National Network for Mental Health is commited to people with disabilities

Membership Archives

July 13, 2012

The National Network for Mental Health (NNMH) will be holding its 2011/2012 Annual General
Meeting (AGM) on Thursday, September 20, 2012 at 12:00 noon EST via teleconference.

According to our By-Laws, this year the NNMH is in need of Board of Director representation in:
(1) British Columbia/Territories, (2) Prairies, (2) Quebec, and (2) Maritimes/Atlantic.

If you would like to apply for a position on the Board of Directors, please forward your resume and a short bio accompanied by a brief cover letter outlining your reasons for applying and what experience/expertise you feel you could bring to the NNMH and its Board of Directors. We are seeking nominees with expertise in fundraising, finance, human resources, and law. As well we ask that nominees be prepared to sit on a minimum of two board committee’s and to chair a board committee that speaks to their skills set. The nominee slate accompanied by the short bios will be posted to the NNMH website 30 days prior to the AGM for the purpose of informing the membership about their choice in candidates for the position of Board Director. Applications can be submitted by email to [email protected] and must be received no later than 4:30 p.m. EST, August 19, 2012. Continue reading

National Network for Mental Health President, Jean Beckett, announced today, that Joan Edwards Karmazyn has decided to resign from her position of National Executive Director of the NNMH at the end May 2012. Joan, who is planning her retirement from the mental health field will not be totally disappearing from our sights though, as she plans to stay involved and connected with the field in general and in particular with the psychiatric survivor movement as she stays engaged with various programs and projects and especially with the National Network for Mental Health, providing support and advice as needed. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Joan for her leadership and management experience and for her passion in advocating for her peers who live with mental illness. It has been an honour and privilege to work with Joan as we, at the NNMH continue to strive to build strong stakeholder partnerships individually and collectively to embrace the vision of seeing mental health become the foundation of total health for all Canadians.

Jean Beckett,
NNMH President

Council of Canadians with Disabilities
Media Release
30 March 2012
For Immediate Release

Viewing Budget 2012 with a Disability Lens

Budget 2012 made incremental improvements for people with disabilities: The Registered Disability Savings Plan will see a number of reforms making the rules on withdrawals more flexible, improving administration and allowing family members to open plans on behalf of adults who are not currently perceived as being “contractually competent”. An additional $30 million over 3 years will be added to the Opportunities Fund to assist Canadians with disabilities to gain work experience with small and medium-sized businesses. The Government will also be introducing legislation to require federally regulated private sector employers to insure any long-term disability plans they offer to their employees.

Last week, the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD), a national organization of people with disabilities working for an inclusive and accessible Canada, called for the Federal Government to consider the effect of Old Age Security (OAS) reforms on Canadians with disabilities. Budget 2012 indicates the Federal Government will have discussions with the provinces and territories about the impact of OAS reforms on Canada Pension Plan (CPP) disability benefits. CCD has identified questions that need a response from Canada’s governments.

OAS is a disability issue. Canadians with disabilities disproportionately live in poverty. Between 45 and 60 percent of those living on social assistance are persons with disabilities, and this number continues to increase. OAS coupled with the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) benefit is better than any social assistance program in Canada. Increasing the age of entitlement for OAS will keep persons with disabilities living in poverty longer.

OAS does not exist in isolation. In fact, many other benefits are designed to work in tandem with OAS. “CCD is making public a number of questions that need answering related to the OAS reform which will see people waiting longer for their old age pension. This change will deepen and lengthen the poverty experienced by people with disabilities and create further inequality for us,” states Marie White, Chairperson of CCD’s Social Policy Committee. “New policy initiatives should enhance the status of Canadians with disabilities, not create greater disadvantages for us,” states White. CCD is seeking answers from Federal/Provincial and Territorial Governments on how increasing the age eligibility for OAS will affect other public policy measures:

Will raising the age of entitlement trigger a change in the Old Age Exemption in the Income Tax Act?
Will Long Term Disability and Workers Compensation policies now extend benefits to age 67?
Will Canada Pension Plan benefits also change the age of eligibility?

Fax/Téléc: 204-942-4625
Toll Free/Sans Frais: 1-877-947-0303

Will this apply to both the early retirement and full benefit?
How will provinces respond to persons with disabilities and others remaining on social assistance for a longer period of time? Will it result in reducing those benefits or limiting future improvements?

How will OAS and GIS eligibility changes affect eligibility to other services such as pharmacare,
subsidized housing, home care, etc.?

“CCD calls upon the Government of Canada to apply a disability lens while establishing the rules governing pension reform and to develop a long term comprehensive strategy designed to ensure the integration of people with disabilities into the labour market – in real, meaningful, good paying jobs,” states Tony Dolan, CCD Chairperson.

For More Information Contact:

Tony Dolan, CCD Chairperson
Tel: 902-569-2817 (H)

Marie White, Chairperson, CCD Social Policy Committee
Tel: 709-739-8233

Laurie Beachell, CCD National Coordinator
Tel: 204-947-0303

Dear friend/colleague,

The NNMH (National Network for Mental Health) has submitted a project to the Aviva Community Fund competition and is asking for your votes!

Our project is called Mental Health Wellness & Recovery and the Role of Peer Support.

It only takes a couple of minutes to vote and you can vote for our project once per day till November 30th!

Please go to to register and begin voting!

thank you for your support,

Joan Edwards Karmazyn
National Executive Director
National Network for Mental Health
P.O. Box 328
South River, ON P0A 1X0

[email protected] or [email protected]

ph: 705-386-8788
toll: 1-888-406-4663
fax: 705-386-8807

CrossCurrents, a national mental health and addiction magazine published by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, is doing an issue about nutrition and mental health issues. We invite you to answer a short survey to tell us what you think about the connection between mental health issues and food and what challenges you face in accessing healthy food.

Please submit your answers by December 12. Your answers will remain anonymous.

Here is the Survey Monkey link:

Thank you for your time and input.

Hema Zbogar
Editor, CrossCurrents
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
33 Russell St.
Toronto, Ontario

tel 416 595-6714
fax 416 595-6892
e-mail [email protected]

What’s on your mind?

“I am not my depression.”

Sometimes it’s hard to really accept that truth. Mindfulness is a good tool for gaining a sense of distance between our “self” and our symptoms.

“Mindfulness-based interventions encourage [individuals] to observe their perceptions, sensations and emotions without identifying with them,” clinical psychologist Dr. Elise Labbé, PhD, explains in her recent book Psychology Moment by Moment.

Does paying more attention to the circling drone of self-critical, painful or anxious thoughts seem counterproductive? Not so, say the co-authors of The Mindful Way Through Anxiety. “Anxiety can be extremely uncomfortable, so it’s natural to want to turn away from rather than toward it,” write Susan M. Orsillo, PhD, and Lizabeth Roemer, PhD—but educated awareness actually “alleviates a lot of distress and confusion.”

Learning to defuse distressing thoughts takes time and practice. Still, you can get started with relatively easy exercises. For example, choose one regular daily activity, like stopping at a red light, as a reminder to consciously take a deep, calming breath.

“Mending through Mindfulness” (esperanza Summer 2011) has other simple ideas and more on the benefits of mindfulness. Click here to read more.

In the news

New finding may lead to blood test for depression

Newswise, Oct. 28, 2011—Scientists at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute and Yale University have identified a new target area in the human genome that appears to harbor genes with a major role in the onset of depression. They zeroed in on an area that governs expression of a gene called RNF123.

Because RNF123 expression levels can be measured relatively easily in the blood, this finding could lead to a way of identifying people at risk for major depressive disorder, researchers said. Read more.

New type of talk therapy focuses on the future

Newswise, October 19, 2011—Patients with major depression who learn to create a more positive outlook about the future demonstrated significant improvement in depression and anxiety, as well as improvement in overall reported quality of life, say researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles who developed a new treatment to help people do just that.

“Talking about what makes you unhappy in life doesn’t generate the necessary thinking patterns or action needed to promote a state of thriving and create a more positive future,” said study author Jennice Vilhauer, PhD. “Future-Directed Therapy™ helps people … [construct] visions of what they want more of in the future and it helps them develop the skills that they will need to eventually get there.” Read more.

November 7, 2011


Call for Project Steering Committee Members

Greetings Community Partners and Members,

The Lived Experience & Recovery Network (LERN) recently announced our new project: the Canadian Charter of Peer Support. LERN is a networking body linking, supporting and educating all consumer/survivor and family organizations (CSIs and FIs) in the Northeast Region. We also network and advocate provincially and nationally on behalf of our member organizations and for all CSIs and FIs.

Further to our previous letter of invite for partners, supporters and contributors, we are now pleased to announce that we are moving forward with this project, with an anticipated start date of December 5th, 2011. We would like to invite interested parties to participate on the project steering committee. The responsibility of the steering committee will be to guide and promote the project over the next six to eight months. We anticipate a commitment of one meeting per month, although additional meetings may be required by either the steering committee or possible sub-committees on an as-needed basis. Meetings will primarily be held via teleconference and/or video conference, although there is the potential for in-person meetings where/when funding permits.

The purpose of Charter is:

  • promote peer support as a cost effective and integral part of the mental health and addiction system
  • promote the involvement and empowerment of people with lived experience and family members
  • showcase the validity and value of peer support as a method of service delivery
  • encourage various stakeholders, partners and government agencies to recognize and appreciate the power of peer support to reduce incidence of use of services as well as to increase over-all well-being and self-reliance of people

We have had communications with Stéphane Grenier of the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) regarding how this project can be complimentary to the Peer Project currently underway. Discussions have been very positive and Stéphane suggested that either he or another Peer Project member would be willing to sit on the Charter steering committee.

We have secured the permission of the Centre of Excellence in Peer Support, Australia to use their Charter of Peer Support as our guiding document. You can view the Australian Charter as well as information and updates about this project on our website at

If you would like to participate as a project steering committee member or would like further information please contact our office at 705-840-1818 or via email at [email protected]

Thank you in advance for your support and commitment to promoting the value and effectiveness of peer support and CSIs/FIs.



Regional Director
Lived Experience & Recovery Network (LERN)
Formerly Northeast Ontario Consumer/Survivor Network (NEON)
351 Ferguson St., North Bay ON P1B 1X1

To: Community Mental Health and Employment Agencies


I am writing on behalf of the research team for the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s Aspiring Workforce Project. The Aspiring Workforce project is an examination of the existing and innovative practices that help people living with mental illness secure and sustain meaningful employment and/or a sustainable income in Canada. The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health undertook the project beginning in 2009, in collaboration with researchers from the University of Toronto and Queen’s University. “Aspiring Workforce” is a term developed by the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) to describe those people who, due to mental illness have been unable to enter the workforce, or who are in and out of the workforce due to episodic illness, or who wish to return to work after a lengthy period of illness. For further information about the project, please see the information sheet attached to this e-mail.

As part of the project, we would like to learn directly from consumers about their experiences in the workforce. A short questionnaire has been developed for people living with mental illness or who have used mental health services to share their input on entering and/or returning to work, as well as their experiences with disability income support programs. The questionnaire is voluntary and will take between 15 to 30 minutes to complete. It is currently available in English only, however we are working on creating a French version. Please let us know if you would be interested in receiving a copy of the French version once it has been completed.

We are asking community mental health and employment agencies from across Canada for support in circulating the attached PDF version (if for some reason it is not attached to the email you have been forwarded, you may request it via the contact information below) and the link below to the questionnaires within their organizations and networks. Would you and/or your organization be able to assist us with circulation? You can assist us by:

  • Sharing this survey link or a copy of the PDF with your clients
  • Forwarding this e-mail to your network contacts
  • Posting the link to the survey in your organization’s newsletter, listserv, web space, etc.

Please click here to be taken to the survey: Workplace Know How Survey. If you experience any difficulty accessing the survey with this link, please try the two listed at the bottom of this e-mail. If you’re still unable to access the survey or have any questions about the questionnaire or the Aspiring Workforce project, please contact Reena Sirohi at [email protected] or by phone at (416) 535-8501 x3170.

Thank you very much.


Reena Sirohi, on behalf of the Aspiring Workforce research team