Thursday, February 5, 2009


I was sorting through some old photos stacked in a corner since my last move and came upon this shot taken by my old college friend, Dave Fonda, for a photojournalism class assignment.

The subject was a resident-patient at the Athens Mental Health Center in Athens, Ohio, also home to Ohio University. In earlier days, the facility had been known as the Athens Lunatic Asylum and was a national center for lobotomy research.

This image haunts me still today. And perhaps especially today, given the current rise of mental stress and isolation resulting from the economic implosion. It's a good reminder to reach out, to keep an eye turned toward your friends and loved ones. Take time to smile and connect. And to listen, really listen, after you ask, "How's it going?" Isolation is deadly. A smile is powerful medicine.

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