Message from Dr. Sidney Kennedy

Message from Dr. Sidney Kennedy (Newsletter Issue 5)

Recent news of suicides by admired celebrities, Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, has affected us all. Early last month, in an interview with the National Post, I was asked to comment on the link between mental illnesses, including depression, and suicide, and why those who “have it all” would die by suicide. The fact is, suicide remains very hard predict, and the relationship between depression and suicide is complex. Depression can lead to suicide in some, but not all, cases. Much more research needs to be done to better understand and prevent depression and suicide. At the same time, we need to keep encouraging open conversations about mental health and foster a culture of understanding. This includes supporting those who have lost someone to suicide, which Dr. Sakina Rizvi of St. Michael’s Hospital’s Arthur Sommer Rotenberg Suicide and Depression Studies unit, discussed in this CBC article. I urge everyone to get informed about depression treatment options and suicide prevention support resources. Here are a few good places to start:

Suicide prevention support

Information on depression treatments

  • The CHOICE-D Patient and Family Guide to Depression Treatment is available for free, here. The guide contains information about medications, psychological treatments, brain stimulation treatments and complementary & alternative treatments. The guide also includes information on how to start a conversation with your doctor about depression symptoms. Learn more about the resource here.

I invite you to read the CAN-BIND team’s updates in this newsletter issue, and to keep learning about latest discoveries in mood disorders. Notably, there is a lot of momentum in the area of artificial intelligence for mental health care, including the prediction and prevention of suicide. There is also growing public interest in the human microbiome and its effects on mood, which was the topic of a recent BBC documentary series featuring CAN-BIND’s Dr. Jane Foster. Further, CAN-BIND researchers, Drs. Daniel Blumberger, Jeff Daskalakis and Jonathan Downar published in the Lancet last month on a three-minute version of a brain stimulation therapy for treatment-resistant depression. The study was co-led by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and the Krembil Research Institute, University Health Network. This short treatment was found to be as effective as the standard 37-minute treatment, which is likely to translate into shorter waiting times for those seeking this treatment.

Lastly, I’d like to extend a special thank you to many first-time readers of the CAN-BIND Quarterly, who signed up to receive our newsletters at one of our recent events. Welcome to the CAN-BIND community!

Wishing everyone a safe and happy summer,

Sid Kennedy