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Why Canadian Companies Can’t Ignore the Cost of Mental Illness

SOOKY LEE
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Apr. 12, 2016

This column is part of Globe Careers’ Leadership Lab series, where executives and experts share their views and advice about leadership and management. Follow us at @Globe_Careers. Find all Leadership Lab stories at tgam.ca/leadershiplab.

With public figures such as Clara Hughes leading the way to greater awareness and increased discussion around mental health, it’s still a largely overlooked issue in many workplaces.

Each year one in five Canadians will experience a mental health or addiction problem, and in some areas, such as Ontario, this number is as high as one in four. More worrying, these figures reflect only people who have visited a doctor for a diagnosis. The actual number is likely much higher.

Female PS Workers’s Disability Claims Outnumber Mmen’s two-to-one

Kathryn May
Published on: January 19, 2015

Shannon Bittman is vice president of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada.

Women in the public service go on disability leave at almost twice the rate of men, a problem some experts say should be addressed as part of the governments new disability management scheme.

The federal disability insurance plan, managed by Sun Life Financial, is the biggest in Canada. A Sun Life report obtained by the Citizen shows women have ended up on long-term disability at rates vastly disproportionate to their numbers in the public service for more than a decade, especially for mental health conditions.

Canadians’ Mental-Health Info Routinely Shared With FBI, U.S. Customs

CBC News Posted: Apr 14, 2014 8:49 AM ET

Privacy commissioner Ann Cavoukian found attempted suicide calls uploaded to international database

Ontario’s privacy commissioner has discovered that the mental-health information of some Canadians is accessible to the FBI and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

Ann Cavoukian said Monday that some Ontario police services routinely uploaded attempted suicide calls to the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC), to which U.S. border guards and the FBI have access.

Cavoukian began investigating how U.S. law enforcement had access to such personal information after last fall’s news that some Canadian travellers with a history of mental-health issues had been denied entry into the U.S.

Ensuring Equal Justice for All

John McCamus, National Post | 11/12/13 | Last Updated: 10/12/13 1:30 PM ET

Too many Canadians with mental health challenges are falling through the cracks in our court system..

Those of us who have ever gone through a divorce, struggled with employment issues, or had problems with a landlord, know full well the stress that any of these matters can bring.

Now imagine having to deal with a mental illness on top of everything else.

For a lot of Ontarians with mental health issues, legal problems don’t exist in isolation. Too often there are multiple legal needs that cut across the entire justice system.

Federal Prison Staff Mishandling Mentally Ill Women Inmates: Ombudsman

Howard Sapers, federal corrections ombudsman, makes 16 recommendations on how to change the way the system treats troubled women offenders.

Correctional Service watchdog Howard Sapers reports ongoing concerns about the capacity of Correctional Service of Canada to manage mental illness.
By: Tonda MacCharles Ottawa Bureau reporter, Published on Mon Sep 30 2013

OTTAWA—Six years after the death of Ashley Smith, an investigation by the federal prisons watchdog says guards and managers are still taking a dangerously wrong approach to troubled women offenders.

The damning report is the result of an investigation by the office of Howard Sapers, the federal corrections ombudsman.

Canada’s Elderly at High Risk of Suicide, Can’t Afford Mental Health Care: Experts

Published Monday, July 29, 2013 1:01PM CST

TORONTO — Studies show that Canada’s elderly are at a much higher risk of suicide than adolescents, and there is growing concern among mental health experts that psychological care may be out of reach for most seniors.

Dr. Marnin Heisel, a clinical psychologist and professor at the University of Western Ontario, says lack of public awareness of the issue is a key problem that affects not only the elderly, but their families and the public in general.

“One of the challenges that people face is thinking ‘I’m unique in this, I’m alone, there’s something wrong with me, no one can understand it,’ and then they tend to back away from family, other supports, including professional supports,” Heisel said in an interview.

Mentally Ill are Unlikely to Re-offend; So Why is Canada Toughening Rules for Them, Researcher Asks

Douglas Quan
Edmonton Journal, Mar. 1, 2013

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson’s Bill C-54 flies in the face of the Conservative government’s promise to fight the stigma associated with mental illness, mental health organizations say.

A McGill University researcher says a bill introduced by the Harper government toughening rules for violent offenders deemed “not criminally responsible” due to mental illness left her a bit baffled: Didn’t federal officials bother to look at the data she had collected for them?

Anne Crocker, a professor of psychiatry, told Postmedia News that the data she turned over to the Justice Department’s research division in November showed that this group of offenders is among the least likely to reoffend.

Agony Behind Bars

January 18, 2013

Some inmates with mental health problems “manifest symptoms of their illness through disruptive behaviour, aggression, violence, self-mutilation, suicidal ideation, withdrawal, refusal or inability to follow prison orders or rules,” according to Correctional Investigator of Canada Howard Sapers.

Most Canadians are familiar with the shocking video footage that was presented in a coroner’s court in 2012 as part of an inquest into the Oct. 19, 2007 self-strangulation of teenager Ashley Smith inside a solitary confinement cell at the nation’s only federal women’s prison, the Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener, Ontario.

Shocking Ashley Smith Video Revealed; Inquest Sees Footage of Inmate Shackled, Injected Against Her Will

diana zlomislic 

“How can it get worse?”
Ashley Smith asks the question in a childlike moan.

Aboard a small government plane, 33,000 feet in the air somewhere between Saskatoon and Montreal, the teen inmate can’t fathom a fate worse than what has just befallen her in a period of six minutes.

Her forearms are shackled to the seat’s armrests, a hood of black netting and canvas is pulled over her head of long, wavy brown hair and tied around her neck. The plane’s co-pilot, a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, has just bound her wrists
together with duct tape, restricting her as though in a straitjacket. And she is sitting in her own feces.

Impact of Mental Illness Greater Than Cancer, Infectious Diseases: Report

Heather Loney, Global News : Wednesday, October 10, 2012

TORONTO – A groundbreaking new report sheds light on the immense burden of mental illnesses and addictions, conditions which are often misunderstood, misdiagnosed or ignored.

The overall impact of mental illnesses and addictions is greater than cancer and all infectious diseases, according to a report from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) and Public Health Ontario (PHO).

Opening Eyes, Opening Minds: The Ontario Burden of Mental Illness and Addictions Report states decision-makers and members of the health care system can no longer afford to bear the burden of mental illness.

The Toll of Mental Illness

The Ottawa Citizen July 24, 2012

Comment 4 The scope of mental health problems in this country has been well-documented, the stigma of acknowledging the problem is lessening and more Canadians are coming forward to seek help. That’s good news, but our health care system has not been able to cope with the increased demand.

As with almost everything in health care, governments cite deficits and limited new dollars when asked to explain the inadequacy of mental health services. We know there is a cost to improving mental health, but a new study from the Conference Board of Canada puts a price on not tackling the problem.

Mentally Ill Female Prisoners Treated Cruelly, Inhumanly, Report Finds

Published On Wed May 9 2012

Ashley Smith died at the age of 19 at the Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener, Ont. Correctional Investigator Howard Sapers says a host of “serious failures” at the institution set the stage for the troubled teen’s death.

Diana Zlomislic
Staff Reporter

Canada’s treatment of mentally ill female prisoners amounts to “cruel and inhuman” punishment, a new report finds.

“It is shocking to see the extent of human rights abuses against women at home,” said Renu Mandhane, director of the International Human Rights Program at University of Toronto, which published the report.

Canadian Gov’t Inaction on Mental Health Hurts Economy, Families: Report

Canadian Gov’t Inaction on Mental Health Hurts Economy, Families: Report

Irene Ogrodnik, Global News : Monday, May 07, 2012 11:00 AM

“Most experts agree that the largest barrier to exist when it comes to mental health issues in general is stigma—the dirty word of mental health.

Often times the media portrayal of mental illness does not depict the truth and builds on the stigma,” says Cannon. “In regular news reports, we always hear over and over again about people with mental illnesses who have committed heinous crimes. There is no balance in reporting the people who have done amazing things who also have a diagnosis of mental illness—it is a completely imbalanced picture that we send to people every day.”

Cuts Shut Down Mental Health Monitoring and Key Resource for Suicide Prevention for Canadian Forces

Unions Call on Minister MacKay to Reverse Decision

OTTAWA, ONTARIO, May 03, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX)

Despite widespread concerns with the incidence of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and suicide rates for members of the Canadian Forces (CF), notifications received by unions representing Department of National Defence (DND) health professionals indicate that federal budget cuts will shut down a key unit in the department that monitors mental health and contributes to suicide prevention.

Canadian Technology Improving the Lives of the Mentally Challenged

Posted by Sarah McMahon-Sperber on 2012-04-26 12:30:00 PM

If apps and devices have the power to make our lives easier and more enjoyable, they also have the power to change people’s lives. Putting new technology to good use, the Société de Transport de Laval, which manages the city’s public transit system just North of Montreal, is working on an app aimed at travellers with mental disabilities and pervasive development disorders.

Not Myself Today: Every Canadian Encouraged to Pledge Support and Map their Mood this April

Partners for Mental Health launches inaugural campaign, ‘Not Myself Today,’ to transform the way Canadians think about, act towards and treat mental health

TORONTO, ONTARIO, Apr 02, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) — Editors Note: There is a photo associated with this press release, follow link below to view.

This April, ‘Not Myself Today’ will mobilize Canadians from coast-to-coast to join a social movement with the aim of transforming the way we think about, act towards and support mental health. This campaign will encourage each and every Canadian to sign an online pledge at notmyselftoday.ca in support of mental health.

Saskatchewan to Close One of Last Remaining Institutions for Mentally Disabled

Saturday, February 25, 2012 7:23 PM

MOOSE JAW, Sask. – The Saskatchewan government has announced it will close one of the few remaining large facilities in Canada for housing the mentally disabled.

The Valley View Centre in Moose Jaw is a sprawling complex of buildings built in 1955 for a population of 1,500 people.

There are just over 200 living there now.

Social Services Minister June Draude says the facility will be replaced with new services over the next four years, including community-based group homes and expanded day programs.

The centre stopped admitting new residents in 2002.

Facebook Takes a Toll on Your Mental Health

By Stephanie Pappas
LiveScience
Posted Feb 7, 2012

Facebook’s initial public offering of stock is likely to make a lot of developers and designers of the site very wealthy. But for many users, frequent Facebooking may not be so beneficial.

According to three new studies, Facebook can be tough on mental health, offering an all-too-alluring medium for social comparison and ill-advised status updates. And while adding a friend on the social networking site can make people feel cheery and connected, having a lot of friends is associated with feeling worse about one’s own life.

Accommodating Bipolar Disorder in the Workplace, Part I: Disclosure and Stigma

Published January 28, 2012 | By Daniel Bader, Ph.D.

Bipolar disorder, as well as being a mental illness, is also a disability. It is protected in the United States under the Americans With Disabilities Act, while in Canada it is protected under provincial Human Rights Acts. Employers are not only obliged to ignore bipolar disorder when considering hiring decisions, but they are obliged to provide what are called “reasonable accommodations” for people with bipolar disorder. In other words, they are obliged to take up to moderately difficult, active steps in order to ensure that people with bipolar disorder are able to perform their jobs.

Mental Illness Rampant, Untreated in Jails Says Union

Published on January 26, 2012
Teresa Wright

The national correctional workers union voiced strong opposition to the federal Conservatives’ omnibus crime bill Thursday, raising concern about the growing number of Canadians with mental illnesses in jail.

James Clancy, president of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE), said the union believes Bill C-10 is backward and will not help reduce crime in Canada.

“The bill itself is fatally flawed and is simply bad public policy,” Clancy said.

“The evidence demonstrates it doesn’t result in a reduction of crime rates and it doesn’t make our communities any safer.”