Who Owns the Future of Suicide Risk Prediction?

10 July 2019 11:37 AM   •   Greg Simon   •   2 comments

On my plane rides to and from a recent meeting about big data in suicide prevention, I finally read Jaron Lanier’s 2013 book "Who Owns the Future?" Lanier argues that those who create useful information should be paid by those who profit from it.

Are the kids really alright?

17 June 2019 07:28 AM   •   Greg Simon   •   0 comments

If you’re my age, “The Kids Are Alright” names a song by The Who from their 1966 debut album, My Generation. If you’re even younger, it names a TV series that debuted just last year. What goes around comes around – especially our worry that the kids are not alright. That worry often centers on how the kids’ latest entertainment is damaging their mental health.

Bebe Rexha can call herself whatever she wants

8 May 2019 08:07 AM   •   Greg Simon   •   2 comments

A few weeks ago, the pop star Bebe Rexha told the world via Twitter: “I’m bipolar and I’m not ashamed anymore. That is all. (crying my eyes out.)” I cheered about a talented and successful woman announcing that she is not ashamed to live with bipolar disorder. But I initially paused when reading the words “I’m bipolar.” That’s the sort of language that many mental health advocates discourage.

Is it too soon to move the tomato plants outside?

15 April 2019 09:42 AM   •   Greg Simon   •   0 comments

It’s the time of year when backyard gardeners start to think about transplanting tomato seedlings from that tray in the sunny part of the kitchen to the real garden outside. Moving outdoors too soon is risky. Those of us who develop mental health interventions often keep them indoors too long. When I look back on the history of Collaborative Care for depression, I think we waited too long before moving that intervention to the outdoor garden.

Isn’t prediction about the future?

18 March 2019 12:07 PM   •   Greg Simon   •   2 comments

This post will be a nerdy one. I want to split some hairs about use of the word “predict”. But I think they are hairs worth splitting.

Friction won’t stop us anymore!

12 February 2019 11:05 AM   •   Greg Simon   •   0 comments

Seattle had one of its rare snowy days last week. Seeing cars slide sideways down our hills reminded me that friction is sometimes our friend.

Have we become Helicopter Researchers?

10 January 2019 08:29 AM   •   Greg Simon   •   2 comments

“Helicopter Parents” is the derisive term for those over-protective parents who won’t let their children experience any failure – or even any actual challenge. I think, however, that the helicopter critique does apply to the way we researchers often over-protect our theories. Loving our theories too much, we protect them too vigorously from empirical challenge.

Return of the Repressed

10 December 2018 08:03 AM   •   Greg Simon   •   2 comments

Last month I moved to a temporary office to make way for painting and installing new carpet. Being forced to pack up every book and file folder was actually a good thing. I recycled books I hadn’t opened in 15 years. Tidying up did feel good, but my purging frenzy paused when I came to this stack of books from my residency days.

Machine learning and Clever Hans, the Calculating Horse

5 November 2018 10:01 AM   •   Greg Simon   •   1 comment

Clever Hans, the Calculating Horse, was a sensation of the early 1900s. He appeared to be able to count, spell, and solve math problems – including fractions! Only after careful investigation did everyone learn that Hans was just responding to unconscious nonverbal cues from his trainer. Hans couldn’t actually calculate, but he could sense the answer his trainer was hoping for.

Gold Standard or Golden Calf?

8 October 2018 07:32 AM   •   Greg Simon   •   0 comments

Most of our measures and measurement tools were created in conference rooms or conference calls dominated by older white men. Over time, those “expert opinion” measures acquire a patina of authority. As time passes, we can start to equate familiarity or habit with accuracy or validity. Our experiences with NCQA/HEDIS measures regarding antidepressant medication adherence illustrate the tendency to over-value the familiar.