Through the Comprehensive Mental Health and Addictions Strategy, the Ontario government is aiming to strengthen mental health services for children, youth and their families while reducing stigma and raising awareness of mental health issues.
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) has released a new provincial summary report: Reducing Alcohol-Related Harms and Costs in Ontario. The goal of the project was to encourage more uptake of evidence-informed prevention and policy initiatives that reduce alcohol-related harms in Canada. This project documented current alcohol policy initiatives across Canada, drawing comparisons between each provincial approach.. It also highlighted policy strengths in each of these jurisdictions, providing recommendations on how to improve weaker policy areas and disseminate this up-to-date information to major stakeholders and policymakers in each jurisdiction.
After construction delays, the transfer of 15 mental health beds to St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital (STEGH) is now being planned for January, 2014, with related ambulatory services moving in December 2013. Construction at the STEGH facility led to transfer of the 15 acute care beds to Regional Mental Health Care London while ambulatory services were relocated within the City of St. Thomas. The transfer to STEGH this fall will be the fourth and final transfer.
On June 11, the Ontario Ombudsman released his report condemning the use of excessive force in the province’s correctional institutes. While prison guards have the right to use physical force to manage inmates, such force should only be used appropriately and only to the degree necessary to gain control. The use of excessive force, the use of force with the intent to cause harm, or the continued use of force beyond what is required to gain control of a situation is not acceptable.
Income impacts mental health with significant implications for the provincial health system. An analysis by the Sudbury District Health Unit (SDHU) found that the most socio-economically deprived neighbourhoods in the City of Sudbury experienced almost four times the rate of mental health-related emergency department (ED) visits than the highest income areas. If all Sudburians experienced the same health as those in the highest income areas, the city would experience a reduction of over 14,000 ED visits per year.
A provincial study has found significant rates of racism or ethnicity-related discrimination experienced among its trans person participants. The study is part of Trans PULSE, a community-based research project exploring the health impacts of discrimination and exclusion on trans people in Ontario.
Researchers at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Toronto recently announced the launch of the Ontario Birth study which will follow thousands of women through their pregnancy, and their children, to see what effects in-utero exposure has on the later development of chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and mental illness.
The government’s social policy focus includes continued investment in health care, education, the environment and some modest gains in social assistance in their recently released 2013 Budget.
The Government of Ontario has asked the Law Commission of Ontario (LCO) to explore how Registered Disability Savings Plans (RDSP) can be made more accessible to people with disabilities. The work will examine how adults with developmental or other mental disabilities can participate in the program without completing an expensive competency assessment.
Community settings will be the new venue for a suite of physical therapies for seniors and eligible patients with funding from the Government of Ontario. Physiotherapy, exercise and fall prevention classes will be available in long-term care homes and in communities across Ontario.