Celebrating 2 years of “Psychiatric Views on the Daily News”!
PSYCHIATRIC VIEWS ON THE DAILY NEWS
Two years ago, right before Labor Day, we began a new weekday series on “Psychiatric Views on the Daily News,” now up to the hundreds of brief columns. That coverage confirmed that doing 1 video a week on Wednesdays over the year before was not enough to cover all the important social news with psychiatric implications.
At that time of beginning the new column, we were about a year and a half into the COVID-19 pandemic. My wife and I, along with many others, had already received our first 2 vaccinations. That elicited some optimism, so I thought that the apparent need for the weekday columns would dissipate fairly soon along with the end of the pandemic. I was wrong.
So many social psychiatric challenges have continued or even escalated: climate instability; burnout; loneliness; homelessness, political divisiveness, cultish thinking; gun violence; the invasion of Ukraine; and all the antis, isms, and social phobias of what I have come to call the social psychopathologies. Just recently, the Jacksonville area of Florida was hit with the intersectionality of the hurricane and the hate crime mass shooting.
As to COVID-19 itself, even though the pandemic itself was declared over with months ago, and a period of perhaps too-quick forgetting it began, it seems to be making a comeback with some case increases, as my wife and I personally just experienced.
No wonder that mental symptoms and disorders have escalated even more.
Now, even if such social psychiatric news continues, do these columns make any difference? Who knows? The goal was to find new insights, analyze psychiatric risks, and provide realistic optimism in a clear, concise, and sometimes entertaining way. Not exactly an easy chair, but perhaps some gentle rocking.
There are obstacles to our helping and healing. The increased need for clinical psychiatry, along with the Goldwater Rule, makes it hard for psychiatrists to engage too much in the public sphere. Yet, our knowledge base is the broadest and, ethically speaking, we are required to try to improve the mental health of our communities.
And we do have more ways to help. These include:
-Much more helpful online psychiatric services thanks to tele-psychiatry and the emergence of Zoom
-The increase in psychotherapists
-The greater attention to positive psychiatry
-Attention of the Presidential administration to mental health needs
-The acceptance of the importance of the social determinants of mental health
-Lessening stigma of mental disorders
-The World Association for Social Psychiatry (WASP) is poised to collectively address global social psychiatric challenges
We can be grateful for these and other healing opportunities. Since we know that gratitude increases well-being, let’s begin the next year of this column with a daily prescription and dose of gratitude. Today’s is:
With the crucial help of the current editors, I have been so grateful for the opportunity to do this column for Psychiatric Times and for anyone who has taken the time to read it!
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.