Want to better understand how the health and social systems work and how you can better advocate for changes that would improve these systems for you and your family? Enhance your knowledge with one of our free courses for citizens:

Finding and using research evidence: A guide for citizens

In this free online course, you’ll be provided with solutions to overcome the most commonly cited frustrations people have when trying to access research evidence. Prepared by the McMaster Health Forum with support from the Ontario SPOR SUPPORT Unit, the course is now available online as a set of eight videos:

Here are helpful resources that are drawn on in the course:

Don’t miss the most important resource for citizen-targeted evidence about healthy aging:

Understanding how to navigate the health system

Knowing how your health system works will better you to navigate the system, identify opportunities to make things better, and advocate for changes that you’d like to see. This free online course describes the 'building blocks' of Ontario’s health system as well as how those building blocks are used to provide care in the province in different ways (e.g., by sector, condition, treatment, population). While Ontario is the example, these principles are useful to understanding health systems other jurisdictions in Canada and internationally.

Prepared by the McMaster Health Forum with support from the Ontario SPOR SUPPORT Unit, the course is now available online as a set of six videos:

Here are helpful resources that are drawn on in the course:

Don’t miss the most important resource for citizen-targeted evidence about healthy aging:

Masterclass on patient-oriented research

The Forum’s masterclass was designed to prepare future champions for the conduct and use of patient-oriented research and future mentors to others becoming involved in the conduct and use of patient-oriented research. While we are not currently planning any Masterclass sessions, you can access all of the course material to learn more about patient-oriented research.

Virtual masterclass on patient-oriented research

The Forum and its collaborators are pleased to be hosting a ‘virtual’ version of the masterclass on the conduct and use of patient-oriented research in Ontario’s health system. All sessions will be conducted online using Webex. Learn more and register.

What are the five key things decision-makers need to know in order to meet the needs of people with mental health issues?

Oct 7, 2016, 15:44 PM
Title : What are the five key things decision-makers need to know in order to meet the needs of people with mental health issues?
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October 10th is World Mental Health Day, which aims to raise awareness of mental health around the world. According to the World Health Organization, the burden of mental disorders continues to grow in all countries of the world.

We have recently undertaken a number of projects to examine the impact of, and approaches to, addressing the needs of people living with mental health issues, including a stakeholder dialogue, a citizen panel, and several rapid syntheses.

Our rapid synthesis Examining the Impact of and Approaches to Addressing the Needs of People Living with Mental Health Issues highlighted five key things that decision-makers need to know to address the needs of people with mental health issues. This list, outlined below, is derived from the documents reviewed in this rapid synthesis with a focus on three sources: 1) the findings from systematic reviews; 2) the findings from published articles presenting an overview of the field as well as those specific to British Columbia or Canada; and 3) recommendations outlined in current national and international reports.

  1. Globally, across Canada, and in the province of British Columbia, the burden of mental health problems, and their associated economic, personal, and social impacts are a pressing health issue.
  2. While mental, neurological, and substance-use disorders are increasing globally, there is a wide variety of effective drug-based, psychological and social interventions which can prevent and treat them, but access
    is affected by concerns about financial resources, the low availability of trained mental health workers in some jurisdictions, and stigma and discrimination. Moreover, coverage for mental, neurological, and substance use disorders is often limited under most insurance programs in high-income countries, and there needs to be greater financial protections put in place to ensure people get the care they need.
  3. Effective evidence-based interventions should be delivered within and across multiple settings, including: at a population level (e.g., through prevention and awareness campaigns and policies that reduce access to alcohol); for specific communities or groups (e.g., interventions targeted to groups that share a common characteristic such as age or culture, or a common setting such as schools or jails); and within the healthcare system (which includes interventions that address self-management and care, primary and community health care, and hospital care).
  4. There needs to be greater attention paid to addressing the needs of people living with multiple chronic conditions (i.e., multimorbidity), and particularly to how mental illness intersects with other conditions, such as developmental disabilities or chronic diseases, in primary and community-based care.
  5. To close the gap between mental, neurological and substance-use disorders and other health issues, systems must better integrate services across settings and improve the delivery of evidence-based interventions. This requires “an approach that puts into practice key principles of public health, adopts systems thinking, promotes whole-of-government involvement and is focused on quality improvement”. Effective translation of evidence into action will require “collaborative stepped care, strengthening human resources, and integrating mental health into general health care”. 

The other rapid synthesis focused on Identifying Effective Suicide Prevention Interventions. One additional rapid synthesis, on the topic of Addressing Long-term Stays in Hospital for People with Mental Health and Addictions Concerns, will be available on our website on October 27th.

The evidence brief, citizen brief, and summaries of the stakeholder dialogue and citizen panel on the topic of Defining the Mental Health and Addictions ‘Basket of Core Services’ to be Publicly Funded in Ontario will be available on our website shortly.

Supporting mental health is a critical consideration to the healthy aging process. Browse the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal for more information or watch the highlights from the public talk recently hosted by the Forum:
> Mental Health Matters: Depression and Anxiety in Older Adults

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