Updated: Jan 19, 2020
Episode 5 of our Mental Horizons Podcast is with Dr. Dominic Sisti, Ph.D. In this episode Dominic and and Virgil discuss conceptual parity in healthcare.
What is conceptual parity? It is the idea that there is no health without mental health - that in order to treat illness, you need to treat the whole person: body as well as mind… and that the two are not separate entities as we have long thought.
Listen to the episode:
Dr. Sisti is a medical ethicist. He is the Director of The Scattergood Program for Applied Ethics of Behavioral Health Care and Assistant Professor in the Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Dominic is a published researcher and author. His research publications have been included in JAMA, JAMA Psychiatry, Psychiatric Services, and the Journal of Medical Ethics and his writings have been featured in the New York Times, The Economist, NPR, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Slate, and The Atlantic. Dr. Sisti has written three books.
For too long we have separated the mind from the body, seeing mental illness as a failing of morals, as a choice someone makes out of weakness. We blame people for their mental illness. Conceptual parity sees mental illness as just as important to treat as, say, heart disease or diabetes.
In this episode, Dominic and Virgil discuss how the field of psychiatry has been alienated from the rest of the medical field to everyone's detriment, and how the integration of mental health with overall health will not only improve outcomes for adults with mental illness but will address a long-standing human rights issue in our society: discrimination against people with serious mental illness.
Main Talking Points
What is our cultural narrative about mental illness in America?
How can conceptual parity address the human rights issues embedded in our current approach to treating and defining mental illness?
What are the major opportunities, tools, or strategies available to us that will help create this needed paradigm shift?