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Posts by Dr. Catherine Zahn

Five Years at CAMH: Reflections

Service-awards

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

Suicide Prevention: Three Steps Forward

suicidepreventionday2014_500

World Suicide Prevention Day is September 10th. The World Health Organization has just released a global report– a call to action on this matter of life and death.In Canada, the numbers tell a sad story: Read more

Police and the mental health system: An opportunity for positive social change

Polic encounters with people in crisis - text from report cover

I’m publicly supporting Justice Frank Iacobucci’s report to the Toronto Police Service (TPS), Police Encounters with People in Crisis (pdf).

It’s an important step toward changing the way society thinks about, and responds to, people with mental illness.

I’m honoured to serve on the advisory committee that will assist the TPS to implement the report’s recommendations.

Jennifer Chambers of CAMH’s Empowerment Council played a prominent advocacy role in the lead-up to the report. She is so right when she says that one of the best ways to address prejudice against a group is to give them a voice and it’s very gratifying to see that people with lived experience of mental illness will be members of the implementation committee.

The tragic death of teenager Sammy Yatim last year led to this report. I share Justice Iacobucci’s view that balance is necessary in addressing the gaps brought to light by this tragedy. Read more

The evidence for CAMH going tobacco free

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.

Read more

Attempted suicide: Should police ever share this personal health information?

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.

Read more

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