Ireland’s abortion referendum puts it all on the table

If you probe the granular views of most people, I suspect you’ll find they’re somewhere between the two extremes

Ireland’s abortion referendum puts it all on the tableThere is no abortion law in Canada. Canadians uneasy about that can look across the Atlantic for an alternative way of doing things. On May 25, the Republic of Ireland goes to the polls in an abortion-related constitutional referendum. Abortion was outlawed in Ireland by the Offences Against the Person Act passed by the United…

Madness, murder and antidepressant drugs

From Alexandre Bissonnette to Stephen Paddock to Nickolas Cruz to many more, the connections are chilling

Madness, murder and antidepressant drugsThe sentencing hearing for Alexandre Bissonnette (the Quebec man who has pleaded guilty to committing mass murder in a mosque) has been disclosing new details each day about what led up to that tragic event in January 2017. Portions of his initial interrogation have been released on video. Be forewarned: it’s disturbing to watch someone speak…

Making sense of violent attacks

In the aftermath of this week's tragedy in Toronto, how do we come to the grips with such violence? And who do we blame?

Making sense of violent attacksLike most columnists, I’m usually inspired to write on topics that are aligned with my areas of interest. My usual fare is politics, history and economics, but I’ll sometimes write about art, sport, music, and even animation and comic strips. Every once in a while, I’ll pick an issue that doesn’t perfectly fit in one…

MedicAlert a voice for autistics in crisis situations

The MedicAlert Autism Program allows emergency responders to make better decisions to help people in times of need

MedicAlert a voice for autistics in crisis situationsThe silver identification bracelet that indicates an existing condition to first responders has been a valuable tool for decades. In 1953, a teenage girl named Linda Collins cut her finger badly. At the hospital, she received a tetanus shot, had a severe allergic reaction and almost died. After that incident, her parents began attaching a…

When the doctor says sorry

It’s been a dozen years since health-care apology laws came to Canada. Do they work?

When the doctor says sorryMy introduction to the complex and emotional world of adverse events in health care occurred in 2001 when I chaired a committee to review an inquest report into the tragic deaths of 12 infants in a pediatric surgery program in Manitoba. Justice Murray Sinclair, who conducted the inquest, had concluded that at least five of…

Overcoming mental health issues – and the stigma surrounding them

We have a long way to go in improving the understanding of mental health issues and in serving those who have them, but people like DeMar DeRozan are helping

Overcoming mental health issues – and the stigma surrounding themIt’s becoming more clear than ever that mental health issues are very real and very prevalent in our society. There are few of us who aren’t impacted, either by living or working with people who struggle, or dealing with our own mental well-being. Mental health issues are nothing new. Soldiers returned from war 100 years…

Music’s power to improve the challenges associated with autism

Music interventions are evidence-based with positive results – so why don’t we use them more often?

Music’s power to improve the challenges associated with autismMy son is practising the piano as I write this and it’s the sweetest sound. He’s spent two years working slowly through the same level but it doesn’t matter; he’s improving and the benefits of both music therapy and music lessons have been clear and measurable. My only wish is that I had started sooner.…

“I am a man with Down syndrome and my life is worth living”

History is full of policies established to determine which human lives were valuable and which were not. Are we comfortable going down that path again?

“I am a man with Down syndrome and my life is worth living”By observing history without judgment, we can learn from our mistakes. By examining primary documents – artifacts from a particular era – we can begin to understand the thinking of the people of that time. In an effort to create a more objective perspective, I tell my students to imagine that they’re living in the…

Not every mental health concern requires a doctor

Perhaps the elixir of good feeling is available at a friend’s house, at the next desk in the office, or from a partner or spouse

Not every mental health concern requires a doctorBy David Zitner and Dominic Covvey Contributors Troy Media Canadians suffer when important mental health services are unavailable or wait times are too long. Fortunately, many of us – including children, parents, other relatives and friends – may find and implement worthwhile solutions to important problems while people wait. However, some people are afraid to try.…

Children with disabilities data out of date

We lack critical information on the diverse and often unmet needs of Canadian children with disabilities, as well as the out-of-pocket costs paid by families

Children with disabilities data out of dateBy Stephanie Dunn and Jennifer Zwicker University of Calgary “The true measure of a nation’s standing is how well it attends to its children, including their health, safety, material security, education and socialization, and their sense of being loved, valued and included in the families and societies into which they are born,” according to UNICEF.…