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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


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

Service-awardsI 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


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

alcohol-grocery2 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

Nutrition Month blog

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


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

Lilian Riad-Allen 600x400

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


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


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


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

The Problem with Perfectionism


On February 5th, as a part of the kickoff to Psychology month at CAMH, one of Canada’s most prominent Psychologists Dr. Martin Antony presented at Grand Rounds to a packed room at Queen Street and across CAMH as people tuned in online. Dr. Antony is Chair of the Department of Psychology at Ryerson and is internationally recognized for his work in developing interventions for a range of mental health concerns.

At Grand Rounds Dr. Antony spoke about perfectionism – a trait that is in some contexts considered an asset but can also seriously compromise mental health and quality of life. Here, he and his graduate student, Hanna McCabe-Bennet blog about perfectionism – its nature and the pitfalls and strategies to address it.

Read more

From Surviving to Advising

bench-talkingDr. Sacha Agrawal and Pat Capponi, co-leaders of the Patient as Teacher initiative, discuss the positive impact of their program, which pairs fourth year psychiatry residents with people with lived-experience, in order to give a better understanding of the lives and needs of the people they will be helping. Read more

Saying What Needs To Be Said: How to support a loved one struggling with an eating disorder


By Jessica Bodach, NYAC Member

Watching a loved one struggle with an eating disorder can make a person feel frightened, frustrated, and ultimately useless. It can be hard to even approach the topic of their disorder without fearing that you may make them feel angry and defensive. Unfortunately, when we use avoidance to spare ourselves from having a difficult conversation, we are unintentionally allowing the disorder to continue to damage our loved one’s mind and body. Read more

Shedding a light on psychology


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

As a psychologist, I sometimes wonder what people think about my profession. A common question I often hear when I meet people for the first time is, “So does that mean you are psychoanalyzing me?”. With February being Psychology Month, I thought this might be a great time to shed a bit of light about psychologists, who we are, and what we do. Read more

Let’s talk about eating disorders


By Christal Huang, NYAC member

Fact: males and females are affected by body image and eating disorders.

Fact: children, adolescents, and adults are affected by body image and eating disorders.

Fact: individuals from all ethnicities, religions, and social statuses are affected by body image and eating disorders.

The fact is that body image and eating disorders know no bounds. Regardless of sex, age, ethnicity, religion, or social status, eating disorders can affect us negatively. Read more

Ending Homelessness in Ontario: Addressing the Mental Health and Functional Needs of the Most Vulnerable Amongst Us

HomelessnessBy Dr. Sylvain Roy, Neuropsychologist and the Lead Clinician at the CAMH’s Psychosocial Rehabilitation Assessment Service.

Today is #BellLetsTalk – a day where thousands of Canadians speak up in support of mental health and come together to address the issues associated with stigma. It’s a day when, as a society, we say no one should feel guilty or shameful when asking for help. It’s a day to imagine an Ontario in which mental healthcare is readily available to everyone when needed. We are not there yet. We are still living in a reality in which the most vulnerable amongst us, arguably the homeless, are not able to access timely mental health services, sometimes with tragic consequences. Read more

Redefining Stigma in the workplace

Workplace-stigmaBy Dr. Carolyn Dewa, Head of the Centre for Research on Employment and Workplace Health and Senior Scientist/Health Economist at CAMH

Chances are if you ask a group of people to list the challenges that someone experiencing a mental illness faces, stigma would be somewhere near the top. But, what is stigma exactly? Webster’s dictionary defines stigma as, “a set of negative and often unfair beliefs that a society or group of people have about something.” Is stigma just a set of negative beliefs? The dictionary definition is somewhat narrow. Researchers from the UK assert that stigma is more than beliefs. In fact, stigma encompasses breakdowns in knowledge, attitudes, and behavior. Or, in everyday terms, it is ignorance, prejudice, and discrimination. Read more

This Isn’t the End


By Byron Clarke, former CAMH client & Elizabeth’s son

I had it all planned out. It was going to be a surprise; well not entirely. She had accidently seen the ring come in, so she knew the proposal was coming but she didn’t know when, where or how. Read more

A Mother’s Story

A mother's storyBy Elizabeth Scott, a Toronto-based writer and editor

What does one do when the child they love dearly doesn’t seem to understand that you care for them, and wish to help them in any way that you can? It’s an impossible situation to be in – frustrating, disheartening, and one in which you feel crushed.

That’s exactly where I found myself in February 2003. Read more

Continuing the Conversation


It’s sometimes hard to believe how far our society has come in its advocacy of mental illness. Read more

A Primer on Workplace Mental Health

Workplace MH

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

The relationship between stress and mental illness is complex, but stress can certainly exacerbate mental illness for some people. Individuals who suffer from mental illness may, at times, hide away from work – using physical illness as an excuse. Others will go to work sporadically but won’t engage with colleagues or supervisors, or do so sparingly. On any given week, more than 500,000 Canadians will not go to work because of mental illness. Read more

Community Ambassadors at CAMH


By Sandra Luccisano, Community Ambassador

As we celebrate National Non-Smoking Week and the positive impact our Tobacco-Free policy has had on CAMH, I thought it might be an opportune time to talk about the Community Ambassadors, and our role at CAMH. Read more

A closer look at violence in the lives of people with mental health issues.

Black-eye2By Lucy Costa, Empowerment Systemic Advocate at the Empowerment Council

The Empowerment Council, in partnership with the Psychiatric Disabilities Anti-Violence Coalition(PDAC), recently applied for and was awarded the Access, Equity and Human Rights (AEHR) grant to explore the issue of violence in the lives of people with mental health issues. Read more

The Faces of Geriatric Mental Health: A Q&A with Dr. Angela Golas

SONY DSCWith thanks to Dr. Angela Golas, PGY5 Resident, Clinician Scientist Stream, Geriatric Psychiatry Subspecialty, Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto

For Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, we caught up with Dr. Angela Golas, a U of T psychiatry resident at CAMH, to get some insight into her work in geriatric mental health. Read more

New Year, New You?

New Year New YouBy Sandra Luccisano, Community Ambassador at CAMH

In my position as a Community Ambassador at CAMH, I spend a lot of time dealing with cigarettes (CAMH is tobacco-free).  Quitting smoking is probably one of the biggest New Year’s resolutions people make. I made that resolution every year that I remained a smoker. I eventually did quit – but it was in May, not January. And it was because I just couldn’t financially afford to continue smoking – and not as a result of my resolution.

So I started to think about whether resolutions work. Most of us are doomed to fail our resolutions. A 2007 study from the University of Bristol involving 3,000 people showed an 88% failure rate. Reflecting upon my own dismal rate of resolution success, I would agree with such a high statistic. My most successful resolution was the year I resolved to stop making resolutions! Read more

‘Community’ Reconsidered

Inclusive Spaces Blog 2

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

Sean-Kidd-Blue-shirt-croppedI live in a neighbourhood that takes a while to describe. It’s Parkdale, in the West end of the city, around Queen Street between about Dufferin and Roncesvalles. It’s pretty diverse as neighbourhoods go –  both the spaces and the people within it. In a single block you could easily see hipsters on fixed gear bikes, upwardly mobile couples with thousand dollar strollers, people who are living in poverty, and a wide range of ethnicities, ages, sexual orientations, and subcultures, all passing a sequence of pawn shops, social services, religious organizations, and places where you can get small, very expensive dabs of moose tartar.

Many people in Toronto live in places like this – places that can get you thinking about spaces – who is going where, who is gaining space and who is losing space. All of this is happening amidst a solid stream of conversation about community – having it, participating in it, building it, and finding it. There is a particularly large volume of community commentary as it relates to people who are marginalized in the city – who with varying degrees of force can be denied access to community and its spaces and resources.  Read more

NYAC Holiday Survival Tips

NYAC Holiday TipsMembers of CAMH’s National Youth Advisory Committee (NYAC) realized that articles that give helpful holiday tips are often directed toward an older audience – but holidays can be stressful for young people too! Read below for some stories and tips for young people, written by young people. Read more

LEARNing the real meaning of the holidays

LEARN blog header

Arthur and Mohammed, clients at LEARN, blog about the importance of getting together to celebrate the season.

Every year, CAMH’s LEARN program invites staff, volunteers, clients and family to celebrate the holidays with a festive party. Singing, dancing, games and plenty of food and presents provided by CAMH Foundation’s Gifts of Light program help to kick off the season and make it a little brighter. Here’s what two of our clients, Arthur and Mohammed, had to say about their holiday experience at CAMH: Read more

Workplace Safety at CAMH

By Rani Srivastava, Chief, Nursing & Professional Practice

Following a news release issued by ONA and OPSEU, the Toronto Star published an article on December 17 about an incident that occurred in January 2014. A CAMH Nurse was injured by a patient, and another nurse who came to assist her was injured. This serious incident had an impact on all of us at CAMH.

CAMH is required to notify the Ministry of Labor when such events occur, and we did so. The Ministry investigated thoroughly but has not yet issued a report. Toronto Police investigated and CAMH conducted an internal review with report to our Board of Trustees.

At CAMH, we specialize in treating patients with complex and serious forms of mental illness, including those with behavioral, cognitive and developmental disorders. Our healthcare professionals are skilled in practice protocols and procedures that address the management of agitated/aggressive behavior. We have a comprehensive Workplace Violence Prevention Program in place that includes mandatory training, tools, policies and procedures developed in partnership with our unions as well as ONA and OPSEU central. Read more

Mental Illness and the Prison System


By Dr. Sandy Simpson, Chief of Forensic Psychiatry at CAMH

Why are so many people with mental illness in jail?Dr. Sandy Simpson

The problem of people with mental illness being over-represented in the criminal justice system is widely referred to as the ‘criminalisation of the mentally ill’. Why are there more people with mental health problems in the criminal justice system than there should be?

Mental illness rates are about 4 to 7 times more common in prison than in the community. The reasons for this are complex. Read more

Coping with Holiday Stress

holiday-stressBy Dr. Donna Ferguson, Psychologist with the WSIB Psychological Trauma Program

Donna-Ferguson-blog-photoThe holidays can be a joyous and relaxing time. It can also be a time that individuals experience the most stress. Family and friends, although supportive and helpful, can also be a source of stress during the holidays. There can also be financial stress when one is trying to buy gifts for loved ones.

Stress can take over your life. It can negatively affect your sleep and cause you to become agitated. This is particularly true when people are having difficulties at work and trying to find a balance between work and life. Interpersonal stress, lack of control, work demands, and lack of flexibility are some of the issues that can negatively affect you due to stress.

Here are some ways that one can cope with stress more effectively, during the holidays and throughout the year:

Read more

Inspiring Moments


By Dr. Bruce Pollock, Vice President of Research at CAMH

Every so often, we all experience moments that inspire us, that show us how our efforts fit into a broader perspective.

We had such a moment at our CAMH Campbell Family Mental Health Research Symposium in November. We were honoured with the presence of 2000 Nobel Laureate Dr. Arvid Carlsson. Read more

Understanding mental illness and violence


By Dr. Sandy Simpson, Chief of Forensic Psychiatry at CAMH

Dr. Sandy SimpsonThere are few issues so misleadingly linked in the public mind as mental illness and violence.

The best efforts of Hollywood, and the media’s tendency to conflate risk and illness in the context of mass shootings in the USA , leaves the public reasonably thinking that people with mental illness present a major risk to the public. They don’t, but this seems counter-intuitive to the public because of all the media images.

So what are the facts? Is there a relationship between mental illness and violence? Read more

Cell Phones and Mobile Apps: The Answer for Addressing Psychosis in Tanzania?


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

CAMH is well underway on an exciting new initiative in rural Tanzania with the potential to influence the impact of psychosis, a condition that affects approximately 3.9% of the population. Read more

Teach them well and let them lead the way

Blog - Take Our Kids to Work 104

Earlier this month, CAMH was host to a group of 30 grade 9 students as part of the national Take Our Kids to Work Day program – an initiative that has been a long-standing tradition at CAMH for over a decade.

Those young enough to have attended their own Take Our Kids to Work day in the past might remember that awkward day of missing school to visit a parent’s office, potentially job shadowing a staff member, and for the unlucky ones, actually doing office work answering phones or organizing files.

Things are a bit different at CAMH – recently billed as one of Canada’s Top 100 employers – which offered a full day of activities for its young guests. Read more

Off-ward passes in the Forensic Mental Health System – A misunderstood privilege and rehabilitation tool


By Dr. Sandy Simpson, Chief of Forensic Psychiatry at CAMH

Dr. Sandy SimpsonForensic patients are people who, because they are unwell, have committed an offence. Because their mental illness caused the offence they are sent to a hospital – not prison – to get treatment and rehabilitation for the causes of their offending. This process of recovery is a slow and careful one, overseen by the Ontario Review Board.

Initially, most patients are confined to secure hospital wards while staff work with them to understand their illness, their treatment needs and to develop a rehabilitation and recovery plan in accordance with their Review Board disposition. During this time, staff members also determine the potential risk the patient has to others, as well as to themselves. Once this is achieved, a gradual plan for increasing privileges is put in place so the person may attend treatment opportunities available off the ward. This may also include passes for recreation and socialization opportunities. Read more

Treating Alcohol Use Disorder

By Dr. Bernard Le Foll, Head of the Alcohol Research and Treatment Clinic at CAMH

Canada is a country that both enjoys alcohol, but is also fairly responsible about its education, sale and distribution to the public.

And yet there are still gaps in knowledge about the new treatment options available.

As head of the Alcohol Research and Treatment Clinic at CAMH, I want to take an opportunity to provide insight on our work. But it begins with language.

While “alcohol dependence” and “alcohol abuse” are still used, since DSM-5 we are seeing a shift towards the term “Alcohol Use Disorder” to refer to the spectrum of ways that alcohol can affect the person. This reflects the fact that some people lose control over their use of alcohol. It also acknowledges that there is a continuum that ranges from normal use, up to use that produces very severe complications in the person affected. Read more

Using videogames to raise awareness of healthy and harmful gaming

soulcrush - blogThe Problem Gambling Institute of Ontario at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health brings treatment professionals and leading researchers together with experts in communicating and sharing knowledge.

Anya has tried every tactic to get her 18 year old son to cut down his video gaming. She has taken away internet access, grounded him and even tried bribing him into doing other activities.  “Peter comes home from school, throws his backpack on the ground and does not come out of his room for hours” she explains. “I can’t even get him to come out for dinner most nights”. When Peter was in high school, Anya connected with her son’s school teachers and school appointed social workers desperately looking for ways to help her son. His grades were slipping, and she was blaming the video games. Now that Peter is in college, he often stays up until 2 or 3 am gaming and browsing the internet and sometimes misses his morning classes. When he’s not playing Counter-Strike, he is watching online videos of people playing. Read more

Let’s talk about Concurrent Disorders

Concurrent-disorder-smby 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

How Tobacco Free is keeping me healthy

Tobacco freeLilian 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

The mental health of young people of South Asian origin – a neglected group in Toronto.

141114-Blog3By 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.

Read more

Youth Speak Out on Engagement


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.

Read more

The Meaning of Remembrance Day

PoppyBy Monica Beron, Social Worker at CAMH

Last week on the subway I saw a kid, a very young kid in street clothes in his early twenties. As the sister of an army kid I always notice the giveaways; the dog tags around the kid’s neck- those were the real thing. I noticed a couple more things. I smiled. I got off at my stop. I wondered when he was deployed. I went home.

Read more

Rendezvous with Madness Film Festival (November 10th to 15th, 2014)


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.
Read more

The Ottawa Shootings: Sensationalism, terrorism or mental illness?

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


Lori Spadorcia

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.

Read more

Paying it forward

Jim-Gina-OT-AwardsGina Oades is an Occupational Therapist (OT) with CAMH’s LEARN program, a program that facilitates recovery and community integration for clients recovering from a first episode of psychosis. OTs at CAMH help people to recover and stay well by supporting them while they engage in meaningful occupations in life (Self-care, Leisure, and Productivity).

A few weeks ago, I paid forward an act of kindness on behalf of the clients and staff at LEARN. I secretly nominated two of my CAMH colleagues, Jim Davey and Bill Markakis, for the Excellence in Interprofessional Support of Occupational Therapy Services Award, in recognition for the work that they’ve done connecting our clients with volunteers from the CAMH Corporate Volunteer Program. This program offers hands-on volunteer opportunities that match the values of participating company. This year, the LEARN program, with the help of Jim and Bill, hosted 10 different companies in our Sports & Gym Group!

And what is even more remarkable? They won the award!

Read more

As the clocks fall back, plan ahead


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.

Read more


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