OPDI News & Events

OPDI NewsToGo Issue #513 February 9, 2017

Highlights include:OPDI Peer Support Core Essentials Training in Chatham March 6-10; Internship Webinar March 1st; New MH & A Funding Announcement; Health Transfer Talks Update; 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.

Internship Webinar:

The next OPDI Peer Support Internship Webinar will be held Wednesday, March 1st from 12 noon to 1 pm Toronto time.  If you have completed the OPDI Peer Support Core Essentials ™ 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 Newsroom

The Mental Health and Addictions Leadership Advisory Council forwarded its 2016 annual report to Minister Hoskins recently.

As a result, the Ministry offered its response to the recommendations in the form of a funding announcement (the annual report was posted on the government website the very same day also).  These are new investments in psychotherapy, integrated youth hubs, and new supportive housing units.

Here's the Council report for 2016.

The announcement was broadcast live on YouTube.

The press release and related links are here.

2.  Canada Health Transfer Talks Update

The province of Ontario continues to stir up the rhetoric in the current impasse over health transfer funding rates:

Health Care System in Big Trouble?

An Ottawa think tank's analysis of the federal offer on health transfers suggests that it's not enough:

Liberals' Health Funding to Provinces Falls Short:  Study

Here's an "insider" view of how the negotiations took place -- and the last paragraph of the story speaks to the timing urgency of negotiations with a federal budget coming soon and the April 1st deadline for the new transfer funding agreement:

Divide and Conquer:  How the Feds Split the Provinces in Health Talks

3.  Police and Correctional Officials Interactions with Persons with a Mental Health Issue (updates)

We still don't know the full story behind the death of Soleiman Faqiri while in custody:

Family Wants Answers after Ontario Man with Schizophrenia Killed in Jail Guard "Altercation"

Constable James Forcillo's bail has been extended until his appeal in October of his attempted murder conviction -- he has only spent one night in jail thus far:

Bail Extended for Officer in Sammy Yatim Shooting

Meanwhile, changes to policing are in the works with a reform package expected by spring:

Policing in Ontario Faces its Biggest Reform in a Decade

Washington D.C. police have released a dash cam video to educate the public as to a real-life decison by police looks like when it comes to deciding whether or not to shoot:

A Threatened Officer had an Instant to Shoot -- or not.  Police Want You to Watch Him Decide.

4.  3 Supervised Drug Consumption Sites Approved in Montreal by Health Canada

It's expected that Toronto's submission will be approved in a matter of months:

Health Minister Approves 3 Supervised Drug Consumption Sites in Montreal

5.  OMA Internal Politics Threaten to Spill Over into Doctors' Job Action

A vote among the members of the Ontario Medical Association (the doctors' union in all but name) has badly divided the organization.  We have two Toronto Star columnists with their perspectives, and also one of the so-called "dissident" doctors with an Op-Ed:

A Sad Day for Ontario Doctors, Patients

Casualties Will Mount When Doctors War with Doctors

More Proof Our Health System is Broken

6.  NCR (Not Criminally Responsible):  Forensic Psychiatry in the News

Vince Li, whose case drew attention to NCR, is seeking an absolute discharge:

Vince Li, Man Who Beheaded Greyhound Bus Passenger, Seeks Absolute Discharge

Other prominent NCR cases are summarized here:

Not Criminally Responsible:  Mathew de Grood and 7 Other NCR Cases

These two stories out of Norfolk County are not encouraging:

Mentally Ill "Falling Through Cracks"

Improved Treatment Needed:  Psychologist

A candid first-person perspective of how a forensic psychiatrist connects (or not) with his clients is offered in this CAMH blog entry:

Tuesday Afternoon

7.  Agnostic AA Groups in Toronto Recognized Officially Again

It took six years to resolve, lawyers, and an Ontario Human Rights Tribunal complaint, but all's well again:

Agnostic Alcoholics Welcomed Back into AA Fold

8.   Innovative Practice:  Architecture that Accommodates Mental Health in a Hospital

Understanding and acting on behavioural healthcare design to aid the healing process is being used to create the new mental health unit in this Toronto hospital:

Why This Woman Who Once Attempted Suicide Applauds Hospital's Mental Health Makeover

9.  Innovative Practice:  Federal Government Department to Have Own Mental Health Ombudsman

The Public Service and Procurement Canada section with 13,000 employees will have such a specialist for the first time:

Q & A With First Public Servant Ombudsman for Public Health

10.  Innovative Practice:  Toronto Public Library Makes Seasonal Affective Disorder Lights Available

These expensive devices are available first-come, first-serve at one library branch as a pilot program and offer therapy to people who are prone to depression during the dark days of winter:

Toronto Public Library Shedding Light on Seasonal Affective Disorder

11.  Innovative Practice:  Local Food Bank Moves in with PARC

A simple idea -- the local food bank moves into the basement of PARC, a Toronto drop-in and mental health agency with a strong peer support component.  Life just got easier:

Parkdale Community Food Bank Moves in With PARC at 1499 Queen Street W.


12.  CBC B.C. 's "The Fentanyl Fix"

The CBC bureau has done a comprehensive series of reports on the fentanyl addiction crisis with a focus on their home province.  Of all the features, two stand out:  a short illuminating essay by Dr. Gabor Mate on what lies behind the substance use, and a feature on another practitioner who also understands her clients better by working from a trauma-informed perspective:

Fixing Fentanyl Means Treating Trauma that Creates Addicts

The Fundamental Problem is We Live in A Screwed Up World

Elsewhere, in a related story, the voices of drug users are still not well-acknowledged in government policies, as this piece shows:

Battle Against Fentanyl Must Include Input from Drug Users, Former Drug User Says

13.  Up Front and Centre:  Mississauga Halton LHIN's Web Page on Peer Support

This is the most emphatic declaration of the value and rationale for peer support within any LHIN's website that we know of and includes visuals, a video, and hyperlinks to resources:

Recognizing the Value of Peer Support

14.  "What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear"

This book excerpt reminds us, whether healthcare professional or patient, that active listening and being  mindful of priorities are critical aspects of good communication (and that taking notes is not a bad idea):

Is your Doctor Listening?

15.  Resource:  "Hearing Voices Movement" Peer Reviewed Article Has Been Cited 50 Times

This 2014 scholarly article sets out the case for "auditory verbal hallucinations" as a meaningful experience deserving of more research:

Emerging Perspectives from the Hearing Voices Movement:  Implications for Research and Practice

16.  A Shift in Painkiller Use Underway

With the move by some American states to legalize marijuana, doctor are finding that patients are saying no to opioids:

Patients are Ditching Opioid Pills for Weed

17.  Resource:  Archiving the Internet for Future Use (repeat)

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

18.  Stories from a Mental Hospital

"The Atlantic" online magazine has compiled some readers' stories about their stays in psychiatric institutions.  This particular account shines light on the consequences of lower funding in mental health (such as the psych assistants):

When We Don't Value Psychiatric Care

19.  Human Rights Tribunal Ruling in Nova Scotia Has Canada-Wide Implications

A Nova Scotia man has won the right to have his medical insurance company cover his medical marijuana prescription after being denied coverage due to discrimination:

Employee Insurance Plan Must Pay for Medical Marijuana, Human Rights Board Rules

20.  Regrets in the Long Career of a Psychiatrist

A distinguished psychiatrist writes about "schizophrenia" and what he has learned (and wished he had done differently) -- in a peer reviewed journal: 

Researcher Acknowledges His Mistakes in Understanding Schizophrenia

Do check out the extensive and lively comments in the "Mad in America" blog entry.

21.  Toronto Mad Pride Introduces "Mad Times"

Check out their website for a new webpage that promises to launch "Mad Times Magazine".


22.  Respond to the PSACC Peer Support Survey (Deadline February 12)

Peer supporters, mental health advocates, fearless leaders – we need your help!
We believe in the power of peer support to transform individual lives and even our mental health system.  Peer supporters are in community organizations, workplaces and clinical settings, helping people navigate the system and access resources, modeling recovery, listening, and most importantly, providing hope. Organizations are creating innovative, effective programs and supports.
We need more.  More peer supporters on the ground, more education and training, more ways to connect and work together, and more awareness and recognition of peer support.
How can PSACC help grow and strengthen peer support?
Please take 5 minutes and tell us what you think.

The survey closes February 12th
Thank you,

Executive Director

23.  Reminder:  EPION Conference Abstract Proposal Submissions

We are now accepting proposals for papers/sessions for the May 16/17, 2017 EPION conference in Toronto. Submit your proposal through survey monkey https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/epion2017 by Feb. 16, 2017.

What information do we need with your proposal?

  • Presenter name and credentials (E.g. MSW, MD FRCPC etc.)
  • Job title, Organization, and contact info
  • Co-presenter info (if applicable)
  • Brief bio for presenter (140 words max)
  • Title of presentation
  • Learning objectives
  • Brief summary of content (max 275 words)
  • How topic relates to the conference themes (What success in Early Psychosis Intervention look like; Innovations in approaches and service delivery that contributes to success; Learning and successes from implementing new initiatives, including those inspired by recent EPION think tanks)
  • Recommended audience(s) (e.g. front line clinicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, researchers, individuals with lived experiences, family members, etc)
  • Preferred format (Oral presentation-30 minutes including Q and A; Poster presentation; Workshop-60 minutes, hands on/participatory format; Panel Discussion (e.g. with a moderator and up to 3 discussants)

More information in this flyer.
24.  Justice Sector Online Course:  Communicating with People with Mental Health Disabilities

We mentioned this last week; we now have a PDF flyer with full details including a link to the course:

Justice Sector Training Outline

The news report is here:

CMHA Training Program Aims to Educate Justice Employees on Mental Health

25.  Job Postings

Toronto North Support Services has a Peer Client Services Worker position available.

On a related note, George Brown College's Augmented Education program that offers Construction Craft Worker and Assistant Cook training are having information sessions this month; please refer to the flyer.

26.  Schizophrenia Society of Ontario:  Survey on Anti-Psychotic Medication (Feb. 14 deadline)

Do you or someone you know use antipsychotic medication?

If so, the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario would like to hear from you.
The Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH) is reviewing a new antipsychotic medication, Brexpiprazole, to make a recommendation about whether this medication should be paid for by the government for people on social assistance and others who use public drug plans. 
This anonymous and confidential survey will be used to inform our submission to the CADTH's Common Drug Review regarding Brexpiprazole, an antipsychotic medication currently under review for treating schizophrenia.
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 Tuesday February 14, 2017.
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 or has used antipsychotic medication: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/individualCDR
To fill out the survey as a CAREGIVER: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/caregiverCDR

If you have any questions, please contact Antonella Scali at ascali@schizophrenia.on.ca or 1-800-449-6367 x 259.
27.  Diversity and Mental Health in Mental Health and Addictions Conference 2017

“Dialogues on Trauma: Meaning Making and Community Building”
Space is limited.
WHEN:          Friday, May 12th, 2017, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
WHERE:        Courtyard by Marriott Downtown Toronto, 475 Yonge Street, Toronto, Ontario
At the end of the conference, participants will be able to:
1.    Identify and define diverse perspectives of trauma
2.    Outline strategies to foster, build and strengthen community connections
3.    Put into practice clinical skills to work with client from diverse communities
4.    Incorporate the principles of reflective practice in client care and community work
5.    Recognize the role of race and identity in shaping the societal climate and address its impact on the mental health and well-being of clients
Health care providers, settlement service workers, peer support workers, school board personnel, policy makers, directors, CEOs for hospital/community agencies, first responders, and funders as well as consumer, family members, students and the community at large. 
·       Jaswant Guzder, MD
Professor of Psychiatry, McGill University
Head of Child Psychiatry, Jewish General Hospital,  Montreal, QC
·       Camille Orridge, MHA
Senior Fellow, Wellesley Institute
Former CEO of the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network and Toronto Central Community Care Access Centre
COST:            $140 including breakfast, lunch and conference materials
For registration and details, please contact May Ho at Hong Fook Mental Health Association by phone at 416-493-4242 ext. 2243 or email: mho@hongfook.ca.

28.  CMHA Durham Educational Opportunity for Accepting Voices

In partnership with recoverynet.ca and the Central East LHIN, hearing voices training is being offered.  Check out the web page with a link to posters with more information.

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

To subscribe to this e-mail update, please e-mail opdi@opdi.org.  Or visit our website here:  http://opdi.org

Like us on Facebook.  Follow us on TwitterYou will find more interesting stories there that we couldn't fit in NewsToGo.
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.