From the Editor

Anxiety provoking. That’s how a patient recently described the first few days of hospitalization in an unfamiliar environment and feeling unwell. Would peer support have helped?

In the first selection, Cecilie Høgh Egmose (of the University of Copenhagen) and her colleagues conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis for Psychiatric Services. In this study, they analyzed 49 RCTs involving more than 12,000 participants and with different types of services and peer support. They find: “peer support interventions generally but only slightly improve outcomes of personal recovery and slightly reduce symptoms of anxiety among individuals with any mental illness.” We look at the paper and its clinical implications.

In the second selection, writer Adele Waters interviews the incoming president of the UK’s Royal College of Psychiatrists in a front cover article for The BMJ. Dr. Lade Smith’s new position is like a British combination of two Canadian presidencies: of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons and of the Canadian Psychiatric Association. She has had a big career as an educator, clinician, and researcher. And Dr. Smith is clear in her advocacy: “The chronic underfunding of mental health care must be tackled urgently. We have the evidence to make the case. Investing in mental healthcare is cost effective, saves lives, and enhances our economy.”

And in the third selection, Drs. Vicky Stergiopoulos and Stephen Hwang (both of the University of Toronto) mull violence and Toronto’s transit system. In an essay for the Toronto Star, they push past the headlines and suggest that we address core issues. They write: “Simply adding police officers and security guards on the TTC will not be sufficient. This is not a TTC problem but, rather, a whole system problem.”


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