Do you know any mental health heroes?
PSYCHIATRIC VIEWS ON THE DAILY NEWS
Regardless of politics, one of my favorite media announcements this time of year are the nominations for CNN Heroes. In general, the criteria focus on everyday people doing extraordinary things to change the world for the better.
The nominations for 2021 are now closed, but here are some of them that quickly caught my health and mental health oriented eyes. One individual is bringing prevention of cervical cancer screening to remote areas of the world. After her husband was killed in an accident, another built a nonprofit, Soaring Spirits, that connected widows and widowers from around the world to find healing support for grieving and resilience. In Philadelphia’s minority communities, another has worked to increase COVID-19 vaccination and testing.
In our world of increased divisiveness, I would also be interested in nominations that showed courageous examples of bringing us together despite obstacles of political correctness. For possible examples, I read a commentary by Brian Stelter about the journalist Bari Weiss in CNN Business about the dangers of “self-censorship” that is being triggered “by small but vocal groups and powerful but cowardly leaders.”1 Another such journalist seems to be John McWhorter for The New York Times, who on October 15th wrote the column “What I See in the Latest Blackface ‘Scandal,’” where he questions the mob-like action of getting the University of Michigan music professor Bright Sheng removed, at the very least, from further teaching about the 1965 play Othello, where Laurence Olivier played the role in blackface.2
Transferring such heroic actions to psychiatry, do you have any nominations for mental health heroes? If so, I can convey them to our readership, anonymously if so desired.
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. Stetler B. Bari Weiss’ next act: a Substack newsletter that serves as ‘the newspaper for the 21st centur.’ CNN Business. Updated October 17, 2021. Accessed October 18, 2021. https://www.cnn.com/2021/10/17/media/bari-weiss-newsletter/index.html
2. McWorther J. What I see in the latest blackface ‘scandal.’ The New York Times. October 15, 2021. Accessed October 18, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/15/opinion/blackface-michigan-sheng.html