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Taking Issue   |    
Politics Local, Science Global
John A. Talbott, M.D.
Psychiatric Services 2010; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.61.3.215
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All politics may be local, but all science is now global, and nothing could demonstrate this better than this month's issue of Psychiatric Services, which consists almost entirely of articles from around the globe. During my years as editor of the journal, I was impressed by the number of submissions from other countries and especially at how the number grew over the years. This is an interesting development, especially when one considers that Daniel Blain established the journal in 1950 "to promote the exchange of information between clinical and administrative personnel in [American] mental health facilities and others who provide care and advocacy for individuals with mental disorders"—a goal that now appears quite parochial.

Outside the United States, one of the most interesting meetings I attend as faithfully as possible is the biennial Congress on Mental Health Policy and Economics in Venice, hosted by the energetic Massimo Moscarelli. I go for several reasons, but one of the most important is that it draws together young scientists from all over the world who work in the fields of mental health policy, public health, health services research, economics, psychiatry, mental health, and sociology to present cutting-edge research on policy and economics. Although the common language at the Congress may be English, the scientific methods, focus of research, and implications of the research findings are universal.

Psychiatric Services serves a similar role in the mental health publications sphere. Other nations have psychiatric specialty journals and even journals that deal with the above-mentioned topics—I think of Psichiatria di Comunità in Italy—but no single journal so nicely incorporates and welcomes contributions such as those published this month: on human resources, rehabilitation, inpatient care, infrastructure development, homeless individuals with mental illness, needs assessments, mortality and morbidity, commitment, inequities, recovery, antismoking initiatives, social change, language barriers, family care and support, quality of life, and CBT's effects on emotions and beliefs.

Having known Dan Blain and having talked extensively with him at the end of his life and in the middle of my state hospital career, I have the feeling that he would be thrilled that his little eight-page newsletter, in which he encouraged beleaguered staff members in godforsaken state facilities all over America to share with each other the lessons they had learned, has evolved into a global resource for all who work everywhere to improve the treatment and the lives of persons with severe mental illness.




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