Fairmont Chateau Laurier, 1 Rideau Street, Ottawa, 12:00 - 1:45 p.m.
Michael Kirby - Chair, Partners for Mental Health, formerly Chair of the Mental Health Commission of Canada
Mental Health: Out of the Shadows At Last
Beginning with the release in May 2006, the first national study of the mental health system in Canada, the topic of mental health has steadily increased in importance with the Canadian public as a health issue.
"What Kirby aims to create is not another elite charity; it is a social movement as strong and as visible as the pink ribbon campaign that galvanized millions of women to become advocates for better breast cancer treatment. It’s the challenge — building the momentum to move from talk to action — that excites him and keeps him awake at nights. “We have to demonstrate to everyone that Canadians care about this issue and want fundamental change.” Kirby said. “We have to get them to tell decision-makers: It’s time. Let’s do it.”
Kirby, trained as a mathematician, can plot the trajectory from here to there. He can identify the obstacles and devise ways around them. But he can’t predict whether Canadians — beset by economic woes, workplace pressures and political cynicism — will take a stand. It’s a gamble, he admits. But someone has to take it on behalf of the 4.7 million of Canadians trapped in lives of loneliness and shame by a treatable illness. He’s ready."