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The race is over, so what can we do now?

November 10, 2016
by H. Steven Moffic
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Of course, many are surprised by the election results. Some are angry enough to take to the streets. Others are sad enough to cry in private.

If our patients were anxious before, that anxiety might escalate. We administrators and leaders have our own fear that reimbursement might be imperiled.

How can we contribute to the mental health of our patients, citizens, colleagues and ourselves? All are essential ethical priorities of my American Psychiatric Association.

Patients

Our patients will need realistic support. There is a difference between appropriate anxiety and unrealistic fear. We should use our expertise to understand the unique reaction of patients that relate to any connected historical change or trauma in their lives. Open town hall meetings in our settings could be considered.

Systems

We need to discuss with like-minded systems in regard to how to respond politically. We need to keep a nest egg with the threat to reimbursement and healthcare reform. We need to consider using the most cost-effective services, such as group treatments.

Colleagues

Certainly, colleagues may have different presidential preferences. Respect and learn from each other. Most important, as we get together after disasters, let us get together here to use our expertise in conflict resolution.

Self

Remember we have an identity both as a mental health professional and as a citizen. When we communicate, we should identify whether we are speaking as a citizen and/or professional. We might have our own professional concerns for our future, and will need the support of loved ones and friends, but we should not put our preferences onto patient care interactions.

Conclusion

We all need to take some responsibility for what happened and for the future. We treat troubled minds. We need to continue to do so, but also advocate for open minds about the future for the time being.

 

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H. Steven Moffic

H. Steven Moffic

H. Steven Moffic, M.D. retired from the clinical practice of psychiatry and his tenured...

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