Let's Talk About Mental Health

Jan 27, 2016

Dean Trevor YoungDean Trevor Young Today marks the sixth annual Bell Let’s Talk Day, a national fundraising and awareness campaign that has raised an incredible $73 million to support mental health initiatives across Canada.

Clara Hughes, Howie Mandel, Serena Ryder – all recognizable faces of Canadian talent – are doing their part to show people that mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of. And if you haven’t seen the new workplace mental health commercials, check them out here; it’s powerful stuff.

As a psychiatrist and researcher, I’ve seen how reducing the stigma around mental health issues leads not only to greater acceptance and understanding but also to better care for people in need.  

The University of Toronto and our affiliated institutions have been working to do our part for this important health issue. The Medical Psychiatry Alliance, established in 2014, addresses the challenges of combined mental and physical health. It looks to transform how we deliver care through better education of health professionals and improvements in practice. The Alliance is a joint initiative by the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), the Hospital for Sick Children and Trillium Health Partners.

Another important step is the launch last week of the Portico online network, which was developed by CAMH in partnership with Bell. Portico is an online interactive platform that connects health and community service providers to the latest clinical tools, resources and information about treating mental illness and addiction. Part of this initiative includes the Psychiatry in Primary Care app, which includes built-in assessment guides, diagnostic criteria and customizable toolkits. These tools target primary health care because we know that most Canadians access care through a physician’s office or a family health team.

I encourage you to share links to these important resources with your colleagues. And make time to incorporate an understanding of mental health – in your role as educators, as physicians and researchers, and in your personal lives. Together, I hope we can foster a healthy community where we can speak openly about mental health, knowing that requests for help will be met with understanding and assistance.  If not, let’s talk.

Trevor Young
Dean, Faculty of Medicine
Vice-Provost, Relations with Health Care Institutions

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