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Joint statement from the British Psychological Society and the Division of Clinical Psychology on media attacks on Professor Susan Michie

26 April 2021

Professor Susan Michie is a highly distinguished clinical and health psychologist who has devoted many years to high quality, peer-reviewed research in the field of behaviour change in relation to health issues. We are disappointed to have read the personal attacks directed at her in the media recently.

Professor Michie has a wealth of experience, knowledge and expertise that she has contributed to the response to the global pandemic, as an influential member of both SAGE and Independent SAGE.

She has stepped up to explain complex scientific issues to the public through media interviews and social media. This work has enabled many more people to understand psychology’s contribution to understanding how to minimise lives lost, ill-health endured and economic damage inflicted.

As a ‘public face’ of the scientific arguments to reduce harm during the pandemic, she has attracted the attention of those who many believe place greater weight on individual freedoms and economic activity than public health protection measures, and who question the now well-established methods of epidemic control such as masks, social distancing and lockdowns.

The evidence indicates quite clearly that public health and economic recovery should not be seen as in opposition to each other, but as fitting hand-in-hand, a point that Professor Michie has repeatedly articulated.

The latest articles on Professor Michie have included personal attacks on her. These appear to be a means of trying to discredit her research, her work and her messages.

These attacks do not engage with the science, but instead seek to minimise it by shooting the messenger, dredging up gossip, innuendo and personal matters that are not in any way relevant to her scientific work.

We wish to state our unanimous support for our colleague, our respect for her work and admiration for her courage in standing up for the importance of evidence.

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