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Relevant local and provincial media coverage and community news can be read in our feed below. This news feed is updated regularly, come back often.

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OFCAN Members Contribute to the OPOC-MHA for Caregivers

Learn about the tool development and implementation processes of the Ontario Perception of Care for Caregivers in the Addiction and Mental Health System by CAMH.  Several OFCAN members were collaborating partners on this project.  The new tool focuses on the priorities of families and caregivers and allows them to provide feedback about the treatment and support their loved ones received.  The article was published in the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction. Read Article.

Impacts and Lessons from the Brain Builders Lab: Practical Advice on How to Spread and Embed Brain Story Science in Communities

Trauma experienced in childhood can be a pathway to substance use or addiction. Understanding how these experiences affect brain development can help to identify points of intervention to try to prevent or treat substance use later in life. Based on the link between childhood trauma and later-life substance use, CCSA partnered with the Alberta Family Wellness Initiative to launch the Brain Builders Lab in 2018. Learn More

Release of the Minister’s Patient and Family Advisory Council Annual Report 2021-22

Minister’s Patient and Family Advisory Council Chair, Betty-Lou Kristy, is pleased to share news of the release of the first public Annual Report of the Minister’s Patient and Family Advisory Council. This report highlights the integral role of the Council and Council Chair as patient, family, and caregiver leaders and advisors to the Minister and Ministry of Health, the exceptional work that the Council and Chair have conducted to date, and the fundamental importance of genuine partnership, engagement, and co-design with patients, families and caregivers in shaping the health care transformation. Read Report

Caring for the Caregiver Conference Research Findings & Outcomes

Following the Caring for the Caregiver Conference in October 2021 sponsored by Hotel Dieu Grace Healthcare, University of Windsor & WE-SPARK Health Institute, the conference organizers have shared some of their findings about family caregivers who have a loved one with a mental illness and/or addiction.  Documents include a Caring for the Caregiver infographic and the University of Windsor Research Ethics Board approved Caring for the Caregiver Study — including needs assessment and caregiver and conference outcomes.

View Caring for the Caregiver Infographic

View Caregiver & Conference Outcomes

View Summary of Caring for the Caregiver Study

View the updated Caregiver Resource Hub

Government of Canada Begins Work with Partners on National Standards for Mental Health and Substance Use Services

The Government of Canada has made a commitment to improve the delivery of mental health and substance use services so that Canadians are able to receive high quality, culturally appropriate care regardless of where they live. On March 14, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, announced that the Government of Canada is taking the first step in developing national standards by working with the Standards Council of Canada (SCC), as well as stakeholders and partners. National standards will help formalize what Canadians can expect in terms of the timeliness and quality of services across the country. Learn More

Interview with Sue Robbins, author Ducks in a Row:  Health Care Reimagined

Listen to Sue Robbins, author, health care activist and advocate for patient and family centred-care talk about her new book Ducks in a Row:  Health Care Reimagined.  The book is based on Sue’s experiences working in patient and family engagement and explores a gentler health care world that is rooted in humanity and shares what each of us can do to bring about meaningful change.  Listen to the interview

International Crisis Response Association (ICRA)

The International Crisis Response Association is a network aiming to transform crisis response services in communities across Canada and the US.  It has brought together over 70 cities that are building or leading civilian-led crisis response services in their communities.  ICRA is developing a website to share the latest research and news about non-police crisis teams and is holding monthly meetings for teams to share updates and resources. Learn More

Study Indicates the Average Age at Death in Hamilton’s Homeless Population is 36

See the data gathered by healthcare providers from June – November 2021 in a study about who, where and how people experiencing homelessness are dying in the Hamilton Region.  The most alarming statistic indicates the average age at death was 36 compared to the life expectancy of 81 for the average Hamiltonian.  The goal of the study is to develop targeted interventions to reduce mortality and to improve health in the homeless population. Learn More and/or read the Press Release

Reach Out Response Network 

Every year, police in Toronto respond to approximately 30,000 mental health crises. Mental health advocates at the Reach Out Response Network in Toronto would like to see mental health crisis response teams respond to these calls instead, so that our most vulnerable can be supported in ways that ensure their self-determination and dignity. Learn More

Ontario Increasing Mental Health and Addictions Services

On December 17, 2020 it was announced that the Ontario government is providing $147 million to immediately expand access to the provincial mental health and addictions system in response to COVID-19.  These funds are in addition to the $176 million provided earlier this year as part of the government’s Roadmap to Wellness plan to build a comprehensive mental health and addictions system that provides high-quality care. Learn More

Focused on the Future:  Strategic Plan 2021-2026

The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) has presented its new five-year strategic plan.  The document includes the priorities, outcomes and methods to achieve those outcomes in the organization’s path forward. Learn More

In Memory
Catherine Fooks
1961 – 2021

It is with great sadness that we learned about the death of Cathy Fooks, Ontario’s Patient Ombudsman, former CEO of The Change Foundation and well-known Patient & Caregiver Champion, on December 30, 2020. 

Cathy was a brilliant and charming leader, and her trailblazing career resulted in many lasting contributions to our healthcare system.
Add your Condolences here

The Change Foundation’s CHANGING CARE Projects Reflect on The Journey

Listen to the four CHANGING CARE partnerships reflect on their journey, highlight the impact of CHANGING CARE on shifting culture to improve care and experience, and share how they are moving forward to sustain and grow their care partnerships. Learn More

2020 Spotlight on Ontario Caregivers – COVID-19 Edition

In the third annual Spotlight on Ontario’s Caregivers Report, The Ontario Caregiver Organization shines a light on how and to what extent COVID-19 has disrupted the experience of caregivers whose lives are already impacted in so many ways.  Their survey reveals 54% of family caregivers find it harder to manage their caregiving responsibilities since the COVID-19 outbreak. Read More

Ontario Expands Funding for Supportive Housing

The Ontario government is investing over $47 million to provide supportive housing for individuals with severe mental health and addictions challenges who are either homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.  The funding will also support the creation of a new Back to Home program to help patients transition from hospitals to permanent housing. Read More

Study Looks at Whether the Pandemic is Making Ontario’s Opioid Crisis Worse

Public Health Ontario’s preliminary report shows that opioid-related deaths are trending to be over 50% higher than in the previous year. Learn More

CAMH Transforms Mental Health Care

In November 2020, CAMH officially opened the new McCain Complex Care & Recovery Building and the Crisis & Critical Care Building.  Both buildings are designed to provide the best possible mental health care experience in an environment that is spacious, respectful and dignified. Learn More


Stigma Online Learning Resource

The Sting of Stigma, Recognizing Stigma and its Impact is the first of three learning modules, developed by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, that will help Canadians recognize the various forms of stigma and its devastating impacts and will increase understanding of the stigma that surrounds problematic substance use and substance use disorder. Read More

Overcoming Stigma Through Language:  A Primer

Stigma is a significant barrier to wellness and good health for people who use substances.  The goal of this primer, which is published by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, is to facilitate conversations and increase awareness of the stigma surrounding people who use substances, their support networks and service providers in the community.  Learn More

Supporting Parents of Suicidal Youth

PLEO Parents’ Lifeline has launched new resources to support parents of suicidal youth.  PLEO brought parents and youth with lived experience together with suicide prevention experts and clinicians to share helpful and hopeful messages and strategies in the following areas:  difficulties identifying signs and improving awareness of suicide risk; communicating effectively; knowing what to do in periods of crisis; keeping youth safe at home; and accessing services.  

Videos, tip sheets and more are now available. Click Here
You can see a short trailer about the project Here
PLEO is also posting about the project on Facebook and Twitter

The Mental Health and Addictions Centre of Excellence is supporting Ontario in building a comprehensive and connected mental health and addictions system. It is the centrepiece of Ontario’s new mental health and addictions plan, called Roadmap to Wellness.

Canadian Substance Use Costs and Harms


Substance use in Canada cost almost $46 billion in 2017.  This equals almost $1,258 for every Canadian, regardless of age.  Read this report published in 2020 to learn the costs associated with a range of different substances and how they impacted health care, lost productivity, criminal justice and other direct costs.
Read the Report 


Common Challenges, Shared Priorities:  Measuring Access to Home and Community Care and to Mental Health and Addiction Services in Canada

Patient partners and family caregivers contribute more than ever to improving Canadian healthcare.  We want to improve our understanding of patient partners and what they do by surveying patient partners across Canada. View the CPPS Survey FlyerThe results will also help organizations to work more effectively with patient partners by providing a detailed understanding of what they are doing, how they are being supported or could be better supported in their role, what influence they think they are having and any barriers they face.  At the end of this survey, you will have a chance to enter a draw for a $200 prize.

Participate in the Survey  

Request for Expression of Interest: Approaches that address structural stigma

The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) is looking for real-world examples that address mental illness- and substance use-related structural stigma in Canada’s health-care system.
Submit an Expression of Interest: Deadline September 15, 2020. 

Care Partner Presence Policies During COVID -19

Restrictions on Care Partner presence were introduced in March 2020 to protect healthcare workers and patients in Ontario hospitals,  As hospitals re-open to visitors, many policies are being created to incorporate government directives.  A helpful guide, Care Partner Presence Policies During COVID -19, has been developed by the Ontario Hospital Association, The Change Foundation and the Ontario Caregiver Organization. 

Additional resource documents, research, templates and samples are available at this link.

Invitation to Participate in a Survey on
Out-of-Pocket Costs and Consequences of Unpaid Caregiving in Ontario

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Many patients experience stigma when seeking treatment for their mental health and substance use issues.  The Mental Health Commission of Canada has released a report indicating how stigma in the health-care system affects patients and how it can be reduced.  The report focuses on two aspects that can be problematic for our family members:  access to treatment and quality of care. View the invitation. 

To participate click this link.

Structural Stigma in Health-Care Contexts for People with Mental Health and Substance Use Issues:  A Literature Review

Many patients experience stigma when seeking treatment for their mental health and substance use issues.  The Mental Health Commission of Canada has released a report indicating how stigma in the health-care system affects patients and how it can be reduced.  The report focuses on two aspects that can be problematic for our family members:  access to treatment and quality of care.

Click here to review

The Change Foundation: Lessons Learned From Changing Care

This report focuses on what the Changing CARE projects learned about testing and implementing co-design Change Initiatives and is full of practical tips that you can adapt to your own organizations.

Read more

Women, parents and young adults are hardest hit by anxiety and depression as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, according to a new survey co-authored by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

The national survey, co-authored by Delvinia, collected its data in mid-may, from May 8-12, and looked at who is most affected by isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The study found that people with children in their home, as well as women and young adults, were most likely to have symptoms of anxiety and depression. And the pandemic is hard on everyone, according to the survey.

Continue Reading

Nearly 70 per cent of people in Ontario are forecasting a “serious mental health crisis” as the province emerges from this pandemic, according to new data released by CMHA Ontario.

Family Caregivers as Essential Partners in Care: More Than Just A Visitor

In an era where patient centered care is valued and collaboration with people with lived experience is expected, the COVID-19 crisis presents significant tensions between patient and family centred care, patient safety, provider safety and infection control. We are hearing from patient partners that there has been a marked decrease in authentic patient engagement and partnership across the system as the pandemic evolved and healthcare organizations responded. At the same time, many organizations have stepped up their engagement and partnership with patients, families and caregivers and have included in them in virtual calls/webinars, and as active members of COVID-19 pandemic response teams. As we look ahead, now is the time to ensure the continuation of meaningful engagement and partnership with people with lived experience to strengthen policy and practice.

Continue reading

The Covid-19 Pandemic and Involuntary Treatment

By Marvin Ross

The extraordinary measures being used to deal with the current pandemic have implications for involuntary committal procedures for the mentally ill. Thanks to my fellow advocate DJ Jaffe of the Mental Illness Policy Org for bringing this to my attention.

Continue reading

Catalyst – April 2020 – Caring in a crisis

Double duty: How COVID-19 is affecting caregivers of persons living with mental illness

Tuesday, April 7th marks National Caregiver Day, created to recognize the millions of people in Canada who provide unpaid care to loved ones living with  disabilities, illnesses, and other special needs. This year, amid the coronavirus pandemic, the day takes on added significance as these carers face unprecedented challenges.

For many family members caring for persons who are living with mental health problems and illnesses, the hardships of COVID-19 are being added to an already full plate. As AMI-Quebec executive director Ella Amir explains, “The burdens of caregivers are magnified right now. They have many of the same concerns as non-caregivers in addition to this added responsibility. It can be a lot to manage at one time.” Amir’s non-profit organization helps families deal with the effects of mental illness through support groups, education, guidance, and advocacy.

Read More 

Introducing the Institute for Advancements in Mental Health

The Schizophrenia Society of Ontario (SSO) has changed its name.

Our new name is IAM – Institute for Advancements in Mental Health.

Built on the foundation of 40 years of providing services to Canada’s most vulnerable, we know firsthand the struggles facing those living with and supporting those with serious mental health challenges. As IAM, we envision a society that helps anyone impacted by mental health issues thrive. We call this vision redesigning society for better mental health. This means creating environments that are more inclusive, positive and accepting for people with mental illness, and within our innovation platform, partnering with others to create solutions that can improve mental wellbeing.

As IAM, we will also continue to deliver the services and programs that formed our history as SSO, with the people we help as the focus of our listening and compassion. Our new dynamic brand of IAM is our way of responding to the needs of those we serve as well as bringing our expertise to a new population of those impacted by mental illness – using innovation as a core principle to evolving services.

For more on this, please visit our new website at

To be successful, Ontario’s Roadmap to Wellness needs a comprehensive and fully-funded plan to reduce wait times: combined statement from Ontario’s mental health and addiction providers

The province’s leading public providers of adult, child and youth mental health and addiction care agree that the elements of Minister Christine Elliott’s Roadmap to Wellness have the potential to transform mental health and addictions care for Ontarians, however not unless it is combined with substantial and immediate investment in the 2020 Ontario Budget.

Read More

28,000 Children And Youth On Wait Lists
For Mental Health Services In Ontario, With Wait Times Up To 2.5 Years

One month ago Children’s Mental Health Ontario (CMHO) released the Kids Can’t Wait Report which revealed that there are 28,000 children and youth on wait lists for mental health services in Ontario, and that wait times can be up to 2.5 years for community mental health therapy and treatment programs, with some not receiving treatment at all. New polling conducted on behalf of CMHO finds that Ontarians believe that children and youth should only have to wait up to two days, or not wait at all, to receive the mental health care they require.

Read More

Ontario’s Mental Health and Addictions System Plan

On March 3rd, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, launched Roadmap to Wellness: A Plan to Build Ontario’s Mental Health and Addictions SystemThe Roadmap provides a clear path forward toward offering Ontarians easier access to higher-quality care and supports in communities where and when they need it.
The new Mental Health and Addictions Centre of Excellence within Ontario Health will serve as the foundation on which Roadmap to Wellness is built. 

Learn More

Ontario Announces Free Therapy for People With Anxiety or Depression

The Ontario government is launching a new mental health program that will provide free therapy for people with anxiety or depression.

Mindability is part of the province’s new mental health strategy unveiled Tuesday and will launch in the spring. 

Read More

Province makes proposed Mental Health and Addictions Centre of Excellence official

The provincial government has officially established its proposed Mental Health and Addictions Centre of Excellence within Ontario Health.

Formalized by the proclamation of the Mental Health and Addictions Centre of Excellence Act on Feb. 18, the province says this centre will serve as the foundation for improving the availability and quality of mental health and addictions services in Ontario. According to the Ministry of Health, the centre will do this by:

  • Acting as a central point of oversight for mental health and addictions care
  • Standardizing and monitoring the quality and delivery of evidence-based services and clinical care
  • Working with sector experts, community-based providers, people with lived experience, families, caregivers and clinical researchers to create a consistent set of services and standards
  • Providing support and resources to Ontario Health Teams as they connected patients to the mental health and addictions services they need

Learn More

CAMH The Family Voice Newsletter

Jan – April 2020 

What your family advisory committee is doing for you. 

Click here to read the newsletter

Canadian Mental Health Association: 
Statistics Canada report defines ‘dynamics’ of disabilities

A new report from Statistics Canada says most Canadians who live with a disability experience some kind of variance in their ailment, such as fluctuations in severity or duration of heightened symptoms.

Learn More
Read the Full Report Here

Children’s Mental Health Ontario:

Accessing child and youth mental health care in Ontario has become inequitable. A new report from CMHO reveals that in some parts of the province, children and youth are waiting as long as two and a half years for care from community child and youth mental health centres. For some communities, services are not available at all. That’s not right.

Read the 2020 Report Here 

Health Canada:
Follow-up survey and qualitative research on opioid awareness, knowledge and behaviours for public education Final Report

This public opinion research report presents the results of focus groups and an online survey conducted by Earnscliffe Strategy Group on behalf of Health Canada. The research was conducted from June 2019 to July 2019

Click here to read the report 

CAN/HSO 1001:2019 Governance for Health Services – Public Review

The public review is taking place between January 15th and March 15th, 2020. 

Public reviews are an opportunity for anyone to review and comment on draft standards before they are published. HSO incorporates applicable feedback from public reviews into the final versions of standards. 

The updated CAN/HSO 1001:2019 Governance for Health Services standard includes a change to the title of the standard (formerly Governance) to provide more clarity on the scope. The updated standard will be applicable to health and social services organizations across the continuum of care and outlines the processes by which a governing body functions and its broad range of responsibilities.  

Click here to learn more

CAMH Survey – Caregivers 

As a youth (aged 14-29), caregiver, or agency representative/service provider with experience with youth mental health and addictions, we would like to invite you to participate in this online survey asking about your preferences for Integrated Service Hubs (ISHs).

Click here to learn more 

Survey – Mental Health in the Justice System

With a renewed contribution agreement from Health Canada, the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) is seeking to mobilize key stakeholders in the mental healthcare and justice systems to: disseminate best practices, promote evidence-based research, and improve collaboration in the delivery of services for people living with mental illness who are involved with the law.

Please take 5-10 minutes to complete this short survey to provide your perspectives on mental health in the justice system. Deadline for entry is November 12 2019. 

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Mental Health Commission of Canada

Survey – Early childhood mental health

The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) is embarking on a two-year initiative focusing on early childhood mental health, with a specific focus on children six years old and under. The MHCC will be exploring opportunities for creating a more coordinated, supportive mental health system which fosters positive early development, mental health and resiliency in early childhood.

Please take 5-10 minutes to complete this short survey to provide your perspectives on early childhood mental health.

Take the survey 

Our Board Chair, Cynthia Clark, shares her families story with Ottawa Citizen

Read in full

HQO Opportunity

HQO is seeking volunteers interested in joining an Advisory Committee that will provide advice to support the development of a quality standard focused on transitions between inpatient mental health settings and home. You would take part in in developing a new quality standard outlining what quality care looks like for people leaving the hospital after a mental health or addictions related stay. 

Learn More 

CMHA’s 30 branches concerned about negative impacts for clients if “disability” definition changes for ODSP

CMHA branches in Ontario wish to voice concern about the provincial government’s proposed reforms to certain definitions that would impact an individuals’ access to social assistance. In particular, the government’s proposal for “providing clarity to the system around who qualifies for [the Ontario Disability Support Program] in the future and looking at aligning Ontario’s new definition of ‘disability’ more closely with federal government guidelines.” 

Read More

Bradley: Please stop spreading myths and misnomers about suicide

Each year, 4,000 of our loved ones take their own lives. For each death by suicide, 25 people are deeply affected. That means our club inducts about 100,000 new members every year. We don’t want any new recruits. But our numbers haven’t decreased for more than a decade. In some groups, such as young girls, it’s rising steadily.

Read More 

Over a quarter of Canadian men fear discussing mental health at work could risk their job

TORONTO, Sept. 9, 2019 /CNW/ – One in four Canadian men (28 per cent) fear their job could be at risk if they discussed their mental health at work, according to new research by Movember.

Figures released by Movember ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day tomorrow (September 10th) have revealed how despite growing awareness of the male mental health crisis, a third of men said they would be reluctant to open up about their problems in case it had a negative impact on their career.

Read More

Tories launch $6M pilot project to curb youth suicides

The Progressive Conservative government is launching an ambitious $6 million pilot project aimed at ending youth suicides in Mississauga within a decade.

Health Minister Christine Elliott, Education Minister Stephen Lecce, and Children and Community Services Minister Todd Smith are to unveil the “Project Now” mental health plan Tuesday at the YMCA in Mississauga.

Read More

Event aims to end addiction stigma and remember lives lost to overdose

Members of the Harm Reduction Task Force of Hastings-Prince Edward will be holding its first event at Market Square in Belleville on August 28 to mark International Overdose Awareness Day (Aug. 31).  It is happening from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Learn More 

Supporting Student Mental Health in Ontario
An enhanced elementary Health and Physical Education Curriculum

To provide better support for students in Ontario the government has enhanced the Health and Physical Education curriculum for Grades 1 to 8, with a more comprehensive approach on mental health.

Learning about mental health fits naturally in the elementary health and physical education curriculum, where students are learning all about healthy development. In each grade, it is integrated with learning about overall health in a developmentally appropriate way.

Read More 

New framework aims to improve police-to-hospital transitions of individuals in crisis

People in mental health crisis, front-line officers and emergency departments all stand to benefit from a new tool co-developed by CMHA Ontario that can improve the transition of individuals from police to hospital custody.

Read More

Muskoka holds fast to Ontario Works addiction program

Regional government works with partners to retain Ontario Works addiction services initiative programs locally after provincial cancellation.

Ontario Works, a financial and employment support social service offered by the province and delivered here in partnership with the District of Muskoka, provides life stabilization, employment preparation and employment stability programs for clients in temporary need.

Read More

New health model to take partnerships ‘a step further’ in Northumberland

NORTHUMBERLAND — A local proposal to form an Ontario Health Team for the county is one of only 31 selected to move to the next stage of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care approval process.

More than 150 applications were submitted to form teams, which have been introduced by the provincial government as a new model of health-care delivery, intended to improve the co-ordination of care and services for patients and their families/caregivers.

Read More

The Patient Experience in Ontario 2020: What Is Possible?


Words are important. They signal an intention behind a thought. So when Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care publishes an action plan (Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, 2012) that declares itself to be “obsessively patient-centred,” curiosity ensues and terms abound. Patient-centred care, patient engagement and patient experience – all seem to be in the mix in Ontario. This paper will propose a set of definitions for these commonly used terms, examine the progress being made in Ontario towards a more patient-centred healthcare system and suggest where we might aim to be by 2020. 

Read More 

New mobile crisis response team launched in Sarnia

A new emergency response team designed to de-escalating high-pressure mental health situations was launched in Sarnia last week.

The Mental Health Engagement and Response Team, or MHEART, is a mobile crisis intervention team of nurses specializing in mental health care that will work with Sarnia Police, the OPP and Bluewater Health.

Read More 

Pollution could be damaging your brain, research suggests

Scientists are now learning that chronic exposure to even relatively low levels of air pollution may increase people’s risk of developing a whole host of chronic diseases – even those affecting the brain, said the chief of environmental and occupational health at Public Health Ontario.

Read More 

Ontario Improving Access to Timely Care for Patients in Crisis

Creating Better Police-Hospital Transitions to Mental Health and Addictions Services

Today, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Sylvia Jones, Solicitor General, and Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addiction, were at Bluewater Health to announce a new police-hospital transition framework and toolkit to support developing better transitions for people experiencing a mental health crisis across Ontario.

Read More 

We need early mental health care interventions

Research shows that if mental health issues are treated early, better health outcomes are the result. We also know that 70 per cent of mental illness and addiction problems have their onset in childhood and adolescence.

Read More 

‘Alarming’ surge in young adults, women visiting the ER due to alcohol: Ontario study

There has been a significant rise in alcohol-related emergency department visits among women and young adults in Ontario, according to a new study published on Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

The findings were consistent with provincial and national data that show a rise in binge drinking and average weekly alcohol consumption. It’s the latest in a growing number of studies around the world that has found an increase in alcohol-related deaths and ER visits over the last 20 years or so, and highlighted the costly burden on the health-care system.

Read More 

How ‘smart homes’ could help Ontarians with mental illness

A pilot project underway in London is setting patients up with a suite of smart devices — and paving the way for high-tech mental-health treatment.

Read More 

Why residential treatment often fails Ontarians with addictions

Residential facilities are often presented as the solution for substance-use problems. But they don’t work for everyone — and critics say the system needs to change.

Read More

Revoking charter ‘beyond comprehension’: CMHA Nipissing

Margi Woods Clarke, executive director of Canadian Mental Health Association Nipissing Regoinal Branch, issued this statement Tuesday, July 9:

The Canadian Mental Health Association Nipissing Regional Branch was notified by email on Friday, July 5 by the CMHA Ontario Division Board of Directors of their decision to revoke the Branch Charter. 

Read More 

Breaking Down Barriers To Health Care With Web-Based Tools

Champlain BASE is a secure, web-based tool that allows family doctors to quickly access specialist care for their patients, often without referring patients for a face-to-face visit. Through the eConsult service, a family doctor can submit a non-urgent patient-specific question to a specialist – who has seven days to respond.

Read More

Resources for Caregivers is as easy as “Connecting the Dots”

Are you a caregiver looking for resources in Huron Perth?  A new website full of resources for caregivers and healthcare providers in Huron and Perth counties is now live.  The, makes it easier to find information on programs and support services.

Read More

Supreme Court Of Canada Confirms That “Henson” Trusts Are A Valuable Tool
For Families With Dependent Disabled Children Or Relatives

This is the first time that the Supreme Court of Canada has considered Henson Trusts. The Court identified the following key attributes of a Henson Trust:

  1. The trustees of the trust have the ultimate discretion over any distributions that might be made of the trust income or capital;
  2. Although the trustees may have an obligation to consider whether to make distributions out of the trust for a beneficiary’s care and maintenance, they are not actually required to distribute any of the Trust’s assets;
  3. The trust cannot be unilaterally collapsed by the beneficiary.

Read More 

Writer Esmé Weijun Wang on life with the ‘collected schizophrenias’

Writer Esmé Weijun Wang spoke with The Sunday Edition’s guest host Peter Armstrong about her new essay collection, The Collected Schizophrenias.

The award-winning author’s new essay collection, The Collected Schizophrenias, is a rare and illuminating first-person portrait of life with schizoaffective disorder. 

Read More 

Snapshots from Addictions & Mental Health Ontario

Emergency Department Visits: Substance Use and Mental Health

Better Served in the Community – Alternate Level of Care (ALC) Designated People with Mental Health & Addictions Issues

Trans-Inclusion in Mental Health & Addictions Services

Toronto hospital to use AI, data science to better understand mental health

Krembil Centre for Neuroinformatics officially opened Thursday at Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. One of the goals of the new research hub is to combine machine learning and data science, and apply it to neuroscience.

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Policy Options: Opioid addicts deserve more than a safe supply

Canada is reaching the limits of a drug policy centred on harm reduction — a philosophy that aims to limit the harms of substance use without insisting on abstinence. Despite the creation of over 40 supervised consumption sites, opioid overdose deaths have remained staggeringly high: more than 10,300 Canadians lost their lives to an opioid overdose between January 2016 and September 2018, the Public Health Agency of Canada recently reported.

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Mental Health and Addictions Funding for Ottawa

Ontario’s Government for the People is making an additional investment of more than $5.1 million this year to support people, families and caregivers in the Ottawa area living with mental health and addictions challenges.

A Healthy Ontario: Building a
Sustainable Health Care System
2nd Report from the Premier’s Council on Improving Healthcare and Ending Hallway Medicine

June 2019

Premier’s Council Second Report that was developed in consultation with more than 1,500 health care professionals, patients and other stakeholders and partners from across the province, these recommendations will help inform the governments work to build a modern, sustainable and integrated health care system.

Read More by clicking the link below.

MOH 2nd PremiersCouncilReport June 25 2019

New research shows dramatic increase in Ontario teens visiting an ED for self-harm

Adolescents who intentionally harm themselves by poisoning or injuring themselves are at risk for repeated self-harm or suicide. A new CHEO and uOttawa study released today in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry shows a dramatic increase in the number of Ontario adolescents who presented to an emergency department for self-harm between 2009 and 2017. Changing Rates of Self-Harm and Mental Disorders by Sex in Youths Presenting to Ontario Emergency Departments: Repeated Cross-Sectional Study looked at all the emergency department visits by Ontario adolescents aged 13 to 17 for self-harm or mental health concerns from 2003 to 2017, about 170,000 visits each year. 

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Ontario Medical Association weighs in on supervised injection site stigma

The president of the Ontario Medical Association’s reaction to a supervised injection site advocate offering to be with people while they use drugs is that he’s demonstrating “the most humane part of us as a society.”

Dr. Nadia Alam said Brandon Bailey of Windsor must feel alone in his efforts to stop overdose-related deaths from happening, but he isn’t.

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New data available on home care and mental health and addictions

Canadians now have more information about home and community care and mental health and addictions services in their province or territory. Today, the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) released 3 new indicators that show how Canada’s health systems are faring when it comes to how many Canadians

  • Are hospitalized because of harm caused by substance use
  • Seek frequent emergency room (ER) care for help with mental health and/or addictions
  • Have their hospital stay extended because the right home and community care services and supports are not ready

These indicators are the first 3 of 12 chosen by the federal, provincial and territorial health ministries, in consultation with Canadians, to measure access to mental health and addictions services and to home and community care.

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Federal committee announces mental health strategies for agriculture sector

Mental wellness on the farm is gaining momentum as the industry draws attention to the impact silent suffering has on the health of our farms, families and rural communities. The federal government recently released a new report, Mental Health – A Priority for our Farmers, based on a six-month study conducted last year on the mental health challenges facing Canadian producers.

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Schizophrenia Society of Ontario continues to educate, support, advocate.

Nonprofit celebrating 40 years of assistance

The Schizophrenia Society of Ontario is marking 40 years of bringing schizophrenia and psychotic disorder awareness to the forefront and help to individuals affected by the illness in communities across the province.

The nonprofit’s communications manager, Ania Jones, says even today, schizophrenia and psychotic disorders remain insufficiently talked about and often feared.

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Ontario Government Introduces Legislation to Create New Mental Health and Addictions Centre of Excellence and Enable the Province to Sue Opioid Manufacturers

On May 27, 2019, the provincial government introduced Bill 116, Foundations for Promoting and Protecting Mental Health and Addictions Services Act, 2019.  If passed, the legislation will:

  • Establish the Mental Health and Addictions Centre of Excellence (the “Centre of Excellence”) within Ontario Health.
  • Give Ontario a direct cause of action against manufacturers and wholesalers of opioid products to recover the cost of health care benefits caused or contributed to by an “opioid-related wrong”.  This will enable the province to participate in a national class action lawsuit launched by British Columbia against opioid manufacturers and wholesalers.

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Ontario intends to join B.C.’s proposed class action against opioid manufacturers

The Ontario government says it plans to join British Columbia’s proposed class action lawsuit against dozens of opioid manufacturers.

Attorney General Caroline Mulroney said on Monday that the province will introduce legislation that, if passed, would enable Ontario’s participation in the suit launched late last year.

She said Ontario would invest any potential awards won from the litigation into frontline mental health and addiction services.

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OFCAN participates in the “Scaling and sustaining Changing Care” event

Hosted in Toronto by The Change Foundation.

Our Focus: Weaving Caregivers into Ontario’s healthcare system; where partnering with caregivers just becomes how we do things.


Northumberland County health-care stakeholders propose Ontario Health Team model

Health-care providers throughout Northumberland County are partnering on an application to form an Ontario Health Team (OHT).

In a joint release, the health-care stakeholders said they have established an Ontario Health Team of Northumberland collaborative planning committee to submit a model of health-care delivery in response to the provincial government’s request to form OHTs.

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Ontario Successfully Concludes Mental Health Week and Children’s Mental Health Week

Throughout Mental Health Week and Children’s Mental Health Week, which are both concluding, Ontario’s Government for the People highlighted several investments as part of its $174 million in funding for mental health and addictions supports.

Across the government, the $174 million funding includes the following:

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Niagara agencies collaborating on mental health and addiction issues

A recently-formed team aimed at providing more support for people with mental health and addiction issues is serving as a “new entry point” for those waiting to access care.

Marcel Castonguay, executive director of Centre de santé communautaire Hamilton-Niagara, located in Welland, is the head of one of five agencies that have allied to alleviaassist people suffering from mild to moderate mental health problems.

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Study: 1 in 5 Children Have Mental Health Problems 

Around one in five Ontario children have a mental health disorder — about the same percentage as in 1983 — but more people now see a need for professional help, according to a province-wide study out of McMaster University.

The 2014 Ontario Child Health Study, which surveyed 10,802 children aged four to 17, found 18 to 22 per cent of people met criteria for at least one mental disorder. 

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Bill74 Overview by Fasken LLP
Ontario Health Teams: Integrated Governance and Funding

In this bulletin, Fasken looks specifically at the governance models expected for Ontario Health Teams and at how Ontario Health Teams will be funded. 

They first describe what the model is expected to look like at maturity and then how governance and funding considerations form part of the application and implementation process. 

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Ontario Passes Legislation That Puts Patients at the Centre of an Integrated Health Care System

The People’s Health Care Act will help end hallway health care while building a modern, sustainable and integrated health care system. 

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The Ontario Minister of Health
Mental Health & Addictions Roundtable

OFCAN was pleased to participate and represent the voice of caregivers during the Mental Health and Addictions Roundtable hosted by Ontario’s Minister of Health Christine Elliott in Toronto on April 8, 2019.

Screen Shot 2019-04-30 at 10.02.16 PM

St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton assures public there are no disruption to psychiatric emergency services

The letter from St. Joe’s follows a Spectator story that revealed the psychiatrists resigned because they believe working conditions in the psychiatric emergency room at the site on Charlton Avenue East are unsafe and McMaster’s Faculty of Health Sciences pulled its psychiatric residents for the same reason.

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CMHA Mental Health Week

May 6th – 12th, 2019

During CMHA Mental Health Week, lets #GetLoud about what mental health really is.
For the 68th year, Canadians in communities, schools, workplaces and the House of Commons have rallied around CMHA Mental Health Week.

Click Here to #GetLoud and learn more. 

Ontario’s Family Caregivers Require More Flexible Respite Services and Financial Supports

RICHMOND HILL, ON, April 2, 2019 /CNW/ – Many caregivers want to work and to be productive members of the economy but there are very practical limitations.  With 3 out of every 4 trying to balance caregiving responsibilities with paid employment; there is a need to fix the unfair economic burden placed on unpaid family caregivers who make up approximately 30 per cent of Ontario’s total population.

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Ontario Association of Social Workers Welcomes Government’s Focus on Improving Mental Health and Addiction Supports in 2019 Budget

TORONTO, April 12, 2019 /CNW/ – Ontario Association of Social Workers (OASW) is pleased to see a continued commitment by the Government of Ontario to make significant investments in mental health and addictions services in yesterday’s budget.

OASW specifically welcomes an investment of $174 million this year and $3.8 billion in funding over the next 10 years to build a comprehensive mental health and addictions system.

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‘We’re waiting with bated breath’: Anxiety over mental health funding as provincial budget looms.

One in four Windsor parents take off from work to care for a child experiencing anxiety, according to CMHO. Children’s Mental Health Ontario cites that over one in four parents have missed work to care for a child in 2018.

Janet Orchard is the director of the acute psychiatric inpatient program at Maryvale Adolescent and Family Services. The Windsor facility treats children aged 13 to 18 with mental health issues. Orchard agrees families are hurting. 

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Ontario’s ongoing mental health crisis

The ongoing mental health crisis in the Niagara region can no longer be ignored. Beginning in the fall of 2018, a spike in suicides has occurred in the area, with several instances of multiple suicides in the same week.

When proposing ways to solve the ongoing mental health crisis in Niagara, the Region’s acting medical officer of health Dr. Mustafa Hirji stated that the region has typically averaged around 44.4 suicides per year and that the last couple of years have seen a sharp increase.

In recent months, these deaths have notably taken place at the Burgoyne Bridge in St. Catharines.

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We should care more about caregivers

Every day, about 28% of Canadians provide care for a family member, friend or neighbour, and nearly half will do so at some point. Although many Canadians with chronic conditions and disabilities need care, the most common needs requiring caregiver help are age related.1 With 93% of older Canadians living at home, unpaid or informal caregivers provide up to 75% of care services, which equates to about $24–$31 billion in unpaid work annually. We must and can to do more to acknowledge and support informal caregivers in bearing this burden.

Read the CMAJ Report here 

More support needed for unpaid caregivers in Canada

If paid, caregiving provided by family members and friends would add up to more than $24 billion.

Statistics Canada says more than one in four Canadians puts in regular hours providing care for family members and friends with chronic illnesses or disabilities.

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Digital health technology can help integrate Ontario’s ‘disconnected system’

The Orion Health Chronic Care Index, a poll of 1,551 Canadians, found that health care delivery is fragmented into silos that do not communicate well together. People with chronic conditions such as arthritis, diabetes and mental illness/addiction are the biggest users of health care. Nearly one in five Ontarian’s with chronic conditions have experienced medication errors or duplications and more than one in 10 often undergo unnecessary repeat procedures. Additionally, nearly half of Ontarian’s living with chronic conditions describe repeatedly outlining the same information about their condition every time they visit a care provider.

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Ontario government to fund new, comprehensive mental health program for provincial police officers

At the OPP head office in Barrie, Ont., Friday morning, the province’s minister of community safety and correctional services, Sylvia Jones, announced the government has committed to fully funding a new program to be run by the Ontario Provincial Police Association.

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Province to stop funding Ottawa supervised injection site as overdose crisis worsens

After a deadly week in which five people died of overdoses in Ottawa and more than a dozen overdoses were reversed, the province announced Friday it would continue funding three supervised consumption sites in the city, but would no longer support a fourth.

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Ontario begins dismantling local health integration system

Ontario has started dismantling the LHIN (local health integration network) system, abruptly revoking appointments of board members and warning that executives are next.

The 14 LHIN boards of directors have been replaced by a 12-person Ontario Health Agency board that was appointed last week. Unlike LHIN boards, the new super agency board of directors is not required to meet in public. It held its inaugural meeting earlier this week behind closed doors, raising concerns about transparency at a time of seismic shifts in the way health care is delivered in the province.

The moves are part of a major health system shakeup announced by the province earlier this month.

Read more here

Minister’s Patient and Family Advisory Council Releases Declaration of Values

Minister of Health, Christine Elliott, who announced sweeping reform to Ontario’s Health System last week, was in Ottawa Friday to release a “patient declaration of values” for Ontario. That declaration, which calls for a greater role for patients and their families in care decisions, greater transparency and engagement, will help direct changes to the way health care is delivered across the province.

To read the Press Release click here

Study Investigates Potential Brain-Based Biomarker for Schizophrenia

Dr. Clifford Cassidy, a scientist at The Royal’s Institute of Mental Health Research, is part of a research team that has discovered a potentially ground-breaking new way to diagnose schizophrenia. Learn More

Click here to read the official press release from the National Institute of Mental Health.

 Quality Standards for Anxiety Disorders and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder 

Health Quality Ontario has just posted draft quality standards for two mental illnesses that are chronically under diagnosed and under treated in Canada.

These quality standards outline what quality care looks like for people living with an anxiety disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder. It is based on the best evidence, along with input from clinicians, patients and caregivers with lived experience.

Accompanying the standard is a patient guide to help people ask questions and have informed discussions with their health care providers.

Health Quality Ontario welcomes your feedback on both! Click on the links below to share your insight. Please share your feedback by March 18, 2019.

Anxiety Disorders    Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders