Pubdate: Sat, 13 May 2006
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2006 The Toronto Star
Author: Paul Garfinkel,


Re: A personal struggle revealed, May 12.

How wonderfully appropriate that George Smitherman was inspired by 
the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health's Courage to Come Back 
Awards ceremony to share his own successful struggle with drugs and 
alcohol with Toronto Star reporter Robin Harvey.

Harvey received a CAMH Courage Award this week for transcending her 
own challenge of bipolar disorder.

When the minister of health of Canada's largest province talks 
publicly about his personal substance use problems, he performs a 
real public service. He draws attention to the fact that addiction 
and mental health issues affect more than one in every five Ontarians.

He helps break down the insidious stigma against these health 
problems that still keeps more than 60 per cent of affected people 
from seeking help. And he offers hope and encouragement to our 
patients, clients and families who realize that they are not alone.

As our health minister, Smitherman makes important professional 
decisions every day that impact the health of Ontarians. I believe 
that his personal decision to go public with his own substance use 
problems will prove to be one of his most powerful legacies.

Smitherman is to be congratulated for sharing his story so generously 
with so many -- a story that will make a real and positive difference 
to the millions of Ontarians currently struggling with addiction and 
mental health problems.

Paul Garfinkel,

President and CEO,

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto 
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