Wednesday August 09, 2017

Wit's End: understanding mental illness, Part 2


Listen to Full Episode 54:00

What's it like to go mad and be crazy, living at wit's end? First comes diagnosis, followed by treatment. Then there's stigma and stereotyping. This two-part series looks at mental illness, past and present, theory and practice, from asylums to labs in neuroscience. Marilyn Powell talks to those dealing with mental illness with their own truth to tell. **This episode originally aired June 27, 2016.


Depression -- not your ordinary, everyday variety that goes away -- but major, clinical, life-threatening depression. Just how do you do to restore someone to their lives? 

We've come a long way from asylums to labs in neuroscience. This program is about treatment, not only for depression, but for other forms of mental illness. New and old treatments. 

"In the throes of depression, you are in agonizing pain, and you are paralyzed to move to do anything about it. Everybody knows what being really low is like. And I think that's why there's such stigma, projecting: "Just Snap out of it!" But primary depressed patients - you know, people with a major depressive illness - if you can snap out, you can't sustain it. And, in these very intractible patients, the machinery you need, every fail-safe mechanism, every backdoor is inaccessible. You are stuck."-- Neurologist Helen Mayberg speaking about major, clinical depression

Guests in the program:

  • Daniel Blumberger, psychiatrist and scientist, Clinician Scientist in the Brain Stimulation and Geriatric Mental Health Progras, head of the Late-Life Mood Disorders Clinic, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto
  • Tom Churchill, retired, living with major, clinical depression
  • Deanna Cole-Benjamin, nurse, sufferer of major, clinical depression, Clinical Educator Mental Health Program, Kingston General Hospital, Part-time Faculty, St. Lawrence College, Kingston
  • John P.M. Court, historian and archivist, CAMH Achives, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto
  • Jonathan Downar, neuroscientist and specialist in non-invasive brain stimulation, psychiatrist, Toronto Western Hospital, Co-Director of the MRI-Guided rTMS Clinic, the University Health Network, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto
  • Helen Mayberg, neurologist, Professor , Psychiatry, Neuroimaging and Therapeutics, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory University, Altlanta
  • Andrew Scull, sociologist, Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Science Studies, University of California, San Diego, author of Madness in Civilization: a Cultural History of Insanity
  • Kevin Healey, host, the Hearing Voices Café, Toronto
  • Mark Solms, psychoanalyst and neuropsychologist, holds the Chair of Neuropsychology, University of Cape Town and Groote Schuur Hospital, President of the South African Psycoanalytical  Association, co-founder of the journal Neuropsychoanalysis, author of The Feeling Brain: Selected Papers on Neurospychoanalysis

Reading List:

  • Madhouses, Mad-Doctors and Madmen: the Social History of Psychiatry in the Victorian Era, editor and contributor Andrew Scull, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016
  • "Why depression feels bad" by Mark Solms in New Horizons in the Neorscience of Consciousness, E. Perry, D. Collerton, F. LeBeau & H. Ashton edds., 2010, pp. 169-179
  • The Brain and the Inner World: an Introduction to the Neuroscience of the Subjective Experience by Mark Solms, Other Press

Related Websites:

WEB EXTRA | Mindscape: An Interview with Helen Mayberg, MD 

WEB EXTRA | Living with my Voices: Interview with Kevin Healey 

**This series was produced by Sara Wolch