Reflections: Black Pioneers in Mental Health

Today is February 2022’s last Friday. Before March comes barreling in like a lion, I’d like to acknowledge that February is Black History Month, with this year’s focus being “Black Health and Wellness.” The Black American community experiences profound systemic health inequalities, which is reflected in elevated rates of mental

Teens, Sleep, and Mental Health

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about night owls and heard from many of you who join me in savoring the quiet of those dark hours when others are sleeping. But if staying up late means not getting enough sleep, it can spell trouble for our mental health. This

The Facebook Files

As I was preparing for my drive from Baltimore to New York last week, my daughter-in-law suggested that I pass the time by listening to the WSJ Facebook Files podcast.  It’s worth the listen.  1. The Basics. The Facebook Files is an investigative six-part podcast by the Wall Street Journal.

The Future of Global Mental Health

Talk about the future often focuses on technological innovation, space travel, and the discovery of life forms in galaxies that we can barely imagine. As a professor, my view of the future is much more exciting. It comes into focus every time I rest my eyes on my students. This

Congratulations, Dr. Poku!

Following graduation from Mount Holyoke College, Ohemaa Poku started as the Program Coordinator at our Columbia-WHO Center for Global Mental Health in 2014. Over the past seven years, she’s been busy! She worked at Columbia for a stretch and then embarked on her graduate education in public health. Last week

Risk Forward

We might have imagined that with the vaccine rollout out, this topsy turvy world would feel more settled, but that is not how life goes. The pandemic has been a storm of uncertainty. We have spent more than a year wondering, worrying, waiting, wanting. And it continues: Is it really

Coats of Many Colors

I have a thing for coats, so you can imagine my delight on Inauguration Day. Coats of many colors were on full display. Coats negotiate the space between inside and out. On the exterior, coats shield us from the elements. On the interior, they nestle against our bodies so we

I May Be the First…

When Vice President-elect Kamala Harris walked on stage in her white suffragette suit on November 7th, I cried. One hundred years after women won the right to vote in the USA, she is the first woman vice president. The first Black and Asian American woman vice president. Kamala Harris acknowledged

Lose Hope, Game Over

Lose hope. Game over. The words of a dear friend ring in my ears these days. But it’s hard to stay hopeful. Just when it seems like things cannot get worse, they do. The US Presidential debate was a spectacle and a debacle. I have texts from friends who live

RIP RBG

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg bid the world farewell last Friday as Jews around the world welcomed in the new year. The Notorious RBG is the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court and is the first woman and first Jew to lie in State in the United States Capitol.

If French Fries are Wrong…

If french fries are wrong, I don’t want to be right. Printed on the side of a beach bag in a store window, this line made me laugh. The truth is I love french fries. Actually I am good with potatoes in every form – baked, mashed or made into

Everyday Heroes

During this pandemic, frontline health care providers have put their lives at risk to save others. We have also come to recognize the essential roles of so many other individuals, including bus drivers, grocery store clerks, electric company line workers, building security and maintenance workers, and more. Around the world,