Montréal, May 7 2014 – Throughout Mental Health Week, Portage is seeking to raise awareness about the co-occurrence of mental health problems and substance abuse, a problem that has grown on a worldwide scale by 38% between 1990 and 2010 . On a national scale, the cost related to this issue in terms of loss of productivity is estimated at approximately $33 billion per year  Though 50% of people who abuse drugs also suffer from mental health problems, all too often they are treated for only one of these issues at a time. In Canada, more than 35% of psychiatric inpatients between the ages of 15 and 65 suffer from both mental health problems and addiction. Not only is their stay 19% longer than the average, but these patients are also 25% more likely to be readmitted to the hospital within one year after discharge.
An expertise in the treatment of this clientele
Portage is a leader in treating the concurrent disorder of mental illness and addiction, having established its residential Mentally Ill Chemical Abusers (MICA) Program in 1995. Aside from the MICA program, designed specifically for this clientele with acute mental illness, Portage has seen an increase in mental health issues among the clientele in its seven other drug rehabilitation centres in Québec as well.
To respond to this issue and better meet the needs of its clients with mental health problems, Portage collaborates with a number of partners in the mental health sector. Portage’s centre for youth in Saint-Malachie has an agreement that provides its residents with preferential access to a regional mental health services corridor, and its youth centre in Beaconsfield has a similar arrangement with the Douglas Mental Health University Institute.
“I am proud of both the expertise that Portage has developed over the years to be able to better respond to the needs of our clients with mental health issues, and of our efforts to continually improve these services,” states Peter Howlett, President of Portage. “Among recent program enhancements, Portage counsellors have been providing therapeutic groups at the CHUM’s Unité de psychiatrie des toxicomanies for several weeks now, to help its patients with concurrent mental illness and drug addiction on the road to recovery.”
1 The Lancet, Volume 382, Issue 9904, pp. 1575-1586, 9 November 2013. “Global burden of disease attributable to mental and substance use disorders: findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010”
2 The Lancet, Volume 382, Issue 9904, pp. 1575-1586, 9 November 2013. “Global burden of disease attributable to mental and substance use disorders: findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010”
3 Institut canadien d’information sur la santé – Services de santé mentale en milieu hospitalier pour maladie mentale avec troubles concomitants liés à la consommation de psychotropes au Canada, mis à jour mai 2013.