plant growing out of lock and conference title

Concurrent Sessions

Wednesday, November 16th, 2021

A Sessions - November 16 | 11:00am – 12:00pm

Drawing from the voices of people released from custody during the pandemic and providers who adapted services to continue to provide support to them, the panel will highlight how the pandemic has disrupted the service delivery landscape of mental health and/or substance use for this population. The panel will also share their ideas on what could be done better during the pandemic and for future health crises. The panel will consist of community-based researchers, service providers, and peer researchers.
Dr. Flora Matheson, MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions and University of Toronto
Dr. Angela Mashford-Pringle, MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions and University of Toronto
Dr. Flora Matheson, Ph.D. is a medical sociologist and mental health and addictions specialist. She is particularly interested in how gender inequities and other social determinants of health affect people experiencing imprisonment. She has particular expertise in integrated knowledge translation approaches with the community. She is a Scientist at MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions, St. Michael’s Hospital and Associate Professor with the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and the Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies, University of Toronto. Dr. Matheson leads the Justice and Equity Lab, housed at MAP.
Dr. Angela Mashford-Pringle is an Algonquin Assistant Professor and Associate Director at the Waakebiness-Bryce Institute for Indigenous Health, Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. Dr. Mashford-Pringle worked for over a decade at the federal government in Indigenous initiatives. Angela is the founding editor of the Turtle Island Journal of Indigenous Health (TIJIH), a graduate student-led journal and the former co-editor of the International Journal of Indigenous Health (IJIH). Dr. Mashford-Pringle is the Program Director the Master of Public Health in Indigenous Health and the Director of the Collaborative Specialization in Indigenous Health. As the only Canadian and first Indigenous board member at the Community-Campus Partnerships for Health (CCPH), she has been finding ways to connect Canadian community organizations to university researchers in Canada.
By creating tailored and innovative community justice models that meet individuals where they are at and respond to community needs, Ontario’s Justice Centre Pilots offer a transformative approach to criminal justice. This presentation will be an in-depth discussion about Ontario’s four Justice Centre Pilots, how they have been uniquely developed by and for the communities they serve, and how they each support the needs of specialized populations within their community. The design of each Pilot site has been guided by a participatory design process with local service providers, police, justice system participants, municipalities, and First Nations leadership and Indigenous organizations. The London Pilot provides targeted supports for young adults aged 18-24 to help them avoid and exit the criminal justice system and reconnect with school and work.  The Toronto Northwest Pilot will focus on the needs of racialized youth aged 12-17 and aims to decrease high levels of community violence and its traumatic impact on young people and their families.  In Downtown East, the Pilot will serve adults with multiple risk factors, including insecure housing, mental illness, developmental disabilities, substance use disorders and/or concurrent disorders. In Kenora, the model will include parallel criminal and Indigenous restorative justice processes with the aim of increasing referrals to existing Indigenous restorative justice programs, reducing bail and remand populations and providing multi-sectoral trauma-informed supports delivered by Indigenous organizations to youth and adults, including Indigenous women and girls who have experienced or witnessed trauma or violence.
TBA, Ontario Justice Centres, Ministry of the Attorney General, Criminal Law Division
Research has demonstrated that organizations derive clear benefits when they involve persons with lived experience (PWLE) in high level planning and decision-making. Organizations incorporating PWLE are enabled to offer services that are more culturally appropriate, efficient, focused, and sustainable. Lived experience knowledge produces understandings of marginalization, discrimination and oppression, and provides shared insights into changes in social status or inclusion, relationships, loss, and employment as a result of diagnosis or incarceration.
The Provincial HSJCC draws frequently upon the expertise and resources of PWLE in the human services and justice sectors in HSJCC work at the Provincial, Regional, and Local levels. In 2019, the Provincial HSJCC struck an Advisory Committee to oversee the development of a resource that would support the improvement of meaningful engagement of PWLE across the HSJCC Network. This presentation will provide an overview of this resource, which was informed through surveys and consultation with the HSJCC Network.
Tasha Rennie, HSJCC Secretariat
TBA, PWLE Advisory Committee
Tasha Rennie is the Network Engagement and Communications Officer for the HSJCC Secretariat. In this role, Tasha has been the lead support for the work of the PWLE Advisory Committee since its inception. Tasha has a background in digital communications and international development.
Presenters will share their collaborative experience building the OPP Crisis Call Diversion (CCD) program. CCD began as a pilot program that has not only continued, but expanded to other regions of the OPP. The program embeds mental health crisis workers within the OPP Provincial Communications Centres to offer an additional layer of support for callers experiencing crisis. Similar to communication operators, crisis workers are set up with their own system within the Provincial Communications Centre. Calls come into police through various 911, non-emergent and administrative lines.  Where it is identified that a caller is experiencing a situation of acute distress and cannot manage with their usual coping mechanisms, CCD services are offered to the caller and, when accepted, the communications operator is able to ‘conference’ in the crisis worker to carry on the service to support. This service provides opportunity to:
– offer immediate de-escalation and support to those experiencing a mental health crisis
– divert non-emergent police mental health-related calls for service, where alternative services may be more appropriate in low-acuity situation
– decrease the volume of non-emergent mental health-related calls for service for the OPP
– reduce the use police personnel for non-emergent responses when appropriate
– help individuals experiencing mental health crises by offering better pathways to meet their needs
The processes of how the calls are addressed, related training, privacy and risk management considerations, data and evaluation, along with the partnership experience through this 24/7 service delivery initiative will be shared in the presentation.
Lori Hassall, MSW, RSW, CMHA Elgin-Middle Sex Branch
Lisa Longworth, CYW, B.A. SDS, Ontario Provincial Police, Community Safety Services
Nicole Borkowski, Ontario Provincial Police, Communications and Technology Services
Family members and friends of victims of homicide violence face mental, physical, and spiritual health challenges as they learn to survive without their loved one. Research has historically focused on perpetrators and victims of homicide violence and has neglected to examine the post-homicide experiences of surviving family members and friends. The scarcity of research further perpetuates disparities in mental health and leaves policy makers and practitioners with little data to develop culturally responsive and evidenced-based interventions.
The CRIB, CMHA Ontario and community partners collaborated to engage with Indigenous, African, Caribbean, Black, and Racialized survivors of homicide victims and their service providers across the province. The presentation will share results from a multi-year project which includes three phases, (1) assessment, (2) research implementation and analysis, and (3) educational training and development of policy. This presentation will advance participants’ understanding of the needs of this population, identify promising culturally responsive approaches to practice and highlight policy recommendations designed to support the needs of survivors of homicide victims.
Uppala Chandrasekera, Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario (CMHA Ontario)
Tanya L. Sharpe, The Centre for Research & Innovation for Black Survivors of Homicide Victims (The CRIB)
Uppala Chandrasekera, M.S.W., RSW, is the Director of Public Policy at CMHA Ontario, where she provides leadership in six program areas. Through her research, published writings and work in the community, Uppala examines the impact of the lived experience of discrimination and racism on the health, mental health and wellbeing of marginalized populations.
Dr. Tanya Sharpe is an Associate Professor at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto and the founder of the Centre for Research & Innovation for Black Survivors of Homicide Victims (The CRIB). Her research examines coping strategies of Black survivors of homicide victims for the purpose of developing culturally responsive approaches to surviving the aftermath of homicide.
Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in Canada means restoring a degree of control in decision making to Indigenous organizations, and to acknowledge their authority in certain matters. I will go over some principles of Indigenous justice and efforts to implement them in a substantial way and prevent them from becoming window dressing for the same system. I will also go over how Indigenous advocates and their friends in the Canadian justice system, including Crown attorneys and justices, can work together to assert the autonomy of Indigenous court programs and processes.
Steven Martin, Friendship Centre
Steven Martin is the Indigenous court worker for Nogojiwanong Friendship Centre in Peterborough. He has worked with various high-risk populations, including street youth in Vancouver, LGBT+ youth engaged in the sex trade in Toronto. He has also worked as the mental health worker for the Mobile Crisis Intervention Team (MCIT), a partnership with Peterborough Police. Steven is the initiator and editorial committee chairperson of The River Magazine, a publication written by individuals living on a low income in Peterborough.
Justice-involved and high-risk youth often present with histories of trauma which impact emotional regulation and contribute to high-risk behaviours, justice involvement, and mental health difficulties. DBT is a cognitive-behavioral intervention established for youth experiencing multiple problems such as self-injury, substance use, anger, and unstable relationships. Traditional DBT programs are intensive and long-term making them difficult for this population to access.
This presentation outlines the development of the program and the evaluation results associated with a DBT program for use with justice-involved and high-risk youth, as well as for virtual use amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Youth completed self-report measures pertaining to their experience of trauma symptoms, substance use, self-injurious behaviours, and self-efficacy. Youth and facilitators also shared their experiences and satisfaction with the program. The results suggest that a shortened, modified, and virtual version of DBT can be successfully implemented and can produce improvements for this population.
Dr. Joyce Radford, London Family Court Clinic
Dr. Debbie Chiodo, London Family Court Clinic
Emilia Pacholec, London Family Court Clinic
Dr. Joyce Radford is the Director of Clinical Intervention Services at the London Family Court Clinic and is an Adjunct Clinical Professor in the Graduate Department of Psychology and within the Faculty of Education at Western University. Joyce has over 20 years of clinical experience with high-risk youth and supported the development of a DBT program for this population.
Debbie Chiodo holds a PhD in Educational Psychology and is an Evaluator at CAMH and an Assistant Professor at Western University. Her research and evaluation interests focus on the implementation and sustainability of evidence-based interventions. Debbie is a lead evaluator for the Ministry of Health’s Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario initiative.
Emilia Pacholec has a Master’s degree in Counselling Psychology from Western University. She has been extensively trained in DBT and has offered DBT to youth and families in a variety of settings. Emilia has been involved in numerous projects evaluating community-based programs for youth and is currently developing a new virtual DBT program for the London Family Court Clinic.

B Sessions - November 16 | 3:00pm – 4:00pm

This presentation highlights organizational changes made to support service delivery in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic with an emphasis on programmatic changes across youth, adult, couples and school-based programming. We focus on synergies and unplanned benefits that have yielded from re-jigging operations and services, including service delivery partnerships, and how changes made enable us and our service partners to continue to meet emergent client needs. We also share insights from pivoting from predominantly in person services to alternate service delivery strategies (phone, teleconference, videoconference/Zoom) and flag strategies and tips for successful virtual program delivery. We conclude by noting aspects of operations and service delivery that are arguably beneficial to sustain in the long term as part of the “new normal” for 2022 and beyond.
Kathryn Barratt, John Howard Society of Waterloo-Wellington
Jeff Kentel, John Howard Society of Waterloo-Wellington
Joan Nandlal, John Howard Society of Waterloo-Wellington
Kathryn Barratt, MA, MSW, RSW, is a Program Manager who oversees youth, employment, family and school-connected programs offered by the John Howard Society of Waterloo-Wellington. Kathryn is an experienced program developer and social worker. Kathryn previously oversaw the agency’s adult services programs.
Jeff Kentel, MTS, MDiv, MA, RP, is a Program Manager whose adult services portfolio at the John Howard Society of Waterloo-Wellington includes diversion, remedial measures, domestic violence intervention and other programs. Jeff is a seasoned psychotherapist who previously served as the Senior Coordinator for the agency’s Partner Assault Response Program.
Joan Nandlal, BA (Hons), MA, PhD, CE is the Executive Director/CEO of the John Howard Society of Waterloo-Wellington. Joan is an experienced program planner and program evaluator/researcher and is a member of the Provincial HSJCC.
With the majority of clients identifying Concurrent Disorders upon intake, the Barrett Centre for Crisis Support and other congregate settings within Good Shepherd are looking to better integrate evidence-based (or best practice) Harm Reduction policies and procedures.  We know that there are a number of factors impacting clients who are in active use including: barriers to accessing shelter or crisis services; hesitancy to access Consumption Treatment Services (CTS); lack of access to addiction medicine; criminalization; and the increase in overdose related deaths in community.  This evidence points to Harm Reduction practices needing to be re-evaluated and better integrated, especially in congregate settings.  We have partnered with a community researcher and our colleagues within Good Shepherd to talk about how to better integrate Harm Reduction strategies in congregate settings in order to improve safety, accessibility, and best meet the needs of the complex and vulnerable populations we serve.
Emily Dakers, Good Shepherd, Barrett Centre for Crisis Support
Emily Dakers is with the Good Shepherd as the Director of the Barrett Centre; joining Good Shepherd in 2015 and has worked in the Homelessness, VAW, and Mental Health sectors. Emily has a background in Gerontology (B.A.) and Social Work (B.S.W., M.S.W.) with a focus on Leadership in Healthcare settings.
The aim of this presentation is to offer an overview of a Forensic Family Education and Support Group pilot project that examines virtual forensic specific education and support to family members and caregivers with a loved one in the forensic system of Ontario. Forensic social workers provided weekly two-hour group sessions, over the course of 10 weeks, on various topics of importance as outlined by group participants prior to group format and content creation. Weekly meetings were held with group facilitators to review successes and issues as well as any evaluation feedback that could be included in the following week’s group sessions. Measures of psychological distress and caregiver burden were distributed pre and post group involvement to identify any changes in distress levels and subjective burden. Sociodemographic variables of group participants and preliminary data will be presented. Implications and steps for future directions will also be discussed.
Jori Armishaw, the Brockville Mental Health Centre
Caitlin Carter, the Brockville Mental Health Centre
Katy Eaton, the Brockville Mental Health Centre
Danielle Hicks, the Brockville Mental Health Centre
Richard Robins, the Brockville Mental Health Centre
Nicole C. Rodrigues, the Brockville Mental Health Centre
Jori graduated with a Master of Social Work in 2019. She began her career working in both forensics and corrections working as the Social Worker on the Assessment and Stabilization Unit. Jori now works at the Forensic Treatment Unit supporting those beginning their rehabilitation journey.
Caitlin graduated with a Master of Social Work in 2015. She has a background in community mental health and addictions. Caitlin is currently working as a Social Worker at the Brockville Mental Health Centre.
Katy graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University with a Master of Social Work. She currently works in the Brockville Forensic Treatment Program on the Assessment and Stabilization Unit. She provides families and clients with information and support through the assessment process, and navigation of a Not Criminally Responsible or Fitness finding.
Danielle graduated from Carleton University with a Bachelor of Social Work and obtained her Master’s of Social Work in 2016. She has worked in the field of Psychiatry in both Ontario and Vancouver. Danielle is currently working as the Discharge Social Worker in Brockville.
Richard Robins graduated from McGill University with a Master’s of Social Work. He has worked as an inpatient and outpatient Social Worker. He is currently working as a Transitional Case Manager. Working with families and loved ones and providing education and support is an integral part of his extensive career. 
Nicole C. Rodrigues is the Sr. research coordinator at the Brockville Mental Health Centre. She received her M.Ed in Counselling Psychology. She is also a Canadian Certified Counsellor with a focus on forensic psychiatric populations. Her research interests focus on risk assessments, trauma among psychiatric workers, and program evaluation.
Justice safe bed programs offer short-term, community residential services for persons in crisis (PIC) who interact with police and/or mobile crisis teams and are unable to remain in their current living situation. Assistance is provided for both their immediate and longer-term needs. Mental health distress and problematic substance use in Ontario have been exacerbated by the isolation, limited face-to-face support services, and lack of access to common community hubs like libraries and recreational facilities, so the volume and complexity of PIC during COVID-19 has increased while many safe bed programs have had to reduce their bed numbers to maintain physical distancing protocols. This presentation features a moderated panel of safe bed programs from across the province who will share some of their creative wisdom in meeting the needs of vulnerable PIC during the pandemic.
Amy Herskowitz, Ministry of Health
Shereen Rampersad, Services and Housing in the Province
Emily Dakers, Barrett Centre for Crisis Support
Harry Jones, Jubilee Centre, Timmins
Amy Herskowitz has provincial responsibility for mental health and justice programs across Ontario, such as mobile crisis response, safe beds, release from custody, mental health court support/diversion, and justice supportive housing, that intervene and support individuals at key intersections of the criminal justice system and enable diversion from inappropriate incarceration or hospitalization to community mental health and addictions care and treatment.
Emily Dakers is with the Good Shepherd as the Director of the Barrett Centre; joining Good Shepherd in 2015 and has worked in the Homelessness, VAW, and Mental Health sectors. Emily has a background in Gerontology (B.A.) and Social Work (B.S.W., M.S.W.) with a focus on Leadership in Healthcare settings.
Individuals with serious mental illnesses are over-represented in correctional facilities.  Given the intersection of mental health and the justice systems, the Ministries of Health (MOH) and the Solicitor General (SolGen) have partnered to work across government to support this vulnerable population.  This presentation will highlight two innovative projects that bridge the gap between the correctional and forensic mental health systems, including:
1. Forensic Early Intervention Program (FEIS): The FEIS program provides access to voluntary mental health services for inmates with forensic mental health needs, which include those at risk of being unfit to stand trial. 
2. Acute Care Stabilization (AC/S) Beds: AC/S beds in forensic hospitals provide inmates with acute mental illness improved access to treatment in a secure mental health inpatient setting.  The beds are reserved for inmates that have a history of aggression and/or pose an elopement risk and may be too complex for a general hospital.
Breanna Kelly, Ministry of Health
Eric Sabiti, Ministry of the Solicitor General
Daniel Habashy, Ministry of Health
Theresa Berry, Ministry of the Solicitor General
Breanna Kelly is a Sr. Program Consultant in the Forensic Mental Health and Justice Unit of the Ministry of Health.  Her career in the Ontario Public Service has been dedicated to mental health policy and program development, including focus on child and youth mental health, Indigenous youth life promotion/suicide prevention and forensic mental health services.
Eric Sabiti is a Senior Program Advisor within the Mental Health and Addiction unit at the Ministry of Solicitor General. Prior to this, he held an Advisor role at the Ministry of Health with the child and youth mental health portfolio. He began his career in the Ontario Public Service as a Caseworker supporting vulnerable population and people with disabilities at the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services.
Daniel Habashy is a Policy Analyst with the Forensic Mental Health and Justice Unit supporting Ontario’s forensic mental health services.
Theresa Berry is a Sr. Policy and Program Analyst in the Mental Health and Addiction Unit in the Operational Support Division of the Ministry of the Solicitor General.  Prior to her current role, she worked for over 10 years as a social worker in both adult and youth correctional institutions.
This presentation will demonstrate that by collectively working with community partners and thinking outside the box by including a Peer Support Program within an agency structure, clients receive additional support which increases the client’s ability to remain in recovery and therefore reduces recidivism. 

This presentation will cover:
– Assisting those with mental health, dual diagnosis, addiction and trauma with their transition back into society when they are released from detention centres 
– Recognizing: The barriers that this vulnerable population faces upon release and their ability to receive addiction treatment services, and ongoing community support
– Collaboration: With detention centre social workers, the client’s legal counsel, and other community partners
– Outcomes: Increased the positive outcomes for this population, and enables better release plans from detention centres and ongoing support for their transition back into society
– Working together: A collaboration with the House of Sophrosyne (HoS), Peer Support Canada, Probation and Parole of Windsor and Leamington has paved the way for a Peer Support Program within the HoS Justice Program
– Peer Support: A paid Appointee with lived experience provides the opportunity for education, personal growth and employment as a Peer Support Worker to those involved in addiction and criminal justice.
Shelly Wilson, House of Sophrosyne
Stephanie Rabaey, House of Sophrosyne
Shelly Wilson graduated from the University of Windsor with a Bachelor of Social Work. She began her career at the House of Sophrosyne in Windsor Ontario where she is now the Community Justice Caseworker and Peer Support Program Coordinator.
Stephanie Rabaey is the current Peer Support Appointee for the House of Sophrosyne’s Peer Support Program. She is a person with lived experience and she graduated from the Canadian College of Health, Science and Technology with an Honours in Mental Health and Addictions.

Thursday, November 17th, 2021

C Sessions - November 17 | 11:00am – 12:00pm

The Clinical Justice Program (CJP), established in 2018, is a collaboration between Centre for Behaviour Health Sciences (Mackenzie Health) and Community Networks of Specialized Care-Central East (CLH Developmental Support Services). The CJP’s mission is to support complex individuals with a dual diagnosis who are involved in the criminal justice system as a victim, witness or accused to ensure they experience the justice system in an equitable manner. This, in turn, will provide access to appropriate sanctions, improve intersectional collaboration, as well as reduce fiscal costs associated with prolonged court delays. The CJP encompasses three separate pillars of clinical support including The Justice Clinic, A-DBT Justice Group and The Justice App. To date, qualitative and quantitative data supports the success of this program which was required to shift to a telehealth model due to the pandemic restrictions. This ensured seamless support for individuals in the community and justice system.
Marnie McDermott, Community Networks of Specialized Care-Central East
Courtney Hutson, Community Networks of Specialized Care-Central East
Samantha Airhart, Centre for Behaviour Health Science
Vicky Simos, Community Networks of Specialized Care-Central East
Marnie McDermott holds a master’s in social work, and she is the Network Manager for the Community Networks of Specialized Care – Central East.  Marnie completed her undergraduate degrees at the University of Western Ontario in Social Work and Psychology.  Marnie worked as a Social Worker with Empower Simcoe for 11 years in the specialized care program and then as a Behaviour Consultant with Centre for Behaviour Health Sciences.  Marnie coordinated a Mobile Resource Team and developed a Treatment Team for individuals with a dual diagnosis seeking clinical services and treatment in the Central East Region. 
Courtney Hutson completed her Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) in Criminology and Forensic Psychology from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. Courtney then began her work for Central East Correctional Centre in the Psychology Department where she provided crisis intervention to inmates with complex mental health, addiction and developmental needs as well as completed clinical risk assessments for offenders going before the Ontario Parole Board. During this time, she received her Master of Criminology from Adler University. Courtney then transitioned to working for Canadian Mental Health Association HKPR in Justice Services. In 2018, Courtney began her work as a Dual Diagnosis Justice Coordinator with Community Networks of Specialized Care (HKPR & Durham).
Vicky Simos holds a Master of Applied Disability Studies specializing in Applied Behaviour Analysis from Brock University. She became a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst in 2013 and has 14 years of experience working with children, adolescence and adults with developmental disabilities. Vicky started her work in the field as an instructor therapist for private in-home and Centre based intensive behavioural intervention (IBI) programs for children with Autism and shortly after became a lead therapist for Surrey Place Centre. Vicky then started as a Behaviour Consultant for the ABA program at Centre for Behaviour Health Sciences and then later a Coordinator for the program. Vicky is currently a Dual Diagnosis Justice Coordinator and the Coordinator of the Justice Clinic with Community Networks of Specialized Care (York & Simcoe) in partnership with Centre for Behaviour Health Sciences.
Samantha Airhart completed her Bachelor of Science (Hons.) in Psychology from York University.  She has over 10 years of experience designing, implementing and monitoring Applied Behaviour Analysis interventions. Samantha began her work as an Instructor Therapist for Centre for Behaviour Health Science (CBHS) in intensive behavioural intervention (IBI) programs for children and adolescents with Autism, later transitioning to Senior Therapist.  Samantha has worked for the last seven years as a Behaviour Consultant for the ABA program at CBHS.  Samantha is currently a Justice Specialist/Behaviour Consultant with the Justice Clinic to help individuals that have some form of a disability that have come into contact with the justice system. She creates and implements ABA Justice Plans to help teach them skills they need to help with their court process.
Mental health concerns and illnesses are higher among people involved in the criminal justice system than the general population. Without adequate supports and services in the community, many continue to cycle through prisons, hospitals, and shelters – at a great cost to themselves, their caregivers, and society. 

The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) is committed to supporting the mental health needs of those who are justice-involved through several initiatives including promoting the uptake of community-based research to improve health quality standards, the continuity of care, and systems integration.

 This presentation will highlight the latest MHCC initiatives, including:
– the National Inventory of Services and Supports for people transitioning out of the criminal justice system
– a policy brief on COVID-19, mental health, and substance use in correctional settings
– developing a National Action Plan, emphasizing preventive opportunities for diversion for people living with mental health concerns who are involved in the justice system
Amy Fogarty, Mental Health Commission of Canada
Amy Fogarty, Manager, Programs and Priorities at the Mental Health Commission of Canada, oversees two key population-based initiatives including the National Standard for Canada on Mental Health and Well-Being for Post-Secondary Students, as well as work supporting the mental health needs of people involved with the criminal justice system. Amy’s passion for wellness and mental health led her to the Commission in 2016, where she spent several years promoting training programs including The Working Mind, The Inquiring Mind and Mental Health First Aid.
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is an invisible brain-based disability that arises due to prenatal alcohol exposure. FASD one of the leading causes of developmental disabilities. Understanding the structural changes in the FASD brain will allow for a better understanding of the cognitive/behavioural symptoms witnessed in the individual’s environment, including interactions with the justice system. The rate of FASD among the inmate population is approximately 28 times higher than in the general population. Youth with FASD are 19 times more likely to be confined than their non-affected peers. Those working in the human services sector, who have a good understanding of FASD and relevant strategies, are better able to provide a supportive environment that will enable success. The learning objectives of this session include gaining an understanding of the impact of FASD on brain domains, the characteristics of someone with FASD and a framework to use with individuals with FASD.
Meera Sidhu, ErinoakKids, Centre for Treatment and Development
Meera Sidhu, MSc is the FASD Worker for the Region of Peel in Ontario with ErinoakKids, Centre for Treatment and Development. She has a MSc degree in Neuroscience from Wayne State University and a certificate in FASD support intervention from the UNB. Meera consults with parents/caregivers and community agencies to build capacity regarding FASD.
Canadian Families and Corrections Network (CFCN) strengthens families affected by incarceration across Canada. Mental Health is an ever-increasing problem within the justice system, especially during the pandemic. CFCN creates positive social interactions to assist with this issue, in both our institutions and communities, that we will outline as ideas for participants to access or to take forward. Our session will present a scenario of mental health in our communities that a person may take from an accident that leads to opioid use and then incarceration and allows participants to discuss mental health and connectedness at each point.

We will outline CFCN’s:
– unique initiatives for partnership
– programming (for example: Dad HERO (Helping Everyone Realize Opportunities) parenting program available for Ontario correctional provincial, federal and community sites)
– resources (for example: Children’s Letter Writing Kits)
– promising practices and ideas to take forward to strengthen correctional families and staff teams working in this area
Louise Leonardi, Canadian Families and Corrections Network
Louise Leonardi is the Executive Director of Canadian Families and Corrections Network charity organization. She has an extensive background in facilitation in Canadian prisons, schools, and communities. Louise has received Public Safety and community awards for her vulnerable population work and has authored articles and research on families and crime.
“Peer support is intended to be rooted in hope through an empowering and empathetic relationship between people who have a similar life experience or circumstance in common” –Centre for Innovation in Peer Support
We will answer the following questions throughout our presentation. What is Peer Support? How can this profession bring value to your team and the other health service professionals working within the justice system in Ontario? How do you implement Peer Support within your organization?
Support House’s Centre for Innovation in Peer Support provides wellness based, peer-led self-help and social connections programming to community members; and support to organizations who have peer staff, through training in peer-support program implementation, capacity-building, evaluation, research, knowledge brokerage, and quality improvement.
Topics that will be covered in this presentation:

– Introduction to the Centre for Innovation in Peer Support
– Introduction to the Foundations and Values of Peer Support
– Recommendations & Considerations when Implementing Peer Support Programming within an Agency or Sector
– Measuring the Impact of Peer Support
– Trainings and Opportunities available to support Peer Support Workers & Staff working with these individuals

Richard Adair, Centre for Innovation in Peer Support @ Support House
Alyssa Gremmen, Centre for Innovation in Peer Support @ Support House
Ethan Hopkins. Centre for Innovation in Peer Support @ Support House
Richard Adair is a seasoned system advocate with both lived, living and family/caregiver expertise. He is currently the Manager of Provincial, Systems & Partners at Support House’s Centre for Innovation in Peer Support.  Richard’s areas of expertise include development of Lived Experience and/or Family Advisory engagement initiatives within organizations and providing support to organizations who have peer staff, through training, program implementation, capacity building, evaluation, research, knowledge brokerage, and quality improvement. Richard received his Social Service Worker diploma at Sheridan College in 2015, and he is currently completing a Bachelor of Applied Science in Family & Community Social Services at the University of Guelph-Humber.
Alyssa Gremmen has been involved in peer work for over 10 years in various settings, in both volunteer and paid positions. She has implemented, managed and coordinated peer programs focusing on youth empowerment, mental health and harm reduction. Alyssa has a degree in Psychology from the University of Guelph. Currently Alyssa is the Peer Integration and System Lead at Support House’s Centre for Innovation in Peer Support. She supports partner organizations in planning, implementing, integrating and sustaining high quality values-based peer support through consultation, resource sharing, training and webinar facilitation and hosting communities of practice for peer staff and supervisors of peer staff.
Ethan Hopkins has been utilizing his lived experience to support others and create system change for over a decade.  Currently, Ethan supports the Centre Systems Team as the Peer Systems Navigator.  In this role, he supports the capacity building and professional development of Peer Supporters and their teams through consultation and communities of practice as well as the creation and facilitation of resources, webinars, and trainings.  Prior to his work with the Centre Systems Team, Ethan supported those with mental health and/or addictions challenges in several different settings, including facilitating a variety of supportive groups and provided one-to-one support with both children and adults.
Individuals within custodial settings often have higher rates of mental illness, substance use, and complex health needs. The Ministry of the Solicitor General recognizes additional training and expertise is needed to better support this vulnerable population. The Mental Health and Addiction Unit works collaboratively with Institutional Services, Community Services, inter-ministerial and external stakeholders to effectively respond to the challenges of supporting this vulnerable population. 

This presentation will provide an overview of the Corrections Mental Health & Addictions Strategy and related initiatives with a focus on how the unit is implementing addictions and mental health supports for inmates and offenders within the correctional system. The audience will obtain a fulsome understanding of the key considerations of the Corrections Mental Health & Addictions strategy and understand future considerations in addressing the complex and changing needs of our clients.
Brad Tamcsu, Ministry of the Solicitor General
Keri Zammit, Ministry of the Solicitor General
Joana Jabson, Ministry of the Solicitor General
Brad Tamcsu is the Manager of the Mental Health and Addictions Unit, Operational Support Division at the Ministry of the Solicitor General. Prior to being the Manager of the Mental Health and Addiction Unit, Brad was involved in institutional services as a clinician and administrator for 30 years.
Keri Zammit is the Sr. Social Work and Special Needs Consultant, Operational Support Division at the Ministry of the Solicitor General. Prior to this role, Keri provided direct social work services to inmates/offenders in Institutional Services for 11 years and was management roles within Institutional Services for 4 years.
Joana Jabson is a Senior Program Advisor in the Mental Health and Addictions Unit, Operational Support Division at the Ministry of the Solicitor General. Her current work focuses on implementing initiatives aimed to improve the delivery of care to clients within the correctional system.

D Sessions - November 17 | 2:30pm- 3:30pm

The Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) has resulted in significant overall decreases to detention admissions for youth. However, this research reveals that many are still being held for a bail hearing, thereby spending a considerable amount of time incarcerated, even if they are later released. Although the majority of youth are released on bail, restrictive conditions often result in breaches and additional charges. A major gap in research on youth bail practises has been considering the impact of geographic location on bail-related outcomes. Further, there is limited to no research exploring the role of race in youths’ admissions to custody and detention. Through an analysis of over a decade’s worth of youth cases and pre-trial detention admissions data, we found important geographic differences in bail decision-making and found that Black and Indigenous youth are over-represented in most provincial regions. Overall, there appears to be significant variation in youth justice practices across provincial regions, indicating potential problems related to proportionality and availability of supportive resources.
This presentation will share unique research from the John Howard Society of Ontario on the YCJA. Participants will leave with expanded knowledge on the youth bail system, including an increased understanding of how the system is functioning for particular youth.
Safiyah Husein, John Howard Society of Ontario
Dr. Jessica Sutherland, York University
Safiyah Husein is a Senior Policy Analyst at the John Howard Society of Ontario. She joined the Centre of Research and Policy in 2018. She participates in the Centre’s research and policy activities, supports the public education activities of the Society, and liaises with local offices and community partners on reform initiatives. Safiyah holds a BSc in Psychology from York University and a JD from the University of Windsor Faculty of Law. Safiyah completed her articles at the Office of the Ontario Ombudsman and was called to the Ontario Bar in June 2018.
Jessica Sutherland is an assistant teaching-stream professor at York University. She has a BA from Ryerson University, an MA from the University of Toronto, and a PhD from Ryerson University. Her research interests are in the intersection between developmental science and the law, including youth in conflict with the law, peer influence on adolescent decision-making, and adolescent wellbeing. Outside of academia, she has worked in the public and non-profit sectors in a research capacity.

In the last year, a pandemic has changed the way we live and work. Many of us are working through this pandemic in conditions that are not familiar to an efficient workplace. We have been witness to the trauma and victimizing experiences that have resulted from Covid-19, as well as other life stressors such as accidents, systemic racism and violence. Resilience is our ability to bounce back from stress and chaos by using effective coping strategies to handle ongoing adversities. However, this is not the only definition of resilience to be considered. Social determinants of health are also tied to resiliency. This presentation aims to provide examples of resilience within different cultures and marginalized groups where individuals, groups and entire communities continue to demonstrate resilience under chronic and complex adversity.
This talk aims to provide practical tools to help increase personal growth after experiencing life stressors, especially within the last year. We will look at specific strategies that we can use to bolster our own resilience as we navigate the changes to our home, social and workspaces. This clinical talk will also discuss resilience interventions from a collectivist perspective and will highlight steps to building a cultural understanding of resilience. Finally, this talk will address barriers to resiliency and the role of cognitive dissonance in adopting new behaviours and perspectives.
Sumeet Shergill, York Simcoe Brain Injury Services
This presentation will demonstrate how one community is battling the highest opioid overdose death rate per capita in the country by developing a unique partnership that is actively supporting clients while removing all barriers to support and services
The presentation provides a look into the unique addiction medicine program that has medical professionals teaming up with outreach community safety officers to connect people with a substance use disorder to the appropriate services and supports that they require while assisting with medical withdrawal management either in home or in the hospital.
Jennifer Landers, Timmins District Hospital
Constable Leah Blanchette, Timmins Police
Jennifer Landers is a Registered Nurse working in the Community Withdrawal Management Services at Timmins District Hospital.  She is thankful to have the opportunity to develop this unique program alongside the Outreach Community Safety Team to provide comprehensive addiction services in Timmins and surrounding district.
Cst. Leah Blanchette has 20 years of policing experience with Timmins Police Service. She has been a dedicated Scene of Crime Officer, a Coach Officer and an Acting Sergeant.  She has been a valued member of the Crime Unit, Special Services Unit and the Outreach Community Safety Team.
The provincial Forensic Mental Health System is legislatively required to provide a wide range of forensic services in collaboration with the Courts and the Ontario Review Board. Called the “gold-card” of services for its comprehensive nature, individuals at every stage of the system are expected to receive an inclusive array of clinical supports and services from hospitals and community agencies, including assessment, treatment, rehabilitation and high-support community transitional services.

This presentation will focus on recent and ongoing funding for alternative care pathways and collaborative approaches to the delivery of forensic services, including:
– an overview of the forensic system in Ontario
– the provision of forensic assessments for youth across the province by hospital Youth Forensic Service Programs (YFS)
– the provision of the Transitional Rehabilitation Housing Program (TRHP) for individuals with developmental disabilities and/or dual diagnosis that are in forensic beds and appropriate for community placement
Dianna Cochrane, Ministry of Health
Oana Decuseara, Ministry of Health
Dianna Cochrane is the Manager for the Forensic Mental Health and Justice Unit of the Ministry of Health. This unit is the lead for initiatives that support the intersection between mental health and addictions and the justice system. This includes the Forensic Mental Health provincial program, supporting system planning and development. Prior to this, Dianna spent over 15 years in hospitals within the forensic division, both as a clinician and an administrator.

Oana Decuseara is a Sr. Program Consultant in the Forensic Mental Health and Justice Unit of the Ministry of Health. She has over 12 years of experience in the public service, and during this time has worked in a variety of policy and program roles at the intersection of mental health and the criminal justice system. Her graduate research focused on the assessment of juvenile psychopathy and implications for criminal justice approaches.
Individuals with a serious mental illness (SMI) are significantly overrepresented in prisons and jails (Bland et al., 1998; Brink, 2005; Teplin, 1990). In a large meta-analysis of prevalence of SMI in prisons and jails, Fazel & Seewald (2012) found that the rate of SMI in correctional settings is approximately 15%. Additionally, many individuals who screen positive do not receive further assessment or mental health services (Hayes et al., 2014).

Inmates with serious mental health needs in remand settings may occasionally require mental health services beyond the scope of what can be provided in a correctional setting. To address this need, the High Needs Service (HNS) initiative was developed to identify and provide inpatient care and treatment to inmates who suffer from treatable serious mental conditions and who will most benefit from short-term admission to a structured and secured inpatient setting. The HNS bed has been operational since March 2018.
Kiran Patel, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Tanya Connors, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Vito Adamo, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Alfredo Ramirez, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Roland Jones, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Alexander Simpson, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Dr. Kiran Patel’s designations include: BSc (Hons), MBBS, DipFMH, DipAB (Dist), MAcadMEd, FRCPsych, MCPsychI, FRCPC. He is currently a Staff Psychiatrist within the Forensic Division of the Complex Care and Recovery Programme at CAMH, an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto, and the Clinical Head for the Forensic Early Intervention Service (FEIS), the CAMH partnership programme with the Ministry of the Solicitor General. FEIS provides enhanced triage, assessment and case management services to inmates at Toronto South Detention Centre and the Vanier Correctional Centre for Women.
Vito Adamo graduated with his Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Victoria, British Columbia. He then went to complete an honours thesis with specialization in forensic psychology from Ryerson University. Vito currently works at CAMH as a research analyst for the Forensic Early Intervention Service (FEIS) and Forensic Division of the Complex Care and Recovery Program.
Alfredo Ramirez is a registered nurse (BScN, MScN) with the Forensic Early Intervention Services (FEIS) at CAMH. Bringing a diverse background spanning various areas, Alfredo has been with FEIS since 2018 and the official opening of the High Needs Service (HNS). Serving as the intake coordinator for this specialized pathway, Alfredo has contributed to the development of the High Needs Service.
Dr. Roland Jones is a forensic psychiatrist and clinician scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Canada, and Assistant Professor in the Division of Psychiatry at the Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto. He has expertise in epidemiology and health care services research, including the application of longitudinal and life-course methods to understanding relationships between mental disorder, violence, offending, and recovery. He is currently investigating health utilization of forensic and prison populations, and a variety of research studies involving prisoners assessed by the Forensic Early Intervention Service (FEIS) in Toronto.
The purpose of this presentation will be to explore how community-based social enterprises can support marginalized populations to achieve autonomy, employment, or desired economic outcomes in Ontario. The ability of marginalized populations to secure employment has been identified as a significant gap in literature. This coupled with the challenges presented by the 2019 novel coronavirus pandemic, requires service providers to come together, collaborate, and offer options for the most vulnerable populations in our community to maintain economic security. This presentation will provide insights regarding how social service organizations can support marginalized individuals to obtain employment through facilitating a community tool (i.e. social enterprise).
Alishau (Ali) Diebold, Wilfrid Laurier University
Alishau Diebold is a doctoral student at Wilfrid Laurier University in the Faculty of Social Work studying transformative justice interventions. Her dissertation will explore how social enterprise projects can support the employment experiences of criminalized women in the community. Alishau has worked with a variety of public sector and non-profit organizations in these areas as a clinician, reintegration worker, and advocate. Alishau also maintains a private practice providing clinical interventions for mental health conditions and trauma.