So, what should society do to address the multiple impacts of psychiatry on its structure and function? I have a brief answer: intensive research. If society would embark on a massive research effort to discover preventions and cures for psychiatric disorders, the return on investment would be tremendous in human and financial terms. Currently, only a miniscule amount of money (<0.5% of the annual cost of psychiatric disorders) is invested in psychiatric brain research. Society should embark on a BHAG (pronounced Bee Hag), an acronym for “Big Hairy Audacious Goal,” a term coined by Jim Collins and Jerry Poras, who authored the seminal book Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies. The BHAG is an ambitious and visionary goal that steers a company (or in this case, society) to a much brighter future. It would be on the scale of the Manhattan Project in the 1940s, which developed the nuclear bomb that put an end to World War II. When it comes to psychiatry, society should do no less.
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