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The Scottish solution

'Look good but feel crap?'

From Friday's Globe and Mail

Scotland is tackling mental illness head on, thanks to new legislation and high-profile, public-awareness campaigns ...Read the full article

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  1. Lynn-Marie Ramjass from Ajax, Canada writes: Why is Canada so slow to this cause? In all my readings these past nineteen years of living with bipolar depression, and all the information concerning the history of psychiatry and the mental health narratives of patients, it never ceases to amaze me why so many psychiatrists, mental health professionals, or health professionals in general, still flatly refuse to listen closely to their patients and learn from the patients and their experiences in having used these facilities.
  2. Steph C from Ottawa, Canada writes: I cannot believe that one of their strategies is to lower anti-depressant prescriptions. I guess medication is suffering from its own stigma in Scotland.

    You know, too many people are hospitalized for diabetes. I have an idea: Let's cut down on the use of insulin! Yeah, there'll be way fewer of these people in hospitals...because more will die. Or how about those people with cancer. If we could just get them to decrease their reliance on chemo and radiation, our stats should improve immensely. And don't get me started with the paraplegics and their wheelchairs.

    Give me a break!
  3. Autumn White from Ottawa, Canada writes: Steph C: I may have misunderstood the article, but I don't believe it was their strategy to cut down on the perscriptions, but rather a goal to see the prescriptions reduced - I understood that they would take this as a sign that early prevention, increased training/understanding, and awareness campaigns had helped to reduce the number of people who required the perscriptions - not that they would deny the perscriptions to people who might need them.

    It's like hoping to see the number of perscriptions for any disease drop because you're catching it earlier or preventing it entirely, thus removing the need for the drugs.

    I'm not sure how much sense that makes in terms of the various mental illnesses out there, as I'm woefully uneducated on the subject, but that was my understanding of that part of the article. :)

    Kudos to the Globe on this whole series, by the way. It's been a very interesting/enlightening read!
  4. hwee lim from Vancouver, Canada writes: Antidepressants simply disguise what lies underneath, the problem is not properly dealt with. Patients may appear less depressed or 'normal' but without counseling, he/she is not 'cured', just a fabricated version of self depending on those happy pills to survive. Like most of the medical problems, a quick fix is what we are looking for and what we usually get. It's encouraging to see the problem finally receiving some attention.
  5. Corrine Gritten from Canada writes: Those concerned with solving homelessness should take interest in the changes in mental health care in Scotland and other nations. Advocating an early care program and changes to how mental health is perceived may help countless mental health patients early in their lives thus reducing the numbers in this demographic, that, left untreated, risk joining the numbers of homeless already trying to survive on city streets throughout Canada.
  6. The Work Farce from Canada writes: The Scottish are covering all the angles - except the ones actually causing "mental illness". That horse left the barn decades ago.They are now doing damage control. The entire process of trying to prevent mental illness by dealing with the symptoms, not the root causes, is much like the huge efforts now being done to prevent global warming with a plethora of ineffectual changes, from new lightbulbs and cloth bags to corn-based fuel. The root causes of proliferating mental illness are, of course, like climate change, an out-of-control dog-eat-dog cutthroat economic system, along with break up of family units and loss of community. Fear, scarcity, greed, envy, intimidation and alienation. Not enough love, compassion and co-operation. But the $50 billion mental illness costs the Canadian economy is perceived as a small price to pay for growing the economy. The growing suicide rate is part of the cost of freedom and choice. Increasing numbers in prison is a small price to pay for a competitive economy. I don't see anything about mental illness in Denmark, Finland or Iceland. Bet the problem is much smaller than Scotland, England or Canada.
  7. M' edea from Canada writes: When all else fails, put the unemployable in a seniors centre; too old and frail and powerless to speak up, complain; too medicated and stigmatized themselves to be believed, and too abandoned by their busy families to have any advocate.

    Give them caretakers who are mentally ill, former convicts or those doing 'community' service, worker immigrants who can't speak English (so the deaf and blind or nearly so can't communicate).

    That's our solution. No matter how little you have going for you, don't despair, you can always get a job at a senior's care centre.
  8. ellen m from ontario, Canada writes: I am not holding my breath that anything is going to change after this series. god I wish I lived in scottland. Maybe I would have answers after 2yrs.

    if anyone familar with Margaret Truduea's story, didn't it take her something like 12 yrs to get stabilized she is my inspiration of hope.
    but I don't have 12yrs. I am really hoping the government will do something and take a look at the entire system.
    the services that are out there for us are not good in my eyes.... I have emailed a number different mental health services about needing help with things.....I have Never received a reply!
    I hope I will be proved wrong in how I am thinking all I know something HAS TO BE DONE!!
  9. annick aubert from toronto, Canada writes: In Kitchener, Ontario Canada (150 kilometres from Toronto?) Dr.David Heath is using a novel way of accessing adult psychiatry services, the schematic is on the web, seems simple enough. He calls the process the hazelglen services.
    Which hospital will have the courage to try it in Toronto ?
    Has the dear man ever been taken to court for trying to convince a very ill person to accept treatment ?
    Which newspaper, which television station will interview this man at length
    ?
    To be honest CAMH is trying something not too far removed with teenagers, why not do the same with adults ?

    Good for the Scots, I hope their jails do not have a single mentally ill person, and that their sidewalks are not lined with homeless people, but we may have access to treatment right under our noses.

    Why look to Scotland, New Zealand, Australia when we may have at least a huge improvement right in our neighbourhood. There is a French saying: Nul n'est prophete dans son pays.
  10. Ann Ig Norant from All right now it's warm enough, Canada writes: Weston W. A. Price who studied primitive societies all over the world discovered that the diet of peoples who were largely free of mental and physical diseases was simple, fresh, and largely uncooked foods which were gathered and eaten immediately, grown with natural fertilizers and without pesticides.

    Maybe not only our dog eat dog lifestyle but our very poor and chemical laden diet also contributes to our poor mental (and physical) health.

    I think also a lack of acknowledging our spiritual nature and spiritual needs is another contributing factor.
  11. Jenny Biggar from toronto, Canada writes: It is nearly impossible to feel like crap while looking good. All you have to do is not move, not speak, and look interested in other people who look good.

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