Psychiatrist and Clinical Scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Expert Advisor, EvidenceNetwork.ca
Paul Kurdyak is a psychiatrist and clinician scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Lead of the Mental Health and Addiction Research Program at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES), and expert advisor with EvidenceNetwork.ca.
Our health system often divides mental health from physical health into distinct silos of care and treatment, yet no such mind-body duality exists in actual patients. Many individuals with chronic health conditions simultaneously experience mental health issues -- and the reverse -- and such "concurrent" health challenges are far from uncommon.
Mental illness is one of the biggest predictors of inequitable access to care in this country. We know that having a mental illness means that you are far less likely to get the healthcare you need than someone without a mental illness and that mental illness is a bigger predictor of poor access to care than low income.
How should psychiatrists' roles be defined in order to provide as much specialist care to as many high-needs individuals as possible in the most cost-effective way? Because psychiatrists appear to be organized in a far less than systematic fashion within Ontario's mental health system, there is a fairly steady level of unmet need no matter how many psychiatrists practice in a region.