What can we do on a national level to improve mental health?
About a year ago, as we were coming out of the pandemic, so many social psychiatric problems were getting worse, so I went out on a limb to suggest a plan of recovery, using the World War II Marshall Plan as inspiration. The Marshall Plan, against all odds, led to the economic recovery of many devastated countries, including Germany.
My recommendations were based on these 5 points:
1. Check the mental health of all children as they returned to school.
2. Check the mental health of all workers as they return or continue at work.
3. Check the mental health of all medical patients.
4. Ensure an infusion of money for psychiatric resources.
5. Appoint a psychiatrist at high levels of our federal government.
Well, as far as I know, there has not been a lot done on the first 3 items, at least nothing on a comprehensive national level. There has been an infusion of money from President Biden and the federal government. And, no, there has not been a high-ranking appointment of a psychiatrist to the federal government, but the Surgeon General has focused on mental health in terms of our loneliness epidemic and the adverse mental health repercussions of social media. All in all, not a lot of progress, but some. As I mentioned in the daily column for June 29, the state of our public mental health still leaves a lot to be 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 related to climate instability, burnout, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism for a better world. He serves on the Editorial Board of Psychiatric Times.