OPDI News & Events

OPDI NewsToGo Issue #429 March 2, 2015

Highlights include:   Ontario Health Minister Announces New Mental Health and Addictions Funding; Ontario Mental Health Act Changes Coming; Community of Interest for Racialized Populations OCAN Event Registration; Facebook Suicide Prevention; First Nation Substance Use Resources; News; and More.


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1. $28 Million Investment in Mental Health and Addictions in Ontario

A variety of investments to support greater access to community mental health services including peer supports, was in the announcement.  The government also plans to create an inpatient registry of mental health beds:

Ontario Investing $28 Million in Mental Health and Addictions Services

A companion news article profiles the reaction to the announcement from a CSI Executive Director, Garry Laws of MHSNHEO (Belleville), and also updates the exciting news of 18 new peer support workers in that LHIN:

Funds for Mental Health

2. Court Forces Changes to Mental Health Act

NewsToGo reported earlier on the Ontario Court of Appeal has set 6 months as the limit for involuntary detentions in a December 2014 court decision.  The Toronto Star has followed up with interviews with lawyers and a response from the Ministry of Health spokesperson:

Time Ticking for Ontario Government to Make Significant Changes to Mental Health Act
3. Ontario Mental Health and Addictions Alliance Pre-Budget Position Paper (repeat)

Attached is a 2015 pre-budget submission from the Ontario Mental Health and Addictions Alliance, a coalition of organizations from across the province (OPDI is a member):

Alliance 2015 Pre-Budget Submission

The paper echoes the positions that the Alliance made in the 2014 election, and is supportive of the second stage of the mental health strategy that the Ontario government announced in the fall.

4. Community of Interest for Racialized Populations Event Registration Now Open

On behalf of the Community of Interest (COI) for Racialized Populations and Mental Health and Addictions, I would like to invite you to an all-day think tank on March 23, 2015 at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto. The purpose of this event is to promote knowledge sharing and stakeholder dialogue on Exploring the Potential of OCAN for Advancing Equity in Mental Health.   
The goals of the event are to:

  • Engage in dialogue about the potential of the OCAN to help identify the socio-economic needs of racialized populations;
  • Identify innovative practices to increase equitable mental health services for all; and
  • Develop recommendations for using OCAN data to guide program and policy planning

We are pleased to announce two speakers at the event:

  • Frank Sirotich, Director of Community Support and Research, Canadian Mental Health Association, Toronto Branch, and
  • Jennifer Zosky, Clinical Lead, CMH Common Assessment Project, Community Care Information Management.
A panel discussion with key stakeholders from multiple levels of the system will take place in the afternoon, along with breakout sessions.
A flyer is attached for further details. To register online, click here. The registration deadline is March 13, 2015.  Webinar options are available to those unable to join in person. 

5. Health Canada Warnings on Antipsychotics and Dementia
Health Canada recently stepped up its warnings about the use of risperidone for patients with dementia, who exhibit aggressive behaviour.  The Globe and Mail does a closer examination of why this off-label prescribing use of an antipsychotic is unwise:

Antipsychotics Shouldn't Be a Default Drug for Dementia

6. Federal Government Reducing Mental Health Beds for Prison Facilities

The federal government wants to "realign" care with possible negative implications for persons with a mental health issue:

Ottawa "Delisting" Hospital Beds at Prison Treatment Facilities

7. Facebook Offers Suicide Prevention Feature for United States
A coalition of suicide prevention agencies are offering online suicide prevention geared to U.S. users:

Facebook Adds New Feature for Suicide Prevention

For a Canadian perspective, here is the reaction of an Ottawa group:

Ottawa Group Interested in Facebook's New Suicide Prevention Features

8. Mental Health Patient Under Supervised Hospital Care Commits Suicide; Parents Suing

Despite being under an around-the-clock watch as a suicide risk, the patient was left unattended:

Family Suing Hospital for $12.5 M in Suicide of Unsupervised Patient

9. Diana Capponi Client Education Fund Launch

Please read here how you can contribute to the Diana Capponi Client Education Fund at CAMH:

CAMH Launches the Diana Capponi Client Education Fund


10. First Nations:  Competencies for Canada's Substance Abuse Workforce

This resource by the CCSA (Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse) is culturally sensitive with respect to working with indigenous populations:

Technical Competencies Guide for Working with First Nations Clients

11. Peer Support for Substance Users (U.K.)

The Peer Support Toolkit by the Substance Misuse Skills Consortium is intended for peers and those who manage them as well:

Peer Support Toolkit

12. Updated and Expanded "Peers for Progress" Development Guide

What are the elements of a successful peer support program?  This guide attempts to classify and explain in greater detail:

Program Development Guide

13. Women and Medication

This female psychiatrist wraps several statistics around women and their rates of medication and diagnoses to make the argument that maybe having a higher expressed level of emotion is a healthy thing rather than to be constrained:

Medicating Women's Feelings


14. Skills for Safer Living (Kitchener-Waterloo) Has Two Part-time Peer Worker Positions

The Skills for Safer Living (SFSL) program is seeking two part-time peer positions.  The SFSL  program is a program that provides a twenty week skills based intervention for individuals that have made several attempts to end their life by suicide.  The posting is here.  For more information, please e-mail stronga@self-help.ca.

15. Peer Support Worker (Friends and Advocates Peel/Consumer/Survivor Network/William Osler Health System)
Please refer to this ad for more information.

16.  Other Job Postings

NISA (Sudbury CSI) has an opening for a residential peer support worker position.

YSSN (York Support Services Network) serving York Region and South Simcoe is looking for a crisis peer support worker.

17.  New Mad/Crazy Peer Support Group

New Crazy/Mad Peer Support Group – 24/7 online listserv and first meeting on March 14

Do you identify as a crazy/mad person, psychiatric survivor, system refuser, service user, and/or person with lived experience? Join fellow crazy/mad peers to hang out, give and get peer support, share info, discuss alternatives to the medical model, engage in systemic advocacy, build Mad community, play board games. We will be meeting in downtown Toronto on Saturday, March 14 from 3-6pm. For the top secret location (to ensure the anonymity/privacy of members) and/or to join our new confidential email discussion listserv, email Emily at crazy.mad.peers@gmail.com

18. Invitation to Participate in a New Research Study

Are you a helping professional? (Social worker, nurse, occupational therapist, physician, psychologist etc.) Have you been reported to your regulatory college because of a ‘mental health’ issue? (Or are you concerned that this may happen?) Are you worried that you may be deemed unfit to practice if you seek support or share your health information?
We are a team of social work professors and students from York and Ryerson University conducting a study titled, “In whose interest? An inquiry into fitness to practice in the helping professions”. We are concerned about the regulation of mental health, suitability and professional registration.
We invite you to share your story in order to help us examine the processes around reporting and evaluating “un/fitness to practice” due to mental health issues, the impact on helping professionals subjected to these practices, and their political context and consequences.
We will ensure anonymity and confidentiality (unless you’d like us to connect you with others who’ve been through this too).
For more information and to arrange an interview, please contact Rebecca Ballen, M.S.W. student, York University: rballen@yorku.ca or (647) 785 3133.

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.