FAME strives to speak out locally and nationally to champion the family perspective and to provide an often unheard voice.
Some examples are:
Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network’s (LHIN)
In March of 2015, FAME participated in a focus group hosted by the Toronto Central Local Health Integration (LHIN). The focus group’s purpose was to test responses to an interim version of a core messaging campaign related to the Toronto Central LHIN’s Strategic Plan for 2015-2018. FAME emphasized a dire need for more funding for mental health programs, including respite programs for family caregivers.
Parenting Through the Storm
Ann Douglas, author of Parenting Through the Storm: How to Handle the Highs, the Lows, and Everything in Between was the Keynote Speaker at the FAME Annual General Meeting in 2015. Ann Douglas interviewed Executive Director, Christine Cooper for the book.
United Way of Peel – 2014 Speakers Bureau Award
On March 5, 2015 FAME Executive Director Christine Cooper was honoured by the United Way of Peel at their 2014 Spirit Awards ceremony, where she received the prestigious Bureau Speaker Award.
This award recognizes a dynamic speaker whose personal story captivates, inspires, and motivates audiences to support the United Way. Christine has been sharing the family caregiver perspective tirelessly for the past two years with corporations and donors throughout Peel region, and this award is justly deserved. Christine continues to advocate for families by her continued participation on the Speakers Bureau in 2015. She has spoken about families and caregivers impacted by a loved one’s mental illness to corporations including RBC, Pepsi-Cola and BMO.
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) – 2015 Convention
Board Co-Chair, Cindy Woodcock and Executive Director, Christine Coper attended the NAMI convention in San Francisco. FAME’s greatest strength is its ability to provide unconditional acceptance to the families that we serve. Only when families receive acceptance can they begin the journey toward true recovery. In those few revelatory moments, we realized that more than anything else, we at FAME are acceptance.
Mental illness is a family illness
FAME Executive Director, Christine Cooper, was interviewed for this article on mental illness and the family: The Toronto Star, March 13, 2015
Toronto Police Services (TPS)
In early 2014, the Toronto Police Services hired the Honorable Frank Iacobucci to conduct an independent review of police conduct and engagement in addressing people with mental health and addictions issues. Due to FAME’s participation on the TPS Community Mental Health Committee, we were invited to make a formal written submission. In our submission, FAME made 15 recommendations around topics such as hiring practices, education and effective, ongoing training practices. Early this summer, his Honour released the report “Police Encounters with People in Crisis” in which he made 84 recommendations. All 15 recommendations submitted by FAME were included in the report. FAME would like to acknowledge and thank Dr. Lorraine Cynthia Krysac for assisting the agency in putting together a very strong well-constructed submission.
Police Encounters with People in Crisis. Independent Review Conducted by The Honourable Frank Iacobucci for Chief of Police William Blair, TPS. July 2014
Former Supreme Court of Canada Justice Frank Iacobucci has completed his independent report on lethal “Police Encounters with People in Crisis” for the Toronto Police Services (TPS). FAME contributed the family perspective to the independent review, and we are proud to announce that all of FAME’s recommendations were addressed in full or in part in the report.
• That the TPS review the reports & standards from the Mental Health Commission of Canada;
• That the TPS adopt Canada’s new standard for workplace behaviour “Psychological Health & Safety in the Workplace”;
• That TPS officers take training for Mental Health First Aid Canada;
• That TPS officers using Conducted Energy Weapons are required to obtain mental health & de-escalation training;
• That TPS recruits are screened for psychological traits such as low empathy;
• That the TPS implement broader use of crisis intervention teams.
View a condensed list of the final 84 recommendations.
The full TPS report can be downloaded here.
FAME continues to learn and share with many other global organizations. Most recently FAME was granted permission from the Australian government to adapt a program called COPMI (Children of Parents with Mental Illness). FAME has now introduced a Parental Program that teaches and supports parents so they can learn how to have a dialogue and engagement with their children about their own mental health challenges. This valuable program will become integral not only to the FAMEkids programing but also in continuing to develop our ongoing partnerships with Child Protective Service agencies.
The Mental Health Commission of Canada (June 2013)
In the summer of 2012 FAME was one of 7 organizations in Toronto invited by the MHCC to participate in the development of a Caregivers Guide. There were also a number of FAME family members who were invited to contribute their experiences as caregivers. In June of 2013 the MHCC released the “National Guidelines for a Comprehensive Service System to Support Family Caregivers of Adults with Mental Health Problems and Illnesses” in which they made 41 recommendations on how to better engage and support family caregivers and how to build system capacity. FAME is committed to continuing to work in collaboration with the MHCC in our ongoing representation of families and caregivers across our community.
In February 2013, FAME participated in a round table discussion about the role of children in coping with or helping to care for a parent with a mental illness. The fameKids Program has been placed on a global platform as we focus on discussions of collaboration in the ongoing efforts to support young carers. From that forum FAME has become part of a planning committee that is organizing an international Conference on Families with Parental Mental Health Challenges that will take place in April 2014 in Berkeley.
In addition to that, FAME will also focus on developing a strategic approach, including contributing to national policies, to increase the knowledge and understanding of the unique place and status that young carers hold within the system of mental health care.
“Together Against Stigma” International Conference 2012
In June 2012 the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) hosted the global mental health community in Ottawa for the 5th annual conference on stigma. FAME, as first time attendees, made international connections with mental health organizations and promoted our unique role in supporting families. We also had the opportunity to interact with Glenn Close and her family (her sister Jessie suffers from bi-polar disorder and her nephew Calen has schizophrenia) at the media briefing — a special opportunity to showcase FAME’s work to a high-profile, committed audience.