Physician Pay Cuts Are Closing Clinics Right Now

Nadia Alam | Posted 11.30.2015 | Canada Living
Nadia Alam

Hoskins blindly insists that the recent cuts to physician pay do not impact patient care. And all around him clinics close, doctors leave and patients suffer. If physicians are so wildly rich, how is it that their profit margins are so narrow that a mere seven per cent cut is closing clinic doors?

Bring The Human Toll Of Addiction To Light

Allan McDougall | Posted 11.20.2015 | Canada Living
Allan McDougall

Addiction is misunderstood, and it leaves those suffering from the condition stigmatized. Society makes the assumption that an addict has a personal problem, not a medical one.

Finding Your Way Back From Sexual Violence

Jean-Paul Bedard | Posted 11.18.2015 | Canada Living
Jean-Paul Bedard

I want you to see the 'real' me -- a man who has been running his entire life, a man who has travelled so far, only to come back to himself. My name is Jean-Paul, and I am a survivor of sexual violence, but I am so much more than that. I am a husband. I am a father. I am a writer. I am an elite athlete. I am an advocate for survivors all around the world.

Alcohol Use In Pregnancy Is Part Of A Complex Set Of Issues

Chelsea Ruth | Posted 11.19.2015 | Canada Parents
Chelsea Ruth

In my work as a neonatologist, I've looked after many, many babies. I've seen families of all ages, cultures and circumstances. But I've never seen a mother who wanted to harm her growing baby. Yet too often I still see mothers who use alcohol during pregnancy despite extensive educational campaigns about its harmful effects on the growing fetus.

This Is How I'm Climbing Out Of Addiction

Street Haven | Posted 10.26.2015 | Canada
Street Haven

I'm one of those alcoholics who became an alcoholic from my first drink. My life truly went downhill from there. I made bad decisions, made myself a bad reputation and drank more to ease my depression. Having alienated myself from people to stop them from witnessing this mess I was, I started to drink alone. I would binge for days at a time. Enough drinks in me would get me into the beds of complete strangers. It would not be considered consensual in a legal sense with my state of intoxication, thinking back to it now. The guilt and shame overwhelmed me. I had to keep myself intoxicated to keep my depression and anxiety at bay.

How Saying 'No' To An Addict Shows Them You Love Them

Candace Plattor | Posted 10.26.2015 | Canada Living
Candace Plattor

Many loved ones of addicts are people pleasers and have been that way for a long time. They may have even learned those codependent behaviours in their own families of origin, not knowing how else to get along in the world. Saying "no" to anyone, especially a potentially rageful or manipulative addict who is still in active addiction, can be a very foreign and scary concept for them.

My Employers Helped Me Beat Addiction in the Workplace

Allan McDougall | Posted 10.25.2015 | Canada Business
Allan McDougall

I was a hard rock miner at the time and fortunately my union, the United Steelworkers, had an Employee Assistance Program whose staff guided me to the treatment I needed. They accepted me as a person who has a problem, not a problem person, and put me on the road to recovering my sobriety and my dignity.

It's Cheaper To House The Homeless Than To Keep Them On The Streets

Now What With Ryan Duffy | Posted 10.22.2015 | Canada Impact

The cure for chronic homelessness is so obvious, you almost don't want to say it out loud.

A Message of Hope to Anyone at a Crossroads

Allan McDougall | Posted 10.14.2015 | Canada Living
Allan McDougall

For anyone who truly feels stuck, who lacks motivation, or who honestly doesn't see a way out, here's an adage to take to heart: "The anticipation of change is worse than actually undergoing change." I should know. I am the poster child for turning around a ravaged life.

Ontario's Health-Care Cutbacks Will Leave Vulnerable Patients Suffering

Sohail Gandhi | Posted 10.14.2015 | Canada Living
Sohail Gandhi

Recently, a lot of media have been reporting on the dispute between Ontario's doctors and the Liberal government headed by Kathleen Wynne, and her Health Minister, Dr. Eric Hoskins. But what is lost in the shuffle is that in addition to the across the board fee reductions, there are a number of targeted fee cuts that have significant implications for patient care going forward.

How Writing About Being a 'Drunk Mom' Changed My Career

Jowita Bydlowska | Posted 10.02.2015 | Canada Living
Jowita Bydlowska

I drank while taking care of an infant. I was full of fire, ready to tell my story. The book got published; it became a bestseller; I received lots of praise, but also lots of criticism and even the occasional death threat. One of the most challenging and interesting gigs that Drunk Mom brought on was ghostwriting somebody else's memoir. We recognized each other beyond our differences. We were both addicts.

People With Mental Illness Need a Say in Their Own Future

Arthur Gallant | Posted 09.17.2015 | Canada Living
Arthur Gallant

People with lived experience like myself have historically been excluded from being on the same committees, councils and boards as the people who are in charge of making decisions that will affect and impact people like us the most. After many years of waiting, we're finally starting to see organizations comprised solely of people with lived experience and -- even more rarely -- bodies with representation from patients, their families and healthcare professionals. It has always puzzled me as to how you could have committees and councils dedicated to patients with mental illness without having anybody from their community on them -- and it appears those who are working to improve Canada's health system are realizing this as well.

How Cocaine Anonymous Saved Me From Hell

Kerri | Posted 09.04.2015 | Canada Living

If you had asked me why I was the way that I was, why I cheated, stole, lied and took advantage of people, I would have told you that I had no choice but to behave that way. I had to look out for myself -- no one else was going to.

Arrested for Sleeping? We Shouldn't Criminalize Homelessness

Jino Distasio | Posted 09.02.2015 | Canada Impact
Jino Distasio

As humans, we need to sleep. It is a biologically unavoidable act. Yet, on both sides of the border, "sleeping" can be considered a criminal act, especially if you are homeless and have no place to rest your head other than in public spaces such as parks. How have cities and states been able to impose and enforce by-laws and ordinances that clearly violate one's right to occupy public space for this very purpose? This summer several cases are putting this longstanding question to the legal test. The outcome might just change the way we view homelessness.

What I Learned From PTSD

Jean-Paul Bedard | Posted 08.30.2015 | Canada Living
Jean-Paul Bedard

So, is there a lesson in PTSD for all of us? Yes, most definitely. If abandoned in fear, past trauma has a way of writing itself into your future like a voracious virus, but if you are willing to face it head on, you may find yourself attuned to the lesson of growth within its whisper.

Finding Shelter for Homeless LGBT Youth

Craig and Marc Kielburger | Posted 08.28.2015 | Canada Impact
Craig and Marc Kielburger

Earlier this summer, Canada's first transitional housing dedicated to LGBT youth opened in Toronto--the YMCA's Sprott House. Reading about this great initiative raised our awareness about an issue that needs to be on the radar of all Canadians -- the unacceptable rate of LGBT youth who have no place to call home. LGBT youth become homeless for much of the same reasons as other young people -- family conflict, abuse, mental health issues and addiction. LGBT youth also experience higher rates of mental health and addiction issues in large part because of discrimination.

What Can We Do to Stop the Deadly Use of Fentanyl?

Candace Plattor | Posted 08.20.2015 | Canada Living
Candace Plattor

Talking to kids about drugs can be difficult, even intimidating for a parent, teacher, or counsellor. It's hard when the children we care about so deeply roll their eyes at us and say, "Yeah, I know!!" But often they don't know, not until someone's death touches them -- and when it comes to this malicious and criminal spread of fentanyl, we have to make sure they do know.

The Addictive Quality of Tinder Is Bringing an End to Intimacy

Marcia Sirota | Posted 08.16.2015 | Canada Living
Marcia Sirota

People say that Tinder is addictive, and I can see why. It provides no joy, no closeness, no meaning. It's superficially stimulating and gives a false promise of fulfillment; just enough to compel the user to repeat the activity over and over again, in the hopes that eventually, they'll find what they're looking for.

We Must Separate Fact From Fiction in the Cannabis Debate

International Centre for Science in Drug Policy | Posted 08.20.2015 | Canada Politics
International Centre for Science in Drug Policy

Conversations about cannabis policy are heating up. So it's no surprise that we suddenly seem immersed in claims and counterclaims on a slew of topics related to cannabis use and regulation. The International Centre for Science in Drug Policy has tasked itself with determining the strength of scientific support for such claims. Over the past year, we've been working diligently on scanning the news media and online conversations about cannabis to identify the most oft-repeated or high-profile claims including the ones above related to its use and regulation.

I Was Raped - and We Need to Talk About it

Jean-Paul Bedard | Posted 08.11.2015 | Canada Living
Jean-Paul Bedard

Two years before I entered high school, I was the victim of a violent rape that took place a mere few kilometres from the football locker room I was now standing in. From the moment of that assault, I chose to disappear, fractured into different people -- the person I was afraid to let you see, the person I wanted you to see, and the young man who struggled with that internal turmoil every day for the next 30 years. I've heard that living as a survivor of rape is like living with a secret tumor. It metastasizes in the dark hollows of shame, and it continues to destabilize and corrupt every bond and every relationship in a survivor's life.

The Beauty in Missing

Jean-Paul Bedard | Posted 07.23.2015 | Canada Living
Jean-Paul Bedard

I love the subtlety and ambiguity of words, and that no doubt had a lot to do with why I taught English for 23 years, and why I am now pursuing a care...

What Do Addicts Really Need?

Candace Plattor | Posted 07.22.2015 | Canada Living
Candace Plattor

It is not a loving act to allow addicts to get away with self-destructive behaviour. If someone in active addiction is consistently being rescued from the potentially negative and harmful consequences of his or her behaviour by his family, friends, teachers, bosses, or colleagues, then why should he ever change anything?

I Have Been Losing Time to PTSD

Jean-Paul Bedard | Posted 07.03.2015 | Canada Living
Jean-Paul Bedard

Over the past few years, I've written extensively about, and on many occasions have spoken candidly of my struggles with addiction, mental health issues, and sexual violence. I have grown to believe that the greatest antidote to fear is honesty, and it's with this in mind, that I share the following with you. For the past few months, I've engaged in a convoluted relationship with time. It all started out rather innocent. Hours were slipping away from me, and I had absolutely no idea how to account for that lost time.

Why Is It So Hard To Find An Antidepressant That Works?

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre | Posted 06.10.2015 | Canada Living
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

My sister suffers from depression and she has been prescribed several different antidepressant medications. While she feels marginally improved, her doctor is about to start her on a new drug to see if she can do better. Why is it so hard for some patients to find the "right" antidepressant?

I've Learned to Live With PTSD

Jean-Paul Bedard | Posted 06.04.2015 | Canada Living
Jean-Paul Bedard

My name is Jean-Paul, and I am in treatment for PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Hearing me say that usually elicits one of two responses in people -- abject pity or recoiling fear. I want you to know that I understand where you're coming from, but allow me a few minutes to see if we can change this dialogue.