Lancet Editorial Argues for Better Science in Mental Health


An editorial in the Lancet Psychiatry suggests that mental health professionals rely more on intuition and “good intentions” than “good science,” and that needs to change.

“Management of mental health often seems intuitive, so many interventions have been developed and rolled out on the basis of good intentions rather than good science (eg, post-traumatic stress disorder counselling after natural disasters),” states the editorial. “We do not deny the role of clinical expertise and the art of the individual psychiatrist, but we believe that studies aimed at altering the status quo should be rigorous in planning, execution, and communication.”

The editorial goes on to argue that, “In the interests of all those who entrust their lives and wellbeing to mental health professionals, it is time to level the playing field. All interventions should be assessed to the same standards of evidence, from psychopharmacology and psychotherapies, to brain stimulation technologies and new approaches such as video games and apps.”

A level playing field (Editorial, The Lancet Psychiatry. November 2014. doi: 10.1016/S2215-0366(14)00003-0)