Different from the Other Kids

A Book of Interviews for Parents of Challenging Children

Mental Health by the Numbers — February 17, 2017

Mental Health by the Numbers

This blog is brought to you by another member of the DFTOK team, Jesse Bickerton. Jesse is the Project Manager and takes care of things behind the scenes for Different from the Other Kids, coordinating things from start to finish. Today Jesse discusses how stigma surrounding mental illness is still prevalent and the true cost of mental illness.

By: Jesse Bickerton

Mental health and mental health awareness is everywhere in the media today. Bell’s “Let’s Talk” day, perhaps one of the best-publicized campaigns, here in Canada, has raised a staggering $6.5 million this year alone! That’s more than double than what Bell raised back in 2011 when the campaign launched. For those who might be living under a rock, Bell’s Let’s Talk Day is a national event that had Bell Canada donating 5-cents to mental health initiatives for each use of their #LetsTalk hashtag across social media platforms. Bell is one of the many companies adding their voice towards the conversation which is mental health, which is useful at dispelling the stigma still surrounding many mental health challenges. However, the frustrating part is that the stigma surrounding mental illness affects many parts of people’s lives.

Changing Attitudes?

In a recent release from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (or CAMH, located near DFTOK headquarters in Toronto, Ontario), it is reported that 70% of those surveyed “believe attitudes about mental health have changed for the better compared to 5 years ago.” However, 39% indicated “that they would not tell their managers if they were experiencing a mental health problem” and 40% “agreed they have experienced feelings of anxiety or depression but never sought medical help for it.” It seems that people are still not willing to fully discuss mental health, especially in the workplace. This points to attitudes still being mixed around mental illness. We have come a long way as a society to change pre-existing notions around people with mental health challenges, but they still prevent a lot of people seeking help who might need it.

One of the recurring topics discussed by parents interviewed on the Different from the Other Kids podcast (and series of books) is the difficulty receiving adequate services, especially in times of crisis. In the same CAMH release mentioned above, it’s stated that “wait times for counselling and therapy can be long” and “wait times of six months to one year are common.” In the DFTOK podcast, we heard a similar waiting period for various professionals here in Ontario. It can be very difficult for people who need help to find it at the proper time. Local services have been forming to help fill this need, such as COAST, which provides many options to those in the midst of a mental health emergency. But this is useful only in emergency situations… What can we do before the situation becomes an emergency? Is there a way for us to prevent at least some of them?

How Much?

The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) have released their study “Making the Case for Investing in Mental Health” which stresses why investing in mental health is important, not only to the individuals who receive care but also to the Canadian economy at large. The MHCC study puts the cost of mental illness to be $50 billion per year (a figure backed up by the CAMH report), which is measured in terms of not only lost revenue and funds spent on healthcare; but also accounts for lost productivity and employee turnover. The MHCC report points out that investing even a fraction of mental health initiatives would have a noticeable effect on the Canadian economy.

What does this all add up to? We need to keep working towards taking away the stigma surrounding mental health. We can’t put people down for seeking treatment either. The current prevailing attitude among Canadians seems to be changing, but that doesn’t mean that the struggle is over. People dealing with these mental health challenges need real change in terms of the types of treatment and how often they receive care.

I read an interesting post the other day, and I wish I could still find it, but it went something like this… “Don’t be afraid of making noise when adding to the conversation around mental health.” I really liked the idea. That’s what we need to keep doing… Keep talking about mental health. Sharing your story is powerful, and you never know who you might help along the way. If someone can send me a link to the original post, that would be great.

Thanks for reading! Check out Jesse’s information here or check out the DFTOK blog for more posts from the DFTOK team. Don’t forget to check out the Different from the Other Kids podcast, available on iTunes or by clicking here!


Bell Let’s Talk

CAMH: Mental Illness and Addictions: Facts and Statistics

MHCC: Making the Case for Investing in Mental Health


Welcome Maria to this week’s podcast! — September 26, 2016

Welcome Maria to this week’s podcast!

This week on Different from the Other Kids: Law & Disorder Edition, Angela sits down with Maria, a Coordinator of Police Foundations at Durham College. They discuss the changing educational landscape for prospective police officers and how community outreach has become integrated into the foundational training they undergo. Maria explains how police evaluate and deal with escalating situations and also gives some advice to parents how they can aid police in helping their children.

To view the “Use of Force Model” that Maria refers to, check out the Podcast Resource page.

Check out the podcast on iTunes, GooglePlay or Player.FM – click on the Podcast Info page for all of the links and please leave us a review!

Check out our latest podcast with Tash — September 20, 2016

Check out our latest podcast with Tash

Good morning – we’d like to welcome back Tash to this week’s episode of Different from the Other Kids. Tash is a manager of Mental Health and Justice Programs in the city of Toronto. She describes how the labels used when talking about mental health can be harmful to having a meaningful discussion. Angela asks about the positive trends in the justice system and what Tash would do if she had $25 million. They also explore strategies to help find balance in a world full of responsibilities.

To listen, check out the Podcast Links page and let us know what you think of our latest episode!

Season Three is here! Listen to our latest episode! — September 12, 2016

Season Three is here! Listen to our latest episode!

Hello everyone! We are very happy to announce that our latest season of our weekly podcast has begun, entitled “Different from the Other Kids: Law & Disorder Edition,” featuring all new guests and interviews, along with some returning parents. We focus on the justice and education systems this time around, talking to those who have issues dealing with the “system” and how they progressed past it…

This week, we begin our series with Tash, a manager of Mental Health and Justice Programs in the city of Toronto. Tash talks about the work that she does with some of the most vulnerable members of our communities and how she brings her training in mindfulness and meditation into the workplace. Angela also explores Tash’s journey and asks how parents can work towards remaining centered in their daily lives on the “front line”. Click HERE to check out the links to the podcast! Thanks again for all your support, don’t forget to leave us a review!

Season Two is over, Season Three coming soon! — July 25, 2016

Season Two is over, Season Three coming soon!

Thank you, thank you, thank you! From Angela Tsounis and the Different From The Other Kids team, we’d like to thank you for listening to Season Two of our weekly podcast. Different from the Other Kids: Natural Alternatives Edition (the eventual name of the season) brought some familiar faces and some new ones to the show. Angela and her guests talked about natural medicines and non-traditional therapies, all in an effort to help strengthen children who need a little extra support (and possibly, their worn out parents or caregivers). For those who might’ve missed an episode, check out http://www.dftok.com/podcast-info/ for all of the interviews from Season Two! Keep an eye out for our next book as well!
And we still aren’t done! Season Three, Different from the Other Kids: Law & Disorder Edition – the weekly podcast will debut in September! This next season focuses how these children can grow up to face difficulties in the judicial or educational system. We talk to educators, lawyers and parents all in an effort to understand the difficulties that can arise when trying to find a place within the system. Mark your calendars & check out our other seasons! http://www.dftok.com/podcast-info/ – thanks for all your support!
#Comedian and #teacher Robert Koven — July 6, 2016

#Comedian and #teacher Robert Koven

This week we are excited to welcome Robert Koven, businessman and stand up comedian in the Toronto area in Ontario, Canada. Robert, nicknamed Bobby walks us through his life, and how he has used comedy to overcome challenges that have come his way. Listen to this week’s episode on iTunes or GooglePlay, and let us know what you think! It’s a lighthearted take on some (usually) serious subject matter! You can also check out Bobby’s stand up on Krazy After All These Years.

#BonusPodcast with Christine — June 29, 2016

#BonusPodcast with Christine

Different from the Other Kids : Natural Alternatives Edition sprang from Angela’s best friend Christine witness her father’s journey from near-death to living and enjoying life again! Walter, Christine’s father, was diagnosed with cancer for a second time and turned to infusion therapy as a last-ditch effort… Walter managed to outlive his diagnosis from having just two months to live, to surviving to his next (almost two now) birthday with optimal health. This story is one that had shown Angela that the natural path is one worth considering. Listen on iTunes or GooglePlay!

Final Interview with Grace Kohn —
Interview with Dr. Jiwani – listen now! — May 18, 2016

Interview with Dr. Jiwani – listen now!

Hey everyone! Have you had a chance to listen to this week’s latest episode yet? It’s quite an informative interview… This week, I have a discussion with Dr. Nyla Jiwani, Naturopathic Doctor. She opened the Oakville Naturopathic Wellness Centre in 2012, where she approaches health and wellness a little differently than most doctors. Join us this week for our first of two interviews with Dr. Jiwani. Don’t forget to let us know what you think! Listen on iTunes – here – or on GooglePlay – here.

Have you listened to the new episode yet? — April 21, 2016

Have you listened to the new episode yet?

Good afternoon! Have you had a chance to listen to the new episode on our weekly podcast on Different from the Other Kids : Natural Alternatives Edition or Season Two. Angela is excited to bring back Jen from last week and last season, who you might remember dealt with anxiety and went through many different options to try and get it managed.

This week, we bring back Jen for a second interview where she tells us a little more about essential oils and how they helped her achieve a more healthy lifestyle and helped manage her challenges. Listen on iTunes here – http://apple.co/1n0PHex – and let us know what your thoughts are! Leave a review if you’re feeling really generous! Thanks for tuning in.