*Excerpt from Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar (pgs 112-244)
*Colleen Farrell, Systole and Diastole, Strength and Openness
*Rebecca Grossman-Kahn, Beyond the Rubble of Lake Street—Minds in Crisis in a City in Crisis
**CQ Assessment Due.
We jumped into two poems by Sylvia Plath: Lady Lazarus and Tulips. Pairs of students explicated each poem and then shared their conversations. We talked about what was different about poetry as a genre as compared with the quasi-autobiographical work of Plath in The Bell Jar and the narrative essay style of Dr. Farrell. We talked about some concepts that help guide psychiatry, such as the DSM-V (and some of its limitations), stigma, how we define normal vs. abnormal, functional impairment/subjective distress.
We watched the following video as we transitioned to thinking about mental health inequities:
We then discussed widespread mental health inequities and cultural considerations for trying to decrease these inequities amongst different patient populations: Black/AA, Native and Indigenous, Latinx/Hispanic, Asian American/Pacific Islander, Arab/Middle Eastern, Multiracial communities. In groups of 2-3 each, students each studied one of these patient populations and shared their findings with the larger group.
For the second half of class, we had the honor of guest speaker Dr. Rebecca Grossman-Kahn joining us virtually to speak about her NEJM piece “Beyond the Rubble of Lake St– Minds in Crisis in a City in Crisis” and narrative medicine in psychiatry. We had a great conversation and covered a lot of ground. Topics discussed included the following:
-how we communicate mental illness to patients
-how we collaborate with families to better understand when patient narratives might not provide the whole picture
-the art of practicing psychiatry with an attention to narrative
-how we make decisions about when to limit or take away a patient’s autonomy (i.e. through involuntary commitment for mental health)
-how we address health inequity and social justice at the bedside and through the medical system.
My Week 4 lesson plan and slides are included below: