At the 3rd Anniversary of the COVID Pandemic, Psychiatry Is Needed More Than Ever

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It’s been 3 years since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic…

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PSYCHIATRIC VIEWS ON THE DAILY NEWS

March 11 is the third anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, at least from the date when the World Health Organization declared it so. Over time, numerous surveys have indicated an increase in undue anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and suicidality. The rise is most prominent in the youth, especially girls, and most especially Black teen girls.

Moreover, the extensive losses of lives and other important things will inevitably result in upcoming full-blown prolonged grief disorders, adjustment disorders, and posttraumatic stress disorder. In addition, the epidemic rate of burnout has not only risen once again in physicians, but now as well in public workplaces.

In the meanwhile, free peer support telephone systems emerged for psychiatrists and other physicians. Psychiatry also rose to the occasion of the pandemic by switching quickly to Zoom and other technology connections with patients. Though the live connection and nonverbal communication was missed, patient satisfaction and attendance seemed good enough. We even helped out in the overwhelmed medical hospital wards.

We also have the increasing promise, but peril, of psychedelics. Whereas research is promising, usage seems widespread in the public underground, with ketamine clinics opening and operating, often without psychiatrists. There are even mail order systems that have been available with the less stringent pandemic rules. Psychiatric input is crucial to not lose this second opportunity for psychedelics to be used safely and successfully.

Surely, more careful psychiatric research will be done on these pandemic years, but I would say for now: a job quite well done.

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™.

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