A. Picazo: On assisted death and psychological suffering

This column was published at Maclean’s on March 28, 2017 In 2015, a landmark ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the federal ban on physician-assisted suicide, solidifying the charter right of competent, consenting adults who are “suffering intolerably as a result of a grievous and irremediable medical condition” the right to die ...

The Canadian Progressive: Mental illness the go-to excuse for white men committing acts of terrorism against people of color

The label “mental illness”, when referred to white men who’ve committed acts of terrorism against people of color, downplays racism and elicits sympathy for the bigoted murderer, argues Zenobia Jeffries, YES! Magazine’s racial justice associate editor. The post Mental illness the go-to excuse for white men committing acts of terrorism against people of color appeared ...

Montreal Simon: The Abominable Cruelty of Rona Ambrose

As you may know, I have absolutely no respect for Rona Ambrose, the monstrous leader of the Harper Party.I can't forget how that cruel Con put her inhuman ideology before the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in this country.By trying to close down the Insite clinic in Vancouver, and making it almost impossible ...

My journey with AIDS…and more!: Meanderings of a mental health client in good company

Originally posted on My journey with AIDS…and more!: Would it be much of a surprise, even to the casual reader, that I am a mental health client? I have been since soon after my conclusive HIV diagnosis in 1990, although I wish now that I had sought such accompaniment long before then. It started…

centre of the universe: Frozone

I have Seasonal Affective Disorder. I have, in the past, taken medications to deal with some of the symptoms. I have used light therapy (I had this great doctor who had therapeutic lamps in his office and I could just stop in a few times a week to read/study under them). I make sure to…

Montreal Simon: Sammy Yatim and the Legacy of Hope

In one of my last posts I looked at the tragic case of Sammy Yatim who was killed on a Toronto streetcar by police officer James Forcillo.Who shot the troubled teenager barely a minute after arriving on the scene, rather than take the time to negotiate a peaceful resolution.And now I want to know why ...

Montreal Simon: Sammy Yatim and the Day of Justice

It's been three years and one day since 18-year-old Sammy Yatim was shot to death on a Toronto streetcar by police officer James Forcillo.But yesterday his killer was finally sentenced.A Toronto police officer who gunned down a troubled teen on an empty streetcar three years ago abused his authority in a way that undermines public trust ...

Montreal Simon: Why the Liberal Government is Defending Bill C-14 So Strongly

Because I know a lot about death, and I've seen a lot of people die, some of my friends have been coming up to me and asking the same question:Why is Justin Trudeau's government clinging so stubbornly to its assisted dying bill C14?My blogging friend Kirby Evans asks the same question here.And my answer to ...

Montreal Simon: The Police Murder of Sammy Yatim: The Shocking Verdict

It's one of the most bizarre verdicts I've ever seen. A Toronto police officer is found guilty of attempted murder for shooting a troubled teenager on a streetcar.But not guilty of murder. Even though he killed him.Read more »

The Disaffected Lib: The Danger of the Lone Wolf

Canada’s had its share of lone wolf terrorism.  In fact, most of the worst incidents have been the work of lone wolf terrorists.  They’re loners, often unhinged and looking for whatever “cause” they can latch onto.  Then they grab a gun or a car and make headlines for opportunistic politicians like our prime minister to ...

drive-by planet: RCMP backtracking on release of video by Ottawa shooter Zehaf-Bibeau reeks of political influence

After we were told the video made by Ottawa shooter Michael Zehaf-Bibeau would be made available to the public, the RCMP has changed its mind, or had it changed for them. RCMP commissioner Bob Paulson wasn’t exactly clear on the specifics. He said there may be a release of “some aspects of a transcript of ...

drive-by planet: RCMP backtracking on release of video by Ottawa shooter Zehaf-Bibeau reeks of political influence

After we were told the video made by Ottawa shooter Michael Zehaf-Bibeau would be made available to the public, the RCMP has changed its mind, or had it changed for them. RCMP commissioner Bob Paulson wasn’t exactly clear on the specifics. He said there may be a release of “some aspects of a transcript of ...

drive-by planet: Ottawa puppet masters

Montreal Simon: Robin Williams and the Demon Depression

He was such a funny man, he made so many people laugh. Which only made his sad death even more shocking. Robin Williams, the versatile actor whose madcap comic style made him one of television and film's biggest stars, was found dead on Monday from an apparent suicide at his home in Northern California. He was 63.But ...

Alberta Diary: The NFA is right about one thing: it’s time to talk about guns and mental health

The National Firearms Association’s logo and slogan. What do you think their message is? Below: NFL President Sheldon Clare and the organization’s Executive VP, Shawn Bevins. All photos grabbed from the NFA’s public Facebook page. Enough time has passed since the shocking murders of three Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers in Moncton, N.B., for Canadians ...

Montreal Simon: Sammy Yatim and the Fatal Legacy of Stephen Harper

When I went by Dundas Square this evening after work, a march had already departed heading for the place where Sammy Yatim was killed.  All that was left was a chalk memorial that the rain will soon wash away.But I will not easily forget what happened to that troubled teenager. Not only because it strikes at the very ...

knitnut.net: Seamy Underbelly, Part II

Visiting the Downtown Eastside (DTES) has churned up some contradictions for me, and resolving those contradictions requires re-thinking some questions I thought I already knew the answers to: 1) To what extent do people choose to live in the DTES, and to what extent are they stuck there? 2) Does the DTES community strengthen its ...

Montreal Simon: The Mad Cruelty of Stephen Harper

It has been said of Stephen Harper, by those who know him well, that he is a man incapable of feeling the pain of others.A man with no capacity for empathy, a man devoid of human warmth. In short, a clinical psychopath.So you can imagine how I felt today when I saw him sitting behind ...

Montreal Simon: The Slow Death of Ashley Smith

It is without a doubt one of the worst things I have ever seen. The slow death of Ashley Smith.While her guards watched.Read that and weep.Or watch the video here.If you can bear it.Read more »

OPSEU Diablogue: Guidelines for media reporting of suicide need reconsideration – Picard, Goldbloom

If the audience was expecting a debate, they may have left disappointed. Globe and Mail reporter Andre Picard and Dr. David Goldbloom, Chair of the Mental Health Commission of Canada, spoke about the media’s portrayal of mental health during a Longwood’s … Continue reading →

Montreal Simon: Ashley Smith and the Cruelty of the Cons

I think this image will haunt me forever.The image of a bound, hooded, 18-year-old Ashley Smith being duct taped into a seat on a plane.Like she was some kind of dangerous terrorist on her way to Guantanamo.When she was just a poor mentally ill teenager on her way to one of the nine Canadian prisons ...

The Disaffected Lib: A Nation Chock Full of Crazy People

Looking at the United States today or at least the Tea Party half of it is like sneaking into an old-time carnival Freak Show.   There is a big chunk of the American population seriously detached from reality and some of those actually ran for the Republican presidential nomination – you know who I’m talking about ...

knitnut.net: The lowdown on substance use

Last night I attended a free session at our local mental health facility. It was called Getting the Low Down on Substance Use, and was presented by Michael Coughlin, a registered nurse with the Royal’s Substance Use and Concurrent Disorders program. I was interested because I have a young friend who uses heroin. He was ...

The Disaffected Lib: Think You’re Creative? No, You’re Just Sick

I’m not sure this will come as a surprise but there’s a link between creativity and mental illness.   It’s no coincidence that so many great comedians, for example, are or have been manic-depressives. Now a study of more than a million subjects finds that creativity is often an actual part of mental illness. Writers had ...

Montreal Simon: Beating the Doggie Called Depression

I went for a walk the other day through the leafy lanes of The Shire, with a friend of mine who has suffered from severe depression from about this time last year.It was such a beautiful fall day. He was so happy, at having made so much progress on the road to recovery.And I was ...