This sounds good, validated study or not. This is what normalizing mental health in a community looks like. Asking open-ended questions acknowledges the individual and identifies a problem in the community/society that needs to be fixed. Amazing! Click here or on the pdf file to learn more or read an excerpt below.



The Compassionate Frome project began three years ago when the town’s medical practice saw the need to rethink the way it considered the nature of illness. The rethink was prompted by concern for people who presented at surgeries with no clearly defined medical condition yet who evidently needed care and attention, and also by the number of patients who occupied hospital beds only for want of more appropriate means of tending to their welfare. Through the remarkable vision of lead GP Helen Kingston and the imaginative insight of Jenny Hartnoll, leader of the community development service at Health Connections Mendip, a new scheme of community-based welfare was brought into action with the enthusiastic financial and strategic support of the independent Frome Town Council.

By interlinking the health centre, the community hospital and social services with care provision available from local charities and other groups, and by then recruiting a growing network of individual volunteers, Compassionate Frome has devised a model that has significantly lowered emergency admissions to hospital, with consequent savings in costs. The scheme also carries considerable implications for ways in which the creative power of compassion might be applied to the enrichment of community life across wider society.

A sense of compassionate community has of course existed for a long time. Throughout our evolution, humans have always lived in communities and have helped each other out, even in times of conflict. Though it may not always be apparent, a fund of good-heartedness is still abundantly available among friends and neighbours, but increased social mobility and the consequent fragmentation of society have weakened many of those bonds. So the question arises of how best those bonds might be strengthened and extended.

In addressing the issue, the Compassionate Frome project identified four key areas for action: the mapping of all existing community resources and the subsequent compilation of a service directory; the formation of a network of willing volunteers, known as Community Connectors, offering support to those in need and guiding them to appropriate sources of help identified in the service directory; the formation of groups requested by members of the community to meet newly identified needs; and the creation of one-to-one support relationships through liaison with Health Connectors.

At the start of the project the Community Development Service within Frome Medical Practice mapped out the wide range of active groups and other resources already available in the town and surrounding area. That list has continued to grow. For a population of 28,000 residents there is now a directory of almost 400 varied groups and organisations offering support, advice, companionship and creative activity.

Not all of these might immediately be thought of as sources of welfare provision, but the value of becoming, for example, a member of a choir reaches beyond the pleasure of performance. A choir is a communal enterprise that requires the will to attend rehearsals, and may involve the need to recruit help to do so. Once there, the new member can find a rich source of possible friendships as well as the affirmative sense of harmony that arises from the act of singing together. Other forms of joint creative activity – weaving and writing workshops, for example – offer similarly rewarding social contexts.

Once the town’s resources were mapped, the list of available support was placed on the Health Connections Mendip website and made accessible both to the general public and to the health professionals working within the practice. With the cooperation of Frome Town Council, this directory opened opportunities for recruiting volunteer Community Connectors who would help friends, family, neighbours and colleagues find support and obtain advice on things such as housing, education and debt.

The Community Connectors receive bespoke training on the most appropriate methods to identify, support and guide those in need of help. During 2017, training sessions were also run for patients, carers, schools and colleges, care agencies, housing associations, community police, town council staff and people working in residential and nursing homes. The emphasis throughout was on respect for the dignity of personal privacy, because any sense of interfering in the lives of others, whether family members, neighbours or friends, would go against the grain of that natural human kindness to which we all have access and on which the success of the entire project depends. The overall aim has been to create a loose but caring social infrastructure that gives larger scope to deploy that kindness, and to do so in a manner that affirms the feeling that the community is genuinely concerned for the welfare of its members.

In that respect, the needs of people in poor health may be best met by the one-to-one support service offered through Health Connections Mendip. By asking, “What is important to you?” the Health Connector begins the process of helping the patient to set goals and find the best means to achieve them. Thus, a lonely 90-year-old diabetes sufferer living on the fourth floor of a block of flats who wishes to take part in a choral group that meets on the ground floor may need help to get there. By giving that help, a kindly volunteer, identified through the directory, will bring companionship and encourage increased mobility, while the pleasures of socialising with the group will give the patient more reason to attend to their diabetic condition. In this way, rather than conventional care planning, a new horizon-widening, goal-based, patient-centred pattern of care has been put in place.

One of the most significant aspects of the Frome project has been its success in helping people make use of existing informal supportive networks. For many reasons, we may fail to reach out to those we know and love in times of hardship. We may not know how to ask for help, or how to accept it when offered. We may feel that we are burdening people who are already preoccupied with busy lives. Perhaps we simply don’t understand the importance of caring networks to community life, or that people can feel good about themselves – heartened and enlarged, rather than burdened – when their offer of help is gratefully received. Because building networks of support is a skill we have largely lost, we may not even know they exist. But they are, and have always been, a vital part of the fabric of our lives.

A common misperception is that caring networks are there only to attend to the physical or emotional needs of a person who is unwell, but assistance with the everyday business of life – shopping, cooking, cleaning, walking the dog or mowing the lawn – can be equally important. Simply asking someone how they are feeling, or inviting them to join you for coffee and a chat can immediately improve the quality of their day, and it’s an important aspect of the caring network that such selfless gestures give a lift to the morale of the carer too.

But the benefits are not just personal. The combination of the primary care team’s revised view of illness with the introduction of the compassionate community approach has had a remarkable and measurable impact on Frome. While emergency admissions to hospitals across Somerset have increased by 29%, incurring a 21% increase in costs, Frome has seen admissions fall by 17%, with a 21% reduction in costs. This represents 5% of the total health budget. No other interventions on record have reduced emergency admissions across a population.

The implications of what has happened in Frome are profound. It suggests that perhaps a third of the people currently in hospital are there not because they need more or better medication, but because they are isolated individuals with poor networks of support. Such diminished circumstances occur because, in a society dominated by the pressures of getting and spending, we have lost touch with an essential ingredient of what it means to be human – that active quality of compassion which motivates us to create nourishing and supportive patterns of community life.

More and more people are being admitted to hospital with serious illness, and increasing numbers of them are dying prematurely. So perhaps it’s no surprise that recent gains in longevity now seem, unpredictably, to be slowing down. Yet, in such a critical state, to focus solely on dealing with ill health is not enough. Severe illness often comes at the avoidable end of a lengthy process. People can endure months, even years, of social isolation before they are finally rushed into crowded hospital wards. An urgent need to revive and sustain our community life is demanded by the recognition that warm social interaction has been fundamental to human evolution. It remains so, and deprived of it we suffer enormously.

The building of compassionate communities makes sense in many contexts. First and foremost, it’s right because it exercises and demonstrates that essential quality of human kindness which is among our greatest strengths as a species. In a time of increasing social isolation it emphasises the life-enhancing value of human contact, and thereby generates and affirms a vital sense of meaning and purpose. It also significantly reduces the costs of health care and social welfare, while simultaneously creating a cultural environment more conducive to happiness and good health. These are surely compelling reasons for making this approach a fundamental building block of a better future.

Frome’s successful efforts to build a more compassionate community have inspired the conviction that what works well in the context of health and welfare can also be applied to other areas of social enterprise. A Manifesto for Compassionate Communities has been written out of that conviction and is published on the Resurgence website as a source of inspiration and aspiration. Compassion belongs to no one and to everyone. May it spread across the globe for the benefit of all.

“I have been surprised at the number of places I have been where I have had conversations with people and have ended up signposting them to services and organisations, chatting to people at bus stops, engaging with individuals at the various groups I attend, on one occasion even talking to a young man in the street. Being a Community Connector has meant I talk more to people of all ages. Not only have I signposted people, but I have gathered more information regarding other groups or services from people to add to our directory.”

My husband and I have found that the Talking Café has given us both the opportunity to make friends. It has also opened up a huge amount of clubs to join, and thus make even more opportunity to widen our friends. We look forward to going out and the Talking Café is an area where we can talk about anything, and laugh. It lifts our spirits. Many older/retired people are isolated, and uninspired, and very sad, as was I. Now I feel happier, and I look forward to meeting others. The Talking Café is a brilliant starting point to the wider community, but the Talking Café in itself is a great club to be in.”

-Anonymous feedback from a member of one of Frome’s Talking Cafés, informal gatherings organised weekly to provide information on local activities, support groups and services in the community in a friendly setting.

See also the article A Manifesto for Compassionate Communities.

Julian Abel is a consultant in palliative care. Lindsay Clarke is a freelance writer.



Number of B.C. kids-in-care deaths, critical injuries jump dramatically

I am shocked and disgusted with these numbers and the lack of response from the previous Liberal government and I want to know what the current NDP/Green government are doing to change things for the most vulnerable in our province. It’s obvious that whatever the ministry is doing isn’t working. Please note in the chart below that “2016 stats are only for first 6 months of the year.” These numbers are outrageous! Click here or on the pdf file to read the full article or an excerpt below.

If the Representative for Children and Youth can only make recommendations, who has the power to make changes? Can the Select Standing Committee on Children and Youth mandate changes?

120 in care or receiving services from the B.C. government died last year, and more than 740 received “critical injuries,” according to a new tally by the children’s advocate.

Deaths jumped from 72 in 2008 to 120 last year, while critical injuries skyrocketed from 120 to 741.

Richard’s office received reports of 3,048 critical injuries and 885 deaths of children with links to the ministry between 2008 and 2016. Critical injures can include attempted suicide, emotional trauma, assaults and accidents.

B.C. children's death graphicT

Court rejects elderly father’s bid to remove son from property title

Click here to read the full article or an excerpt below.


Back in September, 2011, William Stubbings purchased a condominium in Yorkton, Sask., in his own name. Two years later, at 87 years of age, he transferred title of the condominium into joint names with right of survivorship with his son, John. Stubbings received no payment for the transfer.

At the time, he had a “good relationship” with John. Based on advice he received, his intention was to save his estate from having to pay probate fees on his death. By transferring the property title into joint names with his son, ownership would automatically pass to John on Stubbings’ death without payment of probate fees.

In Stubbings’ mind, the transfer was conditional on father and son maintaining their relationship, and based on the assumption that he would not need to sell the condo for any reason during his lifetime. Despite the change in the registered ownership, he did not intend for John to receive any real interest in the condo until his death.

In the year following the transfer, the relationship between father and son deteriorated, and they stopped communicating with each other.

Stubbings then changed his mind about allowing John to jointly hold title to the condominium. He no longer wanted his son to be the sole beneficiary of the property.

In 2014, Stubbings’ lawyer sent John a letter asking him to transfer the title back to his father. John refused, stating that he considered the transfer to be an irrevocable gift.

Ultimately, Stubbings and his son wound up on opposite sides of a court case. Stubbings asked that ownership of the property be transferred back to him. He told the court that he and John were “no longer getting along.”

In his written judgment in January, Justice Donald H. Layh neatly summed up the situation between parent and child, noting that this type of conflict is not particularly rare.

He decided that when Stubbings transferred the title into joint names with John, he had irrevocably gifted a one-half interest to his son. John was not holding his interest in trust for his father, but owned it outright in his own name.

In his ruling, the judge wrote: “A parent decides to gratuitously put a child’s name on title to real property, ostensibly for estate planning purposes to avoid probate fees. The parent later changes his mind and discovers that making a title joint with a child is easy to accomplish but difficult to undo.

“The parent discovers that an estate plan using a Last Will and Testament is easily changed solely at his discretion, but disconcertingly realizes that after real property is registered in joint names with right of survivorship, changes are far less straightforward.”

Justice Layh quoted the words of Justice Rosalie Abella in the landmark 2007 decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in the Pecore case:

“Tolstoy wrote at the beginning of Anna Karenina: ‘Happy families are all alike, every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.’ That unhappiness often finds its painful way into a courtroom.”

Stubbings was ordered to put the condominium on the market unless he paid his son $147,500 representing half the value of the unit. For him it was an expensive conclusion to a very sad family dispute.

Bob Aaron is a Toronto real estate lawyer. He can be reached at, on his website, and Twitter @bobaaron2.

Screenshot, How to take a



Not sure how? We can help!


1. Take a screenshot of the error!

On Windows:

  • Click the title bar of the window with the error (this could be Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, or Mozilla Firefox)
  • Press Alt + Print Screen (this may be printed as PrtScrn or something similar on some keyboards)
  • The screenshot will be copied to your computer’s clipboard
  • In most email clients, such as Gmail or Outlook, you can paste the screenshot directly into an outgoing email the way you would with any other text or picture
    • Otherwise, you can open an application such as Microsoft Paint, paste the image (Ctrl + V), and save this as a new image file, which can then be attached to your email

On Mac:

  • Press Shift-Command-4 (the pointer changes to a crosshair)
  • Press the space bar (the pointer will then change to a camera)
  • Move the camera over a window to highlight it
  • Click your mouse or trackpad
  • The screenshot will be saved as an image file on your desktop
  • This image can then be attached to your email

On Android:

  • Press and hold the Power and Volume down buttons at the same time for a few seconds
  • Your device will save the screenshot as an image
  • This image can then be attached to your email

On iOS:

  • Press and hold the Home and Power buttons until the screen flashes
  • Your device will save the screenshot as an image
  • This image can then be attached to your email


2. Provide a quick description of what you were in the middle of doing when you were interrupted. This will help us both understand and try to reproduce the problem so we can fix it.

    • Did you click on a button?
    • Did you switch to another app and then back again?
    • Were you moving from one step to another in the exchange?
    • Do you get this same error by doing the same thing again?
    • If you try a different browser, does this error persist?


3. Email your screenshot and description to….


Interesting list with some things that I never expected which is why I’ve posted it here. Click here to learn more.


Bug Bites

Most insect stings and bites cause some kind of redness, swelling, or itching. Sometimes, they bring more than a small bump. Hives happen when your whole body has an allergic reaction.


Watch out for hives when you have bacterial or viral problems, such as:

  • Hepatitis
  • HIV
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Epstein-Barr virus

Even the common cold can sometimes set off a hive reaction.


Take your nail and firmly (but not too firmly) scratch a line into your skin. If the raised mark it makes sticks around for half an hour, you’ve got something your doctor may call dermatographism. It’s hives that pop up from rubbing or scratching your skin.


Working Out

When you exercise, your temperature goes up. Warm, flushed skin is the perfect host for a hive party.


When you’re under pressure, your hormones surge. That puts your body into something called fight-or-flight mode. It can set off a host of reactions, including hives.


Did you know you could be allergic to alcohol? Alcohol intolerance can cause a flushed face, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea — and hives.


What you eat can bring hives. Things like shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, certain fruits, and milk are all common culprits.


Just about any drug can cause hives. You could see red, itchy welts after doses of:

  • Penicillin
  • Aspirin
  • Ibuprofen
  • Naproxen
  • Blood pressure meds

A Tight Squeeze

Squeezed skin can bring welts called pressure hives. Any kind of force can cause them, including:

  • A heavy backpack on your shoulder
  • A waistband with no give
  • Sitting in a hard chair for too long


It’s rare, but you can be allergic to sunlight. When this reaction happens, you get hives only on the parts of your skin the sun has touched.


Hives thrive on warmth. Anything that makes you hot can be a trigger, like:

  • Hot baths
  • Blushing
  • Sunburn

If your temperature’s up, the welts can come out.


Any contact with lower temperatures — from a blast of winter air to a dip in a pool — can bring on your rash.

Autoimmune Disease

Often, hives happen because your immune system is too active. Your body’s defenses attack normal tissue, and boom — breakouts.


Disposable gloves, bandages, condoms, pacifiers, balloons, shoes — the list of things made of latex is long. Everything on it can cause hives, if you’re allergic. Usually, it’s the protein in natural-rubber latex that riles things up.


Dander can drum up hives quickly. So can saliva from cats and dogs. If you notice red welts after petting or playing with a furry friend, your playmate is probably the cause of your blotches.



Car negotiating secrets for people who hate to haggle

I hate haggling and I’m sure a lot of Canadians do because it’s not something we do in Canada unlike other countries where they do it every day. Click here to read the full article.

Canada needs better laws and policies to protect our children from international abduction by Transnational Spouses

I was able to prevent my husband from taking my children to Iran but government policies added additional risk for the system to allow my husband, a Transnational Spouse, to take my children to Iran. When I appealed to the BC Ministry of Children and Family Development for counselling for my son to deal with all the loss and trauma we had incurred over the years the MCFD removed my children from my care and attempted to contact my husband to notify him of their actions. I was mortified. Click on the links below to learn more or read excerpts below.



[RSBC 1996] CHAPTER 46, pdf file

Parents to be notified of child’s removal

31   (1)A director who removes a child must promptly make all reasonable efforts to notify each parent of the child’s removal.

(2)The notice must if practicable be in writing and must include a statement of the reasons for removing the child.


Family Maintenance Services, pdf file

Case and Risk Assessment

September 1, 2015

Once referred for family maintenance services, clients can expect the ministry legal representative to review the family maintenance criteria and inquire about the applicant’s family status and whether the applicant has any safety concerns before making contact with the respondent to pursue maintenance. Safety concerns are identified as behaviours that may lead to harm or that cause or have caused harm to one or more of the parties.

Family maintenance service includes a safety assessment.  When no safety concerns are evident the ministry legal representative proceeds with appropriate maintenance action.

When the ministry legal representative does not want to proceed due to high risk, family maintenance services are discontinued and the assignment is terminated.