Different from the Other Kids

A Book of Interviews for Parents of Challenging Children

Jailing the Vulnerable — March 1, 2017

Jailing the Vulnerable

This blog is brought to you by a member of the DFTOK team, Jesse Bickerton. Jesse is the Project Manager and coordinates things from start to finish. Today Jesse discusses the criminalization of mental illness.

By: Jesse Bickerton

Children with mental health challenges face a number of additional day-to-day issues that other children may not have to typically face. One topic that comes up often during the weekly “Different from the Other Kids” podcast is how often these challenging children end up dealing with the justice system some point in their lives. Over the past few years, this trend has been termed “criminalizing mental illness” and it creates a whole list of issues for the person entering the criminal justice system due to a mental health emergency.

Unhealthy Prison Populations

In a report from The College of Family Physicians of Canada reviewing the Health Status of Prisoners in Canada, it is specifically noted, “Most persons in correctional facilities have mental disorders as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” existing in over 4 of 5 youth currently in detention. When lined up with the statistic that 30% of youth are affected with mental health challenges, there is a large number of youth that get admitted into the criminal justice system.

Why are so many of these individuals with mental health challenges entering the criminal justice system? According to a report from the John Howard Society of Ontario titled, Unlocking Change: Decriminalizing Mental Health Issues in Ontario, “the criminal justice system is more involved with persons with mental health issues than ever before.” The report notes that once an individual enters the criminal justice system, “they do not fare well” and that “practices rooted in punishment and control often only exacerbate the challenges facing people with mental health issues.” The report is fairly extensive, discussing different recommendations to the Province of Ontario surrounding improving mental health through policies and early treatment programs (to name a few).

There are no easy answers when dealing with mental health challenges. Each day can present a different obstacle. We have to change the way we respond to mental health emergencies. There is a lot that needs to be done to ensure that everyone is treated fairly, no matter his or her mental health. As I’ve stated before in a previous blog, stigma is still a major factor surrounding mental health and mental health awareness. This stigma can be further increased with the addition of a criminal record. These factors contribute to the cycle of mental health challenges and incarceration, effectively jailing some of these people for life. This is not the solution.

To check out all of the interviews from our latest season of the Different from the Other Kids podcast, check out the Player Page for links to listen for free! Different from the Other Kids: Law & Disorder Edition features interviews between Angela Tsounis and different parents and professionals who care for or help children with mental health challenges. Check out the Season Three Guide for information about each episode’s guest.

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!


Health Status of prisoners in Canada from the official journal of The College of Family Physicians of Canada

Unlocking Change: Decriminalizing Mental Health Issues in Ontario from the John Howard Society of Ontario

Have you checked out this weeks interview? — February 1, 2017

Have you checked out this weeks interview?

Hello everyone! Have you listened to this week’s podcast yet? Angela sits down with Shelly, a friend and mother. Shelly’s son encountered some difficulties with school after falling into a depression. Listen to the podcast to listen how Shelly and her son were able to make changes to help him succeed after being diagnosed with a mood disorder.

Find the podcast on iTunes and leave us a review – we’d appreciate it!

Interested in a Sneak Peak? — October 27, 2016

Interested in a Sneak Peak?


Click on the picture and fill in the form to get a free SNEAK PEAK at Angela Tsounis’ latest book, Different from the Other Kids: Natural Alternatives Edition which launches November 11, 2016. Angela and the DFTOK team are very excited for the latest book in the Different from the Other Kids series, which aims to reduce stigma and further the conversation surrounding children and mental health. Different from the Other Kids: Natural Alternatives Edition is based on Angela’s interviews with naturopathic doctors, fascial stretch therapists, as well as individuals who have managed to overcome daily medication use through more natural means. Check out the sneak peak for the foreword and introduction from the latest book, and don’t forget… Different from the Other Kids: Natural Alternatives Edition launches November 11, 2016, and will be available on Amazon.

Welcome back Jacquie Tyas for another great interview! — October 11, 2016

Welcome back Jacquie Tyas for another great interview!

Hello everyone! We are back from Thanksgiving with another interview with Jacquie on Different from the Other Kids. Angela sits down with Jacquie once more as they discuss youth engagement and the power of giving young people a voice. Things as simple as giving input on meals and participating in group activities can have a major impact on how young people come to view themselves and the world they inhabit. Listen now at http://bit.ly/ListenDFTOK!

New interview this week with Jacquie! — October 3, 2016

New interview this week with Jacquie!

This week on Different from the Other Kids: Law & Disorder Edition, we welcome back Jacquie. She talks about her son’s ongoing struggles with mental health and addiction issues, and the tragic reality of supporting a loved one when the available resources are inadequate. Jacquie navigates the difficulties of trying to find a psychiatrist who can provide long term monitoring of prescriptions for her own traumas and gives us insight into the disconnect between patients and service providers.

Check out the latest interview on iTunes, GooglePlay or Player.FM to listen to all episodes of the weekly podcast.