Saturday, June 21, 2008

An astounding series on mental health disorders

I'm visiting family in Montreal, and the Globe and Mail came with the room today.

I've read the G&M before. It's a duller version of the Wall Street Journal, without the journalism. I didn't expect anything.

So I really was astounded by their special series on mental health: Breakdown: Canada's Mental Health Crisis.

The title is misleading, there's nothing particularly Canadian about the stories. The portrayal of schizophrenia (let us honor the Bigelow family) and David Golbloom's review of the mission of the Mental Health Commission of Canada are among the best writings on mental health I've seen anywhere.

The G&M has excellent journalists. I never suspected.

Canada's imperfect health care system gets knocked by people who don't read outcomes research, but it's vastly better than the America's non-system when it comes to delivering services to the underclass*. Canada is also quite good at "commissions"; Canada evolved the endless commission as an alternative to civil war. So the Mental Health commission may have an impact both in Canada and the US:
...People living with mental illness have the right to obtain the services and supports they need. They have the right to be treated with the same dignity and respect as we accord everyone struggling to recover from any form of illness.

The goal of the Mental Health Commission of Canada is to help bring into being an integrated mental health system that places people living with mental illness at its centre.

To this end, the Commission encourages cooperation and collaboration among governments, mental health service providers, employers, the scientific and research communities, as well as Canadians living with mental illness, their families and caregivers...
The world changes in the strangest ways. Decades of slow progress, regression and failure, then suddenly the world flips about. And that's just "gay marriage".

Progress does happen. We may be entering a new cultural model of cognition, cognitive disability, and cognitive variability.

* In defense of America, Canada has nothing like the Americans with Disabilities Act. There are things Canada could learn from the US.

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