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July 13, 2016 Ombudsman report positive - Steve Lurie's letter to the Toronto Star Fri., July 8, 2016

SteveRe: ‘A matter of life and death,’ June 30

‘A matter of life and death,’ June 30

Ombudsman Paul Dube’s report makes a number of important observations and recommendations which should, if implemented, reduce the number of deaths when police use de-escalation rather than lethal force against people with mental health and addictions problems‎.

The observation that police have to be recertified every year on use of force but are not tested annually in terms of use of de-escalation techniques should result in a change in policy and procedures.

Last year Toronto police used force in more than 1,500 situations involving people with mental illness. How many of these could have been avoided using non-violent crisis intervention techniques?

The report’s recommendation concerning better reporting and analysis on use of force is positive too.

Steve Lurie, CMHA, Toronto

July 12, 2016 North York West Planning Initiative - Resident Survey

surveyThe Central LHIN in partnership with the City of Toronto are working to better understand the needs and gaps related to health care services in North York West planning area (see map). The objectives of the initiative are:

• To develop long-term solutions for the gaps in health care services in North York West planning area.

• To gather information to inform recommendations to improve equitable access to health care services for residents living in the North York West planning area.

• To gather information that can be disseminated to health service providers that serve the North York West planning area to better inform future planning and service delivery.

Purpose of the Survey
To obtain input and perspectives from the residents and users of health care services living in the North York West planning area on their preferred location for healthcare services and models of health care service delivery.

If you have any questions or concerns in regards to completing the survey, please contact, Christelle Bony or 905-948-1872, ext.224

Thank you for participating in our survey. Your feedback is important.

Note that the survey will close at 12noon on Monday August 8, 2016.

July 12, 2016 Renters shut out in hot real estate markets

SteveThe lack of rental and supportive housing is a huge problem for people living with mental illness and addiction problems. As Erin Anderssen reported in the recent Globe series on mental health, there are 520000 people living with mental illness in Canada who are homeless or precariously‎ housed. In Toronto the wait list for supportive housing has grown from 700 to over 11,000 despite a coordinated approach among housing providers. Wait times range from 3-6 years. Moreover private sector landlords and increasingly unwilling to rent to supportive housing providers. 10 years ago Senator Michael Kirby called for an investment in 56000 supportive housing units. 5 years ago the Mental Health Commission recommended funding for 100,000 units. This has not occurred. Provincial, municipal and federal‎ governments need to set targets for supportive housing and collaborate to end this deficit in our social fabric.

Steve Lurie, CM
Executive Director

July 8, 2016 Steve Lurie's letter to the Globe and Mail in response to the article, "How much should Ottawa spend on health? It’s complicated," published June 28, 2016

G&MThe Parliamentary Budget Officer has noted that provinces will have a hard time maintaining their health services if the federal government reduces transfers to 3 per cent from the current 6 per cent. It will make it difficult for provinces to make new investments in areas like mental health, which did not receive investments under that last accord.

A report commissioned for the Ontario government indicates that mental health is underfunded by $1.5-billion, based on disease burden. This is the amount required to get Ontario to the benchmark of 9 per cent of health spending recommended by the Mental Health Commission in 2012.

Nationally, this would require an injection of $4.2-billion over 10 years or $120 per capita. It’s not complicated: If provinces are given funds to implement their mental health plans, access to mental health services will get better and the burden of illness will decline.

Steve Lurie, executive director, CMHA Toronto Branch

To read the article click Here

July 4, 2016 Steve Lurie, tireless mental health advocate, Appointed to Order of Canada

Steve(Thursday, June 30, 2016, Toronto) – Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ontario would like to congratulate Steve Lurie, Executive Director of the CMHA Toronto Branch, on his appointment as a Member of the Order of Canada.

Canada’s Honour Roll



May 10, 2016 Steve Lurie is interviewed in Toronto Star article questioning police response to Andrew Loku shooting

Andrew LokuSteve Lurie, CMHA Toronto Executive Director, is interviewed in Toronto Star article questioning police response to Andrew Loku shooting


To read the article click Here

May 6, 2016 Life skills course for caregivers 55 and older available in Toronto

LivingLifetotheFullforwebCaregivers at least 55 years old in the Toronto area can now access a free eight-week course designed to provide skills and knowledge to cope with life’s challenges.

May 3, 2016 Mayor’s proclamation kicks off Mental Health Week

get loaudToronto Mayor John Tory made an official proclamation on Monday to launch Mental Health Week, a collaborative effort between the CMHA and Children’s Mental Health Ontario.

Tory encouraged all citizens to care for their mental health and take advantage of community activities planned throughout the week.

“Each year, more than half a million children, youth and adults receive support and treatment from community mental health and addiction organizations in Ontario,” a portion of the proclamation read.

“The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ontario and Children’s Mental Health Ontario (CMHO) call attention to the importance of mental health and to the role each of us has in supporting those with mental health challenges.”

To coincide with the proclamation, Toronto city hall was illuminated green Monday, as was the 3D Toronto sign. Toronto city hall will be green Tuesday and Thursday as well.

More than 60 landmarks and business across southern Ontario are going green throughout the week to create awareness as part of the #GETLOUD campaign.

Among the landmarks to be lit green on Monday were the CN Tower and Niagara Falls.


March 29, 2016 Steve Lurie's letter to the Toronto Star in response to the article, "Trudeau’s Liberals pledge billions in federal budget for ‘transformative’ change," published March 22, 2016

steve-lurie-executive-director-of-the-canadian-mental-health-association-s-toronto-branchWhile there is debate about the size of the deficit, the budget does propose to tackle social deficits which impact Canadians. The budget makes a commitment to improving access to mental health services through the new health accord with the provinces. This is critical as all provinces have developed mental health plans to improve access, but have been unable to make the required investments. For example, over 10,000 people are on the wait list for supportive housing in Toronto, and will face waits of up to six years depending on the type of housing support they need. Wait times for community based clinical programs which keep people out of hospital can be a year or longer.

The Health Accord needs to help provinces meet the Mental Health Commission target of spending 9% of the health care budget‎ on mental health. Canada currently spends 6-7%, far less than countries such as the UK that spend 10.8%, and which has recently invested £ 1 billion improving access to mental health care. Given the burden of mental illness on individuals and their families, it is important to ensure that the deficit in access to mental health services is addressed.

To read the article click Here

Steve Lurie

Executive Director

March 22, 2016 Steve Lurie's letter to the Toronto Star in response to the article, "No charges for police officer who shot Andrew Loku," published March 18, 2016

andrew-loku_jpg_size_xxlarge_letterboxWhile the SIU findings will not result in criminal charges, an inquest should be held to provide a public review of police actions. Given witness accounts and video tape it does not seem that ‎ methods, other than use of force, were used, despite police training and directives. An inquest would shine a light on what really happened and how these events can be prevented in the future.

Steve Lurie, Executive Director

To read the article click Here