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Tobacco research and treatment: We’ve come a long way

by Wayne Skinner, CAMH Deputy Clinical Director, Addictions Programs

World No Tobacco Day is on May 31, and I’ve been reflecting how attitudes to cigarettes have drastically evolved in recent history.

When I started working as a therapist at the Addiction Research Foundation (which became part of CAMH in 1998) in the late 1970s, I can remember a client, proudly receiving my praise for having successfully withdrawn from heroin, taking out a cigarette and saying, “Now if I could only quit these!”

In those days, we didn’t even ask people if they smoked when we took drug histories. Indeed, it was more common than not for counsellors to offer clients a cigarette as a friendly way of starting a session.

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Vote for mental health #Vote4MHA

I always get a little emotional during elections. As a student of political science, I have always taken my duty to participate seriously.

As a citizen, I have always felt proud and grateful to live in a free and democratic country. And, I love placing that ballot into the box!

I am equally passionate about CAMH’s promise to drive social change. We are improving the lives of people with mental illness and addictions by building awareness and understanding, promoting healthy public policies, and collaborating to improve our system of care.

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Going digital: Confessions of a registered nurse

by Irene Boldt, registered nurse at CAMH and Nursing Practice Council Chair

In this digital age I sometimes feel a little analog.

I doubt I’m alone in feeling this way, but with new technology everywhere, sometimes I feel like I’m all thumbs. I have to admit that my discomfort with technology leads me to perceive it as a barrier to the nursing care I provide. I have never figured out how to invite technology into my practice in a way that makes sense.

But I know technological change is inevitable, so as we prepare for the transition to our new electronic health system (called I-CARE – and named by a nurse!), I am going to put my thumbs aside, assume a ‘glass-half-full’ perspective, and make every effort to embrace the benefits of technology.

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Q&A: Exploring the ties between physical and mental health

By Joan Chang, Communications Coordinator with Public Affairs at CAMH

You likely know obesity is a health problem for the general Canadian population. What you may not know is that obesity is of particular concern for people with mental illness.

I spoke with Dr. Rohan Ganguli, who has been studying obesity and mental health for 15 years. He’s Senior Scientist at CAMH, Professor of Psychiatry with the Faculty of Medicine and Canada Research Chair in Chronic Disease Management at the University of Toronto. He’s one of the organizers and speakers at this year’s Mental Health and Obesity Conference (pdf), on May 14 in Toronto. Read more

How to improve youth services? (Hint: Involve young people!)

by Olivia Heffernan and Tyson Herzog, peer support facilitators for the CAMH National Youth Advisory Committee

We recently introduced the National Youth Advisory Committee (NYAC) and are still busy getting the word out. So far, we’ve got about 80 members, and we’ve had three rounds of teleconference meetings.

The idea behind the National Youth Advisory Committee is to give young people a voice when it comes to mental health. We’re interested in improved services for young people – services that reflect our experiences and perspectives. Read more