November 14, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia
Media Advisory – Video, Photo, and Interview Opportunity
Mental Health Services in Nova Scotia: What We Have and What We Need
Dr. Rudolf Uher of Dalhousie University, recently co-authored a study which found that the risk of severe mental illness in the sons and daughters of a parent living with the illness may be underestimated. Rather than the widely cited figure of 1 in 10 for the risk for familial transmission of severe mental illnesses, his research found that around 1 in 3 children of parents – one or both of which have a severe mental illness such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depressive disorder – will develop such a disorder themselves by early adulthood.
In order to provide early intervention to reduce the risk of severe mental illness in these young people, Dr. Uher has launched the “Families Overcoming Risks and Building Opportunities for Well-Being” program in Nova Scotia. “We are working on programs that will help young people at risk for severe mental illness stay healthy,” says Dr. Uher. “At the end of this study we hope to identify the problems that young people need help dealing with, and how they can learn the skills that will improve their chances for well-being and reduce the risk of mental illness.”
Dr. Michael Teehan, President of the Canadian Psychiatric Association (CPA) and an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Dalhousie University, will lead off the conference with a presentation entitled “Mental Health Services in Nova Scotia: What We Need”. The CPA, the national voice for Canada's 4,500 psychiatrists, says that recovery is possible if evidence-based treatments are available. “Treatments work if patients have access,” says Dr. Teehan. “Close to 100 per cent of my early psychosis patients have at least a partial response to treatment. For many, the response can be quite dramatic. They can go back to school, go back to work, and lead productive lives. What many people don't understand is that with adequate treatment and other supports, people do get better.”
Other presenters include Mr. Jacques Hendlisz who will be providing an update on the challenges and opportunities in developing the Transformational Research in Adolescent Mental Health (TRAM) Network; Dr. Phil Tibbo who will be speaking about early intervention within the context of the programs and services delivered by the Nova Scotia Early Psychosis Program; Mr. Roy Muise who will be talking about the new Nova Scotia Certified Peer Support Specialist Program, Dr. Alissa Pencer, a clinical psychologist at the IWK Health Centre who will be speaking about the importance of readily accessible psychological services to recovery from mental illness; and representatives from L’Abri en Ville in Montreal, including people with lived experience of mental illness, who will be talking about the benefits of long-term housing with social supports. Ms. Starr Dobson, President and CEO of the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia, will be the morning conference emcee.
Friday, November 15, 2013, 9:00 am to 4:30 pm
McInnes Room, Student Union Building, Dalhousie University, 6136 University Avenue, Halifax, Nova Scotia
About the Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia
The Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia works to improve the quality of life for those affected by schizophrenia through education, support programs, influencing public policy, and encouraging research.
In addition to the offices located in Dartmouth and Port Hawkesbury, the society has chapters or support groups conducting weekly or monthly support group meetings in Cumberland County, Halifax Regional Municipality, Kings County, Lunenburg County, and Pictou County.
Dr. Stephen Ayer
Phone: (902) 465-2601
Cellular: (902) 237-0018