Monday, November 29, 2010

Ashley Smith - Overcoming Schizophrenia

Ashley Smith (pictured) writes about her experience as the plenary speaker at the SSNS's 22nd Annual Conference on her blog, Overcoming Schizophrenia:
The 22nd Annual Conference: Mental Illness- Why Me?, hosted by the Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia (SSNS), was wonderful! The event took place on Friday, November 26, 2010 at Pier 21. The SSNS Executive Director, Dr. Stephen Ayer, gave me a warm welcome along with the Board of Directors. Dr. Ayer gave me a tour of the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

I had an opportunity to dine with the Board of Directors and a couple of other speakers for the conference. The Board gave me a beautiful gift of a photograph taken by Mr. John Ross. In addition to that, I went to dinner with another presenter from the conference, Ms. Laura Burke and her family and friends.

Speaking at the conference enabled me to share my testimony of living with schizophrenia, and to give suggestions to other people directly affected by the illness. I titled my speech, A Distorted Perception to Reality: My Insight Into Recovery, because for me, schizophrenia forced me to think irrationally. However, the illness is manageable, and I am overcoming schizophrenia with the support of medication, support from others, and group therapy.

After delivering my speech, several people asked questions about my experience. I had a moment with some of the guests to elaborate on my experience and to exchange stories. Many of the participants thought my talk was inspirational, which I am glad because having an illness like schizophrenia can be tough, however, it is manageable.

Please click on the photograph to magnify it.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The SSNS's 22nd Annual Conference - Mental Illness: Why Me?

The Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia’s
22nd Annual Conference

Mental Illness: Why Me?

Held on Friday, November 26th, 2010

Joan Greenwood (left) receives the 2010 Janine Williams Memorial Bursary from Cecilia McRae, president of the SSNS.

Ashley Smith, Founder and Executive Director, Embracing My Mind, Inc.

Dr. Stan Kutcher, Sun Life Financial Chair in Adolescent Mental Health, Department of Psychiatry, Dalhousie University

Patrick Burke, QC, member of the SSNS Board of Directors, with Dr. Kutcher.

Aileen McGinty, Dip. Psych. (Open), M.T.A., Post-Graduate Diploma in Music Therapy, Certificate of Teaching, Dip.L.P., LL.B., M.A.

Phil Rogers, treasurer of the SSNS (left), with Dr. Tomas Hajek, Associate Professor & Dalhousie Clinical Research Scholar, Departments of Psychiatry and Anatomy & Neurobiology, Dalhousie University

Phil Rogers with Dr. Sherry Stewart, Killam Research Professor, Departments of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Community Health & Epidemiology, Dalhousie University

Left to right: Debby Gladstone, secretary of the SSNS, Ms. Laura Burke, MA Student in Creative Arts Therapies, Drama Therapy Option, Department of Creative Arts Therapies, Concordia University and Margaret Smith

Elainie Garland, vice president of the SSNS (left), with Andy Cox, Mental Health Advocate, IWK Health Centre and Member, Board of Directors, Mental Health Commission of Canada

Please click on any photography to enlarge it.

Photographs by Stephen Ayer.

Promises: Based On A True Experience With Schizophrenia

The synopsis of a recently published book by Novia Scotian author Adam Jack Pelley:
Turner Whynot is a psychiatrist looking for reason within his work. He is searching for more than the prescriptions and the textbooks that psychiatrists rely upon to treat the mentally ill. Why does he look after the sick? Is it something divine that's within us all, or some other driving force? Turner begins to find answers to these questions when he and his wife travel to the south shore of Nova Scotia and meet Adam, a patient in a psychiatric facility there who wants peace from a world that has brought him pain. Adam tells the Whynots the story of his own promise, an experience that may bring truth to the reality they all share, or to a reality that is perhaps just his own. Based on the authors own experiences and struggles with schizophrenia, Promises tells the story of how love offers the key to recovery and understanding of mental illness.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Jack Project - Mental Health First Aid Canada - Youth Course

Also see:
The Jack Windeler Memorial Fund

Last March, Jack Windeler, a first-year student at Queen’s University, died of suicide. To help others, Jack’s family and friends have raised $300,000+ for the Jack Windeler Memorial Fund, administered through Kids Help Phone. The focus is on youth mental health to
  1. educate ‘emerging adults’ aged 16-20 as they transition from high school to college/university, and

  2. to build a micro-site to counsel youth who are suffering.(supported by Kids Help Phone counsellors)
Jack’s high school (Ridley College) and university (Queen’s) are leading efforts by providing training in “Mental Health First Aid”, which teaches skills so you can help someone who is developing or experiencing a mental health problem. The goal is to broaden the approach across Canada.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

National survey reveals 45.1 million adults in the U.S. experienced mental illness in the past year

A November 18th media release from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA):
Study shows that nearly 1 in 5 people suffering from mental illness also have a substance use disorder

According to new results from a national survey, 19.9 percent of American adults in the United States (45.1 million) have experienced mental illness over the past year. The survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) indicates that 11 million adults (4.8 percent) in the U.S. suffered serious mental illness in the past year -- a diagnosable mental disorder has substantially interfered with, or limited one or more major life activities.

SAMHSA’s 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reveals that 8.4 million adults in the U.S. had serious thoughts of suicide in the past year, 2.2 million made suicide plans, and one million attempted suicide.

The survey also reveals that in many cases those experiencing mental illness, especially those with serious mental illness, also have a substance use disorder (abuse or dependence on alcohol or an illicit drug). Nearly 20 percent (8.9 million) of adults in the U.S. with mental illness in the past year also had a substance use disorder. Among those with serious mental illness in the past year, 25.7 percent had a substance use disorder in the past year -- approximately four times the level experienced by people not suffering from serious mental illness (6.5 percent).

"Too many Americans are not getting the help they need and opportunities to prevent and intervene early are being missed," said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D. [pictured] "The consequences for individuals, families and communities can be devastating. If left untreated mental illnesses can result in disability, substance abuse, suicides, lost productivity, and family discord. Through health care reform and the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act we can help far more people get needed treatment for behavioral health problems."

Administrator Hyde announced the survey’s findings during an address before the 6th World Conference on Promotion of Mental Health and Prevention and Mental and Behavioral Disorders in Washington, D.C. sponsored by the Education Development Center, Inc., The Clifford Beers Foundation, The Carter Center and the World Federation for Mental Health.

The survey provides other insights into the nature and scope of mental illness, including information on those segments of the population who may be at greater risk of experiencing mental illness. For example, the survey shows that mental illness is more likely among adults who were unemployed than among adults who were employed full time (27.7 percent versus 17.1 percent).

There is a marked difference in the percentages with mental illness between men and women as well, with 23.8 percent of women experiencing some form of mental illness, as opposed to 15.6 percent of men. In terms of age, young adults (ages 18 to 25) had the highest level of mental illness (30 percent), while those aged 50 and older had the lowest (13.7 percent).

Less than four in ten (37.9 percent) of adults in the U.S. with mental illness in the past year received mental health services. Service use was higher for adults with serious mental illness (60.2 percent); however, 4.4 million adults with serious mental illness in the past year did not receive mental health services.

Results from the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Mental Health Findings is based on the 2009 NSDUH -- the latest in a series of scientifically conducted annual surveys of approximately 67,500 people throughout the country. Because of its statistical power, it is a primary source of information on the levels of a wide range of behavioral health matters including mental health and substance abuse issues.

A copy of the report is accessible at:

SAMHSA is a public health agency within the Department of Health and Human Services. Its mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Disability, Rental Housing, Registry Programs Inadequate

A November 17th media release from the Auditor General of Nova Scotia:
The Auditor General found problems with government services for persons with disabilities, provincial rental housing programs and government registries, according to his latest report to the legislature released today, Nov. 17.

Jacques Lapointe's report to the House of Assembly included three performance audits that were completed this summer in two departments as well as three chapters on government financial matters.

An audit of registries operated by Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations raised concerns about the security of computer systems protecting personal and business information, primarily in the land, business and joint stock registries. Weaknesses were found in the way passwords are controlled, computer accounts are set up and cancelled, and security changes are made. Disaster preparedness was also found to need strengthening.

On the other hand, the Auditor General said business processes to control the collection and recording of registry data were sound, and both business processes and IT systems in the Registry of Vital Statistics were well controlled. The report also noted that the recommended remedies require "relatively minimal resources to implement."

The audit of services for persons with disabilities at Community Services focused exclusively on the community-based options stream of the program, including family support, independent living and small options homes where three or fewer people with disabilities receive care.

The Auditor General said client-needs assessments were inconsistently completed and did not always provide adequate plans to meet identified needs. Reassessments were not always completed as required.

In addition, policies and procedures to investigate complaints about the homes or the services they offer are inadequate and there was no evidence that appropriate actions are taken to follow up and resolve complaints.

Mr. Lapointe said those weaknesses could result in persons with disabilities not receiving the level or type of services they require.

The report notes that the services for persons with disabilities program has been under review since 2002. While the department has made a number of improvements to the program as a result, many recommendations from these reviews have not yet been fully Implemented. A comprehensive plan for the future of the program has yet to be produced.

The audit of Community Services' rent supplement housing program found policies that have not been updated for 15 years, inadequate assessment and monitoring of rental units for safety and affordability, and inadequate evaluation of applications from housing developers applying for subsidies.

The department offers up to $75,000 per rental unit for new or renovated affordable housing. However, the auditors could find no evidence of a formal evaluation process for proposals received or, any evidence of how evaluations are conducted. In addition, once the units are constructed, the department does not follow up to ensure the units continue to meet program affordability requirements.

Other chapters in the report deal with government's financial reporting. One chapter provides the results of financial audits and reviews, and includes recommendations to improve financial controls.

The report also provides indicators of the province's overall financial condition, expanded this year to compare Nova Scotia with five other provinces. And a review of audit opinions of government agencies and Crown corporations highlights a need for them to pay more attention to implementing recommendations of their private sector auditors.

The full report and related documents are available online at


The Auditor General has found problems with government services for persons with disabilities, provincial rental housing programs and government registries, according to his latest report to the legislature released today (November 17th).

Jacques Lapointe's report to the House of Assembly raised concerns about the security of computer systems protecting personal and business information, primarily in the land, business and joint stock registries at Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

Mr. Lapointe says weaknesses with client-needs assessments and complaint investigation for persons with disabilities at Community Services' community-based options could result in persons with disabilities not receiving the level or type of services they require.

The audit of Community Services' rent supplement housing program found policies that have not been updated for 15 years, inadequate assessment and monitoring of rental units and inadequate evaluation of subsidy applications from housing developers.

The full report and related documents are available at


Media Contact:

Jacques Lapointe
Auditor General

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Progress in the Elimination of the Stigma of Mental Illness

From the November 2010 edition of The American Journal of Psychiatry:
Changing Views of Mental Illness?

Public awareness of the neurobiology of mental illness increased between 1996 and 2006, yet the stigma associated with several major mental disorders did not decline. Pescosolido et al. (p. 1321) found that persons who have a neurobiological conception of schizophrenia or depression actually had increased likelihood of aversion or fear in their rating of vignettes of individuals with these illnesses. The perception of alcohol dependence as refl ecting "bad character" rose from 49% to 65% of survey respondents. Support for treatment increased, however, and in an editorial, Goldman (p. 1289) suggests that the outcome of the study would have been different if the vignettes had included individuals who have recovered from mental illness.

An editorial published in the November 2010 edition of The American Journal of Psychiatry:
By Howard H. Goldman, M.D., PH.D. [pictured]

Pescosolido and colleagues report on an interesting and informative study of public attitudes toward mental illness in this issue (1). They are the preeminent group of investigators working with the General Social Survey, a repeated survey of social attitudes of cross-sections of the U.S. population. Their data provide an empirical analysis of public attitudes toward mental illness using well-designed vignettes as stimulus material. The investigators systematically vary the characters in the vignettes to control for a range of sociocultural and demographic characteristics that might influence attitudes. However, the abnormal behaviors depicted in the vignettes, which present individuals with behavioral features of mental disorders, are both the strength and the weakness of the study.

The investigation tests the hypothesis that between the two observational time points—1996 and 2006, when mental health supplements to the General Social Survey were administered-public attitudes changed to favor a more scientific understanding of mental illness and that this change in understanding in turn is associated with two changes in attitudes. One putative change in attitude, associated with a more scientific—particularly a more neurobiological—conception of mental illness, is an increase in recommendations from those surveyed that the individuals in the vignettes should seek treatment. The other putative change is a decline in social stigmatizing attitudes about the individuals in the vignettes, particularly among respondents who view the illness as a manifestation of a neurobio-logical abnormality. Consistent with this hypothesis, those who attribute the abnormal behaviors to mental illness and those who increasingly view mental disorders as neurobiological are now more likely to endorse a referral for treatment. Contrary to the hypothesis, however, those with a more neurobiological understanding are also more likely to endorse socially stigmatizing and distancing attitudes about the people represented in the vignettes.

A theory of stigma reduction that motivates many of the antistigma interventions is that changes in attitudes about mental illness favoring a scientific understanding of specific disorders increase help-seeking behavior and that increased help-seeking behavior will lead to treatment that will reduce distress and dysfunction, promote recovery, and secondarily reduce social stigmatization. The mechanism for reduced social stigma is secondary to the effect of treatment in reducing the signs and symptoms of mental illness, which people perceive as alien and threatening. Thus, the behaviors are the source of stigmatization, and treatment makes them less visible or eliminates them. This recovery after treatment is not represented in the General Social Survey study vignettes. The responses to the vignettes tell us how people feel about individuals with active mental illness—not how they would feel about the more relevant vignette of an individual who has recovered from a mental illness. Admittedly, it is difficult to assess attitudes about an individual who has recovered from mental illness, because that individual has little or none of the abnormal behaviors manifest in the illness. A vignette of a normally behaving person who professes a previous history of mental illness would be the proper stimulus to determine the social stigma associated with an individual who has been successfully treated for a mental disorder. Indeed, the authors point out in the paper's discussion that the 1999 U.S. Surgeon General's report cautioned that acceptance of neurobiological causation alone might cause a backlash of stigma if it were not coupled with successful treatment of mental illness.

Despite this limitation, the study does tell us about some important attitudes and moderators of public opinion. The authors offer a wise warning that neurobiological explanations might not be a panacea for reducing stigma, but they may overstate the likelihood that such an approach will be stigmatizing. Given that many mental illnesses are only partially treated with current psychopharmacological and psychological interventions, widespread acceptance of a neurobiological understanding of mental illness may nonetheless usefully encourage further research funding and more financial support of treatment, as in the enactment of mental health parity legislation. We may not have eliminated social stigmatization of symptomatic individuals with mental illness, but improved treatment has helped many of them to make their symptoms and dys-function less visible and less problematic. Perhaps accordingly, we have seen dramatic increases in research funding, more service use, and better insurance coverage for treatment of mental disorders.


Editorial accepted for publication August 2010

Dr. Goldman reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Goldman, Editor, Psychiatric Services, and Professor, University of Maryland School of Medicine; (e-mail).


1. Pescosolido BA, Martin JK, Long JS, Medina TR, Phelan JC, Link BG: "A disease like any other"? a decade of change in public reactions to schizophrenia, depression, and alcohol dependence. Am J Psychiatry 2010; 167:1321–1330 [Abstract/Free Full Text]

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Combating schizophrenia

Nature, one of the most prestigious science journals in the world, devotes its November 11th edition to schizophrenia:
Research has revealed daunting complexities in the psychiatric condition, but also new routes towards diagnosis and treatment.

A special collection of articles focuses on the challenges of schizophrenia, from spotting early symptoms during adolescence to changing the stigma associated with the disease.


Combating schizophrenia
Research has revealed daunting complexities in the psychiatric condition, but also new routes towards diagnosis and treatment.


China tackles surge in mental illness
Psychological examinations added to selection procedure for government officials.


The making of a troubled mind
Schizophrenia appears during adolescence. But where does one begin and the other end?

The drug deadlock
The biology is too complicated. Pharma companies are quitting. Where are schizophrenia drugs going to come from?


Short-lived campaigns are not enough
The stigma of mental illness will be reduced only if region-specific awareness initiatives become a permanent fixture of health and social services, argues Norman Sartorius.

Cognitive remediation therapy needs funding
More rigorous studies should be done on the effects of a therapy that seems to improve the everyday functioning of people with schizophrenia, says Til Wykes.

In retrospect: The five lives of the psychiatry manual
Roy Richard Grinker describes the military origins of the key reference work for diagnosing mental illness.


Nature podcast (24:36, Rethinking schizophrenia)
Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, and Til Wykes, psychiatrist at Kings College London, talk about the symptoms, causes and best treatments for schizophrenia.


Rethinking schizophrenia
Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, calls for schizophrenia to be emphasized as a neurodevelopmental disorder in which psychosis is a late — and potentially curable — stage.

From maps to mechanisms through neuroimaging of schizophrenia
Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg, director of the Central Institute of Mental Health, Mannheim, explains how neuroimagng and other systems-level techniques can help develop future treatment.

The environment and schizophrenia
Jim van Os, Gunter Kenis and Bart Rutten review our knowledge of the environmental factors that influence schizophrenia risk, and the major challenges that will be involved in teasing them out.

Image credit: The cover artwork is by Rodger Casier and NARSAD Artworks, a non-profit organization that showcases artists with mental illness. Proceeds from the art go to the research-funding body NARSAD.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Psychosis - Fact Sheets

From the Early Psychosis Prevention and Intervention Centre:

Fact Sheets

These fact sheets, in English, and 10 linguistically diverse languages, provide information specific to early psychosis. The information is most useful for young people, their family and friends. Anyone can print these fact sheets out and distribute them. The fact sheets provide information about the different types of psychotic disorders, and the phases of assessment, treatment, and recovery.
These information sheets are also available in other languages.
Click here to go to the Free Downloads page

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Advocates for the Not Criminally Responsible Schizophrenia Sufferers (ANCRSS)

From the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario website:
ANCRSS (pronounced anchors) is a program under the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario which operates as a Canadian based e-mail support group. Our members have a family member or loved one who suffers from schizophrenia, bipolar or clinical depression. They have come into conflict with the law as a result of their illness and have become involved in the forensic/criminal justice system.

They may be:
  • Detained in custody in a detention center pending court remands.
  • Waiting for court ordered assessments for fitness for trial and/or criminal responsibility.
  • Found guilty or not guilty of summary convictions or indictable offences.
  • Deemed Not Criminally Responsible for their actions on account of a mental disorder (NCR).
This confidential provincial network of friends and supportive relationships is offered through the use of e-mails and telephone calls without having to leave our urban or rural homes. We provide our members an understanding, empathetic ear. We provide information and support, to help them deal with the challenges of difficult life situations and social stigma. The acronym is intended to signify the stability offered by the group to each other and indirectly, to our loved one. Membership is free and offered by invitation in a non-listed private e-mail group for any involved family members who wish to apply.

ANCRSS offers an opportunity for family members to become empowered through education on the issues surrounding mental health and the laws that govern care and provides opportunities to become involved in:
  • Advocacy issues in pertinent medical and legal areas.
  • Breaking down barriers of stigma.
  • Helping others overcome feelings of isolation and powerlessness.
ANCRSS promotes the "human needs perspective" on neurobiological brain disorders.

For more information, support or to join our email group contact

"The anchor is a symbol of a well-grounded hope. As the anchor was often a seaman's last resort in stormy weather, it was frequently connected with hope. Being made of a solid body, the anchor was also identified with firmness, solidity, tranquillity and faithfulness. The anchor remains firm and steady amidst the stormy waters, symbolizing the stable part of a human "storms" of life. Therefore the anchor keeps us steady in the storms of temptation, affliction, and persecution."

This explanation of the symbolism of the anchor fits well for us.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

B.C. Plan Focuses on Healthy Minds, Healthy People

Please click on the image to magnify it.

A November 1st media release from the Government of British Columbia:
VANCOUVER – The Province today released a 10-year plan to address mental health and substance use with a focus on prevention of problems, early intervention, treatment and sustainability.

“The 10-year plan is a road map to further build on our commitment to improving mental health for all British Columbians and addressing problematic substance use,” said Health Services Minister Kevin Falcon. “Government now spends over $1.3 billion annually – up 47 per cent from 2001 – to address mental health and substance use problems and we need to ensure dollars are aligned with leading practice and best evidence.”

Entitled Healthy Minds, Healthy People, the cross-ministry plan reflects both extensive public and stakeholder consultation and evidence-based research and practice. It is aligned with existing child, youth and adult mental health and substance use strategies across the province, as well as the national mental health framework.

Healthy Minds, Healthy People places a strong emphasis on children and families, based on research that shows that early engagement and access to targeted supports can prevent or reduce mental illness and substance use problems later in life.

“We know that mental health problems frequently originate in childhood, and that early intervention at a young age can help prevent future illness,” said Children and Family Development Minister Mary Polak. “A strong foundation in childhood sets the course for a healthy, fulfilling and productive life. The Ministry of Children and Family Development spends over $100 million annually on a continuum of child and youth mental health services for children up to age 19 and their families.”

The indirect costs of mental illness and/or substance use are also significant. Nationally, mental illness is estimated to cost the Canadian economy around $51 billion annually in lost productivity. B.C.’s proportional share of this burden would be more than $6.6 billion each year. Indirect annual costs of lost productivity related to alcohol use alone are estimated at $1.1 billion.

Healthy Minds, Healthy People acknowledges that mental illness and problematic substance use can affect people of all ages from all walks of life in school, work and at home. Around one in five adults in B.C. are affected by mental health or substance use problems over any twelve-month period. However, the stigma associated with these problems often means people do not seek out and receive the supports and services they need.

“The B.C. plan to address mental health and substance use reaches out to people at home, in school and at work,” said Michael Kirby, chair of the Mental Health Commission of Canada. “British Columbia’s plan focuses on prevention, early intervention as well as treatment. The commission congratulates the B.C. government for this comprehensive and innovative approach. We are proud to be working together toward the common goal of transforming the mental health system and improving the lives of everyone affected by mental health problems.”

Programs and services that promote maternal and family health and healthy early childhood development are crucial in prevention and early intervention.

As part of the continuum of supports and services to address mental health in children, the FRIENDS For Life program is an example of an evidence-based prevention program that increases resiliency and prevents anxiety available to grades 4, 5 and 7 students. Teachers and parents are educated about the prevalence, signs and impact that anxiety has on children and youth and learn skills to build children’s resilience and address the early signs of anxiety. FRIENDS in B.C. is funded and co-ordinated by the Ministry of Children and Family Development in partnership with school districts around the province.

Since its provincial launch in 2004, all school districts have participated, as well as many independent schools. Over 3,000 educators have been trained to deliver FRIENDS in classrooms, and more than 1,000 parents and caregivers have attended FRIENDS parent workshops – helping to increase mental health literacy in schools, families and communities.

“The FRIENDS program teaches children how to cope with fears and worries and equips them with tools to help manage difficult situations, now and later in life,” said Jonaire Bowyer-Smyth, a behaviour specialist in the Surrey school district and FRIENDS program trainer. “The FRIENDS program is fun learning for kids and will benefit them, their parents and their entire family.”

The plan will achieve results by realigning current resources to invest in what is proven to work, and linking with existing programs and projects across government to increase efficiency and effectiveness.

“We need to learn from the evidence and provide effective and efficient services to achieve the best outcomes for people,” added Falcon. “We need to stop doing what doesn’t work in favour of what does and to ensure services are evidence-based and cost-effective.”

The Province is focusing on delivering programs more efficiently and effectively, including:
  • No waitlists at BC Children’s Hospital Eating Disorders program due to business process redesign.
  • Video-conferencing for training and clinical consultation on community Child and Youth Mental Health teams to improve access to evidence-based treatment.
  • A project underway to improve patient flow for adult clients with mental health and substance use problems at six Vancouver Coastal Health hospitals.
In addition, projects like the Homelessness Intervention Project and the Prolific Offender pilots show how better integration can enhance services without new dollars.

“Intervention and front-line outreach, to ensure B.C.’s most vulnerable citizens have access to supportive housing, is a crucial element to ending the cycle of challenges associated with mental illness and addictions,” said Social Development Minister Kevin Krueger. “The province has Homelessness Intervention Projects in five communities and 58 Homeless Outreach programs in communities throughout B.C. which have made a tremendous difference in over 770 people’s lives during the first few months of 2010 alone.”

Improvements in addressing mental health and substance use in B.C. include:
  • 75 per cent more community beds for adults with mental health problems since 2001 for a total of 8,662 beds.
  • 182 per cent increase since 2003 in community beds for people with substance use problems to 2,550;
  • Increasing the number of family doctors providing mental health and substance use services from 4,194 in 2001 to 4,574 in 2008-09.
  • Being the first province in Western Canada to have dedicated withdrawal management beds for youth – there are currently 39.
  • In 2003, B.C. became the first province to establish and then implement a Child and Youth Mental Health Plan that doubled the funding and significantly increased access to an enhanced continuum of services and supports.

Healthy Minds, Healthy People can be downloaded at:


Three backgrounders follow.

Media Contacts:

Michelle Stewart
Communications Director
Ministry of Health Services
Public Affairs Bureau
250 952-1889

Christine Ash
Media Relations
Ministry of Children and Family Development
250 356-1639

To read the backgrounders, please click here (PDF).

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

New Medication Approved in the US for Schizophrenia

A November 1st posting by PsychCentral:
By Rick Nauert, PhD, Senior News Editor

Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D., on November 1, 2010

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Latuda (lurasidone HCl) tablets for the treatment of adults with schizophrenia.

“Schizophrenia can be a devastating illness requiring lifelong treatment,” said Thomas Laughren, M.D., director of the Division of Psychiatry Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

“Some patients do not respond well to certain types of drug therapy, so it is important to have multiple treatment options available.”

Latuda is included in the atypical antipsychotic class of drugs. All atypical antipsychotics contain a boxed warning alerting prescribers to an increased risk of death associated with off-label use of these drugs to treat behavioral problems in older people with dementia-related psychosis.

No drug in this class is approved to treat patients with dementia-related psychosis.

Four six-week controlled studies of adults with schizophrenia demonstrated the effectiveness and safety of Latuda. In the trials, patients treated with Latuda had fewer symptoms of schizophrenia than those taking an inactive pill (placebo).

The most common adverse reactions reported by those in clinical trials were drowsiness, feelings of restlessness and the urge to move (akathisia), nausea, movement abnormalities such as tremors, slow movement, or muscle stiffness (Parkinsonism), and agitation.

Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration