OPDI News & Events

OPDI NewsToGo Issue #463 December 3, 2015

Highlights include: The Case for More Mental Health Funding; National Housing Week Information; Ontario Electricity Support Program; Light Therapy; Recovery College; 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.  Police Record Checks Reform Act Unanimously Passes

The Police Record Checks Reform Act, 2015 was passed unanimously this week.

The path of the legislation can be found here.  Two small changes were made by the Standing Committee on Justice Policy to the original Bill.  You can read a record of those who appeared before the Committee including OPDI here.

Further debate took place at Third Reading November 30th.  The Bill passed unanimously December 1.

The government press release is available:
Ontario Passes Police Record Checks Legislation
The Toronto Star report (their investigative reporting likely precipitated the government’s actions) and the Canadian Press story with reaction from stakeholders are here:
Ontario Clamps Down on What Police Can Reveal in Background Checks

Mental Health, Carding Records Can’t be disclosed in Police Record Checks

2.  Imminent Changes to Ontario's Home Care

The Ontario Minister of Health and Long-Term Care has signaled that a policy paper due out later this month will reform a system that is structurally broken and does not provide consistent care:
Ontario Vows Home-Care Overhaul in Wake of Auditor-General’s Report

3.  Innovative Practice:  Self-Help Using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy with Telephone Support from Psychologists

This is a new program launched by CMHA South Simcoe and York Region.  The CMHA Ontario press release and a related news story are here:
New GTA Program Takes D-I-Y Approach to Mental Health
Bounce Back From Low Mood, Stress Anxiety with Free, Clinically-Proven Mental Health Program

4.  Innovative PracticeLate-Night English Café Offers After-Hours Mental Health Support

Imagine this – a coffee shop staffed by mental health professionals from 6-11 pm weekdays, and 12:30 pm to 11 pm weekends and holidays geared to people who may be in crisis drives down ER admissions:

Late-Night Café Can Keep People Out of A & E

5.  Refugees and Mental Health

The issue of arriving refugees and their mental health is starting to be reported in the media:

Refugees at High Risk for Mental Health Issues, Experts Say

6.  Coverage of Constable James Forcillo Trial (Sammy Yatim Shooting)
There are many online accounts of the current trial of Constable James Forcillo in the shooting of Sammy Yatim.
You can follow the Toronto Star coverage or for more opinionated reporting, that of the National Post.
NOW, the Toronto alternative weekly has coverage this week:

Sammy Yatim:  Gone in 60 Seconds

The Yatim Effect

Ex-Police Watchdog Alok Mukherjee Speaks Out on Yatim
7.  A Raw and Moving Confession of an Alcohol User in Remission
Three years ago, this chef disappeared.  He told his story to the Globe and Mail:
Three Years After His Mysterious Disappearance, Former Langdon Hall Chef Breaks His Silence

8.  The Case for Safe Injection Sites in Ontario

A study out of St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto appears to justify the value of this harm reduction method in reducing the transmission of Hepatitis C:
Study Bolsters Case for Safe Injection Sites
9.  “The Case for Forensic Psychiatry in Integrating People with Mental Illness”

The Walrus, a mainstream magazine, offers an author’s viewpoint on this specialized psychiatric treatment and why it may be necessary to distinguish between differing degrees of mental illness:
Not Criminally Responsible

10.  Federal Corrections Ombudsman May be Rehired After All

If this account is to be believed, Howard Sapers stands to be rehired by the new Liberal government:
Canada’s Hard-Hitting Prison Watchdog Will Likely Keep His Job
Even a Toronto Sun’s columnist is in favour:
Keep Canada’s Corrections Watchdog


11.   English Study:  CTOs May Not Work

The Mental Elf is a plain-language blog where mental health researchers summarize the latest evidence.  A 2015 study of community treatment orders (336 patients) was separated into two groups, and found no significant differences in hospital readmission over three years (one research highlight):
The Mental Elf:  Community Treatment Orders Still Don’t Work at 36 Months

12.  The Biochemistry of Loneliness

Is there a link between loneliness and the chemistry of the immune system (which in turn creates stress)?
Loneliness May Warp Our Genes, and our Immune System

13.  Research into Cannabis and Driving Skills

We know that marijuana can impair drivers, but to what extent?  CAMH aims to find out:
Clinical Study at CAMH Tests How Cannabis Affects Volunteers’ Driving Skills

14.  The Heroin Epidemic
The author's firsthand experience with the ease with which he was prescribed opioids (despite explicitly asking NOT to have them) is instructive.  The historical perspective of the gateway to heroin is detailed in this piece:
How Big Pharma Gave America its Heroin Problem
15.  Positive Benefits of Young People Socializing Online

There is evidence that young people benefit by having better real-world friends, and that an active online presence means a larger social circle:
Teenagers Leading Happy, Connected Lives Online


16. Ontario Electricity Support Program (repeat)

If you are an electricity customer and on low-income, this provincial subsidy program beginning in January 2016 may interest you:
Ontario Electricity Support Program

A PowerPoint presentation was provided to the ODSP Action Coalition about the OESP and we have enclosed it for your information.
17.  Redesigning the ER Experience

In this blog entry from “Everybodyhasabrain”, Mark Freedman asks people to send in their suggestions on how to improve the experience for PWLE.  He also refers to this article on peer navigators.

18.  Job Postings

NISA (Sudbury CSI) has positions available in Outreach Peer Support (Sudbury), and Warm Line Peer Support (Parry Sound and Sault Ste. Marie).  You can find out more here.
The Good Shepherd Centre in Hamilton has two temporary full-time Peer Support Worker positions open.
The Krasman Centre (York Region) has a new Peer Support Worker position in its Housing to Health Program.
Peer Support South East Ontario has a part-time Peer Supporter position in its Kingston Support Centre.
19.  MDAO Debuts New Video on its Stand-Up Comics

Mood Disorders Association of Ontario’s “Laughing Like Crazy” Video profiles the stand-up comedy program:
You can watch the five-minute video here.

20.  A Website for Men and Depression

The HeadsUpGuys website is an initiative from the University of British Columbia and the people who brought you November’s month of mustaches:

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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.