Thanks to the innovative work of Dr. Raymond Lam, mental illness is gradually losing its stigma and becoming more of an accepted truth requiring empathy and care.
“I want to improve the lives of our patients,” says the VCH physician, researcher and mental health advocate. “Depression cripples workplace productivity and the economy. I’m researching ways to improve work function, and help patients remain at work and lead satisfying lives.”
Dr. Lam and psychiatrists, psychiatric residents and individuals from across Canada were recently recognized for their outstanding contributions to mental health care at the Canadian Psychiatric Association’s (CPA)
Annual General Meeting and awards gala.
Dr. Lam received the J.M. Cleghorn Award for Excellence and Leadership in Clinical Research. This honour recognizes years of research into the clinical and neurobiological factors in seasonal, treatment-resistant and workplace depression, work that has made a significant impact in the world of psychiatric practice.
“It’s very gratifying to receive this award,” says Dr. Lam, “but I really need to thank my research team, collaborators and patients participating in the studies. I’m fortunate to work with a group of talented, committed team members.”
The team’s research has explored a variety of depression therapies, including light therapy for seasonal-affective disorder
. More recently, the Centre released MoodFX,
a free online app for depression screening and depression symptom tracking. MoodFX screens for and monitors symptoms of depression, anxiety, cognition, and work functioning, using clinically valid rating scales.
Dr. Roumen Milev, a professor and department head of psychiatry at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, nominated Dr. Lam for the award.
“We’ve known each other for about 20 years, and I was so happy he received the award,” say Dr. Milev, who attended the awards gala. “Raymond received a standing ovation, for which he truly deserves.”
Together, Drs. Milev and Lam have researched mood disorders and are currently part of a cross-Canada team — CAN-BIND
— studying biological characteristics, or biomarkers, in individuals in order to help speed up diagnosis and treatment of depression.
“Dr. Lam has published many studies in clinical depression and has been cited numerous times,” says Dr. Milev. “He’s one of the most prominent researchers in Canada, and even the world. We owe a huge debt to his immense knowledge and support in breaking the stigma of mental illness.”