OPDI News & Events

OPDI NewsToGo Issue #461 November 13, 2015

Highlights include: London Crisis Centre Funding; Gender Reassignment Surgery Referrals; Bill 113 (Police Record Checks Reform Act) Progress Report; Suicide Prevention in the Military; Psychiatric Disabilities Against Violence; MHCC Social Business Forum (Ottawa); Job Postings; 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.  OPDI Peer Support Core Essentials (TM) Training in Kingston (Nov. 30 - Dec. 4, 2015)

Please find the attached PSSEO (Peer Support South East Ontario) poster and a registration form with all the details. Please  note:  LIMITED SEATING AVAILABLE.

2.  OPDI Internship Webinar Thursday November 26 at 11 am (NEW)

Our next Internship webinar date is Thursday, November 26th from 11 am – 12 noon.  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. 

3.  OPDI Training Expectations Webinar Tuesday November 17 at Noon

If you are interested in learning more about OPDI Peer Support Core Essentials ™ Training please join us for a free hour-long webinar on Tuesday, November 17 at 12 pm Toronto time.  The topic is related to the process and expectations of training, and potential training participants (or their sponsoring employers) are welcome to attend and have all questions answered.  To register please email opdi@opdi.org.

4. Ontario Newsroom

a)  The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care is funding a $1.2 M 24/7 crisis centre for London.  A government press release and two related media stories follow:

Ontario Building New Mental Health Crisis Centre in London

Ontario Will Fund London Crisis Centre for Mental Health and Addictions

London Health Sciences Centre Facing "Crisis Period" for Mental Health Patients

b)  Transgender Patients To Get Quicker Referrals for Sex Reassignment Surgery (we have a press release and a media mention)

Improving Access to Sex Reassignment Surgery

Ontario Expands Referrals for Gender Reassignment Surgery

5.  Bill 113 (Ontario Police Record Checks Reform Act, 2015) Progress Report

OPDI (Deb Sherman and Raymond Cheng) appeared last Thursday, November 5 before the provincial legislature's Standing Committee on Justice Policy to offer their opinion on the Police Record Checks Reform Act, 2015.  Our previous NewsToMuse on this can be found here.

The written submission can be found here.  Deb began by recounting her personal experience while ED of a CSI.  OPDI made four recommendations:

  • that the committee consider the financial impact to individuals on fixed incomes if this policy becomes broadly accepted and/or if annual vetting becomes necessary
  • organizations that shoulder the costs of police checks may have to choose between legal due diligence and offering more programming for members and clientele
  • police forces should use a set of standard reporting forms in plain language to minimize reporting discrepancies and prejudicial language
  • previously non-criminal mental health information  passed on to FBI and U.S. Border Patrols continues to be potentially harmful and discriminatory and this legislation cannot retroactively change that
The Ontario Nonprofit Network has bundled its own and several other submissions in this blog post:

ONN Blog:  Police Record Checks.

6.  Ontario Class-Action Lawsuit Aims to End Solitary Confinement of Youth in Correctional Facilities

The lawyers who are behind this action, rightfully claim that such practices lead to or exacerbate serious mental illness:

Solitary Confinement of Ontario Youth "Incredibly Harmful", Lawyer Says

7.  Pilot Project Places Veterans with Therapy Dogs to Combat PSTD

This story profiles a veteran who has found the companionship of a service dog indispensable in coping with his flashbacks:

Veteran with PSTD Finds Dog Therapy Beats Medication

8.  Federal Government Publishes Mandate Letters for Ministers

Mandate letters (not usually published publicly) are from the Prime Minister telling ministers the priorities they are expected to work on.  Here is the mandate letter given to the Minister of Health, Dr. Jane Philpott:

Minister of Health Mandate Letter

The other mandate letters can be found here.

9. Defence Minister Orders Suicide Prevention to be a Priority

In the wake of a recent investigative series on suicide in the military by the Globe and Mail, the new Defence Minister (himself a veteran of Kosovo and Afganistan tours of duty) has directed the Chief of Defence staff to look further into the matter:

Defence Minister Orders Top Soldier to Make Suicide-Prevention a Priority

10.  Alberta's Fentanyl Problem and a Solution

In the first six months of the year, 145 people in Alberta has died from fentanyl overdoses.  An addictions specialist spells out three interventions to counter this trend:

Notley Government Defends Response to Alberta's Fentanyl Crisis

Alberta's Fentanyl Response is Tragic.  The Solution is Simple.


11.   Do Residents and Psychiatrists Show Stigma Towards Patients?

This blog entry by a psychiatrist reporting on a Canadian Medical Association Journal study may surprise you:

Reading of the Week:  Psychiatry's Dirty Little Secret?

12.  Medical Students Open Up About Stigma Towards Mental Illness

This is a remarkable piece of reporting in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, no less: 

Medical Students Talk Openly About Their Mental Health Challenges

13.  Danish Study Finds Those Who Quit Facebook Cold Turkey Were Happier

The study compared two groups;  the second group dropped Facebook for a week.  Those participants, according to the newspaper article, "were less stressed, happier, and less lonely".

Unlike Facebook and be Happier, Less Stressed


14.  Psychiatric Disabilities Against Violence Launches Report

In the early spring of March 2011, a number of vulnerable people were assaulted in west Toronto by a person wearing a balaclava. There was much fear, people were hurt and these assaults also led to the death of one man.

Parkdale Residents Fear Another Attack After Man's Death

Since then, a small group of people have been meeting to discuss the ongoing and myriad of ways that vulnerable people, particularly people with psychiatric disabilities experience violence.  Sometimes members of our own communities enact violence which complicates the conversation and how perhaps, we should respond, address and redress the issues.  Instead of another memorial, or mural, we wanted to delve into the issues further. This report is a start. It is meant to encourage others to build on a much needed ongoing psychiatric survivor anti-violence framework.   
Report, speakers and food will be available at this event.
The poster is attached.

15.  Mental Health Commission of Canada Hosts Social Business Forum (Ottawa)

This one-day event takes place in Ottawa Wednesday November 25.  To register go here.  This link is for those who are from out of town and want to apply for a bursary.  To read what the manager of this event had to say, go to this press release.

16. WorkAbility (Toronto Conference November 27) (repeat)

The Dream Team, a member run group of psychiatric consumer/survivors, is currently conducting a project on inclusive employment. We are currently organizing a free, one day conference on November 27th called WorkAbility: The Inclusive Employment Strategy Summit. The conference will bring together stakeholders from many groups interested in inclusive employment and focus on educating and learning from mutual challenges, strategies and tips. There will be panel discussions, key note speakers and facilitated group discussions. It is free, and lunch and snacks will be provided. Consumer-survivors are encouraged to attend. WorkAbility will take place at College St. United Church (College and Bathurst), and will run from 9:00am – 4:00pm. To register, please sign up here: http://bit.ly/1X6ZkFC. Email or call Lydia with questions: lydiabe@houselink.on.ca, 416-516-1422 ex. 251.

17.  2016 Ontario Shores Mental Health Conference

Ontario Shores is holding its 5th Annual Mental Health Conference:  “Research, Recovery, and Quality in Mental Health” March 1-2, 2016.  Abstract submission deadline is this Friday, November 6, 2015.

18.  CoI (Community of Interest) Deadline Extended

Looking to start or strengthen a CoI? You have until Monday, November 16th, at 5 PM to submit your application for EENet CoIs!

19.  Job Postings

The Schizophrenia Society of Ontario is looking for a Manager of Policy and Community Engagement.

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.