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CAMH Stories Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health

How Can I Help? The week begins

February 25, 2016 - CAMH celebrated the launch of Dr. David Goldbloom’s new book, How can I help: A Week in My Life as a Psychiatrist, which hit store shelves on Tuesday, February 23. Dr. Goldbloom is Senior Medical Advisor at CAMH and a leading Canadian figure in the field of mental health.

Dr. David Goldbloom smiling

The book, co-authored by Dr. Pier Bryden, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at the SickKids Hospital, is a behind the scenes account of a week in Dr. Goldbloom’s  life, his daily encounters with patients, their families and staff.

“What motivated me to write the book is the fact that there is a lot of misunderstanding in the world about what it is psychiatrists really do and what psychiatrists are really like,” Goldbloom told the audience who gathered in the Sacred Space for the book signing.

Book cover

They are Us

Dr. Goldbloom says How Can I Help?  is about the interplay between his professional and his personal life and he uses his experiences at CAMH “as a springboard for talking about some of the bigger issues and controversies within psychiatry but never loosing site of patients.”

Reading an excerpt from the introduction, he recalls a brief encounter with a patient at the beginning of his clinical career. The patient is an old friend from university. He describes that encounter as an enduring reminder that ‘they’ are ‘us’.

“His voice, height, and smile coalesced immediately into an older gaunt phantom of the muscular twenty-something squash player who had won a healthy number of games off me during round-robins in university…We were a confident bunch in those days, encouraged by our education, our youth, and our health to think we would attain whatever life goals we set ourselves….It was clear from our discussion that whatever psychiatric disorder Andrew was suffering from had completely changed his life course.”

Dr. David Goldbloom signs copy of book

The patients profiled in the book are composites based on the thousands of patients Dr. Goldbloom has seen over the past three decades. Some patients gave permission to use their names and their stories in full. Some of those patients took part in the official book launch event at Ben McNally Books in Toronto.

Next, Dr. Goldbloom is going on a mini book tour. The publisher Simon and Schuster have a series of media interviews and appearances scheduled across the country over the next few months.

“What I hope the public takes away from this book is a better sense of what psychiatrists actually do versus the Hollywood stereotypes, a better sense of what people who happen to have psychiatric illnesses are like, what their journeys are like.”

"How can I help: A Week in My Life as a Psychiatrist" has been optioned for development as a dramatic television series. When asked who he would like to play him, David joked, “I asked for Richard Gere but they offered Richard Dreyfuss.”

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