Can psychiatry and psychiatrists come together for a joint healing statement?
PSYCHIATRIC VIEWS ON THE DAILY NEWS
As has become obvious on the internet, or at least that’s what my younger colleagues tell me, divisiveness among psychiatrists of different cultures and faiths has been escalating in recent times. This parallels the divisiveness amongst politicians and citizens, and why I called for joint peace rallies in my October 31, 2023, “Why Do There Seem to Be No Joint Pro-Peace Rallies?”
College campuses seem to be one of the hotbeds regarding the Mideast conflict and war, the University of California at Berkeley is a prominent one. Fortunately, and perhaps surprisingly, 2 professors of different religious and cultural backgrounds were able to put out a joint statement, as discussed in the November 7, 2023 New York Times article by Soumya Karlamangia, “California College Campuses Convulsed in Protest During Israel-Hamas War.”
Here is the statement they put out via the Helen Diller Institute and Office of the Chancellor on October 12, 2023. At least in my sphere, it didn’t get much publicity.
“To our students,
We are two professors on this campus who disagree, vehemently. But we have always treated one another with respect and dignity. We love this campus with its diverse communities and all of our students and are heartbroken to hear of incidents of near violence between students in recent days. We will not tolerate students harming one another. Disagreement and differing points of view are an essential part of campus life, and we expect that you treat one another with the same respect and dignity that we are modeling here.
Dr. Hatem Bazian (Lecturer of Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures and Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies)
Dr. Ron Hassner (Professor of Israel Studies)”
Dr Bazian was contributed a chapter in the interfaith book for which I was a lead editor, Islamophobia and Psychiatry: Recognition, Prevention, and Treatment (Springer; 2019), the first of 4 volumes on different religions and psychiatry. We, too, had to work through conflict among the editors and chapter authors to produce this well-received and reviewed book. Dr Bazian worked on the second, “Islamophobia: An Introduction to the Academic Field, Methods, and Approaches.”
If Drs Bazian and Hassner could put out such a joint statement, why can’t we do something like this in our field of psychiatry? Surely, our knowledgeable, healing, and compassionate field can come together in some joint way.
If any Muslim psychiatrist would like to collaborate on a joint statement or other endeavors with me, please let us know.
Interested parties can reach out to Dr Moffic via PTEditor@mmhgroup.com.
Dr Moffic (he/him/his) is an award-winning psychiatrist who specialized in the cultural and ethical aspects of psychiatry, and is now in retirement and refirement as a private pro bono community psychiatrist. A prolific writer and speaker, he has done a weekday column titled “Psychiatric Views on the Daily News” and a weekly video, “Psychiatry & Society,” since the COVID-19 pandemic emerged. He was chosen to receive the 2024 Abraham Halpern Humanitarian Award from the American Association for Social Psychiatry. Previously, he received the Administrative Award in 2016 from the American Psychiatric Association, the one-time designation of being a Hero of Public Psychiatry from the Speaker of the Assembly of the APA in 2002, and the Exemplary Psychiatrist Award from the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill in 1991. He is an advocate and activist for mental health issues related to climate instability, physician burnout, and xenophobia. He is now editing the final book in a 4-volume series on religions and psychiatry for Springer: Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, Christianity, and now The Eastern Religions, and Spirituality. He serves on the Editorial Board of Psychiatric Times.