Bio – John Starzynski

John Starzynski, President of the Mood Disorders Society of Canada

John received his Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Western Ontario in 1974. Called to the bar in 1976, John practiced in the area of matrimonial law and litigation in his hometown of Oshawa, Ontario. In 1990, he stopped practicing due to his continuing and daily disabling experience with bipolar illness (manic-depression). Since then, John has had and continues to have intensive treatment for this disease. He became involved with the lawyers’ assistance program in 1995 as a peer support volunteer to provide assistance to other lawyers who are going through the trials of stress, burnout, addictions, depression and mental illness.

John has had training in alcohol and drug issues and treatment in the Professional-in-Residence Program at The Betty Ford Center and completed training in Co-Dependency at The Caron Foundation, a leading treatment centre in the United States. He has taken a program on Sexual Addictions at the Sante Center in Denton, Texas. He has received extensive training through the American Bar Association Commission on Lawyers’ Assistance Programs in the areas of addictions – alcohol, drugs, gambling, internet and sex and love addiction – along with instruction on the identification and treatment of mental illnesses and disorders. Closer to home, he has participated in numerous training programs at treatment centers in Ontario in the areas of alcohol and drug addiction assessment and treatment. He completed an internship at Bellwoods Health Services and was designated as an Associate Counselor for Alcohol and Drugs (ACAD) through the Addiction Intervention Association.

He is a Past Director of the Legal Profession Assistance Conference, the umbrella organization for all lawyers’ assistance programs in Canada. John was Volunteer Executive Director of the Ontario Lawyers Assistance Program and retired from that position in 2012. He is a Past Director of the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario and the Ontario Suicide Prevention Network. He is also the Past President of the Toronto Blue Jays Fan Club and the Past Chair of the Board of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

John is married to his wife Susan and they have two wonderful sons (the most important fact on this profile). His three grandchildren are the joy in his life.