OPDI News & Events

OPDI NewsToGo Issue #437

Highlights include:   Bill 95 Passes Second Reading; OPDI Position Paper; Crystal Meth; Two Innovative Practices; Legal Aid's Mental Health Strategy; Jobs; News; and More.


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1. Ontario Newsroom

Mental Health Awareness Week was marked with several announcements:
Ontario is investing in services for teens with mental health issues between the ages of 16 -19:
Ontario Investing $5.2 Million to Expand Mental Health Care for Teens
This comes as the Children’s Mental Health Ontario, which represents the providers of child and youth mental health treatment services in the province, publishes a report on the alarming wait times for this sector:
Ontario Youth can Wait over a Year for Mental Health Care

The Ontario Hospital Association has been asked to use a combination of more education and with a “focus on establishing safe medical practices for at-risk patients by looking at best practices and working with patients and those with lived-experience (emphasis by NTG)”.
Suicide Prevention Standards Being Developed for Ontario Hospitals
Here is a columnist’s take on this initiative:
More Evidence Mental Health is changing in Ontario
A pilot project to prevent homelessness for at-risk Toronto Youth has been announced:
Ontario Launches Pilot to Support At-Risk Youth
Also in other health-related news:
Proposed legislation will see Nurse Practitioners going to be given the capability of referring patients directly to specialists; currently, a NP has to refer their patient to a primary care physician and then get a specialist referral.
Ontario Providing Faster Access to Medical Specialist Services
A range of practices are set to be adopted on the recommendation of the Ontario Health Innovation Council:
Ontario is Investing $20 Million in Health Innovation

2. Bill 95 Passes Second Reading and OPDI's Thoughts

NDP MPP Teresa Armstrong (London-Fanshawe) has brought forward a private member’s bill which received second reading Thursday.   Two recommendations in the proposed bill:  create a Mental Health and Addictions Ontario organization (as was recommended by the 2010 Select Committee) and to allow the Ontario Ombudsman to oversee the sector.  Ms. Armstrong’s office asked a number of mental health and addiction organizations for feedback and a response.

Bill 95 is linked HERE, and OPDI's response is linked HERE.

The Hansard transcript of Thursday’s proceedings is available online HERE.  The motion to pass second reading and send it to the Justice Committee is HERE.  Alternately, you will find the debate on Bill 95 beginning at page 37 of the PDF file.

3. London has a Crystal Meth Crisis

This newspaper report brought in leaders from local agencies and the police to offer comments on why it is so problematic:

Ice Storm

4. Refugees and Some Immigrants At Risk for Mental Health Disorders

Stresses due to migration are a likely cause:

Refugees and Some Immigrants More Likely to Have Psychotic Disorders

5. How are Forensic Privileges Decided?

This Ontario Shores blog entry by a psychiatrist helps answer a question that is relevant given the media's reporting lately of Vince Lee:

How are Privileges Determined for Forensic System Patients?

6. Innovative Practice:  Family Health Teams and Telepsychiatry

This new venture hits the right notes:  uses collaborative primary care model, outreaches to distant areas in need of mental health care, and links regulalyr to a dedicated psychiatrist (who might in the past have visited physically to remote locations), offering continuity of care to clients:

Northern Telepsychiatry Program Reaching Patients and Supporting Primary Care Providers

7. Innovative Practice:  First Responders Creating Peer Support Program

With the spate of stories about first responders and mental health, it is heartening to see that Thunder Bay EMS personnel have incorporated peer support into their well-being with the support of Laurentian University:
Paramedics Create Their Own PSTD Training in Thunder Bay


8. Men and  why they Commit Suicide

Social perfectionism as a trait and its presence in men form a deadly combination:
The Male Suicides:  How Social Perfectionism Kills

9. Resource:  Legal Aid Society of Ontario Embarks on Mental Health Strategy

Bookmark this page if you want to be informed about the ongoing efforts of the LAO, led by Ryan Fritsch to create a mental health strategy.  This infogram illustrates the need.

10. Music and Health

With the data available from online streaming music services, it may be possible to understand how it affects people emotionally and physically, and in turn music could be “prescribed” just for this purpose:
Can Music be Used as Medicine?

11. Being Gay and  the Incidence of Being Bullied at a Young Age

Gay children are more likely to be bullied and at an earlier age:
Gay Children Get Bullied More than Classmates, Even at a Young Age


12.  Call for Abstracts:  OPDI Conference 2015

SAVE THE DATE - Ontario Peer Development Initiative’s PEER SUPPORT CONFERENCE will be held September 24 & 25, 2015 in Toronto.
We are inviting you to submit a workshop abstract for the Conference scheduled for September 24 & 25, 2015.  We welcome workshops in the following areas of interest, but submissions are not limited only to these areas:
Member services, for example:

  • Recruiting and engaging a diverse membership
  • Empowerment and authenticity: maintaining a member driven and person centred program
  • Board training and development for effective organizations

Program management issues, such as:

  • Staff training, supervision and support
  • Accountability: getting the work done and telling the real story
  • Staffing Challenges
  • Challenges of Rapid Growth​

Broader systemic, political or philosophical issues such as:

  • Accessibility of peer support groups and organizations
  • Integrations, mergers, absorptions. How to work IN the system but not be OF the system
  • Advocacy: loss of voice and rights
Sharing of new practices, successful program ideas, etc.

We are looking for the most innovative workshop topics that you believe will be beneficial to Consumer/Survivor Initiatives and Peer Support Organizations, and will be positively received by those attending this conference.
Workshop Formats: Each workshop will be 90 minutes and should include a presentation, interaction and discussion. Proposals should address the following:
• Session Title
• Objectives/Intended Outcomes for Participants
• Presenter(s) Biography
• Contact Details
• Audio-visual needs
• Workshop description (this will be used in advertising materials, 100 words or less)
Please submit your abstract by e-mail to opdi@opdi.org or fax to 416- 484-9669.
All abstract must be received by June 5th, 2015.
For further information please contact Allyson Theodorou at 416-484-8785 ext. 2 or by e-mail at allyson@opdi.org

13. Employment Postings

CAMH is looking for a Peer Support Worker in an Early Psychosis Intervention program.
STRIDE (Halton Region) is looking for an Employment Peer Mentor.
CMHA Halton is hiring two Peer Support Workers in its Case Management Program.

14. From Surviving to Advising -- You are Wanted! (GTA)

Do you want to change psychiatry? Then join an exciting and ongoing effort by CAMH (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health) to recruit those with lived experience, knowledge leaders, change agents, peer support workers and those on the forefront of recovery - those who wish to have an impact on the future of psychiatry - to work as advisors to psychiatry residents to enhance their understanding of the lived experience of recovery.

You will be working with psychiatrists-in-training to make psychiatry better!

We are seeking individuals with at least five years of lived experience of recovery and experience as peers and/or advocates who can be available approximately two hours on each of two days a month. Compensation will be provided.  

More information is available at http://www.camh.ca/s2a

15. CURA Conference on Poverty and Inclusion (London) -- Call for Abstracts Deadline May 17

Please view the PDF form for details on getting involved in the October 28-29 conference in London, Ontario.  You can access the website as well. This conference is of special interest to psychiatric survivors.

17.  ISAC Shares -- "Save the ODSP Work Benefit Program Campaign"

This Income Security Advocacy Centre's e-newsletter offers you all you need to know to participate in the ODSP Action Coalition's efforts to save the impending loss of the Work Benefit in October 2015.

18. Empowerment Council (CAMH) Elections

Please refer to the flyer for more details on getting a nomination form and standing for election.

19. Volunteer as an Advisor for Health Quality Ontario

Volunteer advisors are being sought by Health Quality Ontario for its Patient, Family, and Public Advisors Council and Network.  Find out how to apply:
Patient and Family Advisors

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.