by Dr. Donna Ferguson, Psychologist with the WSIB Psychological Trauma Program
This week is National Addiction Awareness Week and I would like to focus on those who struggle with co-occuring mental illness and addiction – called concurrent disorders.
This can mean experiencing depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, PTSD, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, or another mental illness, while also experiencing an alcohol use disorder, cannabis dependence, or even problem gambling. These co-occuring illnesses may be active at the same time or at different times, in the present or in the past, and their symptoms may vary in intensity and form over time. Read more
Lilian Riad-Allen, Project Manager of CAMH’s Tobacco Free Initiative speaks to a client who applauds the move.
I was contacted by a former client named Sean who felt compelled to share his tobacco story. Sean said he was interested in sharing his story because he believes that quitting smoking is the best thing a person can do for their health, especially someone on income support. Read more
By Gursharan Virdee, Research Analyst, Schizophrenia Division, Complex Mental Illness Program at CAMH
Toronto, the cultural mosaic, provides for a rich and diverse community life. A significant proportion of Toronto’s residents are immigrants, with 12% identifying as South Asian, 11% as Chinese and 9% as African Caribbean (City of Toronto, 2013). For some this is an environment which provides everything needed to thrive, but sadly a significant number are excluded and overlooked from these resources.
The Northwest Toronto Service Collaborative is a group of service providers and community memberswho are finding ways to improve services for children, youth and families with mental health and addictions needs in North York and City of York.
“The meaningful engagement of individuals with lived experience changes everything. True or false?”
That is the question that was asked of four members of the Northwest Toronto Service Collaborative’s Youth Advisory Group.
These young people have been offering their input into a systems change initiative in North York and City of York called Peer Positive. This initiative is working to support community service providers to engage ‘peers’ as equal partners in the design, delivery, and review of services.
Rory Culkin delivers perhaps the performance of the festival in Gabriel.
By Jeff Wright, Program Manager for Rendezvous with Madness Film Festival, and Media Arts Manger at Workman Arts. He also programs for Canadian Music Week, Calgary Underground Film Festival, and CUFF.Docs.
This week, the staff of Workman Arts sets up temporary shop at TIFF Bell Lightbox for its annual film festival, Rendezvous with Madness. RWM has been exploring and encouraging dialogue about mental illness and addiction through the medium of film for 22 years, and we just announced that our opening night screening of Rocks in My Pockets (the first ever feature-length animated film about mental illness) has sold out.
By Lori Spadorcia, Vice President, Communications and Partnerships at CAMH
When the news came across the twitterverse, I was in an Executive Leadership Team meeting. It seemed unreal for Canada but soon after the emails started to file in one by one – subject line: “I’m ok, in lockdown but safe”. Several of my former colleagues and friends were keeping in touch – no doubt also hoping to receive information from the outside to understand the situation around them. I worked on Parliament Hill for a decade – it was an absolute privilege and it still feels like a home to me. In fact, I remember being in those exact hallways during another horrific event – 9/11.
Ironically, I was to attend an event that afternoon with the Prime Minister and Malala Yousafzai on her first visit to Canada – Malala herself a symbol of the global fight against terrorism.
By CAMH with thanks to Dr. Robert Levitan
This Sunday marks the end of Daylight Savings Time, and most Canadians will set back their clocks by an hour as we get ready for the shorter days of winter. For many, the change in time can be beneficial – we’re gifted an extra hour to catch up on sleep after a busy fall cleanup or some raucous Halloween parties.
However, it also signals shorter days are on their way, which becomes problematic for those who are susceptible to Seasonal Affective Disorder. Approximately 2-5% of the population will become severely affected by seasonal depression, while another 10-15% will experience a milder form, and a larger part of the population will feel a mild sense of unease in the form of winter blues.
By Sireesha Bobbili, Special Advisor / Project Coordinator, Office of Transformative Global Health, Social & Epidemiological Research, CAMH
Did you know that CAMH has an office dedicated to global mental health?
Dr. Jürgen Rehm
By Dr. Jürgen Rehm, Director of the Social and Epidemiological Research Department at CAMH
Today CAMH released a new Cannabis Policy Framework . This document examines the evidence on the harms associated with cannabis use and, based on that evidence, recommends legalization with strict regulation as the most effective means of reducing the harms associated with its use. Read more
By Joan Chang, CAMH communications coordinator
Queen West’s sidewalks were packed with art lovers last Saturday for Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, an annual event running from sundown on Saturday to sun up on Sunday, where the downtown core is taken over by artists of all disciplines. Read more
By Dr. Sandy Simpson, CAMH Chief of Forensic Psychiatry
Patients at CAMH who have been found to be “Not Criminally Responsible” for their actions because of mental illness are admitted under an order of the Ontario Review Board.
The goal is recovering their mental health and returning safely and successfully to the community. Read more
World Suicide Prevention Day is September 10th. The World Health Organization has just released a global report– a call to action on this matter of life and death.In Canada, the numbers tell a sad story: Read more
By Lana Popova, Senior Scientist, Social and Epidemiological Research Department at CAMH
We live in a society where alcohol is the single most widely accepted substance. According to the Canadian Alcohol and Drug Use Monitoring Survey, among the general population 15 years of age and older, approximately 74 per cent of women consume alcohol in Canada. Read more
by Michael-Jane Levitan, Special Advisor in the Office of Transformative Global Health at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
(L to R) Ati Max Beauvoir and Akwatu Khenti
Upon touching down in Port-au-Prince, our Office of Transformative Global Health (OTGH) team travelled across bumpy roads, past UN headquarters, and headed towards the mountains. Read more
Photo: Students, by Bart Everson on Twitter, CC
By Jessica Bodach, National Youth Advisory Committee (NYAC) Member
Youth to Youth – Building Resilience
Back to school season is looming as the summer quickly approaches its end. Whether you are dreading your return to school or welcoming it there is no time like the present to prepare yourself for a new school year. Here are five strategies to keep in mind that can help build your mental and emotional resilience as you face a new school year: Read more
People with depressive or anxiety disorders often combine complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies with medications to self-treat symptoms. CAMH’s Dr. Arun Ravindran, Chief of the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Service, and Tricia da Silva, researcher in the program discuss their recent review of natural practices and mental illness.
by Amanda DeGasperis and Stephanie DeGasperis – CAMH Foundation supporters, and organizers of “Stretch the Soul,” an annual yoga event in support of CAMH.
A great turnout at our third annual Stretch the Soul fundraiser in support of CAMH
Whether you are an expert at downward dog or a novice learning how to establish a stable butterfly pose, yoga is good for the mind and great for the soul.
On July 13, we were inspired by the incredible show of support for CAMH and mental health when 80 participants came out for a day of yoga at the third annual “Stretch the Soul” event in support of CAMH.
When we started the event, our mission was to raise awareness and end stigma towards mental illness, and we’re happy to say that it continues each year.
Like millions of people around the world, we have been deeply touched by mental illness. Change is within our grasp and we wanted to make a difference with an event to support the incredible work being done at CAMH.
If you couldn’t make it out to our day of yoga, there are many ways you can keep healthy and happy this summer and throughout the year. Read more
by Stephen Kish
We all know about the long wait times when we visit family doctors in Canada.
This is a special problem in psychiatry as most psychiatric help is provided by these first line treatment providers.
Now we are told that physician “burnout” (exhaustion, cynicism, and low professional accomplishment) will only make matters worse and the lines longer.
Carolyn Dewa, who heads the CAMH Centre for Research on Employment and Workplace Mental Health, and Dr. Philip Jacobs from the Institute of Health Economics in Alberta recently published an estimate in BMC Health Services Research of the percentage of physicians in Canada who are suffering from burnout and the consequences associated with this stress.
by Lola Teelucksingh, Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator
Are those iced-cappuccinos, juicy BBQ burgers, or late night trips to Dairy Queen taunting you?
Are you having difficulty staying on track with your healthy eating during the dog days of summer?
It’s not easy to make healthy choices when there are so many delectable summer treats available. Here are some simple tips to help you make healthy choices, while still enjoying the occasional summer treat! Read more
by Christina Zavaglia, Registered Dietitian
Summer is here and with it comes energy and a sense of renewal.
Our summer season is far too short but maintaining a balanced diet can help you improve your mood and energy levels too – ensuring you make the most of the summer days.
Food provides us with energy in the form of calories, obtained from carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Here are some ways food affects our mood. Read more
by Larry Meikle
My name is Larry Meikle. I’m a retired Ontario civil servant and a student in the University of King’s College Master of Fine Arts program in Creative Nonfiction Writing, where I’m in the process of writing my first book.
This past year I’ve felt better than I have for decades. I would not be a graduate student today if I were feeling the way I did even a year ago, had I not participated in CAMH’s IMPACT study on mental health problems and DNA.
I was diagnosed with clinical depression in 1997 and since then I’ve been taking antidepressants, with some degree of success. I tried going off my meds on a couple of occasions in the hope I could battle depression without them, but came to the painful realization I couldn’t.
A couple of years ago the antidepressant I had been taking for so many years suddenly stopped working for me. It “pooped out,” as the saying goes. My family doctor started me on a new medication, and that seemed to go reasonably well. Whenever I saw my doctor I’d tell him I was “getting by,” but anxiety was still a problem and I felt I could be doing much better.
So you wouldn’t believe how excited we’re getting at CAMH about being YARN BOMBED!
CAMH’s Queen Street site is lucky enough to be the target of a community event: 100 in 1 Day, a citizen driven-festival to unite people across the city to make Toronto a better place by creating acts of urban change.
The event is held in several Canadian cities, with Toronto events taking place this Saturday, June 7.
There are all types of creative projects happening on Saturday – the yarn bombing at CAMH is one of 170 events taking place across the city. The interventions are intended to raise awareness of urban and social issues, inspire ideas, and motivate leaders to consider new approaches to old problems.
by Irene Boldt, registered nurse at CAMH and Nursing Practice Council Chair
In this digital age I sometimes feel a little analog.
I doubt I’m alone in feeling this way, but with new technology everywhere, sometimes I feel like I’m all thumbs. I have to admit that my discomfort with technology leads me to perceive it as a barrier to the nursing care I provide. I have never figured out how to invite technology into my practice in a way that makes sense.
But I know technological change is inevitable, so as we prepare for the transition to our new electronic health system (called I-CARE – and named by a nurse!), I am going to put my thumbs aside, assume a ‘glass-half-full’ perspective, and make every effort to embrace the benefits of technology.
By Joan Chang, Communications Coordinator with Public Affairs at CAMH
You likely know obesity is a health problem for the general Canadian population. What you may not know is that obesity is of particular concern for people with mental illness.
I spoke with Dr. Rohan Ganguli, who has been studying obesity and mental health for 15 years. He’s Senior Scientist at CAMH, Professor of Psychiatry with the Faculty of Medicine and Canada Research Chair in Chronic Disease Management at the University of Toronto. He’s one of the organizers and speakers at this year’s Mental Health and Obesity Conference (pdf), on May 14 in Toronto. Read more