OPDI News & Events

OPDI NewsToGo Issue #422 January 6, 2015

Highlights include: Cold Weather and Flu Tips; Ontario Mental Health Act Detention Limits Court Ruling; Ontario Assistance Changes; Promising Practices in the Field; Suicide Lines Inventory; Research Updates; 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. Cold Weather and the Flu Hit the News
This year’s flu epidemic is worse than last year’s:
Flu Season Peaking in Canada
We have several tip sheets on dealing with extreme cold:
Extreme Cold Weather Alert (City of Toronto)
Staying Warm and Safe in Canadian Winters
The Ontario government has a webpage on getting immunized for the flu:
Get the Flu Shot
The Quebec government has a useful chart on the differences between a cold and flu:
Differences Between Flu and Cold

2. Important Court Ruling on Mental Health Act

The Ontario Court of Appeal has issued a recent ruling that has set six months as the maximum limit under which someone can be detained under the Mental Health Act:
Ontario Court Puts Six-Month Limit on Detentions Under Mental Health Act
3. Extended Smoking Bans in Ontario Started January 1st

A reminder that new smoking regulations took effect in the new year.  We have a government press release and a media article to illustrate the changes:
Supporting Families and Keeping Children Healthy
The Ten Things You Need to Know About Ontario’s New Smoking Bans

4. Ontario Social Assistance Continues to Make News You Need to Know About
More reports of poor service continue to be reported by OPSEU (the public sector union) with the implementation of the new computer system by the Ministry of Community and Social Services:
Glitchy System Leaves Recipients in the Lurch
Meanwhile, a court decision offers hope to people who owe overpayments to ODSP or Ontario Works, as this memo from the Income Security Access Clinic (ISAC) explains:
ODSP and OW Overpayments:  Court Decision Confirms Collection Can be Waived
We also have an update from ISAC on the now-discontinued employment benefits, which have been replaced by the Employment-Related Benefit:
Important Changes Are Coming in 2015 to ODSP Employment Benefits
We reported late last year about ODSP’s intention to carry out more Medical Reviews on assistance recipients.  The Community Legal Education Ontario website sent out an e-blast that clarifies this:
A” Medical Review” Date:  What Does it Mean?
5. A Journalist (and a Mental Health Facilitator Volunteer) Writes on “the Shameful Way”
Susannah Kelly of the Ontario News Watch doesn’t pull any punches on how the media and society can mistreat those with mental health issues:
The Shameful Way We Treat the Mentally Ill (Part 1)

6. Summing Up Mental Health in Canada’s Prisons

Christie Blatchford of the National Post covered the Ashley Smith inquest and has a good take on what’s not working:
On Second Thought:  Mental Health Still Overlooked in Canada, Especially Behind Bars

7. Women and Alzheimer’s
This article highlights the awareness being raised by the Canadian Alzheimer’s Society this month; not only are women affected by dementia because of their longevity, but other women are also more likely to be their caregivers:
Women Make Up 72% of Alzheimer’s Patients
8. Innovative Practices and a Chronic Problem in the Field

This mobile youth clinic uses a nurse practitioner, a peer supporter, and wirelessly links to health professionals in York Region:
Group Brings Mobile Health Unit to Youth in Need
In Norfolk County, a partnership of agencies meet to discuss and work with two dedicated staff to meet the needs of targeted individuals who rely on the emergency department frequently for care (a HealthLink initiative):
Scaling Back Hospital’s “High Users”
Hamilton police and healthcare professionals are partnering a new rapid response crisis unit:
Hamilton Police Pilot a Fresh Approach to Crisis Response
As an example of the problems that need to be addressed, we have a profile of overcapacity in London’s hospital system:
Band-Aid Measures
9. Yoga and Mental Health
This practice of mindfulness is being used as therapy for persons with lived experience of mental health issues:
Yoga Program Dedicated to Supporting  People Living with Mental Illness


10. MHCC Seeks the Case for Diversity in Mental Health – A Call for Promising Practices (repeat)
This is a direct quote from the accessible online form:
The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) believes a case can be made for investing in culturally and linguistically diverse and competent services. Evidence suggests that investing today in culturally appropriate mental health services for immigrants, refugees, ethno-cultural and racialized (IRER) groups makes long-term sense both economically and socially. To help build the case, the MHCC is looking for promising programs and practices of mental health services that address the needs of IRER groups. This material will be reviewed and highlighted in our research. Please share what you know and help us build a strong case for diversity.
11. Resources on Suicide Help Lines
A unique transgender helpline recently made the news:
Transgender Crisis Line Launches in Canada
Here is a listing of other ONLINE suicide crisis lines (with Ontario, Canadian, and international references):
Unsuicide:  Online Suicide Help
We asked CONNEX for a listing of Ontario crisis and warm lines and got this PDF file (thanks to Kirc who got back to me in less than an hour!):
Also recommended by CONNEX:

12. Mental Health Concerns of Victims of Domestic Violence Need to be Addressed

The research report from Women’s College Hospital in Toronto finds that healthcare professionals are poorly prepared to deal with this concern:
Study Points Out Gaps in Training for Health Professionals Working with Victims of Violence

13. CAMH Study:  Depression Outcomes Similar Using Psychotherapy and Pharmacotherapy

The comparison of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and antidepressant medications is written up in this blog entry:
Shifting Thoughts
14. Easy-Viewing Infographic on Mental Health Hospital Admissions in Ontario
This is a prime example of knowledge dissemination that is quickly understandable:
CIHI:  Repeat Hospital Stays for Mental Illness Details in Ontario


15.  EENet Seeks Survey Responses on Finding Evidence in Mental Health and Addictions (repeat)
Here is a link to a request for respondents to the e-survey:
Help improve the Mental Health and Addictions System!
16. Refocusing the Lens:  A Family Outreach and Response Event (Toronto)
Please refer to the PDF poster for full details of the January 14th event.
17. Charity Village Job Postings and Link to ONN Jobs Website
Mental Health Support LHIN, a CSI and OPDI member in the South East, has received permanent funding for more peer supporters from the LHIN, and is hiring:
Habitat Services in Toronto is seeking a Housing Support Worker – Peer Specialist:
LOFT Community Services in Toronto is seeking a Peer Worker:
Houselink in Toronto has two contract 12-week positions for Mental Health Recovery Workers:
Noteworthy also is that the Ontario Non-Profit Network has launched its own job site:
18. Wellesley Institute Job Postings
The think-tank is hiring:
19. Waypoint Research Institute:  Knowledge Translation in MH & A Conference
We have attached the PDF with a call for abstracts (deadline January 15th).

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

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