From the Editor

When the pandemic started in 2020, the webcam sitting on my desk had barely been used. Of course, over the following days, it became an indispensable part of my outpatient practice as terms like “lockdown” and “Zoom fatigue” entered the common lexicon. 

As we move past the pandemic, questions arise. Who benefits from telepsychiatry? And who is better served with in-person visits? Katsuhiko Hagi (of the Sumitomo Pharma Co.) and co-authors attempt to answer these questions with a new systematic review and meta-analysis, just published in The British Journal of Psychiatry. They analyzed 32 papers, involving 3 600 people, across 11 mental illnesses. “Telepsychiatry achieved a symptom improvement effect for various psychiatric disorders similar to that of face-to-face treatment. However, some superiorities/inferiorities were seen across a few specific psychiatric disorders, suggesting that its efficacy may vary according to disease type.” We consider the paper and its implications.

In the second selection, Kwok Ying Chan (of Grantham Hospital) and his co-authors discuss palliative care. In a Viewpoint paper for JAMA Psychiatry, they note that some patients with severe mental illness could benefit from palliative care – yet such care is less available to those with mental disorders than the general population. They highlight challenges and then outline “a more sustainable model for the collaboration between palliative care and psychiatric teams.”

And in the third selection, health care executive Joe Kemp writes about his struggles with suicidal thoughts and substance misuse. In a deeply personal essay for the New York Post, he talks about turning around his life. “I can’t deny my drug-addled past, or that I’m a survivor of two suicide attempts. But I can proudly show the man I am today as someone who has dignity and self-respect; I’ve acquired the most important things to live a happy life. I just followed a different path to get here.”


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