Last year, the government set a bold long-term goal to end homelessness in Ontario as part of the Poverty Reduction Strategy. The province has since appointed a new Expert Advisory Panel on Homelessness that will provide practical advice on how to best approach this goal.
Chris Linford, a retired lieutenant-colonel, was deployed to Rwanda in 1994. There in the midst of the genocide, he was deeply impacted by what he saw, leaving him “profoundly altered.” Chris returned home and began experiencing symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He struggled to control his anger, depression and insomnia on his own until he sought help in 2004, 10 years later. Chris’ wife, Kathryn, and his three children were also significantly impacted by his PTSD.
When Ontario Bar Association (OBA) president, Orlando Da Silva, spoke candidly about his own struggles with mental health, his story struck a chord with many in the profession. Subsequently, the OBA has launched a new initiative called Opening Remarks, aimed at addressing mental health in the legal sector.
Ontario is supporting 14 projects to address post-secondary students’ access to mental health services. This announcement came just after Premier Kathleen Wynne’s 10-day tour of Ontario colleges and universities, where the main issues raised were preventing sexual violence on campus and improving mental health services for post-secondary students.
The Mental Health Act (MHA) legislation dates back to 1990 and allows individuals with mental health issues, who are at risk of causing harm to themselves or others, to be apprehended by police and detained. Most detentions last a few days and 80 percent are less than one month. However, there are rare cases (about two percent) where detentions last more than six months and individuals can be detained indefinitely as result of repeated renewals of the detention period.
The extreme cold has gripped several regions across Ontario this month, but for two homeless people in Toronto the steep drop in temperature resulted in their deaths. Earlier this month, a homeless man died in a run-down delivery van. One day later, another homeless man said to be experiencing a mental health issue, was found dead in a transit shelter wearing only a t-shirt and jeans, with a hospital bracelet around his wrist.
The Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) launched a new initiative with ConnexOntario and other local partners recently to offer residents access to substance abuse and mental health services 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week.
Long before the Ontario budget is presented, the government’s Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs reaches out to people and organizations across Ontario to gather information to help determine public priorities for the Budget.
As we get ready to ring in the new year, the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) is gearing up for some changes that will have a significant impact on the income levels of OSDP recipients. First announced in the 2014 Budget, the Ontario Government plans to eliminate three existing employment benefits for recipients of ODSP and create a new “Employment-Related Benefit” (ERB) program beginning April 1, 2015.
According to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC), five percent of patients account for two-thirds of healthcare costs. These are often individuals with multiple, complex conditions. When the hospital, the family doctor, the long-term care home, community organizations and others work as a team, the patient receives better, more coordinated care. This is the vision of the 47 Community Health Links across the province.