Does Psychiatry Need Rebranding?

I read an interesting opinion article titled “Does Psychiatry Need Rebranding” and I thought I will share the keypoints and get your input from you guys.

The opinions were given by Dr. Stephen Strakowski, founding chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the Dell Medical School of Austin, Texas.

The doctor is of opinions that:

  • The field of Psychiatry needs to do a better job of branding itself as a specialty. Just watch any television or news reporting, go to the movies, you know that psychiatrists are rarely presented in a positive light.

  • To most of the public, psychiatry is quite mysterious, and that is our fault. In a speciality with a lot of stigma attached anyway, the mystery simply contributes to the stigma.

  • It is our responsibiltiy and obligation to be clearer about what psychiatry is and to break down barriers so that people who need help will actually seek it.

  • Unfortunately, we also are not always clear about what the evidence behind our treatments is and is not. We have a history of overstating how successful our treatments can be.

  • We have waxed and waned about where we fit within the continuum of healthcare.

  • The perception of “being crazy” pejorarively diminishes the experiences of people who have psychiatric conditions that need treatment.

  • It is not just the general population that struggles with this; it is our colleagues in other subspecialties who do not understand when they need psychiatric help for their patients. Any psychiatrist who has worked in a hospital setting is constantly astounded by the referrals we get: people who did not need a psychiatrist in the first place, but also the ones who aren’t referred, and it is clear that if we had seen them earlier, we could have made a profound impact.

  • How do we create a new brand, and whose responsibility is it? It is all of our responsibility, all of us collectively.

Steps towards rebranding this problem 

Step 0: Recognizing that we have a problem and owning it. Waiting for someone else to fix the problem is not going to work.

Step 1: Develop a better definition of what psychiatry is.

Step 2: Place that definition within the context of the larger healthcare and mental health care environment.

Step 3: Better understand our treatment evidence. Tell the patients and society in general when and when not are we following the evidence based medicine, and why.

Step 4: Insist psychiatry organizations to better market ourselves effectively and that we take the same ownership to do it ourselves.

Step 1 was discussed in detail and other Steps will be discussed later.

The proposed definition of Psychiatry is:

Psychiatry is a medical specialty that studies and treats disturbances in brain function that predominantly affect behavior, or behavioral brain disorders. We frame these conditions in biopsychosocial models, and we use our medical expertise and training to guide diagnosis and treatment decisions both in solo practice and in the context of teams.

Please click here to read the full article.


5 thoughts on “Does Psychiatry Need Rebranding?

  1. Excellent post on rebranding psychiatry, Vikram. I left a comment on Medscape and it was just approved. I’ll post it on my blog site today also.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. That’s an interesting read. I’m sure I’m not the only one who while knowing they needed help had plenty of skepticism. It’s also a case of while receiving amazing help and learning more about the field you do often question it and the medications you are put on.

    There is no doubt about the benefits but the more understood and accepted mental health is I’m sure will only help. I think there needs to be more careful consideration alternatives that may not be scientifically proven that could also influence people’s thoughts.


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