Interview with Professor Jaanus Harro
Leo Sher, M.D.
Today, we publish an interview with an eminent European psychiatrist, Dr. Jaanus Harro.
Jaanus Harro, M.D., Ph.D. is Professor and Head of the Division of Neuropsychopharmacology at the Department of Psychology, University of Tartu, Estonia. He is also Clinical Supervisor of Neuropsychopharmacology and Drug Addiction at the Psychiatry Clinic, North Estonia Medical Center which is the largest psychiatric center in the country.
Leo Sher: What is the most important issue in contemporary psychiatry?
Jaanus Harro: To establish the first diagnostic criterion based on a physical/chemical/biological measure. This will qualitatively change the standing of psychiatry in medicine and science, and its perception by lay people. This in turn will lead to quantum leap in the development of psychiatry as a whole.
Leo Sher: How do you see the future of psychiatry?
Jaanus Harro: Through the prism of precision medicine. We will begin to understand the diversity in biological mechanisms of vulnerability and pathogenetic process, and the different paths our brain can take to mitigate the impact of adverse stimuli – or how it fails at it. This will change the way diagnosis is made and treatment will be applied.
Leo Sher: What needs to be done to reduce suicide rates in Estonia and around the world?
Jaanus Harro: The preventive measures may differ around the world, but quite universally, coping resources need be strengthened in young people. Estonia has a relatively high suicide rate while it has been on downward trend. For Estonia the single most important measure would be to increase the age of first experimentation with alcohol and to reduce alcohol use overall.