Ontario Shores to Present at International Forensic Mental Health Event

An exciting few days lie ahead as Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences (Ontario Shores) prepares to play an active role in the 14th Annual Meeting of the International Association of Forensic Mental Health Services (IAFMHS) being held in Toronto June 19 to 21.

The IAFHS is an international organization of forensic mental health workers which focuses on clinical forensic psychiatry and psychology, research, training, and education.

At this year’s meeting, Ontario Shores’ own Dr. Lisa Marshall, a forensic psychologist and professional practice lead, will chair a symposium titled: Transitions through the forensic system: risk management in action.

In fact, Dr. Marshall and Dr. Phil Klassen, our VP of Medical Affairs, both participated in the Scientific Program Committee for the 14th Annual Meeting of IAFMHS.

I am honoured to be joining Dr. Marshall in the symposium as a presenter along with Ontario Shores' colleagues: Dr. Karen DeFreitas (Forensic Program Medical Director), Dr. Erica Martin (Psychologist), Dr. Krystle Martin (Psychologist) and Mark Rice (Forensic Program Administrative Director).

Through a series of papers examining risk management, our presenters will provide an overview of the forensic mental health system in Ontario and services provided at Ontario Shores, education on innovations in programing and community reintegration that facilitate transition through the forensic system, as well as explore predictors of successful transition through the forensic system.

The first talk will provide an overview of some of the psychosocial interventions available to patients at different points in their journey through the forensic system. In particular, the integration of forensic patients with non-forensic patients in treatment opportunities will be examined. Specifically, the implementation and evaluation of Groups in Motion (GIM), a novel approach to treatment planning at a psychiatric hospital, will be discussed.  GIM was created to provide a coordinated and structured environment that encourages patient participation in activities complementing individual recovery focused treatment plans.

The second address will report on predictors of transition and discharge for forensic patients in a psychiatric hospital. Decisions are regularly made regarding patients’ movement to a less-secure environment, yet little is known about the factors that predict these decisions. Interestingly, it remains unclear whether decisions to progress a patient through an institution are primarily dependent on factors that have been empirically linked to future risk of recidivism, or whether other factors weigh equally in these decisions.

The third lecture will describe an innovative model of community support for patients being discharged from a psychiatric hospital. The Transitional Rehabilitation Housing Program (TRHP) offers high and medium support housing options to help forensic clients successfully navigate the transition to community life.

The final talk will discuss a prospective study which followed patients as they transitioned from a minimum security inpatient setting to community living.

It is an important few days for the forensic mental health world and for Ontario Shores as leaders in the sector. We are all very much looking forward to this event and sharing our knowledge, research and experience with colleagues from around the globe.