It’s Not Your Fault

I am thinking about families today, and especially the families of those who have attempted or completed suicide. Suicide is the most serious consequence of having a mental illness and a suicide attempt and suicidal thoughts are always reminders of how dangerous a mental illness can be. When someone dies of a suicide attempt, those…

Mental Health Measures Anyone Can Do

There’s something about the Samaritan’s #LittleThings campaign that really appeals to me. Every time I see or read their suggestions and material, I am reminded that the best public health measures are simple and straightforward. They are also easy to remember and often easy to manage, so I decided to offer three suggestions, taken from…

Opioid Crisis 2018

There were 2861 apparent opioid-related deaths in 2017 and that number is expected to increase to approximately 4000 deaths in the coming year. The question is: Can this number predict at all how many new resources will be needed to improve the prevention of opioid-related deaths? Will we be able at least to stem the…

The Curator

I am desperate to understand why I cannot keep my desk clear. It is as if the objects that accumulate there have a life of their own. At Christmas, I took two weeks off. One snowy day in late December, I sorted through the piles of paper and organized the piles of books. By the…

Keeping Memories

We want our holiday memories to be good memories. If something bad happens, many people worry that this will affect the holiday every year into the future. What can you do about this? Isn’t there a way to have a choice about this? What do you do with someone on what is likely to be…

Anamnesis

What do you remember from your childhood? How far back do you remember? I believe that I have memories from the second house I lived in, close to downtown Pembroke, Ontario where I was born. In my memory, I am with my older cousin who is taking me to a Lumber Kings hockey game. I…

How to Manage a Suicide Pact

Recently at a Montreal high school, 62 high school students made a suicide pact. As the story broke last week, the Montreal Gazette revealed that school officials had determined the three people who started the pact, who claimed that it was a prank. The article also quoted a school official as saying that “some of…

Black Box

What happens when memories are triggered when you least expect them? In my current life, practicing psychiatry, I usually think of triggering as something negative and difficult, but what happens when something positive and affirming is recalled? This week, I was in Montreal on a cold November evening for the first time in thirty years.…