by Michael-Jane Levitan, Special Advisor in the Office of Transformative Global Health at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
(L to R) Ati Max Beauvoir and Akwatu Khenti
Upon touching down in Port-au-Prince, our Office of Transformative Global Health (OTGH) team travelled across bumpy roads, past UN headquarters, and headed towards the mountains. Read more
Photo: Students, by Bart Everson on Twitter, CC
By Jessica Bodach, National Youth Advisory Committee (NYAC) Member
Youth to Youth – Building Resilience
Back to school season is looming as the summer quickly approaches its end. Whether you are dreading your return to school or welcoming it there is no time like the present to prepare yourself for a new school year. Here are five strategies to keep in mind that can help build your mental and emotional resilience as you face a new school year: Read more
People with depressive or anxiety disorders often combine complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies with medications to self-treat symptoms. CAMH’s Dr. Arun Ravindran, Chief of the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Service, and Tricia da Silva, researcher in the program discuss their recent review of natural practices and mental illness.
by Amanda DeGasperis and Stephanie DeGasperis – CAMH Foundation supporters, and organizers of “Stretch the Soul,” an annual yoga event in support of CAMH.
A great turnout at our third annual Stretch the Soul fundraiser in support of CAMH
Whether you are an expert at downward dog or a novice learning how to establish a stable butterfly pose, yoga is good for the mind and great for the soul.
On July 13, we were inspired by the incredible show of support for CAMH and mental health when 80 participants came out for a day of yoga at the third annual “Stretch the Soul” event in support of CAMH.
When we started the event, our mission was to raise awareness and end stigma towards mental illness, and we’re happy to say that it continues each year.
Like millions of people around the world, we have been deeply touched by mental illness. Change is within our grasp and we wanted to make a difference with an event to support the incredible work being done at CAMH.
If you couldn’t make it out to our day of yoga, there are many ways you can keep healthy and happy this summer and throughout the year. Read more
by Stephen Kish
We all know about the long wait times when we visit family doctors in Canada.
This is a special problem in psychiatry as most psychiatric help is provided by these first line treatment providers.
Now we are told that physician “burnout” (exhaustion, cynicism, and low professional accomplishment) will only make matters worse and the lines longer.
Carolyn Dewa, who heads the CAMH Centre for Research on Employment and Workplace Mental Health, and Dr. Philip Jacobs from the Institute of Health Economics in Alberta recently published an estimate in BMC Health Services Research of the percentage of physicians in Canada who are suffering from burnout and the consequences associated with this stress.
by Lola Teelucksingh, Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator
Are those iced-cappuccinos, juicy BBQ burgers, or late night trips to Dairy Queen taunting you?
Are you having difficulty staying on track with your healthy eating during the dog days of summer?
It’s not easy to make healthy choices when there are so many delectable summer treats available. Here are some simple tips to help you make healthy choices, while still enjoying the occasional summer treat! Read more
by Christina Zavaglia, Registered Dietitian
Summer is here and with it comes energy and a sense of renewal.
Our summer season is far too short but maintaining a balanced diet can help you improve your mood and energy levels too – ensuring you make the most of the summer days.
Food provides us with energy in the form of calories, obtained from carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Here are some ways food affects our mood. Read more
by Larry Meikle
My name is Larry Meikle. I’m a retired Ontario civil servant and a student in the University of King’s College Master of Fine Arts program in Creative Nonfiction Writing, where I’m in the process of writing my first book.
This past year I’ve felt better than I have for decades. I would not be a graduate student today if I were feeling the way I did even a year ago, had I not participated in CAMH’s IMPACT study on mental health problems and DNA.
I was diagnosed with clinical depression in 1997 and since then I’ve been taking antidepressants, with some degree of success. I tried going off my meds on a couple of occasions in the hope I could battle depression without them, but came to the painful realization I couldn’t.
A couple of years ago the antidepressant I had been taking for so many years suddenly stopped working for me. It “pooped out,” as the saying goes. My family doctor started me on a new medication, and that seemed to go reasonably well. Whenever I saw my doctor I’d tell him I was “getting by,” but anxiety was still a problem and I felt I could be doing much better.
So you wouldn’t believe how excited we’re getting at CAMH about being YARN BOMBED!
CAMH’s Queen Street site is lucky enough to be the target of a community event: 100 in 1 Day, a citizen driven-festival to unite people across the city to make Toronto a better place by creating acts of urban change.
The event is held in several Canadian cities, with Toronto events taking place this Saturday, June 7.
There are all types of creative projects happening on Saturday – the yarn bombing at CAMH is one of 170 events taking place across the city. The interventions are intended to raise awareness of urban and social issues, inspire ideas, and motivate leaders to consider new approaches to old problems.
by Irene Boldt, registered nurse at CAMH and Nursing Practice Council Chair
In this digital age I sometimes feel a little analog.
I doubt I’m alone in feeling this way, but with new technology everywhere, sometimes I feel like I’m all thumbs. I have to admit that my discomfort with technology leads me to perceive it as a barrier to the nursing care I provide. I have never figured out how to invite technology into my practice in a way that makes sense.
But I know technological change is inevitable, so as we prepare for the transition to our new electronic health system (called I-CARE – and named by a nurse!), I am going to put my thumbs aside, assume a ‘glass-half-full’ perspective, and make every effort to embrace the benefits of technology.
By Joan Chang, Communications Coordinator with Public Affairs at CAMH
You likely know obesity is a health problem for the general Canadian population. What you may not know is that obesity is of particular concern for people with mental illness.
I spoke with Dr. Rohan Ganguli, who has been studying obesity and mental health for 15 years. He’s Senior Scientist at CAMH, Professor of Psychiatry with the Faculty of Medicine and Canada Research Chair in Chronic Disease Management at the University of Toronto. He’s one of the organizers and speakers at this year’s Mental Health and Obesity Conference (pdf), on May 14 in Toronto. Read more
by Debbie, grandmother of a CAMH youth client
Telling everyone I can how spectacular Dr. Carlisle is, is truly easy.
Dr. Carlisle is a phenomenal physician working in trying and stressful situations. She excels at providing outstanding care, support, guidance, compassion and commitment to her clients and their families. I am sure that I am not the only one that feels this way. Read more
by Donna Ferguson, Psychologist with the WSIB Psychological Trauma Program
Military suicides and stories of police or paramedics suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have increasingly become front-page news.
But behind the headlines, the suffering of those who come home from war zones or have treated a young child injured in a car accident only to have them die, is seen as taboo.
Despite their tough professional exteriors, these individuals carry scars which cannot be seen.
While the awareness of PTSD has increased, seeking treatment is not often an easy path for those who wrestle with recurring nightmares, avoidance and overall anxiety as a result of the trauma they faced on the job.
And one of the greatest barriers to treatment is shame.
Evidence informs much of what we do in health care, and that is true not just for clinical interventions, but also for decisions like the implementation of a new organizational policy.
Understanding the evidence base for these types of initiatives can be particularly important when the issue is a challenging one that affects our staff, our clients, and our community.
CAMH’s decision to become a tobacco-free hospital is supported by research that speaks specifically to the issues involved in such a complex decision, and is particularly supported by new evidence that has come to light in the last five or six years. Understanding the link between evidence and policy is a key element to the success of our tobacco-free initiative, so we are committed to clear communication on the subject.
Remember Ellen Richardson’s story? She’s a Canadian citizen who was denied entry into the United States because of her history of mental illness.
When Ms. Richardson shared her story with the media, others came forward with experiences of discrimination based on their medical histories. The incidents highlight the pervasive prejudice faced by people with mental illness every day.
How are U.S. border guards getting access to personal health information in the first place? This question was the focus of the Information and Privacy Commissioner’s (IPC) report, Crossing the Line: The Indiscriminate Disclosure of Attempted Suicide Information to U.S. Border Officials via CPIC, that was released today.
In commemorating National Volunteer Week (April 6-12, 2014), Governor-General David Johnson described Canada as a “smart and caring nation.” I think that goes for CAMH too – fitting, given the way volunteerism is woven into the CAMH community.
Senior Scientist Lana Popova blogs about her experience at the Canada Northwest FASD Partnership Symposium.
The Globe and Mail recently quoted Dr Jeff Turnbull, former president of the Canadian Medical Association saying that “hospitals need to disappear.” In the same article, Dr Rick Glazier, a scientist with the Institute of Clinical Evaluative Sciences says “we are in need of a truly integrated system.” In the article, several healthcare leaders describe community focused initiatives that can improve the health of individuals and populations. A generative message from the article is that great things are happening that will improve our healthcare system. That point’s lost when the author engages these system leaders in a straw man fallacy. Read more
Gathering statistics and research on race and ethnicity makes some people feel uncomfortable. But we need data to identify and address health differences between population groups. What better place is there to investigate disparities in health than Toronto – one of the most diverse cities in the world and home to over a million people from racialized groups. Read more
Senior Scientist Stephen Kish blogs about seeking restorative justice for victims of offenders found not criminally responsible. Read more
For Psychology Month, Dr. Katy Kamkar, Clinical Psychologist at the Work, Stress and Health Program/Psychological Trauma Program at CAMH, blogs about performance anxiety. Read more
CAMH scientist Kate Graham and her colleagues in Australia, the U.K., and the U.S. feel that laws prohibiting the sale of alcohol in bars to intoxicated customers are still not working. Read more
For the past ten years, the Sunshine Garden program has encouraged CAMH clients with an interest in gardening to participate in planning, planting, watering and weeding the green space at the south end of the CAMH Queen Street campus. A partnership between CAMH and FoodShare, the program uses horticulture as a way to provide clients with transferable skills, like teamwork and entrepreneurship. Read more