MonthJuly 2016

Reading of the Week: Mental Illness and Bay St., and More

From the Editor

Recently, I spoke with a woman I hadn’t met before – a friend of a friend, gathered over coffee by a kitchen table. When she found out that I was a psychiatrist, she talked about her daughter’s struggle with mental illness and I thought how rarely people spoke to me about such things just a decade ago.

As people grow more comfortable talking about their experiences and their family’s experiences with mental illness and as stigma slowly fades, these conversations on Main Street, so to speak – at our kitchen tables and at our kids’ baseball games – are growing more and more common. But people in the corporate world are also growing more aware of the need for us to address mental health problems. No wonder. Consider that the single biggest reason for people to be on disability in Canada is mental illness. And so, there are conversations on Bay Street, too.

In this week’s Reading, we consider a new essay from the Harvard Business Review. In it, CEO Kelsey Meyer talks about her company’s development of a mental health policy.

Also in the Reading: journalist Scott Stossel reviews Dr. Peter Kramer new book on antidepressants – and his own experience with medications.

Please note that the Readings will be “going fishing” for the next two weeks, returning on 11 August.

DG Continue reading

Reading of the Week: Can We Prevent Psychosis? Part 2 of 2

From the Editor

Is an ounce of prevention worth a pound of cure? As noted last week, psychiatry tends to emphasize the treatment of illness, not its prevention. But preventing illness is our ultimate goal.

Can we prevent psychotic illness?

Prevention is built on two things: we need to identify at risk individuals, and then we need to use appropriate measures to prevent the illness.

Last week. The psychosis risk calculator.

This week. Cost-effective prevention.

In this week’s Reading, we look at a paper that considers CBT to prevent psychosis in an ultra high-risk group; the paper also considers the cost-effectiveness of the intervention. So is Ben Franklin right in arguing that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure? The paper doesn’t weigh in on Franklin, of course, but it does find that CBT is economically sound with an 83% likelihood of reducing the transition to psychosis and at a lower cost.

DG Continue reading

Reading of the Week: Can We Prevent Psychosis? Part 1 of 2

From the Editor

Here’s a quick statistical summary of the Readings for the past 12 months.

Total: 48.

Number discussing the prevention of mental illness: One.

Is an ounce of prevention really worth a pound of cure?

Like all of medicine, psychiatry tends to emphasize the treatment of illness, not its prevention. This isn’t the result of a vast medical-industrial conspiracy, of course, but the reality that our field is young and the causes of mental illness aren’t well understood.

But preventing illness is our ultimate goal. Consider the suffering and cost that could be avoided if a person at risk of psychosis didn’t convert, as an example.

Can we prevent psychotic illness?

Prevention is built on two things: we need to identify at risk individuals, and then we need to use appropriate measures to prevent the illness.

Over the next two weeks, we look at a few papers that seek to identify at risk individuals and prevent psychosis in them.

This week. The psychosis risk calculator.

Next week. Cost-effective prevention.

In this week’s paper from The American Journal of Psychiatry, Cannon et al. develop a risk calculator to predict psychotic disorder. The tool they develop has an accuracy rate of 71% – comparable to calculators used for determining cancer recurrence.

DG Continue reading