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Divorce Support This forum is for discussing the emotional aspects of divorce: stress, anger, betrayal of trust and more.

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Old 08-21-2012, 04:41 PM
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Question OCL and perception of mental illness??

Back when I was going through the OCL process, I avoided getting treatment for depression. It was depression related to the whole horrid situation, not clinical. I was desperately scared that it would be used against me, as my ex was grasping at everything to use against me.

I know I am not alone in this thinking, as I know 2 people right now that really should be talking to someone, and possibly medicated that are doing the exact same thing. One of them already suffers from depression, but has been proactively taking care of themself and doing quite well until now. But it is at the point where *I* believe this person needs help. Not anything involving hospitalization, just someone uninvolved to talk to.

So I would really appreciate some feedback on how OCL and the court look at depression during separation.

I am hoping I can reassure both of these people that their responsibility in taking care of their depression will be looked at as a positive thing, and not be held accountable for getting depressed about a bad situation.
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Old 08-21-2012, 04:57 PM
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Depression is a disease just like any other disease. World has changed and depression is not seen as something to be ashamed of. As long as a person is serious about treating the depression and the depression is not in any way harmful to the children, it is not seen negatively by OCL or the courts. This is based on my experience with OCL when they felt my ex had depression but they didn't like that she was in denial and that she didn't want to take any help.
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Old 08-21-2012, 07:45 PM
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It really depends on how you come across with the OCL. They see a lot of depression and seem to expect or allow some issues. If they feel teh depression will be detrimental to the child I suspect you will see it in the report.

My ex had issues of depression and paranoia. It was mentioned briefly but not in a sense that it effected the OCL report. I would suggest you seek and accept help for the depression. The OCL will talk to the doctor about it
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Old 08-21-2012, 10:42 PM
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Dealing with your (or one's) health issues, including mental health should only be seen as proactive. There is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. A lot of people are taking anti-depressants for not only depression, but anxiety and OCD's to name a few.

It is a given (for most people) *in my opinion* to be affected in a variety of ways by separation/divorce. The "before" and aftermath is a huge factor.

I am not on any anti-depressants but I probably should be. I have tried a few different ones and simply cannot deal w/the side effects. I have much greater difficulty with anxiety. I need only to think of the past (too many to mention) years, and it is no flipping wonder I have anxiety.

I have seen a doctor for years, and that includes long before separation. I have also taken part in group therapy (just a 6 week program) and I found that helpful. My ex would crack off to me (and to others, no doubt) about the fact that I saw/see a Doctor. It was just another sign of his pathetic and hopeless ignorance and complete disrespect. In actual fact - it is HE who really should have been seeking professional help. I did so, to help myself - and to better deal with my (dysfunctional) relationship.

Unless one is a proven danger to themselves and/or others, there is absolutely no way this could be used against you. Rather, persons who recognize and seek help for the sake of their mental health should be commended.

We live in a world with a lot of pressure and stress. Arguing/Conflict with partners, or ex-partners just makes it all the more difficult.
For me, having disengaged completely with my ex, is critical to my mental health. He literally does "make me feel sick."

There is absolutely nothing more valuable than one's health, both mental and physical.
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Old 08-21-2012, 11:19 PM
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Thanks for the feedback.
to be clear, this is not about me. I am on antidepressants, and have been for about a year. it has helped me tremendously

I didnt think that being in treatment would be a bad thing for either person. One has been proactive in their treatment (the one with OCL getting involved), has sought treatment in the past, and it is obvious to me at least that the extra help needed now is due to escalating conflict.

The other person is newly separated and has never been treated before. I think it is the stigma that is holding her back

I will tell them both that a bunch of stragers on the internet think it is ok for them to take care of their health, and that some judge and assessor who know nothing about them will like that they are pill poppers! J/K!!

Thanks, good to hear your perspective. As a hapiily depressed person, it is good to know I am not alone
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Old 08-22-2012, 12:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billiechic View Post
Back when I was going through the OCL process, I avoided getting treatment for depression. It was depression related to the whole horrid situation, not clinical.
In my opinion what you have described would be situational but, still clinically diagnosable. It would potentially be more of an "Adjustment Disorder with depressed mood" and not full on "Major Depression" in my opinion.

Adjustment disorder - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Quote:
Adjustment disorder occurs when an individual is unable to adjust to or cope with a particular stressor, like a major life event. Since people with this disorder normally have symptoms that depressed people do, such as general loss of interest, feelings of hopelessness and crying, this disorder is also sometimes known as situational depression. Unlike major depression however, the disorder is caused by an outside stressor and generally resolves once the individual is able to adapt to the situation.[1] The condition is different from anxiety disorder, which lacks the presence of a stressor, or post-traumatic stress disorder and acute stress disorder, which usually are associated with a more intense stressor.
Note: This is the most common diagnosis in mental health (Adjustment Disorder) and nothing to be ashamed of.

Many litigants attempt to attack medical diagnosis in court with no understanding of the ontology that they are rooted in. Someone may attack the other parent for having been diagnosed formally with "Adjustment disorder with depressed mood" but, had they actually researched the diagnosis standards prior to doing so... They would have realized that clinically it is not "depression" nor is it an "anxiety disorder".

Custody and access evaluators even fail to do this and they are supposed to be mental health workers. You won't be surprised at how lacking in ontology and diagnostic catagories and standards of practice Custody and Access (Read:OCL / Section 30) are and unprofessional they can be in their assessments at times.

Quote:
Originally Posted by billiechic View Post
I was desperately scared that it would be used against me, as my ex was grasping at everything to use against me.
Billiechic, if for any reason that someone attempted to use any medical diagnosis against you please feel free to send me a private message. As the Acts that govern health care in our country define mental health conditions as a "disability" can easily be demonstrated as discriminatory in nature. Lawyers and "Custody and Access Evaluators" really need better training and reminders on how they conduct themselves before the court and what constitutes discrimination against recognized persons with disabilities. There are laws, very well enforced laws in the public, to protect persons with disabilities.

Quote:
Originally Posted by billiechic View Post
I know I am not alone in this thinking, as I know 2 people right now that really should be talking to someone, and possibly medicated that are doing the exact same thing.
Please do recommend to them to seek out mental health help. They can talk to the clinician about the privacy of their medical situation. The mental health worker although compelled to report a potential danger to self or others should not be viewed as an enemy. They are there to help those in need and if someone seeks their help it is nearly impossible to use it against them. In fact, it works only in their benefit.

The only time that a mental health condition can become a problem before the courts is if someone doesn't seek help to resolve the problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by billiechic View Post
One of them already suffers from depression, but has been proactively taking care of themself and doing quite well until now.
This is where the health care system should be used to get the help they need. Family Practitioner can make a referral to a proper professional to get them the treatment they need and diserve. It can only benefit their situation... If left unchecked it could cause significant problems for them in the matters they are trying to deal with because depression can significantly impact cognative function.

Catch 22 of Family Law. The most emotional time and the whole process interfears with ones ability to seek out medical attention further making the problem worse because their cognative functioning is impaired.

Again, as stated... This is why I continually stated (my opinion) that the Health Care System and Family Law system need to be integrated!!!! Courts don't deliver health care and health care is not the court! They need to be integrated to help (not hinder) families through transitions!!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by billiechic View Post
But it is at the point where *I* believe this person needs help. Not anything involving hospitalization, just someone uninvolved to talk to.
State this to the person. You may have to take an "AA" approach to it and notify the person that until such time they seek help from a professional you may not be able to help them resolve their problems. That you are not qualified to help them and that you have concerns about their health that is best addressed by a professional. You want them to get the help they need but, from the proper professional so they can feel better. The same thing you would say to someone coming to you with advice about their cancer... What did your doctor tell you? Did you talk to a doctor? I am sorry to hear that, what does your doctor say should happen next in your care?

Quote:
Originally Posted by billiechic View Post
So I would really appreciate some feedback on how OCL and the court look at depression during separation.
They look at it from a "treatment" perspective. Has the person sought help. Unless the person has consented or was court ordered for an evaluation the purpose of a OCL investigation (and Section 30) is about the children's 'best interests'. The clinicians (social workers, et all...) who do these evaluations need "informed consent" to make any "medical" observations and those are just that "observations". They do not constitute a "diagnosis" and should be clearly stated in the report in my opinion.

It is questionable if an OCL report and/or Section 30 report is governed as a Medical Record in accordance with the Acts governing medical records. If they are not then they should not contain any medical observables or even relationship to mental health diagnosis, terminology/ontology and be based solely on the "best interests" test.

No one has challenged before the courts if an OCL report created by a social worker or Section 30 report by a psychologist/psychiatrist is a medical record or not. There is very little clarification from the colleges as to what a "Custody and Access Report" is in terms of a "medical record".

Quote:
Originally Posted by billiechic View Post
I am hoping I can reassure both of these people that their responsibility in taking care of their depression will be looked at as a positive thing, and not be held accountable for getting depressed about a bad situation.
You are absolutely and 100% correct and keep pressing forward with your position. The best help you can bring them is to tell them they need help from a proper and qualified clinician.

I hope this helps.

Good Luck!
Tayken
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Old 08-22-2012, 12:56 AM
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Tayken that helps tremendously, and that is much more than I had expected.
I think it would actually help to remind the person moving towards OCL involvement about the Disability Act. They have acted as a Health and Safety Rep in the past and have advocated for depressed individuals and helped them simply by mentioning the Act. A VERY good point that I will pass along as I can

And to rest any concerns, I am not acting in a therapist role, or anythingclose for either of these people. I am just a friend with intimate knowledge of court drama, experience with the OCL and the desire to help them through this. I have already suggested professional support to both, and will find a way to continue encouraging them to seek it.
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Old 08-22-2012, 01:11 AM
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This is a very thoughtful and noble role for you to take. It is support and encouragement that makes all the difference. Often, people just aren't sure what to do, or what resources are available especially at a time when they feel extra vulnerable.
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Old 08-22-2012, 01:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billiechic View Post
Tayken that helps tremendously, and that is much more than I had expected.
No problem. I find that a lot of people who are disabled (have a diagnosis of a medical condition that qualifies under the Act) are often miss treated in my opinion by all levels of the court system. Including lawyers, judges and especially OCL and Section 30 Evaluators whom in my opinion (especially Section 30 ones) have a responsibility to their governing body and professional to be respectful of people's disabilities as required by the various medical Acts and colleges that govern their conduct.

I have seen many OCL reports and Section 30 reports now that in my opinion are significant violations of their clinical obligations as professionals registered to practice medicine too often now. No one holds these "professionals" accountable to their "professional" boards, bodies and the Acts that govern them. Unfortunately, it would be tremendously expensive to cross examine them at trial with a malpractice lawyer conducting the examination to demonstrate negligence before the family court.

But, the good news, as demonstrated by WorkingDad that a "skilled and well-prepared self-represented litigants" who is "meticulously organized" that can "consistently demonstrated a working knowledge of the relevant provisions of the Children’s Law Reform Act, Family Law Act, the Courts of Justice Act and the Family Law Rules" can "under cross-examination" be "unflappable" and successfully cross-examine a "OCL social worker" in a "respectful, understated – and at times devastating" manner. (Para 47, Izyuk v. Bilousov, 2011 ONSC 6451 (CanLII))

I am also in strong agreement with the Honourable Justice Pazaratz's observations in this matter and "troubling" elements of OCL and Section 30 reports:

Quote:
416. I find it troubling that he (sic. social worker) seemed to ignore so many obvious signs of manipulation and deception. We now know that much of what the Applicant told a motions judge in her December 2, 2009 affidavit was untrue. And yet those lies changed everything, not only for the Respondent, but also for Maxeem. A new status quo was created. With profound implications.

417. Given the fact that the social worker predicates his sole custody recommendation on his “assumption” that the mother will be properly motivated and better behaved in the future, it is unfortunate that he failed to test or challenge any of the Applicant mother’s manipulative and self-serving behaviours – in circumstances in which the Respondent virtually pleaded with him to look beyond the surface.

418. Creating a favourable status quo through falsehood and misrepresentation is not just a matter of litigation strategy: It is often tantamount to child abuse. It goes to the heart of “best interests” considerations; Parental judgment; The ability to sacrifice self-interest for the sake of the child; Awareness of the child’s need to have maximum contact with both parents.

419. If past behaviour is a predictor of the future, assessors and courts have an obligation to address – and seriously sanction – common and predictable strategic behaviours intended to create an inappropriate status quo.
Many "assessors" rely upon "hearsay" (Read: Emotional Reasoning) in making their "recommendations" to the court and not cogent and relevant evidence related to the basic principles of "evidence based medicine". They should have a "evidence based practice" in my opinion and not operate on "assumptions" gleamed off of "emotional reasoning" form the parents.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evidence-based_medicine

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evidence-based_practice

The other thread that may be helpful in your matter is this one possibly about the expectations of "assessors" again, but although not related to the above stated case law but from the same Judge:

http://www.ottawadivorce.com/forum/f...azaratz-12452/

Quote:
Originally Posted by billiechic View Post
I think it would actually help to remind the person moving towards OCL involvement about the Disability Act. They have acted as a Health and Safety Rep in the past and have advocated for depressed individuals and helped them simply by mentioning the Act. A VERY good point that I will pass along as I can.
Reminding one of their obligations to their clinical responsibilities and their conduct expectations should not result in a negative opinion from that professional. If that does happen again, send me a private message and I can provide guidance with how to deal with that incredibly unprofessional behavior by a registered clinician if necessary.

Good Luck!
Tayken

PS: Assessors should maintain knowledge and remain current of case law and be required to demonstrate that they are familiar with case law in their "reports" and leverage this system for which their "recommendations" are based on just as Justices, whom are the only person who can legally make a final decision in the matter and are obligated to do.

In my personal opinion, there should be a formal "appeal process" for any "report" created by the OCL or a "Section 30 Evaluator" in the Children's Law Reform Act and Family Law Rules.

Last edited by Tayken; 08-22-2012 at 01:37 AM.
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Old 08-24-2012, 12:38 PM
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It is wonderful to see that those who feel they are depressed and wish to get them selves better - do so without the 'stigma' they believe will be attached to them. This is a tremendously stressful time and each deals with their stressors differently. I DO applaud those that seek help to 'move' forward and become more able to cope with all of lifes ups and downs
Unfortunately; for me; my ex is seeking the counselling to ultimately say she is too depressed - too stressed to work....it is a very fine tightrope she is walking. She can sit on the computer all day - research case law - create accounting spreadsheets as to what I can pay - send letters of complaint to everyone - yet is just too stressed to keep a full time job.
While I will not use depression/or mental health against her - it should not be used in reverse either.
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