“Mom, I’m Bored”

Music to my ears. But this wasn’t always so. As parents, we have been brainwashed to be afraid of hearing those dreaded words: “I’m bored.” The same thing happened in healthcare around pain when, in the late 1990’s, pain was dubbed the fifth vital sign. Providers were instructed to eliminate

Summer Vacation: Reads to Inspire Your Imagination

Today marks the last day of a two-week vacation with my family. Three generations together among great tortoises and blue footed boobies in the Galapagos and cattle and condors in the Andes. It was a trip of a lifetime. It was also a vacation with lots of quiet time for

Many Thanks to our 2019 Summer Interns

This summer, we have had thirteen interns working here in New York City with Columbia faculty and post-docs to advance mental health research, policy and advocacy. To name just a few projects: Interns were engaged in developing e-learning training modules, researching mental health providers’ attitudes towards prescribing psychotropic medications, and


Last week, my family moved to the west side of Central Park. A whole new perspective on the same fabulous park. The new neighborhood is great, and now our dog walking route takes us through Strawberry Fields: the 2.5-acre area of Central Park that pays tribute to John Lennon. The

Why I Ride for Mental Health

Last Sunday, thirteen riders from our WHO Collaborating Centre for Global Mental Health team braved the downpour to bike in the Five Boro Bike Tour in support of global mental health. The Five Boro Bike Tour is a recreational ride that takes about 32,000 riders through the streets of Manhattan, Bronx,

What Would Women Say?

Today is International Women’s Day. We have much to celebrate around the world. Rates of education for girls are up. Maternal mortality is down. And women are speaking out. Just a few weeks ago at the Academy Awards, as the young female filmmakers of the documentary, Period. End of Sentence,

Love is EleMental 2019

Most people don’t have a hard time seeing the link between Valentine’s Day and love, but when we go from love to mental health, a few will scratch their heads and wonder: really? Yes. Really. This week of Valentine’s Day, recognizing all the different ways that human connection and community

Five on Friday 2018

Dear Readers, Another year of musings on mental health. From the gut biome to the unintended consequences of focusing on resilience. From explorations of gun violence and suicide to the teenage brain, concussions, technology, and the mental health benefits of nature and laughter. From weddings to child’s play to turning

2018 Home Office Challenge

My goal with Five on Friday is to raise awareness about mental health by opening conversations that link mental health topics to our everyday lives. Thus was born the 2017 Headlines Challenge. For fun, my friend, Tracy, picked five front page articles from around the world that did not appear to be about

Thanksgiving 2018

Everyone knows that thanksgiving is a compound word expressing the essence of this favorite American holiday focused on giving thanks. But did you know that beyond “thanks” and “giving” there are another 346 Scrabble-approved words we can make out of the letters in “thanksgiving?!” Here are a few of my

The Bright Future of Mental Health

While doom and gloom dominate much of the mental health and mental illness landscape, there is a crop of next-generation young adults demonstrating a brighter future. It is true that we have a broken mental health system in the US and in many countries, and dying by suicide is a

Do You Pixar?

My son saw Incredibles 2 when it opened a few weeks ago. An instant box office hit, he declared it one of Pixar’s best on our family chat on his way home. His praise opened the floodgates to a flurry of texts ranking personal favorites and trading impassioned reviews. At an