PR Boom for Psychology
In the wake of polls across America which state that millions are dissatisfied with their lives (according to the National Institute of Mental Health 1 in 4 Americans has a mental disorder http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2010/05/03/mental-health-statistics/) , now is a golden PR opportunity for Psychologists to present the great benefits of strong mental health.
In our culture, there is still a negative stigma associated with an individual who sees a psychologist unless you’re in Hollywood where the average celeb has 7. The assumption is that one who needs to seek external help to manage their inner workings is somehow weak.
The cost of not seeking treatment for fear of being judged in this way is often a great one: prolonged depression, potential substance abuse, sudden admiration for Kirk Cameron, temporarily relief from internal strife within but, never actually solving the root of the problem. Mental health issues can not only prevent an individual from living life to the fullest but, in the worst case scenario can lead to that individual to take the lives of others.
The entire mental health industry could benefit from a major image makeover. Here’s some quick PR advice on how that can happen.
1. Get America’s most respected Psychologists to explain to the public how a person’s mental health is just as or more important as their physical health. While shows as “The Biggest Loser” encourage weight loss for bodies, these psychologists should be encouraging weight loss for the mind. There could be more reality based shows that delve into individuals battles’ with their own personal demons and how they overcome them with the aid of a psychologist or mental health professional.
2. Run a series of commercials showing people of all backgrounds, ethnicities, and social standing stating “Hello, I’m (name) and I see a psychologist” – make people realize that their neighbors and others who they regularly come in contact with are proactive about their mental health. This should help rid any shame associated with seeing a psychologist.
3. Various psychologist associations across American can offer free clinics for children – put the idea in their minds early that thinking right is just as important as eating right.
4. While anti-depressants benefit millions of people, psychologists could be more vocal about the potential dangers of them. Numerous studies have shown that some popular drugs such as Prozac can potentially cause long term damage because they meddle with the chemical composition of a person’s brain. Psychologist could emphasize that merely taking a pill doesn’t cause the root of the problem to go away it simply masks the pain.