Taganxiety

Reading of the Week: “The Secret to My Success? Antidepressants”

From the Editor

With the end of the academic year and the start of the new one, I’ll spend the next few days updating the distribution lists for the Reading of the Week series. I’m using this opportunity to make a few technical changes, too. This is the Reading of the Week equivalent of a spring clean-up – though it’s July, and I’m not touching a dustpan.

Spring cleaning, at least before computers

In any clean-up, we can mistakenly throw away something valuable – it’s possible that some of you may stop receiving these emails (if you are getting our emails). If that happens and you would like to continue to get the Readings, simply pop me a message.

This week, I’ve picked an entertaining and yet moving essay from writer Julia Fierro talking about her illness and her recovery. Enjoy.

Oh, and congratulations to our colleagues who have finished their studies. I hope you enjoy your career in medicine as much as I have.

DG

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Reading of the Week: Mood & Anxiety in Four Countries – More Care, Better Outcomes? The Jorm et al. Paper

From the Editor

Earlier this month, the Commonwealth Fund released a report that surveyed 11 countries for the performance of their health-care systems; it received much media attention. Their work helps provide perspective on our system’s strengths and weaknesses.

International comparisons are relevant in mental health, of course. As stigma fades and as evidence-based treatment options have expanded, we can ask: are people with common mental health problems getting better? And are there lessons to learn from our national experiences?

Four countries, one big problem?

This week, we look at a study that has just been published in World Psychiatry, drawing data from four countries. In the paper, Jorm et al. find that – looking at the prevalence of mood and anxiety disorders and symptoms – people aren’t better off today. The authors consider several explanations.

This paper hasn’t gather much attention here in Canada. But as we look to increase funding for mental health services, it’s an important and relevant paper.

DG Continue reading

Reading of the Week: Thinking Globally and Acting Locally – Scaling Up Depression and Anxiety Treatment

From the Editor

Tim Evans doesn’t mince his words: “The situation with mental health today is like HIV-AIDS two decades ago.”

Tim Evans is a senior director at the World Bank Group. He made these comments after the release of a major new study suggesting that depression and anxiety are undertreated – and costing the world’s economy hundreds of billions of dollars a year.

But this paper has good news: an investment in mental health services will offer a return (counting health benefits) in the range of 3.3 to 5.7.

This week’s Reading: this new paper from The Lancet Psychiatry, and the reaction to it. Note that coverage has included The Guardian and The New York Times (Evans comments are from The New York Times).

I also follow up on last week’s popular Reading on the Goldbloom-Bryden book.

DG Continue reading

Reading of the Week: Biron’s Illness and Recovery

From the Editor

Drug breakthroughs, better imaging, less invasive procedures. There are many amazing health-care stories from the past three decades but perhaps the most important one is decidedly low tech: the decline of stigma about mental illness, allowing millions of Canadians to discuss their problems and seek care.

That’s not to suggest that stigma doesn’t exist, of course. In November, we considered the Dabby et al. paper from The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, which showed bias even on the part of psychiatrists and psychiatric residents. Though the problem continues, it’s difficult not to believe that we have turned a significant corner: late last month, for instance, Bell Canada Let’s Talk campaign managed to raise more than $6 million in a single day.

In terms of reducing stigma, it helps immeasurably when people come forward and discuss their mental health illness. I remember talking to a patient who had struggled with her diagnosis. Inspired by Olympian Clara Hughes, she posted on Facebook that she has Bipolar. In my office, she wept when describing the outpouring of support – from friends and families, yes, but also from strangers.

Stigma still exists; it takes great courage to come forward – but it’s incredibly important that people do.

This week’s Reading is one person’s story of mental illness and recovery, and his choice to tell his story.

He also happens to be the President and CEO of my hospital. And I’ve never been prouder to work at The Scarborough Hospital.

DG Continue reading