OPDI News & Events

OPDI NewsToGo Issue #467 January 22, 2015

Highlights include: Federal Health Minister Visits Insite; Health Ministers Summit Agree Mental Health is a Priority; A Contrarian View of Peer Support; Walk-in Therapy Clinics; CBC Documentary "Hold Your Fire" Now Available for Streaming; News; 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.  Toronto Peer Support Training Update

The Toronto Peer Support Core Essentials ™ training is still looking for interested participants and we are aiming for a March 2016 date.  Please direct your expression of interest to opdi@opdi.org and check NewsToGo for details.

2.  Ontario Newsroom

The Ontario government is reminding the public, organizations and businesses that there are a few ways of offering input into the coming provincial budget:

Ontario Seeking Public Input to Help Develop the 2016 Ontario Budget

Ontario hospital parking rates will be regulated on October 1, 2016 if new legislation is approved.  Each hospital with consultation with Family and Patient Councils will implement specific policies.  We have a press release and a media reaction story:

Ontario is Making Hospital Parking More Affordable

Ontario Hospitals Ordered to Freeze Parking Rates and Offer Multi-Day Discounts

3.   Federal Health in the News

There is a rare meeting of all provincial ministers of health with their federal counterpart in Vancouver this week.  After two days of talks it was agreed, among other issues, that mental health was a priority and would be worked on in the coming months:

Health Ministers Agree to Tackle Drug Prices, Home Care and Mental Health

The federal Health Minister made a point of visiting the first sanctioned safe injection site in Canada, Vancouver's Insite:

Health Minister Jane Philpott "Incredibly Moved" by Insite Supervised Injection Site Visit

Meantime, the interim Conservative leader (and previous Health Minister under Stephen Harper) created some controversy with seeming contradictory views about the speed of marijuana legalization:

Ambrose Under Fire for Mixed Messaging on Tories' Pot Stance

4.   Clearing the Path:  A Psychiatric Survivor Anti-Violence Framework (repeat)

The Psychiatric Disabilities Anti-violence Coalition (PDAC) was created in 2011 to engage in meaningful conversation about how to address issues of violence against people with psychiatric disabilities. The group came together after a series of violent assaults against vulnerable people in a Toronto’s west end neighbourhood.

Clearing a Path documents our work of the last four years, which has been to address ongoing violence, including structural violence, against people with psychiatric disabilities. Using psychiatric survivor-led research, the continuing goal has been to maintain the voice of people who identify as having a psychiatric disability at the centre of our work and to build a PSYCHIATRIC SURVIVOR ANTI-VIOLENCE FRAMEWORK.

People with psychiatric disabilities have considerable expertise on the violence they experience, and are attuned to its nuances and vulnerability factors. However, not only do people with psychiatric disabilities experience considerable violence, but recommendations produced by inquests, meetings, reports, and consultations are widely disregarded (in Canada anyway).

In order to create change we need to conduct and build our psychiatric survivor analysis. This form of analysis considers the impact of social and political processes on people with psychiatric disabilities. It is incumbent on any organization that interacts with service users/psychiatric survivors or has an impact on their well-being to develop their own analysis.

To achieve this, this report describes a PSYCHIATRIC SURVIVOR ANTI-VIOLENCE FRAMEWORK as a method for organizations, services, and policy-makers to conduct anti-violence work, and for community members to assess accountability.

It is a start. It builds on our collective knowledge and history of organising.

The report is available here.  Clearing the Path:  A Psychiatric Survivor Anti-Violence Framework

Please e-mail lucy.costa@camh.ca or phone 416 535-8501 Ext. 33013 if you wish to have a mailed hard copy.

5.  Physician-Assisted Death and People with Mental Health Disorders

This healthydebate.ca article takes a look at where Canadian physicians stand on the issue and it is fair to say that many unanswered questions need to be examined further:

Should People with Mental Health Disorders have Access to Physician-Assisted Death?

6.  A Contrarian View of Peer Support and the Upcoming April 2016 National Conference

An outspoken family member tells us what's wrong with peer support, the MHCC, and many other things:

Peer Mental Health Workers Need Better Training

The comments following the article are instructive.

7.  Study Supports the Innovative Practice of Walk-inTherapy Clinics

Waterloo researchers have found that walk-in counselling achieves quicker results and is more accessible that a service that is appointment-based; such a finding makes a strong business case for helping people immediately:

Walk-in Therapy Clinics More Effective than Traditional Counselling Sessions

8.  CSIs in the News:  NISA's Superheroes Calendar

You can find an article and a recording of an interview with the originator of the idea that publicizes the specialness of people who have achieved mental health recovery:

NISA Champions Mental Health Recovery, Awareness with New Superhero Campaign

9.  Rising Prices and Food Insecurity

The low Canadian dollar is having an impact on the physical and mental health of people on fixed incomes especially:

Produce Price Spike Unaffordable for Many


10.   Statistics Canada Study Reveals Heightened Rates of Suicidal Thoughts in First Nations, Métis and Inuit Populations

Key takeaway sentence: " When all Aboriginal groups and males and females were combined, residential school experience was significantly associated with suicidal thoughts."

Study:  Lifetime Suicidial Thoughts Among First Nations, Inuit, and Métis
11.   Positive Findings in People Who Were Labelled Suicidal

The University of Toronto study has shown that close to 40% of people who had been deemed suicidal had achieved complete mental health, characterized by not longer having ideations of suciide, the absence of mental health and addictions issues, and positive measures of happiness and well-being:

Close to 40% of Formerly Suicidal Canadians Reach Complete Mental Health

12.  Healthcare Apps in the News

Does the ability of healthcare apps to track your health and to transmit it to your doctor directly have implications for mental health care?  This article doesn't address the question, but the idea of electronic monitoring to enforce community treatment orders comes jarringly to mind:

With IPhone Apps, Your Doctor Can Read Your Bathroom Scale

Another writer asks an equally provocative question:  why doesn't the latest Apple Operating System with its HealthKit built-in app have any capability to track mental health data?

Why Doesn't Apple HealthKit Include Mental Health Tracking?

13.  Ontario's Helpline for Smokers Trying to Quit

The toll-free helpline is a central part of the province's smoke cessation program:

Vast Majority of Ontario Smokers Try to Quit Alone, and Fail

14.  New EENet Communities of Interest Announced

Please refer to this announcement to the new CoIs announced for specific topics in mental health and addictions and a contact person to learn more:

EENet's Communities of Interest:  Kick-Starting the Next Phase


15.  10 Ways to Be Happy in 60 Seconds or Less / 12 Ways to Cure a Depressed Pet

These time-efficient tips will inspire a more positive mood:

10 Tips for Getting "Happier" in 60 Seconds or Less

On a related note, these 12 tips for cheering your depressed dogs might just work on two-legged animals as well:

Is Your Pet Depressed?  12 Ways to Discover if Your Animal is Suffering from the Blues

16.  2016 SPARK Application Guide (MHCC Knowledge Translation Workshop Training Program)

Please refer to this webpage to download your application form and subsidy request as well:

SPARK 2016 Application Guide

17.  Bell Let's Talk Takes Place January 27th

This is a reminder that this worthy mental health charity endeavour takes place January 27th and supports at least one peer support training initiative involving OPDI later this month. 


The streaming video "Hold Your Fire", a documentary about police shootings and the mentally ill, has been broadcast on CBC, but is now available for viewing online.  Please refer to the website for more information and a link to the documentary:

Firsthand:  Hold Your Fire
19.  Toronto Housing Forum -- AffordAbility:  Affordable Housing for People with Disabilities Challenges and Opportunities Forum

This event takes place Thursday February 25 from 7 - 9 pm at the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre.  Please refer to the listing for more information, and note that Jiljian Voronka, Ryerson Faculty member and the National Peer Led for the At Home/Chez Soi MHCC project is one of the panelists.

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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.