LIVING WITH MENTAL DIVERSITY

Will Hall, MA, DiplPW is a Process Work therapist, teacher and community development worker based in Portland Oregon. A survivor of a schizophrenia diagnosis and leader in the peer recovery movement, Will has taught in more than 9 countries and gained international recognition for his work with mental diversity, including coverage in the New York Times and Newsweek. Co-founder of Freedom Center and a longtime organizer with The Icarus Project, Will directs Portland Hearing Voices, hosts the FM show Madness Radio, and is author of The Harm Reduction Guide to Coming Off Psychiatric Medications, translated into 4 languages. Will’s work as a therapist supports people to find new ways to understand and live with voices, paranoia, mania, and ”psychotic” experiences. He has also led trainings for agency staff and case supervision with psychiatrists and counselors. www.willhall.net www.madnessradio.net.

Will Hall Recent Success for the Bay Area’s Campaign Against Expanding Forced Treatment

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April 1, 2014

The Bay Area survivor and peer movement came out strong recently, pushing the Alameda Board of Supervisors to table a proposed expansion of forced outpatient commitment. AB 1421, more commonly known as Laura’s Law, says that if a court or judge decides that a person with mental health issues requires treatment, they must abide by a plan determined by a team of professionals on an outpatient basis. The law was passed in California in 2002 but is conditional on California county approval for implementation. Fueled by sensational accounts of the death of Laura Wilcox, who was killed by a man with a psychiatric diagnosis, AB 1421 holds the false promise that force and coercion are the solution to help people in emotional distress.
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Categorized in: Blogs, Coercion, Community Updates, Featured Blogs, Violence

Will Hall Learning Family Recovery Skills: Krista Mackinnon on Madness Radio

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January 10, 2014

Many families trying to support someone in psychosis fall into the same trap professionals find themselves caught in: power struggles: “How can I make my relative change? What should I do to get them to see they are sick?” While it’s hard to argue with wanting someone to get better, control and conformity are at the heart of everything wrong with the standard psychiatric approach. The deeper families dig themselves into forcing change on their relative, the more they flounder.
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Categorized in: Blogs, Children and Adolescents, Featured Blogs, Non-Drug Approaches, Recovery/Empowerment

Will Hall David Cohen on Madness Radio:
The Meaning of Medications

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September 21, 2013

David Cohen’s work begins to address a paradox: medication effects are not simply chemical impacts on a biological brain, but rather the complex interactions of social factors, expectation, placebo, “nocebo,” and learning. As a harm reduction approach to withdrawal emphasizes, empowerment may be the most important consideration for supporting people’s wellness.
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Categorized in: Blogs, Featured Blogs, Medication Tapering/Withdrawal, Mind/Body, Non-Drug Approaches, Psychiatric Drugs, Research, Rethinking Psychiatry/Medical Model

Will Hall Time for a new Understanding of Suicidal Feelings

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April 24, 2013

Is it really best to force someone into the hospital when they are suicidal? Do suicidal feelings plus “risk factors” really mean professionals can predict whether someone might try to kill themselves? And are suicidal feelings the symptom of a treatable illness that should include medication prescription?
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Categorized in: Blogs, Featured Blogs, Suicide

Will Hall Keynote Speech at Alternatives 2012 Conference: Remembering Our History, Thinking About our Future

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February 23, 2013

This is a transcript of my keynote speech at Alternatives 2012, which a Madness Radio listener recently transcribed.
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Categorized in: Blogs, Non-Drug Approaches, Research, Rethinking Psychiatry/Medical Model, Violence

Will Hall Rediscovering Traditions of Community Healing – Susan McKeown

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December 16, 2012

Is poetry the way to truly understand madness? Do rituals and music — such as Ireland’s tradition of keening — have the power to heal emotional suffering? Susan McKeown, Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter and folklorist, supported her partner through an extreme state. She began a journey to uncover intergenerational trauma in her family and in the history of her native Ireland, and was inspired to set poems about madness to music.

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Categorized in: Blogs, Featured Blogs, Non-Drug Approaches

Will Hall Getting Involved in Prison Issues – Making Alliances With Mental Health Advocacy

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December 1, 2012

In my recent Alternatives keynote I talked about mental health issues and our unjust prisons, including the shameful racism of the criminal justice system and the urgent need to end the so called War On Drugs. Many people have approached …
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Categorized in: Blogs, Coercion, Featured Blogs, Industry, Rethinking Psychiatry/Medical Model

Will Hall Philosopher Raymond Tallis – Challenging Pop Neuroscience

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November 29, 2012

There’s a widespread belief in psychiatric and mental health circles that human experience can be reduced to the biology of brain chemistry — the “medical model.” But this is just the tip of the iceberg: our whole society is in the grips of a faddish pseudo-science of “neuromarketing,” “neuropolitics” “neurotheology,” and ‘neuroeconomics.”
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Categorized in: Blogs, Featured Blogs, Genetics, Rethinking Psychiatry/Medical Model

Will Hall Gradual Reduction is Best For Coming Off Meds: But In All Situations?

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November 8, 2012

The phrase “medication tapering” is being used more and more as the preferred term for the psychiatric medication withdrawal or coming off process. Based on my years of work educating many people around coming off medications — clients, support groups, and in workshops and trainings — I think that term is misleading, and let me explain why.
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Categorized in: Blogs, Featured Blogs, Medication Tapering/Withdrawal, Psychiatric Drugs

Will Hall Madness Radio Interview with Mike Cornwall on Jungian Approaches to Madness and Renewal

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October 26, 2012

What if people struggling with madness could explore their emotions in a supportive sanctuary? Do frightening ‘psychotic’ experiences have the power to transform and heal? Is breakdown also breakthrough? Michael Cornwall became a therapist after surviving his own crisis — without medication or psychiatric treatment. For more than 30 years he has worked in the tradition of Carl Jung and R.D. Laing to support people to go through psychotic states in medication-free community settings, including John Weir Perry’s Diabasis House in the 1970s.
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Categorized in: Blogs, Featured Blogs

Will Hall On Deciphering Recovery for the American Psychiatric Association: Lecture on 13 Innovations to Improve Recovery for Schizophrenia and Bipolar

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October 16, 2012

How did the APA talk go? Overall a success– the audio went viral on the internet, and the talk itself was so crowded we had to move to a larger room — more than 70 psychiatrists and behavioral healthcare professionals attended. Afterwards many stepped up to shake my hand and congratulate me: I was told by two people I was a gift to the conference, asked to present at a Grand Rounds, encouraged to do a TED talk, thanked for my compassionate response to a question about forced treatment, and invited to do more trainings in the future. I even met several psychiatrists who are Madness Radio listeners. Psychiatry is clearly not a monolithic profession and many in it are beginning to think differently.
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Categorized in: Blogs, Featured Blogs, Industry, Non-Drug Approaches, Rethinking Psychiatry/Medical Model

Will Hall Coming Off Medications Guide – Second Edition – Free Download

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July 27, 2012

The Harm Reduction Guide to Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs, written by Will Hall and published by The Icarus Project and Freedom Center five years ago, is now available in a revised edition! This Guide can be downloaded for free on …
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Categorized in: Blogs, Featured Blogs, Medication Tapering/Withdrawal, Non-Drug Approaches, Psychiatric Drugs, Research

Will Hall Madness Radio: Eleanor Longden on Voices and Trauma

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July 5, 2012

Hearing distressing voices is highly correlated with traumatic experiences, and many people report that their first experience with distressing voices occurs after a trauma. Making the connection can be a vital step in the recovery process. In this interview with …
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Categorized in: Adult, Blogs, Disorders, Hearing Voices, Psychiatric Drugs, Schizophrenia/Psychotic Disorders

Will Hall Your Input Welcome For 2012 Alternatives Keynote Speech – SURVEY

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June 30, 2012

I was invited to give a Keynote Address at the 2012 Alternatives Conference in Portland Oregon, and I’m collecting your input on what I should say — I’m crowd sourcing my Keynote! Alternatives is a federally funded annual SAMHSA conference that brings …
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Categorized in: Blogs, Community, Featured Blogs, Non-Drug Approaches, Rethinking Psychiatry/Medical Model

Will Hall Madness Radio: Daniel Hazen On Abolishing Prisons

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May 21, 2012

First Aired 5-1-2012 What is it like for a prisoner diagnosed with mental illness? Should we have more mental health treatment in prison — or should we work to abolish our prison system? Daniel Hazen spent three years in prison …
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Categorized in: Blogs, Coercion, Psychiatric Drugs

Will Hall Madness Radio: Toby Watson on Ethical Psychotherapy

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April 15, 2012

It was a long haul from being a psychiatric patient in 1992 to graduating with a masters in counseling in 2011. I flunked out of my first attempt to get a graduate degree because I was in a school that …
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Categorized in: Blogs, Non-Drug Approaches, Psychotherapy

Will Hall Madness Radio: Sharna Olfman on Medicating Children Diagnosed Bipolar

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March 19, 2012

Professor Sharna Olfman has researched and written extensively about children in society, including education and sexuality, and her perspective on so-called bipolar disorder is insightful and deserves wide recognition. Sharna discusses the social and economic pressures that are driving parents …
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Categorized in: Bipolar, Bipolar, Blogs, Children and Adolescents, Disorders

Will Hall Madness Radio: Grainne Humphry on the Psychiatric Incarceration of John Hunt in Ireland

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February 1, 2012

Grainne was courageous to do this interview: I was struck by her strong love for John and her very deep sensitivity to the violence she has witnessed him undergo in the name of treatment. Let us all lend our hearts and passion to the international campaign to free John Hunt and to ensure that no one ever has to suffer the abuses he has suffered.
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Categorized in: Blogs

Will Hall Excellent Article on Antipsychotic Drug Harm Reduction in Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing

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January 24, 2012

Matthew Aldridge, a psychiatric nurse at London’s Lambeth Hospital, just published a new article in the 2011 Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, “Addressing Non-Adherence to Antipsychotic Medication: A Harm-Reduction Approach.” This is an extraordinarily well researched clinical discussion of professional medication practice.
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Categorized in: Blogs

Will Hall New Video: Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs: A Harm Reduction Approach

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January 9, 2012

I want to thank Bob Whitaker for inviting me to join the bloggers at Mad In America. As an introduction to my work I enlisted the help of Portland visionary colleagues Kent Bye, Jen Gouvea, and Jonathan Marrs to produce …
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Categorized in: Blogs, Videos