Medication: Your Best Friend! Your Worst Enemy

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Friday February 11, 2011

Patrick Connors-Toronto:

The Mood Disorders Association, a volunteer-based organization, supports people across Ontario living with depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder, and their families, through free peer support and recovery programs. Volunteers and program participants living with mood disorders are also available to share their personal experiences. The Mood Disorders Association also encourages young people to talk about mental health and mental illness through its unique partnership with the Toronto Catholic District School Board. The partnership includes Stop The Stigma week every May where students organize events and activities to raise awareness about youth mental health and encourage early treatment.

Bell marked February 9 as “Let’s Talk Day”, donating 5¢ for every text and long distance call to support mental health programs across Canada.  The day is also meant to get people across Canada talking about mental illness to help break down the stigma that surrounds depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and other illnesses.

“The ”Let’s Talk Day” is music to my ears. Not so much because of the topic or the intent but because
Bell is a huge corporation with huge reach and scope,” Karen Liberman, Executive Director of the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario, said.  “To have a company like that echo what we’ve been saying in our own “smaller” ways for the last 20 years gives us a tremendous boost in morale. Sometimes it feels as though we’ve been the small voices that have been yelling as loud as we could and finally someone has taken up our cause. I believe this can only make our jobs easier, our capacity to fund raise easier, and our community outreach easier. My only hope is that Bell will see fit to financially support smaller, grassroots organizations like ours in addition to the bigger name mental health agencies.

“I believe we are on the beginning of a “tsunami” of support for mental health”. I think we have turned the corner on the silence and stigma that surrounds mental illness.  Now we need to ride this wave, translate it into support, and get on with helping more Canadians who deserve and need our support so desperately.”

The Mood Disorders Association marked February 9 with the latest in their series of free public events featuring Dr. Anthony Levitt, Psychiatrist-in-Chief at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. His talk, “Medication: Your Best Friend! Your Worst Enemy,” created a lively discussion, a refreshing look at medication and mood disorders. The event took place at the North Toronto Community Health Centre.

“Dr. Levitt, in addition to being Psychiatrist-in- Chief at Sunnybrook, is a brilliant clinician and researcher who specializes in the treatment of mood disorders,” Libermann told me. “He is considered a pre-eminent psychiatrist in this field throughout North America. He is also a kind, caring, compassionate doctor who never gives up on patients regardless of how treatment resistant their illness.”