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Annual Report to the Community 2010-2011 Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health

 

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Dr. Sandy Simpson
Dr. Sandy Simpson, an international expert in forensic mental health, joined CAMH in 2010 from New Zealand.

Dr. Michael Colleton
CAMH forensic psychiatrist Dr. Michael Colleton conducts mental health assessments at
Toronto’s Old City Hall Courthouse in order to divert those with mental illness away from the criminal justice system.

Treating offenders with mental illness

This year the problem of people with mental illness staying untreated in jails grabbed public attention.

“We need a continuum of care for mentally ill offenders,” said Dr. Alexander (Sandy) Simpson, the new clinical director of CAMH’s Law and Mental Health Program, in a commentary published in the Globe and Mail. An international expert in culturally specific, recovery-based forensic mental health services, Dr. Simpson joined CAMH in 2010 from New Zealand, where his published outcomes have been among the best in the field. Under Dr. Simpson’s leadership, CAMH has succeeded in reducing the wait times for our 165 forensic inpatient beds below those of other forensic services across the province.

CAMH has developed innovative service delivery models to help meet the demand on the system, including an out-of-custody treatment order team for people considered low-risk; a diversion program in which CAMH psychiatrists conduct mental health assessments in the courthouse to keep people with mental illness out of the criminal justice system; and enhanced outpatient assessment services. We are working to improve our ability to aid people with mental illness in jails and prisons. In addition, CAMH operates a large outpatient service dedicated to community reintegration of more than 250 people under the jurisdiction of the Ontario Review Board.

Forensic psychiatry is a specialty that is newly recognized by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. CAMH is active in the education of medical students and physicians in this area. We are proud of our research in the areas of sexual behaviours, dynamic risk assessment, prediction of violence, and pathways into forensic mental health care.

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