By Kara Keuthan Beatty, MD
Hello dear Psychiatrists. I have had many things to reflect on as I step into the role as your president. We have been facing a global pandemic for more than two years now. Russia’s war on Ukraine has now surpassed 100 days. And in our own country, since the start of 2022 we have experienced more mass shootings than days in the year. (Yes, you read that correctly. We are 24 weeks into the year, and we have already seen at least 246 mass shootings.) I know these are events that you are all aware of. These are things that affect all of us…not only as psychiatrists, but as citizens of humanity.
Though they are all equally significant (….and there are many other things I could have put on this list….), I am going to take time to focus on mass shootings. As the public focuses on the connection between gun violence and mental illness, there is concern that these issues will be falsely correlated. This could in turn further stigmatize individuals accessing mental health treatment without addressing the root causes of gun violence. These are the conversations that we should be having with our patients. The American Psychiatric Association provides many resources to help start these discussions. I am grateful to my patients that have had the courage to address this topic in my office as they have reminded me how very important it is. My heart goes out to the families that lost loved ones in Uvalde, Texas. As our nation continues to grieve over tragedies like this, we are called to action to make a change.
If you are anything like me, the word “change” can be unsettling. For the most part, humans tend to be creatures of habit and change is hard. Aristotle once said, “Change in all things is sweet”. With all due respect to the great philosopher, I beg to differ. It is hard to think of change as “sweet”. In my opinion, the result is often the sweet part. But in order to make a change and get a result, an awareness must come first. Something that I have pondered upon since becoming a psychiatrist is access to care and the barriers that prevent individuals from gaining access. That is why I am proud to present the theme of our 2022 Fall Conference – “Confounding Factors: How social pressures impact our patients”. We will be taking a deep dive into topics like the opioid epidemic, the spread of telehealth, diversity, equity and inclusion, and high-risk populations. I hope to see you all there to start this conversation of change!
PSV 2022 Fall Meeting
Confounding Factors: How Social Pressures Impact our Patients
September 30-October 1, 2022
Wintergreen Resort & Conference Center
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