Snapshots are short summaries outlining evidence, Ontario examples and policy recommendations on topics that are essential to improving the mental health and addictions system. These Snapshots can be used as a resource by service providers, policymakers and system managers in their advocacy, service design, system planning and decision-making.
COVID-19 Snapshot: Coping with Mental Health and Addiction Issues
As a result of the impacts of social isolation, loss of loved ones and economic downturn, experts predict a swell of mental health and addiction challenges. Canadians with mental illness or addiction may be among the hardest hit.
During physical distancing, supporting persons dealing with mental health and addiction issues can be difficult. In person services are more limited and service providers will rely on telephone or email to communicate with their clients. Helping clients maintain their resilience can be challenging as they deal with the threat of COVID-19, increased social isolation and changes to their routines and relationships. We must be fully mindful of how this crisis is amplifying the challenges and disadvantages faced by people living on the margins of society.
COVID-19 Snapshot: Self-care for Staff in the Addiction and Mental Health Sector
Self-care during a pandemic is new for most of us. Our work may have changed significantly; some of us may be working from home, others may be working in our usual location but without our colleagues, some may have experienced lay offs, and others may be in crisis mode in a hospital. Our clients’ needs during the pandemic may be difficult to meet. All of these changes create stress and our usual sources of support, such as our colleagues, may not be present as before.
The stress may initially be hidden as we prioritize the needs of others over our own needs. In our work, we often go beyond the call of duty. Maintaining the balance between our own well-being, the needs of our clients and the needs of our family and friends is an additional stressor.
To help support staff in the mental health and addiction sector, this Snapshot is devoted to self-care resources.
Snapshot: Recommendations for Ontario’s Mental Health and Addiction Strategy
The demand for mental health and addiction services is growing and changing across Ontario and the health care system is struggling to keep up. The gap in available, evidence-based services in communities mean that too often, people’s only access point for mental health and addiction care is in the emergency department, sometimes as often as four times or more in one year. Too often, people go without the care they need.
With a commitment of $3.8 billion in new mental health and addiction funding from the Ontario government and the establishment of the Mental Health and Addiction Centre of Excellence, there is a real opportunity to build on the pockets of excellence and good alignment across the province in order to effectively address the addiction and mental health crisis in Ontario. AMHO is committed to work in partnership with the Ontario Government on the development of a mental health and addiction strategy.
Snapshot: Residential Treatment of Adult Substance Use Disorders
Substance use disorders are a growing problem in Ontario, having a destructive impact on individuals, their families and communities. Despite the best efforts and commitment of those working within the system, many Ontarians are falling through the cracks and ending up in emergency departments or worse. As the population grows and the complexity of need increases, we know that there are too many Ontarians who are not getting the addictions and mental health care they need.
This Snapshot is based off of the Residential Treatment of Adult Substance Use Disorders position paper. Read the full paper by clicking here.
Snapshot: Emergency Department Visits: Substance Use and Mental Health
Ontarians visit hospital emergency departments (EDs) at times of crisis, and when no other options are available. For many people with mental illness and addiction, the ED visit is their first point of health care contact. This snapshot documents the high numbers of ED visits related to substance use and mental health needs. The numbers are likely underestimates, given that many conditions related to substance use – such as accidents – are not included.
Snapshot: Cannabis Use and Mental Health
With the legalization of cannabis, it is important we all understand the complex relationship between cannabis use and mental health, particularly for young people. Youth experiencing mental health problems are at greater risk for increased substance use and the use of cannabis during adolescent years has been linked to the developing of mood, anxiety and psychotic disorders later in life. Cannabis is often used by individuals to cope with mild symptoms of anxiety and depression but has been found to contribute to and increase the symptoms of anxiety and depression long-term. This can lead to a cycle of reliance on cannabis as a method of self-medicating. This snapshot will provide you with the information young people and families require from service providers and best practices for sharing information about cannabis and mental health.
Snapshot: Better Served in the Community – Alternate Level of Care (ALC) Designated People with Mental Health & Addictions Issues
ALC designation is given when a patient has completed treatment and no longer requires the intensive supports provided in the hospital setting, but remains in hospital because they do not have a home to return to with the supports that they need. One quarter of all ALC patient days are patients requiring mental health services waiting in hospital to be discharged to a more appropriate setting. This Snapshot provides system planners and mental health and addictions service providers an overview of the needs of these patients and recommendations on how they can better be served in the community.
Snapshot: Trans-Inclusion in Mental Health & Addictions Services
Trans people face disproportionately high rates of mental health and addictions issues, yet face many barriers to care including violence, harassment and discrimination. This snapshot provides mental health and addictions service providers with information and best practices for trans-inclusion. Including trans people in services is not just important in order to provide services to those who most need it, but a legal obligation under the Ontario Human Rights Code.