Professor David Kissane to deliver prestigious annual lecture at King's College



David Kissane

School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health (SCS) Department of Psychiatry Head Professor David Kissane has been invited as Visiting Professor to the University of Hong Kong in September, and will also deliver the Dame Cecily Saunders Annual Lecture at King's College in October.

Professor Kissane’s King's College lecture will focus on integrating the existential and psychosocial into palliative medicine—and demonstrate that hope, value and meaning counter demoralisation to sustain patients, families and care teams.

“Existential challenges are a major source of suffering towards the end of life,” Professor Kissane said.

“Demoralisation is one such mental state comprising low morale and a sense of poor coping, in which pessimism, helplessness and hopelessness can lead to loss of meaning and purpose in life.”

Professor Kissane said that empirical data have shown a stronger relationship between demoralisation and suicidal thinking than depression and wishing to die.

“Therapies that aim to restore meaning in life help to ameliorate demoralisation,” he said.

“Demoralisation is a useful concept to deepen diagnostic understanding, treatment choice and ability to communicate with clinicians and patients.”

“It is a contagious state of mind, necessitating family and multidisciplinary team work to prevent its inadvertent transmission among care providers,” said Professor Kissane.

The King's College lecture will be broadcast live to ten partner sites in Europe, Africa and the US on 4 October.