OPDI News & Events

OPDI NewsToGo Issue #473 March 4, 2016

Highlights include: CONNECT for Mental Health Obtains Interim Funding; Children and Youth Wait Times for MH Services; ER Overcrowding; Community Treatment Orders; Dr. Cheryl Forchuk and the Iris Scan as Healthcare ID; Social Media Mined as Tools to Find Signs of Mental Illness; Job Postings; News; and More.

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1.  Ontario Budget

The government website is here.
A comprehensive analysis of the major changes comes courtesy of the Ontario Nonprofit Network:

The webpage includes links to reaction from the opposition parties and commentary from other non-profit sector organizations.
2.  Ontario's Wait Times for Children and Youth Mental Health and Addiction Services

This topic has dominated the Ontario health news cycle with good reason:

Ontario Families Say Wait for Treatment for Youth with Mental Health Issues Unacceptable

Province Has Few Answers Regarding 1-Year Wait List for Youth with Mental Health Issues

The radio news program "The Current" looks at a related topic:  overuse of the ER for children and youth with mental health issues:

Half of all Hospital Beds in Canada for Kids and Youth Used to Treat Mental Health

3.  Good News!  CONNECT for Mental Health (London CSI) Receives Interim Funding for Peer Support in Hospitals

The Health Minister made a swift decision to grant interim funding for the continuation of the Transitional Discharge Model peer support (which was funded by the Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario as a two-year research project), after a news report publicized it, and the subject was raised during Question Period at Queen's Park.  We have two news articles, the quote from Hansard between Conservative MPP Jeff Yurek and Minister Hoskins, and OPDI's letter of thanks to the Minister, along with a report summarizing the outcomes from Dr. Cheryl Forchuk, lead researcher to the funder CAHO:

It's Cheap, Effective -- and Out of Cash

Legislative Exchange

Eric Hoskins, Under Fire in the Legislature Wednesday

OPDI  Thanks Minister

CAHO TDM Final Report

4.  Ontario Human Rights Commission:  End Solitary Confinement in Provincial Institutions

The Chief Commissioner, Renu Mandhane, made that position clear in this Toronto Star article:

Ontario Human Rights Chief Calls for End to Prison Solitary Confinement

5.  Two Ontario ERs Report Mental Health ER Overcrowding

Guelph and London hospitals are affected:

Guelph ER Brough to Standstill by Mental Health Bed Shortage

Critical Bed Shortage for Mentally Ill in London Raised at Queen's Park

Elsewhere, a Waterloo-Wellington LHIN report pinpoints the issues relating to access especially in small centres where there is interaction with police:

New Report Offers Steps to Improve Care at Local Hospitals

6.  Community Treatment Orders Raising Concerns

As another province (New Brunswick) prepares to make CTOs a reality, we have two articles that include concerns from stakeholders about the practice and the reality:

Community Treatment Orders Needed, Task Force Chair Says

Forced Treatment Orders A Growing Concern Among Mental Health Advocates

7.  W-18, Powerful Opioid,  Hits the Streets

The "lethal" W-18, 100 times stronger than fentanyl (itself the culprit in overdoses) is truly scary:

Canadians Invented Opioids 100 Times More Potent than Fentanyl 30 Years Ago.  Now Lethal W-18 is on the Streets.

8.  Insurance Company Policies on Suicide Attempts Under Review

The notion that insurance companies can refuse coverage for people who are undergoing treatment after unsuccessfully trying to harm themselves may soon become history:

Insurance Companies Reconsider "Dated" Policies for Suicide Attempts


9.  Theory:  People "Hearing Voices" are Hearing Their Own Voices After All

In this book excerpt posted on the Slate website, author Eliezer Sternberg, M.D. explains the role of subvocal speech in this phenomenon:

When People with Schizophrenia Hear Voices, They are Really Hearing Their Own Subvocal Speech

There is a lively debate in the comments section -- well worth spending some time there.

10.   Canadian Journal of Community Mental Health Open Access Issue on Canada's Mental Health Strategy (resource)

All articles are available free online here.

11.  Social Media To Be Sampled to Create Tools to Screen for Signs of Mental Illness

Federal funding has been announced for grants that includes a project from the University of Ottawa that will take data from social media posts to help come up with tools to diagnosis mental health issues in people:

New Project Monitors Social Media for Signs of Mental Illness

12.  Exploring Roles and Influence So that Consumers and Agencies Work Together in Mental Health Planning

This summary of a British research report explains what elements need to be present to make this happen; the bibliography includes links to other papers:

Service User Involvement in Mental Health Planning

13.  Dr. Cheryl Forchuk and the Iris Scan:  Innovative Healthcare ID for the Homeless

Our good friend and colleague at the Lawson Institute/Western University in London listened to the homeless clients who suggested the idea:

London Researchers Launching Study Looking at Eye Scans to Help Homeless Get Healthcare

14.  EENet Update:  How 3 Agencies Use OCAN in their Work

This Promising Practices "question and answer" article gives insight into the different approaches to using this assessment tool and what changes resulted over time:

How are Ontario Agencies Using OCAN?


15.  Dr. David Goldbloom on "Ontario Today" Radio Program

You can listen to the podcast on this link:

How Can I Help?


16.  Help Develop a New Data and Performance Measurement Framework for Mental Health and Addictions in Ontario (repeat)

You can learn more about reading this Data Communique (3 pages).  There are three scheduled webinars to learn more.  You are invited to submit your feedback on the draft framework by March 31, 2016.
17.   Webinar: Data Quality in Ontario Healthcare Reporting Standards (OHRS) Reporting

EENet presents the 4th webinar in the Health Canada DTFP series, featuring “The Costing Project: Data Quality in OHRS Reporting.”
Join this free, one-hour, webinar to explore what Ontario is doing to enhance the addictions and mental health system.
Date: Thursday, April 28, 2016
Time: 1:00 to 2:30 pm EST
Register here.
This webinar will include:

  • An overview of Ontario Healthcare Reporting Standards eLearning modules and the three-stage Costing Project training program;
  • Key findings, lessons learned, and other updates from the training program to-date;
  • Information about impacts to the system, agencies, and clients, and the focus on sustainability through a Network of Data Champions; and
  • An update on the development and standardization of cost-based indicators.

Target audience: Staff who will be participating in the training, agencies, system planners/decision makers, and all stakeholders of EENet, the Ontario addictions and mental health system, and our national partners.

  • Dr. Garth Martin, Project Consultant
  • Priya Kumar, DTFP Implementation Coordinator, Provincial Systems Support Program, CAMH

Note: The webinar will be recorded and posted on the Costing Project’s website after the presentation.

18.  Job Postings

Mental Health Rights Coalition (Hamilton) is hiring two peer navigators to work at Joseph Brant Hospital in Burlington.

Psychiatric Survivors of Ottawa is hiring a Peer Support Worker.

AMHO (Addictions and Mental Health Ontario) is looking for a Communications Officer.

CMHA Ontario is hiring a contract Senior Strategic Communications Advisor.

19.  Waypoint Centre Patient/Client and Family Council "Voice of Hope" Newsletter

This Spring 2016 Issue has an interesting perspective on mindfullness from the chief psychiatrist as he has just hired a psychologist for the hospital; not only is she working with patients, there will be sessions with staff.  Very progressive!

Voice of Hope Spring 2016

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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.