The Family Matters Resource Centre is a new web resource for families that addresses the overlapping interests of people affected by schizophrenia, mood disorders and addictions. The Ontario Federation of Community Mental Health and Addiction Programs, the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario and the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario collaborated on the “one-stop-shop” website for families, which provides access to resources, links and information from all three organizations. Each organization maintains its own pages on the website in order to broaden the reach to families across the province. Visit www.familymattersresourcecentre.ca.
Creating Together: Developing a Mental Health and Addictions Research Agenda for Ontario is an OMHAKEN-initiated, province-wide process to jointly develop a research agenda for mental health and addictions in Ontario. The results of the process will help guide health systems and services, and population and public health research investments and knowledge exchange activity over the next three to five years.
Canada Health Infoway announced that the Government of Canada has invested $500 million in electronic health record (EHR) systems. Most of the new funds ($380 million) will be used to speed up the implementation of electronic medical record (EMR) systems, to enable physicians and nurse practitioners to securely access patient information including diagnostic images, blood test results, drug histories and clinical reports. Some of the funding will also be used to support consumer health, diagnostic imaging and telehealth solutions. See the news release “Canada Invests $500 Million in Electronic Health Record (EHR) Systems with a Focus on Physicians and Nurse Practitioners across Canada,” September 17, 2010, at www.infoway-inforoute.ca.
A toolkit and training workshop to promote mental health and curb childhood obesity in Aboriginal communities has been developed through the Best Start Resource Centre, a Health Nexus program. The project, Let’s Be Healthy Together: Preventing Childhood Obesity in Ontario’s Aboriginal Communities, was led and developed by Aboriginal people from across Ontario with funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. Melanie Ferris, Aboriginal Health Promotion Consultant at Health Nexus, is providing train-the-trainer workshops to facilitate the use of the toolkit to address issues of mental health and childhood obesity. For more information about the program, visit www.beststart.org. For a full description of the toolkit and workshops, see “Mental Health and Well-Being: Tools for Those Working with Aboriginal Families in Ontario,” September 27, 2010, available on the Minding Our Bodies website at www.mindingourbodies.ca.
The Osgoode Certificate in Mental Health Law is being offered from October 14 to December 16, 2010 in Toronto. This unique certificate program, now in its third year, provides an overview of the core principles of mental health law, as well as strategies for handling mental health law issues, through lectures, case studies, class/group discussions, directed readings and guest speakers. There are six modules in the program: Overview of Mental Health Law in Ontario; Mental Health – Civil System; Consent and Capacity and Substitute Decision-Making; Special Issues in the Geriatric/Pediatric Context and Cultural Issues in Mental Health; Privacy, Confidentiality and Risk Assessments; and Mental Health – Forensic System. For more information about the Mental Health Law program, visit www.osgoodepd.ca.
The North East Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) board has approved a decision to allow the Sault Area Hospital (SAH) to keep seven acute mental health beds after it moves to its new site. It was expected that under its cost-saving Hospital Improvement Plan, the hospital would reduce its mental health capacity from 30 to 23 beds with its spring move to a new hospital site. The hospital lobbied the Northeast LHIN board to keep the beds and the LHIN agreed in April 2010 that SAH should continue to receive funding for the beds due to high demand. See “SAH Acute Mental Health Beds Officially Saved: LHIN,” Sault Star online edition, September 23, 2010, available at www.saultstar.com.
Skirting the Edge is a collection of monologues exploring women’s mental landscapes. It is a personal exploration of how in times of extreme duress — such as a break-up, post-partum depression, or the loss of a loved one — any one person can feel as if they are “losing their mind.” The play was developed by Mysterious Entity theatre company, in association with the Canadian Mental Health Association, Peterborough Branch; Peterborough Regional Health Centre; Schizophrenia Society of Ontario, Peterborough/Durham Region; and Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Mental health professionals and consumer/survivors of the mental health system also provided input as the play was developed. The company is now booking dates in theatres and community settings for the 2010-2011 national tour. For more information or to book a performance, visit www.mysteriousentity.com, call 705-933-4510 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
A directory of women’s health researchers in Ontario, including those in the area of mental health, is available. The current version of the directory is maintained by the University of Toronto but is being expanded through a collaboration of the Women’s College Research Institute and Echo, an agency of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care that works to improve women’s health in Ontario. A new provincial directory of women’s health researchers will be launched in fall 2010 and will be housed on Echo’s website. The current University of Toronto Directory of Women’s Health Researchers can be accessed at www.womensresearch.ca. For more information about Echo, visit www.echo-ontario.ca.
The Law Commission of Ontario (LCO) is set to release a consultation paper this fall that will reveal key issues and directions related to the law and disabilities identified through an extensive consultation process. When the paper is released the LCO will request participation from the disability community, government, experts and others for the development of an interim report, to be released in 2011. The consultation paper is part of a larger LCO project that is exploring how the law relates to people with disabilities. The purpose of the project is to create a principle-based tool to help legislators and policy-makers consider the interests, rights and needs of people with disabilities when they are designing laws and policies. For more information, to fill out an online survey about your experiences as a person with a disability or to add contact information to the stakeholder database, please visit the Law Commission of Ontario website at www.lco-cdo.org.
The New Zealand Ministry of Health has launched a web-based resource to support the health and disability sector as it works to improve service delivery, implement innovation and increase productivity. Developed with the guidance of the sector, the Health Improvement and Innovation Resource Centre is designed to serve as a central repository of best practice, innovation, new evidence and learning and to make New Zealand-related research more accessible to clinicians, providers and researchers. For more information, visit www.hiirc.org.nz.