Webinar series: Ontario psychiatric association expert series

Session I: Mental health, sex, and gender considerations in autism

Date: Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Time: 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm EST

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Speakers: Drs. Stephanie H. Ameis & Meng-Chuan Lai

Autistic individuals are more likely to experience heightened mental health challenges across the life span than individuals in the general population. In addition, the diagnosis and differential diagnosis of autism and co-occurring psychiatric conditions are significantly influenced by sex and gender related factors, although these factors have not received adequate research attention, as yet. In this presentation, we will discuss important mental health considerations to improving the well-being of autistic individuals across developmental stages, sex and gender considerations, and current evidence-base and promising new avenues of intervention and support.

Learning objectives

  1. Identifying mental health challenges commonly experienced by people on the autism spectrum.
  2. Understanding sex and gender related considerations in the diagnosis and care for autistic people.
  3. Exploring evidence-based and emerging mental health treatment and sex/gender-informed support strategies for people on the autism spectrum.

Session II: Essential tools for managing chronic pain, mental health and substance use disorders: Leveraging internet resources

Date: Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Time: 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm EST

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Speakers: Drs. Anthony J. Levinson, Jennifer Wyman

Optimal management of patients with chronic pain, mental health or substance use disorders calls for a multimodal approach, but finding accessible, affordable resources for patients can be a struggle. Patients readily use the internet for health information and advice, which may not be accurate or evidence-based. Offering specific recommendations for critically reviewed sites and programs can complement traditional approaches to patient education and enhance patients’ engagement in their long-term self-management.

Using a case-based approach, we will highlight clinician tools and patient-oriented supports that can be effective in managing these complex issues. Examples of resources include:

  • Accessing CBT for mood and anxiety disorders
  • Finding self-management programs for chronic pain
  • Developing an anxiety management plan
  • Apps for mindfulness and sleep
  • Resources for managing trauma
  • Physical activity guidelines for chronic pain
  • Safer opioid prescribing strategies
  • Medical marijuana and lower risk cannabis use
  • Managing opioid use disorder in primary care

Learning objectives

At the end of this session, the participants will be able to:

  1. Adopt a ‘blended’ teaching approach to build on current patient education strategies, using educational prescriptions and conversation guides (Communicator);
  2. Integrate web-based resources into the care of patients with chronic pain and mental health disorders (Medical Expert);
  3. Effectively find local and regional programs to support patient self-management and CBT (Health Advocate, Collaborator).

Session III: Treating OCD in the context of COVID

Date: Monday, March 8, 2021

Time: 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm EST

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Speakers: Drs. Peggy Richter, Justine Dembo, Marlene Taube-Schiff, Renato Ramos

OCD is a common but complex psychiatric condition that can be challenging to diagnose and treat effectively. Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and pharmacotherapy are first-line treatments but require an OCD-specific approach for maximum efficacy. This focused workshop will briefly review the “basics” of OCD including diagnosis and how pharmacotherapy critically differs from treatment of mood disorders and other conditions. Key principles in CBT for OCD will be outlined, with the goal of enabling practitioners with limited time/experience to introduce CBT to patients with use of self-help materials.  This will be followed by a discussion of how to effectively support and optimize therapy using virtual platforms in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Use of smaller breakout rooms will provide some opportunity for discussion of attendees’ challenges with OCD in their individual practice settings.

Learning objectives

  1. Describe and recognize common OCD presentations
  2. Review the benefits and limitations of current first-line treatment options for OCD
  3. Outline a number of treatment options for patients who fail initial pharmacotherapy
  4. Discuss delivery of cognitive-behavioural therapy in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and the era of virtual care

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