Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Year’s resolutions to help our patients

Henry A. Nasrallah, MD


Most New Year’s resolutions have a self-oriented, narcissistic flavor: “I will ___ (lose weight to look better; exercise to become healthier; stop smoking to live longer; travel to an exotic location; make more money than last year so I can buy that sports car I’ve always wanted; etc.).”

As psychiatrists, we are particularly attuned to the human condition around us, so perhaps we can transcend our personal desires and resolve to do something to help seriously mentally ill patients. Our stressful lives as toiling psychiatrists pale when compared with the lifelong anguish, stigma, disability, loneliness, and poverty faced by many of our chronically ill patients. Beyond providing them with good evidence-based care, I can think of several meaningful resolutions to improve mentally ill persons’ quality of life.

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