Thursday, December 8, 2011

Advancing Excellence in Mental Health Despite Stalling Economy

The Ontario Association of Consultants, Counsellors, Psychometrists And Psychotherapists (OACCPP), at their September 24th Annual General Meeting in Toronto have selected Paul Radkowski, CEO and Clinical Director of the Life Recovery Program as the recipient of the very first OACCPP "RECOGNITION AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING SERVICE & CONTRIBUTION IN THE FIELD OF MENTAL HEALTH."

Times of economic uncertainty often mean cut backs in programs and funding mental health and addiction services. However, these variables didn't deter Paul, who served in hospital and treatment settings throughout Canada, from seeing the needs of people struggling to f adequate supports and services. This led him to create an on demand, video based, 24/7 therapeutic, psycho-educational support program called the Life Recovery Program

The OACCPP is a rapidly growing incorporated professional association formed in 1978 to represent providers of mental health services in the general areas of consulting, counselling, psychoeducational assessment and psychotherapy.

In terms of access and stigma challenges faced by those struggling with mental health and addiction issues, the OACCPP president, Naseema Siddiqui, stated that Radkowski not only identifies these needs, but also addresses them with the creation of the Life Recovery Program.

"The paradigm is starting to shift and this kind of innovation can no longer be ignored" states Radkowski. "The issues of mental health and addiction are here to stay. The internet is also here to stay." Searches for health and help related resources on the internet are growing. According to a Statistics Canada 2005 survey, 35% of Canadians age 18 and over searched the Internet for medical or health related information which increased to 59% in 2007 and more recently 70% in 2009.

Research is beginning to build with online modalities. The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health did a critical review of 75 online treatment studies showing strong evidence for internet based treatment approaches.

Radkowski states that he has been speaking with Employee Assistance Provider's, government agencies and treatment centres that are looking for a more effective way to address these issues. "It's a more for less model, which provides more bang for one's buck. Its different than e-counselling, so it makes it even more cost effective. These are 24/7 issues requiring a 24/7 solution and as it turns out, the Life Recovery Program can improve lives while saving money".

The Life Recovery Program is unique in its delivery and customizability. Some agencies have expressed interest in customizing the Life Recovery Program into "Mini-Programs." This would enable clients to choose their topic of interest from a treatment menu addressing issues such as: healthy relationships, anger management, stress management, grief, boundaries, self esteem, anxiety, depression, trauma or PTSD, and relapse prevention. "These are some of the more common reasons why people seek counselling" says Radkowski.

Radkowski further justifies an online offering by asking, "What is the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome. Historically some of the gaps in the mental health system results in people waiting for services. Some of these people may also be dealing with issues of stigma, lack of support and not getting the help they need resulting in them falling through the cracks. Sadly, according to CAMH, only 1/3 of those needing help, actually receive it. It's time to explore all options and provide alternative and more cost effective approaches."

Radkowski's Life Recovery Program has also been recognized by the International Association of Addiction & Offender Counselors, a division of the American Counseling Association. In 2008 they awarded him the "Outstanding Addictions Professional Award" recognizing the innovation and comprehensiveness of his program.

To view the photo associated with this release, please visit the following link: http:

Contact Information

Life Recovery Program
Paul Radkowski

Thursday, May 5, 2011

CAMH- Strong Evidence for Internet Based Treatment Approaches

Recent research by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) shows promising results for internet based
resources for the treatment of addiction and mental health.

Here are some of the highlights of the study.

-“One of the primary challenges in health behaviour change is to promote accessibility of efficacious tools and services that promote reductions in risk behaviours… the Internet is one promising option … recent review identified 75 research trials to-date of computer-based interventions for different health behaviours and concluded that such interventions had significant evidence for their efficacy.”

-“There are many advantages to the Internet as a modality to promote access to efficacious health behaviour change interventions.”

-“Other more intensive Internet-based interventions or interventions via other modalities may enhance this positive outcome..”

Internet based programs are helping to fill in addiction and mental health service gaps and appears to be the wave of the future.

Many people do not seek treatment due to issues of stigma, shame, lack of resource/access etc. and only 1/3 of those who need mental health services in Canada actually receive them (CAMH).

Addiction and mental health issues are a 24/7 issue requiring an immediately available 24/7 solution.

Although not a replacement to traditional treatment or counselling approaches, web-based programs are proving to be an innovative and powerful approach to effectively reach those with mental health and addiction issues.

Best of health and warmest regards, Paul Radkowski

Psychotherapist, CEO/Clinical Director, Life Recovery Program

Recent articles about how the online Life Recovery Program is making a difference.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Overworked? A Quick Break Can Be Win-Win

As school is winding down for some and tax season can create its own kind of stress, here is an article I think is quite timely. Its from learning specialist Paul Scheely.

Tax day is fast approaching. Will you be among the millions chained to your desk or kitchen table slogging through IRS instructions to decipher rules for declarations and deductions?

Take a break
from your work with Uncle Sam, or any intense work, period of study, or repetitive task. Even a short respite of a minute or two will refresh your mind, improve your ability to concentrate and focus when you return to your work.

Researchers at the University of Illinois tested the ability of subjects to focus on a repetitive computer task for about an hour. They found the performance of most participants declined significantly over the course of the task—with the exception of those who changed their focus of attention during two brief breaks.

"It was amazing that performance seemed to be unimpaired by time, while for the other groups performance was so clearly dropping off," said psychology professor Alejandro Lleras, whose findings were reported in the journal Cognition.

The study is consistent with the idea the brain is built to detect and respond to change, he said, and suggests that prolonged attention to a single task actually hinders performance.

Whether you're slaving away over your taxes, studying for an exam, or working under deadline pressure to complete a project, commit to taking short breaks. You might consider any number of possibilities.

Get physically active
Try jumping up and down, climbing stairs, jump roping, or twirling a hula-hoop around your waist. Elementary children who engaged in such activities from three to five minutes in length throughout their day experienced a significant improvement in their academics, participation, and ability to stay on task, according to a University of Missouri study.

The study was meant to show kids the importance of physical activity and nutrition, but it also resulted in a reduction of chronic discipline problems.

Tap into nature
Take a quick walk in the park. Researchers at the University of Michigan studied the effect of taking a walk in a park versus an urban setting following a task designed to challenge memory and attention. When they repeated the task after the walk, those who walked in the park greatly improved their performance while those who walked in the urban setting did not.

And if you can't connect with nature outdoors, simply take a minute to view nature photographs. A second experiment of participants viewing nature photographs versus city scenes showed the same results. The authors suggest the more coherent, aesthetic nature images offered a more restful experience, which had a restorative effect on mental abilities.

Take five to meditate

Meditation has shown to alleviate stress and pain, promote sleep, and improve cognitive mental function. Meditation literally transforms the density of grey matter in your brain while enhancing your focus and concentration.

I tend to overwork myself as well, thinking I've got to get as much done as I possibly can in the shortest time possible. The price I would pay for that would be: a) having to go back to correct the mistakes I was making (creating more work for myself) because of b) being exhausted i.e. lose-lose and not productive.

I once had someone quite wise say to me "Maybe you're not taking a break from the work, but for the work" i.e. so I could put more quality into what I was doing and be more productive versus just spinning my wheels. It becomes win-win as I am also taking a break for me as well.

Have a great week!

Best of health and warmest regards, Paul R

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

"Drunkorexia" A Disturbing Trend

Hi there

Paul Radkowski here from the Life Recovery Program returning after a long break from blogging.

Here is a short video regarding some of the concerns and dangers of "Drunkorexia" which is becoming more common especially among college age drinkers.

Many college and university students are swapping food for alcohol. "Drunkorexia" refers to the growing trend of young people restricting the amount of calories they take in during the day to make up for the empty calories consumed through alcohol.

Research has shown that binge drinking (especially for women) can lead to other severe issues like anorexia.

Starving yourself while binge drinking is kind of like playing Russian Roulette with a gun that is fully loaded.

Please do what you can to inform yourself, stop and prevent this behaviour from trending further.

Best of health, Paul Radkowski