Tag Archives: Partners for Mental Health

Action: Lives of four busloads of Canadian youth at stake in Federal budget

Jeff Moat, CEO of Partners for Mental Health, at OPSEU Tuesday.

Jeff Moat, CEO of Partners for Mental Health, at OPSEU Tuesday.

The change in fortune for the federal government is making Jeff Moat very nervous.

The CEO of Partners for Mental Health, Moat has been lobbying federal MPs to support a five-year $100 million project to pilot a youth suicide prevention program that has already shown impressive results in Europe. In Canada three times as many youth (15-24) die from suicide than by all forms of cancer.

Moat says MPs have been very receptive to the proposal, but a drop in government revenues from falling oil prices likely means the Partners will have to demonstrate significant public support to keep it in this year’s budget.

Normally delivered in February, Federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver recently announced he was pushing the budget back to April or later to deal with the current economic instability brought on by falling energy prices. That has prompted fears that the Harper government is taking a chainsaw to the supports Canadians need in order to keep the Prime Minister’s promise of a balanced budget.

The proposal the Partners have brought to the federal government is based on one piloted by the Nuremburg Alliance in Germany that reduced youth suicide by a staggering 24 per cent. That initiative takes a whole community approach to suicide prevention, giving everyone a role from mental health and child welfare professionals to police, teachers and the media.

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Seeking Solutions: June mental health meeting to take 360 degree look at violence and workplace safety

OPSEU’s Mental Health Division is bringing together experts from across the province to take a 360 degree look at the issue of violence and workplace safety. Scheduled for June 17-18 in Toronto, this two-day event is intended to start a dialogue towards engineering a safer environment for both staff and patients. That includes sessions where we turn to the participants to contribute their own best practices.

Studies tell us that patients suffering from mental illness are no more prone to violence than the general population. Yet incidents of violence vary greatly even among comparative mental health environments in the province. Why it is at some hospitals Code Whites – a response to aggressive behaviour — are a daily occurrence, while at others they are a rarity?

Jeff Moat, Partners for Mental Health

Jeff Moat, Partners for Mental Health

How can we address the issue of violence without contributing to stigma? What role do least restraint policies play, and can they be better implemented? What kind of training should be available to staff to better handle these situations? What existing legislation exists, and what are the gaps? What happens when professionals conduct this work in the community? What role does the workplace environment play?

Speakers confirmed so far include:

Glenn French — President and CEO of the Canadian Initiative on Workplace Violence
Heather Stuart — Bell Canada Mental Health & Anti-Stigma Research Chair, Queen’s University
Jeff Moat – President, Partners for Mental Health
Nancy Casselman — Director, Human Resources & Organizational Quality, Safety and Wellness at Toronto East General Hospital
Lori Schindel Martin – Associate Professor, Ryerson University
Warren (Smokey) Thomas – OPSEU President
Lisa McCaskell — OPSEU Senior Health & Safety Officer
Marty McFarlane – OPSEU Education Officer

The new Minister of Labour, Kevin Flynn, has also been invited to open the meeting.


The event will also look at the result of a workplace violence survey that has been sent out to all Mental Health Locals. If your local health and safety members haven’t filled out the survey yet, please do so as soon as possible by clicking here.

Who is eligible to attend?

Every OPSEU mental health local has been invited to send their highest ranking member or their delegate, plus a member from each health and safety committee.

If you are eligible to attend, please contact your local executive as soon as possible about registering for this event. Space is very limited.

Campaign calls for federal $100 million suicide prevention fund

Partners for Mental Health have launched a new campaign to get the help that Canadian youth need.

Called “The Right By You” campaign, the advocacy group is asking Canadians to speak out, urging provincial governments to cover mental health care for all children and youth as well as to establish a $100 million federal suicide prevention fund.

According to the Partners, three of four children and youth with a mental health problem or illness will not receive treatment. Twenty per cent of those diagnosed will have to wait more than a year to receive treatment. Further, nearly one in four deaths of youth aged 15-19 are the result of suicide.

The campaign website is loaded with the tools activists need to push the issue out into the community. That includes an on-line petition and a connection to federal MPs in which you can use the Partner’s sample letter or create your own.

The site also includes a collection of stories by Canadians who have been affected by mental illness, including several heartbreaking videos of parents who have lost a child to suicide.

To watch the short “Right By You” campaign video, click on the box below.

Campaign: It’s time we challenged our employers to talk about mental illness

Partners for Mental Health are blunt. They call it the cost of doing nothing.

That’s the cost of employers failing to address mental illness in the workplace.

PFMH has all the data. 500,000 Canadians will miss work today due to mental illness. One in three disability claims are related to mental illness. The cost of mental illness to Canada’s economy is estimated to be $51 billion per year – or about five times the current Ontario deficit.

Yet even talking about it is a stretch in most workplaces. According to PFMH only 23 per cent of Canadians would be willing to talk about their mental illness with their employer. That’s means more than three out of four would not.

If we can’t talk about it, how do we begin to deal with it?

It becomes particularly tricky when many of our employers are still using destructive attendance management programs. Given widespread stigma that exists around mental illness, workers could fairly wonder how their mental illness will be treated in such an environment.

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