OPDI News & Events

OPDI NewsToGo Issue #441 June 10, 2015

Highlights include:  Police Records; Patient Privacy; Legal Aid Expansion; MHCC Recovery Guidelines and MH Indicators; Aboriginal Youth Mental Health; Mad Pride; Jobs; News; and More.


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1. Ontario Newsroom

TThe Ontario government has made clearer reporting and prosecuting standards and offered greater protections by making changes to PHIPA (Personal Health Information Protection Act):

Ontario to Introduce New Measures to Protect Patient Privacy

Ontario has banned conversion therapy (thus protecting the rights of the LGBT community):

Statement of Ontario’s Minister of Health on the Passage of the Affirming Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Act

Some background in this CBC story:

LGBT Conversion Therapy Ineffective and Harmful, Critics Say

2.  Police Record Checks Reform Act, 2015

This act to set out exactly what information police can release as part of their records check was announced last week. It will limit the disclosure of mental health-related information.
We told you last week that the Police Record Checks Reform Act, 2015 was introduced in the Legislature.

The text of the bill can be found here.

The Toronto Star’s investigative reporting was a factor in making the legislation imminent.  Some past stories are summarized in this backgrounder:
Ontario Cracking Down on Inappropriate Use of Police Information
The Police Records Check Coalition (of which OPDI is a member) remains a to-go resource on this issue.

3. Innovative Practice:  Psychiatrists and PWLE Learning Together

This article from the University of Toronto School of Medicine website profiles the collaboration in learning between trainee psychiatrists and people with lived experience led by Pat Capponi, a key takeaway being that professionals have a lot to learn from survivors when removed from the usual dynamic of being helpers during times of crisis:

When the Patient Becomes the Teacher

4. Innovative Practice:  COAST in Erie St. Clair LHIN

A Community Outreach and Support Team, which may be modeled after the one in Hamilton has been set up to "keep people out of trouble with the police and out of the hospital":

As Mental Health Calls Rise, Windsor Police Take Proactive Approach

5. Legal Aid Ontario Introduces Equity of Access to Services including Vulnerable Populations

The press release is here:

Unprecedented Multi-Year Expansion of Legal Eligibility

Persons with a mental health diagnosis will benefit because legal matters such as guardianship, power of attorney, and end-of-life decisions will be covered by legal aid, as will court cases whether or not the Crown is seeking a conviction (presumably, this means where a not-guilty verdict may mean being held in a forensic unit).

For more background information, this Toronto Star story is helpful (with information about the income thresholds to access legal aid):

6. Mental Health Commission of Canada:  Two Big Announcements

The MHCC has announced its report of "Informing the Future:  Mental Health Indicators for Canada".  As the title suggests, it has identified and collected important data that when put together informs on the country's progress in achieving a recovery-focused mental health system.  A press release with a link to the report can be found here:

Indicators Create Clearer Picture of Mental Health in Canada

It is worth noting that the first three indicators (hospitalization of individuals more than 30 days a year, readmission within 30 days, and one-year rate of rehospitalization) are measured in the completed TDM ARTIC TDM project where peer support was used, and therefore offers measurable evidence of its effectiveness.

The long-awaited Recovery Guidelines have now been released and can be downloaded by following links within this press release (some personal information is requested):

MHCC Launches the Guidelines for Recovery Oriented Practice

7. Nova Scotia Health Ministry Cuts Consumer-Led Grants

In a disappointing development, the province is eliminating a prime source for low-cost grants for those serving others with mental health needs:

Nova Scotia Cuts "Life-saving" 190K Grants Program

8. A Different Perspective:  Why Jail and Prisons can Heal

Two physicians write about the incidental benefits of incarceration (such as detoxification and getting out of unhealthy relationships) and speculate why investing in more health services has benefits in reducing overall healthcare costs:

Missed Opportunities:  Jail and Prison a Chance to Improve Health


9. Nova Scotia Incident Highlights Recent Report on Youth Using the ER to access MH Services

A 14-year old in Halifax requested mental health services, and when assessed and denied, ended up in a confrontation with police, was arrested and detained , and ironically then admitted to hospital. 

Calls Grow for Province to Revamp Mental Health System after #HelpLily

#HelpLily:  Teen's Arrest Outside Hospital Highlight Mental Health Gaps

More N.S. Youths Turning the ERs, Hospitals for Mental Health Issues (link to news story with CIHI report is here)

10. Career Services Guide: Supporting People Affected by Mental Health-Care Issues (repeat)

Employment is a cornerstone of social inclusion, yet people living with mental health problems face the highest unemployment rate of any disability group. Although people want to and are able to work, employment for many remains an elusive goal. People living with mental illness are capable of making an important contribution in the workforce, and do NOT need to be symptom-free to be successful.
At the same time, career service workers report more people are disclosing mental health problems as a factor in their employment journey. They feel challenged to support these clients due to a lack of knowledge about mental health and a lack of tools and resources to move clients forward effectively. This Career Services Guide offers a news lens for understanding people affected by mental illness and practical strategies for engaging them in supportive ways. When properly trained, career service workers play a critical role in helping clients to meet their full employment potential.

Available for free download:  http://ceric.ca/?q=en/node/1062

Embed in your website:


I hope that you can apply this recovery-oriented guide to your work and will share the guide across your network. 

11. New Resource:  "First Responders:  Trauma Intervention and Suicide Prevention"

This new Canadian reference comes to us from the Centre for Suicide Prevention and can be downloaded:

First Responders Toolkit

12. Question:  Finding a Antidepressant that Works

The Sunnybrook Hospital Personal Health Navigator explains the circuitous route by which people (if lucky) find a medication that works to help them cope with their depression:

Why is it so Hard to Find an Antidepressant that Works?

13. Youth Psychosis and Marijuana

The perception among youth that pot is relatively harmless is an assumption that these scientists say is not true given the incidence of drug-induced psychosis:

Pot Can Pose Psychosis Risk for Teens with Developing Brains, Researchers Say

14. Snapshot of Aboriginal Youth Mental Health

This Champlain LHIN survey finds that native youth are 9X more likely to be depressed and even more alarming, 3X more likely to be thinking about suicide:

Ottawa Study Offers Grim Look at Mental Health of Aboriginal Youth

15. U.S. Elderly at Risk for Mental Health and Addictions Issues

What is impactful is that at a later age, having physical and cognitive impairments that are happening alongside these issues can have riskier consequences:

Retirement:  Leaving Work Leaves Some Vulnerable


16. Employment Postings

Connect West (CMHA Peel) is hiring a Peer Community Support Worker (maternity leave position).
Several Peer Support Worker positions are available at Trillium Health Partners (Mississauga and Credit Valley Hospitals).

17. OPDI Internship Webinar

Our next Internship webinar date is Tuesday, June 16 from 1:00pm to 2:00pm.  If you would like to attend the Internship webinar please email opdi@opdi.org with your name, the date and city of your training and the information to login will be sent to you.

If you have already done an internship webinar please disregard this notice or you may attend it again if you feel you need a refresher.  Notices for future Internship webinars will be posted in NewsToGo at least quarterly and possibly more often if needed. To be notified, please subscribe by going to www.opdi.org and clicking on Newsletter Sign Up (it’s free) then just watch for the notices. 

18. Mad Pride 2015 (Toronto and Hamilton)

The Toronto Mad Pride 2015 website is here.

Hamilton's CSI, the Mental Health Rights Coalition, has a Summer Newsletter with the details on events related to their celebration of Mad Pride.

19. Art Mentor Opportunity

Learn more about the Whippersnappers PEERS peer mentoring program based in Toronto:


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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.