Harvard Proves What I Already Knew

Ref: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/healthnews.php?newsid=44315

A Harvard Medical School survey has found that Canadians are healthier than Americans, have better health-care access than Americans and are generally more satisfied with their medical services than their southern neighbours.

Well, tell me something I don’t already know. Of course it is—Canadians get basic health coverage free, whether they are employed, unemployed, on welfare, or disabled. It doesn’t cost a dime to walk into a doctor’s office and get looked at. Granted, we could use a lot more doctors and other issues that must be dealt with, but overall we’re taking care of ourselves a lot better than the Americans do.

We need to keep this in mind when Ralph Klein and his ilk want to start tinkering with medicare.

It’s my theory that Canada’s universal health care is one of the reasons that the crime rate is low compared with that of the United States. Not being able to go to the doctor when you’re sick is traumatic and induces feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and desperation. And that’s a recipe for violence and acting out. People want respect and a sense that they matter. Universal health care is one of the ways a healthy society cares for its citizens.

I also sense threads relating to the issues raised by Dr. Frederick Hickling. American society is not providing the necessities of life for all of its citizens. If American society were a parent, it would be charged with neglience and abuse. Is this not a form of cultural mental illness? And don’t the victims suffer like victims everywhere: post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety disorders, crushed self-esteem, and that all-pervading sense that no one gives a damn.

And that’s a damn shame.

Bipolar Disorder and Children

The Current has an interesting piece on bipolar illness and children. Sadly, this is an issue that we need to be educated on—Bri’s family history includes bipolar, schizophrenia, melancholia, as well as panic and anxiety disorders.

Dr. Chandler, a pediatric psychiatrist in Nova Scotia, has a web page with pamplets on pediatric psychiatry. I haven’t read them yet, but will comment when I do.

I hate that I have to think about this. And that’s something I’m going to have to let go of.

The Southern Hemisphere is Burning

Check out http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/online_map_forest_fires.html

The map of the world’s forest fires is quite interesting. First thing I noticed is that our southern hemishphere: South America, Africa, Southeast Asia—is on fire. Why are there fires clustered in these places?

Here are some of my guesses:

  • There’s not enough forest in the northern hemisphere to burn
  • Farmers clearing forest for farmland
  • El Nino and other atmospheric effects
  • Drought
  • Lightning Strikes
  • ?

I’m curious to see what kind of analysis comes out of comparing the year-by-year data. What are the trends? Why is there a hot spot in Portugal?

We haven’t even gotten to what we can or should do about it.

One of the things I now realize about my birth country, the USA, is that most Americans are completely myopic when it comes to their world—they are very focused on themselves and don’t stop to appreciate that other people, other nations have different points of view and different experiences. I was guilty too, in spite of my very left leaning tendencies. Coming to Canada has shown me what it’s like to live in a society that does not collectively have that issue. It is a profound but subtle difference.
It reminds me of the interview with Dr. Frederick Hickling that I heard on CBC Radio’s Sunday Edition yesterday. He kind of blew me away with his completely different perspective on the world. He was talking about Columbus on his way to “discover” the Americas. I am paraphrasing from memory—
Columbus was mad. If you read his journals, it shows that he had a god complex, extreme narcisscism—he was on a mission from God and thought it was his right to take ownership of an entire land, its resources, and its people. We call people who do this thieves and psychopaths and sociopaths. And entire races of people have been victimized and traumatized and in need of psychological healing.

Basically, he has diagnosed European colonialism as mental illness and challenges the rest of the world to treat it as such.

How do you put a culture into therapy? You talk about it publicly. He’s a real-life Dr. Frasier Crane, doing therapy on a live radio call-in show. He told the story of a woman who called in who was stuck in an abusive relationship. He worked with her to help her uncover the reasons why she felt she should put up with living like this. And how being black in a non-inclusive society was a significant contributor to her low self-esteem.

It seems obvious when he puts it that way. I also like it because he’s talking about mental health, which does not get the funding or attention of other health disorders. And his cure is talking, communicating, understanding, not drugging.

And do we think George Bush is going to accept a diagnosis of “grandiose delusions”? Not likely. But at least we can talk about it.

BSG 2.11 – The Plot Thickens

For those of you who don’t already know, my latest media obsession is the absolutely awesome Battlestar Galactica. While we were at Mike & Nicole’s house yesterday, Bryan said, in front of witnesses, that he didn’t care if I watched the episodes without him. Being a person who takes others at their word, when Bryan fell asleep putting Brianna to bed, I popped in season 2, episode 11, the continuation of the Pegasus storyline.


Continue reading