Professionals across the Western world, from a range of disciplines, earn their livings by offering services to reduce the misery and suffering of the people who seek their help. Do these paid helpers represent a fundamental force for healing, facilitating the recovery journeys of people with mental health problems, or are they a substantial part of the problem by maintaining our modestly effective and often damaging system?
On Wednesday, March 20, 2016, Rethinking Psychiatry collaborated with The M.O.M.S. Movement and The Icarus Project to host our first Truth and Reconciliation Circle for Receivers and Givers of Psychiatric and Mental Health Services. In this three-hour event, both receivers and givers of psychiatric and mental health services expressed their thoughts and feelings in a structured, facilitated environment.
A new study in press in the Journal of Schizophrenia Research finds that patients who actively resist the negative stigma associated with mental health diagnoses may have better outcomes. According to the researcher's meta-analysis of previous studies, stigma resistance is related to reduced symptoms and improved functioning, self-efficacy, quality of life, recovery, and hope.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence is meeting today, May 11th, to discuss evidence of the link between the rise in disability and the record level of antidepressant prescribing. Both Robert Whitaker and Joanna Moncrieff will present their research and Peter Kinderman will chair a panel to debate the findings.
A new study out of Kings College London found that twelve sessions of a group mindfulness-based therapy relieved distress associated with hearing voices while reducing depression over the long-term. The person-based cognitive therapy (PBCT) intervention had significant effects on depression, voice distress, voice controllability and overall recovery.
“In a bid to raise awareness towards the global epidemic of abuse on Benzodiazepine or ‘benzos’ abuse, a global campaign dubbed as World Benzo Awareness Day (WBAD) has been gaining ground,” Morning News USA reports. “I have seen so many people suffering, committing suicide because they cannot tolerate the prolonged withdrawal reactions and the damage done to them any longer, and there is very little, if any, help available to them.”
The Atlantic interviews Raj Raghunathan about his new book, If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Happy? “If you were to go back to the three things that people need—mastery, belonging, and autonomy—I'd add a fourth, after basic necessities have been met,” Raghunathan says. “It’s the attitude or the worldview that you bring to life.”
The staff at Minneapolis’ Southside Village Boys and Girls Club are implementing a specially targeted free interactive counseling toolkit designed by a team of volunteers at the American Counseling Association (ACA). “We have kids from everywhere,” said Stephanie Siegel, Southside Village program director. “A partnership like this is good for a lot of staff that doesn’t have that training in mental health. It helps them understand where kids are coming from and why they may be acting the way they are.”
The producers of “Healing Voices” ‐ a new social action documentary about mental health ‐ are releasing the film via community screening partners in a coordinated global event. The movie will screen in more than 130 locations across the US, Canada, UK, New Zealand, and Australia on and around April 29th as part of the movie’s “ONE NIGHT, ONE VOICE” grass roots release.
Why, despite the fact that the vast majority of people diagnosed with a mental illness have suffered from some form of childhood trauma, is it still so difficult to talk about? Why, despite the enormous amount of research about the impact of trauma on the brain and subsequent effect on behaviour, does there seem to be such an extraordinary refusal for the implication of this research to change attitudes towards those who are mentally ill? Why, when our program and others like it have shown people can heal from the effects of trauma, are so many people left with the self-blame and the feeling they will never get better that my colleague writes about below?
Sometimes it’s the simple things that keep us going, especially when the complicated ones seem so overwhelming; when there’s too much chaos, too many emotions, too many possibilities and impending disasters. No one can give you a reason to live. You have to find it for yourself. Until you do, try simple things. For me, it was a turtle.
New research coming out of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine suggests that the more time young adults spend on social media, the more likely they are to be depressed. “Participants who spent the most total time on social media had 1.7 times the risk of depression, compared with those who spent less time on social media sites.”
New research published in JAMA Pediatrics reveals that transgender women have more than double the prevalence of psychiatric diagnoses than the general US population. The study found that the women, who had been assigned male at birth and now identified as female, had a high prevalence of suicidality, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, generalized anxiety and major depressive disorder.
“Prozac? Actually, percussion.” Researchers in the UK found that a ten-week drumming intervention significantly improved anxiety and depression for people seeking mental health treatment. "Across the 10 weeks there was a shift away from a pro-inflammatory towards an anti-inflammatory immune profile," the researchers report. This suggests the improvements the participants reported have a biological basis.
A team from Sweden's Karolinska Institute and Britain's University College of London found, in a study of 1.3 million people in Sweden's national register, that immigrants were more than twice as likely — and refugees more than three times as likely — to receive a diagnosis of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. The full study is available for free from the British Medical Journal.
“The transgender community has disproportionately high levels of depression and anxiety,” Diana Tourjee writes for Broadly. “A new study shows that trans kids who are accepted display virtually the same rates of mental illness as the general population.”
Can psychotherapy help dismantle oppression? “Social justice focused, analytic therapy- the kind of therapy I strive to do- is one that can support the process of developing an awareness that we are participating in some unconscious internal process that is also being reflected and reinforced in the outside world.”
A new study published Tuesday in PLOS Medicine may offer evidence for an intervention for people who have already been hospitalized for a suicide attempt. The Attempted Suicide Short Intervention Program (ASSIP) is a “novel brief therapy based on a patient-centered model of suicidal behavior” that also sends personalized letters from a therapist for two years.
Mental health nurse education in not sufficiently critical of institutional psychiatric practice. Its formal curricula in universities are often undermined by the informal curricula of practice environments. As an institution, mental health nursing pays insufficient attention to both these issues because it is an arguably un-reflexive and rule-following discipline.
To create his theory of relativity, Einstein had to see things differently. He used imagination and empathy to come to know a new ‘reality’ of existence. In this essay, we delve deeply into the nature of human experiences that lead to public concern and discover ourselves in a whole new realm.
The 90s were labeled – rather optimistically – as the ‘decade of recovery.’ More recently, recovery has been placed slap bang central in mental health policy. Is supporting recovery pretty much good common sense? Or is the term being misused to pressure those suffering to behave in certain ways?
A pathbreaking new study out of Finland suggests that early intervention programs for youth experiencing psychotic-like symptoms may see the greatest improvement when treatment works within the home rather than in a hospital setting. The research, to be published in next month’s issue of Psychiatry Research, found greater improvement in functioning, depression, and hopelessness among teens in a new need-adapted Family and Community oriented Integrative Treatment Model (FCTM) program.
After seven suicides in two years, students have come together to develop community building interventions including a texting hotline, artificial light boxes, and conversation initiation and therapy dog programs.
A study published in this month’s issue of the Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology found that perceived discrimination related to minority status may precede the emergence of psychosis. These findings support social defeat theory, which explains that chronic feelings of outsider status or subordination may lead to a sensitization of the dopamine system and the experience of psychotic symptoms.
In the New Yorker, Maria Konnikova delves into the research on why some people are able to adapt and overcome adversity, trauma, and poverty better than others. In short, how do they learn to become resilient?
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