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How You Can Help Bring out the Benefits of Brain Stimulation


What happens when medication or psychotherapy prove to be ineffective for those with mental illnesses such as depression? One impressive treatment being used  at CAMH is rTMS (or Repetitive  Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation), a non-invasive technique that uses magnetic impulses to stimulate centres of the brain associated with depression, providing benefits to clients without some of the side effects of other interventions.

Up until now, rTMS has only been available to those fortunate enough to participate in research studies. People like Fahad, Jane and Gail, who have shared their stories of recovery. With your help, this may be about to change. Read more

Turning Darkness into Light: The Journey of Recovery from Addiction

Teenager depressed sitting inside a dirty tunnel

By Dr. Jan Malat, Interim Chief, Addictions Division

Two years ago this December when the power outage left our city in darkness, my patient was alone with nowhere to go. Like many families of addicted patients, his family had distanced itself after many years of relapses and broken promises. He ended up spending several days with his neighbours, playing board games with their children under the candlelight. My patient experienced a level of contentment and connection he hadn’t felt in years. He was deeply moved by this experience and said very poetically, “we turned the darkness into light.”   Read more

Building Resilience


By Dr. Katy Kamkar, Clinical Psychologist, Work, Stress and Health Program, CAMH

Katy-KamkarMost if not all of us have experienced a variety of difficult and upsetting events and circumstances in our lives such as an illness, death of a loved one, financial difficulties, divorce, work related stressors. A range of emotions result from those difficult and upsetting events such as sadness, shock, anger, anxiety, feeling hopeless and feeling helpless.

How do we cope with those difficult life events? What can we do? Read more

Films at Rendezvous with Madness touch a nerve and get to the heart


By Elizabeth Scott, Toronto freelance writer and editor

This year’s Rendezvous with Madness film festival is making its mark in Toronto once again. For 23 years, this outstanding Canadian event has communicated with heart the idea of madness and addictions through the art of film.

Last year my son, Byron, and I were honoured to take part in one of the discussion panels, after the motion picture Gabriel screened. The film looked at the experience of a young man, played by Rory Culkin, as he and his family were coming to grips with the impact of his mental illness on their relationships, with each other, extended family and friends.

Our family was in the audience that night, brother Ben, stepdad David, and Byron’s fiancé Eireann. With this year’s RWM in full swing, we were reminded of public perceptions and the barriers to understanding that exist. So we decided to sit down together and talk about how artistic events, like RWM, are working to increase general insight into the impact mental illness has, on families and in the culture.

Here are a few snippets from our conversation: Read more

Celebrating Life, Remembrance and Mental Health

FlowersBy Nazila Isgandarova, Spiritual Care Provider, CAMH Spiritual Care Service

The following is a reflection taken from a recent Celebration of Life service at CAMH.

When we have had a loss of a loved one or the one we cared for, we experience different feelings including loneliness, sadness, apprehension, anxiety and depression. Nevertheless, with a high risk of mental and physical health problems for a long time afterward, the sadness or grief we experience in our lives also reminds us the significance of relationships in our lives, especially when the sun goes down for someone who we love.  We come to realization that our relationship with the person who we loved and cared for had its own special level of responsiveness, emotional attachment, quality and was unique.  Read more

Movies and Madness

RWM-Juanicas-blog2By Geoff Pevere, Teacher, Critic, Broadcaster, Author, and Program Director of the 2015 Rendezvous With Madness Film Festival

To be perfectly honest, connecting movies and madness has never been much of a stretch for me. Judging by an oft-repeated anecdote wherein I, barely aged five, shifted seats several times in order to confront the spectacle from every possible angle, I went crazy for the medium almost from the first moment my father took me to see 101 Dalmations in 1962.

In that sense, the opportunity handed me this year to act as Program Director of the 23rd annual Rendezvous With Madness Film Festival is an organic (and very lucky) extension of my own issues: I’ve never approached the movies with anything less than an all-consuming personal obsession, and the particular allure movies about unhinging minds have held for me now makes perfect sense. I think madness is at the core of what movies do best, and it was only a matter of time before they got their due for doing something the world has only recently begun to catch up with: looking into the mirror of our own mental health experiences and confronting the distortions of our own perceptions. Read more

The ballots are counted. Is it a new day for mental health in Canada?

CdnFlagBy Lori Spadorcia, Vice President, Communications and Partnerships at CAMH

After a lengthy federal election campaign, change is in the air this week as the Trudeau government begins its tenure. Read more

Straight Outta Cambridge


Inspiration and innovation can come in many forms and through seemingly divergent avenues.

For Cambridge University’s Dr. Akeem Sule and Dr. Becky Inkster, common ground was found in psychiatric research, but it was a love for music that truly inspired them to work together on an eclectic yet esoteric project. And so Toronto’s Royal York Hotel played host to a unique event as part of the World Congress of Psychiatric Genetics, as the pair spoke to a diverse crowd of psychiatrists, researchers, musicians, dancers, people with lived experience and urban music aficionados. Read more

Sugar, Sugar Everywhere….


By Christina Zavaglia, Dietitian at CAMH

Sugar has been a hot nutrition topic in the press over the last several months. The media has focused specifically on added sugar, which has been linked to obesity and dental cavities. There is also newer research suggesting that high intakes of added sugar could be a risk factor for depression, however more research is needed to confirm these findings.

In a world where we have access to so much information, here is some information you can trust about added sugar, where it comes from, and what you can do to reduce your intake to stay healthy. Read more

The Art of Letting Go: My Battle with Generalized Anxiety Disorder

By Deanna Orlando, NYAC member

Letting go is a process. It will not happen overnight, but it will happen.

My descent into Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) began during my first year in university. As a freshman, I was constantly reminded that this is supposed to be the ‘time of my life.’ In reality, it wasn’t. My first two years as an undergrad,were unbearable. It was the definitive moment when I allowed my mind to bully my body into believing it must carry the burden of its worries. Read more

Achieving Work-Life Balance


By Dr. Katy Kamkar, Clinical Psychologist, Work, Stress and Health Program, CAMH

Katy-KamkarA majority of Canadians report feeling overwhelmed with their numerous roles. This is not surprising as most of us occupy various roles with work, family and friends and our community.

Working on a healthy balance between our work and personal life is essential as it helps to feel less stressed, less anxious, less exhausted and thus feel happier, more productive and satisfied in both our personal and occupational lives.

Recognizing some key signs of work life imbalance is important. Read more

Youth Mental Health & Spirituality

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By Putri Klismianti, NYAC member and Robin Simpson, Mental Health Public Speaker & NYAC member

Robin Simpson is a 24-year-old mental health advocate. Aspiring to share her story of having lived with depression and anxiety, she serves as a Mental Health Public Speaker with T.A.M.I Durham and an active member of the National Youth Advisory Committee of CAMH. She works in the education sector, grows up in a Christian household, and a blogger via her website

I recently asked Robin the following questions about her take on mental health and spirituality. Read more

Raising the Voices of South Asians in the Mental Health Community


By Gursharan Virdee, Research Analyst, Schizophrenia Division, Complex Mental Illness Program at CAMH

Mrs. Singh is a 45 year old South Asian woman. As a child, she would hear her parents tell her, “You are lazy” or “possessed”, and nobody in her community was able to identify or obtain much-needed support for her. Nobody understood that her paranoid thoughts may be a sign of a mental illness. And while Mrs. Singh always knew that she was not ‘paagal’ (‘crazy’ in Punjabi), she had been labelled so by her own family, as well as her husband’s.

It was only five years ago, with the support of her husband, that she was able to identify her experience as a mental illness and begin working with a psychiatrist. Read more

Raising Awareness about Autism: Some tips for clinicians

Autism_awarenessBy Dr. Yona Lunsky, Clinician Scientist in the Dual Diagnosis Service and Director of the Health Care Access Research and Developmental Disabilities (H-CARDD) Program

October is Autism Awareness Month in Canada – an  opportunity for mental health care providers to become more aware of what Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is, and perhaps more importantly, what it feels like to have ASD and need mental health supports. I think it is important for us to discuss these very issues. Today I offer some suggestions for health care providers on how we can make mental health services a little more “autism friendly”. Read more


LaptopBy Deana Ruston, National Youth Advisory Committee Member

Saturday, October 10th, the final day of Mental Illness Awareness Week, marks World Mental Health Day, and we would like to write about an event that brought tons of attention to the role of cyberbullying in death by suicide of young people. Many people around the world know about the young woman named Amanda Todd from British Columbia. She had been relentlessly cyberbullied by an individual based in the Netherlands. This form of cyberbullying (the individual consistently revealing a topless photo of Amanda) caused waves in her life. She was bullied, harassed and even assaulted by classmates even after switching schools multiple times.

Amanda died by suicide on October 10, 2012. She was 15 years old. Read more

Role Models: Because Mental Illness & Success Collide

mike-brcic1By Andriana Vinnitchok, Project Team Member with the CAMH National Youth Advisory Committee

Would it surprise you that some would say a mental illness is “the best thing that can happen to you”?
“But it’s killing me;
I feel like the world is caving in on me;
How can this possibly be the best thing that has ever happened to me?”
This is the response of a prospering entrepreneur in the midst of a mental health crisis.

So how can such a contradiction exist? I mean, as the word mental illness implies – it’s an ‘illness’ so we should stay in bed, right. However consider this – one in five Canadians, which is one in five people you know or saw today, may develop a mental illness on a spectrum of severity in any given year. This means that there are approximately 7 billion Canadians persevering through challenges associated with a mental illness. It can be affecting anyone – from the waitress at your local restaurant, to your doctor, or the neighbourhood electrician or even the CEO of your favorite video game company. And you wouldn’t even know; because mental illness does not discriminate. Read more

Pixar’s Inside Out gets it Right-side Up!


By Corine Carlisle, Clinical Head, Youth Addiction and Concurrent Disorders Service

“Do you ever look at someone and wonder what is going on inside their head?”

I do.

In fact, you could say that as a psychiatrist it is my job to wonder what is going on in people’s heads!

So when Pixar’s new movie release, Inside Out opened with this question, I was hooked and also a little cautious.  How was an animated movie going to navigate this delicate and intricate subject? Read more

Understanding Obsessive Compulsive Disorder through Research


By Sophia Attwells, Graduate Student at CAMH, Art by Janice Liu

CAMH and University of Toronto researchers are leading the way in discovering biological markers that may characterize obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), a mental illness that affects at least 2.5% of Canadians. OCD is a form of anxiety that manifests in repetitive thoughts and subsequent rituals. It is a serious and lifelong mental illness with 75% of people with OCD developing the illness before the age of 24.   Read more

Beyond Concurrent Disorders: The power of faith


By Donna Alexander, Social Worker in CAMH’s Substance Abuse Program for African Canadian and Caribbean Youth (SAPACCY)

“How do you continue to do this job?”

This is a question that people often ask when they find out what I do for a living. This is not because my job poses any sort of immediate danger or risk, but rather, due to the amount of stress it can place on a person. For the past ten years I have been working in an ethno-specific service with Black youth that are concurrently disordered.   Read more

A Primer on Cross-Cultural Issues in Mental Health


By Dr. Donna Ferguson, Psychologist with the WSIB Psychological Trauma Program

Attitudes toward mental illness vary among individuals, families, ethnicities, cultures, and countries. Cultural backgrounds can often influence individual’s beliefs about mental illness and shape their attitudes toward being mentally ill or their view of individuals suffering with mental illness. It can also be an influencing factor in how people experience stigma related beliefs about mental illness. It is therefore important to understand individual and cultural beliefs related to mental illness in order to implement effective approaches to overall assessment and care. Read more

Teaching and Learning – A LEARN and Design Exchange Collaboration


By Natalie Yiu, Occupational Therapist at CAMH’s LEARN

I work at CAMH’s Learning, Employment, Advocacy, Recreation, Network (LEARN) program, which serves clients who have experienced an episode of psychosis, and is aimed at re-integrating them back into the the community. We strive to offer clients a varied experience, through programs that are thought-provoking, challenging, and fun – while also improving their mental health and well-being.

So when Brigitte Huard, Programming Coordinator at Design Exchange, approached me about doing a community outreach program with LEARN to enhance access to arts and design, it was a dream come true! Read more

Using Creative Arts to Train Haitian Spiritual Leaders on Therapy for “Crooked” Thoughts


By Michael-Jane Levitan, Special Advisor, Office of Transformative Global Health

Kwochi, the Creole word for “crooked,” can be used to describe problematic thinking; an underlying principle of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). This expression was heard many times during a recent research-based CBT training in Haiti and perfectly captures how this therapy can help to “straighten” unhealthy thought patterns. Read more

Seeing Being Scene


Steven Lewis stands in front of his piece, “Waiting” at the Being Scene art exhibit

With thanks to Steven Lewis, Visual Artist in Residence at Workman Arts

Variety. Passion. Honesty.

Steven Lewis uses these three simple, succinct words to describe the latest artwork featured at Workman Arts’ Being Scene – an annual juried exhibit that is currently on display at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto. Steven currently serves as the Visual Artist in Residence at the multidisciplinary art and mental health organization, of which he’s been a member for four years. Read more

All Eyes on Mental Health & Hip Hop


By Akeem Sule and Becky Inkster, Co-Founders of HIP HOP PSYCH, Cambridge, U.K.

Hip-hop and mental health have a lot more in common than meets the eye. Since the genre’s conception in the early 1970s, hip-hop artists have delivered loud-and-clear messages of personal struggles and strengths, as clearly captured in the recent film Straight Outta Compton. Hip-hop culture embraces self-expression and recognizes the daily trials and tribulations that many people face – the pressures that challenge their state of mind. Read more

Housing is a mental health issue


By Roslyn Shields, Senior Policy Analyst at CAMH

Did you know that over 500,000 Canadians with mental illness have inadequate housing? That over 100,000 are homeless?

Every day thousands of people with mental illness sleep in shelters or on the streets. Some live in housing that is unsafe and in disrepair. Others are stuck in hospital because no housing matches their needs. Read more

Building Resilience


By Dr. Donna Ferguson, Psychologist with the WSIB Psychological Trauma Program

It can be difficult when dealing with every day stressors. Things like work, home or car problems can be overwhelming and challenge us to find ways to cope or function each day. That’s why it is important to find healthy and adaptive strategies to help us cope more effectively and to deal with these day-to-day life stressors. But how do we do this? Read more

If You Ask Me


By Olivia Heffernan, NYAC Peer Facilitator

I don’t know about you, but when I disclose that I have mental illness to people that aren’t in the mental health field, I receive a few different reactions. Granted, most people keep their words neutral, but their faces and attitudes give it away. Read more

Transition Impossible?


By Olivia Heffernan, NYAC Peer Facilitator

Ah, back-to-school season. A time for new shoes, the gradual transition to wearing pants and a time to get a haircut.

If you’re lucky enough to be headed back to the same school or same job that you’ve been at before, thank your lucky stars. You know the routine, you probably know most of the people, and you have a sense of familiarity.

This post goes out to all those who are starting something new. To those who are transitioning, I’m thinking about you. Read more

Opioids, legal or not, can kill; It’s time for action


By Dr. Peter Selby, Chief of Addictions and Director of Medical Education at CAMH

In the past few weeks, the media has covered a spate of tragic deaths from overdose due to fentanyl, a very potent opioid, some 50 times stronger than morphine. What’s more is that new research shows skyrocketing prescription rates and illegally produced opioids are accessible across the country.

Overdose deaths are needless and entirely preventable; it’s time to take action.

Read more

Keeping the Faith: One student’s experience with spirituality and mental health


By Christal Huang, CAMH NYAC member, and Joanna Liscio

In the history of defining the concept of health, mental health has become an increasingly important part of the conversation. Fortunately, different methods of coping with mental illness and maintaining mental health have been a product of these discussions. This has allowed people to explore and use what works best for them. A faith- or spirituality-based approach to coping with mental illness is one of these methods. Despite its common use, there are many myths and misconceptions. Read more

A Thank you, Farewell, and Best Wishes to Psychology Interns

Back (left to right) – Dr. Donna Ferguson (Practice Lead); Robert Enoch; Leigh Henderson; Sarah Dermody; Katie Fracalanza; Tera Beaulieu; James Watson-Gaze; Dr. Sean Kidd (Discipline Chief) Front (left to right) – Dr. Niki Fitzgerald (Training Director); Danielle Blackmore; Kaley Roosen; Nina Vitopoulos; Jasmin Dhillon; Terra Dafoe; Bramilee Dhayanandhan

Back (left to right) – Dr. Donna Ferguson (Practice Lead); Robert Enoch; Leigh Henderson; Sarah Dermody; Katie Fracalanza; Tera Beaulieu; James Watson-Gaze; Dr. Sean Kidd (Discipline Chief)
Front (left to right) – Dr. Niki Fitzgerald (Training Director); Danielle Blackmore; Kaley Roosen; Nina Vitopoulos; Jasmin Dhillon; Terra Dafoe; Bramilee Dhayanandhan

By Dr. Niki Fitzgerald, Psychologist at CAMH

The psychology leadership would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the 12 2014-2015 APA-CPA psychology interns who are in the midst of wrapping up their internship year.

The psychology internship is one of the final steps taken before students complete their doctoral degrees. Competition for these 12 spots is stiff; 134 students applied for the upcoming academic year. As a result, the interns are an exceedingly skilled group who make a significant contribution to the rotations fortunate enough to have them. Read more

Increasing Social Support for Bisexual Women who use Cannabis

cannabis-Jeremiah VandermeerBy Margaret Robinson, PhD. Affiliate Scientist in the Social and Epidemiological research department of the Centre for Addiction & Mental Health

I recently led a research project that shows that one in three bisexual women have used cannabis in the past year, a rate three to five times the provincial average.

While US and Australian studies have also identified spiking rates of cannabis use by bisexual women, no print or media campaigns have addressed this issue yet. We’re hoping to create such a campaign, rooted in the lived experience of bisexual women, with funding from Women’s College University’s Women’s Xchange program. Read more

Social Sharing: How NYAC is engaging youth online in a positive way


By Tyson Herzog & Olivia Heffernan, NYAC Peer Facilitators, and Janice Lam and Maree Rodriguez, NYAC Committee Members

Ah, the internet. We’re all familiar with the warnings: violence, porn, chaos, trolling and misinformation. Parents beware! Watch your kids! Shield their eyes! Cover their ears!

We’ve all heard of the dangers: the horrors of sending n00dz on SnapChat and the consequences when private, intimate photo become public, the bullying that happens via Twitter and Facebook, and the growing trend of young people measuring their self-worth on how many ‘likes’ they get on Instagram.

Most young people don’t disagree with the messages behind these warnings. Bullying is terrible, both on the internet and IRL. It’s definitely not okay to share nude pictures of another person with their permission. And a human’s worth is certainly not dependent on their popularity on social media. Read more

No Ordinary Game

OPP Volunteering2

From L to R: Sergeant Michael Gayos, Special Constable Richelle De Belchior, Special Constable Krista Hatfield, and Special Constable Ryan-Blair Smith.

By Bill Markakis, Volunteer Coordinator, Corporate Volunteer Program

If you were passing by the CAMH Sandi and Jim Treliving Gymnasium recently, you probably would have seen a very lively game of basketball being played. You would’ve noticed a lot of laughs, smiles, teamwork, good competition and some very tired faces. What you may not have noticed was the community building being done as this was no ordinary game of basketball. Clients and staff from Units 3-1, 3-2, 1-3 and the Concurrent Youth Unit joined officers from the Queen’s Park OPP Detachment as volunteers from the Corporate Volunteer Program. Read more

International Beer Day: Some cold, bracing facts


Today is International Beer Day – a day when people can get together to share in their appreciation for beer. And let’s face it – Canadians love beer. It’s a perception ingrained in our culture, proudly displayed in advertisements, and supported by statistics. We also happen to be pretty good at brewing it too.

However, statistics also indicate that Canadians are exposed to higher levels of alcohol-related harm, thanks to consumption rates that are about 50% more than the global average. In fact, 1/3 of Ontarians experience harm due to someone else’s drinking.

So as we celebrate the summer, we hope you can help ensure that people are celebrating safely and responsibly. Share the facts, know your limits, check out some of these tools, and stay safe! Read more

Quitting Smoking Can Be Made Easier


By Dr. Laurie Zawertailo, Clinical Scientist and Cherry Zhao, Graduate Student at CAMH

Do you want to quit smoking? There are many reasons why people make this decision, and all of them are valid and personal. Whether it’s to improve your health, to save money, to make your loved ones happy, to make yourself happy, a combination of these things or something else entirely, becoming tobacco-free may be an important step in your life. Read more



By Dr. Kwame McKenzie, Medical Director of Underserved Populations at CAMH and CEO, Wellesley Institute

Imagine you are a parent who has to pick their child up from daycare. It closes at 6 pm and you have to pay a high fee for every minute you are late. You work 30 minutes away. You leave at 5:15 pm as usual, but you get stuck in traffic. There is no getting out of it. Every minute you sit there, you become more and more anxious and angry. You imagine how much it will cost, how annoyed the daycare staff will be, how embarrassed you will be and how your child will feel because they are the last one to be picked up.

Or imagine you are in a car on your way to work. You were going to be on time for your meeting but… traffic congestion. Your boss will be there on time but you will not. While you are sitting there, you wonder what that will it look like and how will it affect your future? Read more

Tackling Transit Stress


By Dr. Donna Ferguson, Psychologist with the WSIB Psychological Trauma Program

Earlier this week we discussed stress involved in driving through traffic. And while being stuck in the car for long periods of time can be frustrating, there’s something to be said about having the personal space, comfort, and peace that a car can give commuters. But what about the rest of us? According to the 2011 National Household Survey, 14 per cent of Ontarians commuted to work via public transit. Unfortunately, Ontario also has some of the longest commute times in the country. As transit users, how can we deal with stress and frustration while sharing the same space with hundreds of others who are in the same situation? Read more

Navigating Through Traffic-Related Stress


By Dr. Donna Ferguson, Psychologist with the WSIB Psychological Trauma Program

Coping with traffic-related stress is not always easy. With the Pan Am Games underway, there was concern that addition of or changes to existing HOV lanes would further increase the amount traffic on the roads. And while recent surveys suggest that only ten per cent of drivers are experiencing a serious disruption due to the games, it can still be challenging for those who drive long distances. So how do we deal with all of this additional stress? Read more

Eat like a champ: The importance of nutrition in exercise


Now that the Pan Am games have officially begun, there is a lot of excitement surrounding the many sporting events that make up the games. And with all the excitement, coupled with the hot summer weather, we may all be inspired to step-up our exercise regimen or take up a new sport. While elite athletes such as those participating in games will have unique nutritional requirements, those of us who like to enjoy an active lifestyle can also benefit from healthy eating and proper hydration. Healthy eating can help you stay energized and ensure you have enough fuel to make the most out of your workout and sporting activities. Read more

Carrying the Torch

Pan Am Torch

By Dr. Catherine Zahn, President & CEO of CAMH

Coming into the CAMH grounds bearing the Pan Am Torch was a moving experience for me.  The crowd lining the entryway; our own Dr. David Goldbloom emceeing the event; the Archway Singers behind him on the stage – it was overwhelming. Those of you who were in attendance know that I could barely speak! I think it was the hopeful symbolism of lighting the torch, protecting it on its journey and bringing that emblem of hope right into CAMH that moved me so profoundly.

Ten years ago CAMH would not have been considered a destination for such a public event. This is just one more piece of evidence that our work is making a difference; evidence that work to advance the social cause of mental health is creating positive change. Read more

Evidence Based Treatment of Depression

distress_October-15-2013By Dr. Donna Ferguson, Psychologist with the WSIB Psychological Trauma Program

Some people diagnosed with depression may have difficulty with task performance – a depressed mood can make it hard to manage work responsibilities, including sustaining effort over time and dealing with change. Read more

Thinking Outside the Box in Anorexia Nervosa Research

weightscaleBy Laura Mackew, Research Assistant, Clinical Research

Anorexia Nervosa is a serious and often life threatening psychiatric condition, with a broad spectrum of impact, affecting those diagnosed as well as their family members and friends. It is a very complex disorder, characterized by behavioral and psychological disturbances. Behaviourally there is disturbed eating behavior such as severe caloric restriction, and in some cases, binge eating and purging and compulsive exercising. Psychological disturbances include high levels of obsessionality, perfectionism. and body image disturbance as well as depression and anxiety. Read more

Gender Identity and Indigenous People


Image courtesy of Re:Searching for LGBTQ Health

By Margaret Robinson, PhD. Affiliate Scientist in the Social and Epidemiological research department of the Centre for Addiction & Mental Health.

In literature about gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, and queer (LGBTQ) health it’s increasingly common to see ‘2’ or a ‘2S’, which stands for ‘two spirit.’ The term recognizes those of us who are LGBTQ and who are also strongly connected to our Indigenous identities. Many of our Indigenous cultures recognized people who expressed gender or sexuality differently, and such people often had special cultural responsibilities.

While mental health practitioners and community workers are increasingly encouraged to adopt culturally-based treatment approaches with Indigenous clients, little is known about two-spirit people or our perspectives on mental health. Read more

This is Our Community


By Jenna MacKay, MA, Qualitative Researcher, team member of Re:searching for LGBTQ Health and a Master of Social Work candidate at University of Toronto.     

Research in both Canada and the US has shown that bisexuals have poorer mental health than heterosexuals, gays and lesbians. Experiences of discrimination towards bisexual people in heterosexual and gay and lesbian communities is stressful. Indeed, bisexual stereotypes and prejudice are all too common.

I am part of a dedicated team of researchers and bisexual community members looking to make a difference. Over the last seven years, our team at CAMH has collaborated with Rainbow Health Ontario and other community partners on projects related to bisexual mental health. Read more

Pioneering a measure of experiences shaping bisexual women’s mental health


By Margaret Robinson, PhD. Affiliate Scientist in the Social and Epidemiological research department of the Centre for Addiction & Mental Health.

Across Canada and the United States, bisexual women like me consistently report significant mental health disparities such as higher incidences of mood and anxiety disorders, suicidal thoughts, and self-harm compared to our straight and lesbian peers. What we don’t yet understand is why this is the case. Read more

Word on the Street: Pride Week 2015

WOTS Pride Banner edit

Pride Week 2015 has officially begun and CAMH is proud to be celebrating diverse sexual and gender identities, histories, and cultures.

We asked CAMH employees – some members of the LGBTIQ community, others not — to share their thoughts on the importance of celebrating LGBTIQ Pride in the workplace. Here’s what they had to say: Read more

We Must Remember Homeless LGBTQ2S Youth During Pride

safe-bed_A&JBlogBy Dr. Alex Abramovich, Postdoctoral Fellow, Social & Epidemiological Research Department

“I can’t say who I am unless you agree I’m real.” – Amiri Baraka

Is there some part of you that has been denied or ignored? A fundamental part of you that you’ve been asked or forced to hide, or that someone has refused to see? Have you ever tried to access health care or housing services only to be told that your needs cannot be accommodated and that you in fact do not exist? If you are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or two-spirit (LGBTQ2S), the answer to at least one of these questions is likely YES. Read more

LGBTIQ Pride: The Importance of Celebrating Diversity


By Dion Carter, Manager of Diversity and Equity at CAMH

The ability to celebrate Pride in a public forum, to me, reflects an acceptance of who I am by members of the broader community. I remember my very first Pride event in Chicago many years ago. I was in awe and felt empowered to be in the presence of so many other LGBT+ people and allies. There was a great sense of liberation and safety that I had never felt before. It was an excellent display of courage and there was a presence that said: “we’re here and we’re not going to hide anymore.” Read more

A Home Run for Clients at CAMH


Sometimes, it doesn’t take much to provide inspiration and instill a sense of joy in people. A small gesture, a token of friendship, a few brief words of affirmation, or even the simple act of hanging out with a person can be all it takes to show that someone is loved.

On June 9, we had the pleasure of welcoming Toronto Blue Jays players Liam Hendriks, Aaron Loup, Roberto Osuna and Aaron Sanchez, as well as Blue Jays President Paul Beeston, to our Client BBQ – an event made possible by the CAMH Foundation Gifts of Light program. Read more


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