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

Unions Call on Minister MacKay to Reverse Decision


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 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
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.”

Guess Who Funds Biggest Project Ever to House the Homeless? Stephen Harper

By Heather Scoffield Mon Dec 26 2011

TORONTO — The government’s response to the Attawapiskat housing crisis may well have underscored Stephen Harper’s reputation for his hard line rather than his heart, with his focus on the aboriginal reserve’s financial problems, not its social ones.

But in other parts of the country, the prime minister’s government is also quietly bankrolling one of the largest social pilot projects ever seen in Canada, paying generously for cutting-edge research that is changing the lives of hundreds of homeless people.

The project may scream out for a new, national social program — the kind that has been anathema to Harper in the past.

Disadvantaged Pay a High Price

Studies show as family income decreases, child’s risk of disorder increases 
By Gwendolyn Richards, Postmedia News October 8, 2011  

Robbie Babins-Wagner, CEO of the Calgary Counselling Centre, in a room used for treating children, says those who are vulnerable financially are also vulnerable to mental illness.

As school started for another year last fall and students readjusted to busy schedules, Mary had more to worry about than getting her teenage daughter out the door in time for the day’s first class.

Physically beaten – and beaten down – at the hands of her suicidal daughter, who was then 14, Mary had her daughter hospitalized.

Draft Report Calls for Reduction of Suicide Stigma

A wall with the word ‘madness’ scratched into it at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto, Ontario, July 23, 2009. The Mental Health Commission of Canada says “gatekeepers” need better training in order to promote mental health.

Joseph Brean 
Jul 19, 2011 – 6:00 AM ET | Last Updated: Jul 18, 2011 10:05 PM ET

Canada needs a “dynamic, broadly based social movement” to improve its citizens’ mental health, a “whole-of-government” approach that unites everyone from political leaders to “experts by experience,” according to a national strategy five years in the making.

Henderson: No Justice for the Intellectually Disabled

Published On Fri Jun 10 2011
By Helen Henderson
Disabilities Reporter

A young woman tells one of her teachers that her stepfather plays games with her. These “games” involve touching her genitals and breasts. The teacher reports the stepfather to the police. After an investigation, the stepfather is charged with sexual assault.

When the case goes to court, the evidence shows that the stepfather had a photograph of a young bare-breasted woman in a trunk, along with other photographs of a pornographic nature.

The stepfather argued the photo of his stepdaughter was taken innocently.

Manitoba Creates Mental Health Court

CBC News
Posted: Jun 7, 2011 12:00 PM ET

The Manitoba government is spending more than $600,000 to establish a mental health court.

The specialized court, which will likely begin hearing cases in later 2011, will work with people whose mental-health issues are the likely cause of their
criminal behaviour, said Justice Minister Andrew Swan.

“This innovative new court will help individuals with mental illness get the help they need and also help to increase the safety of our communities,” Swan
said at a press conference Tuesday.

Parents Demand Better Care Than Institutions Can Provide for Vulnerable

By Michael Tutton, The Canadian Press – May 22, 2011

SYDNEY, N.S. — In the quiet moments after Myrtle Eveleigh visits her 20-year-old autistic grandson, she sometimes sits in her car and weeps.

Last September, he was locked alone in a constantly lit room at the Braemore adult residential centre in Sydney, N.S., for 15 days with occasional breaks.

A provincial investigation said videos constantly monitored him. On several occasions, he urinated in a corner when he was unable to get a staff member’s attention.

“I’d like to learn why this happens,” Eveleigh says of her grandson’s confinement, which is the subject of an independent review ordered by the Department of Community Services.

Ashley Smith Trapped in Vicious Cycle Before Death, Inquest Told

By Linda Nguyen, Postmedia News May 17, 2011   

A long-awaited coroner’s inquest into how a mentally troubled teenager Ashley Smith fatally strangled herself while in an Ontario prison was set to get
underway Monday, nearly four years following her death.  

TORONTO — Before she was transferred into the federal prison system where she ultimately died, 19-year-old Ashley Smith had spent years of her young life at a New Brunswick youth facility under restraints and in isolation, a police detective testified Tuesday at a coroner’s inquest looking into the troubled
woman’s death.

Speaker’s Corner: A Mental-Health Lawyer’s Wake-Up Call to the Profession

Monday, May 02, 2011 | Written by Sarah Shartal |

In September, the federal prison ombudsman wrote that Corrections Canada was warehousing people with mental-health disabilities and that “Canadian penitentiaries are becoming the largest psychiatric facilities in the country.”

Then in October, the Toronto Star discussed how an accused person’s mental health had deteriorated to the point where he pushed children in front of a
subway car. At the same time, our society puts people with mental-health disabilities and addictions in municipal shelters. On average, my clients have
been homeless for seven years before I meet them.

Quebec’s Psychologists in Crisis

Poor Public Sector wages and overwork are driving many into private practice – a trend they say is killing mental health care access 

By Peggy Curran, The Gazette April 25, 2011   
Concordia master’s student Jessica Senn is one of hundreds across the province caught in the middle of a labour dispute that has clinical psychologists
refusing to train incoming students. Senn was lucky enough to secure a position in Ontario.  

Need to see a psychologist at a Quebec hospital, clinic or school?

Be prepared to wait, up to a year or two, depending on what’s wrong with you – or how willing and able to fork out the $100 to $150 an hour it costs to
go private.

Mental Health Issues at Root of Most Youth Crime, Conference Told

By Louisa Taylor, Ottawa Citizen March 24, 2011   

Teachers, police and probation officers will be able to serve troubled youth better if they remember the tremendous overlap between mental health problems and the anti-social behaviour they see, a conference on child and youth mental health heard yesterday.

Dr. Alan Leschied, a psychologist and professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Western Ontario, opened the day-long conference at the
Confederation Education Centre by addressing the dangers of criminalizing youth with mental health disorders. Citing statistics on youth in detention,
Leschied said his research has found that 60 per cent of males and two-thirds of females in youth detention facilities meet the criteria for one or more
diagnosable psychiatric disorders. Half of the kids in detention have a substance abuse problem.

Mental-Health Issues in Canadian Prisons at All-Time High: Expert

By Larry Kusch, Winnipeg Free Press March 24, 2011
In federal prisons, Bradford said, mental-health staff do the best they can, but inmates wind up being treated similarly to outpatients in the community.
WINNIPEG — The numbers of people with serious mental disorders in Canada’s prisons and jails are “higher than they’ve ever been” and they continue to rise, an Ontario forensic psychiatrist says.

Dr. John Bradford told a national mental health conference in Winnipeg on Wednesday that the problem is not our country’s alone — it exists in the United States and around the world.

National Post Editorial Board: Yet More Proof That Veterans Deserve Better

January 4, 2011 – 12:55 pm

A study presented by two nursing professors from the University of Western Ontario casts a disturbing spotlight on the state of mental health care for military veterans. The study monitored homeless populations in Toronto and London, Ont., and found that many of these individuals formerly served in our armed forces.

If the findings hold true on a national scale, the authors warn, there could well be thousands of veterans living on our streets.

This is unacceptable, and raises more questions about the already-troubled agency tasked with looking after the needs of our once-warriors, the Department of Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC).

Case of Ashley Smith to be Heard in Coroner’s Court

Updated: Sun Oct. 31 2010 1:38:09 PM
The Canadian Press

TORONTO — Merely examining snippets of a teenage inmate’s troubled life in the months before a strangulation attempt that went too far will not provide
enough context to prevent similar deaths, the coroner’s courts will hear Monday.

In the last 11 months of her life Ashley Smith was transferred 17 times between prisons and other facilities. The transfers spanned four of the five regions of the Correctional Service of Canada.

Her family argues the transfers were done perhaps to get around a rule that inmates be kept in solitary confinement for a maximum 60 days without a psychiatric assessment. A transfer resets that clock.