iOS app Android app

Michael Friedman, L.M.S.W.
GET UPDATES FROM Michael Friedman, L.M.S.W.
Michael Friedman has worked in the field of mental health for over 45 years as a direct service provider, an administrator, a government official and as an educator.

He has served on numerous advocacy and public advisory groups including, among many others, the Geriatric Mental Health Alliance (which he founded in 2004), the Veterans Mental Health Coalition of NYC (which he co-founded in 2009) and the Advisory Committee to the NYC Commissioner of Health.

He is currently on the adjunct faculty at Columbia University School of Social Work.

He is the author of numerous publications, most of which are posted at

Entries by Michael Friedman, L.M.S.W.

Not Such A Grumpy Old Man After All: A Review of Donald Hall's Essays After Eighty

(0) Comments | Posted February 2, 2015 | 1:58 PM

Lately, my writing about old age has been on the cheerful side. Not surprising, since I've been writing about successful aging and not about unsuccessful aging. Still, some people I know who are in their 80s or 90s have been saying to me, "Just you wait." I've begun to worry...

Read Post

We Are Not Ready, But We Could Be: On Gawande's 'Being Mortal'

(0) Comments | Posted November 10, 2014 | 1:53 PM

About a quarter of the way through Atul Gawande's wonderful, disturbing, but ultimately hopeful new book, Being Mortal, I said to my wife "We've got to talk!" I had become convinced that we are not ready for death or, more precisely, for the long period of declining capabilities...

Read Post

Improving the American Mental Health System Requires Accurate History

(0) Comments | Posted August 20, 2014 | 11:25 AM

This post is co-authored by Sherry A. Glied and Michael B. Friedman.

Allen Frances (The Huffington Post August 7, 2014) claims that the American mental health system is worse now than ever before. He and other critics who share this view are wrong. Today's system is undoubtedly inadequate...

Read Post

Successful Aging: The Challenge of Regret and Guilt

(0) Comments | Posted August 6, 2014 | 12:47 PM

This is the second in a series of essays on the psychology of successful aging. Click here for the first.

Pride in the past is an essential element of successful aging. Robert Frost captures this well in "The Death of the Hired Man," a poem in which an...

Read Post

Successful Aging, Fortunately, Is Largely Subjective

(0) Comments | Posted June 12, 2014 | 6:16 PM

Some years ago, shortly after I signed up for Medicare and Medigap, a nurse from the insurance company that provides my Medigap plan called to talk with me about my health. I told her about my chronic conditions -- diabetes, high blood pressure, minor heart disease, an enlarged prostate for...

Read Post

Raise the Age of Criminal Responsibility in New York State

(0) Comments | Posted June 9, 2014 | 5:22 PM

This post was co-authored by Paige Pierce, Executive Director of Families Together in NYS

Despite its progressive reputation, New York remains one of only two states in the nation that continues to automatically arrest and prosecute 16 year olds as adults. It's an archaic system, proven to...

Read Post

Be on the Lookout for Elder Abuse

(1) Comments | Posted March 14, 2014 | 11:13 AM

This post is co-authored by Michael Friedman, L.M.S.W., Joy Solomon, Esq. and Malya Kurzweil Levin, Esq. Joy Solomon is the Director and Managing Attorney and Malya Kurzweil Levin is Staff Attorney for The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Center for Elder Abuse Prevention at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale in NYC.

Read Post

Bet on the Future?

(0) Comments | Posted February 5, 2014 | 4:49 PM

Before he died, my uncle and I got together frequently for lunch. We always began our conversations by talking about how we were doing financially. He had become quite wealthy by investing in telecommunications stocks shortly after World War II. My wife and I -- both social workers -- were...

Read Post

Grudge Match is Disappointing

(0) Comments | Posted December 27, 2013 | 4:15 PM

I had been looking forward to Grudge Match ever since I saw the coming attraction for it a couple of months ago. Starring Sylvester Stallone (now 67) and Robert De Niro (now 70), it promised to be Rocky vs. Raging Bull 30 years later. It promised to be another movie...

Read Post

Better Pain Management Is Essential for Reducing Addiction to Prescription Painkillers

(2) Comments | Posted December 16, 2013 | 10:06 AM

Lately, the NYC Department of Health has been running ads on TV about the risks and sadness of addiction to prescription painkillers. They are good ads with an important message. "Prescription drugs destroyed my family," a mother says with great sadness. The message -- prescription painkillers...

Read Post

Is Stress Most People's Friend? A Response to Kelly McGonigal

(9) Comments | Posted November 22, 2013 | 8:00 AM

Click here to watch the TEDTalk that inspired this post.

Once I got serious about my career, I became a very hard worker. My ordinary workweek was 65 to 70 hours. When things got difficult, I worked more. From time to time, I took vacations and,...

Read Post

How 'Last Vegas' Convinced Me There's Life After 70

(1) Comments | Posted November 19, 2013 | 6:21 AM

I have been looking forward to seeing Last Vegas since I saw the trailer for it as a coming attraction at RED 2--a wonderful movie about old spies who are "retired", and "extremely dangerous". Old farts like me having a bachelor party in Vegas with lots of buxom...

Read Post

Why I'm Still Trying To Figure Out What I Want To Be When i Grow Up

(3) Comments | Posted November 12, 2013 | 6:02 AM

Early in my career, from which I am now retired, I was the assistant to a man who was a major figure in our field. When he hired me, I was about 35; he was about 60. One day I sat in when he was interviewed by a man even...

Read Post

Want to Feel Good About Being Old? See Red 2

(1) Comments | Posted August 12, 2013 | 6:51 PM

A few months ago in an occupational therapy group where I was learning how to walk after surgery to remove a tumor from inside my spine, we chatted while exercising with very, very, very light weights. I was asked what my favorite movie is. Bergman's films immediately came to mind...

Read Post

Depressed? Treatment Not Working? Be Careful What You Do Next

(13) Comments | Posted August 6, 2013 | 6:37 PM

If you are taking an anti-depressant but are still depressed, the ad says, ask your doctor about adding Abilify (originally approved as an anti-psychotic medication). This is, at best, misleading medical advice. It implies (even if it doesn't say it directly) that adding Abilify should be the first course of...

Read Post

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About The Diagnostic Manual of Mishegas (DMOM): An Interview With the Authors

(0) Comments | Posted May 13, 2013 | 5:19 PM

Now that The Diagnostic Manual of Mishegas (The DMOM) has been released, we authors have graciously provided what we consider to be a Charlie Rose(nberg)-type interview about the genesis of their manual.

Why? Because the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5 -- the "Bible of...

Read Post

Depressed or Demoralized?

(5) Comments | Posted April 18, 2013 | 6:23 PM

Co-authored with Paul Nestadt, M.D.

When he was 63, Edward* was diagnosed with lung cancer. He was lucky enough to have access to the newest forms of radiation treatment and chemotherapy, and he had three pretty good years. He continued working, and he and his wife took several trips they...

Read Post

See Comedy Warriors: Healing Through Humor, a Documentary About Wounded Veterans Doing Stand-Up Comedy

(0) Comments | Posted April 9, 2013 | 3:39 PM

Go to see Comedy Warriors: Healing Through Humor, a remarkable documentary about five severely-wounded Iraq/Afghanistan veterans who become stand-up comics.

Oh wait, you can't see it, because it's not on TV and it's not playing any place. (I saw it at the Palm Beach International Film Festival). So ask...

Read Post

A Must-Read for Mental Health Policy Makers: The New Edition of Mental Health and Social Policy

(3) Comments | Posted March 29, 2013 | 12:38 PM

Policy makers who have become interested in how to reshape America's mental health policy generally need to know more about its history and complexity than they realize. A great starting point would be the new (the sixth) edition of Mental Health and Social Policy by David...

Read Post

America's Mental Health System Needs Improvement, But Gains of the Past Give Hope for the Future

(4) Comments | Posted March 18, 2013 | 12:51 PM

There's little doubt that the American mental health system could be better. But it is not necessary to trash the developments of the last half century to make that point. In fact, given all the effort that has gone into making the mental health system better, it would be profoundly...

Read Post