OPDI News & Events

OPDI NewsToGo Issue #490 July 11, 2016

Highlights include: Canada Post and Ontario Government Contingency Plans; Ontario's Patient Ombudsman; New Schizophrenia Medication and Survey;  MHCC Recovery-Oriented Practice Webinar on First Nations; Better Primary and MH Care Coordination;  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.  Possible Canada Post Strike/Lockout and Update on Government Services

The latest word:  there is no lockout. Here is the Government of Ontario update on how its services would be affected in the event of a labour disruption:

Government Services During a Postal Strike

This is the web page to consult on federal government services:

Possible Canada Post Service Disruption:  Important Notice

2.  Ontario Newsroom

The Patient Ombudsman is in.  Christine Elliot began her job on July 4.  Her website is here.

She did an interview with TVO:

Christine Elliott:  "My Job is to Advocate for Fairness in Health"

The Macdonald Block complex at Queen's Park is being renovated:

Ontario Renovating Key Government Buildings

Here's a related news story:

Province to Renovate Massive Bay Street Office Complex

3.  1 in 10 Overdose Deaths in Ontario Are Recently Released Inmates from Correctional Institutions

Nine percent of those died in the first 48 hours after release and twenty percent did not survive their first week of freedom:

1 in 10 Overdose Deaths in Ontario were Recently Released Inmates

In a related development, the Minister of Health has since quickly approved offering naloxone to newly released inmates:

Opioid Overdose Antidote will now be Given to Ontario Inmates Released from Prison

4.  Toronto Board of Health OK's Supervised Injection Sites

Next -- a full vote at Toronto City Council:

Toronto Board of Health Approves Injection Sites, Sending Issue to Council

5.  News on the Marijuana Front

There is concern the federal government may bar homegrown pot:

Ottawa May Try to Prohibit Homegrown Pot

A poll by CAMH shows that people favour government control and regulation of marijuana:

Most Ontario Adults Support Government Regulation over Recreational Cannabis Production and Sale

What appears to be a non-inhaling method of treating epilepsy cannot be exported to Canada:

Families Upset as Marijuana Treatment for Kids Seized at Border

Pharmacists have emerged as a group interesting in the retail distribution of legal marijuana, just like the LCBO:

Pharmacists Open to Medical Marijuana

6.  Mental Health Needs of Fort McMurray Firefighters and Citizens Profiled

Local demand for counselling has been high (averaging 300 sessions a day):

Fort McMurray Firefighters Who Slew "The Beast" Now Battling Emotional Demons

7.  New Schizophrenia Medication Needs to be Injected only 4 Times a Year

The idea is that it reduces the risk of the patient going off their meds:

New Schizophrenia Medication Taken Four Times a Year

In a related matter, the SSO is seeking input on a survey regarding drug coverage for this new medication:

Do you or someone you know use antipsychotic medication?
If so, the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario would like to hear from you.
The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) will be making a decision about whether a new antipsychotic medication, Invega Trinza (paliperidone palmitate), should be made available for free to people on social assistance and others without private insurance coverage. 
This anonymous and confidential survey will be used to inform our submission to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care's Public Drug Programs regarding Invega Trinza (paliperidone palmitate) - a three-month injectable used for the treatment of schizophrenia in people who have been adequately treated with Invega Sustenna (1-month paliperidone palmitate) for at least four months.
The questions in this survey are focused on information about your experience with various forms of antipsychotic medications. We are looking for your feedback on the impact of antipsychotic medications and other treatments and supports on your lifestyle and quality of life; what you see as the most important things you would like addressed by treatments; and how you think treatments can be improved.
To share your thoughts on antipsychotic medication, please fill out the surveys below by Monday, July 18, 2016.
Please forward this email to anyone else you think would be interested in completing this survey.
Your input is extremely valuable and will remain completely anonymous. 
To fill out the survey as an INDIVIDUAL who uses antipsychotic medication: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CANinvegatrinza
To fill out the survey as a CAREGIVER: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CANcaregiver
If you have any questions, please contact Antonella Scali at ascali@schizophrenia.on.ca or 1-800-449-6367 x 259.


8.  MHCC Recovery-Oriented Practice Webinar

The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) is hosting a series of free recovery-oriented practice webinars on the third Thursday of every month at 1:00 p.m. ET.
Sign up for this month’s recovery-oriented practice webinar on Thursday, July 21.  Join Mary Bartram, Donna Lyons and Bill Hill to learn more about the guidelines chapter “Working with First Nations, Inuit and Métis”. There is common ground between recovery principles and shared Indigenous understandings of wellness that provides a rich opportunity for learning and for strengthening mental health policy and practice. Hear about the development of this guideline and how Bill Hill is incorporating key learnings with First Nations through his work as an ACT team member in London, ON. Future webinars will spotlight on Inuit and Métis.

Date:  Thursday, July 21
Time:  1-2:30 pm ET

Register here.

9.  Resource:  Online Learning Module on the Effects of Cannabis During Adolescence

The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse has put together current research and packaged it for stakeholders:

Online Learning:  The Effects of Cannabis Use During Adolescence

10.  Study Suggests Medicinal Marijuana Users Less Likely to Rely on Prescribed Drugs

It seems the elderly and disabled are using marijuana as an alternative to easing their symptoms of pain, depression, and sleep disorders:

Medical Marijuana Use Linked to Lower Prescription Drug Use

11.  The Case for Better Primary Care and Mental Health Care Coordination

This heavily hyperlinked article from healthydebate.ca makes the case:

Better Coordination Among Primary and Mental Health Care is Desperately Needed

12.  Fearful Parents Complicate the Road to Recovery for Children and Adolescents

A British survey showed that a large majority of parents worried that their children faced a "life sentence" when dealing with a mental health issue:

Two-thirds of Parents Fear Child's Mental Illness "A Life Sentence"


13.  Wisdom from Facebook

14.   Inappropriate Language Stigmatizes Those with Mental Health Issues

Cartoon credit:  from Ontario Special Needs Roadmap Tweet

15.  How is Talking to a Therapist Different from Sharing with a Friend?

A psychotherapist explains why:

Why Going to Therapy isn't the Same as Talking to a Friend


16.  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.

17.  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!

18.  OPDI Video (for OPDI members only)
As we previously communicated OPDI has commissioned Laura Sky to produce a 15 to 20 minute video to celebrate 25 years of peer support in Ontario, and to educate around what peer support is and what our member organizations have to offer.   Laura and her associate Sree have completed their filming at a few locations representative of our membership, and are moving into the editing stage.  At this point we are welcoming member organizations to forward photographs or videos of activities at your programs.  We cannot guarantee that your submissions will be chosen for the video, and will leave that up to the videographers.  However, all chosen submissions will then be contacted for the permission of featured persons prior to being included.  If you are interested in submitting pictures or video please contact Sree Nallamothu at sree.nallamothu@gmail.com to make arrangements since modes of delivery may vary.
Deadline for submissions is July 15, 2016
We look forward to viewing the video with you at the Mobilizing Peer Support Conference in September!
19.  Mental Health Rights Coalition (Hamilton CSI) is Moving!

 MHRC will be moving July 13 (closing July 13-15 to accommodate the move).  Their new address will be 103-100 Main Street E. in Hamilton.

20.  Mad Pride Toronto July 11 - 17, 2016

Toronto Mad Pride Week 2016 kicks off today!
Join us for a week of celebration, education, self-care, and fun, including:
- discussions on: deemphasizing psychiatric diagnosis in postsecondary academic accommodation: A radical reimagining / Working in alliance with Psychiatrists, Psychologists, and other Heroes: The Good, Bad and the Ugly / Peer Support Strategy and Call to Action / Anti-black Racism & Madness 
- free classes: Tai-Chi/ Mindful Living/ Improve for anxiety 
- the Mad Hatter Street Fair & Marketplace / Mad Pride Bed-Push Parade featuring social-justice band Samba Elégua
- and nightly entertainment by the Friendly Spike Theatre Band/ MADx by night/ Survive our Stage
For all event details, visit torontomadpride.com/events.

A timely discussion in light of recent events:

A Conversation on Anti-black Racism & Madness
Friday, July 15, 2016, 12:30p.m.-2:00p.m.
Ryerson University, EPH201 / 87 Gerrard Street East, Eric Palin Hall, Room 201  http://www.torontomadpride.com/anti-black-racism-madness/
Join us for a panel discussion with scholars, students and community activists to discuss and engage in the intersections of anti-Black racism and Madness.  We will get an introduction to ‘anti-black sanism’ and lots of opportunity to converse about how this relates to current events in Toronto, and hope for moving forward. Panelists include Idil Abdillahi, Sonia Meerai, Jennifer Poole, and more...

21.  Job Postings

COTA (Toronto) has two permanent part-time Peer Support Specialist positions available (they mention obtaining referrals for their ARCS program from North York General and Humber River Regional Hospital).

Stella's Place (Toronto) has a posting for Cleaning Services.

22.  Defeat Depression Campaign

You are invited to learn more about the campaign and the latest update.

Contributions and comments are welcome.  Please email to Raymond@opdi.org. “News to Go” in the Subject line: 

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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.