OPDI News & Events

OPDI NewsToGo Issue #464 December 10, 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. Announcement of Toronto OPDI Peer Support Core Essentials ™ Training

See the attached poster and registration form for exciting details about a March 2015 training program taking place in Toronto.  Please note that we must have a minimum of 10 people to proceed with the training. 
If you are interested in learning more about OPDI Peer Support Core Essentials ™ Training please join us for a free webinar on January 6, 12:00pm – 1:00pm 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.

2.  Bill 122 (Mental Health Statute Law Amendment Act, 2015) Passed

Towards the end of 2014, the Ontario Court of Appeals ruled that part of the Mental Health Act was unconstitutional because it violated the rights of an individual who had been far longer that the Act intended.  You can read the backgrounder news story here.  The government had one year to change the law.
Bill 122 was introduced in late September, and did not receive the attention of the House until late October.  The Government was forced to use closure to end the debate, and it went to committee for several hours of hearings.  The extent of consultation with the community mental health and addiction field remains unknown, although the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care did mention that the Mental Health and Addictions Advisory Council were consulted.
The transcript of the first of two days of public hearings can be found here.  We still don’t have a transcript of the second day of hearings.  The RNAO (Registered Nurses Association of Ontario) did offer a terse and candid analysis of the Bill on their website.
The bill with some amendments was passed earlier this week unanimously with all members of the three parties voting in favour.  You can follow the paper trail here.
It is worth checking out some of the debates; a common complaint is that it was a laudable piece of legislation but done in such haste and without full consultation from the field.

No media coverage of this Bill has yet been found.

3.  Mental Health Unit Closes at Hamilton St. Joseph's Hospital

The hospital is restructuring to cope with a $26 million dollar deficit in the next fiscal year:

Mental Health Unit Closing at St. Joe's, Union Warns of More Cuts

4.  OPP Develops a Mental Health Strategy

As one of the province's major groups of first responders, this move is encouraging.  It should be noted that training in various areas will include consulting with people with lived experience.  We have a news story with the OPP report embedded:

OPP Releases Its Mental Health Strategy

5.  Ontario Youth Drug and Health Survey:  Alcohol Remains a Focus Point

You can access the report on the CAMH website along with a press release; two media articles accompany them:

Ontario Drug Use and Health Survey

Teen Drinking at Home Okay With Some Parents, Survey Suggests
Booze Remains Drug of Choice for Ontario Teens, CAMH Study Finds

6.  Alberta Suicide Increase Prompts Government Inquiry

These findings coming during an economic downturn in the province precipitated action from the Ministry of Health:

Alberta's Suicide Rate Rises by a "Staggering" Near 30 Per Cent

Alberta's Suicide Rate to be Examined in Mental Health Review

7.  Innovative Practice:  Halton Region Now Has a Pilot Mobile Crisis Team

By building upon the experience of a Hamilton-based rapid response unit, the neighbouring municipalities of Burlington and Oakville now have access to a similar service as well:

Halton Police Set Up Crisis Rapid Response Team

8.  Innovative Practice "Open Dialogue" as an Alternative Treatment for Psychosis

This British story looks at a mental health concept first pioneered in Finland and now being tried elsewhere.  Interestingly, it mentions the use of trained peer workers:

Open Dialogue:  The Radical New Treatment Having Life-Changing Effects on People's Mental Health

9.  "Bell Let's Talk" Funds Peer Support Training at "The Link"

Congratulations to The Link and their partners for receiving the funding to make the upcoming OPDI Core Essentials ™ training possible thanks to the Bell mental health charity.  This very nice write-up appeared in the local online news site:

Bell Let's Talk Makes Peer Support Possible at Lanark County Mental Health

Bookmark this link to the Bell website for information about the community fund; new applications for 2016 will be re-opening early in the New Year.

10.  Does Ontario's Health System Really Focus on the Patient?

Steve Paikin is the host of TV Ontario's The Agenda; his wife is a healthcare consultant.  He attended a forum that she organized and here are his thoughts:

When Will Ontario's Health System Finally Focus on the Patient?

The blog entry is accompanied by a segment on the show about informal caregivers (close-captioned).


11.   Reminder:  Mandatory Provincial Health and Safety Training

This has been a requirement of Ontario's Occupational Health and Safety Law since July 1, 2014.  Make it your New Year's Resolution to do the online training and access the learning materials on this website:

Ontario Ministry of Labour:  Health and Safety Awareness for Workers and Supervisors

12.  Coping with the Holidays

A clinical psychologist from CAMH posts some helpful advice on their blog:

Coping Tips for the Holiday Season

13.  Distractinator (Android App; Apple Version Coming Soon)

One of the symptoms present in people with mental health and addiction issues is an inability to focus.  The good folks at healthyminds.ca have come up with an app to try to fix that (in a fun way, of course):

The Distractinator:  A Game to Help You Focus

14.  Some Good Reading or Gift-Giving For the Holidays
This contributor to the Huffington Post suggests some good literature on the subject:
11 Books That Will Change Your Perspective on Mental Illness


16.  Psychiatric Disabilities Against Violence Coalition Event (TODAY)

On International Human Rights Day, the Psychiatric Disabilities against Violence Coalition (PDAC) will launch their report titled "Clearing a Path: A Psychiatric Survivor Anti-Violence Framework".

Join us:
Thursday, December 10, 3pm - 5pm
250 Dunn Avenue (Bonar Parkdale Presbyterian Church) with guest speaker JANE DOE, activist, educator, author and litigant, Jane Doe vs Toronto Police

Full details are in this poster.
17. Ontario Electricity Support Program (update)

This initiative hit the news (not in a positive way) because of the low enrollment at present compared with the number of people eligible:

465,000 People May Miss the Start of Ontario's Low-Income Energy Rebate

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.
18.  Job Postings

LOFT Community Services is looking for a Peer Support Worker in East York (six-month contract) and a separate opportunity exists with Housing in Health in Newmarket (3 year contract) for a Peer Support Worker as well.
Durham Mental Health Services is looking for a Peer Support Specialist.

Stella's Place (Toronto) has a temporary part-time contract position for a Peer Support Worker in their ONTrack Fitness and Wellness Program.
19.  National Conference on Peer Support (Toronto, April 27-29) Early Bird Registration Now Available

You can do this online.

Contributions and comments are welcome.  Please email to Raymond@opdi.org. “News to Go” in the Subject line: 

To subscribe to this e-mail update, please e-mail opdi@opdi.org.  Or visit our website here:  http://opdi.org

Like us on Facebook.  Follow us on TwitterYou will find more interesting stories there that we couldn't fit in NewsToGo.
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.