A Message from our Co-sponsor: Hong Fook Mental Health Association: A pioneer in advocating for mental health care for the underserved

Canada’s visible-minority population has grown rapidly over the past three decades and growth continues. Culturally and linguistically appropriate services are greatly needed to respond to the increasing demands of this growing population. Hong Fook Mental Health Association was established in 1982 for the purpose of improving mental health services to those immigrants who face insurmountable cultural and linguistic barriers in accessing mental health services. Our vision is a multicultural community that understands mental health and accepts mental illness.

With limited resources, Hong Fook has been focusing on the Cambodian, Cantonese, Korean, Mandarin and Vietnamese communities. Its activities include advocacy, public education, promotion of mental health, consultation liaison, case management, counseling, supportive housing, family support, and consumer self help programs. Hong Fook seeks to work collaboratively with other community agencies to maximize the resources that are available to its clients, and it is open and responsive to community needs. Services are delivered at three separate sites and provided in collaboration with a plethora of community organizations, agencies and practitioners.

Hong Fook Mental Health Association works with Asian communities to keep people mentally healthy and manage mental illness from recovery to wellness, through promotion and prevention, treatment, capacity building and advocacy.

The foundation of our service framework is “Holistic Health”, which covers the whole person. It addresses not only the body, mind, and spirit of a person, but also the many socio-economic, cultural, political and other environmental factors that impact on health. Our Continuum of Services focuses on promoting wellness and mental health recovery with the following values: equity, diversity, cultural competence, empowerment, capacity building, community participation*, self help, and mutual support.

Our service commitment principles are responsiveness, accessibility, accountability, collaboration, integration, and innovation.

We recognize that individuals and communities are unique. We respect diversity and critically reflect on our own biases and assumptions in our service approach. We understand that health is not just an individual matter, but equity in different aspects must be addressed. Equity in terms of access to resources, services, and opportunities, such as access to employment and education, play a crucial role in impacting on our health. We look at cultural competence beyond addressing language at the service provision level. We believe that diversity and equity in different aspects have to be recognized and addressed at the organizational and system levels.

David Truong, Hong Fook client from 2011 promotional video

David Truong, Hong Fook client
from 2011 promotional video


  • Preferred languages of clients are: Cantonese, Korean, Vietnamese, Mandarin, English, and Khmer.
  • The most prevalent primary diagnoses among case management clients were mood disorders, schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders and anxiety disorders.


  • 1,350 unique clients made 3,493 visits for intake and consultation
  • 496 clients received 13,564 contacts/visits
  • There were 4,260 visits/contacts to 91 individuals for supportive housing with case management. This included 3 groups that had 46 sessions.

    From 2004 promotional video

    From 2004 promotional video

  • The Asian Clinic saw 318 new patients and had 3,050 visits.
  • The Family Initiative had 131 clients who had 727 visits.
  • In the self-help program there were 10,235 contacts with 310 people, including 669 sessions for 18 groups. Fifty-five individuals participated in supportive employment.
  • 1034 individuals had 13,799 visits for prevention and promotion. This included 26 groups and 167 workshops, and 556 group sessions.
  • The Journey to Mental health Training program served 464 individuals through 846 visits and 15 groups that provided 28 sessions.
Hong Fook founding members and staff, 1994

Hong Fook founding members and staff, 1994


  • A series of TV and radio talk shows through the ethnic media and client recovery stories on DVD
  • One day biennial conference on diversity and equity in mental health and addictions, in partnership with other community organizations and agencies
  • Mental health promotion training programs for community service and settlement workers across Ontario. Since its inception in 2008, this program has hosted 33 two-day training series, and 905 front line workers from more than 280 agencies have been served.


  • For the fiscal year ended March 31,2012, Hong Fook had total revenues of $4,274,388 and total expenditures of $4,224,267. Over the past three decades Hong Fook has grown from a lofty idea to an organization that provides multiple services to many clients in several ethnic groups.

Our funding has grown from less than $10,000 in the first year to more than $4 million in 2011 and our clientele has grown from a dozen individuals to 16,000 a year.

For more information on Hong Fook Mental Health Association, visit: www.hongfook.ca


Members in the News: Quick Response, Cool Demeanor Is Psychiatric Profile of Courage

Members in the News: Quick Response, Cool Demeanor Is Psychiatric Profile of Courage

John de Figueiredo, M.D., displays the Profile of Courage Award he received from the APA Assembly.
Photo Credit: American Psychiatric Association/ David Hathcox

A psychiatry resident’s reaction to a patient who opened fire in the emergency room diffused the situation, saved lives, and won him a prestigious APA award. 

by Ken Hausman

Ignoring the considerable personal risk in which he was placing himself, John de Figueiredo, M.D., diffused what could have become a violent and tragic incident in his hospital’s emergency department. His actions won him considerable praise from his department chair and colleagues, as well as this year’s Profile of Courage Award from the APA Assembly at its November meeting in Washington, D.C.

During his psychiatry residency at Johns Hopkins in 1979, de Figueiredo was on call in the psychiatric emergency department when a patient waiting for a transfer to another facility because beds were unavailable at Hopkins became extremely agitated. A security guard was called, and the guard, a nurse, and de Figueiredo escorted the patient to a seclusion room for evaluation and treatment. Once in the room, the patient struggled with the guard, seized the guard’s loaded gun, and began shooting. (Guards were supposed to carry unloaded guns, but this guard had forgotten to remove the ammunition.)

De Figueiredo pushed aside several patients who were waiting to be seen and pointed them toward a safe area. He then walked to the emergency department’s medical and surgical area, where he told staff to barricade themselves in offices and keep the doors shut. At that point, several shots were heard, followed by silence. Returning to the psychiatry emergency area, de Figueiredo came upon the bodies of the patient and security guard lying in pools of blood. The security guard had been shot five times with his own gun in a struggle with the patient.

De Figueiredo calmly returned to the medical/surgical area, instructing staff to come out of the rooms in which they took shelter. He then divided them into two teams, telling them that there were two seriously wounded people that needed to be taken into surgery immediately.

The patient died that night, and the security guard died a week later.

De Figueiredo returned to work the next day, despite being told to take the day off. Soon after the events, the head of the psychiatric emergency department, Michael Kaminsky, M.D., called the resident’s conduct “exemplary,” and department chair Paul McHugh, M.D., referred to de Figueiredo as a hero.

In accepting the award last month, de Figueiredo praised McHugh for his leadership and mentorship and for helping him move on after this tragedy. “When you are a
resident, you hope a tragedy will not occur on your watch. But sometimes a tragedy happens, and when it does, it helps to have a supportive chairman and a caring faculty,” he said. “I was fortunate to have a truly outstanding and supportive chairman in Dr. Paul McHugh, who has been a source of inspiration for me throughout my professional life.”

“To comfort, to heal—we psychiatrists do it all together, we do it all the time, and for us they are one and the same,” de Figueiredo said.

He is now an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine and an Assembly representative from the Connecticut Psychiatric Society.

Copyright © 2012 by the American Psychiatric Association. Reprinted with permission from the December 21, 2012, issue of Psychiatric News.

Attention Residents attending the SSPC Meeting in Toronto!

by Larry Merkel

I am writing to invite you to attend the group supervision workshop in cross cultural psychiatry at the SSPC Annual Meeting in Toronto, which will be held Friday (5/03) starting at 10:30 AM and will run through 1:30 PM. Lunch will be provided. This session is being sponsored by the SSPC Education Committee and the focus is difficult treatment experiences in cross-cultural settings. There will be several faculty members present who have had many years of experience working in a cross cultural setting. The format will be group supervision. We did this last year at the meeting in NYC and it was well attended and appreciated.

I encourage you to please bring your own concerns and examples, by developing brief (about 5 minute) case vignettes illustrating a cross-cultural concern of yours to present to the group. I would greatly appreciate your contributions and urge you to consider writing up any examples or experiences you have, or even just questions that you can share. If at all possible please send them to me beforehand via e-mail. This will allow me to share them with the other faculty so they can be prepared for discussion. The more cases and input from you, the more the session will meet your needs.

Pre-registration is required for this session so that we will know the size of the group, ensure that only residents attend, and order the right number of lunches. E-mail rlm3u@virginia.edu with your name, PGY year, institution, and contact info. If you have any questions, please let me know. I look forward to seeing you in Toronto!

Send us your news!

by Shannon Suo

In my role as newsletter editor, I hope to include more news about SSPC members. In this issue, you will see a reprint of an article about John de Figueiredo that appeared in Psychiatric News. We aren’t always aware when our members make news, so please let us know! Submissions for the SSPC newsletter can be already published or original pieces (permission will need to be obtained for already published stories).

In an effort to improve services to our members without increasing dues/registration, SSPC will be exploring advertising options for the newsletter and website. If your piece is deemed to be more appropriate for one of those avenues, you will be notified and given the option of either revising your submission or purchasing advertising space. If you have any referrals for potential advertisers, please contact Liz Kramer. As mentioned previously I also welcome any input into the newsletter content, layout, or appearance. Please note that my e-mail has changed, so please contact me at shannonsuo1@gmail.com if you have any feedback or concerns!

Welcoming SSPC to Toronto!

by Lisa Andermann

The city of Toronto is one of North America’s largest, most diverse and exciting urban centres. It is a great family destination, so please consider bringing your children with you! The Delta Chelsea conference hotel is well-known for its indoor pool and water slides. They feature a family pool with a 130ft indoor ‘Corkscrew’ waterslide, Club 33 teen lounge and Kid Centre.

Within walking distance, or short taxi ride/public transportation, are a number of excellent museums and kid-friendly sites, just a few of which are mentioned below.

Entrance to the Royal Ontario Museum Photo credit: Michael Prokaziuk

Entrance to the Royal Ontario Museum
Photo credit: Michael Prokaziuk

Royal Ontario Museum 100 Queen’s Park ; Telephone: 416-586-8000
Explore an exceptional array of themed galleries throughout the Museum, spanning both world cultures and natural history. With six million objects in its collection, curators actively conduct research as art historians, archaeologists and material culture specialists. Collections range from Stone Age implements to 20th century art and design. Dinosaur galleries may be more popular with kids!

Art Gallery of Ontario 317 Dundas Street West; 416-979-6648
With a collection of more than 80,000 works of art, AGO is among the most distinguished art museums in North America. From the vast body of Group of Seven to Peter Paul Rubens’ masterpiece The Massacre of The Innocents, the AGO offers an incredible art experience. Transformation AGO is an innovative architectural expansion by architect Frank Gehry that resulted in one of the most critically acclaimed architectural achievements in North America. Highlights include Galleria Italia, a gleaming showcase of wood and glass the length of a city block, and the often -photographed spiral staircase.

Special exhibits: March 16–June 16, 2013: Revealing the Renaissance: Art in Early Florence

Harbourfront Centre Tel: 416-203-1233
Downtown on the shore of Lake Ontario. Boardwalk, nice views, interesting shops and Inuit art museum. Combine with upscale dim-sum and water views at the Pearl Harbourfront and you have a great family outing!

Eskimo Art Gallery 12 Queens Quay W.; 416-366-3000
Founded in 1981, the Eskimo Art Gallery has a long tradition of presenting the finest contemporary Inuit art from the Canadian North. In addition to museum-quality masterpieces, there are works by the most talented Inuit artists of the younger generation. Services also include art consulting and appraisals.

Hockey Hall of Fame (for some Canadian culture!) 30 Yonge St.; 416-360-7735
The world’s one and only! Spread across 60,000 square feet, the Hall of Fame offers something for everyone: the finest collection of hockey artifacts from around the world; state-of-the-art games that challenge shooting and goalkeeping skills; themed exhibits dedicated to the game’s greatest players, teams and achievements; an extensive array of multimedia stations; theatres; larger-than-life statues; a replica NHL dressing room; and NHL trophies including, best of all, hands-on access to the Stanley Cup.

CN Tower in Toronto

CN Tower in Toronto

CN Tower: Wonders of the (Modern) World 301 Front St. West
In 1995, the CN Tower was classified as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Besides serving as a telecommunications hub, the Tower provides world-class entertainment and a wide range of unique attractions, exhibits and food and beverage venues. 360 The Restaurant at the CN Tower features unforgettable food combined with a magnificent revolving view of Toronto more than 351 metres (1,151 ft) below. Elevation  is complimentary with the purchase of a main course.

Toronto Facts

Toronto is home to more than 100 cultures.

Toronto is Canada’s largest city, with a population of 5.5 million in the Greater Toronto Area.

Toronto is the 5th largest city in North America, after Mexico City, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

One-quarter of Canada’s population is located within 160 km (100 mi.) of Toronto.

As the capital of Ontario, Toronto is the seat of government for Canada’s most populous province and is the industrial and business centre for the country.

There are two official languages in Canada – English and French.

Toronto tourism websites: