April 8, 2010

Add Your Voice to Public Forum for Mental Health Patient Safety

Forum helps find solutions through open discussion and discovery

Starting up a conversation about mental illness is difficult for many patients and their families. But the Manitoba Institute for Patient Safety (MIPS) is encouraging a bold new dialogue to improve patient safety in mental health.

"In Canada we're just starting to talk about patient safety in mental health," says Laurie Thompson, Executive Director of MIPS. "It's an area we haven't fully explored as a healthcare system, and we just don't understand what the patient safety issues are."

"The issues of patient safety in mental health can be very different from those encountered in physical health settings," says Annette Osted, a Registered Psychiatric Nurse and Executive Director of the College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Manitoba.

Patient safety is much more pronounced when an incident occurs due to a fall, or medicinal error. But it is difficult to isolate patient safety issues if a mental health patient refuses care, or has trouble advocating for him or herself.

The Manitoba Institute for Patient Safety and the College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Manitoba are co-hosting a public forum May 5, 2010 to gain a better understanding of the experience of mental health patients. The goal is to open up conversation on a topic patients are often reluctant to discuss.

"We can only learn from people who have lived the experience. They're the ones who can teach us the most about what it's like to live with a mental illness and the stigma that can exist in the health care system and in the community," says Dr. Rob Robson, the Winnipeg Health Region's Chief Patient Safety Officer.

Dr. Robson says having individuals from all sides of the issue including health care professionals, patients and their families all take part in a public forum like this is important.

"It's necessary in terms of rebuilding trust in the people we're trying to serve, despite some discomfort listening to stories of patients not receiving comprehensive care. It takes courage to do that and people appreciate being heard."

The public forum will also feature Dr. Ben Thomas from the National Patient Safety Agency in England, a world leader in patient safety in mental health.

The forum will also launch three days of learning and professional development for Manitoba's Registered Psychiatric Nurses (RPNs) who are marking a milestone anniversary. It's been 50 years since the psychiatric nursing profession was first regulated in the province. And today there are 980 Registered Psychiatric Nurses in Manitoba; one third of RPNs are employed by the Winnipeg Health Region.


  • One in five Canadians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime.

  • 12 per cent of Canadians will develop an anxiety disorder

  • Eight per cent of Canadians will experience major depression

  • 50 per cent of people in medical surgical beds have a diagnosable mental illness or addiction

Source: Mood Disorder Society of Canada; Manitoba Centre for Health Policy

Event Details

Removing Barriers for Recovery: A Public Forum for Patient Safety in Mental Health

Date: May 5, 2010

Where: St. Boniface Hospital Research Centre

Time: 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

View poster

View tent card

The forum is free of charge. No advance registration is required to attend. For display posters, tent cards or information about the forum, visit the College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses website, the Manitoba Institute for Patient Safety website or call 204-927-6477. Please encourage others to attend by sharing the information about this event in your organization and with your family and friends.

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