OPDI News & Events

OPDI NewsToGo Issue #503 November 16, 2016

Highlights include: Ontario Mini-Budget; Legislative Changes to "Respect for Communities Act" in Offing; Backgrounder on Oppressive B.C. Mental Health Act; Youth Mental Health and the Classroom; 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.



CLARIFICATION:  OPDI's Definition of Peer Support

It has come to our attention that OPDI’s definition of "peer support" is not always being used in its entirety.  The definition was created and adopted by the membership of OPDI.  It may be quoted or shared only in its entirety, without alteration or editing, and with credit being given to OPDI.  We have attached a slide for clarification.  Thank you.


1.  Ontario Newsroom

The provincial government released a revised economic outlook and also announced some new funding measures in its "mini-budget":

2016 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review

The current federal Corrections Ombudsman, Howard Sapers, has been appointed to review the Province's use of segregation and to recommend changes to the adult correctional institution.  His resignation from the federal role is effective December 31st.

We have a press release and a media story:

Ontario Appoints Independent Advisor on Corrections

Sapers to Lead Ontario's Review of Segregation

2.  Federal Government Changes to "Respect for Communities Act" in the Works

The Federal Health Minister is extensively quoted as saying the current Act may require changes to the legislation:

Health Minister Says a Change to Harper's Insite Law Likely Needed to Meet Rising Overdose Deaths

Ottawa Slacking on Removing Injection Site Red Tape, Critics

3.  Opioids Use in Ontario:  Report Has Data on Fatal Overdoes, ER Visits, and Prescriptions by Region

The Ontario Drug Policy Research Network Report "Opioid Use and Related Adverse Events in Ontario" can be found here.  Two media stories sharing highlights follow:

Opioid Use Taking Toll in Ontario with Hundreds of Overdose Deaths:  Report

Two People Die a Day of Opioids Overdoses in Ontario

4.  Formal Complaint to Ontario Ombudsman about WSIB's Approach to Mental Health

The legal brief relates to the alleged unfairness with which the Workplace Insurance and Safety Board assesses no compensation for long-term workplace issues that cause PTSD:

Ombudsman Asked to Probe WSIB Treatment of Mentally Ill

5.  Internal Federal Justice Department Paper Reviews Policy Approaches to Drugs

It assesses other policies elsewhere worldwide that includes harm reduction, decriminalization, and other alternative approaches:

Drug Decriminalization Would Bring Health Benefits, Internal Federal Study Says

6.  Update on  Chronic Pain and Opioids

The complex issue of treatment for people with chronic pain (the other side of cracking down on the dispensing of opioids) is shared in these articles:

Province's Investment in Chronic Pain Clinics Aims to Prevent Opioid Abuse

Chronic Pain Sufferers Fear Crackdown on Opioids

7.  How Psychiatric "Deemed Consent" Works in British Columbia

Unlike other provinces, British Columbia's Mental Health Act judges that once one has become an involuntary psychiatric patient, the doctor has much greater latitude over treatment.  As has been reported, this is now the basis of an important legal case:

Escape from British Columbia

8.  Did Anti-Malarial Drug Affect Mental Health of Canadian Peacekeepers?

Mefloquine, a medication first introduced for Canadian Armed Forces serving in Somalia, has been linked to psychotic symptoms and even brain damage:

Probe Malaria Drug's Psychotic Effect on Troops, Canadian Veterans Urge

9.  Jury Duty and PTSD

The province recently announced that free counselling would be made available to jurors in the New Year.  In the November 10th program of TVO's The Agenda, this subject was covered in three videos:

Understanding PTSD

PTSD and the Courts

The Burden of Jury Duty

10.  Focus on Youth Mental Health and the Classroom

In this three-part feature investigation into youth mental health (specifically self-harm and suicide), Global News looks at what might be lacking in the Canadian education curriculum  (read to the end of the article and click to go to the next one):

Tortured Mind

11.  Mississauga Halton Region Enhancing and Sustaining Peer Initiative (Video)

UPDATED LINK       https://youtu.be/cEmEJ-u9iCU
We are very excited to launch the video highlighting this progressive peer initiative. This is an extraordinary time for peer support and the engagement of lived and family expertise. The Mississauga Halton LHIN invested resources to provide paid peer positions into the health care system.  Forty paid peer positions are embedded across 11 Health Service Providers (HSPs), including mental health, additions, community agencies and hospitals. The initiative is led by Support & Housing-Halton through its peer support initiative TEACH.  Integration of the new peer support programs have occurred through community collaboration, partnerships and innovative practices in program development and management.  Please read the PDF for more details.


12.  CAHO Highlight:  Women's College Hospital Testing Virtual Mental Health Care

The Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario in its latest newsletter reports on a research initiative whereby up to a thousand people on wait lists for care at Ontario Shores and Lakeridge Health will have access to the "Big White Wall", a service that combines elements of an anonymous online community, peer support, and trained counselors to monitor interactions:

Bringing Virtual Mental Health Care to Ontario

13.  Canadian Study:  More Antidepressants and Antipsychotics Being Prescribed for Young People

It's not detailed research (it only measures the total number of scrips that were dispensed, without dosages or length of use), but the lead author does believe it signifies that it is a "reasonable indicator of increased use":

Antidepressants and Antipsychotics Prescriptions Up for Canadians Under 18

14.  American Study Shows Growth in Depression Rates Among Teens

The researchers also suggest that depression is linked to higher use of mobile phones (especially among young females) and also cautions that social media may be a factor:

Teen Depression on the Rise in U.S.

15.  Snapshot of How Mental Health Issues Affect Those in the Correctional System

The British evidence-based blog the Mental health Elf published a summary of a recent English peer-reviewed paper; it looks at how mental illness affects domestic prisoners, expresses alarm at the lack of treatment, and their tendency to experience further harm through violence experienced in their surroundings:

Mental Health of Prisoners:  Have We Reached a State of Crisis?

16.  Is Enforcement of Marijuana Impairment While Driving Practical?

A trio of experts discuss the complexity of standards and the problems with "zero-tolerance":

Pot Ban on Drivers Won't Work, Health Experts Say


17.  NISA (Sudbury CSI) and Ottawa-Gatineau Organization Partner to Offer Bilingual Peer Support

This example of cross-LHIN partnership also expands the availability of bilingual peer support for people who are going through a mental health crisis:

New Mental Health Support for Francophones in Northeastern Ontario

18.  Is Your Organization Prepared for 2017's Ontario Accessibility Guideline?

This blog entry with hyperlinks is an excellent resource for organizations who want to be aware and up-to-date on how they need to be prepared to meet accessibility standards:

January 1, 2017:  Is Your Charity Ready for Ontario's Next Accessibility Deadline?

19.  David C. Onley Award for Leadership in Accessibility

If you know an organization or an individual who has gone above and beyond in improving access for persons with disabilities, you may want to know more here, where the application forms can be downloaded (deadline to apply is December 3).

20.  Job Postings

CMHA Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge is advertising a Peer Outreach Worker for its Hospital to Home program.

21. Assessing the Needs of Racialized Populations (repeat)

Sign up for this webinar to explore how you can use the Ontario Common Assessment of Need to better serve racialized individuals in your practice, which takes place Friday, November 25th from 1 - 3 pm.
22.  MHCC Recruiting 8 Youth Council Representatives (Deadline January 13, 2017)
The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) recognizes that genuinely engaging and collaborating with youth is essential for improving our mental health care system.  Please read on if you are interested.

23.  RNAO Offers Motivational Interviewing Workshop

Learn about this training opportunity open to any healthcare professional offered through the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario that is taking place in Toronto December 1 - 2.

24.  "Strengthening Your Voice" Comes to Kingston (Empowering Persons and Families with Experience of Opioids to Share Stories)
In partnership with the Street Health Centre (a part of Kingston Community Health Centres), we will be bringing our very popular Strengthening Your Voice public speaking training to Kingston!
Strengthening Your Voice trains people with personal or family lived experience of problematic use of opioids in sharing their stories with others.  This training is inclusive of and honours all recovery choices (including methadone and other harm reduction options, abstinence, and 12-step approaches).


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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.