Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Results from Our Survey on Attitudes Towards Psychiatry

Aloha from the American Psychiatric Association's Annual Meeting in Honolulu! The weather is gorgeous here and it's been a great meeting. Yesterday, I heard Archbishop Desmond Tutu speak, and today, I listened to "Conversations" with Lorraine Bracco--also known as Dr. Melfi from The Sopranos. The beach is nice, too, and Clink has been scuba diving. Should I tell you she just learned to swim this past winter? She is amazing!

In a few hours, we will be giving our workshop, The Accessible Psychiatry Project: The Public Face of Psychiatry in New Media. We are telling the audience that the survey we did was not validated, was not statistically analyzed, and is not real science. Mostly, it was about how cool it is that we can even do this at all (ask questions, interact with readers, have an impact). I thought I'd share the survey results with everyone here. If you took the survey, thank you, again.



702 responses
Summary 




Who are you?
A professional who treats psychiatric disorders (for example, a mental health professional, a primary care physician/ nurse practioner, or pediatrician)
12919%
Someone who works in a field connected to psychiatry, for example a researcher, health writer, clergyman, patient advocate, support staff in a mental health facility
10015%
Someone who is or has been in treatment for a mental illness
41060%
The family member or close friend of someone with a psychiatric disorder
25638%
The family member or close friend of a mental health professional
9614%
An innocent bystander with no direct relationship to the mental health profession
639%
Other
7912%
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.




My age group - Choose one
Under 20
203%
21-35
25136%
36-50
22532%
51-65
16323%
Over 65
203%




My perception of psychiatry has been primarily shaped by . . .
My personal experiences as either a professional in the field or as a patient
55081%
The experiences of those close to me
29143%
The portrayals I see in the media
11717%
Information I have read about psychiatry
33749%
I don't have any preconceived ideas about psychiatry
172%
Other
325%
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.




I believe that psychiatry . . .
more often than not helps people with mental health problems
44866%
more often than not harms people with mental health problems
7711%
encourages people to use diagnostic labels to explain their bad behavior or laziness
11918%
provides explanations for behavior in a way that is ultimately helpful
33850%
is a field that is about controlling others and is basically evil
365%
is a field that is about helping those with mental disorders to live better lives
46769%
Other
18127%
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.




Psychiatric patients, in general, ...
are just regular people
52478%
are more creative and/or interesting than the average person.
12519%
are uncomfortable to be around
7912%
are often dangerous or scary
325%
are unreliable
558%
should not be permitted to work in certain professions, such as medicine, child care, or law enforcement
335%
live better lives if they hide the fact that they suffer from mental illness
15122%
live better lives if they are open with the fact that they suffer from mental illness
22133%
Other
15723%
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.




Psychiatrists are . . .
interesting people
28443%
weird people
14622%
intimidating because they may analyze me in public settings or know what I'm thinking
497%
on the whole, no different than any other group of professionals
31747%
pawns of the pharmaceutical industry
15924%
interested in knowing and understanding their patients as complete human beings
28042%
just interested in symptoms and medications
21532%
troubled people looking to cure themselves
6410%
I have no opinion about psychiatrists
264%
Other
16625%
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.




Have you ever been evaluated or treated by a psychiatrist? -
Yes
44764%
No
21531%




Psychotherapy . . .
more often than not helps people recover from or manage mental illness
41762%
more often than not helps people to better understand themselves and negotiate their lives
45768%
encourages a detrimental, self-centered perspective
507%
more often than not makes people feel or behave worse than they did before they entered treatment
233%
is for people who don't have friends to talk to
568%
is more often than not inferior to medication as a treatment for mental disorders
548%
is more often than not superior to medication as a treatment for mental disorders
17626%
does nothing
294%
I have no significant opinion about psychotherapy
457%
Other
15423%
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.




Have you ever been in psychotherapy? -
Yes
48669%
No
17625%




Psychiatric medications . . .
more often than not help people recover from, or cope with, their difficulties
36855%
more often than not cause problems that are worse than the ones they treat
14021%
have saved lives and helped people to function better
49073%
are a quick fix for people who don't have the inner strength to deal with adversity
639%
treat illnesses that can strike anyone
38858%
are the creation of a greedy pharmaceutical industry that has deceived the public
13821%
I have no opinion about psychiatric medications
152%
Other
22333%
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.




Have you ever taken psychiatric medication? -
Yes
45865%
No
21030%




Sometimes, patients are seen for brief visits by a psychiatrist for management of their medications and if they need psychotherapy, they see a social worker, psychologist, nurse therapist, or counselor (so-called "split treatment"). What do you think of this practice?
Brief visits with a psychiatrist for medication management typically work well
15423%
Psychiatrists should spend more time than this with their patients to manage medications
34852%
When possible, psychiatrists should provide both psychotherapy and medication management to their patients
37756%
Patients should not see psychiatrists at all: medications should be managed by other professionals such as primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, or specially-trained psychologists
386%
I have no significant opinion on this topic
528%
Other
16124%
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.




Electronic Health Records (EHRs or EMRs) . . .
should not contain any records of psychiatric illnesses and treatments (including medications) even though that means my primary care doc or ER doc wouldn't know about my meds or condition unless I tell them
8913%
should have separate and higher protections for mental illness than for other health problems
21832%
should exist for psychiatry exactly as all other medical records do, with the same protections as for other health condition, because adding special protections increases stigma against mental illness
27541%
should allow patients to control which information they wish to be shared and with whom for all medical specialties
29043%
facilitate better communication and improve psychiatric care
26139%
negatively affect communication and detract from psychiatric care
497%
I have no significant opinion about electronic health records in psychiatry
7411%
Other
9414%
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.




Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) advertising (commercials/magazine ads) of medications . . .
decreases the stigma associated with taking psychiatric medications and is therefore good for psychiatry
14221%
scares prospective patients too much with the lists of side effects
10916%
provides incomplete medical information and the suggestion that patients should demand specific treatments without individual consideration of the patient and their problems
49774%
provides useful information to patients and increases awareness about treatment options
12819%
should be allowed to continue
9013%
should be no longer be allowed
30445%
I have no opinion about direct-to-consumer advertising
436%
Other
10916%
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.




Psychiatric blogs by mental health professionals . . .
more often than not are useful sources of information
30045%
more often than not are biased and unhelpful
365%
are entertaining or interesting to me
40160%
I have no opinion on psychiatry blogs by mental health professionals
17626%
Other
538%
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.




Blogs about psychiatry in general -- including those by patients and those who may be disenchanted with psychiatry -- have . . .
provided encouragement for me to get treatment or to recommend treatment to others
11017%
discouraged me from getting treatment or recommending psychiatric treatment to others
284%
had no influence on my attitudes towards psychiatric treatment
21633%
had a positive influence on how I view psychiatry
13320%
had a negative influence on how I view psychiatry
558%
I have no opinion on psychiatry blogs in general
21132%
Other
9715%
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.




Do you feel this survey is balanced and fair? -
Pretty much
43161%
In the middle
19828%
Not really
406%




Comment box for additional comments or suggestions . . .
You're missing the large portion of the population who doesn't read blogs like this. My close friend has very different attitudes toward psychiatry (they are wierd, controlling, just want to push meds, etc.) and she may be more the typical person.You surely didn't think this was a balanced or fair survey. did you? Was that part of your plan?You have to find a way for members of the same family (spouse/parent) who are on the same insurance policy not to see each other's medication/psychiatric treatment records.Lawyers take the name of a medication and then create an attack on the person for ...


Number of daily responses