Have You Had
Friday February 3, 2017

Have You Had "The Conversation?"

My mother turned 85 last month. Sitting at lunch to celebrate, we had a conversation about how she wants to live this last chapter of her life, how she wants to die, and even what music she wants when people come together to say goodbye. Sound morbid? Actually, my mom called later that day to […]

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Polio, Students, and the Long Haul
Friday January 27, 2017

Polio, Students, and the Long Haul

Sometimes the challenges in global mental health can seem insurmountable, with more than 90% of people who need treatment not receiving care in some areas of the world. But mental health isn’t the only global health condition that has had to face gargantuan hurdles. Sang-Hee Min, one of my former students and an MPH alumna […]

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I Have a Dream
Friday January 20, 2017

I Have a Dream

August 28, 1963, standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King Jr delivered his legendary “I have a dream” speech at the “March on Washington.” This past Monday we celebrated MLK Day, today was the presidential inauguration, and tomorrow there is another “March on Washington.” MLK’s dream of a better future, his dream […]

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One Year Old
Friday January 13, 2017

One Year Old

My great nephew, Ethan, turned one yesterday and we are celebrating at Disney World. Yes: Disney World. For months, friends and colleagues have said that this was a crazy idea. “He’s too young!” “He’ll never remember anything!” I demurred and abdicated responsibility. You see, it wasn’t my idea – it was his mother (my niece) who […]

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Can you really die from a broken heart?
Friday January 6, 2017

Can you really die from a broken heart?

Last week brought the death of Star Wars Princess Leia. In real life, Carrie Fisher not only was a famous actress and writer but also a tireless mental health advocate, speaking out with uncommon candor and self-effacing humor about her lifelong struggles with bipolar disorder and addiction. The day after Fisher’s death, her mother, actress and singer Debbie […]

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5-7-5
Friday December 30, 2016

5-7-5

5-7-5:  The number of syllables in the classic 3-line Japanese haiku made famous centuries ago by Japanese poet, Basho. As much as it is a constraint, this parsimony forces the poet to ponder what matters most. And with a distilled focus, capture meaning, experience and emotion. New Year’s Eve is a time when we are […]

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(No) Home for the Holidays
Friday December 23, 2016

(No) Home for the Holidays

Last week, I picked up my daughter, Julia, after her last final.  Yesterday, Ben arrived home.  They have completed their first semesters at university. We are looking forward to potato latkes and champagne toasts with their older brothers and extended family, including their soon-to-be 1 year old cousin and octogenarian grandparents.  This time of year […]

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Glass Half Full or Half Empty?
Friday December 16, 2016

Glass Half Full or Half Empty?

In 2006, Harvard Professor Richard Frank and Columbia Professor Sherry Glied published Better But Not Well. Taking into consideration economics, treatment, living standards, rights, and stigma, they came to the conclusion that wellbeing improved for people with mental illness in the latter half of the 20th century in the US. However, they also cautioned that […]

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John Glenn, American Hero
Friday December 9, 2016

John Glenn, American Hero

John Glenn, American Hero, departed this earth one last time this week. His life followed the story line of the classic Hero’s Journey – a classic three-part narrative where the individual sets out on an adventure into something unknown, faces a decisive challenge or set of challenges and achieves victory, and transformed by the experience returns home […]

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Stories that Inspire
Friday December 2, 2016

Stories that Inspire

Newspaper headlines and breaking news on CNN are dominated by the drama of crisis and disaster. When we rely on this coverage to tell the story of mental illness, we are led to believe that the majority of people with mental disorders are violent, dangerous and sleeping on church steps. But nothing could be further […]

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