OPDI News & Events

OPDI NewsToGo Issue #514 February 21, 2017

Highlights include: MHCC Peer Support Webinar Now Online; OPDI Peer Support Core Essentials Training in Chatham March 6-10 (signup deadline February 22); Internship Webinar March 1st; E-QiP and M-H Peer Support Initiative Report; SSRIs and Placebos Compared in Meta-Analysis; RNAO Releases Nurse Educator Mental Health and |Addiction Resource; 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.



Upcoming OPDI Peer Support Core Essentials:
We have an OPDI Peer Support Core Essentials ™ training course offering in Chatham March 6 - 10, 2017, at HOPE House, very close to downtown.  We have the poster and registration form attached.  Deadline to register is February 22, 2017 (TOMORROW).
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.

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.  MHCC / OPDI / CMHA Waterloo-Wellington January 18, 2007 Webinar "Integrating Peer Support with Integrity"  Now Available Online

This 90-minute webinar with OPDI's Executive Director Deb Sherman and Allan Strong, SSW, RSSW, Team Lead, Skills for Safer Living Self Help CMHA Waterloo-Wellington was offered through the Mental Health Commission of Canada and and can be found at this landing page.  The built-in close-captioning is reasonably accurate.

2.  Canada Health Transfer Talks Update

British Columbia has become the latest province to sign a bilateral health transfer agreement with the federal government with dedicated funding for mental health and home care.  Four provinces (Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta, Quebec) remain at odds.  It appears that all others have settled for 4.4% annual increases.  We have the federal government press release and a news story:

Canada Reaches Health Funding Agreement with British Columbia

B.C. and Ottawa Sign $1.4 Billion Health Agreement

3.  Opioids in the News (Round-up)

The Toronto Police Service have added their voices to other jurisdictions in Ontario and elsewhere in Canada that are seeing highly toxic opioids on the streets:

Toronto Police Warn Public About Fentanyl After Fatal Overdose

Raffi Balian, coordinator of a harm reduction program with the South Riverdale Community Health Centre, passed away just weeks after this news profile:

Drug Users Say Supervised Injection Sites Address Ills of Substance Abuse

Two medical students offer a fresh perspective on how they see the opioid management issue:

Better Mental Health, Pain Control, Care Key to Opioid Abuse

This related story (how lack of dental care in the ER affects people on limited incomes and that painkillers are not the solution) is worth sharing:

Prescription from ER Doctor:  Expand Public Dental Programs

A nation that is a source of the most dangerous opioids on the market is clamping down on their export:

China to Regulate Carfentanil, Seen as "Substantial Step" in Curbing Opioid Exports

4.  Innovative Practices:  Expanded Roles for Substance Users in Decision-making and Policy

In British Columbia, people who start methadone treatment now have a user-friendly guide written by PWLE:

B.C. Methadone Patients Pen Guide on How to Navigate Treatment Program

This is an optimistic portrayal of someone who was traumatized at the age of 2 and now finds that his lived experience through vivid storytelling offers a lot of insight to others who work in the field:

Once Plagued by Drug Addiction and PTSD, Corey Reid has a New Role Improving B.C.'s Mental Health System

5.  Correctional Services in the News:  OHRC Fact-finding Tour of Kenora Jail; Another Ottawa Jail Death; and First Nations Artist Fails to Receive Mental Health Services and Dies in Jail

The Ontario Human Rights Commission recently released its 2017-2022 Strategic Plan.  Racial profiling and solitary confinement are two of its priorities.  The visit to the Kenora Jail to discover the poor treatment of indigenous inmates and the overwhelming incidence of mental health and substance use issues is a particular concern:

Every Inmate at Kenora, Ont. Jail Have Addictions, Mental Health Issues

In a related story, a man with a known mental health history was kept in solitary confinement in the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre and died by suicide under preventable circumstances:

Family of Mentally Ill Man Who Hanged Himself in Jail Demand Change

Without help from Health Canada, and unable to access care unless he committed an offense, an innocent man apparently off his medications was arrested, jailed and died under circumstances that are being investigated.  His sister died in a car accident leaving from her home to Thunder Bay, where he was incarcerated.  First Nations leaders want more than the inquest that was called:

No Mental Health Support for First Nations Artist Who Died in Jail, Chief Says

Full Inquiry, Not Inquest, Needed into Artist's Death, First Nations Leaders Say

6.  What is a Definition of an Employee in Canada?

In an age where "flexible labour" has many meanings and interpretations, and can create more vulnerabilities for persons who are living with mental health and substance use issues, legal interpretations are ever-changing.  This overview is a start to understanding some of them:

What's an Employee?

7.  Ontario Northern Development and Mines Minister Takes Leave from Cabinet to Fight Depression

It is a positive sign that when an Ontario cabinet member takes sick leave and candidly cites depression as the reason, there are expressions of support from politicians of all stripes.  We have a personal statement, a news report, and an Op-Ed:

Statement from Michael Gravelle:  Re Temporary Leave

Michael Gravelle Steps Away from Cabinet Post, Cites Year-Long Battle with Depression

Ontario's MPPs are Opening Up about Their Own Mental Health, and We're All Better Off for It

8.   Teenage Girls More Prone to Depression (U.S. Study)

While the story is wrapped around the results of a study of adolescents over a decade-long period, other commentators assess why social factors make young women more vulnerable:

Depression Strikes Today's Teenage Girls Especially Hard

A related story asks the study's lead author:  how do you differentiate between "moodiness" and "depression"?

Is a Teen Depressed or Just Moody?

9.  Personal Story:  NHL Goalie's Memoir of Mental Health

Cory Hirsch was a goalie, and a Stanley Cup winner, and yet he faced more than just hockey pucks in this powerful first person feature:

Dark, Dark, Dark, Dark, Dark, Dark, Dark, Dark

10.  Innovative Practice:  PEI  Peer Support Group for Mothers

It's always great to hear of a peer support group for mothers that launches as a result of "Bell Let's Talk" Day, and to be publicized by CBC PEI to a national audience:

Out of the Blues:  P.E.I. Woman Sets Up Mental Health Peer Support Group for Mothers

11.  Toronto Life Cover Story:  Toronto South Detention Centre a "Hellhole"

This in-depth expose of the new correctional facility reveals many operational issues which have an adverse effect on the mental health of the housed population:

Inside the Toronto South Detention Centre


12.  "Neuro-Exaggeration" and Viewing Addiction as a "Brain Disease"

Dr. Carl Hart has an informed critical perspective of addiction that looks at law enforcement and racial bias as well; his short piece is persuasively in favour of a social justice approach:

Viewing Addiction as a Brain Disease Promotes Social Injustice

13.  E-QIP Newsletter Highlights Quality Initiative for Peer Support In Mississauga Halton LHIN

The current Winter edition of the Excellence through Quality Improvement features pioneering work done with the M-H Enhancing and Sustaining Peer Support Initiative to come up with a quality improvement process that honoured peer values while helping the formal health system to understand what peer support does.  E-QIP is a partnership of CMHA Ontario, Addictions and Mental Health Ontario, and Health Quality Ontario.

You can read the excerpt here.  Thanks go to BLK for providing this!

14.  Meta-Review of Benefits of SSRIs (Antidepressants) Compared to Placebos Unclear

An examination of 131 studies in this complex statistics-rich article from a team of Danish researchers did not find a definitive case to use the medications.  Tables featuring summaries of "adverse events" and "serious adverse events" do offer a candid look at side-effects and make this worth a read (open access):

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors in Patients with Major Depressive Disorder.  A Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis and Trial Sequential Analysis.

By using "Jakobsen and SSRI" as Google Search terms, one can source foreign-language news articles on the study and cut-and-paste the text into Google Translate to hear from the lead author directly.   We have one example.

15.  Why has Overall Mental Health Declined While Prescriptions Gone Up?

This Scientific American article tackles the uncomfortable question that the mental health field needs to answer:

Psychiatrists Must Face Possibility that Medications Hurt More than they Help

16.  Comparison of Health Care of All Ontario Diabetic Patients With Those Also Having Schizophrenia Diagnosis

The quality of care of those having both diabetes and the mental health diagnosis was lower.  This referred to the frequency of accessing blood sugar tests, other bloodwork and eye checkups.  More ER visits and hospitalizations were associated with individuals having both diagnoses.

ICES Abstract:  Diabetes Quality of Care and Outcomes:  Comparison of Individuals with and without Schizophrenia

17.  Three Public Health Challenges with Legally Regulated Marijuana

This publicdebate.ca article sets out three murky areas:  impaired driving, outreach to young people, and monitoring data on usage:

Preparing for Pot:  Unanswered Questions Remain Around Legalizing Marijuana

18.  New Brain-Based Approaches to Finding New Psychiatric Drugs that Work

Scientists who believe in biological-based approaches to working with mental health diagnoses are trying these initiatives:

Psychiatric Drugs Haven't Improved for Decades.  So Researchers are Scouring the Brain for Leads.

In a related story, one of the first experiments with ketamine for depression in Canada is profiled:

Ketamine Offers New Hope for Patients with Severe Depression

19.  Peer Support Poster Passed Along by PSACC

Peer Support Accreditation and Certification Canada passed along this poster via Twitter. 

20.  Dr. Danielle Martin's Book on Medicare Gaining Traction

"Better Now:  Six Big Ideas to Improve Health Care for All Canadians" and its author are going through a cross-country book tour; here's a question-and-answer interview:

Eliminating Poverty the Best Prescription for Better Health, Doctor Says

21.  "A Lawyer's Secret"

A lawyer with lived experience of addiction, anxiety and depression writes about the difficult and complex road to recovery in the Globe and Mail:

A Lawyer's Secret


22.  Cast Your Vote for an Item in the Ontario Budget  (DEADLINE IS WEDNESD

Vote online for your choice of project (you can pick up to 3) by going to this webpage:

Budget Talks

23.  Ontario Hospital Association and Ontario Patient Ombudsman Office Offering Free Webinars with Christine Elliot

There are two separate sessions:  one for health organizations and another for patientsBoth take place on March 1 (9 - 10 am) and (1 - 2 pm)respectively.  The purpose of the webinar is to guide people through the process.

OPDI has learned that closed-captioning will be available on the archived webcasts when they are made available a week or so after the live event.  We will update you on this.
24.  Nurse Educator Mental Health and Addictions Resource (from RNAO)

The Registered Nursing Association of Ontario has made available online the publication of the RNAO Nurse Educator Mental Health and Addiction Resource: Integrating Mental Health and Addiction into the Undergraduate Nursing Curriculum. The resource is available for download/PDF printing at: http://rnao.ca/bpg/initiatives/mhai/mhar.

Deb Sherman of OPDI and Betty-Lou Kristy (Mississauga Halton Peer Support -- T.E.A.C.H.) advised on the development of this comprehensive guide.

25.  Job Postings

Stella's Place (Toronto) has a Peer Supporter position available.

Hope Grey-Bruce Mental Health and Addiction Services (Owen Sound) has a consumer/survivor development program and they require a Peer Support Worker on a full-time permanent basis.

26.  Justice Sector Online Course:  Communicating with People with Mental Health Disabilities (repeat)

We mentioned this last week; we now have a PDF flyer with full details including a link to the course. 
OPDI was at the table as this project worked its way to completion:

Justice Sector Training Outline

The news report is here:

CMHA Training Program Aims to Educate Justice Employees on Mental Health
27.  Diversity and Mental Health in Mental Health and Addictions Conference 2017 (repeat)

“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.


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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.