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CAMH Connexions Summer 2011 Newsletter

Making Connections For Youth With Concurrent Disorders

Each year CAMH’s Child, Youth and Family Program treats approximately 2500 children and youth with behavioural, mental health and substance use issues – from fire-starting to psychosis, from oppositional disorder to anxiety, from ADHD to drug abuse.

Youth with co-occurring mental health and substance use problems need specialized help. Supported by Canadian Institutes of Health research (CIHr), CAMH is taking a comprehensive approach to building an effective system of care for youth with concurrent disorders.

One part of the CIHr study will follow a group of about 1500 youth aged 11 to 14 for three years – an important transitional stage for the emergence of substance use and risky behaviours.

CAMH will also study three types of community-based treatments, including motivational enhancement, dialectical behavioural and skills training.

“Whether we visit small towns, such as Thompson, Manitoba or Prince George, BC, the needs identified by service providers have been very similar,” said Gloria Chaim, deputy clinical director of CAMH’s Child, Youth and Family (CYF) Program. “Everyone wants a quick and easy tool to identify youth problems with mental health r substances, and they’re interested in training and collaborating across sectors.”

As well as improving our understanding of risk and protective factors, CAMH’s youth concurrent disorders initiative will establish effective tools for early identification of at-risk youth and develop innovative treatment approaches to help them recover.

Supported by Health Canada, CAMH is working to enhance pathways to care for youth through building networks among different types of health and social service agencies to help youth access the care they need.

“In Prince George, the community had a shared space for youth service providers from various agencies, but they didn’t necessarily work together,” said Gloria. “By providing everyone with the same concurrent disorders training and a common screening tool, they’ve gained an understanding and the impetus to work collaboratively to address the needs of the young people they serve.”

CAMH is increasing our own treatment capacity by creating the first beds in Canada dedicated to youth with both mental illness and addictions, as part of the current phase of our Queen Street redevelopment Project.

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School-based violence prevention program expanded

CAMH’s Centre for Prevention Science has received a $2.5 million grant from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) to expand the reach of its highly successful Fourth r Program, with a special focus on Aboriginal youth.

The Fourth r Program is a school-based violence prevention program that decreases violence, increases safer choices and creates healthier relationships with peers. “One of the most effective ways to reduce risk to adolescents and youth is by helping them learn to make healthy decisions and form good relationships with peers, parents and teachers,” said Dr.

Claire Crooks, psychologist at CAMH’s Centre for Prevention Science and project lead on the Fourth r expansion. The Centre for Prevention Science will work with Aboriginal community partners to implement the program in schools in the Northwest Territories, Ontario and Saskatchewan. There are numerous expansions to the program for use with Aboriginal students, most notably a peer mentoring program.

“The project provides a fantastic opportunity to take a program that has been shown to work in other parts of Canada and adapt it to fit the unique character of our northern communities,” said Dianne Lafferty, Aboriginal Education Coordinator
of Yellowknife Catholic Schools and the regional coordinator for the nwt sites of the project.

CAMH’s Fourth R Program is a school-based violence prevention program that decreases violence, increases safer choices and creates healthier relationships with peers.

“Working with community partners in Yellowknife and Behchoko has helped us optimize that balance between evidence-based programming and regional fit.”

Bell Canada announces historic donation

This spring the CAMH Foundation marked the beginning of a new era for mental health in Canada with the announcement that it exceeded its campaign milestone of $100 million to transform care for people living with mental illness and addictions with a gift from Bell Canada of $10 million. The largest corporate donation ever to mental health in Canada, it brings the total raised by CAMH’s Transforming Lives Campaign to $108 million, the largest hospital fundraising campaign for mental health in North America.

“The Bell team is proud to be an integral partner in CAMH community, and for its central entry point – the Bell Gateway Building – to so visibly carry our name,” said George Cope, President and CEO of Bell Canada and BCE Inc. “We support CAMH’s world-leading vision to promote mental health by integrating the best resources and talent within a community framework. With its commitment to improved care and access, and to knowledge sharing with mental health physicians, researchers and care providers nationally and globally, the Transforming Lives campaign aligns perfectly with the Bell Mental Health Initiative.”

CAMH President and CEO, Dr. Catherine Zahn, agreed. She said “This is a historic moment for all Canadians. Together with our donors, we have created a seismic breakthrough and raised unprecedented funds for research and support mechanisms to address the staggering impact of mental illness. The extraordinary success of this campaign sends a bold statement of hope to all Canadians who are living with mental illness.”

Awards and appointments

Clinic head receives national honour for outstanding contributions to Aboriginal health

  • Peter menzies, Clinic Head of Aboriginal Services at CAMH, received an Award of Excellence from the Kaiser Foundation for his contributions to the treatment of mental health and addictions in the Aboriginal community. The Kaiser Mental Health and Addictions Awareness Foundation is a national organization which carries out programs and initiatives across Canada in the fields of mental health and addictions.
  • Dr. Menzies is a member of Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nation, and has spent the past ten years building culturally congruent mental health and addictions programs in partnership with both urban, rural and First Nations communities through his work at camh. He is the organization’s first Aboriginal Clinic Head and is responsible for creating CAMH’s Aboriginal Services Program, providing support to communities across Ontario and nationally.
  • Dr. Vincenzo Deluca and Dr. George Foussias were awarded American Psychiatric Association- AstraZeneca Young Minds in Psychiatry Awards in May, 2011 – Dr. DeLuca for studying the epigenetics of bipolar disorder and suicidal behaviour, and Dr. Foussias for studying motivational deficits in schizophrenia.
  • Dr. Aristotle Voineskos has been awarded the 2011 Siminovitch-Salter Award. This award is given to the Institute of Medical Sciences (IMS) PhD graduate who has made outstanding scholarly contributions based on peer-reviewed publications originating from graduate research and the evaluation by external thesis examiners. Dr. Voineskos also successfully renewed his CIHr Clinician Scientist Phase I Award, ranking first among all applicants.
  • Dr. Kwame McKenzie was honoured by the African Canadian Achievement Awards (ACAA) with an Excellence in Science Award for his outstanding achievements in, and contribution to, the field, and to the community at large. The awards recognize and honour the accomplishments, achievements and excellence of African-Canadians in 14 different categories ofendeavour.
  • CAMH was recognized as one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers for 2011. CAMH was named one of Greater Toronto’s Top Employers for 2011 as well. CAMH has had a formal diversity strategy for over 10 years, focussing on client service issues and enhancing an inclusive culture and community
  • within the organization.

CAMH Corporate Volunteer program honoured by Volunteer Toronto

Volunteer Toronto honoured the CAMH Corporate Volunteer program with the Legacy Award for Community Building.
The award is given out to organizations with strong volunteer programs that show a commitment to the concerns and issues affecting the community and have developed exceptional, responsive resources to address them through volunteer contributions.

“We are honoured to be recognized by Volunteer Toronto,” said Christine Burych, Director of Volunteer resources at CAMH. “Our Corporate Volunteer Program works closely with corporations to build and sustain healthy communities. This Legacy Award is a testament to the work of our team and shows that we are making an impact.”

Alcohol causes a significant burden of cancer

CAMH researchers contributed to a large European study showing that alcohol use above daily recommended limits can lead to several types of cancers.

About one in 10 cancers (10 percent) in men and one in 33 cancers (3 percent) in women in Western Europe are caused by former and current alcohol consumption, according to the study published by the British Medical Journal in April.

CAMH researchers Jürgen rehm, Tara Kehoe and Gerrit Gmel joined a large number of researchers in a study led by Madlen Schützeat the German Institute of Human Nutrition in Potsdam rehbruecke, (who did the main research analyses during an internship at CAMH). The study included 363,988 adults in eight countries who had been tracked since the mid-1990s.

Pan American Health Organization Symposium at CAMH

CAMH’s Office of International Health hosted more than 60 mental health and addiction experts from 13 countries for two days of intense discussion and debate as they considered actions to strengthen mental health and substance use plans and services in Latin America and the Caribbean. The event was co-organized by the Pan- American Health Organization (PAHO).

The symposium focussed special attention on the desperate need for mental health capacity building amongst primary care providers, and mental health protection in indigenous populations. Canada’s indigenous population is some three million people, and suicide rates among our Inuit citizens are the highest in the world, making these needs particularly strong here at home.

CAMH President and CEO Dr. Catherine Zahn told the group, “We’re in a special moment in time. Concerns about a concerted approach to helping people with mental illness and addictions are in the media. People with lived experience are speaking out openly. The science, discovery and innovation is creating hope. We’re working together!”