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Addiction and Mental Illness... The Stakes are High but the Opportunity is Great

October 12, 2012

Toronto, ON - This week's release of the ground-breaking study 'Opening Eyes, Opening Minds: The Ontario Burden of Mental Illness and Addictions Report' provides a shocking perspective on the impact that mental illness and addiction has on the health and lives of Ontarians. Considered to be a valid indicator of the health burden across the country, the new report highlights how deep the burden of mental illness and addiction runs through our homes and communities.

The results of the study by the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences and Public Health Ontario show that the health burden of addictions and mental health in Ontario is more than 1.5 times that of all cancers, and more than seven times that of all infectious diseases. Another eye-opening insight from the report is the dramatic impact that alcohol has on premature death rates for those struggling with mental illness and addiction. The report found that 88% of the premature deaths for those struggling with an addiction or mental illness were related to alcohol use disorders. This revealing statistic highlights the large role that alcohol still plays in today's society as a harmful addictive substance.

"The Many Faces of Addiction Symposium", being held next week at the Ontario Science Centre, is a prime example of how different sectors of the community can come together to respond to this important health issue. Bellwood Health Services, a recognized Canadian leader in quality addiction education and treatment, is hosting the symposium on October 16th and 17th, as part of their mandate to provide leading-edge addiction education opportunities. This fourth annual symposium will bring together experts from across North America to discuss emerging research and best practices in the fight against addiction and concurrent mental health disorders.

According to Laura Bhoi, President of Bellwood Health Services, this symposium helps to build knowledge and awareness about addiction and concurrent mental health issues across our community. "We delve into the questions of how to best treat and support people struggling with these problems, as well as how to support people at work and address the impact of addiction on the workplace", says Ms. Bhoi. "The great hope and opportunity when we look at the staggering numbers from this report, is that we know people who are given support and effective treatment can do very well. There is great opportunity to reduce the health burden people currently bear, by raising awareness and knowledge about addiction and mental illness, and providing the treatments we know can work."

A leading-edge addiction symposium offering a unique opportunity for quality addiction education, training and most importantly - tools and emerging practices for healthcare and corporate professionals. Discussion topics will include:

- PTSD and substance abuse
- Internet addiction
- Accommodating addiction in the workplace
- Video game addiction
- Managing employees with substance use disorder
- Achieving clinical excellence

Speakers for October 16, 2012
- Dr. Lisa Najavits: Numbing the Pain - PTSD and Substance Abuse AND Making It Work - Implementing Seeking Safety Therapy for Substance Abuse and PTSD
- Dr. Ryan Van Cleave: The Digital Dilemma: An Inside Look at Internet Addiction AND Surviving and Thriving in the Workplace ... in a Super-Connected World
- Ali Lienaux: The Duty to Accommodate: Substance Abuse at the Workplace
- Derek Shin: A View of Eastern Philosophy in the Treatment of Addiction

Speakers for October 17, 2012
- Dr. Ryan Van Cleave: Video Game Addiction: Surrender & Consequences in the Electronic Age
- Dr. Scott Miller: Achieving Clinical Excellence: Four Steps to Superior Performance
- Dr. Ray Baker: Occupational Addiction Medicine: Best Practices for Managing Safety Sensitive Workers with Substance Use Disorders

October 16 and 17, 2012

Ontario Science Centre, 770 Don Mills Road, Toronto

About Bellwood Health Services
Bellwood is celebrating its 28th year of serving Canadians with quality addiction treatment and education. The late Dr. Gordon Bell and his daughter Linda Bell, opened the Bellwood doors in Toronto in 1984, and have been working with individuals and families who are experiencing problems with eating disorders, alcohol and drugs, sex, gambling, and PTSD/ trauma and addiction. For more information on any of Bellwood's treatment programs, visit


To book an interview with a Bellwood spokesperson please contact:
Julie Bowles at Bellwood Health Services

For more information contact:
Julie Bowles
Manager, Business Development
Bellwood Health Services
Phone: (416) 885-4077

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Bellwood Health Services Inc.


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