I want to do my bit to end the lingering stigma

Karen Morley is helping Cochrane Common Mental Disorders get our new blog going. We asked Karen to share why she has agreed to blog for us.  

I’m a Cochrane Consumer, a patient and former family carer, and I’m looking forward – not without trepidation - to blogging for Cochrane Common Mental Disorders (CCMD). 

In our evidence-denying world of ‘alternative facts’, the Evidence-Based Medicine movement and Cochrane are beacons of reason. I want to be involved. I’ve already contributed a little to resources for Cochrane Consumers, including the new Consumer Learning project, and found out so much that is fascinating and new to me. 

Recently, I experienced depression and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) while caring for my mum, who had mixed dementia. For me, Cochrane reviews were like a path through a wilderness of opinion, misinformation, stigma and confusion. I could see other people flailing like me – in anguished posts on unmoderated message boards, for instance – when what I wanted was a reliable human insight into my condition and mental health in general from informed people who would walk beside me. Responsible blogging from a range of people could contribute to that. I also think personal experiences and stories help to fill in the sometimes missing emotional connection with the science. It’s good to see things from different perspectives, too – healthcare professionals’, patients’ and carers’ – to understand and learn from each other. 

As well as this, I want to do my bit to end the lingering stigma, which had an impact on the way I viewed my own treatment choices. Things are improving but there’s still a long way to go. I think because I’m able to now, I ought to step out of the shadows to join people talking openly about their mental health. 

So I’m grateful for this opportunity to write for CCMD, to reflect on and clarify my thoughts and above all, to learn. If nothing else, it might stop me from shouting at misinformation on Twitter. I’m nervous about this. I don’t have any expertise or authority. I just want mine to be one of many voices in a conversation whose time has come. 

Karen Morley, December 2018

We are really looking forward to working with Karen in 2019 and hope you enjoy her blogs. 

Read Karen's blog My OCD story: evidence-based medicine to the rescue published earlier this year as part of the Evidently Cochrane collection.

Karen is a Cochrane Consumer, find out more about the Cochrane Consumer Network