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CAMH Stories Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health

Time to reflect and plan

What is the future of psychiatry? The World Psychiatric Association and journal The Lancet Psychiatry set out to explore this question, bringing together a team of mental health professionals, researchers, and service users who examined where psychiatry has been, its current status and its potential future.

In advance of World Mental Health Day, October 10, they produced the Commission on the Future of Psychiatry, a comprehensive article on the state of mental health, which includes CAMH’s Dr. Kwame McKenzie as a co-author. Many CAMH initiatives are referred to in the six key areas the commission reviews: patients, health care systems, mental health law, digital mental health and training for psychiatrists.

For instance, the study of school-based mental health literacy program in Nicaragua, led by Dr. Arun Ravindran, was highlighted as a program with cross-cultural adaptability. Initially developed in Canada, the Nicaraguan program was also effective in improving students’ knowledge of mental health, their coping skills and resilience, and in reducing stigma. 

In describing how psychiatry has changed, some of the examples mentioned include:

  • approaches to working with people who are homeless, reflecting the research of Dr. Vicky Stergiopoulos
  • the recognition of links between urbanization and social capital on mental health, an area of expertise of Kwame
  • how healthcare providers need to look at patients’ social situation and resources in developing care, as cognitive remediation research by Dr. Sean Kidd has done

The way that psychiatrists are trained has also changed. It will likely be necessary to be able to use telepsychiatry (Dr. Allison Crawford) and patients will have a growing role in residency training (Dr. Sacha Agrawal, Pat Capponi). 

Telepsychiatry session
At CAMH, the telepsychiatry program has evolved into a province-wide service that is increasingly integrated with local and regional provincial health systems.

And reference to the fact that mental illness and substance use disorders are the leading cause of years lived with disability, reflects the work of many, including Dr. Jürgen Rehm and other researchers in CAMH’s Institute for Mental Health Policy Research.

The full article is free of charge at:


Published on October 10, 2017

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