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Date(s) - 19/10/2015
10:00 am - 11:30 am

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Webinar –  Stress, Determinants of Health and Connectedness: Impacts on Well-being


Date: October 19, 2015

Time: 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM (EDT)

Location: Webinar

Cost: Free

To register please click here



Many chronic illnesses are on the rise in Canada, including mental illness and addictions. Research indicates that good health comes from a variety of factors — 75% of which are not related to health care delivery. In fact, 50% of what determines our health are the day-to-day conditions in which we work, live and play. These factors include income and income disparity, employment, work conditions, education, early childhood development, gender and culture.

Disadvantaged populations experience higher levels of chronic stress or trauma as a result of their circumstances. Research now confirms that it is the chronic nature of stress that causes consequences to accumulate over time and contribute to many illnesses. In other words, when stress becomes chronic, it becomes toxic. We all can have a tremendous impact by understanding these issues, leveraging our creativity and drawing upon the many assets from within our communities.

Using a thoughtful mix of personal experience and stories, statistics and current research or evidence, the presenter will guide participants using a framework for understanding the pathways and relationships between living conditions and toxic stress, chronic disease, mental illness and addictions. Participants will:

  • have greater understanding of the social determinants of health and the connection to mental well-being, physical health and addictions;
  • understand, through the exploration of a framework, how toxic stress is an underlying key factor;
  • learn about strategies that can mitigate toxic stress and how relationships and social connectedness are key elements;
  • understand the importance of working together to address these issues; and
  • become equiped with tools and ideas for collaborative action.

Presenter Bios

Suzanne Witt-Foley, an innovator in knowledge exchange, training and education, has over 25 years of experience in mental health promotion, community development and capacity building. She is a passionate advocate and speaks about the connection between mental health and addiction, toxic stress, living conditions (social determinants of health), social connectedness and well-being. Suzanne spent 16 years with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) as a local consultant and has worked in a variety of other settings such as a community health centre, in public health and health planning.  She has also fulfilled a variety of contracts with the Trillium Lakelands District School Board as the mental health leader, provided community outreach consultation and education for Addiction Outreach Muskoka Parry Sound, Muskoka Parry Sound Community Mental Health Service, and CAMH. Currently, Suzanne coordinates the Muskoka Strengthening Families program and is a parent education facilitator for Muskoka Family Focus and Children’s Place. She is also certified to instruct Mental Health First Aid, Bridges Out of Poverty workshops and is a peer education associate with Parent Action on Drugs (PAD) and HC Link.