From Local to Global: Mental Health at Every Turn

I am a bit breathless. This has been a week chock full of public news and life events that push mental health to the forefront of our attention. The variety of topics reminds us that mental health is linked to stories near and far, joyful and painful, universal and particular.


Hollywood mega-mogul Harvey Weinstein made headlines this week. Not for another great film. No, this time we are watching a documentary in the making. Weinstein’s decades-long story of sexually exploitative and violent behavior against women is spewing from every media platform available. Weinstein conducted no auditions because he needed no

What is Your Domino?

A brutal civil war in South Sudan has over 3 million people on the run according to David Milliband, president of the International Rescue Committee. In Yemen, a cholera outbreak puts many more at risk. The resilience demonstrated by impacted individuals is inspiring. At the same time, these humanitarian crises

(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

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.

It’s Not What I Imagined…

I am going to just put it out there. The election tally did not end the way I imagined, and the result has rocked my world. I am joined by about half of America, and for the other half things have unfolded as they hoped. But virtually all the polls

Separate but (Not) Equal

“She is still really sick; they can’t send her home…,” a desperate mom said to me by phone last week. Her daughter has anorexia nervosa. She has spent four days in inpatient treatment. Now her insurance company was ready to send her home. At 5’5″, this 17-year-old girl weighed 72

Everest is Not the Only Mountain to Climb in Nepal

Home to the Himalayas, Nepal is a mecca for trekking and mountain climbing. And even if you don’t dream of summiting Everest at 8,848 m (29,029 ft), there’s a good chance that visiting Nepal is on your bucket list. Last week, Dr. Bibhav Acharya brought a bit of Nepal to

Michael Bloomberg Named WHO Ambassador

Dear Mr. Bloomberg: Congratulations you on your recent appointment as Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases for the World Health Organization. You have proven yourself a global citizen extraordinaire through you industry leadership, public service, and philanthropy. As you sign on to work with political leaders around the globe to find solutions

What Did She Say?

While most politics may come down to a high pile of rhetoric (blah, blah, blah) – there’s a reason a newborn baby’s brain develops differently depending on what words it hears. We think with words, which is why pre-verbal memory is so difficult to access; from the time we start

Landmark Resolution for Mental Health

Getting something passed unanimously by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is quite a coup. The fact that we’re talking about a Resolution on Mental Health and Human Rights, co-sponsored by 61 countries, is huge. What does it say? What does it mean? 1. First- the technical talk: The UNHRC Resolution

Kenya’s “Big Five”

Africa’s Big Five typically refers to the great African lion, elephant, buffalo, rhinoceros and leopard. I’ve got a different sort of Big Five to share with you from my day of traveling dirt roads in Kenya with colleagues from the Africa Mental Health Research and Training Foundation. Thanks to the vision