In an article published by the Walrus magazine, CAMH's Dr. Kwame McKenzie writes about the controversial new fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
A year ago, at the end of a University of Toronto lecture on mental health promotion, I asked 400 medical students whether they would be content if psychiatrists moved them from being distraught to a state of “normal unhappiness.” My mentor had asked me the same question when I began my training. The concept of normal unhappiness helped me accept that things were not always going to go well, and it also helped me understand my role as a psychiatrist: to intervene when time alone could not heal, and when my patients and their families or their communities could not cope. This concept of normal unhappiness has long been the standard in therapy courses, and I have raised it with my own students on and off for the past twenty-five years. That day, though, it was on my mind for other reasons.
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