Medical Press Release and Stigma

Coming from perinatal and maternal mood and anxiety disorders research, I cringe when I see press releases like this. I'm lucky to be a part of a listserv for reproductive and maternal psychiatrists where I go for evidence-based reactions to these kinds of issues. Fighting the stigma of medication is an endless battle. How do you digest these studies and mitigate stigma?


Shauna Fields's picture Shauna Fields | September 25, 2017 11:50 am MST

Hi Walker: I just read through this and have some opinions but am curious what is it that makes you cringe, specifically? Is it the lack of citations? The subjective writing style? The alarmist title? 

Walker Ladd's picture Walker Ladd | September 25, 2017 12:22 pm MST

Hi, Shauna

Thank you for your comment. You asked, "What makes me cringe, specifically? Is it the lack of citations? The subjective writing style? The alarmist title?"

All of the above. You just listed them! :). These releases impact providers, scholars, and consumers. It takes a nano-second for weak science to feed the fears of providers and patients who have to make decisions regarding medication for mental illness. Here is a link to an article I wrote for the American College of Nurse-Midwives regarding a recent study on the safety of SSRIs in pregnancy.

I know this area well. And, unfortunately, have seen science shaded by agenda at the cost to the consumer. We have to do a better job of bridging the consumer/scholar gap in order to avoid adding to constructs that are not based on rigorous science, and that perpetuates the stigma of treatment for mental illness. 

An excellent resource for how this is done well is Mother to Baby (formerly OTIS).

Thank you, Shauna!

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