A Mental Health Hero


Russia’s latest horror in Ukraine is being fought by a psychiatry hero.




After my columns on Friday and Monday on Easter, Passover, and other holidays of the time, there is 1 more thing to comment upon from the news on Friday.

There is some sort of horror in Ukraine that most anybody can identify with. On April 15th, the New York Times reported on a tragedy directly related to psychiatry in the article “Thank You for Not Killing Us.”1 The article described Russian atrocities on a mental health care facility about 50 miles northwest of Kyiv.

The apparent sadistic behavior of the invaders can make you wonder: Who was more normal here, the invading soldiers or the patients, some of whom escaped? If enough escaped and the rest of the city became abandoned, I imagined the beautiful movie “King of Hearts” coming to life. But for now, that was the worst in our continuing chronicles of the good and bad of April 15th.

There was 1 clear best: the home’s director, Maryna Hunitska. Only 2 months on the job, she used guile and courage to save most of her patients. Seems to me that she should be honored in some way by organized psychiatry. She is a hero in the best sense of the term.

Dr Moffic is an award-winning psychiatrist who has specialized in the cultural and ethical aspects of psychiatry. A prolific writer and speaker, he received the one-time designation of Hero of Public Psychiatry from the Assembly of the American Psychiatric Association in 2002. He is an advocate for mental health issues relate to climate instability, burnout, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism for a better world. He serves on the Editorial Board of Psychiatric Times™.


1. Gettleman J, Chubko O. ‘Thank you for not killing us.’ The New York Times. April 16, 2022. Accessed April 19, 2022. https://news.yahoo.com/thank-not-killing-us-143015338.html

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