OPDI News & Events

OPDI NewsToGo Issue #417 November 25, 2014

Highlights include: Mental Health Strategy’s Next Stage Announced with Mental Health and Addictions Advisory Council; Ontario MH & A Alliance Press Release; Aboriginal Healing and Wellness Strategy; Federal Government Invests in Veterans’ Mental Health Services; Problem Gambling Resources; Charity Village Ads; News; and More.

Editor’s Note:  Please be aware that many online newspaper sites are now behind pay-walls.  Not all articles with hyperlinks may be accessible due to circumstances beyond our control; we apologize for the inconvenience. To minimize the impact of pay-walls, consider regularly clearing your browser cookies.


1. Upcoming OPDI Internship Webinar
Our next Internship webinar date is Wednesday, December 3, 2014 from 2:00pm to 3:00pm.  If you have completed the OPDI Peer Support Core Essentials™ Program and have received a level 1R you are invited to join if you wish.  If this time does not work for you there will be other webinars offered.  If you would like to attend the Internship webinar please email opdi@opdi.org with your name and the date and city of your training and the information to login will be sent to you.

2. Ontario Government Announcement:  Mental Health and Addictions Strategy
The Ontario Government has announced the next stage of its Mental Health and Addictions Strategy this morning.  The link can be viewed at:

Ontario Expanding Strategy to Address Mental Health Issues

A summary of highlights:

  • Investment in increasing access and reducing wait times for 4 psychiatric hospitals (CAMH, Waypoint, Royal Ottawa, and Ontario Shores) -- that is GTA, Penetanguishene and Ottawa.
  • piggybacking announcement of 1,000 social housing units (which has already been part of the Poverty Reduction Strategy)
  • supporting youths with an eating disorder
  • working on a new funding model with the advice of a new mental health advisory council
  • a promise of $138 million dollars to community service agencies in the next three years to help increase services such as peer support, treatment programs, and crisis and early intervention initiatives (emphasis ours)

As part of the strategy, there will be a Mental Health Council to advise on the implementation of this strategy.  The members are named in this press release:

Mental Health and Addictions Leadership Advisory Council

The Ontario Mental Health and Addictions Alliance, of which OPDI is a member, has a press release in reaction to this announcement:

Alliance Media Release

Please note that Deb Sherman, OPDI Executive Director, is cited in the first quote of the release.

For the few of you who really enjoy this type of news, we offer the archived press conference featuring Health Minister Eric Hoskins and Children and Youth Services Minister Tracy MacCharles:

Ontario Expanding Strategy to Address Mental Health Issues
Early media coverage comes from these sources:
Ontario Government Promises $65 Million to Mental  Health Services
Ontario Promises $65 Million for Mental  Health and Addictions Issues

3. Ontario to Restrict E-Cigarettes Use and Ban Menthol Cigarettes Sales

The press release is here:
Ontario Takes Action to Reduce Smoking and Obesity Rates
Stakeholder reaction is reported in this article:
Ontario Moves to Restrict Use of E-Cigarettes
CAMH addictions doctor Dr. Peter Selby notes that no information on e-cigarettes is available to the consumer:
Ontario Liberals Announce Restrictions on E-Cigarettes, Flavoured Smokes

4. Ontario Announces Aboriginal Healing and Wellness Strategy

The announcement comes under the wing of the Ministry of Community and Social Services:
Promoting Healthy and Safe Aboriginal Communities
A news report on the announcement by Minister Helen Jaczek in Thunder Bay can be found here:
Aboriginal Healing and Wellness Strategy Gets $10 Million from Province

5. Federal Government Announces $200 Million for Vets – Then Auditor General Reports

The announcement made earlier seems to be positive news for Armed Forces vets with a focus on operational stress and suicide prevention:
Ottawa Announces $200 Million for Soldiers’ Mental Health Services
Ah, but what have they done for them lately?  The Auditor General says that veterans have to wait too long and complete a lot of paperwork just to access their benefits:
Confusion, Delays Plague Veterans Seeking Benefits:  Auditor
6. A Moving 5 Minutes of Animation on Addiction
This simple cartoon of a flightless bird and an enticing yellow blob is a chilling metaphor for substance use.

7. Six-Year Old Forced to Smoke Medical Marijuana Under New Federal Law

The mother of the child (who has epilepsy) notes that marijuana oil in the form of an extract takes the place of 10 medications and is however, illegal:
Why Does My Child Have to Smoke His Medical Marijuana

8. Substance Use and Hospital Resources
Alcohol use (intoxication, convulsions, and withdrawal symptoms) are among the reasons for hospital admissions:
Substance Abuse Costs Canadian Hospitals Hundreds of Millions of Dollars a Year
9. Self-Harm Report Raises Alarm in Waterloo Region

A Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) report released last week showed that young women are 4 times more likely to self-harm than their male counterparts.  A news report in the Kitchener-Waterloo record follows up:
Self-Harm Sending More Youth to Hospital
We have another report with quotes from other stakeholders:
An Epidemic of Self-Harm
10. Ottawa Mental Health Unit (Psychiatrist and Police Partnership) Profiled
Collaboration between doctors and the police in an effort to separate criminality from illness is the takeaway we get from an eye-witness account of a service call:
Hospital, Police Partner to Improve Handling of Mentally Ill


11. Problem Gambling Self-Help Tools Release
CAMH’s Problem Gambling Institute has made available multilingual web sites for people experiencing gambling problems.  Documents, a quiz and worksheets are among the resources available for people in French, Chinese, Polish and Spanish. The website is also in English.
New Problem Gambling Multilingual Self-Help Tools

12. Health Quality Ontario Annual Report “Measuring Up” for 2014

Health Quality Ontario is the organization that is mandated by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to report on the quality of publicly funded health services, outcomes, and standards of care in order to support system improvement.  Its latest report is available on this webpage and comes with easy-to-understand infographics:
Measuring Up

13. Depression Has A Bright Side

A McMaster study finds that people with symptoms of depression may actually be doing analytical thinking:
McMaster Study Looks at the Bright Side of Depression
14. High Fructose Diet and Depression During Adolescence
An experiment on mice shows that a diet rich in fructose (used in packaged foods and sugared beverages) may heighten depression and anxiety in kids and teens:
Sugar Can Worsen Teens’ Depression and Anxiety and Change How They React to Stress


15.  Self-Help Resource Centre Seeks Executive Director
The ad is here.

16.  Charity Village Advertised Positions

The Psychiatric Patient Advocate Office is looking for a community-based rights advisor for Peel and Orillia.
CMHA York and South Simcoe Region is looking for a Peer Support Specialist for its Housing First program.
St. Leonard’s Community Services in Brantford is looking for a Crisis Peer Support Worker.
17. Ontario Shores Research Day 2015
“Advancing Recovery Research:  Patients, Partnerships and Peers” is the theme of the 2015 Conference.  Full details can be found here.
18. Housing First Toolkit
From learning with the Canadian Mental Health Commission’s At Home/Chez Toi project comes the Housing First toolkit website:
Housing First Toolkit

Contributions and comments are welcome.  Please email to Raymond@opdi.org. “News to Go” in the Subject line: 

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NewsToGo is OPDI’s e-mail update providing timely and meaningful information to its stakeholders. The ideas expressed are those of the individual contributors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of OPDI. We welcome your submissions; please direct them to opdi@opdi.org. Preference will be given to material which directly relates to OPDI member affiliates and issues of concern to consumer/survivors throughout Ontario. We reserve the right to edit the length and style of all materials submitted. The current and back issues of NewsToGo can be found at http://www.opdi.org.