OPDI News & Events

OPDI NewsToGo Issue #498 September 28, 2016

Highlights include: Federal Health Accord; Provincial Mandate Letters to Ministers; Forced Treatment Legal Challenge in B.C.; Opioids Updates; Ontario Youth Suicide Report; 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.  Emerging Details about the Next Federal Health Accord

Federal Health Minister Philpott has indicated the increase in funding to the provinces will remain capped to the previous government's target:

Liberals Keeping Harper Target for Health Transfers:  Philpott

The provinces are not happy that this has been put forth ahead of negotiations:

Provinces Push Back on Health Transfer Rate

In a related story, emerging voices are coming out to request more funding for mental health and addictions; here's the viewpoint of Catherine Zahn, CEO of CAMH:

Gaps in the Mental Health Story:  A Chance to Do Good

2.  Ontario Government Makes Public Mandate Letters to each Minister

Concurrent with the prorogation of the Legislature and a new Throne Speech is the issuing of mandate letters from the Premier to each of her ministers.  Each detail the priorities for each ministry for the remaining two years of the current government's mandate.

All the letters are posted here:

Mandate Letters 2016

The Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, Dr. Eric Hoskins, has been directed to focus on four priorities:  providing timely access to the right care; providing co-ordinated and integrated care as close to the community as possible; work to provide informed decision-making; and make value-based, quality and sustainable healthcare decisions.  The letter is worth reading.

3.  Forced Treatment Court Challenge in British Columbia

A news report details the legal issues relating to involuntary consent in that province:

Canadian Patients Fight Forced Electroshock

Here's a radio interview with the person (who now lives in Ontario) who filed the B.C. court challenge:

Psychiatric Refugee

The personal perspective of an individual who is receiving involuntary treatment in the province is provided here:

The Good and Bad of Involuntary Psychiatric Treatment, from an Involuntary Patient

A lawyer's perspective:  clients have a right to self-determination:

Sarah Leamon:  It's Time to Change B.C.'s Mental Health Act

By comparison, view the Mental Health Commission of Canada's Guidelines for Recovery-Oriented Practice (pp. 26) and their perspective on involuntary treatment.

4.  Peer Support and Family Peer Support at Montfort Hospital an Accredited Leading Practice

You can read the report here.   Congratulations to Psychiatric Survivors of Ottawa, the CSI in partnership with the francophone Ottawa-area hospital for this achievement!  Kudos also to PSO on their 25th anniversary.

5.  The Health System Needs to Change to Fight the Opioid Epidemic

This article by three Ontario doctors outline five ways to cope with the growth of use of opioids for chronic, non-cancer pain:

5 Ways the Health System can Curb the Opioid Epidemic

6.  A Compelling Firsthand Account of the Need for Early MH Intervention for Young People

This personal account of a delayed awakening of self-diagnosed anxiety disorder and a persuasive case for more early intervention services for young people is made here:

Young People Need Early Access to Mental Health Care

7.  Reinterpreting Schizophrenia as Shamanism

The profile of someone diagnosed with schizophrenia who used cross-cultural connections to re-establish his sense of self as a shaman is engrossing (and comes with footnotes):

A Mental Disease by Any Other Name

8.  Mental Health's Portrayal on Television Has Become More Empathetic

The writer talks about the sense of connection that TV shows featuring people and situations that she and others can relate to being portrayed on the small screen.  She also relates how anticipation of upcoming programming is a powerful behaviour modifier:

The TV Cure

9.   Updates on Opioids

This interview with a young female British Columbia fentanyl user is very revealing and honest:

The New Face of Fentanyl Addiction:  Kati's Story

Stricter opioids prescription monitoring in Nova Scotia may be driving people to use heroin and fentanyl:

Fentanyl and Heroin Usage a Result of Drug Monitoring, Says Outreach Worker

This piece reviews the evidence for how medical marijuana access may reduce deaths caused by opioid overdoses using research garnered from legalization in several U.S. states:

Does Access to Medical Marijuana Reduce Opioid Deaths?

The next generation of addicted babies born to American mothers who practice substance use of opioids is profiled:

In America's Drug Death Capital:  How Heroin is Scarring the Next Generation

10.  Supervised Injection Site News

The federal government says Health Canada will reduce barriers for municipalities that wish to establish harm reduction sites and might go as far as to amend Bill C-2:

Health Canada will Reduce Barriers to Safe Injection Sites, Says Philpott

Liberals Prepared to Kill Harper Government Limits on Supervised-Injection Sites

Hamilton and Ottawa are taking steps towards having supervised injection sites:

City Approves Free Crack Pipes, Moves Towards Safe Injection Site Study

Why Outsourcing the Running of Ottawa's Safe Injection Sites Works

11.  For Mental Health Apps to Work, They Require A Coach in the Background

This expert in digital health tools believes that engagement with a human helps the uptake of clients in using mental health apps:

For Mental Health Apps:  Human Touch is Key Component

12.  FDA Wants to Ban Kratom

Learn about this natural remedy (a plant with opiate-like effects), and why the American Food and Drug Administration wants to regulate it despite its informal use by people seeking to wean themselves off opioid addiction:

The DEA Wants to Ban another Plant.  Researchers say the Plan is "Insane".


13.  PWLE who are Victims of Violence Less Likely to be Believed by Police

A third of people who disclosed their mental health status reported that police were more likely to stigmatize them for their disclosure and discredit what they had to say about what happened to them:

Police Disbelieve Victims with Mental Health Problems

14.  Ontario Psychiatric Association Releases Report on Youth Suicide

The press release and report can be found here.

15.  Meditation Changes the Brain

This Q & A piece looks at the evidence behind meditation -- the fact that a neuroscientist has discovered changes in brain volume after 8 weeks of meditation (40 minutes a day) is amazing:

Meditation Not Only Reduces Stress; Here's How it Changes Your Brain

16.  The Psychology of Individual Buildings and its Effect on our Well-being

How buildings and public spaces are designed can affect one's mental health; this article discusses a myriad of factors and reasons why this needs to be taken under discussion:

Could Bad Buildings Damage Your Mental Health?


17.  OPDI Peer Support Core Essentials ™ Training Expectations Webinar
OPDI is offering the Training Expectations webinar for OPDI Peer Support Core Essentials Program on Wednesday, October 19th from 12:00pm – 1:00pm.  This webinar is free for those enrolled in training as well as for potential participants and organizations contemplating sponsoring participants.  Please pre-register by emailing opdi@opdi.org and the information to login will be sent to you.

18.   Announcement of Toronto OPDI Peer Support Core Essentials ™ Training

Please see the attachment for exciting details about the November 21 – 25, 2016 training program taking place in Toronto.  The registration form is enclosed.  For more information, please email opdi@opdi.org
Please note: this training requires a minimum of 10 participants to run.
On October 20, Health Quality Ontario will host Health Quality Transformation (HQT2016) in Toronto, featuring over 20 breakout sessions that have been developed to align with how to build a quality system, and support the advancement of a just, patient-centred, and high performing health system.  Register here.

19.  Self-Help Resource Centre Annual General Meeting

The Self-Help Resource Centre will hold its Annual General Meeting on October 27, 2016 at the 519 in Toronto. We would be thrilled if you could join us to celebrate and reflect on an important year in peer support!
Date:  Thursday, October 27, 2016 at 6 pm (dinner served at 5:30 pm) with end time no later than 8 pm.
Location:  The 519, 519 Church Street

Please RSVP by sending an email to shrc@selfhelp.on.ca. Space is limited.

20.  Canadian Harm Reduction Network Workshop:  “Overdose Awareness and Prevention"

This workshop is intended for frontline and peer workers.  Space is limited; register by contacting walter@canadianharmreduction.com.
Date:  Monday, October 3 (1:30 – 4:30 pm) at downtown Toronto central location (info available upon registration).
Space is limited.  Contact Walter@canadianharmreduction.com to register.

Workshop covers:
·         Experiences of overdose
·         Risks of overdose and how to mitigate these
·         How to spot an overdose – opiates and stimulants
·         Responding to overdose, including the use of Naloxone
·         Talking to clients about use, risks, overdose
·         Why your agency and other places in your community need an overdose protocol
·         Emerging issues & trends   
Presenters/facilitators: CHRN Staff and Peer Educator

21.  Job Postings

St. Leonard's Community Services (Hamilton)is seeking a part-time Concurrent Disorders Outreach Peer Support Worker.

The Mental Health Commission of Canada is looking for a Knowledge Broker.

Across Boundaries (Toronto) seeks a Consumer/Survivor Initiatives Coordinator.

Addictions and Mental Health Ontario is partnered with two other organizations in a software initiative and needs a JAVA developer.
22.  AMHO Peer Support Symposium

The deadline to apply has been extended to October 3.  You can read more here:

23.  Children's Mental Health Ontario 2016 Conference

This takes place November 21-22 in Toronto with a pre-conference day on November 20.  You can read more and register here.

24.  Mindfest Presented by U of T Psychiatry Department

This open house takes place at Hart House  October 5 and features a segment involving Peer Support Workers.

25.  Financial Relief for Low-Income Families Affected by Hydro Costs

Consult this website to find how if you are eligible for one of these special programs:

Help for Low-Income Consumers

26.  ODSP Peer Navigator Support Groups Offered by SHRC

The next round of registration for groups beginning in December has opened.  Find out more.

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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.