Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Apply folk wisdom to your family practice patients (How to turn unsolicited advice into positive communication!)12

Great article on communication/relationship skills.
It shows how to show you value advice on your own terms.

This reminds me of a scene in Gone With the Wind. Rhett takes baby Bonnie for a walk in her baby carriage. He passes two older women and asks for their advice on breaking the child’s habit of thumb sucking. Although the advice does not seem good, Rhett smiles and thanks them profusely. After Rhett departs, the women talk amongst themselves what a wonderful father Rhett is.

From the 12 August 2012 article at KevinMD.com

Late in my family practice residency – and very early in my parenting career – I had mentioned the persistent and sometimes uncomfortably intrusive suggestions offered by my mother and mother-in-law. One of our faculty, a seasoned pediatrician and parent, made the suggestion that I call both sets of grandparents regularly and ask for advice. He pointed out that their motivation (to be helpful and involved) was beyond reproach and that they probably had valuable insights to offer, if I could just reframe it to protect my own need to be autonomous and masterful. It worked like magic. The unsolicited advice nearly disappeared – and I learned a great deal from our conversations. The grandparents felt needed. I benefitted. And so did my kids.

Over the years, I have found it a valuable life strategy, and it comes up fairly frequently in practice:

  • I tell all new parents at my first opportunity that they should each call their in-laws regularly to discuss parenting concerns and ask for suggestions, pointing out that the investment in making them feel like a valued contributor will pay huge dividends over time, and making sure that they realize that asking for advice will make it easier to ignore it.
  • I suggest to parents that they play various versions of the “what if” game with their kids, getting the kids to help decide how best to set rules, reward success, and punish transgressions.
  • I tell young adults starting a marriage (or other long term relationship – times have changed) that they should make a point of asking their partner’s opinion and advice often and sincerely, to build a comfortable platform of sharing.
  • I suggest proactive questions and requests for feedback when I see people with job stresses.
  • When patients are diagnosed with a serious illness for which others will be directing their care (cancer, degenerative neurologic disease), I tell them we are going to be proactive rather than reactive, and schedule regular appointments to discuss their progress and concerns. This makes sure that they understand I want to remain involved, and I avoid having to deal with crises and questions in a vacuum. (Since we often have a long term relationship, I also find that they need to have me tell them the same things the specialist has said to understand it and believe it.)
  • When patients reach an age and health status where they are declining and vulnerable, I suggest that we schedule regular visits to talk about how things have gone and what problems we might expect, rather than waiting to things to go wrong.

Try it!

 

 

August 13, 2012 Posted by | Psychology | , , , , | 1 Comment

[Reblog] Radio: Old Dog, New Tricks? (Mental Health Radio Programs)

[Reblog] RADIO: OLD DOG, NEW TRICKS?

June 11, 2012 · by  · in Mass Media

The British Medical Journal recently highlighted award winning healthcare communication campaign efforts and I was intrigued that a radio program made the list of “imaginative and effective” communication methods.  This effort consisted of 12 phone-in radio programs with 22 clinicians to talk in-depth about different mental health issues.  It was specifically broadcasted to a rural and socially isolated area.  The main purpose: to reduce stigma surrounding mental health.

So, we have story telling narratives by our friends and neighbors in a rural and socially isolated region, broadcast for any and all to hear.  Is this innovative?  Any Frasier fan would likely say no.  But with this particular audience, (and not the bustling and heavily populated Seattle) I immediately thought of social norms.  (Without getting too theory heavy, think descriptive norms- what you believe is typical or normal and subjective norms- what your friends/family think.)  So, these fine British clinicians worked to reduce stigma by demonstrating that mental health issues not only exist, but they exist in your community.  Listen up Cornwall as your friends and neighbors talk about their mental health troubles!

Know Your Audience | Now, this could have been a fictional program with actors portraying mental health issues, moving this into an edu-tainment area, or perhaps a standard PSA, which is so often distributed via radio.  But what stood out to me was that this audience was not going to pay attention to a social media campaign or a TV commercial.  They might, however, pay attention to local folks telling their story, their experience with mental health on the radio.    Storytelling can be powerful and when balanced with the clinical expertise or evidence, has the potential to make an impact.  Yes, radio is an old medium.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t find new ways to use it.

I make no claims to be an expert in mental health stigma, but while looking into this issue, I came across a few interesting links.

Canada’s Anti-Stigma Ad Campaign

San Diego’s “It’s Up to Us” Anti-Stigma Campaign Radio Spots

Minnesota’s Twin Cities is building a mental health facility with reducing stigma in mind and in design.

National Alliance on Mental Illness- Stigma Busters

July 6, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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