A humane behind-the-scenes account of a week in the life of a psychiatrist at one of Canada’s leading mental health hospitals. How Can I Help? takes us to the frontlines of modern psychiatric care.
How Can I Help? portrays a week in the life of Dr. David Goldbloom as he treats patients, communicates with families, and trains staff at CAMH, the largest psychiatric facility in Canada. This highly readable and touching behind-the-scenes account of his daily encounters with a wide range of psychiatric concerns—from his own patients and their families to Emergency Department arrivals—puts a human face on an often misunderstood area of medical expertise. From schizophrenia and borderline personality disorder to post-traumatic stress syndrome and autism, How Can I Help? investigates a range of mental issues.
What is it like to work as a psychiatrist now? What are the rewards and challenges? What is the impact of the suffering—and the recovery—of people with mental illness on families and the clinicians who treat them? What does the future hold for psychiatric care?
How Can I Help? demystifies a profession that has undergone profound change over the past twenty-five years, a profession that is often misunderstood by the public and the media, and even by doctors themselves. It offers a compassionate, realistic picture of a branch of medicine that is entering a new phase, as increasingly we are able to decode the mysteries of the brain and offer new hope for sufferers of mental illness.
About the authors
David Goldbloom, MD, is Senior Medical Advisor, Education and Public Affairs, at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. He has attended Harvard University, Oxford University as Rhodes Scholar, and McGill University, where he trained in medicine and psychiatry. In 2007, he was appointed Vice-Chair of the Mental Health Commission of Canada, and subsequently served as Chair from 2012–2015. He is a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto, has authored over 100 scientific articles, and given countless talks and lectures. He has received numerous awards for his outstanding contribution to the field of psychiatry, including the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. He has been elected a Distinguished Fellow of both the Canadian Psychiatric Association and the American Psychiatric Association, and in 2014, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada.
Beyond his professional responsibilities, David Goldbloom is immediate past Chair of the Board of Governors of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival of Canada and current Chancellor of its Senate. He is also a former member of the Board of Directors of the Glenn Gould Foundation and former President of the Off Centre Music Salon, a professional chamber music ensemble.
Pier Bryden, MD is a psychiatrist, clinical teacher, and educator in the Department of Psychiatry at The Hospital for Sick Children and the Pre-clerkship Director of Undergraduate Medical Education and Associate Professor at the University of Toronto. She has attended the University of Toronto, Oxford University, and McMaster University, where she studied medicine before completing a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry and women’s mental health. She has served as Canadian Liaison to the Ethics Committee of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, where her research focused on medical professionalism in education as well as the ethical and legal treatment of children and adolescents with psychiatric disorders. She is an editor of Ars Medica, a medical literary journal published by the University of Toronto Press.
Excerpt: How Can I Help?: A Week in My Life as a Psychiatrist (by (author) David Goldbloom & Pier Bryden)
“Here in the early 21st century, Goldbloom and Bryden show us why mind still matters—and so does Psychiatry. This book is a richly woven account of how a psychiatrist thinks and feels while bringing knowledge and wisdom to the care of his patients. A great read for those whose lives or families have been touched in some way by mental disorders, in other words, for all of us.”
William G. Honer, M.D., Professor and Head, Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia
“Mental illness is shrouded in secrecy, shame and fear. Drs. Goldbloom and Bryden do a brilliant job of de-stigmatizing psychiatry and its patients. What does mental illness look like and sound like? Can people truly be helped? Cured? What do we really know about the causes of mental illness? Their answers are honest, moving and hopeful.”
Valerie Pringle, Broadcaster and Mental Health Advocate
"The book conveys...the human drama that shapes the practice of psychiatry."
Canadian Journal of Psychiatry
“Goldbloom and Bryden have teamed up to describe a week in the life of a heroic healer who has the grace and dignity to acknowledge his limitations. They clearly convey Goldbloom’s compassion, wisdom and emphasis on the practical care of his patients, as well as his frustrations at the limits of current treatments. Their chapter on electro-convulsive therapy is probably the best ever written on this topic.”
Paul Garfinkel, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Staff Psychiatrist, CAMH, Officer of the Order of Canada
“One in five Canadians every year suffers from mental illness or addiction. This book is wise, thoughtful, and funny. It will touch your heart and change your mind.”
“If you want to know how psychiatry is practiced today, this eloquently written book will tell you. Offering a balance between psychiatry’s triumphs and limitations, it is the perfect antidote to the stigma carried by mental illness, and to distorted perceptions of physicians who care for these patients.”
Joel Paris, M.D., Author of The Intelligent Clinician’s Guide to DSM-5, Professor of Psychiatry, McGill University
“This book is the education we need as a society to both understand what mental illness is and the crucial role psychiatry plays. With humour and humanity, Drs. Goldbloom and Bryden break down the myths that prevent people from getting treatment and trusting their doctors. This is a fascinating read.”
Clara Hughes, Olympic Gold Medalist and Mental Health Advocate
“Goldbloom’s genuine and sensitive engagement with his patients is moving to behold.”
The Globe and Mail
“Terrific, really wonderful. How Can I Help? gives an excellent view of the genuine practice of psychiatry: its compassion and science, its limits and gifts, its medical and humanistic roots. It is also so well-written that it makes reading a pleasure.”
Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
“In How Can I Help?, Drs. Goldbloom and Bryden uniquely capture how rich and compelling the world of clinical psychiatry can be. Through the lens of personal experience the authors vividly illustrate the many challenges and rewards of clinical practice for current and future physicians. A truly thoughtful and captivating book.”
L. Trevor Young, M.D., Dean, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto