The Week in Psychiatry and Society


Here are 8 reasons the week was relevant psychiatrically and socially.


Chepko Danil/AdobeStock


If I personally needed any convincing that writing these weekly brief columns had enough relevance, this prior week has dispelled all my doubts. Starting with the pop-up posting on Putin, What Would Dr Post Say About President Putin?, this was a week that not only shone light and darkness on psychological challenges in our country, but in the world.

1. Global Conflicts Threaten the Well-Being of All Life

Beyond relatively slow developing climate instability, Russia strikingly reminds us of the more immediate risk of nuclear conflict. For now, it seems like the US is assessing that the risk of Russia taking over and sacrificing Ukraine is less than a possible nuclear conflict, anguishing choosing between 2 ethical and moral destructive decisions.

2. It is Virtually Impossible to be an Innocent Bystander in this Virtual Age

There are so many ways to obtain information—reliable or not—that it is hard to avoid knowledge of global problems. However, knowing and doing nothing in itself affirms whatever is happening. A collective symbolic watching of Kitty Genovese is a possibility, but so is a psychological risk of secondary trauma from watching and responding to too much difficult news.

3. The Psychological Best and Worst of Humanity is on Display

Our ability to scapegoat, dominate, and traumatize one another is evident once again, but also creativity, resilience, and caring leadership. Choose the model that is best.

4. Information Can Move More Quickly Than We Can Process

Events move so quickly that we need ways to get out our psychiatric perspectives as soon as possible. Psychiatric TimesTM provides that resource for us.

5. We Are Our Brothers and Sisters Keepers

The great refugee exodus from Ukraine can trigger traumatic memories of other similar crises since World War II and reminds us that we all need to be ready to help, each in our own way, those in need.

6. Psychiatry Has Never Been More Important

Ranging from the worrisome increase in all kinds of psychological problems in the US to the widespread destructiveness that a leader can cause, calls for not only more of our clinical care, but our expertise in psychological profiling of leaders, are needed.

7. “Play Ball!” Is Delayed Not by Nature, But Mankind

It seems like professional baseball owners and players are trying to out-conflict our political parties in not coming to a new agreement, delaying the start of the season right when fans need such a healthy diversion and model of resolving competition.

8. Ask Yourself What MacGyver Would Do

Last night, my wife and I had the opportunity to attend a new musical theatre production relating to the popular TV show from the late 1980s, starring the character named MacGyver. The innovation was to have an audience member of any gender or age play MacGyver, who also in this play reminds us that we all have the tools to help. Eerily and serendipitously, this play takes place around the Berlin Wall in 1989.

Although more news items could have been chosen, I picked 8 as the connection, not only to the Jewish number that is symbolically translated to “life,” but to honor the heroic Jewish President of Ukraine, Zelensky.

L’Chaim: A Toast to Life!

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 relate to climate instability, burnout, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism for a better world. He serves on the Editorial Board of Psychiatric TimesTM.

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