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…

Violence in Mental Health

My work is full of violent actions – my violent actions against others. I have chased youth. I have called codes to have others restrain them. I have completed paperwork so that they can be picked up by the police. Many times, because of documents I have written, young people have been picked up by…

Learning Disabilities

I was twenty-one years old when I first truly understood learning disabilities. I was in my clinical clerkship at McGill University in a psychiatry rotation. One of the patients I was following had dyslexia. Like every good medical student, I read everything I could about the condition. But it was the definition that was personal…

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…

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…

Just Ask

I consider myself to be a very fortunate doctor because I do not often have to deal with the death of my patients. My patients usually recover from their illnesses and, because they are young, I am often able to see them live out the promise of their lives. The deaths in my practice, however,…