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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: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/7FF8CW9

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]
www.camhcrosscurrents.net

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

CHARTER OF PEER SUPPORT

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 www.livedexperience.org.

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.

Sincerely,

Krista

Regional Director
Lived Experience & Recovery Network (LERN)
Formerly Northeast Ontario Consumer/Survivor Network (NEON)
351 Ferguson St., North Bay ON P1B 1X1
705.840.1818
www.livedexperience.org

To: Community Mental Health and Employment Agencies

Hello,

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.

Sincerely,

Reena Sirohi, on behalf of the Aspiring Workforce research team

To: Persons with lived experience/Consumers:

We would like to invite you to participate in this research project by completing the attached questionnaire. Your expertise is critical to assisting the research team in making recommendations to improve workplace know-how for the aspiring workforce and legislation on disability benefits in Canada. The questionnaire will take approximately 15-30 minutes to complete. It will focus on your experience within the workforce and with disability income support programs.

Your participation is voluntary; you are free to withdraw your participation from this questionnaire at any time. If you do not want to continue, you can dispose of this questionnaire. You also may choose to skip any questions that you do not wish to answer.

See below for alternate links if needed.

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.

Attention NNMH Members – the National Post is covering a story on mental illness, stigma and inclusion & what a stigma free Canada would look like. If you would like to participate you may contact freelance writer and media professional, Karen Lewellen at [email protected] or by calling 416-915-6470 by October 28th as Karen is on a tight deadline.