OPDI News & Events

OPDI NewsToGo Issue #481 May 3, 2016

Highlights include: Mental Health Week; Social Assistance Software; Not Criminally Responsible "High Risk Offender" Designation Hearing; More Andrew Loku SIU Updates; Steve Lurie's Drumming; Underpaid Female Peer Specialists; Jobs; News; and More.

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1.  Announcement of Toronto OPDI Peer Support Core Essentials ™ Training
Please see the attachment for exciting details about the May 16 - 20 training program taking place in Toronto.  The registration form is enclosed.  For more information, please email opdi@opdi.org.
2.  National Conference on Peer Support Last Week

OPDI kept a record of most of the proceedings on their Twitter feed @OPDI.  For some great pictures of conference attendees, we refer you to Facebook and Arif Majeed's great photography.

3.  Ontario Newsroom

The province has appointed a judge (of colour) from the Ontario Court of Appeal to review the three agencies, including the SIU, that oversee the conduct of police forces in Ontario:

Ontario Launches Review of Police Oversight Agencies

Ontario wants to hear from the public about the practice of solitary confinement in its adult correctional facilities:

Province Seeks Public Feedback on Segregation Review

The province is creating more capacity for dentistry for children from low-income families (government press release and a news story):

Ontario Expands Free Dental Care for Eligible Children and Youth

Ontario Streamlines Free Dental Care for Low-Income Kids

4.  Andrew Loku Shooting (Updates)

As noted earlier in "Ontario Newsroom", the province is reviewing the operations of 3 agencies that oversee police.

After considerable media pressure, the SIU report (although heavily censored) into the shooting of Andrew Loku was leaked to the Toronto Star:

Notable Ontarians Want the Loku Report Made Public

SIU Report into the Death of Andrew Loku Released

For Black Lives Matter, Small Win on Andrew Loku May Go a Long Way

Release Entire SIU Report into Andrew Loku's Death, Activist Tells Kathleen Wynne

Chief Saunders Defends Police Officer Who Secured Video Evidence in Andrew Loku Case

Will Old SIU Reports See Light of Day?
5.  Prime Minister Trudeau's Statement on Mental Health Week

There is a touch of the personal (a reference to his mother) in this official press release:

Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on Mental Health Week

6.  Conservative MPP Uses Mental Health Week to Disclose Battle with Depression

MPP Lisa MacLeod, previously a candidate for the provincial Conservative Party leadership, reveals her struggle with clinical depression:

"One in Three People Suffer from Depression and Your MPP was One of Them":  Lisa MacLeod's Private War

7.  Innovative Practices:  Profiling the London Counselling Drop-in

The service, run by the Family Service Thames Valley, is available Tuesdays 1 - 7 pm, and the cost adjusted to income is no higher than $5 and free to others:

No Appointment Needed at Clinic for Mental Health

8.  COMSOC Social Assistance Software in the News

The Ministry of Community and Social Service's computers moved over to new software last year and created some well-publicized snafus.  It has been revealed that the same vendor that provided the original program has been hired to fix it.  The Minister responsible had been warned about possible problems last year.  Despite that, no one has been disciplined for such a problematic undertaking:

Minister Told of Welfare Payment System Challenges Before Program Rolled Out

IBM Wins $32 Million Government Contract Despite Delivering Problem-Ridden Software

Nobody Disciplined for $52 Million Issues with SAMs Rollout, Minister Says

9.  New "Not Criminally Responsible" Law Being Used in B.C.

Bill C-54's designation of a "high-risk offender" is at the crux of a hearing in British Columbia involving a man who killed his three children:

Allan Schoenborn, "High-Risk Accused" Hearing Underway in B.C. Supreme Court

Of note within the article is the revelation that the lawyer for the accused is separately in another court action going to challenge the legislation on the grounds that it violates the Charter of Rights.

10.  National Strategy for Opioids in the Works at Health Canada

One of the tangents being explored is the consideration of marijuana as a safer alternative for pain management:

Health Canada to Explore National Plan to Deal with Opioid Abuse

11.  Medical Marijuana and the Military

We have opposing views on the prescription of marijuana for military veterans:

Veterans Advocate Says Let Doctors Decide on Medical Marijuana

Pot problem:  Auditor General urges Veterans Affairs to Rein in Medical Pot Use, Costs

Meanwhile, as a totally off-base commentary, one possible federal Conservative leadership candidate wants to make marijuana illegal:

Kellie Leitch Says She'll Make Pot Illegal Again If She's Elected Prime Minister

12.  Ontario Opioids Crisis, Prince, and Holding People in Custody After Overdosing

The late-developing confusion about whether Prince had an opioid addiction does draw out this argument in favour of protective custody for those who have been administered an overdose remedy:

There's No Proof Opioids Caused Prince's Death.  The Specter is Still Revealing.

Can Prince's Death Spark Key Discussion on Opioids?

Meanwhile, a coalition of over 200 signatories warns in a letter to the province about the need to prepare for a crisis involving unprescribed opioid overdoses:

Ontario Unprepared to Handle an Opioid Crisis, Doctors Warn


13.  American Report:  Female Peer Specialists Earn Less than Male Counterparts

The December 2015 report by the College for Behavioral Health Leadership can be found in this press release.

The "Mad in America" blog entry that broadens this discussion can be found here:

Female Peer Specialists Paid Less Than Males, Study Finds

14.  Apple Makes More Inroads into Digital Health with its Apps

By creating its own distinctive "Carekit", the smartphone giant is laying the groundwork for healthcare tech start-ups and service providers to innovate patient-centred apps for self-care and monitoring:

Apple Releasing IPhone Apps to Manage Medical Conditions

15.  "The Unbroken Brain" Offers A New Way to Look at Addiction

We offer the author's own commentary and a book reviews to examine the idea of addiction as a "learning disorder":

Is Addiction a Learning Disorder?

Does Addiction Treatment Require a Higher Power?

16.  Meta-Review Finds Cognitive Therapy As Effective as Antidepressants

The combined study of 9 randomized trials that pitted therapy against medications found that those who participated in therapy were less likely to relapse into depression, and those outcomes were comparable with antidepressants. However, those who had therapy didn't report any side-effects:

Depression Relapse Prevention with Mindfullness "On Par" With Drugs, Review Shows

17.  Drummers of the World, Unite!  You Have Nothing to Lose But Your Anxieties.

The therapeutic value of drum circles in alleviating the symptoms connected to depression and anxiety are validated in this study (and may explain Steve Lurie's longevity):

Group Drumming Better Than Prozac, Study Suggests


18.   How to Increase Your Mental Strength

Seven daily habits are described as doing exactly that:

7 Daily Habits That Will Increase Your Mental Strength

19.  Food Supplements to Go With Your Depression Meds?

A study that looked at 40 clinical trials that used anti-depressants along with a variety of nutritional supplements seems to make the case for some of them to be used in combination with medications:

Why You Might Want to Start Taking Fish Oil


20.  OPDI's Blog, "Peering In", Now Up on the Website (repeat)

Check out our inaugural postings here.

21.  Job Postings

CMHA Peel is hiring a Peer Support Worker for its Early Psychosis Intervention Program.

FAME (Family Association for Mental Health Everywhere) in Toronto is looking for an Education, Communications and Social Media Coordinator (part-time).

The posting for the Executive Director of the Consumer/Survivor Information Resource Centre expires tomorrow.
22.  2016 PSR/RPS Conference in Thunder Bay June 21 -22

An update on the pre-Conference Institute and highlights of the two-day Conference with links to registration can be found here.

23.  Canadian Association for Health Services and Policy Research Conference May 10 - 12

The title of this year's meeting is "A Learning Healthcare System: Let the Patient Revolution Begin!".  This webpage takes you to the registration process and the program (a work in progress).

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