This paper proposes ethical guidelines for psychiatrists and psychiatry trainees when interacting with social media.
A three-stage process was followed in the development of these guidelines. A literature review provided situations and possible broad rules as to how social media could be ethically engaged. A roundtable discussion by a panel of invited psychiatrists, psychiatry trainees, psychologists, e-health practitioners, lawyers and consumers was held to discuss the situations and to better formulate the ethical principles upon which psychiatrists could act. These vignettes and principles were then broadly discussed at a seminar held at the 2011 RANZCP Congress. Finally, this paper was circulated to the original invitees for final comment.
A set of recommendations for working with social media were developed.
The new social media provides important avenues for communication, education and treatment. These avenues pose ethical and practical dilemmas that can be resolved by the application of established ethical principles. Practical recommendations for navigating social media are proposed.