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Adler DA, Erlich MD, Goldman B, Berlant J, Edwards ML, First MB, Oslin DW, Siris SG, Talley RM, Wagner ES, Psychopathology Committee of the Group for Advancement of Psychiatry. Psychiatry in the Time of COVID: Credibility, Uncertainty, and Self-Reflection. The Journal of nervous and mental disease. 2021 Nov 1; 209(11):779-782.
ABSTRACT: Public trust in the credibility of medicine and physicians has been severely tested amid the COVID-19 pandemic and growing sociopolitical fissures in the United States. Physicians are being asked to be ambassadors to the public of scientific information. Psychiatrists have an opportunity to help the public understand and accept a "new normal" during a time of such uncertainty. Using a case example, we review the impact of uncertainty and fear on scientific and medical credibility. Although the pandemic provides an opportunity for systemic change, the consequences of any change remain unknown. To help patients navigate the uncertainty, we conclude by offering four guidelines to clinicians: the public has little interest in understanding the scientific method; we need to acknowledge that we do not have all the answers; credibility and trustworthiness are linked to our ability to be trusted, believable messengers; and we can retain scientific credibility while acknowledging uncertainty.