What It’s All About: A Year of Psychiatric Views on the Daily News


Celebrating 1 year of Psychiatric Views on the Daily News!




Today, right before Labor Day once again, and in the midst of the soul-searching Hebrew month of Elul, is the 1-year anniversary of this experimental weekday column. Perhaps you noticed that these intentionally brief columns of generally 300-400 words are called “episodes,” and that this is #183. Well, I guess it is no longer experimental given its longevity, but how well it has worked is up to your assessment, which we would welcome receiving.

However, I did not know at first if this experiment would last or quickly crash. For better or worse, there has been no dearth of social psychiatric topics. As one reader wrote me, I suppose that all I need to do is open the daily newspaper to find a topic, or for the topic to find me. So true.

So, if this has been an unintended series of “episodes,” is there a connecting story with any morals? Maybe these:

  • The social aspects of our bio-psycho-social model are alive and not so well.
  • Psychiatric knowledge is applicable to many social events.
  • These social events often impact our personal lives, too, as they have mine.
  • Societal decisions also impact patient care.
  • We may well be ethically derelict if we do not pay attention to these psychologically important social events.
  • Whatever restrictions the ethical Goldwater Rule puts on discussing public figures, that still leaves the issues open to consider.

Without the owners and editors support, whatever good that has come out of this column would not have happened. Moreover, in this social time of great sensitivities, it takes courage and confidence to publish these pieces without exception. Right from the get-go, Heidi Duerr provided the necessary enthusiasm, as she always does. Just imagine what the editor, primarily Leah Kuntz, has to do once my draft is received early in the morning to get it posted with an appropriate image in an hour or 2. Such skill and dedication!

About a decade ago, the New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote the book The Social Animal: A Story of How Success Happens, a public shout-out to the importance of social psychiatry if there ever was one.1 Recently, in his August 18th, 2022, New York Times column “The Man Who Found His Inner Depths,” he wrote that the author Frederick Buechner observed “that you find your vocation at the spot where your deep gladness meets the world’s great deep need.”2 I know I have deep gladness and hope that these episodes have filled a bit of the world’s deep need.

I have learned so much as I tried to collect and connect the socially scattered sparks that can make us whole and holy. Whether from this column or elsewhere, I hope that you’ve had such learning, psychiatric success, personal holiness, and deep gladness over the past year, too.

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™.


1. Brooks D. The Social Animal: A Story of How Success Happens. Short Books; 2012.

2. Brooks D. The man who found his inner depths. The New York Times. August 18, 2022. Accessed September 2, 2022. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/18/opinion/columnists/frederick-buechner-inner-depths.html

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