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Gratitude in a Year of Adversity

Marlene P. Freeman, MD

Published: January 19, 2021

Gratitude in a Year of Adversity

I wish we could say, as we launch the new year of 2021, that the COVID-19 pandemic was behind us. Most of the world is facing a surge of infections and deaths from the virus, while emerging vaccination programs offer hope. The past year has brought changes in the midst of adversity that will indefinitely alter the way psychiatry and psychological services are practiced. The growth of telehealth and electronic platforms of health care service delivery was catalyzed out of need, but these new methods will, without a doubt, have a durable impact on the way we practice and interact with patients. Access to services for people with psychiatric disorders may improve on a large scale, but we also know that disparities in access will persist, requiring focused ongoing efforts.

The pandemic’s effects have created a plethora of psychosocial concerns, including loneliness, social isolation, grief, and financial crises. In the United States, we have seen political turmoil and divisiveness. Health care policy has always been intertwined with politics, but in the past year the influence of politics on public health has been underscored. A contagious virus has amplified the viral dissemination of destructive forces such as fear, tribalism, misinformation, and conspiracy theories, all of which may impact the mental health care needs of our communities.

In some ways, common threats have brought us together. We’ ve had to find ways to stay connected and available to our patients and each other. Extensive endeavors have been undertaken to build out telehealth and remote education. Research has been affected, and investigators have swiftly targeted impactful aspects of the pandemic, broadly striving to increase our understanding of the acute and longer term effects of the crisis.

As efforts have been initiated to meet the needs ushered in by the COVID-19 pandemic, both psychiatric care for patients and research in our field have carried on, although impeded in some areas more than others. As is the case with the general public, the colleagues who comprise our JCP community have encountered the challenges of increased responsibilities, professionally and personally, as we meet the daily needs of our work and home lives. Many are spread thin and exhausted by what has been an incredibly difficult year.

It is in this context that I express my deepest gratitude for our community of peer reviewers, who anonymously give of their time and expertise. We have continued to see new content submitted, reviewed, and published under the most trying of times, but this would not be possible without careful peer review. We are fortunate to be able to draw from generous and expert reviewers from around the world. As a way of recognizing their efforts, we now offer CME credit to our reviewers; to learn more about the peer review process, please visit

We are also grateful for the authors who select JCP for their work in particular because our readership consists largely of clinicians and clinical researchers, and the manuscripts we publish can quickly influence and further patient care and research. The pipeline of data to inform clinical care and increase our patients’ quality of life remains rich.

I would also like to thank the incredible JCP staff, who did not pause in their important work during the pandemic. Instead, they have taken a robust team approach to rapidly and rigorously processing papers so that new information can be circulated with maximal benefit.

On behalf of the JCP team, we are grateful for the continuing efforts of each of you, and we hope your new year is filled with joy, good health, and peace.

Marlene P. Freeman, MD

Editor in Chief

Figure 1

Chittaranjan Andrade

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Published online: January 19, 2021.

J Clin Psychiatry 2021;82(1):20ed13856

To cite: Freeman MP. Gratitude in a year of adversity. J Clin Psychiatry 2021;82(1):20ed13856.

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