May 13, 2008 09:00 ET

Mental Illness on the Rise in Canada: Leading Medical Professionals to Educate on Complementary and Alternative Medicine

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - May 13, 2008) - Mental health issues are on the rise in Canada, according to psychiatrist Dr. Jean Boodhoo, Chairman of the upcoming ICAM conference in Toronto, May 23 - 25, 2008. Dr. Boodhoo attributes raising financial and marital pressures, increasing drug and alcohol abuse, and steady suicide rates, as factors for why one in four Canadians suffer from a mental illness. Further contributing is the steady increase in cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer's, among an ageing population. Despite the prevalence of mental illness with healthcare burden of $8 billion a year, there remains a large disconnect between these illnesses and current alternative interventions.

This disconnect was a big impetus behind the creation of Canada's premier international conference on Integrative, Complementary and Alternative Medicine (ICAM) and Mental Health. The conference assembles over 20 of the some of the world's top medical professionals in allopathic, integrative, complementary and alternative medicine with a special focus on mental health.

"Most traditional treatments for mental health disorders involve prescribing psychotropic drugs," explains Dr. Boodhoo. "While these drugs can be very effective in treating many psychiatric disorders, they unfortunately don't work for everyone, and they are also prone to side effects. As medical practitioners, we're looking at allopathic and alternative treatments to enable wellness for the whole person. ICAM gives conference-goers a wider scope of the interventions available for overcoming mental health problems."

The conference is targeted towards family physicians, health care practitioners and individuals with a keen interest in alternative medicine or mental health solutions. The objective is that they will be made aware of current alternative interventions for mental health patients, future trends in the field and to raise awareness of concerns of legal and ethical issues in this field of practice.

"Medical professionals, as well as the general public, are more readily acknowledging that a focus on nutrition and mind/body medicine significantly improve mental health and overall well-being," says Dr. Boodhoo. "And specific alternative therapies can do the same. For example, aromatherapy can assist with sleep and behavioural disorders in seniors with cognitive behaviour problems, electromagnetic waves can positively influence mood disorders and the use of herbs in Traditional Chinese Medicine can complement the treatment of schizophrenia."

Conference: First International Conference on Integrative, Complementary and Alternative Medicine (ICAM) and Mental Health

Date: May 23 to 25, 2008

Location: Sheraton Centre Toronto, 123 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON


Contact: (403) 580-2822;

A health and wellness exhibition will also take place at the conference. To book your exhibit contact: Michael Wipf at (604) 638-8467;

Speakers include:

- Dr. Steven Aung, World Health Organization advisor on the standardization of acupuncture; President of the World Natural Medicine Foundation.

- Dr. James Lake, author and attending physician at Stanford's Center for Integrative Medicine where he helped establish integrative mental health services.

- Dr. Alan Logan, Harvard professor and author of "The Brain Diet" and "The Clear Skin Diet".

- Dr. Scott Gerson, a leading authority on Ayurvedic Medicine who helped establish Mt Sinai School of Medicine's (NY) first course on alternative medical treatments.

To view the list of additional speakers please click on the following link:

Contact Information