Category Archives: Mental health

The flagpole and the flag

THE FLAGPOLE AND THE FLAG (SVP, voir plus bas pour la version Française) A flagpole stays in its place while the flag keeps changing position. Such is the way of logic and emotion. These two parts of our minds are in a constant dance for control. They can work together as allies and take us [...]

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Troubled loners

(SVP, voir plus bas pour la version Française) Life can be filled with moments of pure joy at times – the birth of a child, the warmth of love, the goose bumps felt when listening to music that inspires you – but unfortunately tragedy and grief are also part of the human experience. We witnessed [...]

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Luka Magnotta, Schizophrenia, and the public’s perception of violence

It appears that Luka Magnotta’s lawyer will be arguing that his client is not criminally responsible in the murder and dismemberment of Lin Jun because he is suffering from Schizophrenia. I will wait until the evidence gets out before commenting on the specific case but since next week is Mental Illness Awareness Week I thought [...]


200 and counting. I’m still big in Bulgaria!

In today’s Journal Métro is my 200th column. I started in September 2005 and this blog started a couple of years after that. My blog posts are mostly elaborated versions of what I put in my column with a few assorted random postings thrown in. Every other week I scratch my head wondering what I’m [...]

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Betting on happiness

This is mental health awareness week. It is a week when we focus on general well-being in all of us as opposed to discussing illnesses as we do during mental illness week in October. In that spirit I wrote the following article for today’s edition of Métro. Betting on happiness (Source: Le bonheur à tout [...]

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Free and informed consent

Making decisions is not as straightforward as we assume, especially when emotions are clouding our state of mind. When I chaired the Douglas Institute’s clinical ethics committee the issue of consent came up many times. It is an important issue in psychiatry because the illnesses sometimes force us to make decisions against the will of [...]

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Suck it up and move on: PTSD and what not to do

We were all saddened by the recent apparent suicide of Master Corporal Sylvain Lelièvre of the Canadian Forces. It was the fourth reported suicide this past week alone. Every suicide is complex and we can never know exactly which factors go into one person’s decision. Mood is affected by our temperament, our biological makeup, and [...]


Pig depression

Here is what I published in today’s Metro column: Pig Depression (Source: Dépression porcine: Journal Métro, November 05, 2013) Voir plus bas pour la version Française. Do animals feel the same things we do? Well, I suppose that if emotions evolved in humans in order to increase their chance of survival, the same must be [...]

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They’re not like us: Stigma, mental illness and groupthink

It is mental illness awareness week. You may have noticed that I don’t often focus directly on mental illnesses per se. I prefer to focus on our general human nature. The greatest compliment I get is when someone says, “Hey, you wrote about me today!” This is because I try to show how character traits and [...]

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My brain chemicals are out of whack!

I don’t know about you but I’ve never understood what is meant by the phrase “chemical imbalance.” Pharmaceutical companies use the term as a means of describing depression. It gives the condition a medical-sounding cause, which of course requires a medical-sounding treatment (such as the pill they happen to sell). Before I go any further, [...]

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