Mental health campaign aimed at McGuinty

The local Canadian Mental Health Association is participating in a campaign to make the provincial government aware of mental health issues, and is asking the public for help.
The campaign, organized by Mental Health and Addiction Services Northwest, involves sending postcards to Premier Dalton McGuinty over the course of five days next week.
The postcards, available from the local Canadian Mental Health Association, are in booklets of five, already addressed, with facts and information regarding mental illness and addictions in Ontario and in the Kenora/Rainy River Districts.
“The goal is to end discrimination against people with addictions and mental illness,” explained Nancy Daley, educator and trainer at the Fort Frances branch of the CMHA.
This is the first time such a campaign has been undertaken in Northwestern Ontario, she noted.
About 18,000 booklets have been printed and distributed in six communities: Fort Frances, Atikokan, Dryden, Kenora, Red Lake, and Sioux Lookout.
“We’re really hoping people will make an effort to get their postcards in the mail so he [McGuinty] gets inundated with them,” she said.
Each card refers to a different issue relating to people with addictions and mental illness, including the need for better support through the Ontarians with Disabilities Support Payment (ODSP) and the removal of employment barriers from social assistance programs.
Some of the postcards refer directly to local needs.
“The base budgets for mental health and addiction agencies along with consumer/family initiatives in the Kenora/Rainy River District have not been significantly increased for 12 years,” reads the first postcard.
“People in the Kenora and Rainy River District who have addictions and mental health issues need additional supportive housing and affordable independent housing,” the third postcard reads.
The cards require no postage as they are being sent to Queen’s Park.
“All they require is a signature and a phone number. And if there’s no phone number, that’s OK,” noted Daley.
Anyone interested in participating in the campaign can contact Daley for a booklet. They are also available from Anishinabeg Community Counselling Services and Riverside Community Counselling Services.
For those unable to post the cards in the mail themselves, Daley said she is willing to pick them up and mail them herself.
“It’s really important people take part and that they make sure they get their postcards in the mail each day,” she noted.
Daley can be reached at the CMHA at 274-2347.