The Royal College of Psychiatrists has a current campaign to increase recruitment to psychiatry. It has this tag #choosepsychiatry.

Stephen Fry, despite having been diagnosed with prostate cancer, gave up his time to personally support this campaign. Fry is a national treasure because of the wonderful creative, open and intelligent man that he is.

I wrote a perspective on the backdrop to this 2006 documentary and called it Cell Mates.

I am coming towards the end of my career. I feel most fortunate to have been a doctor, to listen and learn from those who have confidentially entrusted me to share their experiences, stories, troubles, wonders and concerns. I have done my best to help people when in a time of need.

However, I will leave my profession of psychiatry with very real concerns. I do hope that the concerns that I have might help the #choosepsychiatry campaign. I want to be positive.

I cannot escape a deep concern that my profession is now prescribing psychiatric medications far too widely, and is not explaining to those prescribed, that there is a dearth of evidence to base long term treatment with such drugs. My concern is the potential for prescribed harm to many.

I cannot offer the wisdom of Stephen Fry, all I can offer are a few of my own considerations to junior doctors:

  • listen to the evidence of experience (lived experience)
  • that evidence informed medicine also requires philosophical considerations
  • that words and numbers matter equally, but both represent ‘losses’ in terms of actual experience
  • that ethics should underpin all that we do
  • that transparency of competing interests is essential to science
  • that over-medicalisation is a matter that we need to consider seriously
  • that the idea of ‘two cultures’, science and arts, is an artificial divide that should be challenged
  • that subjectivity needs to be reintegrated into science
  • that wider reading and exploration of the world round about us, adds, rather than detracts from being a skilled and caring professional
  • that the history of medicine reminds us that critical thinking is necessary to establishment practice
  • that good intentions are not sufficient. Professionals are just as vulnerable to exhibiting stigma as any other person



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