Joan Cook, professor of Psychology at Yale, writes than in her work with military veterans she realized that her psychotherapy techniques mattered much less than her training had indicated. Instead, what mattered was “the bond forged over years of therapy,” known as “the therapeutic alliance.”
A New York Times Op-Ed by Cornell psychiatry professor George Makari connects the surprise over the results of the widely-covered RAISE study to American psychiatry’s shift toward pharmacology and the oversimplification of disorders as brain diseases.
Giving money to people diagnosed with severe mental health issues can significantly improve depression and anxiety. A new study, published in the October issue of the Journal of Community Mental Health, found that giving about $73 US dollars per month for recreational spending can also reduce social isolation and strengthen a sense of self.
New research suggests that more frequent in-person contact lessens the risk of depression in older adults. The study, published in this month’s issue of the Journal of the American Geriatric Society, found that in Americans over fifty the more face-to-face contact they had with children, family and friends, the less likely they were to develop depressive symptoms.
Minn Post did a feature story last week on Vail Place, an alternative mental health treatment center run on a community “clubhouse” model where the nearly 900 members and staff work side by side to execute the center’s activities. Vail Place was founded in Hopkins, Minnesota in the early eighties by mental health activists and family members as a community for psychosocial rehabilitation. “The work isn’t therapy,” a member explains. “It’s growth. It’s ‘I cans’ rather than ‘I can'ts.’ And that’s important for mental health and survival.”
Writing on his 1 Boring Old Man blog, Dr. Mickey Nardo reflects on the media frenzy around the RAISE study and asks why the prescription data has not been released. He adds skepticism about the political motives of the potentially overblown results, which he sees as a clear push for increased mental health funding.
Everyone in the world is either touched by their own mental health issues or have had a family member affected. What if they directed their buying power to an organization that would use the profits to fund exciting mental health & recovery projects both in the developing world and in their own countries; projects that would be ethical, non-coercive, personal recovery-based, and were aimed at creating recovery communities? What if they could buy products, crafts, services, art, music, books from people who had experienced mental health issues, enabling them to set up their own businesses or buy from social co-operatives that enabled distressed people to work and earn a living wage?
My opposition to psychiatric drugs is not just that they are harmful, dangerous, and destructive. That would be plenty motivation enough. And it is. But in addition, my profession, which I love and value, has been hijacked by the APA and Big Pharma. It is my goal to return psychiatry to its proper place – where good psychotherapy is understood to be the treatment for human suffering.
The Society for International Psychology, Division 52 of the American Psychological Association, will host a webinar entitled “The Humanistic, Vigorous and Universal Approach of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy.” The presentation, led by psychologist Debbie Joffe Ellis, is open to the public and scheduled for November 5th.
The American Psychological Association is hosting a two and half day interdisciplinary summit on November 3rd through 5th entitled Global Approaches to Integrated Care: Translating Science And Best Practices Into Patient-Centered Health Care Delivery. The summit features presentations and discussions on social determinants of health, demographics, culture and health disparities, and patients’ perspectives, among others. It can be live-streamed here.
Writing for CounterPunch, Paris Williams writes that when an individual is experiencing what has been termed “psychosis,” it is important to recognize that this may also be the manifestation of a breakdown in their larger social groups, the family, society, and even the species. “Although these anomalous perceptions and beliefs are often exaggerated or distorted to some degree,” he writes. “Perhaps it’s time we recognize the shadowy truths so often contained within them, and appreciate that such individuals can serve a very important role in our collective survival by acting as our canaries in the coal mine, helping us to develop insight into our impending breakdown.”
To coincide with World Mental Health Day on October 10th, 2015, Verso Books, the world's largest independent and radical publishing house, released a series of blogs on mental health and critical and antipsychiatry. The posts include pieces on R.D. Laing, colonialism, women’s oppression, delusions and art, “The Happiness Industry,” and social and institutional oppression.
The joint ISEPP/UCLA conference was held in Los Angeles on November 14-16, 2014. Today, ISEPP and the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs are delighted to bring you videos of 13 of the 15 invited plenary talks. Each video is accompanied by a crisply written interview with the speaker, focusing on the goals of their work, challenges facing their profession, and how they evaluate any salient changes in mental health practice and research. These smartly produced and edited videos range from 20 to 30 minutes in length and are freely available on www.TransformingMadScience.com
On his weekly HBO show, Last Week Tonight, host John Oliver argues that the tendency to discuss mental health in the wake of a mass shooting is "deeply misleading." He goes on to discuss the lack of support provided by our current mental health institutions and the fact that, instead of receiving support or treatment, many people in crisis end up ignored, or worse, in prison.
The UK’s Independent reports on the Belgium city of Geel, where local families have welcomed people with mental health issues into their homes as boarders since the 14th century. Though, the people of Geel reject the common language and perceptions of “madness.” “Few hosts in Geel would regard the practice as therapy but the city has drawn the praise of psychiatrists through the centuries for the success of its care, allowing people to live with their conditions in a loving environment without being separated from society or treated as a patient.”
On Wednesday, JAMA Psychiatry released a meta-analysis comparing the results of cognitive-behavioral therapy and antidepressant medication in severely depressed populations. Currently, many practice guidelines suggest that antidepressants be used over psychotherapy for major depressive disorder. The analysis, however, found that “patients with more severe depression were no more likely to require medications to improve than patients with less severe depression.”
Chile’s Skills for Life (SFL) program, the largest school-based psychosocial intervention program in the world, has demonstrated improved behavioral and academic outcomes for elementary students identified as “at risk.” A team of Chilean and U.S. researchers assessed the SFL program and will publish their results in the October issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP).
New data on the effects of social support after the onset of psychosis suggests that patients with intense social support function better than those without such help, but than once supports are removed the effects eventually diminish.
When Wilda White recovered from a manic episode triggered by her ADHD medication, she had lost her relationship, her home, and her dream job as a public interest lawyer. She reached a turning point when, she told Seven Days newspaper, "in the course of trying to figure out what had happened to me, I went on the website Mad in America.” Through the site, she connected with a job listing from Vermont Psychiatric Survivors, a non-profit dedicated to empowering and protecting the rights of people labeled “mentally ill.” She is now their executive director.
I’d like to share some personal thoughts on the nature of the Hearing Voices group method, and the insights that this kind of support generates. Through these groups, a tradition of mutual healing is being created that honors subjective experiences, and sharing our stories with each other in this way propels this exciting movement forward.
About a year ago, my partner Ron Coleman said to me “let’s have a recovery camp.” I said “what’s one of those?” and he said “I’m not sure, but let’s invent it.” And so, from June 7th to 12th 2015, we created a community of recovery for a week. The next step is to create communities of recovery around the world — not just as temporary camps, but long-lasting oases within our communities.
For too long we have considered mental well-being to be about the five, ten, fifteen, or twenty percent of us that gets a psychiatric label each year. But really, if you look around at out world for a moment, you can easily see that to be alive, to be human, to exist, one must have support and healing. Festivals like this one give a glimpse of what the world can be like and I recommend this experience for envisioning a future mental health system or any futuristic vision of change.
In a study of 89 residents who had both dementia and behavior problems in six Maryland nursing homes, a team associated with Innovative Aging Research found most of the patients had important, unmet needs. More →
Many youth who get into legal troubles have histories of having social anxieties, and seem to derive benefit from becoming engaged in simple, service-oriented social activities, according to a study in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. More →
The Wall Street Journal reports on two recent studies that found that people who "narrate" their own lives to put a positive spin on them feel better overall. But a paper in Intersectionalities explores how re-narrating one's own sense of personal identity may either help free one from oppression or become a mere expression of one's oppression. More →
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