Opening Up

May 06, 2020

The Chairman and Founder of Psychiatric Times' parent company introduces the May issue.

From the Chairman

This month’s Special Report looks at preventing premature mortality, one of medicine’s noble goals. The US has made progress in this endeavor via education and awareness addressing chronic health issues like heart disease, cancer, and cigarette use. Unfortunately, we still have a long way to go in preventing premature mortality, as psychiatrists can sadly attest. Suicide continues to be among the top 10 causes of death in this country, and the opioid epidemic has put the spotlight on the addiction woes that cripple the country.

Patients with psychiatric illness face additional challenges resulting in unique morbidity and mortality issues. Studies have estimated shorter life expectancy-by as many as 20 years-for patients with mental illness. The literature on premature mortality originally focused on patients with schizophrenia, but data now support increased mortality associated with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, personality disorders, and mood and anxiety disorders. Accidents, lifestyles, socioeconomic, and limited access to care impact lifespan, despite advances in diagnosis and treatment for psychiatic disorders. The articles in this Special Report provide a glimpse into what can else be done to reduce premature mortality.

It is no coincidence that this Special Report falls in the midst of our fight against the coronavirus. As medical health care professionals fight the virus head-on in hospital rooms across the country, psychiatry continues to be the voice of reason and calm. In the last issue, Psychiatric Times explored resiliency. In this issue, we take a closer look at the enemy and our responses. Editor Emeritus Ron Pies, MD, eloquently discusses the virus’s psychological assault and provides tips for healing the soul during this unprecedented time. Meanwhile, Greg Eghigian, PhD, ponders lessons learned-and not learned-from last century’s flu pandemic. And, as the government begins to consider reopening the country, Sheldon Preskorn, MD, explores how we can prepare to ensure the safest return to normalcy possible.

As we consider the most vulnerable, this issue of Psychiatric Times discusses other matters that affect your patients. From understanding recovery in depression to special issues for patients with substance use disorders undergoing surgery, you are sure to find practical tips and useful information to help you help your patients.

Stay well and safe!

Mike Hennessy Sr
Chairman and Founder, MJH Life Sciences