Resolution #5: A Tribute to the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr, I Have a Social Psychiatry Dream


A dream for social psychiatry, in the vein of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr



Monday is our country’s annual Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It is also the 60th anniversary of his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. In tribute, here is my—and I hope our—social psychiatry dream, modeled after King’s

How about a dream that one day psychiatry will raise up and give out the true meaning of mental health: we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all patients and individuals are created equal?

How about a dream that psychiatrists and antipsychiatrists will sit down together at the table of mental health?

How about a dream that even though psychiatry is currently dominated by the biological and psychological of its bio-psycho-social model, that the neglect of the social will be rectified?

How about a dream that psychiatric residents will be judged not only by their clinical care, but their ethical-based social activism and quest for social justice?

How about a dream that cultural conflicts and interfaith oppression within our profession will be resolved into complementary unity?

How about a dream that our social traumas from what I call social psychopathologies—that is, the isms, antis, social phobias, and the like—will be straightened out?

I hope we have this dream today and resolve to make it come real in 2024.

Dr Moffic is an award-winning psychiatrist who specialized in the cultural and ethical aspects of psychiatry and is now in retirement and retirement as a private pro bono community psychiatrist. A prolific writer and speaker, he has done a weekday column titled “Psychiatric Views on the Daily News” and a weekly video, “Psychiatry & Society,” since the COVID-19 pandemic emerged. He was chosen to receive the 2024 Abraham Halpern Humanitarian Award from the American Association for Social Psychiatry. Previously, he received the Administrative Award in 2016 from the American Psychiatric Association, the one-time designation of being a Hero of Public Psychiatry from the Speaker of the Assembly of the APA in 2002, and the Exemplary Psychiatrist Award from the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill in 1991. He is an advocate and activist for mental health issues related to climate instability, physician burnout, and xenophobia. He is now editing the final book in a 4-volume series on religions and psychiatry for Springer: Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, Christianity, and now The Eastern Religions, and Spirituality. He serves on the Editorial Board of Psychiatric Times.


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