Friday, August 12, 2016
Psychiatry is a profession in trouble. The public looks down on the field and accuses its doctors of being pill-pushers rather than diagnosticians. Yet, there is a need for them more than ever. Mental health is fragile in the stress of the modern era. There is depression, suicidal tendencies, angst of many sources, brain disease of different kinds. A primary stop-gap between harm and help is a psychiatrist. So what can the field do to earn itself back into the graces of the public? For one, it needs to make the field more medically based. Rather than scribbling on a prescription pad when a new patient arrives, psychiatrists need to ferret out the root causes of an illness. They should align themselves with neuroscientists who are studying the inner workings of the brain. In other words, they need to be more fact-based. That is hard and with high patient loads, clinicians have little time to explore symptoms, but it is necessary for the good of the field. That is what PR is all about. Doing rather than saying. For psychiatry, good PR means work that regains public support.