Anxiety UK seeking research/campaign org to undertake and deliver new medical gaslighting and diagnostic overshadowing

24th August 2022

Medical gaslighting: a term used to describe doctors or medical practitioners who wrongly attribute a patient’s illness or symptoms on psychological factors and, diagnostic overshadowing: where health care professionals mistakenly attribute clinical manifestations of physical illness to a pre-existing mental health issue, are concerning occurrences that we wish to explore further in those with lived experience of anxiety.

Anxiety UK is run by and for, those with lived experience of anxiety.   Established in 1970, the charity provides direct support services (including psychological therapies) to individuals affected by a range of anxiety disorders.

The charity also undertakes a campaigning and awareness function; representing those with personal experience of anxiety in the UK.

Previous campaigns have included:

  • Blue badge parking scheme for hidden disabilities such as anxiety disorders
  • General transport and mental health campaign highlighting the needs of those with anxiety, which included providing guidance to the airport authorities on supporting people with hidden disabilities.
  • Toilet phobia – raising awareness of various anxiety conditions related

About the proposed campaign:

Medical gaslighting: a term used to describe doctors or medical practitioners who wrongly attribute a patient’s illness or symptoms on psychological factors and, diagnostic overshadowing: where health care professionals mistakenly attribute clinical manifestations of physical illness to a pre-existing mental health issue, are concerning occurrences that we wish to explore further in those with lived experience of anxiety.

Examples of recent media coverage of, and research articles on this topic include:

Anxiety UK is concerned that these are phenomena that adversely affect those with anxiety and therefore wish to:

  1. Explore whether medical gaslighting and diagnostic overshadowing are issues that disproportionately affect those with lived experience of anxiety disorders in primary care
  2. Raise awareness of this practice and the implications for those affected by it
  3. Produce & disseminate guidance to raise awareness of and address, medical gaslighting and diagnostic overshadowing for those with lived experience of anxiety and primary care clinicians, to help eliminate occurrences of this nature

We envisage the campaign to be carried out in stages as follows:

  • Undertaking of a survey of people living with anxiety disorders and of GPs/key primary care professionals
  • Undertaking qualitative work to elicit case studies and lived examples
  • Reporting on & disseminating key findings of survey and any other associated activities
  • Producing best-practice guidance for those with lived experience of anxiety disorders and for GPs and other relevant primary care health professionals.

However, the above is not cast in stone and we are welcome to receive alternative suggestions that would achieve the above goals.

Expressions of Interest:

Outline Expressions of Interest (EOI) are welcomed from organisations and individuals interested specifying your/your organisation’s approach to the above, track record in delivering campaigns of this nature, indicative costs and timescale.

EOIs should be submitted by Friday 16th September 2022 to: [email protected]

For an informal discussion/queries, please also email: [email protected]

Discover more about Anxiety UK

Anxiety UK provides a range of support services for those affected by anxiety. Established in 1970, the charity provides direct support services (including psychological therapies) to individuals affected by a range of anxiety disorders. The charity also undertakes a campaigning and awareness function; representing those with personal experience of anxiety in the UK.

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