OPDI News & Events

OPDI NewsToGo Issue #425

Highlights include:    Homelessness Panel Announced by Ontario; Premier Highlights Mental Health in Post-secondary Institutions; MHCC Releases Mental Health Indicators Report; Police Records Checks Policy Change in Durham; Peer Support Toolkit for Peer-Run Organizations; News; and More.


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1. Ontario Newsroom (Government Press Releases)
The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (Ted McMeekin) and Deb Matthews (Minister Responsible for the Anti-Poverty Strategy) are co-chairs of the new Expert Advisory Panel on Homelessness.  Other names on this panel familiar to OPDI and other mental health and addiction stakeholders:  Dr. Cheryl Forchuk, who has worked on the Transitional Discharge Model  with peer support organizations such as OPDI for so long, and also has studied homelessness as a research focus; Michael Creek (consumer/survivor working for Working for Change), Michael Shapcott (Wellesley Institute), Kwame McKenzie (CAMH and Wellesley Institute), Aseefa Sarang (Across Boundaries and AMHO), and others.  Congratulations to all and the best of luck!

The press release and a link to biographies of panel members can be found here:

Ontario Appoints Panel to Look at Ending Long-Term Homelessness

The Toronto Star story is here:

Toronto Experts to Advise Ontario on How to End Homelessness

The Premier is making a whirlwind tour of Ontario campuses prior to the reconvening of the Legislature next month to do fact-finding and also to highlight investment in post-secondary mental health services:

Sexual Violence and Mental Health Raised During Campus Tour

2. Mental Health Commission of Canada Releases New Report of MH Indicators

The Mental Health Commission of Canada has released its first set of 13 indicators that “identifies and reports on the mental health of Canadians”.  There are going to be 50 in all eventually.  You can read the press release and access the infographic-rich 20-page report here:

Data Indicators Report on the Mental Health of Canadians
Canada Press report (most news outlets used this pooled story):

Stress of Family Caregiving Red Flagged

The Ottawa Citizen’s health reporter was there:

Caregiver Stress A Worrisome Trend:  Mental Health Report

The Toronto Star outlines eight key statistics:

8 Key Numbers in Canada’s Mental Health Report

3. Op-Ed:  Canada's Failing When It Comes to Tackling Mental Illness

As we are on the verge of the #BellLetsTalk social media campaign to raise awareness of mental health, two psychiatrists make their position known in the Ottawa Citizen:

Kurdyak and Sockalingam:  How Canada Fails People With Mental Illnesses

4. Ontario Social Assistance Software in the News

We have more reports of social assistance problems associated with new computer software, this time from Thunder Bay:
Delays Continue for Social Assistance Recipients in Thunder Bay
The sidebar menu on the left offers previous related stories.

5. Durham Police Revises Police Records Checks Policy
The Durham Police Force is releasing a new police records check policy in advance of provincial legislation expected this spring. Will other forces proactively follow suit?
Durham Police Unveil New Guidelines for Criminal Background Checks

6. Minister Matthews Takes Part in Anti-Poverty Strategy Discussions

We have a media sighting of the Minister Responsible for the Poverty Strategy (Deb Matthews) in Peterborough:
Minister Deb Matthews Talks Poverty Reduction with Peterborough Agencies

7. London Hospital Experiences Overcrowding; Ministry of Labour Issues Orders
The concerns of staff and patients are highlighted in this article:
Community Support and Coordination Needed to Fix Psych Ward Overcrowding

8. Innovative Practice:  Partnering Police and Hospital in a Mobile Crisis Unit (Hamilton)

It seems that this model may have potential elsewhere:

Mobile Crisis Unit Lauded As Example for Other Jurisdictions

9. Local Coalition Will Study Violence Affecting Consumers/Survivors
In this CAMH blog entry, Lucy Costa of the Empowerment Council alerts us to a new study on violence and the mentally ill that is taking place with a coalition of local partners called the Psychiatric Disabilities Anti –Violence Coalition (PDAC)
A Closer Look at Violence in the Lives of People With Mental Health issues:


10. Banning Tobacco from the Psychiatric Institution:  Consequences and Actions
CAMH has been a trailblazer as it has banned tobacco throughout the institution.  Here is a blog posting detailing several perspectives of how clinical teams might handle violators of the tobacco-free policy:
How Can Clinical Teams Address Repeated Violations of Tobacco-Free Policies
11. Meditation Changes the Grey Matter in Your Brain
Harvard researchers have posited that there is a connection between these changes and reported improvement in cognitive and psychological effects of tested subjects after eight weeks:
Meditation Shown to Alter Gray Matter in Brain

12. Parent and Child Mental Health Linked

This study by the Royal Ottawa Hospital in collaboration with Columbia University shows a connection between treatment for parents with depression and positive outcomes for their children’s mental health afterwards:

Depression and the Parent-Child Link

13. Resource for Peer-Run Organizations:  A Toolkit to Grow Peer Support

Please refer to this press release for a new American peer services toolkit that is geared to peer-run services:

Peer Services Toolkit – Increasing the Role of Peer Support

14. Research Report Roundup:  Summarizing a Mobile Crisis Intervention Evaluation
EENet recently posted a Research Report Roundup of this 2014 Report on a Mobile Crisis Intervention Team evaluation done by St. Michael’s Hospital:

Research Report Roundup of MCIT Evaluation

15.  A Wildly Popular Article About Addiction

Approaching 900,000 likes on Facebook, please take the time to read this:

The Likely Cause of Addiction


16. PRS Canada Conference Seeks Abstracts
The Call for Abstracts can be downloaded from their website:

PSR Canada
17. CAST Canada "Grounding Trauma" 2015 Conference
To register, go here.

Details of the conference can be found here.
18. MHRC (Hamilton CSI) Seeks Relief Peer Support Workers
Please refer to the job posting:

MHRC Relief Peer Support Worker
19. ODSP Action Coalition Toolkit for Ontario Budget Pre-Submission
If you endorse the Coalition's call to raise social assistance rates and to keep the Work Benefit that ODSP is phasing out, please take a look at how you can act:

ODSP Action Coalition January Action Kit

ODSP Action Coalition Pre-Budget Submission

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.