Do You Want to be a Consumer or a Patient?

Last week, I was annoyed by a few newspaper articles in which those persons using health care services were called “consumers”. I’ve had enough of that. I want the people using health care services to be called “patients” again. What is a “consumer”? My Canadian Oxford Dictionary defines “consumer” as “a person who purchases goods…

Managing Bullying and Cyberbullying

Last week, I had the opportunity to speak at my hospital’s annual Child Psychiatry Education Day. My topic was Social Media and Your Child’s Mental Health. I was surprised at the number of questions there were. Apart from the public questions, many people came up after the talk to speak with me privately. Among this…

Driving and Marijuana

With the legalization of marijuana fast approaching (The Government of Canada is now saying “sometime this summer”), it was only a matter of time until one of my patients asked this question: “Dr. Beck, how much marijuana will I be able to use and still drive?” “I didn’t think you were driving yet.” “I’m not…

From Bedside to Bench

During all my years of practicing medicine, I have been close to research in the institutions where I worked. I have admired and assisted clinical researchers, but I had never felt inclined to join their ranks. When I became the Clinical Director of the Youth Program two years ago, however, that changed. With this new…

Book Review: The Weekend Effect

Ironically, I read the first two chapters of Katrina Onstad’s The Weekend Effect: The Life-Changing Benefits of Taking Time Off and Challenging the Cult of Overwork over short periods crammed into an especially busy month. I read about the results of her research addressing the question “What is a weekend?” on weekends with limited personal…

A Raincoat for Grief

Two weeks ago, I took my usual Saturday trip to Halifax to see my sister. I leave my home at 5:30 in the morning. I board a plane. I arrive in a city 1600 kilometres from home. I drive to a nursing home and spend the day with my sister, listening to her talking about…

A Primer on Gender

I am bewildered by the various gender designations currently recognized and described. As a psychiatrist who sees primarily adolescents, I must be able to understand what a person means when they tell me that they are non-binary transgender or two-spirit. Gender and gender roles were so restricted in my adolescence that when I wrote an…