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Reading of the Week: Are Those with Mental Illness at More Risk of COVID? Also, a Podcast on Apps (QT) and Horton on Advocacy & Doctors (Macleans)

From the Editor

Are people with mental illness more likely to contract COVID-19? Are they at greater risk of dying?

With the pandemic in its eighth month, we think we have answers to these questions, but data is lacking. In the first selection, we consider a new paper, just published in World Psychiatry. QuanQiu Wang (of Case Western Reserve) and her co-authors analyzed a nation‐wide database of electronic health records of 61 million American patients, aiming to assess the impact of mental illness. “These findings identify individuals with a recent diagnosis of a mental disorder as being at increased risk for COVID‐19 infection, which is further exacerbated among African Americans and women, and as having a higher frequency of some adverse outcomes of the infection.”

coronavirus-covid-19-updates-for-canadians

In the second selection, we consider a new podcast discussing digital tools. I talk with Dr. John Torous (of Harvard University). We discuss apps and mental health. And, yes, he has tips on how to pick apps for your patients and their families.

Finally, in the third selection, we look at a new essay by Dr. Jillian Horton (of the University of Manitoba). Should doctors “stay in their lanes?” She argues against the idea, championing a new activism. “So, to my brothers and sisters in medicine: forget about staying in our lane. This is our call to flood the freeways. We cannot stay parked in neutral. There is no more time.”

Please note: there will be no Reading next week.

DG

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Reading of the Week: Mental Health’s Funding Problem – the New Wang Paper; Also, the Life of Jimmie Holland

From the Editor

As we start 2018, additional funding for mental health care is widely discussed.

But what are current funding levels? How have they changed over the past decade? Which provinces are funding more and which are funding less? A new paper just published by The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry attempts to answer these questions. While the paper looks at different aspects of funding, it reaches a surprising conclusion: between 2003 and 2013, “the percentage of mental health costs with respect to total provincial public health care expenditures decreased overall…”

In this Reading, we review that paper and consider the broader implications.

In the second selection, we consider the life and contributions of Dr. Jimmie Holland, who recently passed. Dr. Holland has been called the “mother” of psycho-oncology.

DG

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