Peter Whybrow

The Mental Health Panacea?

Of the massive amount of recent dialog, some of it has focused on weapons – but some of it has focused on mental health. To be sure, we all know that a problem exists, but few of us know what (or why) it happens. Why do we all have this sense that the collective mental health of North Americans has been eroding? Dr. Peter Whybrow appears to have some of those answers. In an interview with Pacific Standard, he talks about how we’ve become manic through stimulus:

“The computer is electronic cocaine for many people,” says Whybrow. “Our brains are wired for finding immediate reward. With technology, novelty is the reward. You essentially become addicted to novelty.”

And, in this case the novelty (or new and interesting things) is provided on a near constant basis by status updates, tweets, pokes and whatever computing seemingly provides at an instant. The solution seems within reach – if we can teach ourselves how to do it:

“The idea is not that you don’t work hard,” Whybrow explains. “You do. But you have to be able to switch it off and create space.”