Quality & Science

Editorial Comment 2/23/2021: A Brutal And Heedless Sky

by Editor-in-Chief: Dr. William Haning, MD, DFAPA, DFASAM | February 22, 2021

Last week carried the hope of a real holiday, Presidents’ Day; or at least one for the Feds, with the possibility of a trickle-down effect.  But by Wednesday, any elation experienced at the prospect of a four-day workweek had been blown either into the Gulf of Mexico or across the Great Lakes by a fierce and unrelenting winter assault. My words of sympathy to colleagues in virtual conferences or just on telephone calls most likely sounded taunting, even micro-aggressive. How could it not? With our own winter weather in Hawai`i dropping at night down to 69°, we’ve not a lot of justification for lamentation.

But came Friday, and with it the American College of Psychiatrists annual meeting, this time done predictably by video-teleconference. And it was almost as if the speakers had predicted those ceaseless tempests, six months or even a year ahead when they were writing abstracts.  Of the three keynote presentations, two could be said to have focused on how we care for each other: one, “Structural Racism and Social Injustice in Psychiatry”; and another, "Preventing a Parallel Pandemic: Clinician Well-being in the Time of COVID-19." Even the third of the three, in discussing transformative effects of telepsychiatry on care, could be said to have been offering tools for survival.  It was a good and comforting thing, to hear of caring both for and among the caregivers. It was, well, warming.

- Editor-in-Chief: Dr. William Haning, MD, DFAPA, DFASAM