On the values of trust and kindness

In recent times, the reporting of UK politics has focussed on the values guiding the behaviour of those in power. The following comment is from a newspaper editorial:This is the resignation letter of Victoria Atkins, MP, 6 July 2022:

To play a 30 secs audio clip of the BBC report of Victoria Atkins’ resignation please click here.

This is part of the resignation speech of Sajid Javid, MP, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, 6 July 2022:

This comment reminded me of the concept of wilful blindness.

To watch the relevant edit of Sajid Javid’s speech [less than a minute long] please click here.

The James Brokenshire lecture on public service, was given by Theresa May, MP [Prime Minister 2016-2019] on the 7th July 2022:

I was an  NHS psychiatrist for 25 years.  I resigned from the Royal College of Psychiatrists in November 2018. One of the reasons for this was my concern over the behaviour demonstrated  by some members, particularly on social media, which clearly departed from College Core Values.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists: “Twitter is the most heavily used social media platform by College staff and Members. The College’s Dean from 2016-2021, Dr Kate Lovett, shares her tips below on how to successfully run a Twitter account“.

Royal College of Psychiatrists: Our Values:

This short film ‘Our Values shares the values of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. In this film, Dr Kate Lovett outlines why kindness is essential to professionalism:

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has always been determined to ‘combat’ stigma.  Although there is no generally accepted specific theory of stigma, it can be defined as ‘an attribute that is deeply discrediting and that reduces the bearer from a whole and usual person to a tainted, discounted one’ (Goffman, 1963). One of the initiatives set up by the Royal College of Psychiatrists to address stigma is this educational module. The module, in its introduction, states: “Attitudes held by health professionals, including those who work in and outside of mental health, can have positive and negative impacts upon patient quality of care.” A whole section of this module explores this question: What can people including psychiatrists do to reduce stigma? 

The advent of social media has created a new environment where health professionals are at risk of increasing rather than reducing stigma. The balance of power between psychiatrists and patients [members of the public] has always been unequal because of the legal authority to detain. This imbalance also includes the application of diagnostic categories to others. It is disappointing to see any misuse of this power, for this will only perpetuate stigma. It is a real challenge for the Royal College of Psychiatrists to ensure that the values that the organisation has set out are followed by its members in all settings, including social media.

The Core Values for Psychiatrists as set out by the Royal College of Psychiatrists are: Communication, Dignity, Empathy, Fairness, Honesty, Humility, Respect and Trust.

The Social Media Policy of the Royal College of Psychiatrists [published March 2022]

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