MonthOctober 2016

“Mental Health Now!”

From the Editor

Will they cut a deal?

Ontario Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Eric Hoskins speaks during a health ministers’ meeting last week in Toronto

It’s the question that will be discussed for weeks to come.

But for those of us in mental health, a possible deal is more than an item on the evening news. After all, a new federal-provincial accord could be important, with more money for mental health services. And let’s remember: right now, just 7 cents on every dollar of health spending goes to mental health (in the UK, by contrast, spending is 12 cents on the dollar).

But we hope for more than just a new deal. We hope for a smart new deal – one that will help improve mental health services.

What are steps the federal government could take?

This week’s Reading considers the new report issued by the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (or CAMIMH), an alliance of sixteen member organizations, including the Canadian Psychiatric Association, the Canadian Medical Association, and the College of Family Physicians of Canada. This thoughtful document lays out a five-point plan for bettering mental health services from coast-to-coast-to-coast. Spoiler alert: the plan calls for more spending, yes, but also efforts to improve access, better measurement of the system, and a targeted basic income to help less affluent Canadians.

Also in this reading – tying back to the UK – we look at an article from The Guardian about making mental health services stronger across the Atlantic.

The two pieces offer a strong contrast: about where our debate is in this country – and where mental health services could be with some needed reforms.

DG Continue reading

Reading of the Week: First Episode Psychosis and Access – The Anderson-Kurdyak Paper, and More

From the Editor

“If your son or daughter had cancer or diabetes, do you think it would be reasonable for them to wait? I don’t think it’s any different for mental illness.”

Access. It’s one of the biggest problems with mental health services.

How big is the access problem? What can be done about it?

This week, we consider a new paper looking at access and first episode psychosis. Dr. Paul Kurdyak, a CAMH psychiatrist and a program lead with the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, made the above comment to the CBC when discussing this new paper. In it, Kelly Anderson and Dr. Kurdyak find that 40% of patients didn’t receive physician follow-up in the month after diagnosis. Imagine – tying back to Dr. Kurdyak’s comment – if 40% of young patients with leukemia didn’t have physician follow-up in a month after their cancer diagnosis.

We also look at the discussion around a new federal-provincial accord with an op ed written by Michael Wilson, the chair of the Mental Health Commission of Canada – particularly timely as the ministers of health met this week with an eye on a new accord.

DG Continue reading

Reading of the Week: Starbucks’ Big Mental Health Announcement, and More

From the Editor

Readings in recent weeks have drawn from several journals and a major autobiography.

Recognizing that mental health is increasingly part of our public and private conversations, we draw from newspapers and news sites this week.

image001Starbucks: fraps, breakfast sandwiches, and psychotherapy (for employees)

The decision of Starbucks to expand employee coverage for psychotherapy leads this week’s lineup.

We also consider the first Parliamentary speech of an Australian politician and a new British exhibit of old art – from asylums.

DG Continue reading

Reading of the Week: What’s New in Psychotherapy – Paul Garfinkel’s Book

From the Editor

What’s new in psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy is an area of psychiatry transformed over the past years.

Dr. Aaron Beck: not a Freudian

Last week, we looked at a major new paper on IPT. This week, we return to Dr. Paul Garfinkel’s book – the source of two past Readings – for an excellent chapter on psychotherapy.

Last week. A major new review of IPT.

This week. An overview of psychotherapy developments.

This chapter describes the evolution of psychotherapy, and its importance. It also notes the excellent opportunity for the mental health field – to embrace evidence-based treatments and to offer better care for our patients.

DG Continue reading