OPDI News & Events

OPDI NewsToGo Issue #512 February 2, 2017

Highlights include: OPDI Peer Support Core Essentials ™ Training in Chatham March 6-10; Ontario Counselling Program for Jurors; Substance Users Asked for Their Views on Fentanyl Crisis; Andrew Loku Inquest; No New Taxes on Private Health Plans; Housing First; New Basic Income Report; Social Phobia Group Documentary Screening in Toronto; 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.



Upcoming OPDI Peer Support Core Essentials:
We have an OPDI Peer Support Core Essentials ™ training course offering in Chatham March 6 - 10, 2017, with a location T.B.A.  We have the poster and registration form attached.  Deadline to register is February 22, 2017.
There is a possibility of a training taking place in Sault Ste. Marie at the end of March, if you are interested please email opdi@opdi.org indicating your interest.

Training Expectations Webinar:
If you are interested in learning more about OPDI Peer Support Core Essentials ™ Training please join us for a free webinar on Wednesday, February 15th at 9 am Toronto time.  The topic is related to the process and expectations of training, and potential training participants (or their sponsoring employers) are welcome to attend and have all questions answered.  To register please email opdi@opdi.org.


1.  Ontario Newsroom

The long-awaited initiative to assist jurors who have been traumatized by their work during trials was announced:

Ontario Launches Free Counselling Program for Jurors

Improved access to online, mobile phone, and video resources for youth mental health services are now in place:

Helping More Children and Youth Access Mental Health Services

2.  Canada Health Transfer Talks Update

P.E.I. has now signed a side-deal with the federal government on health transfers and it will include dedicated funding for mental health and home care.  There are now just 5 provinces that have not reached an agreement (Ontario among them):

PEI Signs on to Health Accord with Federal Government

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister is on record as saying the original money offered to the provinces remains on the table:

It's Up to Provinces to Take Health Money, Trudeau Says

3.  Age and Transition in the Ontario Mental Health System

The Toronto Star, in its continuing mental health and addictions coverage, has profiled the difficulties of obtaining continuing care when someone turns 18:

Age Gap Means Mental Health Stumbling Block for Youth in Ontario

TVO's The Agenda devoted a show segment to this topic as well:

Kids and Their Mental Health

4.  CBC Interviews Substance Users for Their Answers to Fentanyl Crisis

It is a rare occasion when drug users are self-identified and allowed to express in their own words how they would solve the opioids crisis; the interviews are from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside:

Drug Users Share Ideas To Fix Fentanyl Crisis

In related news, the federal opioids bill is making its way through the legislative system:

Liberals, NDP Try to Expedite Bill to Help Combat Opioids Crisis

Is it time to reconsider our use of the term "addiction" in the field?  This B.C.-originating article looks at the issue:

Illicit Drug Users Try to Shed Stigma of Being Called Addicts

5.  Andrew Loku Inquest Will be Held (and Toronto Police in News)

The visible minority individual with a mental health background wielding a hammer who was shot by the Toronto Police Service will have his death reviewed in a June inquest:

Inquest into Fatal Shooting of Andrew Loku by Toronto Police to Begin in June

Unhappily, this announcement comes just after another incident with excessive violence by Toronto Police on a disturbed individual who is also a visible minority, with the complication of a bystander filming the event being threatened as well:

New Video Shows Toronto Cops Tasering a Man on the Ground and Telling People Not to Film It

Toronto Police Apologize for "You're Going to Get AIDS" Comment Caught on Video

6.  Federal Budget Will Not Include Measures to Tax Private Health and Dental Benefits

People who are working and have access to employee-sponsored health and dental plans (which includes access to a psychologist as well as medication) are no longer under being considered as targets for new taxes:

Liberals Won't Tax Health and Dental Benefits, Says Justin Trudeau

7.  Ontario Human Rights Commission Releases New Policy Position:  Medical Documentation Following Request for Disability Accommodation

This web page explains what "duty to accommodate" means, what medical professionals can do, and clarifies that the functional limitations of the disability is the focus, rather than the label of the diagnosis:

OHRC Policy Position on Medical Documentation When a  Disability-Related Accommodation Request is Made

8.  Newfoundland Will Soon Offer Service Dogs for Persons with a Mental Health Diagnosis

While this is a novelty in the Atlantic province, a Google search reveals Ontario has several providers:

De-stress with a Dog:  New Newfoundland Group to Offer Canine Therapy for Mental Illness

9.  Ontario Discussion Paper Would Limit Extent of Hospital Renaming in Exchange for Charitable Donations

Any future renaming would be subject to MoHLTC approval:

Hoskins Wants to Ban Ontario Hospitals from being Named for Donors

10.  North East LHIN Publicizes Warmline

It was quite appropriate of the Northeast LHIN to publicize the work of a volunteer at NISA's (Sudbury CSI) Regional Warm Line in the run-up to Bell Let's Talk Day, showing how meaningful communication can be 365 days a year:

Tomorrow is Bell Let's Talk Day


11.  Dr. Geoff Nelson and Housing First Research

The CBC has a profile of the Housing First approach project with Dr. Geoff Nelson of Wilfrid Laurier University (a long-time contributor to research on consumer/survivors) and this coincides with his co-authorship of a book on housing and people with serious mental illness; we have links to both:

Stable Housing Critical to Success of Mental Health Treatment

Oxford University Press:  Housing, Citizenship, and Communities for People with Serious Mental Illness:  Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy Perspectives

On a related matter, this news report considers whether homelessness should be classified as a medical condition in order that medical professionals can "prescribe" housing as a cure (as is being proposed in Hawaii):

Hawaii Bill Would Classify Homelessness as Medical Condition

12.  Eating Disorders Awareness Week

This infographic includes information about a website for those who want to know more:

13.  TVO The Agenda:  Show on Patient Rights

These two links take you to videos that include a panel discussion and an interview with patient advocate Judith Johns, the theme of which is:  do patients really come first in Ontario?

The Agenda:  Patient Rights and Responsibilities

The Agenda:  The Patient Experience

14.  John Stapleton and Metcalf Foundation Release Report on Basic Income in Canada

With Ontario launching a basic income project, this study of how a basic income would work with 4 typical people who use various income security benefits now and assesses how they would be affected going forward:

A Basic Income for Canadians:  What Would Change?

15.  PTSD Symptoms Affect Fort McMurray Residents After Fire

Sixty percent of respondents to an online survey and interviews report symptoms of PTSD in this study:

Fort McMurray Fire Evacuees Suffering from PTSD Symptoms:  Study

16.  Resource:  Archiving the Internet for Future Use

Did you know that the Internet has the Wayback Machine for people who want to review websites that have made changes or gone by the wayside?  In light of political events and wholesale changes to American data, this reference guide to preserving online content should be bookmarked for future use:

If You See Something, Save Something -- 6 Ways to Save Pages on the Wayback Machine

17.  Resource:  2016 National Conference on Peer Support Presentations Available for Downloading (repeat)

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

18.  Opinion:  The Dangerous Ideal of Mental Health

We have a challenge from this professor of philosophy in this short piece:  How do you characterize ideal mental health?  What assumptions (both moral and political) are grounded in it from a medical perspective?  How do you really want to live?

Opinion:  The Dangerous Ideal of Mental Health

19.  English has 3,000 Words for Being Drunk

The lexicon of alcohol misuse is indeed as varied as the proverbial Inuit vocabulary for snow:

English has 3,000 Words for Being Drunk

20.  The Psychology of Saying "I am Sorry"

An apology done right is a powerful medicine in itself:

The Right Way to Say "I'm Sorry"

21.  Differentiating Between a Panic Attack and a Heart Attack

This article offers a list of symptoms for each (medical attention is recommended in any event):

Panic Attack Vs. Heart Attack

22.  Sensationalist Coverage of Donald Trump and Tentative Psychiatric Diagnosis Unhelpful

The New York Post, which arguably is more interested in readership than science has this article on the supposed mental health of the President.  This is prejudicial and stigmatic news coverage and is a disservice to people who have real problems:

President Trump Exhibits Classic Signs of Mental Illness, Including "Malignant Narcissism", Shrinks Say


23.  ODSP Action Coalition Pre-Budget Submission and Call for Action (Letter of Support)

The ODSP Action Coalition Pre-Budget "ask" would increase ODSP and Ontario Works rates by 10% and cover other changes in social assistance rules.  This is what they have to say:

To ensure that the government hears from as many people as possible, we encourage you to send a letter supporting the Coalition’s submission if you haven’t already. In the submission, we ask the Ontario government to invest $1 Billion in social assistance:  that would pay for a 10% increase in rates, and a number of rule changes to make the system fairer.

We are attaching a tip sheet with information if you are interested in doing so.  It includes a template letter you can edit and adapt to your own concerns and information about who to send it to with contact details.
Just a reminder that an updated version of the ODSP Action Coalition’s 2017 pre-budget submission can be found here: http://www.odspaction.ca/resource/coalition-asks-ontario-government-invest-1b-social-assistance

24.  Job Postings

Choices for Change (Huron and Perth Counties) is hiring a Clinical Lead Peer Support.

The Distress Centres of Toronto is advertising for an Executive Director.

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (Toronto) has three policy analysts positions open, including one with the Health Protection Policy and Program Branch, Addiction and Substances Policy and Programs Unit responsible for strategies to address alcohol, opioids, marijuana, other substance use/misuse, and problem gambling prevention.

25.  CMHA Toronto Launches Enabling Justice Program

This  training program for people who work in the justice system to improve the way they work with people with mental disabilities is profiled in this media report (we will post full details on how to access the program as they become available):

CMHA Training Program Aims to Educate Justice Sector Employees on Mental Health

26.  Documentary Viewing:  "In the Spotlight" (Toronto)

Can your biggest fear become your greatest passion?
 You are invited on Thursday Feb 9 @ 7pm to watch the documentary film "In The Spotlight" at Innis Town Hall in Toronto, ON.
Filmmaker Katie Cooper followed Earla Dunbar and members of her social phobia support group over 6+ years creating a captivating and poignant story about acceptance, recovery, and giving back. 
Screening is free!  Please register your seat here
Doors open @ 6:30pm
Film starts @ 7pm
Panel with Q&A starts at 8:05pm (Earla and Paul will be present!)
Followed by reception with light refreshments
View the film trailer here
Watch the film, ask Earla and Katie your questions, hear about resources right here in Toronto for people living with social phobia and depression and their families/friends.  All in a safe and fun environment.
This screening is presented by ASR Suicide & Depression Studies Program, St. Michael's Hospital and Mood Disorders Association of Ontario.
27.  "Healing Our Woundnessness" (Toronto Workshop)

This is a recoverynet.ca event taking place May 29th in Toronto.

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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.