• A perfect storm: homelessness, mental health, criminal law and no shelter beds

    We are told that the cost of rent is a function of the market. There is widespread public support for benefits for people who cannot work because of disabilities. At a minimum this should include enough money to pay rent and buy food. Instead, my clients are being warehoused in jails while their friends sleep and die on Toronto’s streets.

  • England trials free talk therapy

    England is in the midst of a unique national experiment, the world’s most ambitious effort to treat depression, anxiety and other common mental illnesses. The rapidly growing initiative… offers virtually open-ended talk therapy free of charge at clinics throughout the country: in remote farming villages, industrial suburbs, isolated immigrant communities and high-end enclaves. The goal is to eventually create a system of primary care for mental health

  • Toronto’s plan for tackling opioid crisis falls short

    One of the obvious recommendations, then, from Thursday’s meeting was to speed up the opening of the three supervised injection sites… A better idea comes from harm reduction workers at the sites who argue that while the centres are being renovated for supervised injection services, temporary or mobile sites should be opened now. Pop-up clinics like that would be in line with how the city responds to a flu outbreak.

  • How a Canadian experimental program helped one child with autism speak

    Known as the Social ABCs, the program teaches parents strategies to help toddlers with ASD to talk or vocalize in more meaningful ways and to smile more with their caregivers… The 12-week intervention… uses objects that grab a child’s attention and motivates them to verbally interact with their parents… Researchers also saw increased verbal responses to parental prompts and gains in their functional language, as well as how often they initiated a verbal connection on their own

  • Ontario to cover cost of abortion pill starting Aug. 10

    The abortion pill Mifegymiso will be dispensed for free to patients across the province starting Aug. 10, Ontario’s Minister of the Status of Women said Thursday. The drug, known internationally as RU-486, currently costs $300. Eliminating the fee for the drug is “about fairness, it’s about safety, and it’s the right thing to do,” … Although the drug will now be dispensed without cost, patients will still need a prescription.

  • Solo living is the new norm. Let’s learn to deal with it

    The main reason people live alone today is because they can afford it. Generations ago, few people had the means to go solo. Families formed to pool resources, which they used to feed, shelter and protect each other. But two things – the welfare state and the market economy – combined to generate unprecedented levels of personal security. And how did people use their new-found affluence? They got places of their own… The other major social change that makes living alone possible is the rising status of women.

  • Prescriptions shouldn’t push brand name drugs

    … thousands of Canadian doctors use the software to take notes during patient visits and create a prescription to be filled by the patient’s pharmacy. To encourage pharmacists to fill the prescription with their brand name drug, pharmaceutical companies have paid Telus (the company won’t say how much) to digitally insert vouchers on the prescription so that pharmacists will reach for their drug rather than a lower-cost generic made by a competitor.

  • Make data on homeless deaths public

    The city should release not just the number of homeless deaths, as it recently did for the first time, but other information it now collects, too, such as on gender, unofficial cause of death, and location of death… we know very little about how these people ended up on the street or how they died. Were these opiate overdoses, suicides, deaths by exposure? And therefore what are the policy responses we should be demanding of governments?

  • Social workers failing Toronto’s homeless

    … caseworkers seem to think their job starts and ends with meeting a client the one time it takes to get them on OW. What about the service plan they’re supposed to develop and regularly update to give clients the training or supports they may need to get back on their feet?“ … The city and the (Ontario) government need to step up” … Ontario Works (people) are not doing their jobs to get us back on our feet.”

  • Doctors use this software during patient visits. Now Big Pharma is tapping it to sell their drugs

    Concerned physicians say a clinical tool they use to write prescriptions and care for patients is being co-opted, and they fear health records are being tapped so drug companies can increase profits. In the battle for pharmaceutical dominance, this new tactic, deployed in software used by doctors, has allowed brand-name companies to capitalize on the moment a prescription is written.