A community dialogue on a community focused response to mental health crisis

A literature review by Nasra Hussein along with a range of presentations on practices provides a downstream view to developing a community and neighbourhood approach to mental health crisis’ in Ottawa. Cosponsored by:  Social Planning Council of OttawaMinwaashin LodgeCrime Prevention OttawaOttawa Black Mental Health Coalition and Ottawa Community Partnership for Health Equity. 

Reimagining Crisis Intervention: A Review of the Literature on Best Practices in Community-Based Crisis Intervention

Evidence shows that investment in community-based crisis intervention programs involving interagency collaboration between service providers can foster collective impact in reducing the exposure of PMIs to the criminal justice system. A community-based approach effectively supports PMIs with diversion, treatment, and recovery while connecting them to community resources such as health care, stable and affordable housing, mentoring, conflict resolution, trauma-informed care, and employment services. Such initiatives are structured to address the root causes of mental illness by providing a supportive environment to help people overcome their challenges and tackle their socio-economic and health issues.

This report provides information on:

  1. the impacts of the social determinants of health on mental health crisis intervention,
  2. barriers to effective crisis intervention based on the current system,
  3. facilitators for effective crisis intervention that support persons with mental illness, especially those who are racialized and disproportionately affected by traditional policing, and
  4. existing non-police and community-based crisis intervention models. …

Link to the report: https://ocphe.ca/shared-minds/

Speaker Series: Responding to Mental Health Crises: Learning from Models in Ottawa and Beyond

…In Ottawa, Canada and the U.S., there have been many successful models for responding to mental health crises. We invite you to this speaker series to learn what is currently being done in response to mental health crisis situations.

Each event in the series will feature one approach to a mental health crisis response, with a presentation highlighting how and why it was developed, how it works and the lessons learned. A Q&A will follow the presentation. …

Link to the Series: https://ocphe.ca/mental-health-crises-response/

Learn about the work of Ottawa’s Social Planning Council

The Annual General Meeting will provide a useful snapshot of the council’s work in Ottawa. https://www.spcottawa.on.ca/

spc group banner

(Image of people meeting and text describing purpose of the social planning council)

Join us for our 93rd AGM! Register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcuf-upqzkiE9Ck7VEbRTOI3wXd1iH-S3Xt…

… 93rd Annual General Meeting!

…Learn all about our community work and impact, and also receive a live demo on our Neighbourhood Equity Index (NEI) Tool! #SPCOttawa

Wednesday May 26 6:00-8:00 pm via zoom

Bringing a service provider lens to the development of the Ottawa Anti-Racism Secretariat initiatives via SWAG

From Wendy Birkhan, on behalf of Social Work in Aging and Gerontology, Steering Committee SWAG.
Yusra Osman, Anti-Racism Specialist will lead the presentation. The presentation will provide an overview of the Anti-Racism Secretariat and its initiatives and engagement plan.
—we will aim for a 15 minute presentation to allow for the opportunity for discussion with the members on feedback they have from their service provider lens that can help guide the creation of the Anti-Racism Strategy for the City.
ars banner

Thursday, 20 May 2021 from 15:30 EDT-17:00 EDT, via zoom

Please note, this  includes getting the zoom links to SWAG meetings via:

A sharper view of mental health reform in Ontario, in Covid times

This interview with Dr. Kwame McKenzie of the Wellesley Institute, https://www.wellesleyinstitute.com/ sharpens the future plan for mental health system reform. Good medicine, a balm, for those of us who experienced a languishing of our mental health system before, Covid as well.

flattening mh

See the Video: https://www.tvo.org/video/flattening-ontarios-mental-health-curve?fbclid=IwAR12F6vGIb7Bue-mtw5MAlX1qtyurmIDrtAfZoe8J_pGZuxGv9sjlK176n0

Reference document, McKenize encouraged us to read:

mental health social contract

A social contract for a mentally healthy Canada

Federal budget benchmarks from CCPA … ” health and socioeconomic circumstances are always connected”

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, lays out an general overview of the budget including analysis of the social determinants of health in Public Health.

… A test for this historic budget is whether it recognizes that health and socioeconomic circumstances are always connected—not just in pandemic circumstances—by planting the seeds for a public-led recovery, including a plan to pay for it in the long term.

Does it achieve?

Focusing on the public health arm of the health care system, there are no significant changes in the budget. In fact, the budget largely conflates public health and the broader health care system, which dilutes public health’s unique concerns such as the health of populations, prevention and root causes of poor health. There are no strong signals in this budget of efforts to shift provincial/territorial health spending more towards prevention, versus downstream treatment.

In terms of strengthening the social determinants of health, the budget contains some very important new commitments, such as the robust plan for high quality, affordable child care. This initiative signals a significant commitment to strengthening conditions for health and social equity, especially for women and families. …

CCPA image of masked people and components of society -housing, civic institutions, statistical charts, $.

See the post here: https://www.policyalternatives.ca/2021-federal-budget-analysis

Understanding Our Cannabis Access System in Canada, SWAG Education Event

From Social Work in Aging and Gerontology (SWAG) Ottawa steering committee:

Phase 1 of the Cannabis Act came into effect on October 17, 2018. It regulates non-medicinal cannabis, hemp, and medicinal cannabis. Recreational cannabis use is now legal in Canada. With this said, it is important for everyone working in the health and/or gerontology field to understand the current access system we have in place in Canada.

caroline bond

(picture of caroline Bond)

On Thursday, April 22nd from 3:30pm – 5pm Caroline Bond, RPN and Regional Manager of Canadian Cannabis Clinics, will discuss the cannabis plant itself,  and help us to understand why the laws, distribution and prescribing practices are different from other conventional drugs in Canada.  The different types of products available and common therapeutic uses of cannabis will be highlighted. You will discover the resources available and will be able to guide your clients to safe and legal access points.  Please join us for an informative presentation!

 Please register to join us! – Contact: SWAG via SWAGOttawa@gmail.com

Learn more: https://www.facebook.com/SWAGOttawa/

 Upcoming TOPIC in May : Thursday May 20 – Police training for interventions with elderly victims or elderly offenders

A refocus on Institution’s roles in community health and justice, … we have a choice to make

Cormac Russell https://www.nurturedevelopment.org/who-we-are/cormac-russell/ in “Does more medicine make us sicker? Ivan Illich revisited” helps us to refocus on our efforts to improve individual care and advance system and social change through our organizations and institutions as the drivers of change. For me the practices of implementation science, has greatly brought needed light, tools and analysis to pulling organizations towards practice change. It includes ideas such as co- production as well as keeping an eye on “the external” systems. This article reminded me to shift my institutional interventions mindset to reflect, analyze and cherish community.

Title of article, Does more medicine make us sicker? Ivan Illich revisited

… While Illich was opposed to institutionalism, he was not against institutions per se. Rather his pamphlets challenged attempts on the part of institutions to monopolize functions related to the production of health and well-being, death, safety, wisdom and justice. Since, he contended, these social goods were not commodities unilaterally produced by institutional systems and thereafter consumed by individuals. Instead, he notes in Tools for Conviviality, there are certain irreplaceable functions that natural communities must perform to be well and to prevail culturally.10 And, if they do not do those things, then there are no institutional tools or systems’ alternatives that can appropriately replace those civic functions.

Indeed, Illich argued that it is not a case of ‘either/or’ (community or institution), so much as a question of, which comes first. He contended that an institutional inversion had taken hold in modern societies, through which the community role becomes that which is left after the institutions and their professional helpers have done what they think they can do better or more expertly. Illich contested this inversion, and argued for its reversal whereby the institutional and professional role should be defined as being that which is left after the community has done what it can and wants to do. …

See the article here: /https://www.nurturedevelopment.org/news/does-more-medicine-make-us-sicker-ivan-illich-revisited//

World Social Work Day, Look to Africa: “I am because we are … it’s time to rethink Western models of social work”

Martin Webber’s aspirational vision for the aims of social work are founded from his years of leadership in helping to develop social work professional standards in mental health and practice based research, such as Connecting People Project to help guide recovery interventions.  He nudges social workers to focus our aims beyond promising but ultimately more limited approaches such as organizational co-design or co-production to deeper societal interactions and dynamics. 

Personally, I find the seeking of a deeper social focus that connect the individual to community make so much sense as a milestone to guide our efforts to: help, intervene, counsel, plan, heal.  And as Webber say’s Look to Africa.

World Social Work Day provides an opportunity for us to explore how social work is practised and experienced around the world. This year, the theme ‘Ubuntu – I am because we are’ encourages us to look to Africa for inspiration.


Ubuntu philosophy derives from the indigenous black populations of Sub-Saharan Africa. It is commonly represented by communal ideals and relationality – people thrive through their relationships with others. It can be readily understood by the common maxims:

I am because we are

A person is a person through other persons

It takes a village to raise a child

See the article here: https://martinwebber.net/archives/2987



Information Type: NewsTopic: World Social Work Day

On behalf of the IFSW African Region, Noel Murdizo, the Regional President, and Joachim Mumba, the Regional Vice President, have released a video on this year’s global theme Ubuntu. The Global Agenda theme is being highlighted across the world, it resonates with social work values and has been used in Africa as a traditional philosophy to reinforce community wellbeing and development. The community strengthening approach of Ubuntu can be applied in all countries and communities.