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Manitoba Hosts National Summit on Mental-health Promotion, Illness Prevention

News Release – Manitoba
February 15, 2012

Conference to Focus on Governments, Communities, Individuals Working Together: Selinger

Manitoba is welcoming leading mental-health researchers, government representatives and other stakeholders dedicated to the many issues related to mental health and mental illness as part of a national summit, Premier Greg Selinger announced today.“Manitoba is pleased to host this important summit where we will hear the most recent scientific research on promoting mental health and preventing mental illness,” he said. “Some of the most compelling research tells us there may be ways to prevent and reduce the incidence of mental illness, which has the potential to improve the quality of life for many individuals and families, and affect the way that we all tackle this important issue.”

The first day of the summit will include sessions on social determinants of mental health, opportunities to prevent mental illness, indigenous and cultural approaches to mental health, the economics of mental-health promotion and effective approaches for families, schools, workplaces and communities. The second day will provide opportunities for participants to discuss ways to better improve the mental health of Canadians through promotion and prevention.

During the Council of the Federation meeting in Vancouver in the summer of 2011, the premier committed to hosting this summit as an opportunity to share experiences and expertise related to mental health. Nearly 300 participants with backgrounds in education, child welfare, health care, addictions and social services are expected to attend, as mental health issues are addressed by many partners.

“Every jurisdiction has made important strides forward, but it’s clear the work to be done is best tackled by individuals, communities and governments working together,” noted the premier.

Keynote speakers include Dr. Lynne Friedli, who has worked on mental-health promotion with the World Health Organization and Dr. Carl Bell, an American psychiatrist who served on the Institute of Medicine Committee on the Prevention of Mental Disorders and Substance Abuse Among Children, Youth and Young Adults.

The summit takes place in Winnipeg today and tomorrow.

Mental-health problems and illnesses affect people of all ages, from all walks of life and touch the life of every Manitoban in one way or another; one in four Manitobans experiences at least one mental illness diagnosis over a five-year period, said Selinger.

Most mental illness begins in childhood or adolescence. Healthy Child Manitoba provides a strategy that involves many government departments along with community partners in promoting good mental health from childhood to adolescence. More information about Manitoba’s strategic five-year plan, focused on the mental health and well‑being of Manitobans, is available at www.gov.mb.ca/health/mh/docs/challenge.pdf.

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