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Mental health crises are a prevalent issue on many indigenous reserves across the country, especially for youth. Current mental health resources available to these communities are not only scarce, but mainly emphasize reactive treatment versus prevention. Mental health services reaching these areas often have high staff turnover and short-term shifts for personnel. As a result, impactful therapeutic relationships are hard to come by. The issue is complicated by the fact that many of the common mental health issues experienced by members of indigenous communities, such as sexual abuse, substance abuse, or depression, cannot be effectively resolved in a short time frame. Thus, novel strategies need to not only focus on acute mental health, but need to address the many factors that precipitate these crises such as inadequate housing, poor drinking water, and other social determinants of health. It’s time to focus on prevention.
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Since being hospitalized on a 5150 hold, where individuals are detained in hospital for up to 72 hours for further psychiatric assessment, Kanye West has been a trending topic on various social media pages as people around the world begin to weigh in on the topic.
A scroll through Twitter revealed comments such as:
- "Kanye in hospital with temporary psychosis, name one genius that ain't crazy?"
- "Kanye West is said to be recovering well in hospital after a nine hour operation to remove his head from his arsehole."
- "Kanye west, Kid Cudi and Orlando Brown should drop a mixtape called Asylum."
- "Kanye West cancels tour amidst public temper tantrums and emotional instability. His bid for the White House 2020 is shaping up nicely."
- "Kanye west hospitalized, our thoughts go out to all the hospital staff at this difficult time."
It's remarkable that in those early days following the news breaking how few comments there were empathizing or sending messages of hope, strength, or recovery; rather, social media pages were filled more with comments minimizing, joking, or making diagnostic presumptions with little but a TMZ report or personal opinions to base it on.
In the article below, reporter Andre Picard is quick to remind us all of a few powerful messages regarding mental health that really should be what we take away from West and other celebrities' such hospitalizations. The first, that mental illness does not discriminate; it affects 1 in 5 individuals each year and sometimes this even includes celebrities; they are human and are no more immune to mental illness than we ourselves are. The second, that mental illness is no laughing or joking matter; it can significantly affect one's daily function, livelihood, and of course their family and relationships. By minimizing or making fun of West's recent hospitalization and mental stability we only serve to perpetuate stigma and make light of the pain and suffering that others who have once lived through or experienced similar difficulties have . Thirdly, be cautious of playing doctor or therapist and giving your own diagnostic impression. It is unfair to make a diagnosis given the limited information or relating it simply to West's recent comments regarding Donald Trump or his "creativity". Be mindful and simply consider how you would react to such messages should you or a loved one be faced with a similar situation. For anyone, being involuntary detained in hospital for psychiatric assessment can be a terrifying, confusing, and ultimately distressing time.
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The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) provides a variety of free, online resources that may be helpful for patients, families, and the general public. Quick, online tutorials offer a great introduction to a variety of mental health issues for those interested in learning more. A practical resource to keep in your back pocket!
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Dr. Sherwin B. Nuland was a renowned physician who practiced surgery for more than thirty years, in addition to teaching at Yale School of Medicine, his alma mater, and penning over a dozen books many of which explored lessons he had learned through his career in medicine. One of his books, "How We Die: Reflections on Life's Final Chapter ", won numerous accolades as Nuland explored the concept of death with dignity.
What many may not know about Dr. Nuland, who passed away in 2014, was that he struggled with severe depression in the midst of his surgical career in the 1970s. Dr. Nuland spent time in psychiatric institutions, and tried various antidepressants, however none were successful and his mental illness seemed refractory to traditional treatments. Though staff psychiatrists suggested a pre-frontal lobotomy as the next step, a resident suggested electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) instead, a treatment method that had become less popular since the introduction of pharmaceuticals, but could be beneficial and came without the consequences of a lobotomy that may affect his medical career.
In this powerful and must watch TED talk, Dr. Nuland discusses the history and development of ECT, as well as shares his story of "relief, redemption and second chances" as he describes how ECT helped treat the depression which was so severe that it had rendered him essentially non-functional.
Supporting and enhancing students' and health professionals' knowledge and understanding of mental health and psychiatry