Like everyone else, I am trying to understand my response to a virus that threatens my life and the lives of the people I love. But it also happens that for nearly 30 years I have worked as a clinical psychologist with people facing cancer, and I am noticing some parallels between what my patients have told me and what people seem to be talking about now.
Our safety systems have been alerted to differing levels since January 2020 when the coronavirus epidemic came to light. The appropriateness of this fear response needs to be highlighted, in part because it will protect us, and in part because we must normalise this response rather than viewing it as a ‘disorder’.
We urge the BPS to consider the implications of proposals to grant psychologists prescribing rights. Specifically, we note that uncritical use of diagnostic language and assumptions in the field of mental health begs crucial questions about the nature of distress, while potentially contributing to the overuse and misuse of psychiatric drugs. We are also concerned about further restricting the right of service users to be offered a choice of understandings and approaches, especially in the field of mental health.