Too often, we only see bad news. Here are some examples of things to be positive about.
PSYCHIATRIC VIEWS ON THE DAILY NEWS
It is probably well-known in our field why public media tends to predominantly cover the worrisome and tragic. That follows our natural human tendency to pay more attention to perceived risk and danger. Good news, as briefly comforting and admirable as it may be, does not do that.
Therefore, because the essence of this weekday daily column is to reflect on psychologically important societal news, our coverage has tended to reflect the problems. Gratefully, and perhaps serendipitously, there happened to be much good psychological news that I saw this past Tuesday, so let’s take some time to review it. Here are some of the stories that will be covered one by one in upcoming columns.
-A Great Basketball Player Conveys Overcoming Obstacles to Become a Great Mental Health Advocate
-As Our Mental Health Crisis Escalates, More Resources Emerge
-The Benefits of More Girls Being Diagnosed with Autism
-Mental Health Should Improve as Employment Does
-Social Media Addiction Is Not Solely to Blame
There may be more of such good news to cover along the way. I hope so. At the end of the series, I will self-disclose some of the silver linings I found in my own professional storm clouds.
In a way, this human news processing is a PR challenge for psychiatry, especially given the stigma involved. Mental illness is frightening, and in that sense is negative news. Perhaps the solution is to point out the negative news of the challenges of mental disorders, but to couple that news with the positive expectation of treatments. For instance, the commonality of perhaps 80% of mass shooters having a recent identifiable mental crisis can be coupled with the possibility of rapid intervention and treatment, regardless of the need to also reduce gun availability.1
Almost always, there is something useful to learn from the worst news as long as we look for 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™.
1. Peterson J, Densley J. The Violence Project: How to Stop a Mass Shooting Epidemic. Harry N. Abrams; 2022.