Imagine

Last week, my family moved to the west side of Central Park. A whole new perspective on the same fabulous park. The new neighborhood is great, and now our dog walking route takes us through Strawberry Fields: the 2.5-acre area of Central Park that pays tribute to John Lennon.

The Imagine mosaic lies in the center of Strawberry Fields, where all day long, visitors stop to take photos. The Beatles, with over 200 original works, transformed the world of popular music by singing about universal themes like love, hope, loss and longing – all of which have close links to mental health. As I was walking Nike last week, I realized that Beatles songs are relevant to many of my past Five on Fridays. Some favorites:

1.

I Want to Hold Your Hand. The Beatles first #1 hit in America. And when I touch you I feel happy inside, It’s such a feeling that my love, I can’t hide… There is no question that touch has the potential to promote healthy brain development beginning in infancy and is associated with positive moodfor all of us throughout our lives. For more on the power of touch to improve mental health, check out February 2, 2018’s Five On Friday entitled Touch.

2.

YesterdayOne of many of Paul McCartney’s masterpieces, Yesterday has more than 2,200 cover versions and was voted all-time best song by MTV and Rolling Stone magazine. A melancholic ballad, it is the quintessential story of loss and longing. Don’t we all know that story – a difficult but normal part of life. But loss can lead to grief that can benefit from mental health care. March 29, 2019 Five on Friday is about loss and trauma and the mental health consequences of complicated grief.

3.

Let it be. Another of Paul McCartney’s beautiful pieces. This one he wrote to his mother who had died about ten years earlier. …When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me, Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.. My mother’s name is also Mary, and I have her listed as “Mother Mary” in my phone and feel the same way. How lucky for me that she is so vibrant at 87 years of age. May 7, 2016’s Five on Friday, entitled This One’s for You Mom, focuses on how important maternal health is both for mom and kids.

4.

Here Comes the Sun …Here comes the sun (doo doo doo), Here comes the sun, and I say It’s all right… Hope, optimism. Themes that are so important to mental health. December 2016’s Five on Fridays are a collection of pieces about community, hope, optimism and inspirational figures – all integral to advancing mental health.

5.

Imagine. I join millions of others when I say this is one of my favorites. …Living for today. …Living life in peace… The importance of community, connection, living today, promoting peace; all concepts that are good for our mental health. November 24, 2017’s Five on Friday is all about the importance of community in promoting mental health.


Over the years, I have written on many topics about how mental health intersects with our daily lives. But, in the end, what we can say (or sing) and do when it comes to mental health is only limited by what we can imagine. So, in the words of The Beatles themselves: You may say that I’m a dreamer, But I’m not the only one, I hope someday you’ll join us, And the world will be as one.

Kathleen M. Pike, PhD

Kathleen M. Pike, PhD

Kathleen M. Pike, PhD is Professor of Psychology and Director of the Global Mental Health WHO Collaborating Centre at Columbia University
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