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Quitting Smoking Can Be Made Easier

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

Work With Purpose: My Experience Interning at CAMH

Mike taking the CPRS Passport to PR tour as a student at Centennial College. (Source: Peter May Photography)

Mike taking the CPRS Passport to PR tour as a student at Centennial College. (Source: Peter May Photography)

By Mike Hajmasy, a Centennial College postgraduate student who joined CAMH as an intern in Public Affairs.

I’ve always known that to be satisfied, I need to be in a purposeful, passionate environment where I feel like what I’m doing serves a cause bigger than myself – and that is exactly how I feel being at CAMH.
Read more

Celebrating Darkness to Light the Healthy Way

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With thanks to Christina Zavaglia, Registered Dietitian & Certified Diabetes Educator, Complex Mental Illness Program

CAMH’s first ever Darkness to Light event is right around the corner, and people across the country are preparing to stay up all night in support of mental health. As you plan your event, there are a couple of  things to keep in mind, so that you’re celebrating in a safe and healthy manner. Read more

Thoughts on APA 2015

APA-welcomeBy Dr. Bruce Pollock, Vice-President, Research at CAMH

“There is no health without mental health”

This fact, which resonates with what we believe at CAMH, was made by Dr. Renee Binder, incoming president of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) to attendees at the APA’s Annual Meeting in Toronto last week. Read more

A Beautiful Mind

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By Dr. Sean Kidd, Head of the Psychology Service of CAMH’s Schizophrenia Services and Assistant Professor with the University of Toronto Department of Psychiatry

This past Saturday the brilliant mathematician Dr. John Nash and his wife were killed in a car accident on the New Jersey turnpike. Dr. Nash was 86 years old. His work in mathematics was internationally recognized, earning him prestigious awards such as the Nobel and Abel prizes. Despite such accomplishments, he is far better known as the inspiration for the Sylvia Nasar biography ‘A Beautiful Mind’ and the 2001 film of the same name starring Russell Crowe.

This film, inspired by his life, stands still as one of a very small number that has the experiences of schizophrenia as a primary focus. Read more

True Colors Shine Through at The White House

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By Dr. Alex Abramovich, Postdoctoral Fellow, Social & Epidemiological Research Department

The True Colors Fund in New York City, co-founded by Cyndi Lauper, works towards ending LGBTQ youth homelessness. My colleagues at the True Colors Fund have persistently tried to reauthorize the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act, America’s only Federal law that funds services for youth experiencing homelessness, they have also worked hard to ensure that the Act recognizes the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, and two-spirit (LGBTQ2S) youth. Read more

Stigma – Overcoming that last taboo

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By Elizabeth Scott, an independent, Toronto-based writer and editor

I know what stigma feels like – frustrating, maddening, depressing. There really are no positive words to describe its impact on people and families that deal with mental health concerns.

I’ve pushed through stigma’s oppression on many occasions. Like an ugly shawl, stigma feels like a shroud, something embarrassing; a disgrace. It’s an awful word that evokes awful responses that are often based on misinformation and myth. Its effects are a modern day tragedy. Read more

Opening Doors, Exploring Walls and Breaking Barriers at CAMH

DoorsOpenBy Sandra Luccisano, CAMH Community Ambassador

One of the hats I am privileged to wear as a Community Ambassador in our First Impressions program is tour leader. Most people are unaware that we lead tours of our Queen Street Site almost every week of the year. Tour groups are primarily high school students who combine a tour of the grounds with a presentation from Beyond the Cuckoo’s Nest but we also host adult students from various schools, programs and disciplines. Read more

Strong Medicine – the Psychiatrist of Tomorrow

CZ 2012By Dr. Catherine Zahn, President and CEO of CAMH

Originally published on Healthy Debate.

Mental health leaders have the opportunity for courageous change as they assemble in Toronto this week. Psychiatrists from around the world will be attending the American Psychiatric Association’s Annual Meeting, and I hope that there will be serious and thought provoking conversation on the future of the specialty. As a neurologist, new to the mental health sector, I have developed some strong opinions on the topic, and I see an opportunity for psychiatrists to transform their specialty towards better patient care, a more robust mental healthcare system and a more equitable society. Read more

Bread on the Brain – May is Celiac Disease Awareness Month

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By Kelly Matheson, Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator, Complex Mental Illness Program

Going gluten-free has become increasingly popular, with books like “Wheat Belly” and celebrity endorsements encouraging a gluten-free diet for weight loss, clear skin and overall good health. However for the 1 in 133 Canadians with a diagnosis of Celiac Disease, avoiding gluten is an absolute necessity to live a long and healthy life.

The Dietitians at CAMH are knowledgeable and the go-to resource about various sensitivities and allergies related to food that our patients may have. Since May is national Celiac Disease Awareness Month, the Dietitians at CAMH want to help you understand what Celiac Disease is, how it is different from gluten sensitivity and what “going gluten free” actually means. Read more

CAMH: With nurses every step of the way

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By Christine Butler, Nurse Educator, Professional Practice Office

As I was reflecting about what to write in this blog I was thinking about my nursing career. The theme of Nursing week 2015 is Nurses: With you every step of the way. I began to think about my journey in nursing, and how CAMH has been with me throughout my nursing career. Read more

Positive Mental Health

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

What is positive mental health and why should we focus on it? According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, mental health is more than the absence of a mental health condition or illness; it is a positive sense of well-being, or the capacity to enjoy life and deal with the challenges we face. Read more

Changing the Face of Boys and Men’s Mental Health in First Nations Communities

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By Dr. Julie George, a member of Kettle & Stony Point First Nation (KSPFN), Project Scientist in CAMH’s Social and Epidemiological Research Department and the Mental Health, Addiction and Violence Support Program Manager at the Health Services Department in her home community.

As a member of Kettle & Stony Point First Nation and as a service provider, I am witness to the mental health challenges that boys and men face.

As a researcher, I am also part of an innovative new project to address these challenges, a project that is part of a paradigm shift in Aboriginal research and program development. This new approach directly involves Aboriginal people in defining problems, conducting research, and facilitating solutions. Read more

Creating a Positive Environment Through Art

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Work in progress…

By Paul Byron, artist, art therapist and Creative Arts Professional Volunteer at CAMH

CAMH’s Forensic Unit was an intriguing and potentially challenging assignment. Unlike other wards, forensic clients are involved at various levels in court-ordered processes and are involuntarily detained. The ambient mood has often reflected an awareness of this, and it is within this context that we began to flesh out a basis for the creation of a community mural. Read more

Mental Illness and ‘Community’: Oft used, seldom defined, and poorly understood

Community-MI2By Dr. Sean Kidd, Head of the Psychology Service of CAMH’s Schizophrenia Services and Assistant Professor with the University of Toronto Department of Psychiatry

The term “community” is a central concept in mental health reform and recovery conversations. These ideas are repeatedly referenced in documents such as the World Health Organization Mental Health Action Plan and the Canadian Mental Health Strategy. Clinicians routinely reference clients “getting back into the community”, and people affected by mental illness will often discuss being involved in a range of communities as key to the process of recovery. Read more

Changing attitudes towards mental illness

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

I have often heard from my patients that being diagnosed with depression or even post-traumatic stress disorder means “I am broken,” or that “others will think that I am weak and cannot function or do my job.” These beliefs are incorrect and harmful to one’s mental health. How do we change attitudes related to mental illness so people can feel more comfortable coming forward and saying they need help? Read more

Traditional healers using apps to treat psychosis

SnapshotofBlogBy Sireesha Bobbili, Special Advisor/Project Coordinator, Office of Transformative Global Health, Social & Epidemiological Research, CAMH
Infographic by Erin Lee, Communications Intern, Office of Transformative Global Health, CAMH

Here’s a recap of our project:

The Office of Transformative Global Health at CAMH is piloting a project in rural Tanzania. It targets traditional healers who treat psychosis, a condition that affects approximately 3.9% of the population.

Cultural beliefs and accessibility to services are two reasons why Tanzanians go to traditional healers for their health care needs. However, without proper attention to biological symptoms, a condition like psychosis can worsen and reach chronic stages leading to severe long-term disability. Read more

Taking Back “Experimentation”

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By Josina Vink

It’s time to reclaim experimentation to enable people-powered innovation in mental health.

Mental health systems in Canada have a dark history with experimentation. In the 20th century, we tested some horrific therapies on people with “mental disorders” including hydrotherapy, insulin coma, and the medical surgery of lobotomy.  Because of the legacy of these tests and studies, there is some resistance to experimentation in the context of mental health today. Read more

Thinking about Drinking

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By Jamie Lynn Page, National Youth Advisory Committee (NYAC) member

You’re an adult now. You’ve graduated high school and are entering college or university, you’re at (or close to) the legal age in your province, and you may be living in a dorm with roommates! Sounds great, right? This can indeed be one of the most exciting and memorable times of your life. However, it can also be one of the most stressful- and with stress often comes a desire to cope through substance use. One of the ways these are manifested most commonly for Canadian post-secondary students is through alcohol. During Alcohol Awareness Month 2015, we want to talk about it. Read more

What Colour is Stigma?

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By Sireesha Bobbili, Special Advisor/Project Coordinator, Office of Transformative Global Health, Social & Epidemiological Research, CAMH

What colours come to your mind when you think of stigma?

Or what images come to mind when you think of acceptance?

Do certain behaviours have a colour associated with them?

Over the course of a ten-week long workshop series at Unison Health and Community Services (UnisonHCS), primary healthcare providers and individuals with lived-experiences of mental illness and substance use issues (consumer/survivors) collaborated to answer these types of questions, to explore stigma, discrimination and recovery in the primary health care setting. Read more

Beyond Stigma

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Ashley Smith, MSW, and Craig Currah present to a group of students

By Craig Currah, Recreationist, Partial Hospital Program

A few weeks ago, CAMH received a concerned inquiry about a new program with a potentially stigmatizing name, which we were offering at the hospital. At first, I thought nothing of it – until I realized that this “new” program was actually one that I have been helping to facilitate! So before any further misunderstanding, let me explain the name and the program in a bit more detail. After all, its purpose is to dispel any myths by talking and sharing. Read more

Promoting Collaborative Mental Health Online

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

Collaborative mental health seems self-explanatory. It suggests that work surrounding mental health be a collective effort with varied perspectives and diverse skill sets to improve the quality of care for clients. While this is very true, it’s often easier said than done. Read more

It’s About Time Canada Stood Up for Homeless LGBT Youth

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By Alex Abramovich, Postdoctoral Fellow, Social & Epidemiological Research Department
Originally published in Huffington Post

On March 11, 2015, Toronto City Council finally approved funding for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, and 2-spirit (LGBTQ2S) youth transitional housing. The YMCA’s Sprott House in Toronto will operate Canada’s first LGBTQ2S transitional housing program. I am honoured to be among a group of community organizers and advocates working closely in partnership with the YMCA on the development of this historic program.

For those of you who still need to be convinced that we need such programs, or for those of you who may not necessarily understand the severity of the problem, let me explain… Read more

Images From the Field: Spiritual leaders on mental health in Haiti

Hait-blog-headerBy Michael-Jane Levitan, Special Advisor, Office of Transformative Global Health

Dèyè mon gen mon
Behind the mountains, there are mountains

This popular Haitian proverb reminds us that there is more than what meets the eye. This is crucial for the work we are doing with spiritual leaders in Haiti; the main providers of mental health support. Exploring language, idioms, values, beliefs, and symbols is hugely important to better grasp cultural nuances and to appreciate the whole picture; mountains beyond mountains. Read more

The Role of Dietitians at CAMH

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By Christina Zavaglia, Registered Dietitian & Certified Diabetes Educator, Complex Mental Illness Program

What’s the difference between a “dietitian” and a “nutritionist?”

That is one of the most common questions we dietitians get asked! And since this month is Nutrition Month, I wanted to help answer the question on who we are and what we do – especially at a large mental health hospital like CAMH.

Dietitians are highly skilled regulated health professionals that are knowledgeable about nutrition, food, and healthy eating. We have received education in science, management, population health, and human development. Dietitians work in a variety of areas including, hospitals, community health centres, research, and food corporations. Read more

Five Years at CAMH: Reflections

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By Dr. Catherine Zahn, President and CEO at CAMH

I had the honour of speaking at the CAMH Service Awards Reception last week, celebrating staff members who have served at CAMH for 5, 10, 15 and 20 years. Over 3,465 years of service were recognized this year! During these events, it’s been my habit to mingle amongst the guests and ask a specific question: “What has kept you at CAMH for all this time?”

This year was different. I was proud to receive my five-year service pin, giving me a chance to reflect on the question I had asked so many others. It seemed only fair to share my own thoughts and feelings on why working with the dedicated staff at CAMH is so amazing. Those of us who work at CAMH come for many different reasons, but the reasons we stay are the same – our patients, our team and our cause.  Read more

Social Work at CAMH: Three perspectives

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Social work plays an important role in the interdisciplinary treatment that is offered at CAMH. On Social Work Day, we spoke with three social workers who shared their reflections as integral team members responsible for the healing and recovery of our clients. Read more

Selling Alcohol in Grocery Stores: Hidden Risks and Alternative Options

Beer_at_grocery_store By Dr. Norman Giesbrecht, Senior Scientist Emeritus, Public Health and Regulatory Policy Section

In the last few days we have heard about plans to permit the sale of beer and wine in grocery stores in Ontario. For the most part, media reports have made no reference to potential health and safety risks associated with the proposed changes. You would have thought that the reporters were talking about changing the distribution of milk or orange juice in Ontario. What about the possible increase in alcohol-related incidents or negative impact on vulnerable populations – is that not relevant to the discussion? Read more

Eating 9 to 5: Challenges in the Workplace

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March is Nutrition Month and this year’s theme is “Eating 9 to 5!” The campaign focuses on eating well at work, and according to a recent study, 45 per cent of individuals say healthy eating is challenging in the workplace. Proper nutrition at work is key because it can help improve concentration, productivity, and vitality. And there’s no doubt that proper nutrition goes hand-in-hand with both physical and mental health.

Here are some tips provided by CAMH’s dieticians on how to deal with challenges of eating well in the workplace. Read more

A Primer to Workplace Addiction Issues

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

My previous primer blog addressed the relationship between work and mental illness. In a similar way, I wanted to tackle the topic of substance use, and how individuals are negatively affected by it in the workplace. Read more

What is “Violence”?

Hands-overlap-1 By Jennifer Chambers, Empowerment Council Coordinator

CAMH has been in the news lately, getting a lot of attention on the subject of staff safety. Nobody wants violence of any kind happening here. But an interesting feature of “violence” is that those with social power tend to define it. For instance, why aren’t conditions of extreme poverty, causing hunger and homelessness discussed as “violence”? Unions, quite correctly, speak out on behalf of their members’ well-being. CAMH, as an organization, addresses safety through policy and creating an environment for practice. But what is violence in the experience of clients of CAMH? The issue of violence at CAMH from a client perspective is about an inclusive understanding of everyone’s right to be done no harm, which includes respect for people’s rights and liberties.  Read more

Changing Attitudes Since Tobacco Free Policy Launch

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By Lilian Riad-Allen, Project Manager, Tobacco Free Initiative

In my role leading the charge to go tobacco free, I am frequently asking people to share their tobacco free stories – for some this story is celebratory, for some this story is reflective and for others, this story can be nostalgic.

I was recently asked to share my own tobacco free story, and it dawned on me that I, too, had been on that transformational journey. As an undergraduate student, I completed a co-op placement at an Alzheimer’s day treatment program. As part of my role in that program, I was responsible for taking out one of the clients for a cigarette after meals. I recall that on some particularly cold days she would ask me “why are we going outside?” After raising this to my supervisors, they responded by telling me that if we failed to take her outside, she would be in withdrawal and would be difficult to manage. Read more

Standing Together in Pink

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By Olivia Heffernan, NYAC Co-Facilitator, and Maree Rodriguez, NYAC member

The idea for Pink Shirt Day started when a student came to school wearing a pink shirt and was made fun of for wearing it. Two students in the school heard about this incident and decided to do something about it. They went to their local discount store and bought fifty pink shirts and asked other students to wear pink in support of the student who was bullied. NYAC’s Olivia and Maree share their experiences with bullying, to raise awareness about this ongoing issue and important awareness day. Read more

Never Goin’ Back

CZ 2012By Catherine Zahn, President and CEO, CAMH

Earlier this week, the New York Times published an op-ed commenting on an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (AMA). In the AMA article, three ethicists argued that the movement to deinstitutionalize the mentally ill has been a failure. The op-ed author reiterated the fact that deinstitutionalization has failed those who suffer acute mental illness – and that would be true. However, I was disappointed to hear her go on to say that rather than recalibrate supports for our patients in the community, we should go back to the olden days. Read more

The Maple Leafs Shoot… And Score with Mental Health Awareness

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

Mental health advocacy initiatives are important in spreading awareness so that people feel more comfortable talking about mental illness. It’s important for people to be able to come out and admitting they have a mental health issue, so they can reach out to attain appropriate help and resources.

Earlier this week, I was fortunate to be involved in one such initiative – the NHL’s Hockey Talks campaign. I was invited by the Toronto Maple Leafs to speak about mental health, stigma, stress, and awareness at the Air Canada Centre during the TML Talk segment in the morning. While I’ve done media interviews before, my experience doing this media interview today has been a powerful one, particularly to help raise awareness and stop the stigma around mental illness within a demographic who may not be aware of its prevalence in society or who may feel uncomfortable raising the issue. Read more

Mental Health and the Family

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

Dealing with mental illness is difficult for the individual diagnosed with a disorder. However, it can also be tough for those around the individual such as friends, and particularly, family members. While it’s absolutely important for the individual to be focused on their recovery, we often don’t think about the impact it can also have on family members. Read more

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