From the Editor
He explained to me that he has often been in the “system” – in and out of correctional institutions (and hospitals and shelters) – since he was first diagnosed with schizophrenia in his late adolescence, with charges like failure to appear. The story is too familiar.
How common is recidivism with those who have mental disorders like my patient? What’s a way forward? In the first selection, Michael Lebenbaum (of the University of Toronto) and his co-authors try to answer these questions in a new paper for The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. Drawing on Ontario administrative databases, they conducted a population-based cohort study with a sample of almost 46 000 people. They find: “Despite a high risk of recidivism and acute MHA [mental health and addiction] utilization post-release, we found low access to MHA outpatient care, highlighting the necessity for greater efforts to facilitate access to care and care integration for individuals with mental health needs in correctional facilities.” We consider the paper and its clinical implications.
In the second selection, the authors detail different aspects of mental health services and the rise of virtual care in recent years. This new CIHI report highlights physician services. They note the general increase of virtual care with the start of the pandemic: “in 2019–2020, virtual services accounted for 4% of mental health services provided by physicians, while in 2020–2021, they accounted for 57%.” They also consider income (by analyzing neighbourhood data) and geography.
And in the third selection, Dr. Kwame McKenzie (of the University of Toronto) writes about the health care system in a new Toronto Star essay. While many focus on public versus private provision, Dr. McKenzie sees this debate as a diversion from more fundamental issues. He argues: “If we do not focus on right-sizing the health service and building in redundancy, it is only a matter of time before we see the system crashing.”