I just finished reading “How Can I Help? A Week in My Life as a Psychiatrist” by David Goldbloom and Pier Bryden. Dr. Goldbloom brings the reader through a typical week in the life of a Canadian psychiatrist, from both a personal and professional perspective. I considered the book to be very fascinating; he touches upon some facts about mental health and although they are from 2016, I found them to be quite relevant today:
- One in five. That’s the number of Canadians each year who will experience some form of mental illness.
- Mental illnesses typically hit people in mid to late adolescence and young adulthood, just as they are coming into their own identities.
- The 3600 Canadians who die tragically by suicide each year, most commonly in the grip of mental illness, represent a small percentage of Canadians who live with these disorders year in, year out.
- In Ontario, where a third of the entire population lives, the most comprehensive study of illness burden has shown that mental illnesses and addictions represent one and a half times the burden of all cancers combined. (I had to read that one again!)
- Mental illnesses are the leading cause of disability requiring a leave of absence from work in both the private and public sector.
These bits of knowledge help to inform us; they help continue to wear away at the stigma of mental illness and move us towards acknowledging the importance of mental health initiatives and the need for increased resources in our country.
“How Can I Help?” flowed like a novel; bringing the reader through the stories of the people Dr. Goldbloom treated that week, whether it was in his own practice, the ECT lab, or the Emergency Room of Toronto’s busiest psychiatric emergency service. “How Can I Help?” is a worthy read.
Photo credit: Me!
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