The Psychiatric Best Of: The Color of the Year for 2023

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What color would you use to predict 2023?

beige

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PSYCHIATRIC VIEWS ON THE DAILY NEWS

It is hard not to notice that this is the time of year when various organizations present “Best Of” awards in many categories for 2022 and 2023. Popular are best of reading, music, movies, and restaurants.

Some of these awards seem to be particularly relevant to mental health and psychiatry, so we will begin a series covering them for our daily columns. Most likely we end with one on the “Best of Psychiatry” in 2022.

But the first one surprised me when I chose it, but then again, most anything has some relationship to psychiatry! I thought I should do it on the Lie of the Year—which is now slated for tomorrow—when I saw the article “Why Isn’t Beige Ever the Color of the Year” in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal.1

Probably the most well-known picker of the color of the year is Pantone. They started choosing that in 1999, in an apparent quest to portray the connections between color and emotions. It is based on current societal events and trends. In 2021, the color was a combination of “Illuminating and Ultimate Gray,” thought to be a symbol of the “resilience and hope” for emerging from the COVID pandemic. In 2022, “Very Peri” was chosen to convey “courageous creativity.”

For 2023, Pantone chose “Viva Magenta,” Pantone 18-1750. Sort of the in between of warm reds and cold blues, it is supposed to represent the trill of self-expression.

So, what about beige? The Wall Street Journal writer, Michelle Slatalla, laments that beige has never been chosen, even though it is a best-seller for paint, furniture, and fabrics. She thinks it is viewed as boring.

I would add that beige, in all its lighter and darker hues, may be ignored because it is closer to real skin colors than the diametrically opposed white and black. Somewhat similarly, about 2 years ago, TIME magazine chose Bellen Woodard, a 10-year-old crayon activist as one of their “Kids of the Year” recipients for developing a project and business of “more than peach” for skin-color crayons.2

What color are the walls of your office and the main furniture? Did the color seem to matter to you? To your patients?

If I had to pick out a color of the year, it would be one that would bring together and help unify people of all skin colors.

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™.

References

1. Slatalla M. Why isn’t beige ever the color of the year? The Wall Street Journal. December 13, 2022. Accessed December 15, 2022. https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-isnt-beige-ever-the-color-of-the-year-11670946536

2. TIME staff. Meet TIME’s first-ever kid of the year. TIME. December 3, 2020. Accessed December 15, 2022. https://time.com/magazine/us/5917371/december-14th-2020-vol-196-no-22-u-s/

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