TVO  has announced the official launch of the Mental Health Matters website  that will be the online home for Mental Health Matters Week , an initiative of TVO in association with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)to inform and engage Ontarians in issues of mental health and addiction.
Beginning today (April 16), and available during and after Mental Health Matters Week (May 7-13, 2012), visitors to Mental Health Matters online  can find in-depth resources covering all aspects of mental health issues and register for special in-the-community events from TVO’s current affairs flagship program The Agenda with Steve Paikin and its lecture series Big Ideas.
Some of the features of Mental Health Matters online include a powerful info-graphic mapping mental illness across Ontario, web exclusive videos, expert guest bloggers, live streaming of special Mental Health Matters broadcasts and live chats, as well as catch-up-viewing videos on topics of mental health from The Agenda with Steve Paikin and Allan Gregg in Conversation archives. Mental Health Matters online will also launch The Next Day, an innovative TVO-NFB online documentary that opens up the discussion on suicide.
The Agenda and Big Ideas Audience Registration
Mental Health Matters week will be anchored by the broadcasts on TVO of The Agenda with Steve Paikin May 7-13 at 8 pm ET, as well as a special lecture May 12 and 13 by Dr. Allen J. Frances on Big Ideas. Members of the public are invited to register for free tickets to be part of the audience for two of The Agenda‘s programs as well as the Big Ideas lecture, which will be recorded at the University of Toronto’s Hart House in downtown Toronto on May 6.
Mapping Mental Health in Ontario
TVO has created a powerful interactive info-graphic called Mapping Mental Health in Ontario, which illuminates the burden of mental illness in Ontario. Every time you visit a doctor or are admitted to a hospital, the results of that visit are recorded for use by research organizations. One major conclusion this research has drawn is that mental illness is a major health issue in Ontario.
Using data published by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (a federal agency connected to Health Canada), Mapping Mental Health in Ontario examines the prevalence of mental illness and its impact on health resources in the province. The user can explore and compare this data by navigating through short animated sequences and data visualizations.
Exclusive to Mental Health Matters online, TVO has produced a series of videos that tell the personal stories of people who have struggled with mental illness and addiction. The online series begins April 16 with Jackie Nourse from CAMH, who talks about living with depression and the stigma associated with it. Beginning April 17, Matt Watts, star of the comedy series Michael: Tuesdays and Thursdays, will talk about his own struggle with anxiety disorder, followed later in the week by a story of a young woman who fought back against addiction as a teenager.
More videos to roll out over the following three weeks leading up to Mental Health Matters week will cover topics ranging from bipolar and personality disorders to depression, addiction, schizophrenia, and anorexia. The videos will also include a look at addiction in the family, cognitive behavioural therapy, and will take you on a tour of the CAMH facilities in Toronto.
The Next Day
Launching today, TVO and the National Film Board of Canada present the animated online and interactive documentary The Next Day. According to the World Health Organization, an estimated one million people die from suicide every year—the equivalent of one death every 40 seconds. The Next Day asks: What if they had just waited one more day? Told in graphic novel form and constructed from interviews with four survivors of near-fatal suicide attempts, The Next Day offers haunting insight into life, the decision to end it, and what comes after.
The Next Day was produced by Pop Sandbox with the NFB in association with TVO as part of the NFB-TVO Calling Card program, which provides an opportunity for emerging filmmakers and new-media teams from Ontario to work with the NFB and TVO to create documentaries for new-media platforms or television broadcast.
Streaming Video and Catch-Up-Viewing Videos of Mental Health Matters Programs
If you can’t be part of the live audiences of The Agenda with Steve Paikin or Big Ideas on May 6 but still want to catch the conversations as they happen, Mental Health Matters online will provide live streaming of the events.
Visitors to Mental Health Matters online will be able to view any of The Agenda with Steve Paikin and Big Ideas programs that will air during Mental Health Matters week, as well as past episodes on the topic of mental illness. Some recent programs include The Agenda‘s look at the sources of mental illness, the pros and cons of SSRI anti-depressants, and understanding addiction. A Big Ideas lecture with Dr. Iain McGilchrist will also be available after May 5.
The website will also be the home of a special Allan Gregg in Conversation online mini-series on mental illness. Featured interviews include Margaret Trudeau on her lifelong struggle with bi-polar disorder; Dr. Gabor Mate on addiction; Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison on suicide; Patricia Pearson on anxiety disorder; Dr. Paula Caplan on psychiatry; and Scott Simmie and Julia Nunes on The Last Taboo, their consumer guide to Canada’s mental health system.
Mental Health Expert Bloggers and Web Chats
Mental Health Matters online blogs and web chats with guest experts on mental illness will open up the conversation to visitors to the site. Some of the guest bloggers include Roger McIntyre, head of the Mood Disorders Psychopharmacology Unit at University Health Network, on whether mental illness is preventable, and Steve Lurie, Executive Director of the Canadian Mental Health Association Toronto Branch, will be writing a post about the housing crisis and the mentally ill.