National Network for Mental Health is commited to people with disabilities


Alexandra Sifferlin

A new review suggests cannabis may help mental health disorders

Legal access to marijuana, medicinal or otherwise, is growing. In 2016, four states approved recreational use of the drug and four states passed laws related to medical-cannabis access, bringing the total number of states that allow some form of legal marijuana use to 28.

Scientists know that marijuana contains more than 100 compounds, called cannabinoids, that have biological effects on the body. Medically, cannabis can be prescribed for physical ailments like arthritis and cancer symptoms as well as mental health issues like PTSD, depression and anxiety. Continue reading


The mental-health system for treating military personnel and veterans will undergo a sweeping overhaul to better care for them from boot camp through their retirement years, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan has revealed.

Top-ranking officials in Defence and Veterans Affairs are looking at “creating a new structure that’s going to not just look after the veteran at the end but start with keeping our soldiers healthy when they’re in the military,” Mr. Sajjan said in an interview with The Globe and Mail. Continue reading


  • Stony Brook runs 2nd largest center for 9/11 responders in the US
  • The center has monitored more than 800 of the 33,000 rescue workers
  • They found a direct link between their PTSD and early brain degeneration 
  • Those who most frequently relived the events had worse symptoms 

An unprecented study has explored the devastating impact the 9/11 attacks had on rescue workers’ brains.

The new research by Stony Brook University confirms the connection between post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.

It focused specifically on those who helped with search, rescue and cleanup efforts following the 2001 World Trade Center attacks.

Of the 800 first-responders surveyed, with an average of 53, more than 100 showed early signs of brain degeneration that could lead to Alzheimer’s.

Ten had signs of early onset dementia.

Those who most frequently re-lived that devastating day in their mind were more likely to develop symptoms of brain degeneration, the study authors reported.

The research, published in the Journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia, suggests thousands more rescuers who were not involved in the study could be at risk of developing brain diseases.

During the World Trade Center attacks, responders who helped in search, rescue, and recovery endured an array of traumatic and toxic exposures.

According to the study authors, one-fifth of these individuals subsequently developed PTSD.

In July 2002, the CDC initiated a monitoring and treatment program for WTC responders, spanning five clinical centers.

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At least one in five U.S. military veterans who have experienced trauma are at greatly elevated risk for depression, suicide, or substance abuse even though they do not meet all criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to a new Yale-led study.

The study of 1,484 U.S. veterans, published June 1 in the journal World Psychiatry, highlights the scope and burden of sub-threshold PTSD, or a collection of symptoms that aren’t complete enough or severe enough to earn a PTSD diagnosis. Continue reading

By Janis Ramsay

Today is an important day for paramedic Natalie Harris.

The Barrie resident lives with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and is celebrating the province’s passing of the Supporting Ontario’s First Responders Act, which allows faster access to benefits and treatment through Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).

“The first responder family is celebrating a long-awaited victory,” Harris said Tuesday. Continue reading

Adam Cyr was injured in Afghanistan

Adam Cyr was on his final infantry patrol in Afghanistan when his unit sustained enemy artillery fire. “We were going home the next day,” the two-sport athlete recalled.

“We got knocked around pretty good,” said Cyr, who is ready to compete for Canada in archery and rowing at the 2016 Invictus Games this week in Orlando. Three soldiers were killed, and Cyr lost his right leg in the battle. “My other leg was ripped apart, but the doctors put it back together. I lost some hearing and still have some musculoskeletal problems.” Continue reading

ATLANTA, Georgia – Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is unique among stress-related psychiatric illness in that exposure to a traumatic event is a required component of the diagnosis. Symptoms of PTSD include negative alterations in cognition and mood, hyperarousal, avoidance behavior, and re-experiencing of trauma. Furthermore, a significant minority of individuals who are exposed to trauma may also develop comorbid mental health issues such as major depressive disorder (MDD).1 Although most people experience a traumatic event in their lifetime, not everyone develops PTSD or MDD, which raises the question as to why some individuals are more susceptible to the effects of traumatic stress than others.2 Continue reading

Marie-Julie Cosenzo is daunted by the thought of crossing the bridge into Gatineau.

“Just going to Hull even is very difficult for me. It just brings back too much pain,” Cosenzo said.

Cosenzo, who lives in Ottawa and has been a paramedic with the Coopérative des Paramédics de l’Outaouais for almost nine years, hasn’t been at work since last Oct. 3 after responding to a traumatic call.

It was for a 17-year-old boy who died by suicide.

“We got there, it was chaos. Firefighters, police,” Cosenzo said. “You go into autopilot and afterwards you deal.”

But the frenzy was too much for Cosenzo. Continue reading

By Chantal Da Silva, CBC News

New training program teaches first responders how to spot early warning signs of PTSD

Firefighters in Mississauga are the first in the province to benefit from a new program that aims to help first responders cope with the impact of post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Road to Mental Readiness (R2MR) program held its first training session on Friday, with firefighters learning how to recognize signs of mental-health issues and work-related stress in themselves and their colleagues.

For many, the program is long overdue. Mississauga fire acting captain Allan Mills said he is still on the road to recovery after he and three other officers survived an explosion at a Mississauga warehouse nearly two years ago.

“It’s the closest I’ve come to dying,” Mills said of the blast on April 23, 2014. “My crew and I were basically faced with an explosion head-on. I was thrown through the air about 20 feet and we were all crushed under a 10-foot wall.” Continue reading