Structural Violence, Social Justice, and Mental Illness: Political participation is the most transformative path to promoting rights – Psychology Today – 2020-09-19

‘Structural violence’ is the term given to forces such as poverty, racism, inequality and discrimination which necessarily have an influence on people’s health including their mental health. These factors not only affect patterns of susceptibility and exposure but can also limit the effectiveness of health care systems and reduce access to services, especially among the … Read more

London Police Services Board votes to relocate funds to create crisis outreach support team – Global News – 2020-09-18

The London Police Services Board (LPSB) has voted in favour of creating a crisis outreach and support team to minimize police use of force during mental health calls on Thursday. The motion from Police Chief Steve Williams would see four specialized officers team up with local mental health workers to respond to some of the … Read more

This Toronto Crisis Team Has Handled Mental Health Calls Without Cops for 30 Years – Vice.com – 2020-08-19

At her lowest point, Kaola Baird felt like she was living two lives. Things probably seemed fine from the outside: She had a circle of friends, an apartment, and was holding down a job in retail and as a fitness instructor. But she was also wrestling severe depression and anxiety that stemmed from the trauma … Read more

Ontario has failed to keep mentally ill people out of segregation in jail: human rights commission – CBC News – 2020-08-25

Ontario has failed to keep inmates with mental health disabilities out of segregation, the province’s human rights commission alleges. The Ontario Human Rights Commission filed a motion with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario seeking an order to hold the province accountable for violating a two-year-old agreement on the use of solitary confinement in the … Read more

Pregnant inmates are getting prenatal care far below health standards, study shows – CBC News – 2020-08-23

Prenatal car for pregnant women in Ontario jails falls far short of international standards, says a new study from McMaster University. A team led by Dr. Dustin Costescu, an associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, pored over correctional and health administrative data and found that incarcerated women — and even women who … Read more

Federal prosecutors told not to seek criminal penalties for minor drug charges – National Post – 2020-08-20

Canadians found with small amounts of illegal drugs will rarely be prosecuted under new guidelines for federal prosecutors. Director of Public Prosecutions Kathleen Roussel issued the new guidance this week, encouraging Crown prosecutors to look for other ways to deal with drug possession and divert people from the criminal justice system. Roussel’s guidance on the … Read more

Inmate populations decline across Canada amid coronavirus pandemic – Global News – 2020-08-16

There were roughly 6,000 fewer people in correctional institutions across the country in April, compared to February, according to a recent report by Statistics Canada. It was all part of the response to help contain the spread of the novel coronavirus in jails. “Correctional institutions face unique challenges when it comes to preventing COVID-19 infection … Read more

Police chiefs embrace health-led response to dealing with people in mental crisis – CBC News – 2020-08-14

Police chiefs say they support closer collaboration with crisis workers to help prevent tragedies when their officers confront people dealing with mental-health issues. Peel Regional Police Chief Nishan Duraiappah says sending two police officers to such calls allows only the option of transporting the person in need to a hospital. He told MPs on the … Read more

Dozens of organizations condemn OPP for no charges laid in the death of a mentally ill man – CBC News – 2020-08-14

More than 60 groups including legal, mental health advocacy and faith-based organizations across Canada have issued statements condemning the Ontario Provincial Police’s decision this month not to lay charges in the death of Soleiman Faqiri. Faqiri, 30, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia, was found shackled, face-down on a jail cell floor in handcuffs with a … Read more

Saskatchewan inmate files human rights complaint over mental health – Global News – 2020-07-31

The death of her brother weighs on Prairie Crowe’s mind. Nicholas Dinardo is alive, but behind bars. The 28-year-old Indigenous man has attempted suicide multiple times and spent long stints in isolation, she says, including more than 200 days while he was in remand before his current five-year sentence for aggravated assault, assault with a … Read more

Man remains stuck in a forensic mental health system some say is biased against Black people – CBC News – 2020-07-27

Five years ago, 20-year-old Mark Waweru, then a student at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont., and a budding hip hop artist, had his first psychotic episode. It’s a night that changed the course of his life and left him locked in the forensic mental health system in Ontario for more than four years — … Read more

Hamilton police chief open to other agencies responding to mental health, addictions calls – CBC News – 2020-07-25

After weeks of public outcry for police reform, Hamliton’s police chief says, despite some reservations, he’s open to allowing community agencies to respond to service calls related to mental health and addictions issues. Those comments came during a Hamilton Police Services Board meeting on Thursday, about 90 minutes after Black Lives Matter activists painted “DEFUND … Read more

Re-imagined Policing Helps Protect Those With Mental Illness – Psychology Today – 2020-07-23

As activists continue to push municipalities to defund or unbundle the police, questioning why law enforcement is tasked with responsibilities well beyond enforcing the law, our society can benefit from contemplating how to change the way we respond to individuals experiencing mental health crises. It’s time. Our system of response has long been to call … Read more

B.C. premier asks Trudeau to decriminalize drug possession as overdose deaths spike – CBC – 2020-07-20

British Columbia’s premier is urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to take an “enormous step” to reduce stigma associated with illicit drug use by decriminalizing possession for personal use. In a letter sent Monday to the prime minister, John Horgan says people in B.C. are experiencing unprecedented rates of overdose-related harms, including deaths, because of the … Read more