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Same as it ever was: Thoughts beyond Out the Window

Mentally Speaking: A Toronto Conversation

This forum will look at the intersection of mental health, life on the street, the health services system, and who should be the first responder.

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With a sharp increase in the demand for mental health support, care providers and front-line workers are struggling to keep up. There is some progress. The City, for example, has introduced Mobile Crisis Intervention Teams, pairing mental health nurses with police officers to respond to emergency calls. But why too often do we still send police cars when we should be sending ambulances?

Professor Idil Abdillahi of Ryerson's School of Social Work moderates this forum that will look at the intersection of mental health, life on the street, the health services system, and who should be the first responder.

She will be joined by Dr. David Goldbloom, Senior Medical Advisor at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto, and previous Vice-Chair of the board for the Mental Health Commission of Canada; and Cathy Crowe, a street nurse in Toronto, co-founder of the Toronto Disaster Relief Committee, and recipient of an International Human Rights Award in Nursing. 
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Panelists

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Dr. David Goldbloom
Dr. David Goldbloom
Dr. Goldbloom was born in Montreal and raised in Quebec and Nova Scotia. He completed an honours degree, majoring in Government, at Harvard University and then attended the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar where he obtained an M.A. in Physiological Sciences. He trained in medicine and psychiatry at McGill University and is a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. Dr. Goldbloom's activities have been recognized and awarded by his peers and students. He has authored numerous scientific articles and book chapters and has provided talks and lectures to student, professional and public audiences. He is the editor of two textbooks in psychiatry and co-author with Dr. Pier Bryden of the best-selling book “How Can I Help? A Week in My Life as a Psychiatrist”. He maintains an active clinical and teaching role at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health where he serves as Senior Medical Advisor. He served as Vice-Chair and then Chair of the Board of the Mental Health Commission of Canada from 2007 to 2015. He is a member of the Boards of the Graham Boeckh Foundation, Jack.org, and the CAMH Foundation. In addition to his professional activities, Dr. Goldbloom is a member of the Board of Directors of the Royal Conservatory of Music and a past Chair of the Board of Governors of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival of Canada. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada.
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Cathy Crowe
Cathy Crowe
Cathy Crowe is a long-time Street Nurse and is a frequent guest lecturer and commentator on subjects related to homelessness. She is the author of ‘Dying for a Home. Homeless Activists Speak Out’ and produced the documentary films Home Safe Toronto and Home Safe Calgary.
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Jaene F. Castrillon
Jaene F. Castrillon
Jaene F. Castrillon is a disabled 2spirit interdisciplinary artist, activist, author & award winning filmmaker who explores her relationship to the world through Indigenous teachings, ceremony & the wisdom of the land. She describes herself as a settler to Turtle Island of mixed heritages; indigenous Colombian & Hong Kong Chinese who was adopted as an adult by Elder Isaac Day of Serpent River First Nations.
Having survived abuse, institutionalisation, homelessness and sex work, Jaene found herself in Isaac's lodge where she learned to heal and love. Since then, her art has become an adventure that celebrates the brilliance and heart-break of living a life less ordinary. She believes art creates an alternative to harmful notions around wellness, illness and worthiness. Jaene's spirit name is White Bear Woman of Bear Clan and her art is her medicine.
 
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Idil Abdillahi - Moderator
Idil Abdillahi - Moderator
Idil Abdillahi is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at Ryerson University. As a critical interdisciplinary scholar, she has published on a wide array of topics such as: mental health, poverty, HIV/AIDS, organizational development, and several other key policy areas at the intersection of Black life and state interruption. Most notably, Idil’s cutting-edge research and scholarship on anti-Black sanism has informed the current debates on fatal police shootings of Black Mad identified peoples. Recently, her theorizing helped inform the inquest of Andrew Loku, one among the litany of Black men fatally killed by Police Services in the Greater Toronto Area. She comes to this work with over 15 years of direct practice experience in the social service sector. Idil has been a frontline social worker, supervisor, clinical educator and has also been in leadership and governance roles.  Her lengthy history as a practitioner in clinical, forensic and grassroots settings, led to her being honoured with several awards and accolades for her work in mental health in Toronto. Upon transitioning to the academy in 2011, Idil was nominated as a “Professor Who Made a Mark” and she later won the prestigious Viola Desmond Award, celebrating the achievements of strong Black Canadian Women in 2015. Idil is a community organizer, strategist, public intellectual and academic, unapologetically committed to the freedom, fight and joy for Black lives in this city, province and country.