Mental Health Notes
Members of the public and organizations are invited to participate in two current reviews of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).
Health inequalities exist in Ontario. Ontarians who have lower incomes are at higher risk of having health problems like heart disease, poor mental health, stress and anxiety, depression, alcoholism, accidents, diabetes, obesity and lung cancer. To reduce these risks, the government would have to make changes to policies that affect health inequities. But action by government is linked to public awareness.
Technologies such as the internet, mobile applications, and video-conferencing are great tools that can help to deliver mental health services to children and youth.
Improving interactions and outcomes between persons with mental illnesses and the police was the focus of a national conference between mental health and law enforcement leaders in Toronto.
Bill C-14, the Not Criminally Responsible (NCR) Reform Act has gone to second reading in the Senate and has been a key subject at the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs in Ottawa recently. Last month, the Committee heard from Justice Richard Schneider, chair of the Ontario Review Board and Review Boards of Canada, Dr. Sandy Simpson, chief of forensic psychiatry at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Chris Summerville, Chief Executive Officer of the Schizophrenia Society of Canada and Dr. John Bradford, a forensic psychiatrist and Associate Chief (Forensic) at the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group.
On March 20, 2014, Statistics Canada released new data about admissions to youth and adult corrections services in 2011 to 2012. Overall, admission to correctional facilities has decreased by 7 percent and 1 percent in youth and adults respectively. Most of the individuals admitted are male (77 percent in youth and 85 percent in adults) and spending on adult correctional services passed the $4 billion mark in 2011-2012.
Loneliness isn’t a new phenomenon. Many have experienced it at some point in their lives as a particularly negative state. Not only does loneliness affect individuals’ well-being, recent research from the University of Chicago shows that it also affects physical health. Dr. John Cacioppo, a psychology professor and lead author of the new study, said that loneliness in old age may increase the risk of premature death by up to 14 percent; almost as much as poverty. Extreme loneliness is twice as detrimental to life expectancy as obesity.
The latest Provincial HSJCC Newsletter was released at the end of February 2014. The Newsletter includes the Provincial HSJCC pre-budget submission focused on housing, a letter on Bill C-14 the Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act and the latest, news, journal articles and research from the intersection of the human services and justice sectors.
To view the full newsletter, visit the HSJCC website.
To join the HSJCC Network mailing list, contact: CKT_Committee@hsjcc.on.ca
In February 2014, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) released a report titled “Police Use of Force and Mental Health.” The report was issued in the wake of the jury recommendations in the coroner’s inquest into the deaths of Reyal Jardine-Douglas, Sylvia Klibingaitis, and Michael Eligon. All three were fatally shot by police officers. OHRC took part in the inquest and its report outlines the relevant human rights principles, issues and recommendations relevant to cases involving use of force and individuals with mental health issues.
There has been a lot of activity about the issue of police mental health records since the case of Ellen Richardson, a Canadian who was stopped at the U.S. border because of her mental health history, made headlines in late 2013.