The title of the article “Students dissatisfied with McGill Mental Health Service” (October 15, News, page 3) rang true for me. I have been seeing a psychiatrist at McGill Mental Health, and I found the appointments rushed and was concerned with the infrequency of my appointments after being put on a new antidepressant. There is, however, an often ignored nuance to McGill Mental Health, most notably in the form of its outstanding Eating Disorder Program (EDP).
Eating disorders are rarely talked about, but are particularly prevalent in the years after puberty (95 per cent of people with eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25, according to the National Association for Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders), and often rear their ugly heads in stressful environments, such as moving out, studying in a highly competitive atmosphere, and learning to make one’s way in the adult world. As one would expect, university students have high rates of eating disorders in comparison to the average population.
McGill’s EDP deals with this wonderfully. It incorporates a team mentality between patient, case coordinator, psychologist, psychiatrist if necessary, nutritionist, and, in some cases, a group of individuals with eating disorders, such as the psycho-education group, and meal support groups. All of the staff members are respectful and personable, and make their expertise and caring evident. Despite understaffing, the McGill EDP makes it evident that they care about patients’ well-being, and will help you to the best of their abilities, which are extraordinary.
While McGill Mental Health and the EDP both face a tremendous amount of pressure, it is a shame not to recognize the extraordinary efforts and successes of the EDP in helping students, and going above and beyond the standard.