Confronting Our Mortality: A Crisis of Spirit, an Opportunity for Meaning

Dr. BreitbartFor anyone striving to find and sustain meaning in life when confronting terminal illness and mortality, some patients are able to sustain a sense of purpose while others suffer from clinical depression or contemplate suicide. Dr. William S. Breitbart, an international leader in psycho-oncology and the Chief and Vice Chair, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center – New York has dedicated his career to improving the lives of terminally ill cancer patients and their families. Dr. Breitbart has developed psychotherapy interventions aimed at “sustaining meaning and improving spiritual well-being in the terminally ill.”

The University of New Mexico Department of Psychiatry’s Institute for the Development and Advancement of Education and Science (IDEAS) is dedicated to helping our community do just that – and so much more.

On January 10 at 6:30pm, IDEAS in Psychiatry hosts Dr. William S. Breitbart in a free lecture on “Confronting Our Mortality: A Crisis of Spirit, An Opportunity for Meaning” at UNM Continuing Education. Dr. Breitbart’s information may be relevant for those who face other terminal illnesses — for family members, friends, care givers — and for anyone striving to find and sustain meaning in life when confronting mortality.

KOAT-TV’s Barry Ramo will inter­view Bre­it­bart on stage after the lecture.

For more information, and to register, visit or call (505) 272-3592.

1 Response

  1. john mansour says:

    Clinical depression has been a recurrent theme in my family for generations. Seems that the thread has been woven too tightly to unravel it all at once. It takes staunch diligence and peseverance to win this winnable battle!
    There are however some specific steps that you can take;

    Treatment with medications is perhaps the most widely used one. You can try prescription antidepressants. There are different types of these drugs that work in slightly different ways. These include:

    Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors

    * Serotonine and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors
    * Tricyclic Antidepressants – these are no longer widely used
    * Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors – these were the earliest medications used, but they have interaction not only with other medicines, but also with common foods such as chicken and chocolate.
    The obvious problem with these are the inevitable side effects such as dizziness, fatigue, dry mouth, nausea, and headache and reduced sex drive.

    You can also try psychotherapy as well as cognitive behavioural therapy although these still seem to be in their infancy.

    The bottom line is to get help from someplace, either a trusted friend, pastor, or professional. You cannot win this on your own!

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