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Wrong Joseph Burley?

Dr. Joseph Burley

Assistant Professor

Queen's University

HQ Phone: (613) 533-6000x77792

Queen's University

Goodes Hall, Room 316 143 Union Street

Kingston, Ontario K7L 3N6


Company Description

Queen's University is located in Kingston, Ontario. With 17 faculties and schools, approximately 20,000 students and 2,400 faculty members, Queen's is one Canada's leading research-intensive universities (www.queensu.ca). more

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Background Information

Employment History

Assistant Professor

Dalhousie University



Web References (11 Total References)

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Dr. Joe Burley

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Dr. Joe Burley

Getting Help a 'Hit-and-Miss' situation

www.accessibilitynews.ca [cached]

Psychiatrist Dr. Joe Burley has been a pioneer, working in mental health carein rural and small-town communities in eastern Ontario for more than 20 years. He is on the road for days, working with family doctors and other mental health workers. He sees patients in Sharbot Lake, Verona, Tamworth, Sydenham, Northbrook and Picton among other rural settings.

It's estimated 20% to 25% of people living in Ontario experience significant psychiatric disorders but even though mental illness strikes everywhere, those who live in small towns and rural settings face significant hurdles to getting help when compared to people in big cities.
Burley says less than half of those who need mental health care in rural settings get any help at all.
"We don't see simple depression or anxiety or psychosis," says Burley,who is also an assistant professor at Queen's University in the departments of psychiatry and family medicine and at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia.
"Rather, we see these illnesses in combination and associated with addictions, family breakdown, unemployment, financial hardship, social isolation, stigmatization and complex physical illness and suffering."
The barriers to mental health and addiction treatment in rural areas are "severe and complex," Burley says.
"Patients are still waiting six to 12 months to be seen (in some areas)," Burley says.
That's because there are only about 1,700 psychiatrists in Ontario for the estimated three million people who need help and most psychiatric specialists locate in urban areas for professional development and research opportunities, according to Out of the Shadows at Last, the groundbreaking 2006 federal report on mental health and addiction.
Burley says getting help for mental illness is "hit and miss" in rural areas, where many times mental health services are poorly co-ordinated, do not provide followup or communicate well with each other, he says. The result? Inconsistent, fragmented and ineffective treatment, he says.
With the poor economy and unpredictable gasoline prices, transportation is increasingly difficult, Burley says.
A strong relationship with a family doctor can be key to catching the signs of mental illness early, leading to faster diagnosis and treatment, Burley says. Without one, people get help much later, when they are much sicker.
The southeastern health network has identified access to primary health-care services to be "a significant health care need in southeastern Ontario and Burley says that shortage of primary care physicians in some rural areas is a big concern.
In small towns and rural communities, there is less anonymity and the stigma associated with mental illness can make it harder for people to reach out for help, Burley says.

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