Mental Health Notes
A new provincial law has been created to strengthen job protection for family member caregivers. The Family Caregivers Bill, which was passed on April 29, 2014, increases existing family medical leave by introducing three new types of leave:
- Family caregiver leave, which provides up to 8 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for workers who provide care or support to a family members with a senior medical condition
- Critically-ill child care Leave, which provides up to 37 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for family caregivers of critically ill children
- Crime-related child death or disappearance leave, which provides workers with up to 52 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for parents of a missing child and up to 103 unpaid, job-protected leave for parents of a child who has died due to crime.
The Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health has launched a toolkit called, “Together to Live: A toolkit for addressing youth suicide in your community”. The purpose of this resource is to provide tools and information to assist service providers in mobilizing their communities around youth suicide prevention, risk management and postvention. It also offers an opportunity for community networks or coalitions to share what they are doing to address youth suicide through the Communities in action section.
The average rate of suicide in Canada among Aboriginal youth is about five to six times higher than non-Aboriginal youth. Chief Peter Moonias from the Neskantaga First Nation spoke recently about the alarmingly high rate of suicide in his small community of 420 residents, of which 60 percent are youth.
One in five children and youth has a mental health condition; yet, fewer than 25 percent receive treatment. Additionally, it can take several months to obtain an appointment with a mental health professional, which can be extremely frustrating for everyone involved.
The Toronto Police Service has announced the expansion of its Mobile Crisis Intervention Team (MCIT) Program to cover all areas of Canada’s largest city. This brings the number of MCITs in Toronto to 6 and the program now covers all but three of the city’s police divisions. The hope is that the remaining divisions will be covered by expanding the areas served by existing MCITs.
Are you interested in learning about ways to identify and help individuals with mental health issues who are at risk for or involved with the criminal justice system? Read our latest evidence briefs, which introduce various frameworks, programs, and resources for identifying and effectively managing individuals with mental health issues who are at risk for or involved with the criminal justice system. The topics covered include brief screening for mental health and substance use problems, community-based diversion programs for youth, frameworks for mental health diversion, and strategies to address police-to-hospital transitions for people experiencing mental health challenges.
Individuals with social anxiety have a tendency to focus on negative or threatening stimuli in the environment (called “attention bias”) and to interpret ambiguous social situations negatively (called “interpretation bias”). These biases are believed to play a key role in the development and maintenance of social anxiety disorder.
A joint investigation between CBC News and the Canadian Press revealed that Canadian prisons are prescribing and using powerful medications in order to “sedate” and manage inmates. This was especially true for female inmates, where 63 percent of them were prescribed psychotropic medications or medications that affect one’s mental state in 2013. This is a significant increase from over a decade ago when the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) showed that just 42 percent of female inmates were prescribed these medications.
In early April, Community Food Centres Canada (CFCC) hosted a webinar: Diet, Mental Health, and the Role of Community Food Programs. The webinar featured The Stop Community Food Centre’s Kristyn Dunnion and Karen Davison, a dietitian and researcher with the University of British Columbia and Dietitians of Canada. For those who weren’t able to join in, the video from the event is now available on CFCC’s knowledge exchange website, The Pod and is accompanied by a wide range of resources geared to organizations engaged in food programming and/or mental health.
Follow this link to access the new module.
CMHA Ontario was sought recently to comment on a new report from Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner that criticized the sharing of personal information related to suicide attempts with U.S. border officials.