New Website for Families Marks Mental Illness Awareness Week

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Wednesday October 6, 2010

TORONTO - To mark Mental Illness Awareness Week, the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario, the Ontario Federation of Community Mental Health and Addictions Programs (OFCMHAP) and the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario (SSO) have come together to better meet the needs of families facing addiction and mental health challenges. Together, the three organizations have built an evolving web resource for families – – which addresses the overlapping interests of family members affected by mental illness and/or addictions

“Pooling our resources to create this ‘one stop shop’ website allows us to get our messages and information out to many more families than if we worked in isolation from each other,” says Karen Liberman, Executive Director of the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario.

The website covers a wide range of topics, including events and groups for family members, articles of interest, coping tools and strategies and also treatment and support programs available for their loved ones.

“When a close family friend or family member has a mental health or addiction issue, the first thing people look for is practical information on what they are dealing with and how to get help. This website will help families navigate the complex mental health system by providing them with just that,” says Mary Alberti, CEO of the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario.

Mental illness affects one in five Canadians in their lifetime and the remaining four
will have a friend, family member or colleague who will experience it.  One in 10 Canadians 15 years of age and over are dependent on alcohol and/or illicit drugs, and at least 20% of people with a mental illness also have a substance use problem.  Families and friends are an essential and enduring support to people with mental health and addiction issues, but they too need their own supports, and access to timely, accurate and current information.

“Families are at the forefront in coping with addiction and mental illnesses.  Their involvement can be crucial to recovery and they need to be supported in taking on that kind of role,” says David Kelly, Executive Director of OFCMHAP.

Visit the Family Matters website at


For more information, or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Jennifer Foulds, Mood Disorders Association of Ontario, (416) 486-8046 ext. 232; (647) 771-5815 (cell)

David Kelly, Ontario Federation of Community Mental Health and Addiction Programs, (416) 490-8900

Vani Jain, Schizophrenia Society of Ontario, (416) 449-6830 ext. 253