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Posts from the ‘Care & Treatment’ Category

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

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

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


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