Understand Recovery…having the right combination of services and supports are crucial elements to assist individuals dealing with mental health and/or addiction issues in their recovery process. This is especially important for youth as these problems started for over 70% of individuals living with mental health problems and illnesses when they were young.
The Mental Health Strategy for Canada defines recovery as living a satisfying, hopeful, and meaningful life, even when there are ongoing limitations caused by mental health issues. It goes on to say recovery does not imply a “cure”. While for some full remission may be possible, for others it is something that has to be managed over the course of their life and does not prevent one from leading a happy, fulling life.
Early, effective intervention is critical not only in reducing the impact of the disabilities associated with mental health and related substance use disorder but also in reducing the associated risks such as unemployment, homelessness, trauma, poverty, suicide and early death. Identifying when a person is struggling with mental health and addiction issues and engaging and working with them to find the help they need can significantly support their recovery.
The road to recovery can also include the notion of “harm reduction” when supporting someone dealing with a substance misuse issues. There are many effective and innovative programs, services and practices working within a harm reduction context at community mental health and addiction agencies throughout Ontario.
The following links can assist in providing more information and training resources around Mental Health and Addictions, Suicide Intervention, Trauma Informed Care and Recovery.
The Mental Health Commission of Canada was created by the Canadian government in 2007 in response to a senate committee tasked to study mental health, mental illness, and addiction. It has concentrated on addressing 5 major objectives:
- Development of a National Mental Health Strategy
- Creation of a Knowledge Exchange Centre
- Development, Implementation and Overseeing an anti-stigma and anti-discrimination campaign
- Support of 5 research demonstration projects on mental health and homelessness
- Creation of Mental Health First Aid
In addition, MHCC worked with 8 committees in different areas of mental health concentrating on major areas of concern. One of these committees addressed Child & Youth issues and established the MHCC Youth Council. This group took the Mental Health Strategy for Canada and wrote a Youth Perspective of the Strategy.Youth Perspective of the Strategy.
The following projects on the MHCC website might be of particular interest in supporting your work with students with mental health and addiction issues:
Guidelines for Recovery Oriented Practice
The Guidelines have been written to provide a comprehensive Canadian reference document for understanding recovery and to promote a consistent application of recovery principles.
Video: Hope Changes Everything
The Provincial Recovery Champions Committee along with the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) released a video to promote the new Guidelines for Recovery-Oriented Practice. The video provides personal stories, opinions from mental health professionals and explains how new policies may be put in place to shift from the traditional clinical-oriented approach to a recovery-oriented practice.
Mental Health First Aid
One of the five objectives addressed by the Mental Health Commission of Canada was to improve people’s knowledge around mental health and reduce stigma through the establishment of a national wide training program – Mental Health First Aid (MHFA). This training, available around the country by instructors trained by MHFA, helps people to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental health problems, to provide the initial early help that is so important to recovery and to guide a person towards appropriate professional help.
Courses are specifically geared toward working with the following groups: Basic Adult, For Adults Who Interact with Youth, Northern Peoples, First Nations and Seniors.
Addictions & Mental Health Ontario
In support of building a more comprehensive and responsive system for the treatment of addictions and mental health in Ontario, Addictions Ontario (AO) and the Ontario Federation of Community Mental Health and Addiction Programs (OFCMHAP) have come together to build a new association, Addictions and Mental Health Ontario. Their goal is to ensure that all Ontarians can access the services and supports they need to address substance misuse and mental health issues, fostering dignity and accountability to those it serves.
Canadian Centre for Substance Abuse
CCSA provides guidance and advice on addictions and substance use to public, private and non-governmental organizations. Through partnerships, CCSA is works to improve the health and safety of Canadians through nurturing a knowledge exchange environment where research guides policy and evidence-informed actions enhance effectiveness in the field of addictions.
Canadian Harm Reuction Network
According to the Canadian Harm Reduction Network, harm reduction refers to policies, programs and practices that aim to reduce the negative health, social and economic consequences that may ensue from the use of legal and illegal psychoactive drugs, without necessarily reducing drug use.
Guiding Principles and Elements of Recovery-Oriented Systems of Care: What do we know from the research?
A white paper which examines the research supporting the principles of recover and systems of care elements as defined by the National Summit on Recovery. Findings in more than 375 studies were identified which supported the framework, principles, elements and implementation of recovery-oriented services and systems.
Recovery to Practice (RTP) – SAMSHA
A website which provides resources and links to help behavioural health and general healthcare practitioners improve delivery of recovery-oriented services, supports and treatments.
Oversees the most widely used suicide intervention training programs in the world through four types of workshops – Suicide Talk and eSuicideTalk (on-line course), Suicide Safe, Applied Suicide Skills Intervention Training (ASIST), and Suicide for Hope.
TRAUMA INFORMED APPROACHES
Six Key Principles of a Trauma Informed Approach From SAMSHA’S Concept of Trauma and Guidance for a Trauma-Informed Approach
- Trustworthiness and Transparency
- Peer Support
- Collaboration and Mutuality
- Empowerment, Voice and Choice
- Cultural, Historical and Gender Issues
SAMHSA’s Concept of Trauma and Guidance for a Trauma-Informed Approach
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) approached this task by integrating three significant threads of work: trauma focused research work; practice-generated knowledge about trauma interventions; and the lessons articulated by survivors of traumatic experiences who have had involvement in multiple service sectors. This paper provides a working concept of trauma and a trauma-informed approach with the intent of developing a shared understanding of these concepts that would be acceptable and appropriate across an array of service systems and stakeholder groups.
What are Trauma informed approaches…Trauma Informed and Trauma Specific Services
From Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse – Trauma-informed Toolkit
Trauma-informed service is a strengths-based service delivery approach where an understanding of trauma is embedded in all aspects of service delivery. Working in a trauma-informed-way places emphasis on safety, service user’s direction, choice and collaboration in decisions affecting one’s treatment. These principles are rooted in organizational policies, procedures and practices in a manner where staff support safety and empowerment of service consumers. Trauma informed services work in ways to accept a person where they are and to avoid working in a manner which can re-traumatize an individual. An important aspect of trauma-informed practice is understanding how trauma can be experienced differently by different groups…for example, by gender, by culture, refugees, people with developmental disabilities, indigenous peoples, children and youth, and other populations.
Key principles of trauma informed services
- Trauma Awareness and training
- Emphasis on safety and trustworthiness
- Opportunity for choice, collaboration and connection
- Strengths- based and skill building
Trauma-specific service explicitly address the need for healing from traumatic life experiences. The focus is on safety and engagement through counselling and other evidence based treatment interventions as a means to facilitate trauma recovery.
Other Trauma Resources and Links
The Manitoba Trauma Information and Education Centre
One of the programs of Klinic Community Health Centre, this website is a source for practical advice, documented solutions and dedicated support in working collaboratively to promote trauma informed relationships and practices. Included is a guide for Organizational Self-Assessment.
The following is a free download on their site and is considered to be an excellent resource on trauma informed care.
From Trauma Informed – “Given the enormous influence that trauma has on health outcomes, it is important that every health care and human services provider has a basic understanding of trauma, can recognize the symptoms of trauma, and appreciates the role they play in supporting recovery…most importantly, the people who receive these services benefit from trauma informed approaches.”
Trauma Informed Practice Guide
The Trauma-Informed Practice (TIP) Guide and TIP Organizational Checklist are intended to support the translation of trauma-informed principles into practice.
Trauma-Informed Care and Trauma-Specific Services: A Comprehensive Approach to Trauma Intervention.
This brief addresses the need for a comprehensive approach to trauma intervention across service settings. It looks at trauma intervention approaches, their core principles and practices, and discusses how they are being integrated across service sectors. Finally, next steps for providers, researchers, and policymakers are identified to ensure that all service systems are prepared to sustain this comprehensive approach to trauma intervention.
Trauma Matters – on-line version
This guide was developed by the Jean Tweed Centre, in consultation with service providers, experts, and women with lived experience from across Ontario. It looks at the interconnections of trauma and substance use, and provide better care for substance-involved women who have experienced trauma. The guidelines were developed by the Jean Tweed Centre, in consultation with service providers, experts, and women with lived experience from across Ontario.