Saturday morning. A good cup of coffee and my newspaper. A short paragraph catches my attention. Ireland recommends adding lithium salts to its municipal water systems to reduce the suicide rate. What? Wait, I read more: Favourable testing has already been conducted in Japan and Texas. OMG! We all know that the consumption of prescription drugs is rapidly rising, that life is increasingly complicated and that people are stressed out… But have we reached a point where we need to systematically administer lithium to our drinking water, a drug commonly used to treat depression? What exactly is this pervasive unhappiness?
A few years ago, a survey conducted on the part of La Coop fédérée called attention to the distress experienced by many of Quebec’s farmers. The well-documented analysis identified the key reasons for this feeling of distress: Financial insecurity, lack of recognition, social isolation. We can certainly understand how this can be difficult on morale. But our farmers, as a whole, aren’t ill. Their problems, although very real, should be of interest to those reflecting upon the future of agriculture. Furthermore, all of these people who jump on their soapboxes to defend animal rights and wellbeing should essentially be concerned with the wellbeing of those who put food on their tables. This is a choice for which society needs to be accountable. I’ve gone a little off topic. I don’t know what these Irish municipalities are experiencing to be worried about their suicide rate to the point of drugging the water. But if they believe that the whole population should be taking lithium, then maybe we should be looking at the environment in which they live. There is this frustrating trend to broach problems one by one, to compartmentalize people and deal with them as would a car mechanic. Each body part or part of person’s mind must be treated as quickly as possible to hide any sign of dysfunction. In fact, this approach has become the norm in every field. Each specialist treats or manages his own field of practice independently, isolated from the collective.
In the old days, when science hadn’t yet fragmented everything to better understand it, we would head to the countryside for a little health cure. A simple treatment perhaps, but it was quite nice nonetheless. A breath of fresh morning air, getting in touch with local animal life, following the rhythm of the seasons, the earth’s rich scent in the springtime, it all had a very beneficial and calming effect on the body and the soul. I am lucky; I have the pleasure of living near a small peninsula teeming with life. I go there as often as I can to walk the dog and recharge my batteries. Were I to lose access to this slice of paradise my life would be dramatically changed. I believe in the ‘country cure.’ It represents a global approach to health. Alas, perhaps too global for a doctor’s prescription! But times do change. The fragmented vision of the world is slowly dissipating and giving way to a vision of sustainable development. The environment as a whole is now taken into consideration, we recognize that everything is intrinsically connected, and that toying with one element will inevitably have consequences on another. It would therefore not be surprising if we were to return to a more global approach to health and that the ‘country cure’ would once again be de rigueur
. By the way, if there are any farmers out there looking for a business opportunity - would you have a few rooms to rent to some city-dwellers looking to cure their unhappiness? Their numbers are increasing you know. I’m pretty sure there’s a great opportunity in there somewhere!