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As 2020 wound down, most of us agreed that it was a year of challenges. In this edition of Horizons, we share some of the wonderful and inspiring things that are happening at McLean despite the challenges of a global pandemic.
We have gathered stories of hope, innovation, gratitude, and generosity. You will learn about an extraordinary gift that responds to the growing desire among patients for pastoral support and spiritually integrated care while also enabling McLean to share broadly the research behind this effort.
You will read about a gift celebrating a clinician who has spent his impactful career bettering the lives of troubled teens. And we are delighted to introduce you to four new members of the McLean Board of Trustees, all of whom bring enthusiasm, talent, and passion to their roles as leaders at the hospital.
Finally, we have a story about a donor whose monthly gift strengthens a meaningful connection and reminds him regularly of his gratitude.
Orange Crimson Foundation Supports Research at the Intersection of Spirituality and Mental Health
Nearly 80% of McLean patients turn to spirituality or religion to cope with stress or adversity. And nationally, 50-60% of patients want their spirituality addressed in their mental health care. But historically, psychiatry has overlooked these facts. “There’s a disconnect between what we’re doing as a field and what people want,” said David H. Rosmarin, PhD, ABPP, director of McLean’s Spirituality and Mental Health Program. “As a result, the reach of psychiatry is limited in some cases if we don’t attend to the spiritual needs of our patients.”
New Fund Honors Distinguished Career of Borderline Personality Disorder Expert Dr. Michael Hollander
It was 1979, and Michael Hollander, PhD, was a post-doctoral fellow at McLean’s adolescent day service when he overheard two girls talking about how they regularly burned their arms with lighters and red-hot coins. He was curious and joined the conversation. “What surprised me was that they didn’t talk about the pain but instead about the relief they experienced—that it made them feel better and calmed them,” recounted Hollander. In those days, self-injury wasn’t well understood, and so began a lifelong interest in why and how teens hurt themselves.
McLean’s Board of Trustees Welcomes Four New Members
Connie Hadley, PhD, lecturer in the Management and Organizations Department at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business, and Nicholas Zeppos, JD, chancellor emeritus and distinguished university professor of law and political science at Vanderbilt University, Richard Holbrook, retired, and Husseini Manji, MD, FRCPC, global head for Johnson & Johnson Science for Minds, have joined McLean Hospital’s Board of Trustees. They all cited their personal interests in mental health, professional backgrounds, and McLean’s reputation as an outstanding institution as reasons for their involvement.
Read more in the full issue.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the future of technology in psychiatry is now, a point driven home by the 2020 Technology in Psychiatry Summit (TIPS) hosted by McLean’s Institute for Technology in Psychiatry (ITP).
Molecules to Mobile Phones: From Crisis to Opportunity brought together 450 people—academics, policymakers, technology and health professionals, patient advocates, and others—for a three-day virtual conference focusing on technology issues brought to the fore by the pandemic, including telemedicine, equity, and bias.
“We came up with the event’s broader themes before COVID-19 and were thinking about issues that might be relevant on a five-to-ten-year horizon—things people weren’t thinking about at the time,” said Laura Germine, PhD, ITP technical director and TIPS program committee chair. “Then the pandemic happened and suddenly, issues of inequity, public health, access to care, and the importance of telehealth were paramount. All these digital health tools that were theoretical were now in use.”
ITP Program Director Rachel Sava, PhD, said organizers were very intentional about attracting a diverse set of speakers. “Getting all these people in the same room, virtually, to have a conversation was absolutely critical this year,” she said. “Feedback from participants was overwhelmingly positive.”
Tom Henry is passionate and poetic when he talks about why he supports McLean. He makes monthly, automatic gifts to the hospital and says that McLean is his top philanthropic priority. “I am a grateful parent,” he said. “Twenty years ago, McLean changed the trajectory of my daughter’s life.” He has now made it his mission to speak out with empathy and personal vulnerability to help reduce the stigma of mental illness. He wants others to know that they are not alone on their journeys.
“There is nothing worse than the pain and anguish of watching your child suffer,” shared Tom. “But my daughter’s time in McLean’s outpatient DBT program was a turning point, and I want others to have access to this opportunity.” He is emotional when he recalls the experience, but he is also filled with joy and pride when he speaks of the accomplished adult she has become.
“If I could, I’d write a million-dollar check,” he said. “But giving this way means that I can send a signal every month to the team at McLean that I am thinking about you. It makes me feel connected. It helps me remember what is important, and I never want to lose that.” Tom hopes that others will follow his lead and support McLean any way they can.
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