OPDI News & Events

OPDI NewsToGo Issue #475 March 18, 2016

Highlights include: Ontario's Housing and Homelessness Strategy; Harm Reduction; U.S. Opioid Prescription Guidelines; Suicide and First Nations; OPDI Peer Support Internship Webinar; Job Postings; 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.  OPDI Peer Support Internship Webinar (Tuesday, March 30 from noon - 1 pm)

The next OPDI Peer Support Internship Webinar will be held Wednesday, March 30th from 12:00 - 1:00 pm.  If you have completed the OPDI Peer Support Core Essentials (TM) Program and have received a Level 1R you are invited to join if you wish.  Please e-mail opdi@opdi.org and the information to login will be sent to you.

2.  Ontario Newsroom

The province has provided details of its Housing and Homelessness strategy in the form of a $178 million dollar investment over three years.  We have the press release and a news story:

Ontario Transforming Housing and Homelessness System

Ontario Plans Legislation That Could Require Affordable Housing in Condos

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care is investing $75 million in palliative and end-of-live care services:

Ontario Strengthens End-of-Life Care with $75 Million Investment

3.  Legal Aid Ontario Releases Mental Health Strategy (repeat and update)

This press release which includes the discussion paper highlights a multi-pronged strategy including making legal services where mental health clients are likely to be found, working with other organizations (MHCC and CMHA Ontario), expansion of legal aid coverage, and proactively helping people tell their own stories in preparing to testify in court.  Kudos to Ryan Fritsch for his hard work:

LAO Outlines Its Strategy to Help Mental Health Clients

The LAO has since further announced $3.3 million in investment in 54 legal aid clinics which will provide legal assistance to vulnerable, specific, and low-income Ontarians:

Legal Aid Ontario Invests $3.3 Million in 54 Legal Aid Clinics

4.  Harm Reduction in the News

The city's chief medical officer issued a report supporting the idea of supervised injection sites in the city.  We have his Op-Ed and some other related stories:

Toronto Needs Supervised Injection Sites

Former Mayors Back Toronto Supervised Injection Sites

Price Tag for Safe Injection Sites Unknown

Toronto Drug Addict Says Safe Injection Sites Could Save Lives

It's significant that Jane Philpott, the federal Health Minister re-tweeted this article:

Drug Policy Should Focus on Harm Reduction

We have stories about the process to get things started in Ottawa and the 4-year extension for Insite in Vancouver:

Ottawa Health Centre Plans Injection-Site Consultations in April

Health Canada Gives Vancouver Safe-Injection Site 4-Year Exemption

Meanwhile, questions have arisen about the value and benefit of methadone maintenance treatment as a way to treat addiction to opioids:

Patients Question Methadone Usage as Patients Numbers Soar in Canada

Finally, we look at addiction and homelessness in this feature news story:

Addiction a Top Cause of Homelessness in Canada, But Not Always Number 1

5.  Long-Overdue Opioids Prescription Guidelines for U.S. Physicians -- Wll Canada Act?

CDC Urges U.S. Doctors to Limit Opioid Prescriptions

What should the Canadian perspective look like?  Pharmacologist Dr. David Juurlink had this to share with the incoming Health Minister, Dr. Jane Philpott after the federal election:

A Prescription for Curing Canada's Opioid Epidemic

6.  Violence and Mental Illness

In the light of two highly publicized incidents, the Globe and Mail invited a B.C. criminologist to make the case NOT to associate the perpetration of violent crimes with people who have a diagnosis of mental illness:

Stop Connecting Mental Illness with Violence

7.  Suicide and First Nations

We have a wrap-up of the stories making headlines recently:

Manitoba First Nations Declares State of Emergency Over Suicide Epidemic

Povery, Inequality Fuelling Suicide Crisis, First Nations Leader Says

Drug Addictions, Overprescription Need Government Help:  Saskatchewan First Nations

Beyond Grief:  An Innu Community's Stories, Part One

This Liberal MP hasn't got the message yet:

Liberal MP Says No Harm in "Putting Off" Response to First Nations Suicide Crisis

Is there an economic solution to the root causes of mental despair?

The Suicide Epidemic of Cross Lake:  Consider Urban Resettlement

8.  PTSD Causes RCMP Ottawa Officer to Take His Own Life

The incident took place just off Parliament Hill and the report suggests that the need for mental health services within the RCMP is ramping up dramatically:

RCMP Member Takes His Own Life Near Parliament Hill

9.  Astute Analysis on the Ontario Healthcare Budget

Here's a doctor's perspective on what the differing approaches to spending on hospital and community-based care means:

Ontario's Budget Doesn't Look Good for Hospitals


10.   In a Mental Health Funk?  Don't Ask Your Cellphone Assistant for Advice

The research study suggests that there is "missed leverage" based on the varying degrees of success in which cellphones responded to their owners' questions.  The author justly points out calling 911 would be sensible:

In a Crisis, Asking Siri Might Get You Questionable Advice

11.  Pervasive Overdrugging of Seniors Remains a Concern Across Canada

Here is a BC perspective on a widely acknowledged problem; a Manitoba effort shows some effect in lowering the incidence of such use:

Drugging Seniors Still Too Prevalent, Advocate Says

Here's a link to the CIHI press release of the 2014 report:

Most Seniors Take 5 or More Drugs;  Numbers Double in Long-Term Care Facilities

12.  How Peer Support Can Help

This report points out the issue in primary care:  depression doesn't get treated seriously as the chronic condition that it can be.  Aside:  peer support as part of the discharge planning process helps (check out the CAHO ARTIC TDM report).

Doctors Often Fail to Treat Depression Like a Chronic Illness

We have a video demonstrating the multi-language European Union Peer Training Program:

Peer2Peer:  A Route to Recovery of People with Mental Illness Through Peer Support Training and Employment

13.  Homeless Young People and Pets Go Well Together

Research shows that youth on the streets with a pet are less likely to misuse drugs, experience depression, and are more likely to confide in vets about their own personal issues:

Homeless Youth with Pets Less Likely to Use Hard Drugs, Suffer Depression

14.  Resource:  Database of Systematic Reviews of Mental Health and Addictions Interventions

McMaster University hosts this online repository that has done the searching in the peer-reviewed literature for you; a link also  takes you to their consultation services:



15.  Reporting Medical Expenses in your Tax Return

This article shares the CRA link to what's allowed as medical expenses and points out 10 eligible examples one might overlook:

Ten Medical Expenses You Didn't Know Were Tax Deductible

16.  A Man's Search for Happiness Results in A Book

Check out this story as there are some tidbits worth saving:

The Secret to Happiness?  Stop Trying to Be Happy


17.  Job Postings
Consumer Survivor Initiatve Niagara has a position available for Welland. They are currently looking for someone responsible to help run peer support groups in Welland for every Wednesday 3:30 - 5:30pm for our Depression/Anxiety group and 6:00 - 8:00 pm for Anger Management. You must have lived experience with Mental Health to apply. If this opportunity interests you please email your resume to consumer.survivor@bellnet.ca or fax (905) 732-5012.
Helen Hook of the Consumer/Survivor Information Resource Centre and the editor of the C/S Info Centre is retiring.  You can read the advertisement for her successor on page 5 of the current issue of the Bulletin.  All the very best, Helen!

CMHA York and South Simcoe has a six-month contract for a part-time Peer Support Worker.

CMHA Ontario is hiring a contract Knowledge Broker for Nutrition and Mental Health Research.

CAMH is looking for a Lived Experience Consultation Advisor.

18.  2016 Children and Youth Mental Health Summit

This takes place April 7-8 at the Allstream Centre (CNE Grounds) in Toronto.  You can find out all the details here.

19.  Paul Goering Knowledge Exchange Award 2016

The award is granted for an innovative researcher-knowledge user collaborative project that takes an integrated knowledge translation approach in the field of mental health and addictions. The deadline has been extended to May 4, 2016.

The $2000 award is named in recognition of Dr. Paula Goering’s wide-ranging and significant contributions to the field of mental health services research in Canada and internationally, including advancements in the field of knowledge translation.

The Award Committee is inviting applicants for partnership projects that specifically demonstrate use of an integrated knowledge translation approach.

For more information about the criteria and application process click here. The deadline for applications has been extended to May 4, 2016. The award recipient will be notified by June 24, 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.