Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Good Health, Bad Health, Telemental Health?

(Thanks to Dinah at Shrinkrap for pointing me to http://www.telementalhealth.info.)

Let me start with "health." Good word. Wrong context. We are talking about psychiatry here. Mental ILLNESS, not mental health. Doctors treat diseases, illnesses, sick people. They're already off on the wrong foot -- or word.

Telemental. Define it, please. You can't, can you? Used as "telemental health" telemental is an adjective. It modifies health. So telemental health is a kind of health, right? Apparently not. What is it?

Whoever came up with this travesty has butchered the English language. We could try application of algebra:

Tele (mental health)

or Tele Mentalhealth, Tele Mental-health?

Face it. It does not work. Even if telemental can be defined, which I doubt, the term fails to name what it is intended to name and should be abandoned forever in favor of something like telepsychiatry.

Yes, in my grandiose moments I aspire to be the William Safire of psychiatry.

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