Happy April Fool’s Day!
PSYCHIATRIC VIEWS ON THE DAILY NEWS
It is April first, otherwise known as April Fool’s Day, and this just serendipitously happens to be a milestone for this weekday daily column on Psychiatric Views on the Daily News for Psychiatric TimesTM. It is the 100th column, no fooling!
On the one hand, there is some satisfaction that this first-time psychiatric journalistic experiment has at least lasted. On the other hand, I have great sadness and concern that there have been so many social problems with psychological importance. It seems to me that social psychiatry is even more needed now than it was when I was President of the American Association for Social Psychiatry back around the turn of the new millennia.
Lately, the concentration has been on the Ukraine invasion. That is even an understatement. Every column for the month after the invasion has been about its psychological, moral, and humanistic aspects, ranging from Putin’s presumed psychological profile—without violating the Goldwater Rule—to the application of Maslow’s hierarchy of psychological needs to the Ukrainians. Some of my favorites have been the spread of the burnout epidemic in physicians to other workers and parents (February 23), dancing for mental health (February 21), the love of sports (February 9), groundhog day (February 3), mass formation psychosis (January 31), the psychological worth of our new quarter (January 13), a victorious deaf football team (November 18), the series on the movie Dune (November 4), and, of course, the first one on being flooded with psychiatric news (September 3).
Some of my inspiration and justification has come from Shakespeare’s fools. They often seem to me to have qualities like those of psychiatrists. Touching my gadfly nature, they often try to speak truth to power. So, as examples, we have Feste in Twelfth Night, who seems to see through the disguises of the other characters. Like an edge leader, he looks in at the action from both inside and outside the play. Touchstone in As You Like It is an observer and commentator on human nature. The Fool for King Lear points out truths that are being missed or ignored. This Fool seems to conclude that the true madness is to recognize the world of King Lear as irrational. He is King Lear’s inner consciousness and stays loyal to him until death.
Whether or not there is any connection to the genesis and development of these columns, the current President of the American Psychiatric Association, in her March column for Psychiatric News, “Looking Outward Globally: More Important Now Than Ever,”1 ends the article with:
“Involvement in the wider world gives APA members a perspective that includes the role of civil society. It is a reminder that psychiatrists can have a voice in social education, policy, and programs. COVID-19 and political divisions have turned the world upside down, and many people are confused, frightened, and frustrated.”
Wise advice, wouldn’t you agree?
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 TimesTM.
1. Pender VB. Looking outward globally: more important now than ever. Psychiatric News. February 23, 2022. Accessed April 1, 2022. https://psychnews.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.pn.2022.03.3.30?af=A