Member Blogs

Study to Assess the Capacity of the Mental Health and Substance Use Workforce to Respond to COVID-19

An interdisciplinary research team led by Dr. Mary Bartram at the Mental Health Commission of Canada and Dr. Ivy Bourgeault at the University of Ottawa and Canadian Health Workforce Network has contacted our organization, asking us to inform you about an important study they are conducting. Their team is working to assess how COVID-19 is impacting the capacity of Canada’s mental health and substance use workforce. The pandemic has brought about big changes for this workforce, such as the sudden shift to online approaches and responding to increasing levels of anxiety, trauma and grief in the population. We know from previous disasters and epidemics that the mental health and substance use impacts are likely to be complex and long-lasting and may not fully emerge until after the worst of the crisis. This study will provide better information about the capacity of service providers to respond to the mental health and substance use needs of people in response to COVID-19. The questions in the survey will be related to your capacity as a member of the mental health and substance use workforce to respond to COVID-19 pandemic. The survey is anticipated to take 10-15 minutes and can be completed at a time convenient to you. Please note that you are not required to participate in this study. This project is being conducted independently from our organization and your decision to participate (or not) will not be known to our organization. Taking part or not taking part in this study will not affect your status at the organization. At any point you can withdraw participation without recourse. The study has received ethics approval from the University of Ottawa. To open the Survey, follow the link. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ Une équipe de recherche multidisciplinaire dirigée par Mary Bartram, de la Commission de la santé mentale du Canada, Ivy Bourgeault, de l’Université d’Ottawa et le Réseau canadien des personnels de la santé a contacté notre organisation pour nous demander de vous informer d’une importante étude qu’elle mène actuellement. L’équipe travaille à évaluer les répercussions de la COVID-19 sur la capacité de la main-d’œuvre canadienne en santé mentale et usage de substances. La pandémie a provoqué des changements de taille pour cette main-d’œuvre, notamment avec le passage soudain à des interventions virtuelles et l’adoption de solutions pour composer avec les niveaux croissants d’anxiété, de traumatismes et de deuil dans la population. Les catastrophes et épidémies antérieures nous ont enseigné que les répercussions sur la santé mentale et l’usage de substances pourraient être complexes et de longue durée et qu’elles pourraient se manifester pleinement seulement lorsque l’essentiel de la crise sera passé. Cette étude nous renseignera davantage sur la capacité des fournisseurs de services à répondre aux besoins des gens en matière de santé mentale et de consommation de substances dans le contexte de la COVID-19. Le questionnaire portera sur votre capacité, comme membre de la main-d’œuvre en santé mentale et usage de substances, à faire face à la pandémie de COVID-19. Pour participer à l’étude, veuillez suivre ...
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Certified Nurses Day – March 19

Did you know that March 19 is Certified Nurses Day? It’s an international day of recognition celebrating certified nurses’ contribution to the profession. Created by the American Nurses Credentialing Center and the American Nurses Association in 2008, it’s now celebrated around the world. Those organizations chose March 19 to commemorate the birthday of Margretta ‘Gretta' Madden Styles, the renowned American nurse credentialing expert who advanced practice and regulation for more than two decades worldwide.  The Canadian Federation of Mental Health Nurses (CFMHN) is inviting all CNA-certified nurses to proudly wear their certification pin(s) Please note that if you are a member of the Canadian Federation of Mental Health Nurses you will receive a 20% discount on your certification exam or renewal, register now to get the code as there is a limit! ...
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NIED – Eating Disorder Awareness Week (EDAW)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday, January 28, 2021 – Toronto In 2018, when Jill Andrew, MPP for Toronto-St. Paul’s first championed Bill 61, to get Eating Disorders Awareness Week (EDAW) proclaimed officially in Ontario, it didn’t make it through the house. Thanks to her tenacity, and over many years, that of the co-founders of National Initiative for Eating Disorders (NIED), Bulimia Anorexia Nervosa Association (BANA) and the National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC), Bill 61 passed unanimously on December 3, 2020, proclaiming Eating Disorders Awareness Week in Ontario February 1st – 7th. Since 1988, when NEDIC became the national coordinator for EDAW, they, along with other groups across the country, slowly started to officially recognize EDAW. Today, the Yukon, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland & Labrador, and now Ontario have all proclaimed EDAW. MPP Andrew, a long-time supporter of the National Eating Disorders Information Centre (NEDIC) and co-founder of Body Confidence Canada, an organization that advocates for equitable and inclusive images, messages, practices and policies supporting body diversity said, “EDAW will help bring attention to the diversity of people who experience Eating Disorders, including Black, and racialized women and girls, queer people, transgender people, disabled people and fat people.” EDAW is a collective effort from coast-to-coast engaging organizations to host local events, light prominent landmarks in the colour purple, and participate in public education campaigns about Eating Disorders. Building on EDAW’s previous year’s theme “Eating Disorders Can’t Afford to Wait”, this year’s primary message is “What Happened While We Waited?”. The week will literally and figuratively shine a light on the nuances of the current times — the negative and positive implications of the pandemic — while also holding space for those who have been waiting a very long time for the care they need and deserve. NIED’s co-founder Wendy Preskow, and NEDIC’s program manager Suzanne Phillips both agree that the proclamation of EDAW every year in Ontario from February 1-7, was a fantastic moment for Eating Disorder advocacy in the province. “It felt like everybody’s hard work was recognized…and individuals who are impacted by Eating Disorders had what they rightfully deserve, which is recognition. It’s a first step, and I think it was a very necessary good first step to give us the energy to keep going.” For a link to the full story on the proclamation, visit www.nied.ca. For further information about EDAW and a complete list of events,  please visit www.nedic.ca. For information about NIED and the work it does on behalf of those challenged by Eating Disorders, please contact: For further information, please contact: Lynne Koss Co-Founder/Vice President National Initiative for Eating Disorders - NIED www.nied.ca Twitter: @nied_ca Facebook: www.facebook.com/niedcanada  416-843-3496 Follow us on: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  NIED.ca  |  Instagram ...
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Canadian Patient Safety Institute – Suicide Risk Assessment – Toolkit and Guide

The Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI) has partnered with the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) to help healthcare workers and organizations select and compare available suicide risk assessment tools in Canada. For every death by suicide, 15-30 people are profoundly affected - this toolkit can help inform and strengthen the suicide risk assessment process. The Suicide Risk Assessment Toolkit seeks to provide a high-level overview of what to consider when using suicide risk assessment tools, along with a non-exhaustive list of available Canadian and international tools, and their characteristics. It is designed to be a quick, informative guide for healthcare workers and organizations interested in selecting and comparing such tools. The process of assessing suicide risk is complex. While assessment tools play an important role, they should be used to inform, not replace, clinical judgment. To continue reading or to download the Toolkit, please follow the link ...
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Caring to cope through COVID: stories of giving and receiving support – a new, live interactive webinar

In a typical Canadian winter, many of us seek comfort on colder, darker days – like hearty foods and fun activities. Others escape to warm destinations. In fact, a travel company dubbed Jan. 18 as “Blue Monday” to promote sunny locales as an antidote to the seasonal blues. This is a winter like no other and you may be struggling to know what to say or do to comfort yourself and others. Using the art of storytelling, we’ll share real-life scenarios of people who need support and our expert panel will suggest realistic ways to help yourself and others. This live national event is on Jan. 18, 2021 at 1 p.m. EDT for 45 minutes. Our panelists will help you: • Recognize that self-care isn’t selfish – our regular webinar guest, Mary Ann Baynton, Director of Strategy and Collaboration with Workplace Strategies for Mental Health, will offer ways to change your mindset and your experience. • Support family members – Charlotte Tooley Sytnyk, the mental health ‘momager’, will share her expertise in being an effective and compassionate advocate. • Encourage co-workers – Peer support 'guru' Robyn Priest of LIVE YOUR TRUTH – a firm that teaches people to go after and live the life of their dreams – will provide inspiration and practical advice. You’ll be invited to share your stories and ask questions, too. Following the webinar, we’ll post the recording and helpful tips on the Workplace Strategies YouTube channel. Add this event in your calendars so you don’t miss it! No registration required – just click on the event link a bit before 1 p.m. on Jan. 18. Note: This is a Microsoft Teams Live event. Make sure you’ve downloaded the Teams app before the webinar. For French interpretation, please mute your computer audio and call into: 844-304-8920 Canada (Toll free) Phone Conference ID: 480 803 954# Between now and Jan. 18, check out this video Mary Ann recorded to encourage you to live for today: Dance in the rain ...
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Hearing the patient voice: why nurses must document the side effects of antipsychotics

by Michelle Danda Symptom reduction must not be the only goal of medication Psychopharmacological interventions are a large part of the mental health nurse’s role in the inpatient setting. Acute inpatient mental health admission is often focused on the stabilization of a person’s acute crisis and symptoms, necessitating consideration of psychotropic medications. Antipsychotic medications are a particularly important intervention, especially for people who are experiencing symptoms of psychosis. Early in my nursing career, I noted that nurses often assessed and documented the reduction of psychotic symptoms, but less frequently documented medication side effects. Side effects are a significant reason why patients who are prescribed antipsychotic medications stop taking them (Semahegn et al., 2020). To continue reading, follow the links below. English Version French Version ...
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Changes to the CNA Certification Program

There are some changes for the Certification Program that pertain to the eligibility criteria to apply to write an initial nursing specialty certification exam. No changes were made to the eligibility criteria for the nurses who will be renewing their nursing specialty credential either by submitting 100 CL hours or writing the nursing specialty certification exam every 5 years. The eligibility specialty experience hours required for nurses to apply for certification will be reduced. There are two options: 1,950 hours of experience in your nursing specialty within the last five years (formerly 3,900 hours). 1,000 hours of experience in your nursing specialty within the last five years plus 300 hours of formal education, which can be a specialty post-basic course or program at a college/university (as opposed to the former 2,925 hours of specialty experience plus education). These new changes will be launched on our the Certification Program website page the week of December 14, 2020. We will be using various communication strategies to promote this exciting new change ...
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Mental Health Nurses Leading Advocacy and Activism: Using a Historical Perspectives to Understand Mental Health Nursing and to Lead Change

by Michelle Danda, MN MPN RN CPMHN(C) Globally psychiatric and mental health nurses have been struggling with a changing health care landscape in which large mental health institutions that once provided care for people diagnosed with mental illness are closing with the intention of community-based services and programs assuming care. The notion of mental illness is changing, with increased public motivation to destigmatize mental health issues like psychosis, depression, suicide, and addiction. A spotlight has been turned on the value of mental health professionals to provide care for people in crisis because of highly publicized atrocities like violence by police towards people of colour in mental health crisis, mental distress resulting from Covid-19 and the opiate poisoning crisis ...
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Cannabis and Psychosis – Exploring the Link

Cannabis and Psychosis - Exploring the Link is a project of the Schizophrenia Society of Canada (SSC). Guided by the expertise of Youth and Scientific Advisors, cannabisandpsychosis.ca is building opportunities for engagement and dialogue with youth, and creating tools to help young people, parents, educators, and service providers learn about the link between cannabis and psychosis from people with firsthand experience and other experts. Please click on the link below for more information: Cannabis & Psychosis ENG & FR SLIDE ...
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