Walking on Sunshine

Psychiatric Times, Vol 38, Issue 7,

As the country opens up this summer, it's time to enjoy friends and family—and to build resilience for the challenges that still lie ahead.

FROM THE CHAIRMAN

Who doesn’t love summer? The days are longer and more carefree. This year, there is also a resurgence of energy and hope as many people begin to gather with family and friends, travel, visit a baseball stadium, and even send their children off to summer camp—all of which were missed last year with COVID-19 throwing a wet blanket over many traditional summer pastimes.

The field of psychiatry has held an important and unique role during the pandemic, in monitoring and addressing the mental health sequelae of isolation, quarantining, and grief, as well as the neuropsychiatric issues associated with the virus. Although many people feel they have cleared one of the last hurdles of this marathon, some folks have not been so fortunate. This month we feature 2 articles looking at the consequences of long-haul COVID-19 or postacute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC). Elizabeth LaSalvia, MD, Jason Maley, MD, and Matcheri Keshavan, MD, share their insights from working on the front lines at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Psychiatrists and clinicians like them are just beginning to understand the long-term consequences of this syndrome, including how to recognize it, how to treat it, and its prognosis. Similarly, Macy Bayern, MS, brings us into the world of 3 patients dealing with the neuropsychiatric sequela of COVID-19, serving as a reminder of the continued challenges presented by the virus, even as new infection rates continue to drop.

Fortunately, medicine and psychiatry continue to rally. In February, the National Institutes of Health launched an initiative to further study long COVID and, just as this issue was going to press, NYU Langone Health announced that it was selected as the clinical science core. An interdisciplinary team will lead the investigation as multiple diverse patient groups are followed over time to track symptoms in hopes of better understanding treatment issues and the underlying mechanisms of PASC.

Nonetheless, we remain resilient in the face of this ongoing crisis; indeed, the focus of this month’s Special Report is resiliency. Editorial Board member Phebe Tucker, MD, leads the charge in exploring this understudied area of psychiatry. In addressing the nurture versus nature debate, Ping Zheng, MD, PhD, and Andreas Maercker, MD, PhD, delve into the role of culture in determining and fostering resiliency. Meanwhile, Igor Linkov, PhD, MSc, and colleagues investigate the role of resiliency in healthy aging, which is a good goal for everyone.

Indeed, the future seems brighter than ever. Most of the country has reopened its stores, restaurants, and places of worship, restoring a sense of normalcy. Perhaps it is a good time to kick back on a lounge chair with a copy of Psychiatric TimesTM and enjoy a lovely summer! ❒

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