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Mental Illness Can It Be Overcome

14 August 2014

With an early and accurate diagnosis, proper treatment, and support plan, mental illness can be managed effectively. 

TORONTO, August 14, 2014— According to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), 20% of Canadians will directly experience a mental health issue in their life and mental illness indirectly affects all Canadians at some time through a family member, friend, or colleague. Research also shows that approximately 8% of adults will experience major depression at some time in their lives and about 1% of Canadians will be diagnosed with bipolar disorder or manic depression. All told, mental illness does not discriminate, as it has (or will have) an impact on everyone, either directly or indirectly, regardless of age, gender, educational and income level, or culture. 
But despite the prevalence of mental illness within society, there is still significant stigma and a lack of clarity on how to identify, treat, and communicate about a mental health issue.

More research from the CMHA shows that almost one half (49%) of those who feel they have experienced depression or anxiety have never gone to see a doctor about this problem. And according to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), just 50% of Canadians would tell friends or co-workers that they have a family member with a mental illness, compared to 72% who would discuss a diagnosis of cancer. Unfortunately, the persisting stigma around mental illness presents a major obstacle, not only to diagnosis and treatment, but also to communication and acceptance in the community.

“As a fact – mental illness can be treated effectively”, said Karen Seward, President of Cira Medical Services. “At the onset, an individual experiencing a mental health issue requires the right diagnosis through early clinical intervention. Mental health issues, when not properly diagnosed, can severely impact quality of life and prolong absences from work. So before treatment can even begin, an accurate and timely diagnosis is a vital first step”.

Once an individual has the right diagnosis, an appropriate treatment plan needs to be developed. Those with mental health issues encounter many barriers with treatment but the process is made more difficult with a focus that is predicated exclusively on the notion of recovery. Complete recovery, however, is often elusive and the focus is better shifted to restoring function in the context of “the new normal” of their lives.

Also critical to the treatment process is ensuring that the affected individual is actively involved with understanding their mental illness and engaged with the treatment plan and management of their illness. Further, people coping with mental illness need access to valuable community and/or workplace resources to aid in their ongoing rehabilitation process – critical to achieving a better health outcome. 

Mental illness can often be extremely complex and challenging for all involved, especially the individual that is directly impacted. But it can be treated, and treated effectively. Through reducing the stigma around mental illness and advocating for early and accurate diagnosis combined with a multi-faceted treatment and support plan that allows for active engagement on behalf of the affected individual, individuals with a mental health issue can create a “new normal” for themselves – allowing for a positive, fulfilling life, so that they can continue as contributing members to their families, workplaces, communities, and society at large.  

About Cira Medical Services (Cira) 
Cira Medical Services, a division of SCM Insurance Services, is a leading national provider of medical assessments and health services for the employer, insurance, and medical legal communities across Canada. With a quality controlled multidisciplinary network of medical professionals and highly qualified, on-staff industry experts, Cira pursues a results-oriented business model designed to meet the needs of each client. Cira is committed to helping Canadians live healthier lives and does so through unique service offerings such as Health Reach™and Health Assess™. In December 2013, the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) International awarded Cira its highest level of recognition with a Three-Year Accreditation for the Independent Evaluation Services program. For more information on Cira’s services, upcoming events and webinars, and to download one of Cira’s white papers, visit

For more information please contact:

Karen Seward 
Cira Medical Services 
180 Dundas Street West, Ste. 1050 
Toronto, Ontario M5G 1Z8 
T: 1-800-483-3926 

Bikram Daulay 
Vice President of Marketing & Communications 
SCM Insurance Services 
101, 5083 Windermere Blvd. SW 
Edmonton, Alberta T6W 0J5 
T: 780‐930‐5321