Tackling the Big Issues

Psychiatric TimesVol 38, Issue 5
Volume 05

An introduction to the May issue of Psychiatric Times.


As this issue went to press, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that about 50% of the US adult population had received at least 1 dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Despite new variants and continued behavioral challenges worldwide, the progress made in addressing the pandemic is enormous, reminding us that we can—and should—do better in other areas of medicine, health care, and societal issues.

Such is the case with the methamphetamine epidemic. While the opioid epidemic raged through the country and caught the attention of doctors, lawmakers, and others, the methamphetamine epidemic lurked in the shadows. This problem received less consideration even though, as Michael W. Jann, PharmD, discusses in the lead article, the 2 drugs are often used concurrently. Great strides have been made toward understanding and addressing the opioid epidemic; hopefully, in the future, we will report the same for methamphetamine.

Meanwhile, Cynthia M. A. Geppert, MD, MA, MPH, MSBE, DPS, MSJ, reflects on the progress of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution but asks, “What about us?” In her commentary, Geppert ponders parity and whether patients with serious mental illness and substance use disorders (as well as the psychiatrists caring for them) were properly prioritized in the receipt of the vaccines. In doing so, she renews the call for advocacy for patients with mental illness to improve care now and in the future.

This issue also features a Special Report on sexual and gender minority youth, a population facing increased challenges and at risk of mental health issues. With thanks to Special Report Chair Jack Turban, MD, this collection of articles shines a light on a population for whom the health care system can do better. As Turban explains, psychiatrists are in a unique position to foster positive affirmations for youth, both as a part of clinical care and as educators in the community.

As usual, this issue of Psychiatric Times™ features clinical pieces with practical guidance for supporting the patients in your care. This month’s Research Update looks at the pharmacotherapies that are most effective for schizoaffective disorder. Meanwhile, 2 articles explore the impact of psychiatric illness on the whole patient and provide suggestions to protect their well-being. David N. Osser, MD, explores lithium dosing in renal patients, and Lawson Wulsin, MD, and Juliana Zambrano, MD, discuss treatment dilemmas in patients with comorbid depression and coronary heart disease.

As we have learned from our tango with COVID-19, there is no challenge we cannot overcome when we work together to find and implement solutions. Our country and the field of psychiatry continue to face these and other difficult issues. Yet, with continued dedication on behalf of all of you, we are sure to realize more successes and positive outcomes in the days, months, and years to come! ❒

Mike Hennessy Sr

Chairman and Founder, MJH Life Sciences™

Parent company of PSYCHIATRIC TIMES™'

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