Editor's Note:

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A lot has trapired since our last issue. One thing in particular that caught our attention was the release last May of a long-awaited report on mental health, mental illness and addiction in Canada by the Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, chaired by Senator Kirby. Out of the Shadows At Last revealed significant gaps in Canadian mental health care, and pointed a few ways forward toward filling them. More disappointing, however, was the Report’s silence on the differences between men and women’s and boys and girls’ mental health, mental illness and addiction. Given the diverse abundance of gender-based mental health research in progress around the country (for a sampling, see Women, Mental Health, Mental Illness and Addictions in Canada: An Overview at www.cwhn.ca/PDF/womenMentalHealth.pdf), the omission is stark.

As we go to print, Health Canada is holding online consultations to hear Canadians’ opinions on the proposed mental health commission to better guide the Government in addressing mental health and mental illness in Canada. Let’s hope the consultations mark the beginning of a more robust and directed effort to hear the voices of historically marginalized groups, and of women and girls in particular.

But if recent Federal ambivalence over renewing funding for Insite, Vancouver’s innovative harm reduction facility, and the severe Status of Women Canada budget slashes and closures announced last fall are any indication, the road ahead may be rocky. In this issue, Marie Claire MacPhee and Kathleen O’Grady respectively look at those two developments, and what they mean for women in Canada.

What we need more of are victories like Women and Health Protection’s (WHP) achievement of intervener status as part of a coalition in the CanWest Mediaworks Charter Challenge on Direct to Consumer Advertising (DTCA), groundbreaking analysis on gender and wait times from Women and Health Care Reform (WHCR), and grassroots initiatives like the Prairie Women’s Health Centre of Excellence (PWHCE) Photovoice project for low income women – all of which you can also read more about here.

Finally, my sincere apologies to those of you who have been anxiously awaiting this somewhat delayed issue of our magazine. If there’s one thing we here at Network can know to expect, it’s that health is a tricky thing. An unexpected turn in my own health significantly slowed down the production of this issue, originally scheduled for release last fall. The good news is that you can expect another issue close on the heels of this one, jam-packed with more Canadian women’s health news and analysis, and with Kathleen O’Grady back at the editorial helm.

Thanks to CWHN staff, Board, members, contributors and readers for your support during my tenure. As always, your feedback is much appreciated, and I look forward to continuing this work with you all throughother avenues.

Sincerely,
Laila Malik
Director of Communications
news@cwhn.ca