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Table of Contents
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 55-56

The Global Relevance of Social Links with Mental Health, from a Luminary in Social Psychiatry

1 Gupta Mind Healing and Counselling Centre, Chandigarh, India
2 Department of Psychiatry, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India

Date of Submission09-Aug-2021
Date of Acceptance10-Aug-2021
Date of Web Publication31-Aug-2021

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Nitin Gupta
Gupta Mind Healing and Counselling Centre, Chandigarh - 160 009
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/wsp.wsp_38_21

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How to cite this article:
Gupta N, Basu D. The Global Relevance of Social Links with Mental Health, from a Luminary in Social Psychiatry. World Soc Psychiatry 2021;3:55-6

How to cite this URL:
Gupta N, Basu D. The Global Relevance of Social Links with Mental Health, from a Luminary in Social Psychiatry. World Soc Psychiatry [serial online] 2021 [cited 2023 May 31];3:55-6. Available from: https://www.worldsocpsychiatry.org/text.asp?2021/3/2/55/324989

The current issue of the World Social Psychiatry (WSP) is interesting, different, and unique! These adjectives have been used consciously, as this is the first time that any regular issue of WSP has so many articles (n = 14), involving contributors from an array of countries (Canada, United States of America, United Kingdom, Georgia, Russia, Sweden, Morocco, and India) spread over four continents, and most importantly, having started a brand-new section called “Luminaries in Social Psychiatry.” Before elaborating more about the new section, it will be pertinent to mention that we have the usual mix of perspectives, commentaries, reviews, original research papers (including brief communication), and letter to editors, which provide for variegated reading on different social issues germane to mental health from across the world.

”Luminaries in Social Psychiatry” is a new section being introduced from this issue onward. This section will be focused on, and dedicated to, world leaders and visionaries in the area of Social Psychiatry from across the globe. An attempt will be made to introduce the readership to the vast experience accrued by such senior mental health professionals and to gain insights into their thought processes. We are indebted to Dr. Andrew Molodynski, Consultant Psychiatrist, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, and Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer, Oxford University, United Kingdom, who is also an Office Bearer of the World Association of Social Psychiatry (WASP), for generating this idea and motivating the first article in this series.

The first of this series carries an article titled “An Interview with Driss Moussaoui.”[1] Prof. Moussaoui is one of our Past Presidents (2010–2013) of WASP and a very senior psychiatrist based in Morocco but of global stature, with a keen interest and lifelong commitment to Social Psychiatry. He has been interviewed by John Simmons, working in Oxford, United Kingdom, at the time of this writing. The interview makes not only for interesting reading regarding the roots of Social Psychiatry but also provides a wealth of information into the historical aspects related to the development of Psychiatry in a Northern African country, i.e. Morocco.

In fact, while reading this particular piece, we were struck by one of his statements; to quote: “……if we do not know how psychological aspects work in human beings at large and in people with mental health problems in particular, if we do not know how important are culture and social links– we are lost.”[1] It reminded us of an incident and a series of events that had unfolded recently in the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games (this editorial being written around the concluding days of the Games). Simone Biles, a 24-year-old gymnast from the USA, and probably one of the greatest gymnasts of all times,[2] withdrew from all events (barring one – the beam balance) citing experiencing “twisties” due to mental health issues; to quote: “I have to focus on my mental health.”[2] There was an immediate outpouring of wishes and praises for Biles' decision, which ranged from the head of the US Olympic team, many gymnasts, and other sportspersons from a range of countries across the world (Great Britain, Jamaica, France, Japan, etc.). It was extremely heartening to see the way Simone Biles was supported worldwide; in fact, this support was equally evident whenever she accompanied the US gymnastics team for each event, and more so when she participated in the Beam Balance event. Her singular one-off action helped in bringing athletes and sportspersons, of different socio-cultural backgrounds, together as one voice by uniting them psychologically.

Another series of examples which were evident during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics is the camaraderie and support shown by athletes of different nations to each other, both while competing and at the presentation ceremonies. It is not that these have not been visible and evident at each of the previous Games, but this was significantly more evident in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics; some prominent examples being Italy's Gianmarco Tamberi and Qatar's Mutaz Barshim deciding to share high-jump gold rather than contest the title; and Norwegian Lotte Miller consoling Belgian rival Claire Michel after she came in last in the triathlon.[3] This makes one wonder as to the reasons behind this behavior, and the reasons are probably not hard to guess. The Tokyo 2020 Olympics were played out behind closed doors without spectators, and athletes were barred from venturing outside the Olympic village.[3] The Olympics participants were operating in a “bubble-esque” environment. Everyone at the Games had daily swabs to test for coronavirus, was required to wear masks at all times (when not eating, training or competing), socially distance and take standard measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus, such as frequent washing of hands. Some sport-specific measures were also added, such as clapping rather than singing or yelling to cheer on teammates. In addition, athletes were not allowed to take public transportation and could only leave their accommodations to go to official Olympic venues. If they violated the protocols, they were faced with a range of consequences, including being disqualified from the Games.[4]

Hence, it is clearly evident that there was a high degree of psychological stress and social isolation among the participants. This enhanced their need for social interaction and engagement, which was only possible at the competition site. This is a clear example to illustrate what Prof. Moussaoui stated in his interview that “if one is unable to understand the importance of social links, then everything is lost.[1]

As the editors of WSP, we strongly believe and have faith that this new series, henceforth, will add a new dimension to the Journal and open up new vistas for the readership to explore and appreciate. Nevertheless, we shall await your feedback!

Welcome to the May–August 2021 Issue of WSP!

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Simmons J. An interview with Driss Moussaoui. World Soc Psychiatry 2021;3:122-4.  Back to cited text no. 1
Available from: https://www.bbc.com/sport/olympics/57992327. [Last accessed on 2021 Aug 07].  Back to cited text no. 2
Available from: https://www.bbc.com/sport/olympics/58137574. [Last accessed on 2021 Aug 07].  Back to cited text no. 3

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1 An exploration of the antecedents and mechanisms causing athletesí stress and twisties symptom
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