The December, 2015, issue of the Minnesota Physician included the article “Positive psychiatry:  A New Approach to Mental Health.” The author, Dilip Jeste, MD, is a psychiatrist who is a past president of the Am. Psychiatric Association and a distinguished professor at the U. of California, San Diego.  He reviews trends in psychiatry that will sound very familiar to progressive non-MD mental health professionals, including have the goal of promoting positive mental health states, rather than just identifying and treating diseases.

He also recommends that physicians help their patients be more resilient and optimistic, and to increase their social engagement resources.  Dr. Jeste initially refers to all of this as “positive psychiatry,” but his discussion makes frequent references to “positive psychology” and by the end of the article it appears that he understands that much of what he is discussing originated outside of the field of medicine.

He makes commendable recommendations to his medical colleagues, but it seems likely that they will find it to be challenging to develop the skills and resources to put his recommendations in to action in the typically busy medical practice.  It will be, for example, challenging for MDs to implement Dr. Jeste’s recommendations when they have to see 4-6 patients per hour.

Information in this article could be used by mental health professionals to market their “positive psychology” skills to psychiatrists and other medical professionals, and to promote collaboration of care between mental health and medical professionals.

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