. Yet, when 400 Canadians die by suicide each month, we rarely hear about it let alone invest the resources that are needed to stop this tragedy,” says Michael Petrenko, Executive Director, CMHA London-Middlesex.

For further information, to register, or to download a conference schedule please go to

About the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA)

The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), founded in 1918, is one of the oldest voluntary health organizations in Canada. Each year, it provides direct service to more than 100,000 Canadians through the combined efforts of more than 10,000 volunteers and staff across Canada in some 135 communities. As a nation-wide voluntary organization, the Canadian Mental Health Association promotes the mental health of all Canadians and supports the resilience and recovery of people experiencing mental illness. CMHA accomplishes this mission through advocacy, education, research, and service delivery. For further information, please visit

For further information:
Kismet Baun, Senior Communications Advisor
Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), National
Toronto (416) 977-5580, ext. 4141

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