The Epitome of Humanity

Psychiatric TimesVol 38, Issue 8

By recognizing the importance of minority mental health and caring for all types of patients, psychiatrists depict the epitome of humanity.

Minority Mental Health

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Psychiatry is associated with the brain, but there is so much more to it than that. We are the field within medicine that deals with humanity. As such, we can be the field that serves as a conduit toward dismantling racial and social injustices in health care. Indeed, psychiatrists are equipped with the tools to engage in a healthy discourse when discussing topics that may have a proclivity toward inspiring defensiveness and fragility. And we recognize that when there is division in the body, all parts suffer.

What our field does today regarding the topics of diversity, equity, and inclusion will reverberate throughout the walls of the inpatient wards, residency/fellowship programs, ambulatory clinics, and community mental health centers for centuries to come. I embolden us to practice humility and to cultivate a growth mindset that diverges from the status quo. Answering the call of these exhortations is vital if the health care disparity gap is be narrowed.

With that in mind, I hope that this 2-part series will help improve our cognitive flexibility and our ability to rethink how we provide care for our patients using the bio-psycho-social-cultural-spiritual model. Over these Special Reports, we aim to share insights and tips to support you in providing meaningful care to those from minority populations and backgrounds.

I leave you with some food for thought in the form of this haiku:

Courage to conquer

and deliquesce division

shines humanity

Dr Clark is associate professor at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine - Greenville and medical director and division chief for Adult Inpatient and Consult-Liaison Services for the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at Prisma Health - Upstate. He served on the American Psychiatric Association’s Task Force to Address Structural Racism Throughout Psychiatry, and he currently serves as the Diversity and Inclusion section editor and advisory board member for Psychiatric TimesTM. ❒

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