In May 2019, having shared a series of social media responses to the hashtag #ITakeMedsForMyMentalHealth , the President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists has found herself caught up in polarising social media exchanges of the sort that seem to be increasingly prevalent across all walks of life. In a recent post I shared my worry that these hashtags facilitate divides rather than encouraging a consideration of a wider range of thoughts and experience.
One contributor offered: “Wendy it must be difficult for you but the problem is you only seem to acknowledge people who have been helped and no acknowledgement for all those harmed. You’ve either got to acknowledge both experiences or maybe neither?”
The President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists replied: “That’s how Twitter works, we tweet what we believe in”.
I have always shared the President’s outlook that respectful behaviour is vital in any setting. I left the Royal College as I felt the professional values it seeks to uphold were not always being upheld. The College may have listened to those harmed by psychiatric interventions but the College approach, in retweeting only accounts of positive experiences of psychiatric interventions, would seem to indicate where professional belief is expected to lie.