OPDI News & Events

OPDI NewsToGo Issue #511 January 23, 2017

Highlights include: Ontario Mental Health and Addictions Alliance Positions; Canada Health Transfer Talks Update; Opioids Update; Chatham-Kent Mental Health Network in the News; Statistics Canada Youth Suicide Report; 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.


OPDI Peer Support Core Essentials Program - Webinar for Participants on Starting an Internship
Have you achieved the Level 1R in OPDI Peer Support Core Essentials™ in the past year or two and wondered about the next step -- the practicum to earn the final certificate?  Find out more about earning the final Certificate.  The next OPDI Peer Support Internship Webinar will be held Wednesday, January 11th from 12:00 - 1:00 pm.  If you have completed the OPDI Peer Support Core Essentials (TM) Program and have received a Level 1R you are invited to join if you wish.  Please e-mail opdi@opdi.org and the information to login will be sent to you.


1.  Ontario Mental Health and Addictions Alliance Pre-Budget Submission

Please find attached the submission by the various members of the Alliance (which includes OPDI).  Two key asks:  1) Increase base funding for addictions and mental health care providers by between 3% and 5% to better support the implementation of new, evidence-informed practices.
2) Increase its investment in mental health and addictions care from 7% to 9% of the total health care budget to support greater access to timely quality supports province-wide.

You can read the statement in its entirety here.

2.  Ontario Mental Health And Addictions Alliance Statement on Health Transfer Talks

The Alliance has this to say about the current impasse on the Federal Health Transfer talks:

On behalf of Dennis Long, Chair, Ontario Mental Health and Addictions Alliance, please consider our statement on the Canada Health Transfer:
The Ontario Mental Health and Addictions Alliance, a coalition of organizations from across the province and across the continuum of care, strongly encourages the federal and provincial governments to negotiate a Canada Health Transfer that will benefit all Canadians.
Every year, 1 in 5 Canadians experiences a mental illness and/or addiction. Demand on mental health and addictions services is increasing and lengthy wait times for hospital and community-based care means that people are not getting the vital services that they need when they need them. Canadians deserve equitable access to mental healthcare.
We recognize that governments are experiencing significant fiscal pressures; however, we encourage collaborative solutions to make progress so that Canadians can live their best lives. A dedicated investment in mental healthcare is a key component of the Canada Health Transfer. There can be no health without mental health. 
Thank you.

You can download the PDF file as well.

3.  Canada Health Transfer Talks Update

In the last week, Saskatchewan and the Territories (Nunavut, Yukon and Northwest Territories) have all come to agreement on side deals with Ottawa on healthcare funding.  As with other provinces earlier,, they include dedicated monies for mental health and home care.  We have two news reports:

Saskatchewan, Ottawa Reach Health-Funding Deal Despite Province's Concerns

Territories Agree to Health Funding Deal with Federal Government

As earlier reported, Ontario remains dismissive of the status quo:

Wynne Blasts Ottawa Over Health Funding

This Toronto Star Op-Ed considers the end game behind all these bilateral deals and whether it's good for our healthcare system:

Defections Boost Ottawa in Federal-Provincial Health Care Fight

Meanwhile, mental health advocates voice their support to get the talks going again:

Advocates Call for Holdout Provinces to Sign Health Transfer Deals

4.  Opioids in the News

Health Canada is proposing a warning labeling system for prescription opioids:

Exclusive:  Canada Seek Warnings on Prescription Painkillers Amid Rising Deaths

Harm reduction is having a hard time making its way into the correctional system:

Clean Needle Programs Too Dangerous, Federal Prison Officials Tell Court

Extending the practice of prescribed heroin are among the possibilities to fight the overdose epidemic being considered by the federal government:

Ottawa Mulls Unconventional B.C. Style Therapies for Opioid Addiction

Here in Ontario, at least two correctional centres are distributing the antidote naloxone to prisoners who are being let out of custody:

Hamilton Wentworth Detention Centre Giving Naloxone to Inmates when Released

5.  Leaving Hospital?  Here, Quit Smoking -- It's on Us

If you were staying in hospital and now leaving, the province is giving people free nicotine replacement products to encourage them to stop smoking:

New Supports to Help People in Ontario to Quit Smoking

6.  Innovative Practice: Extended Visiting Hours for Many Ontario Hospitals

It's a balance between improving health outcomes for patients with greater access to visitors, but a concern to staff who are providing care:

Many Ontario Hospitals Extending Visiting Hours to 24/7

7.  Chatham-Kent CSI Profiled for their OPDI Lighthouse Community Builder Award

Congratulations to Executive Director Kelly Gottschling and her organization for this write-up by their local paper:

Peer Support Organization Named for Many Achievements

8.  PTSD and Jury Duty

This former Ontario jury member has a reason to advocate for support services; it turns out that only Alberta offers a hotline and free counselling to people who have been traumatized by carrying out their civic duty:

Diagnosed with PTSD after Jury Duty, Ontarian Calls for National Support Services

9.  Life as a Public Mental Health Advocate is Not Easy

Alicia Raimundowrites about the ups and downs of being in the public eye while projecting a public advocacy role speaking about mental health. This is a good read when considering the upcoming Bell campaign January 25th to "Let's Talk":

I Still Struggle with my Mental Health as an Advocate

10.  "Blue Monday" -- PR Stunt

You may have heard that this past January 16th was being celebrated as "Blue Monday".  This article does a take-down on what it really says about mental health:

Blue Monday Isn't the Most Depressing Day of the Year -- Bogus Science Trivializes Mental Health Problems


11.  Ontario Study Finds Children and Youth with ADHD Prescribed Antipsychotics

The inappropriate use of these medications in young people (which are normally prescribed for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder) and have side-effects such as weight gain is concerning:

Ontario Children and Youth with ADHD Often Prescribed Anti-Psychotics, Study Finds

12.  Statistics Canada Youth Suicide Report

14% of people between the ages of 15-24 have contemplated suicide, according to data from the 2012 mental health survey:

1 in 7 Young Canadians Have Had Suicidal Thoughts:  Survey

Another highlight of the study was the percentage of people who did not seek help (this according to another report):

11% of Canadians Aged 15-24 Met Criteria for Depression: Stats Can
13.  Sugar Has Same Addictive Action as Alcohol and Cocaine

Our habitual longing for the sweet stuff follows the same neural pathways as other addictions:

Sugar Acts Similarly to Alcohol and Cocaine in Our Brains, Says Neuroscientist

14.  Profile of Peer Support in Virginia by TV News

It's always encouraging to see news coverage of a peer support specialist in action in the context of mental health recovery:

Peer Support Specialists Emerging to Help Treat Mental Illness

15.  Peer-Run Organizations Work with Clients from the Criminal Justice System to Reintegrate into the Community

This blog from the "Mad in America" website details examples from a new report that outlines innovative approaches that peer support centres are using to work with people who have used the justice system:

Peer-Run Organizations Help People with Criminal Justice Involvement Return to the Community

16.  Resource:  2016 National Conference on Peer Support Presentations Available for Downloading

PSACC which is Peer Support Accreditation and Certification (Canada) recently sent out reminders on social media that all presentations from the 2016 conference are available online:

NCPS 2016 Presentations

17.  Resource:  New Legal Aid Website Answers Common Questions About the Law

There is a new website called stepstojustice.ca that offers a plain language search for questions -- just enter a keyword to access the database.  You can read more about it here:

Got a Question About the Law?  There's a Website for That...

18.  Trump Administration and Its Policy on Disabilities

Well, if you were looking for a clue, this isn't promising -- the web pages about federal policy on persons with disabilities were taken down when the new administration's website went up:

Trump White House Takes Down Web pages about Disabilities

19.  Dr. Daniel Fisher on the Value of Lived Experience

Dr. Daniel Fisher, noted psychiatrist with a diagnosis of schizophrenia talks about his work in this video:

Interview with Daniel Fisher and his Lived Experience

20.  Unsung Hero:  Dr. Branka Agic

This expert is leading an effort out of CAMH called the Refugee Mental Health Project to reach out to educate service providers on how to work with Syrian refugees:

CAMH:  Dr. Branka Agic, a Torontonian Who Will Change the City in 2017


21.  CS/Info Bulletin #570

It has been a while since we publicized the Bulletin, but the current issue is quite spiffy with a new layout and some timely articles on Mad Pride, a Peer Worker Community of Practice, and -- they're moving elsewhere within 1001 Queen Street W.

22.   Call for proposals: EPION’s 2017 conference
What does “success” in Early Psychosis Intervention (EPI) services mean to you?
Join EPION for a two-day conference where we will explore different ways to define and understand success. You will:

  • Connect with your colleagues to share and learn about innovations in EPI practice that help bring us closer to our visions of success as clinicians, program managers, persons with lived experience of psychosis and family members.
  • Find out about the learnings and successes from programs that have implemented new practices, including those inspired by EPION’s recent think tanks on education and outreach, family work, metabolic monitoring, psychological therapies, knowledge exchange, evaluation and monitoring, and psychosis and cannabis.
  • Understand the latest data and evidence emerging within EPI and what it means for clinical practice and how we understand success in this field.

Do you have an idea for a conference session? If yes, let us know!
We are inviting proposals for papers, oral presentations, panel discussions, workshops and poster presentations as we plan for EPION’s 2017 Conference!
Submit an abstract here by February 16, 2017. We will notify you by March 8, 2017 to confirm the results of the selection process.
Questions? Contact Deborah Hierlihy, EPION Coordinator at Deborah.hierlihy@camh.ca or 613-546-4266 x 78061 or 416-535-8501 x 78061.
23.  Job Postings

H.O.P.E. requires a Program Manager, reporting to the Acting Executive Director to oversee the peer and volunteer services.
Duties include managing and promoting peer support services and coordinating all volunteer services. The Program Manager will hire and train employees, help deliver services, and explore new opportunities for funding and program expansion.
Qualifications include 2 – 4 years of relevant work experience, a post-secondary education graduate, excellent organizational and communication skills, computer literacy, a valid driver’s license with a clean driving record, and personal experience using the mental health system.
This position is permanent and funded at 26 hours per week. Apply by email with resume by January 27th, 2017 to: mike@cmhabhn.ca

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.