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In this talk Dr Jon Goldin will discuss his experience of working with the media, illustrate this with examples, and offer advice and guidance for those who might undertake this kind of work.

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  1. 1. In the Public Eye: practical advice on working with the media to promote Child and Adolescent Mental Health Dr Jon Goldin FRCPsych Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children
  2. 2. Overview • Why do it? • Getting the message across • Preparation • The Interview itself • Social Media, particularly Twitter • Conclusion
  3. 3. Why do it?
  4. 4. A Big Opportunity to… • De-mystify; Educate • Reduce stigma • Make accessible • Increase engagement in MH issues/raise profile • Influence public debate on mental health issues • Lobby for change/improvements • Advocate for our patients/colleagues • Promote psychiatry as a medical specialty • Inform and provide accurate information • Rewarding, diverse • There is nothing wrong with enjoying it….
  5. 5. A (calculated) risk • Exposure – wanted and unwanted • Be aware of personal disclosures • Making “errors” • Fear of saying something stupid in front of large audience • Nothing ventured, nothing gained…. • Individual Psychiatrists have the inclination/expertise/experience • If we don’t, who will?
  6. 6. Who am I speaking on behalf of? • Personal View, Trust statement, Royal College • "Dr X, of RCPsych“ • My trust’s perspective • Corporate caution • Need to link in with media office • Caution re being contacted directly by journalists
  7. 7. Radio/Print experience • Today programme R4. Evan Davies, DSH. John Humphries, CSA. Sarah Montague, CAMHS funding. • WATO, R4, Martha Kearney, whole programme on CAMHS • PM programme, R4, Eddie Mair, Adolescent Suicide on an IP unit • LBC – Nick Ferrari • You and Yours, Radio 4 • Print Journalism – The Times, Sunday Times, Guardian, The Independent etc • Online Journalism – Huffington Post
  8. 8. TV experience • BBC TV news, Victoria Derbyshire Programme (with service user). CQC Report on long waiting times, Oct 17, BBC1 News at One • C4 News – lack of beds/travelling long distances • The Wright Stuff, C5, Use of Psychiatric Medication in YP • ITV News Use of Cannabis to treat medical conditions • BBC1 News at One re Transition 5.18 • Victoria Derbyshire Programme BBC1 5.18 CAMHS re Transition with service user and Luciana Berger, Labour MP • C4 News 6.18 re Fortnite and Gaming Addiction • BBC Breakfast News 8.18 DSH • Sky News 8.18 Smartphones and Social Media • Sky News 8.18 DSH • Panorama on CAMHS 24.9.18
  9. 9. Getting the message across Three key points for effective communication 1. Know your audience 2. What’s your message? 3. Mind your language
  10. 10. Know your Audience • Age • Demographic • Knowledge • Interest • Opinion/Bias
  11. 11. Take your audience on a journey Take them where you want them to be Start from where they are now
  12. 12. Take your audience on a journey • Applies to – Making a presentation – Speaking to patients & carers – Compiling a patient information leaflet – Speaking to a journalist • Why are they reading or listening? • What do they know already?
  13. 13. Know your media • Popular media are not there to provide free information services • Exist to – inform – entertain – present particular views – make a profit – or justify public investment
  14. 14. Know your media • Most publications & programmes have an editorial line or particular style • They may publish stories with a particular angle or a point they want to make • What content is usually featured?
  15. 15. Know your journalist • Their job is to get the most interesting story • What makes news? – controversy & conflict – heroes & villains – winners & losers – trends & changes – what’s new, unusual or different – personal stories • Stories are “newsworthy” not “worthy”
  16. 16. Compiling a story • Not necessarily to be responsible but to provoke a response – provoke, antagonise, annoy • Creating a story – Scientist: build-up evidence – Journalist: posit story & seek evidence to see if it “stands-up”, including interviews eg @sloumarsh, The Guardian, children and antidepressants • Which media should we engage with?
  17. 17. Keep taking the tabloids 1.7 million 1.5 million 900,000 700,000 500,000 450,000 160,000
  18. 18. Online International readership • Yahoo (175million/mth) • Google (150 million/mth) • Huffington Post (110 million/mth) • CNN (95 million/mth) • New York Times (70 million/mth) • Mail Online (53million/mth) • Guardian online (42 million/mth)
  19. 19. Local media • Local media audiences/readers are growing • Over 60% of UK adults read a local newspaper • Local press more trusted than national • Modify national news stories • Local stories picked up by national press • Good place to gain experience in your local area
  20. 20. What is your message?
  21. 21. Preparing your message • What’s your key message? • Think: “Why is this important?” • Two or three main points • Think in sound-bites • Stick to your points and repeat them
  22. 22. Legal highs • Article following collapse of 17-year old • Dr Owen Bowden-Jones: “…people using legal highs are acting as guinea pigs for those making and distributing the drugs.”
  23. 23. Depression in men • Article in health pages • Key messages 1) Depression is not a weakness of character - many famous men, such as Winston Churchill, have had depression 2) Don’t bottle it up or take to the bottle 3) Seek help
  24. 24. Mind your language
  25. 25. Mind your language • Avoid psychiatric terminology, acronyms & jargon • Examples – “positive symptoms” – “suicidal ideation” – “depot medication” – “care programme approach” – “history” – “patients present with…”
  26. 26. Mind your language • Use patient-centred language • What would I prefer to be written about myself or a family member? “A schizophrenic” or “Someone with schizophrenia”? “The patient complains of…” or “The patient reports…” “Refused medication” or “Declined medication” • More objective • Less stigmatising
  27. 27. Mind your language • Illustrate your answers • Metaphors – e.g. “Depression can feel like…” • Use a thumbnail case history or anecdote, making it more ‘personal’ to engage audience – e.g. “A patient said to me once…” – but ensure patients cannot be identified
  28. 28. Don’t comment on individuals • Journalists may ask about celebrities or individuals who have disclosed mental health problems, or whose behaviour has caused public concern • We can share your expertise about psychiatric issues in general • But it is unethical to discuss or give opinions about individuals
  29. 29. Preparation for the Interview • Try not to get stuck in traffic and arrive late • Have your data and key messages to hand • Prepare, but it’s a conversation, don’t read things out • What are your 3 key points? • Try to relax, noone else will manage your anxiety • Focus on the person in front of you, not the cameras, lights, microphones etc
  30. 30. The Interview Itself
  31. 31. Expect the Unexpected “Isn’t it better just to bury it?” re CSA, John Humphries, Today Programme, R4, Jan 2016 Consider topic carefully in advance Stick with your areas of expertise and do your research
  32. 32. Be Honest/Engaging • The listener’s/viewer’s trust is essential • Don’t hide behind Medical jargon • Do not speak beyond your area of expertise • Do not be afraid of stating that you don’t know • Speak from the heart ‘this is deeply upsetting ….. ‘It’s a National Scandal’ (if it is)
  33. 33. It’s acceptable to play for time… • To give yourself time to think • “I think that’s a very important question…” • “There are many different aspects to this issue” • “That seems to strike at the core of the subject”
  34. 34. • ANSWER THE QUESTION (usually) • Try not to sound too much like a politician • Interviewers’ style hopefully different to when they are grilling a cabinet minister • Balance between getting key messages across and answering the question
  35. 35. Retain control, but not dominating • Shape the interview: – “Before I answer that….” – “The first thing to say is that…” – “That leads us on to an equally important issue” • Feel able to correct the facts presented to you or disagree: – “That is not my understanding of the situation” – “From my clinical experience, that isn’t the case”
  36. 36. Always include some positives • “Staff working in MH are the most dedicated and compassionate of healthcare workers…working in challenging circumstances” • “Despite these findings, we are making great progress…” • “This is a start / step in the right direction” • “I have no doubt that, with continued investment…”
  37. 37. If you are speaking on a prepared topic, have a SINGLE WORD to emphasise immediately • It’s EXCITING • It’s INTERESTING • It’s POSITIVE • It’s ENCOURAGING • It’s PROGRESS • It’s SHOCKING • It’s WORRYING • It’s SAD • It’s UNACCEPTABLE • It’s TRAGIC
  38. 38. How do you hope to come across? (brainstorm)
  39. 39. How do you hope to come across? (brainstorm) Confident Non-judgmental Calm Knowledgeable Empathic Responsive Reflective Warm Thoughtful Unflappable Personable
  40. 40. Considerations Clothing Body Posture (eg sitting, standing, don’t slouch) Hand gestures Speed Facial expressions
  41. 41. Twitter • Good way of accessing/sharing information • Can focus on specific areas depending who you follow/who you want to follow you • Can become an ‘influencer’ • Can be time-consuming • Avoid getting into polarised debates but you also want to express your view • Be diplomatic, consider your role
  42. 42. GMC Guidance (2013) – ‘Doctors’ use of social media’ Doctors’ use of social media can benefit patient care by: • engaging people in public health and policy discussions • establishing national and international professional networks • facilitating patients’ access to information about health and services.
  43. 43. GMC Guidance (2013) • Privacy – boundaries blurred between private and public life • Need to maintain a professional boundary between yourself and your patients • Maintain confidentiality • Respect colleagues • Anonymity ‘If you identify yourself as a doctor in publicly accessible social media, you should also identify yourself by name.’
  44. 44. Getting the message across • Public engagement, including media work, can be an important role of a psychiatrist • We are all experts in our specialty • We have many of the skills required • These can be enhanced with a few simple strategies • Important factor in the destigmatisation of mental illness
  45. 45. Scenario • A BBC Panorama documentary has suggested that antidepressants may have been the reason a young man committed mass murder in a cinema in the US. The programme and media coverage points the finger at antidepressants linking them to 28 murder cases over the last thirty years. There have been accusations that prescriptions for antidepressants have increased to 40 million a year. • It is important you get over the following messages • There is an increase in the number of prescriptions but we believe this is a good thing as more people realise that they need help and are seeking it. • There’s no evidence that antidepressants are dangerous or lead to murder and in the documentary the young man had come off his medication • Antidepressants do carry side effects, just as medication for cancer, but you can change it with the help of your doctor. Coming off alone and suddenly is not recommended.
  46. 46. Elephant Traps • The keen eyed will notice that interviewers don’t always know the full facts. Spot the inaccuracy over statistics in the story • There is a political question too – how do you get around that? • Sometimes the most unassuming ‘softly spoken’ presenter can ask a killer question and in local radio they can adopt a very chatty intimate style. How might you cover the question that crosses over into the personal, or even asks to talk about some of your clients?
  47. 47. Pre-recorded Interview • What you should and can do. • - Get your key message in early, in one sentence preferably • - Expand on that point with an illustration • - Repeat it • - Don’t be afraid to give an emotive answer • “What is worrying about these unfounded claims around antidepressants is that it could encourage some people to stop taking their medication, and if this is done suddenly it could affect their welfare.” • “40 million prescriptions don’t equate to 40 million people taking antidepressants in the UK each year, yes there is a rise. This is a good thing, as more people are discussing their mental health needs with their GP.” • Don’t like the answer you’re giving, spike it early and start again • Asked something that isn’t in your remit. That’s a good question, but one I’m not qualified to give an answer to, what I can say is……
  48. 48. Thanks for listening @DrJonGoldin