CULTURE

A timely message from John Forbes Nash, Jr

The August-September issue of the bulletin Messages, published by the Panhellenic Association of Families for Mental Health, contained an message from Nobel Prize winner John Forbes Nash, Jr, the «beautiful mind» portrayed by Russell Crowe in an Oscar-nominated role. Nash was replying to an invitation from the editor Nana Mandalis. «What can I say to a message?» he asked. «Most simply, I think that mental illnesses are not yet well understood, in terms of etiology or other aspects, by the medical professionals who deal with them professionally. Perhaps humanity can still learn something relevant here from the ancient philosophies and a good theme is perhaps the Hippocratic theme of ‘Do no harm.’ Of course I also do not understand what is not yet scientifically understood and thus I don’t have magic answers either,» he wrote. Marina Lalioti-Economou, a professor of psychology at the University Mental Health Research Institute, responsible for the Greek Program of the World Psychiatric Association against Schizophrenia, referred in the same issue to Professor Nash’s message, on the occasion of the Greek premiere of the film on his life. «Myths and prejudices transform a serious illness into a daily nightmare,» she said. «All of us today have to open the doors. To listen. To become aware and to become informed. That is the only way to fight the prejudice and discrimination surrounding schizophrenia,» she added.