OPDI News & Events

OPDI NewsToGo Issue #488 June 27, 2016

Highlights include:    OPDI Lighthouse Awards; EENet Webinar; CAMH's Indigenous Sweat Lodge; "Patients First" Bill 210 Resources; Physician-Assisted Dying and Psychiatric Disorders; St. Thomas Social Enterprise Market; British Report Offers Holistic Approach to Illegal Drugs; 25th Anniversary Picnic in London; Jobs; 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 Board Nominations Now Open!

OPDI will have at least two Director positions to fill at our Annual General Meeting September 22nd, 2016.  Please read the attached letter to member organizations and forward it to anyone WITHIN your member organization whom you feel might make a good director. To be eligible, candidates must have

  • direct and personal lived experience of recovery from mental health and/or addiction issues 
  • connection to an OPDI member organization - whether as a staff, or a volunteer, or a member in good standing
  • knowledge and experience to contribute to a well rounded, skilled and diverse team

Directors do not represent their own organization, but rather the needs and interests of member consumer survivor initiatives and peer support organizations and the people served by them.  While representation is not organized around geographic areas, we do attempt to ensure that voices from all parts of the province are included.

The Commitment

OPDI's Board has nine Director positions in total.  Each term of office is for two years, and a director may be re-elected for two additional terms (six years maximum).  The Board meets in person four times a year on a Saturday/half-Sunday in Toronto, and may also hold brief teleconferences and electronic votes as needed, between meetings.  Much of the work is carried out in committee of the whole during these board 'retreats', although from time to time ad hoc committees are struck for specific short tasks.

Nomination Process

An application form is attached, and is due by July 29th.  Please note, a letter from your member organization will be required, confirming that you are a member, staff or volunteer in good standing and that your organization is supportive of your application.  The Nominating Committee will set up interviews with viable candidates during the week of August 8th, and will prepare a slate for dissemination to the membership by August 22nd.  The AGM will take place on September 22nd.

2.  OPDI Lighthouse Awards for 2016

Nominations are open for the 2016 Lighthouse Awards, on this, our 25th Anniversary.

Ontario Peer Development Initiative invites nominations for our 6th annual Lighthouse Awards, to be presented September 22th at our Mobilizing Peer Support Conference and Annual General Meeting event.

There are a total of five potential awards to be presented, in the following categories:

Awards to Individuals include the Peer of the Year Award for excellence in peer support, the Unsung Hero award for someone whose contribution to mental health/addiction work has not been recognized at a provincial level, and the Pay it Forward Award, for someone who has overcome extreme challenges including poverty, and still managed to contribute their time, expertise and support for the good of others.

OPDI will award in one or all of the above three categories, depending upon receiving suitable nominations.

Awards to Organizations include the Innovators Award for organizations, whether peer-run or clinical, that implement innovative practices or ideas to serve clients with mental health/addiction issues; and the Community Builders Award for organizations, media outlets, or public figures who contribute to the mental health/addiction and/or peer support community through their work.  (Hint:  if your organization would like to be nominated in the organization category, you should ask an individual member or a local stakeholder organization to enter on your behalf). 

Whenever awards in both of the above named categories are presented, one will go to an OPDI member and the other to a non-member. 

Download the brochure, poster, and nomination forms below:

Lighthouse Award Brochure Cover    Lighthouse Award Brochure Inside 

Lighthouse Award Poster

Lighthouse Award Nomination Form (Individual)

Lighthouse Award Nomination Form (Organization)

All the best!  And please share widely with your peers and colleagues!

3.  Ontario Newsroom

Former Senator Hugh Segal has been entrusted with the Basic Income Pilot announced earlier this year in the Ontario Budget:

Ontario Moving Forward with Basic Income Pilot

This press release summarized 2016 Budget healthcare investments for Hamilton:

Ontario Investing over $26 Million in Health Care for Hamilton

4.  Toronto Mayor and Police Chief to Support Supervised Injection Sites

This would be supporting the recommendation of the city's Medical Officer of Health in preparing an application to the federal government:

Toronto Mayor, Police Chief Onside for Supervised Drug Injection Sites

Incidentally, Ottawa's Board of Health has backed safe injection sites (but not the Mayor of Ottawa):

Ottawa's Health Board Backs Supervised Injection Sites
5.  Innovative Practice:  CAMH Builds Indigenous Sweat Lodge

Adhering to the values, beliefs, and traditions of aboriginal people, the sweat lodge is a way to practice an ancient healing tradition.  We have a press release and a media story:

CAMH Opens Aboriginal Sweat Lodge for Patients (3 embedded videos)

Hospital Opens Sweat Lodge for Aboriginal Patients
6.  Primary Care Does a Poor Job of Treating Depression

The reason:  depression can be a chronic illness, but the way physicians are paid and the way they practice medicine are at odds with best practices.  This article has an American orientation, but it's fair to say it can also be characteristic of Canadian healthcare also:

Doctors Often Fail to Treat Depression Like a Chronic Illness

7.  Anticipating Legalized Marijuana is a Complicated Job

This reportage reveals 12 provincial departments are working on the issue:

12 Provincial Departments Working on Ontario's Weed Strategy

8.  Patients First Act (Bill 210) -- South West LHIN Resource Webpage

The recent important introduction of this Bill and the myriad of bundled changes make this webpage with its collation of relevant resources (including a short and precise technical briefing) is a must-read.

9.  Innovative Practice:  CMHA Elgin Opens Social Enterprise Near St. Thomas

The Premier attended the opening of the Salt Creek Market which provides supported employment, cooking and lifestyle programs for CMHA clients with access to a local garden:

"It's Awesome in all of its Aspects"

10.  Be a Critical Reader:  Patient Anecdotes Package a Too-Neat Story

A reporter urges readers to be cautious about stories where one patient is profiled with respect to a clinical trial or new therapy, often with a positive spin on findings but is vague on details:

The Patient as Public Relations Tool

11.  Physician-Assisted Dying Law Applies only to Canadians

Are you an American and seek succor for what ails you in the Great White North?  Not so fast:

Canada Doesn't Want to be a "Suicide Tourism" Destination

In a related article, this post summarizes a Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) commentary by two bio-ethicists about the problematic risk of providing physician-assisted dying to people with a diagnosed psychiatric illness.  The journal article is hyperlinked in the reference at the bottom:

Assisted Dying for Psychiatric Disorders:  Serious Public Health Impact

12.  Slow Acceptance of Alternatives to Addictive Painkillers

Such treatments are less likely to be covered by medical insurance in the United States, which complicates the role of prescription opioids in their use for treating chronic pain:

New Ways to Treat Pain Meets Resistance


13.  "Stop Blaming Mental Illness for Violent Crimes"

This effective piece with hyperlinked references bundles together all the myths about violence and mental illness and puts them in their rightful places:

A June 2016 study published in Health Affairs reveals that the media highly overstates the actual incidence of mental health conditions and violence:

The Media is Perpetuating a Dangerous Myth about Mental Illness

14.  British National Public Health Issues A Holistic Approach to Illegal Drugs

Decriminalization, public education, aligning strategies with those of alcohol and tobacco, and careful consideration of harm and well-being are some suggested paths to take.  The report is here.  This infographic demonstrates the variable range of harm in both legal and illegal substances:

15.  Health Quality Ontario's Patient Engagement Resources

This webpage has two sections: resources for patients, families and caregivers; and resources for service providers:

Engaging Patients:  Patient Engagement Tools and Resources

17.  Dissemination Explained to the Layperson

Hint:  only one of the methods is deemed academically credible:


16.  Self-Disclosing as a Therapist

"How can I consider myself a champion for kiddos with mental health diagnoses if I spend all my time and energy trying to hide my own?"

The Question I have to Ask Myself as A Therapist with a Mental Illness

17.  Handling the Subject of Suicide in Social Media

Some commonsense rules are suggested:

How to Help Someone Who Shares Suicidal Feelings Online

Experts point out that sharing a conversation about suicide may not be helpful without the backup of support services:

Talking About Suicide Without Proper Supports can be Dangerous, Experts Say

18.  What to Say to Someone who is Depressed

19.   Religious Beliefs and Coping with Depression

On several levels, one's faith can be detrimental to mental health according to this blogger:

Three Myths Some Religious People Believe About Depression

20.    Exercise Does Wonders for Health

This article summarizes the wide range of health benefits that come with doing physical activity to stay well:

Closest Thing to a Wonder Drug?  Try Exercise


21.  Celebrating OPDI Members' 25th Anniversary in London with a Picnic

In this 25th anniversary year, several peer support organizations in the South West LHIN are coming together for a Peer Support Picnic in celebration.  It will be held in London, Ontario on Thursday August 11th.  The Psychiatric Survivors of Elgin (PSNE) has a Mobile Team and they are using the next two months to hand out invitations and to create awareness with a "Sign my Car" campaign.  We have a poster and a PDF file for your information.

22.  Mad Pride Toronto July 11 - 17, 2016 (update)

The latest update on the Toronto Mad Pride FB page has a schedule of all the events.  They can be found in this attachment also.

23.  Job Postings

The Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association is looking for a Manager, Strategy and Advocacy.

A consortium of post-secondary institutional bodies, in partnership with CMHA Ontario, has created the Centre for Innovation in Campus Mental Health.  They are hiring a Stakeholder Engagement and Communications Coordinator in Toronto.

The Mental Health Commission of Canada is looking for a Program Coordinator, Recovery Initiatives (temporary, one year).  Also available is the Program Manager, Prevention and Promotion Initiatives (full-time).  Both are based in Ottawa.
24.  Call for Applications:  2016 Helmut Braun Award

It’s that time of year again! CCBR (Centre for Community Based Research) is now accepting applications for its annual Helmut Braun Memorial Award, a $1000.00 scholarship available to students pursuing social studies in the Waterloo Region. The award was first established in 2001, in memory of Helmut Braun, a social activist and researcher at CCBR. To learn more about this opportunity, and to download the application form, click here.

25.  EENet Webinar:  "Improving Substance Use Treatment in Ontario:  The DTFP Implementation Projects"

This webinar will highlight the projects in the Ontario Drug Treatment Funding Program (DTFP) Implementation stream. The webinar is taking place on Thursday July 21, 1pm – 2:30pm (EDT), and will focus on:

•             Early impacts of the Ontario implementation projects
•             How the projects are aligning with priorities in the provincial mental health and substance use treatment system
•             Innovative ways to sustain this work
For more information and to register, visit: http://eenet.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/DTFP-webinar-flyer-July-2016-final.pdf
This webinar is open to all stakeholders of Ontario’s substance use and mental health system.

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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.