Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Help Us Write Our Survey on the Public Face of Psychiatry!

Please Read This and Contribute Your Thoughts!

The Shrink Rappers will be hosting a workshop at this year's annual meeting for the American Psychiatric Association. We'll be talking on The Public Face of Psychiatry and of course we want to discuss the role of new media: blogs and tweets and podcasts and more. Clink will be discussing something forensic, Roy something techy.

But what is the Public Face of Psychiatry? We all believe that stigmatizing the mentally ill is a bad thing and deters people from getting care. And we all have thoughts on what helps and what hurts, but what do we actually know? There's not a lot out there on the topic. And it's not just the mentally ill, it's us Shrinks, we aren't exactly portrayed as the most regular of citizens by the media. One thing we will ask our workshop participants (thanks, Barb, for the great suggestion) is how people react at a party when the participant says they are a psychiatrist.

So what do I want from you? Well, eventually, I want you to take a survey and blast it around the blogosphere about attitudes towards psychiatry. I want it short, maybe 5 questions, so people will actually take it, and I'd like you to help me think about what those questions should be. So I'm going to start and I'd like your feedback in our comments section. Are my questions good? Should they be worded differently? Something short you might like me to add or remove or ask differently?

So here goes, and remember, this is pre-rough-draft, off the top of my head and the final questions will not look like this:


Psychiatry a) helps people b) harms people c) encourages people to use diagnostic labels as excuses for lazy or bad behavior d) is just about handing out medications

Psychiatric patients are a) regular people b) are people I'd rather avoid c) are deeper thinkers and more creative than others

Psychiatrists are a) creative, interesting people b) weirdos c) it's just another job and stereotypes don't apply d) are pawns of the pharmaceutical industry

Psychotherapy a) helps people b) encourages self-centered navel gazing c) often makes people feel or behave worse then they did before they entered treatment d) does nothing.

Psychotropic medications a) help people b) cause more difficulties then they cure c) are the creation of a greedy pharmaceutical industry which has deceived the public

Criminally insane patients are a) badly behaved people manipulating the system to stay out of jail b) deserving of treatment c) have the potential to return to free society d) should not live on my street

Electronic medical records (this one is potentially for Roy).... a) should exist exactly as all other medical records do in psychiatry and giving them 'special protections' increases the stigma of mental illness b) should not exist for psychiatric illnesses and treatment c) should exist but should have separate and higher protection to allow confidentiality.

A psychiatrist uses electronic medical records that can be accessed by my other physicians and I cannot restrict this: a) I would see this psychiatrist for care b) I would not see this psychiatrist for care

Direct-to-Consumer advertising (commercials/magazine ads) of medications: a) decreases the stigma associated with taking these medications and is therefore good b) scares prospective patients with the lists of side effects c) should not be used because it provides incomplete medical information and the suggestion that patients should demand specific treatments without individual consideration of the patient and their problems

Psychiatric blogs: a) are useful sources of information and I have found them to be helpful
b) are biased and unhelpful

Blogs about psychiatry in general (including those by patients and those who may be disenchanted with psychiatry) have a) encouraged me to get treatment or to recommend treatment to others b) have discouraged me from getting treatment or recommending psychiatric treatment to others.

Obviously, I need your help. Thank you so much and do let me know your thoughts!