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Table of Contents
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 76

Ethical Sustainability and Social Psychiatry

Department of Psychiatry, Central University, University of Chile, Faculty of Health Sciences, Santiago, Chile

Date of Submission16-May-2020
Date of Acceptance29-May-2020
Date of Web Publication14-Aug-2020

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Fernando Lolas
Central University of Chile, Santiago
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/WSP.WSP_26_20

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How to cite this article:
Lolas F. Ethical Sustainability and Social Psychiatry. World Soc Psychiatry 2020;2:76

How to cite this URL:
Lolas F. Ethical Sustainability and Social Psychiatry. World Soc Psychiatry [serial online] 2020 [cited 2023 Jun 6];2:76. Available from: https://www.worldsocpsychiatry.org/text.asp?2020/2/2/76/292115

WASP position statement regarding the coronavirus pandemic echoes major concerns of scientific societies and public at large in relation to risks, threats, and expectations.

It is important to keep in mind that health, as a complex construct, involves two different notions: an ideal state on the one hand (a state of complete satisfaction and well-being) and a concrete realization that never reaches the ideal state. This second concept comes to the foreground in situ ations such as the pandemic. It is not the ideal state what is sought after but the best possible solution to the current state of affairs. News from all over the world emphasizes only the new disease; many conditions that continue to exist seem to disappear from the public eye. People must reduce activities, accept restrictions, displace interests from less urgent matters, and come to terms with an imperfect life, fraught with uncertainties and sorrows.

As important as the viral threat are the threats to mental health, political abuse, and economic stability. These different aspects of the pandemic have their own dynamics and time course. They sum up to a complex syndrome that demands an integrated outlook and a dialogical stance between different social discourses and between different groups of people.

Dialogical decision-making in moral matters is what we call bioethics. However, difficult it may be to integrate different perspectives and the voices of diverse groups, the dialogical construction of social norms is essential for their acceptance. This is the essence of “ethical sustainability,”[1] a condition in which rules and norms are accepted because they seem fair and can be maintained over time. These two aspects, good justification and permanence, may be essential for sound priority setting in times of distress.

Ethical sustainability of decisions has a close link to the spiritual well-being of the populations, particularly when they are composed by different groups. Faith communities react differently to threats, professional societies tend to emphasize their particular interests, political authorities sometimes impose regulations that are resisted, and individual rights and duties have to be revised in light of the common good.

The close link between mental health care and ethical sustainability is a reminder that the different pandemics (viral, psychological, economic, and social) should be approached from the perspectives of individual responsibility and social common good, emphasizing the dialogical core of the bioethical enterprise. The link between technical expertise and moral justification needs an appraisal of what is proper, what is good, and what is fair. The field of social psychiatry backed up by dialogical moral reasoning is a resource to be developed, expanded, and improved.

  References Top

Lolas F. Public health and social justice. Toward ethical sustainability in healthcare and research. Acta Bioethica (Santiago) 2003;9:189-94.  Back to cited text no. 1


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