“And I know that I no longer have enough in the tank to do justice…”
PSYCHIATRIC VIEWS ON THE DAILY NEWS
“We represent diversity, kindness, compassion.” - Jacinda Ardern
Anyone who has been following these weekday columns on “Psychiatric Views on the Daily News” knows that I have been concerned about the many social psychiatric problems we have in the United States and around the world: racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, sexism, ageism, transphobia, burnout, cults, extremism, and all the social isms and phobias. I have even gone so far as to recommend a formal classification of social psychopathologies to complement that of individuals in DSMs. In the meanwhile, there is much that leadership in both society and psychiatry can do to address these challenges.
“And I know that I no longer have enough in the tank to do justice.” - Jacinda Ardern
From a distance, it seemed that the New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, has been successfully addressing these challenges, but she just announced that she would be stepping down next month after over 5 years of leadership. Her quote describes an aspect of one of those challenges that perhaps turned personal: burnout. She also said that after her announcement, she slept well for the first time in a long time, which was the same experience I had when I “retired.”
Some of the social psychiatric problems that she encountered, with both success and obstacles along the way, seemed to include:
“One day, it will be our job to try to understand how a group of people could succumb to such wild and dangerous mis- and disinformation” - Jacinda Ardern
That is where we in psychiatry come in. That understanding has to come from our expertise in group process.
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 related to climate instability, burnout, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism for a better world. He serves on the Editorial Board of Psychiatric Times™.