Psych Congress, as detailed on their website, is “the nation’s largest independent educational conference for mental health professionals”. It is an annual mental health conference which offers “practical education combined with state-of-the-art treatment approaches and emerging research findings”. It is a forum to “connect the entire mental health team — psychiatrists, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, psychologists, primary care physicians and other mental health professionals — with the foremost experts in mental health to improve patient outcomes through education.” This year’s conference took place from September 16-19 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The 10:45 conference meeting titled “Examining the Risks and Benefits from Benzodiazepines,” a one-hour and twenty-two minute presentation given by two professional presenters (a clinical psychiatrist, who is also professor of psychiatry and a psychotherapist who is an adjunct clinical affiliate from a school of nursing), featured Benzodiazepine Information Coalition’s short video, “CME for Psychiatrists About Benzodiazepines”.

A transcription of the relevant portion of the presentation is as follows:

Presenter 1 (clinical professor of psychiatry): “I got contacted by this group of people —— they’re called the ‘Benzodiazepine Information Coalition’ —— and they said, ‘thank you for giving us a fair, balanced approach. We have members and we want our members to talk to you”. You, not me, to you —— because I told them I’m coming to talk to you. I said, ‘I’ll give you no more than three minutes because your voice must be represented’. I know who they are in the sense of their backgrounds. There are multiple lawyers here, there’s a cardiologist here, there are working moms here, there are stay-at-home moms here, there’s a medical student here. All of them have had some problem with benzos. They don’t represent all benzo patients but they represent a significant percentage. Would you like to listen to them briefly? It’s no more than a three-minute video.”

[Benzodiazepine Information Coalition’s short video entitled “CME for Psychiatrists About Benzodiazepines” plays for the conference attendees]

Presenter 1: “So, you’re welcome to look at these people and say, ‘they’re flakes, they have an agenda’. Is that the feel you got? That’s not my feel either. And they are honest to say that they don’t represent all patients but they are representing a fair number of patients. They’re also talking about lack of full discussion about medications with their providers. A little more caution on our part would be a good idea. So, may I turn back to [Presenter 2].”

Presenter 2 (adjunct clinical affiliate from a school of nursing): “As many times as I’ve seen that video, watching it is very unsettling and painful.”

[The presentation continues…]

Benzodiazepine Information Coalition does not own rights to this Psych Conference presentation and, thus, is unable to share the full version. For those interested in viewing the entire presentation, the video is available for a fee and can be purchased here. The above transcribed commentary and Benzodiazepine Information Coalition’s video can be found at the 31:20 mark of your purchased copy of the presentation.

Benzodiazepine Information Coalition would like to thank the presenters for allowing us to bring our perspective to the table. We would also like to thank the benzodiazepine patients who transparently submitted their testimony for the video.