Sunday, August 31, 2014
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Mental Illness

Battling demons? When it comes to mental illness, language matters

Tuesday, August 26, 2014, 5:30 AM
We’ve seen it written dozens of times in the past week: Robin Williams was battling demons. What does this mean, anyway? For some reason, we tend to use mystical metaphors to describe the suffering of those with a mental illness, particularly depression. These images play off of anachronistic... Read more

A Conversation About Robin Williams, Parkinson’s Disease, and Depression

Friday, August 15, 2014, 6:30 AM
Like anyone with a funny bone, my heart is heavy at the loss of Robin Williams. I had the privilege of twice seeing him perform live, including a surprise set at the Comedy Cellar in New York. His comedy–pulled from his own, often difficult, life experiences–took his audiences to great heights... Read more

Can you describe the symptoms of PTSD?

Friday, June 27, 2014, 6:30 AM
June 27 is National Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Day. And yes, it is part of PTSD awareness month. But as Dr. Matthew Friedman, executive director of the National Center for PTSD, wrote in a recent blog post, well-intentioned efforts to raise awareness about PTSD often tell an incomplete... Read more

Philadelphia: brotherly love and trauma-informed practice

Friday, March 21, 2014, 6:30 AM
First in a series of posts about what is being done to address trauma and toxic stress in the city. Four years ago, on a train from Philadelphia to Washington, Sandra Bloom told me about the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study. I hadn’t heard of it, and was astounded to learn about strong... Read more

What common trauma injury isn't treated at trauma centers? PTSD

Thursday, March 6, 2014, 6:30 AM
It’s not just military veterans who develop post-traumatic stress disorder. As described in a previous post, what’s known today as PTSD has been observed in people who experienced traumatic events for centuries if not millennia. One relatively common event that can cause PTSD is a serious... Read more

Examining lovesickness: DSM vs. Springsteen diagnostics

Tuesday, February 25, 2014, 6:30 AM
Last May the American Psychiatric Association released the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatric Disorders, known as DSM-V. Sometimes called the “Bible of Psychiatry,” the DSM-V provoked complaints about the diagnostic criteria it included, whether new diagnoses... Read more

Changing the rules of PTSD

Wednesday, November 13, 2013, 6:00 AM
Last week, the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies had its annual meeting in Philadelphia. I was there, and discussions abound about “Criterion A.” Contrary to what its name might suggest, Criterion A is not a vitamin, nor is it a short-course bicycle race. Criterion A defines... Read more

‘Orange is the New Black’ says a lot of what we need to hear about prison

Wednesday, August 21, 2013, 6:30 AM
Have you seen Netflix’s new critically acclaimed series Orange is the New Black? If you haven’t, you should. The series, based on the real life experiences of Piper Kerman, who served over a year in federal prison for her involvement in a drug trafficking scheme, offers a gripping look... Read more

‘Railway spine’? ‘Soldier’s heart’? Try ‘PTSD.’

Friday, June 21, 2013, 12:47 PM
June is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) awareness month. Sure, there are months for almost every medical condition imaginable. But this month’s designation, which came about after Congress named June 27th national PTSD awareness day just last year, is a symbolic milestone in the mental... Read more

Can flu cause mental illness?

Thursday, May 23, 2013, 6:30 AM
In a Psych. 101 class many years ago, I remember learning that some mental disorders were more common among people born in winter and spring. The reason was unclear. I pretty much forgot about this interesting factoid until reading about a recent study that found evidence of a link between some... Read more
About this blog

What is public health — and why does it matter?

Through prevention, education, and intervention, public health practitioners - epidemiologists, health policy experts, municipal workers, environmental health scientists - work to keep us healthy.

It’s not always easy. Michael Yudell, Jonathan Purtle, and other contributors tell you why.

Michael Yudell, PhD, MPH Associate Professor, Drexel University School of Public Health
Jonathan Purtle, DrPH, MPH Research Director, Drexel Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice
Janet Golden, PhD Professor of history, Rutgers University-Camden
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