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Reading of the Week: Mental Health Care – Doing Bad, Feeling Good? The Hayes et al. Study

From the Editor

Greetings from Ottawa. This morning, the Canadian Psychiatric Association’s 67th Annual Conference opens here. And the agenda looks great, and includes the release of the new Canadian guidelines for the treatment of schizophrenia.

It’s difficult not to feel upbeat, as people from coast to coast to coast gather to discuss new findings and new ideas on problems like refractory depression and chronic pain and, yes, schizophrenia. And this is a great time to be involved in mental health care – as stigma fades and societal recognition grows.

But how are we doing in terms of actual outcomes? This week, we look at a new British Journal of Psychiatry paper. Hayes et al. consider mortality for those with severe mental illness and the rest of us. Unfortunately, the authors find that the mortality gap has grown with time.

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Ottawa: Host city of this year’s CPA Annual Conference

In this Reading, we review the paper and an editorial, and consider the larger context.

DG

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Reading of the Week: The Best of 2016 (and a Look Ahead to 2017)

From the Editor

It’s a Reading of the Week tradition that we end the year by considering the best of the previous 12 months.

And this year we have had great material to consider. Readings were drawn from diverse publications, including journals, but also newspapers and magazines; one Reading was a speech given by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. (On the rich diversity of material, I made a similar comment last year.)

If once no one seemed to discuss mental illness, today these issues are being talked about.

But instead of just looking back, let’s take a moment to look ahead.

For those of us concerned about mental health services, 2017 looks like it will be a great year.

Consider:

· Though the provinces and the federal government failed to make an historic deal in 2016 that would invest in mental health services, federal and provincial ministers of health all agree that mental health needs to be a priority, and some type of deal is likely to happen.

· In 2016, Starbucks Canada made headlines for its investment in mental health benefits for employees; it’s highly likely that other companies will follow this lead in the coming months.

· In the past year, more people spoke out about their mental health problems, including a famous singer and an Olympic swimmer; in 2017, more people will find their voice and share their stories.

So – Happy New Year.

Thanks to all those who made suggestions for Readings. And thanks to Dr. David Goldbloom for his three guest contributions, as well as to my father and to my wife for their editing.

There will be no Reading next week.

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Reading of the Week: Remembering Dr. Elliot Goldner

From the Editor

I met him just once. Dr. Elliot Goldner was invited to give the Distinguished Member Lecture at the Canadian Psychiatric Association’s 2015 Annual Conference in Vancouver. Before a packed room, he gave a lucid speech on the state of the system – a speech peppered with insights and statistics, drawn from numerous papers; it was mesmerizing. After, he stayed to talk with people, and I joined the group that had gathered. Late for my own presentation, I received angry texts from my co-presenter. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to talk further about the access issues that he had so clearly discussed.

But if we met just once, over the years, I have read many of the papers that Dr. Goldner wrote and co-wrote. A Goldner paper – like a Goldner presentation – is impressive and memorable.

Dr. Goldner died in late November.

Dr. Elliot Goldner

In this Reading, we look at his life and career through the comments of some colleagues. We also consider his 2011 Canadian Journal of Psychiatry paper on access and psychiatry.

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Reading of the Week: Olympics and Mental Illness

From the Editor

This is the Olympics edition of the Reading of the Week.

We will remember Rio for much – the big smile on Penny Oleksiak face when she won gold; the grit of the Canadian women’s soccer team; the achievements of American Michael Phelps.

For me, there is also the amazing story of swimmer Allison Schmitt. I’ll remember her not just as an Olympian who competed. That’s memorable of course. But she is also memorable for being an athlete willing to talk about her struggles with mental illness.

For the record, Schmitt won gold and silver in the pool in Rio.

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Reading of the Week: Big Study on a Big Problem: Stigma & Mental Health, and More

From the Editor

Stigma. Suicide prevention.

This week we consider these weighty topics with two excellent papers.

The first, written by Patten et al., looks at the perception of stigma in those receiving mental health care in Canada. The second is a “viewpoint” that asks what we need to do to reduce suicide rates – which, across the West, has not decreased in the past decade.

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Reading of the Week: How Successful Are We at Treating Canadians with Depression? And More

From the Editor

How successful are we at treating Canadians with depression? How could Canada’s health care system serve these patients better?

This is the ‘all Canadian’ issue of the Reading of the Week.

Readings don’t necessarily follow a theme – but we do this week. The two papers are written by Canadian authors; they tackle Canadian topics; they were published in a Canadian journal, The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry.

The first paper considers depression in Canada, looking at prevalence and treatment over a decade. The second paper champions more effective care for Canadians. Both are readable and relevant.

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Reading of the Week: To Screen or Not to Screen – Pregnancy & Depression Screening

From the Editor

“Panel Calls for Depression Screenings During and After Pregnancy”

A government health-care panel making a revision to a past recommendation seems pretty ‘inside baseball’ – and hardly the stuff of international headlines. Last week, though, the decision of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force to now recommend the screening of pregnant and post-partum women for depression was reported from New York to New Delhi.

For the record, The New York Times story (whose headline appears above) ran on the front page.

Why the change and what are the implications?

To screen or not to screen…

This week’s Reading looks at the big decision and we consider: is it a big bust?

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