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August 28, 2014 CBC's The National looking at Sudent Stress

Dr. Kwame McKenzie, Chair of the CMHA Toronto Board of Directors and Medical Director of Children and Adolescent Services at CAMH, was part of a panel discussion on CBC’s The National looking at what impacts the mental health and wellbeing of students, and how differential between normal stress and anxiety, and when something is wrong.

July 24, 2014 Steve Lurie's letter to the Globe and Mail, published July 24, 2014, in response to the article, "Are Police Soldiers or Social Workers?"

G&MJudge Iaccobucci’s comprehensive report is very clear that improvements to policing will require improvements to mental health services in Toronto. He notes that there really is no system, and that mental health has been less of a priority for investment than other areas of health care. Unless this changes, as outlined in his recommendation for more funding for community based programs that can divert people from hospital emergency departments and jails, police will continue to be a default mental health service. Both the Canadian Chiefs of Police and the Ontario Chiefs have called for improvements in mental health services. Let’s hope governments heed the calls.

To read the article, click Here.

July 24, 2014 Steve Lurie's letter to the Globe and Mail, published July 24, 2014, in response to the article, "Deficit Slaying: It's all about timing"

Bill-ScarthWhen governments tackle deficits they also need to consider the costs of cutting or not investing. Mental illness costs the economy $50 billion per year and affects 20% of the population directly, and a higher proportion if we consider the effects on family and friends. The mental health share of health spending has been declining steadily over the past 35 years while needs are growing. For example, there are over 8,000 on a waiting list for supportive housing in Toronto. The Mental Health Transition fund recommended by Senators Kirby and Keon in 2006 would add 0.29 % annually to health care spending and start to correct the deficit in mental health care across the country.

To read the article click Here


May 28, 2014 Steve Lurie's letter to the Globe and Mail, published May 28, 2014, in response to the article, "Mental-health care: An issue at the heart of California tragedy," (May 26, 2014)

folio-california26nw01Andre Picard is correct in identifying access to mental health care as an underlying problem in the California shootings. While previous history of violence, rather than mental illness is a predictor of violent acts, it should be noted that most people living with mental illness are not violent. That said, people living with mental illness and their families encounter major problems accessing appropriate care. For many, there are only two options, long waits in emergency or call the police. While mental illness accounts for 13% of disease burden, other areas of health care have received much more investment. Unless this changes and we focus on early intervention, these kind of tragedies as well as death by self harm will continue to happen.

Steve Lurie, Executive DIrector

To read the article Click Here

April 30, 2014 On April 28, 2014 Steve Lurie attended the Graham Boekh Foundation Workshop in Montreal and proposed his top 10 ideas to get Mental Health funding on the federal/ provincial agenda


Top 10 Funding Ideas

Steve Lurie, Executive Director
CMHA Toronto Branch, Adjunct Professor
Factor Inwentash Faculty of Social Work

Remarks delivered at the Graham Boekh Foundation Workshop: How can we increase public spending in Mental Health in Canada to 9% of total health care spending?

April 28, 2014, Montreal.

My weekend horoscope said: “You are entitled to your opinions, but you are not entitled to expect that everyone will agree with you….”

Facts: Canada and its provinces lag other high income countries with respect to mental health, and over the past 10 years far more was invested in other areas of health care, than mental health – despite the fact that disease burden is 1.5 x that of cancer and over 7x greater than infectious disease. Mental Health spending has been declining as a share of health spending over the past 30 years, despite an annual $50 billion cost to our economy, and estimates that the costs will increase to $2.5 trillion over the next 30 years, despite the knowledge that suicide is the leading cause of death among Canadians between 18 and 35, and the known burden of mental illness on families. So with apologies to David Letterman (and possibly David Goldbloom) here are my top 10 ideas to get Mental Health funding on the federal/ provincial agenda.

April 9, 2014 Steve Lurie's letter to the Globe and Mail in response to the article, "Social development minister urges pro-active approach to homelessness," published April 8, 2014


The success of the Mental Health Commission Housing First study, “At Home/Chez Soi” should lead to major investments in housing and homelessness services across the country. In 2006 Senators Kirby and Keon proposed a 10 year mental health transition fund of $5.3 billion which would have created 57,000 units of supportive housing and related services. Now there is no excuse not to proceed, especially since the annual cost would be 0.29% of current expenditures on health care.

To read the article from the Globe and Mail Click Here

April 9, 2014 Steve Lurie, ED, is quoted in the following article "10 Troubling Truths about Toronto Panhandlers," published in The Grid April 8, 2014

logo-the-gridTo read the article Click Here

April 2, 2014 Steve Lurie, our Executive Director, had an article published last week in the Health section of Scientific Research, an open access journal, on mental health spending in Canada.

SteveSteve makes the argument as to why the provinces and the federal government should implement the Mental Health Commission  recommendations to increase the mental health share of the health and social services budgets so that we can fix the deficit in mental health care and supportive housing.

To read the Executive Summary Click Here

To read the article Click Here


January 29, 2014 Steve Lurie's letter to the Toronto Star in response to the article, "New ‘medical psychiatry alliance’ targets gap in health care," published Jan 28, 2014

deb_matthews_jpg_size_xxlarge_letterboxThe Ontario government is to be commended for launching this initiative to improve links between mental health and primary care. People with serious mental illness die 25-30 years prematurely due to poor physical health and poor access to primary care. It will be important to build capacity in community mental health agencies by providing increased funding for nurse practitioners and physicians as well as health promotion. While hospital leadership is critical, increasing community capacity is also essential if we are to lower premature deaths from chronic disease.

To read the article Click Here


January 29, 2014 Steve Lurie's letter to the Toronto Star in response to the article, "Modest proposal, big dividends," published Jan 28, 2014

thestar_logoSousa in tough spot over funding choices, Opinion Jan. 24

It is surprising that investing in housing and reducing homelessness wasn’t identified as an area for attention. There are 40,000 people living with mental illness in Ontario who are homeless and a further 171,000 who are vulnerably housed. The wait list for supportive housing in Toronto is 7,000, up from 700 four years ago.

A modest proposal to provide 3,500 rent supplements annually would cost $27 million, a fraction of the $49 billion we spend on health care. And it would reduce hospital and shelter costs, while improving quality of life.

The proportion of health spending allocated to mental health has declined from 11.3 per cent in 1979 to 7 per cent now. The finance minister should table 10-year plan to increase mental health spending as recommended by the Mental Health Commission. We need to fix this deficit in health and social care.