Federal Budget Giant Leap Forward: Real Solutions for Canadian Patients
OTTAWA, March 29, 2012
National network of depression research centres and anti-stigma efforts
will lead to better patient care
OTTAWA, March 29, 2012 /CNW/ - Canadians living with depression will see
great benefits from the Government of Canada's commitment to battle
depression-related conditions and issues, says the Mood Disorders
Society of Canada (MDSC).
In the federal budget tabled Thursday by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty,
the government promised to invest $5 million to seed the development of
a national network of patient-focused depression research and
intervention centres, and will put another $200,000 towards anti-stigma
mental health training for health-care professionals.
The Mood Disorders Society of Canada (MDSC) will work with the Mental
Health Commission of Canada and other partners to support the work of
"These budget measures are a giant leap forward for Canada and for
patients across the country," says Phil Upshall, National Executive
Director of the MDSC. "The Government of Canada has seen the value in
investing in projects that will lead to better patient care and a true
understanding of depression, suicide and PTSD."
The network will support more than 80 researchers and clinicians who
specialize in depression. In collaboration with other research agencies
and the government, these professionals will work towards developing a
comprehensive research plan with a special focus on suicide prevention
and early Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) detection and
"As the leading cause of workplace disability in Canada, depression is
one of the biggest challenges facing our economy and our communities,"
says Dr. Zul Merali, President & CEO, University of Ottawa Institute of
Mental Health Research and Director of Research, the Royal Ottawa
Mental Health Centre. "Through our research, The Royal has already
begun to transform the way major depression is treated. By
collaborating nationally on patient-oriented research, we will be able
to find real solutions more quickly, making a difference in the lives
of Canadians and easing some the staggering costs that depression
places on government."
The highly-interactive research will focus on determining the biological
and psychosocial determinants of suicide, PTSD and other
depression-related issues so that at-risk populations can be identified
rapidly and accurately. It will also make more diagnostic tools
available, which will lead to more effective treatments. Clinical
trials of innovative pharmacological or cognitive interventions will
ensure the results of the research can be translated into clinical
The $200,000 Continuing Medical Education program will support family
physicians and specialists to combat the stigma that too often
accompanies a mental illness diagnosis.
Depression costs the Canadian economy an estimated $51 billion annually
in costs related to health care, criminal justice, child abuse and
neglect, lost income and lost productivity.
The seed funding will spur further public- and private-sector
About the Mood Disorders Society of Canada:
The Mood Disorders Society of Canada was launched in 2001 to provide
people with mood disorders, their families and caregivers a strong,
cohesive voice at the national level on issues relating to mental
health and mental illness. With particular regard to depression,
bipolar disorder and other associated mood disorders, the MDSC aims to
improve access to treatment, inform research, shape program development
and government policy to improve the quality of life for people
affected by mood disorders.