Mental Health Conference 2009


10th Annual George Brown College Mental Health Conference
Thursday, February 26, 2009

“Understanding Concurrent Disorders”

An educational forum presented by George Brown College’s Centre for Preparatory & Liberal Studies in partnership with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.


Resource Display If you are interested in displaying services and/or programs at the conference, please contact Jody Bishop, President, Fearless Learning Canada at 416.994.7275 before February 13, 2009.

About the Conference

This year’s mental health conference theme, “Understanding Concurrent Disorders,” will explore the interrelationship between mental health and addiction, current treatment strategies and approaches to address this issue, implications for specific populations and addictions (e.g. youth and Internet addictions) and challenges in building more effective, integrated, and inclusive services in our communities.

This conference will explore emerging practices and frameworks for concurrent disorders that should prove useful to individuals, agencies and the broader social service system. Key speakers and panelists will explore this issue from multiple perspectives and participants will have an opportunity to ask questions and share their experiences. The Mood Disorders Association Comedy Troupe will provide entertainment and a resource display will be available for viewing on breaks throughout the day.

Who Should Attend?

  • Educators/program managers
  • Mental health/addictions counsellors
  • Shelter/frontline workers
  • Researchers
  • Policy makers
  • Guidance counsellors
  • Consumer survivors
  • Service providers/practitioners
  • Youth workers

Why Should You Attend?

  • To gain a broader understanding of Concurrent Disorders
  • To learn about various initiatives in the field of concurrent disorders
  • To hear from consumers/survivors and professionals in the field
  • To build networks among practitioners, support workers, community services and health systems


10th Annual George Brown Mental Health Conference
Thursday, February 26, 2009
George Brown College
Financial Services Building, Room 406
290 Adelaide Street East, Toronto


Time Event Description
8:00 am Registration & Continental Breakfast  
9:00 am Welcome Dr. Georgia Quartaro,
Dean, Centre for Preparatory & Liberal Studies George Brown College
Anne Sado, President, George Brown College
Susan Piggot,Vice President of Communications & Community Engagement, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
9:20 am   Wayne Skinner,Deputy Clinical Director,  Addictions Program, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

Embracing Complexity: Building Better  Practices In Concurrent Disorders,People with co-occurring addiction and mental health problems struggle to feel whole and lead healthy lives, and clinicians everywhere espouse a strong commitment to holistic values with systems of care increasingly specialized, fragmented and inaccessible. This creates structural and practical barriers to needed help for people with complex human problems.  Wayne will address integrated responses to addiction, mental illness and related problems.
10:20 am Refreshment Break  
10:30 am   Mood Disorders Association Comedy Troupe
10:45 am   Dr. Bruce Ballon,
Assistant Professor of Psychology, University of Toronto

The Tangled Web: The Wired World and Mental Health Issues - Dr. Ballon will explore the wired world, youth culture, and media influences that surround and bombard us.  The internet is a part of our world and many youth use it for school projects, maintaining relationships with distant friends, and playing games.  From a holistic perspective, Dr. Ballon will describe influences and how they shape addictive and mental disorders to appear novel and yet, the essence of the conditions remains the same.  Bruce will  discuss that technology is not the sole issue – it’s really how internet use and online habits interact with a person’s unique makeup that determine if there are the seeds of a problem. 
12:00 pm Lunch & Resource Display Opportunity during lunch to visit and see various displays featuring services and programs of Mental Health Service Providers.
1:00 pm   Mood Disorders Association Comedy Troupe
1:15 pm Panel Discussion Treatment: Approaches and Experiences

Moderator: Valerie Pringle, Freelance Broadcaster

Panel:Lynn Hillman,Manager, Concurrent Disorders Support Services Integrating Services and Community Partnerships  

Cheryl Peever,Manager, Women’s Program, CAMH - Stigma in the Health Care System

Deqa Farah,Mental Health Promoter, Community Resource Connections of Toronto (CTCT) - Concurrent Disorders in Immigrant and Refugee Communities

Tom Regehr,Speaker, Educator, Founder of Come and Sit Together (CAST) – Voice, Trauma and Addictions

Leroy Wilson,Former ACET Student: Personal Story
3:15 pm – 4:00 pm Closing Remarks Valerie Pringle,Freelance Broadcaster

Dr. Georgia Quartaro,Dean, Centre for Preparatory & Liberal Studies, George Brown College

Presenters Info

Bruce Ballon


Dr. Bruce Ballon is a psychiatrist and an Assistant Professor for the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine. Dr. Ballon is also the section Chair of Innovation in Teaching Methods for the Association of Academic Psychiatry; the Director of the Psychiatry Simulation Innovation (P.S.I.) Centre for the University of Toronto, based at the Mount Sinai Hospital and the Head and developer of a new initiative, Adolescent Clinical and Educational Services (ACES) for Problem Gambling, Gaming and Internet Addiction at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).

Dr. Ballon has received numerous awards and peer-reviewed grants for his work in addiction psychiatry, psychotherapy, education, the humanities, and his writing. His training includes a B.Sc. in Genetics, his M.D., a Psychiatry Specialist degree and 2 fellowships: Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Addiction Psychiatry. He is a sought-after speaker for national and international meetings and has special interest in different forms of media and their relationship with addiction and mental health issues. Dr. Ballon has designed a variety of novel psycho educational and therapy initiatives involving the use of film, television, the internet, creative writing, theatre, magic, mentalism and art. As a consultant and advisor to a variety of television and film productions to help create accurate portrayals of psychiatric and addiction elements, he has also created games dealing with mental health and addiction issues that have garnered him awards from the Games Manufacturers Association.

Deqa Farah


Deqa Farah is a community Mental Promoter with Community Resource Connections of Toronto (CRCT). Deqa is a trainer and she has an extensive work and volunteer background in access, equity, social justice issues, antiracism, cultural competence and organizational change.


Lynn Hillman

Lynn Hillman, MSW, RSW, is the Manager of the Concurrent Disorders Support Services, which is an initiative of the Concurrent Disorders Transitional Support Partnership of 20 agencies, led by Fred Victor Centre. Lynn has led a number of partnerships: including an access center for 8 agencies under the auspices of Supportive Housing In Peel, a protocol development for 13 agencies in the Dufferin County Domestic Assault Review Team, a research project of volunteer services led by the Children’s Aid Society of Peel Region and an inter-agency treatment program called Children Living in Violent Environments. In her last, agency-based position, Lynn was Director of Services at Supportive Housing In Peel.


Cheryl Peever

Cheryl is a social worker who currently works as the manager of the Women’s Inpatient Unit and Transitional Care Program at CAMH. She has previously managed the Acute Care Unit and General Psychiatry Unit where she also worked as a social worker.  Cheryl has always worked with stigmatized populations including sex offenders, young offenders, substance users and those with severe and persistent mental health issues.  Cheryl recently became a recipient of the Courage to Come Back Award for sharing her struggle to overcome alcohol and cocaine addiction and dealing with depression. She has spoken out on the issue of stigma especially within the health care system and, speaks openly about her experiences “coming out” to colleagues. Cheryl is able to address issues of mental health from her dual perspective of both employee with a mental illness and as an employer of staff who work with substance users.


Valerie Pringle

Valerie Pringle graduated from Radio and Television Arts at Ryerson in 1974 and hosted daily news and current affairs programs on CFRB Radio, CBC-TV's MIDDAY and CTV's Canada AM from 1980 to 2001.  Since becoming a freelance broadcaster she has produced and/or hosted many series and documentaries including: Valerie Pringle Has Left the Building, The Canadian Antiques Roadshow, Test of Faith, Rude: Where are your Manners?, After the Fall and The Meaning of the Mountain for Discovery Channel, CTV, CBC and Vision TV.  Valerie has been nominated for 7 Gemini Awards and is very involved in a number of not for profit organizations such as: Chair of the Board of the Trans Canada Trail; a member of the Foundation Boards for The Centre for Addiction, Mental Health and Women's College Hospital and the Board of Canadian Broadcast Museum Foundation and the Ryerson Alumni Association.   Having been selected as one of the Fifty Famous Faces of Fifty Years of Television by the Banff Television Foundation, she is an inaugural winner of Ryerson’s Alumni Award of Distinction and was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 2006.


Tom Regehr

Survivor, speaker, writer and founder of CAST Canada, Tom is an engaging and dynamic presenter. Drawing on his own experiences of trauma, life on the streets and interacting with others to improve his life, Tom uses total honesty and humour to present some basic truths and new ideas, adding colour and depth to any event.  In 2007, Tom was honoured by winning the prestigious Courage To Come Back award from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Tom operates CAST Canada, which has three main activities: The C.A.S.T. support group, high school visit program, and providing education and anti-stigma work for the community through trainings for health care providers. He also writes magazine articles, produces educational videos on the topic of trauma and addictions, and sits on provincial level boards such as ConnexOntario.


Wayne Skinner

Wayne is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Adjunct Senior Lecturer in Social Work at the University of Toronto and the Deputy Clinical Director in the Addictions Program at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).  Since 1998, Wayne has played a lead role in concurrent disorders at CAMH, where he also directs problem gambling treatment and training initiatives.  Prior to that, he worked at the Addiction Research Foundation for over twenty years as a clinician, program director, consultant, research collaborator and educator. Wayne is currently involved in research on supporting families affected by concurrent disorders, communities of practice, and recovery processes through mutual aid fellowship and peer support.  He edited “Treating Concurrent Disorders: A Guide for Counsellors”, which was published in 2005.   “A Family Guide to Concurrent Disorders”, which he co-authored with Caroline O’Grady, was published last year. He is associate editor (Canada) for the journal “Mental Health and Substance Use: Dual Diagnosis” and presents extensively on issues related to the treatment of addiction and mental health problems.  


Leroy Wilson

When Leroy Wilson came to Canada in 1973, at 16 years of age he tried to fit in with his new surroundings by hanging around with people older than him.  By the early 80’s, his life was centred on parties, using crack, cocaine and he became powerless and unable to manage his life. He became distant from his family, kids, and loved ones and in addition, became a part of the justice system.  Leroy was living all over the streets of Toronto, and in shelters with no fixed address, feeling hopeless, ashamed, embarrassed, and like he had no direction in life.  In February of 1998 on his third and successful attempt at recovery, he became completely sober. In 2005, he got involved in an HLC (Harbour Light Centre) after care group and was introduced to the Redirection Through Education (RTE) program at George Brown College. 

When Leroy began attending the GBC program, his life style changed and he became a productive member of society.  One teacher introduced him to the Assistant Cook Extended Training (ACET) program and he was able to find employment within three weeks after successfully graduating.   Today Leroy is happily able to support his family and as he is often fond of saying, “none of this would have happened if I didn’t get the opportunity to be in a program like ACET.  It has helped me to change my whole life to a life today that I would describe as a meaningful and positive one.”


Dr. Bruce Ballon, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, University of Toronto and Consultant Psychiatrist of Concurrent Disorders, Youth Addiction and Problem Gambling Services: Addiction Program and Child and Family Program at CAMH.

Lynn Hillman, MSW, RSW, Manager of the Concurrent Disorders Support Services, which is an initiative of the Concurrent Disorders Transitional Support Partnership of 20 agencies, led by Fred Victor Centre.

Wayne Skinner, Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Adjunct Senior Lecturer in Social Work at the University of Toronto and the Deputy Clinical Director in the Addictions Program at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). 

Registration Info

Registration Fees: Includes full conference, continental breakfast and lunch.

$70.00 + GST = $73.50
$40.00 + GST = $ 42.00 [for full-time students]

To register:

  • Complete the online form, print and mail to the address below
  • Download the registration form, complete and fax to 416.415.2432  

Please register before Tuesday, February 24, 2009.


  • One registration form per person
  • Walk-in registrations will only be accepted if space permits. 
  • Registration fees are non-refundable unless notice of cancellation is received by 5:00 pm on Tuesday, February 24, 2009. Registrations may be transferred to another individual. 
  • Receipts will be available at the conference only for attendees pre-registered by Tuesday, February 24, 2009.

For More Info

For more information, please email or contact Christine Ovcaric 416.415.5000, ext. 2562.

Mental Health Conference Mailing Address:
George Brown College
200 King Street East
Room 524A
Toronto, ON
M5A 3W8