“World Benzo Awareness Day, First Step To End Global Dependency Woes”

“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.”

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“The Torturing of Mentally Ill Prisoners”

This week’s issue of the New Yorker examines the treatment of people diagnosed with mental health issues in Florida’s prisons. The horrifying stories of prisoners tortured, killed by guards, and driven to suicide while staff looked away reached the public only through the work of investigators and whistleblowers.

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A “Hot-Potato” Topic and a “Rational” Book

Rational Suicide, Irrational Laws is an excellent book that explores the criminalization and decriminalization of suicide. It analyzes laws by which “mental health” professionals and organizations are held accountable or “liable.” It exposes horrific contradictions in how laws are applied, particularly problematizing the assumption that people who kill themselves are suffering from a “mental illness.” There is much in this book that makes me want to stand up and cheer.
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Suicide Rates Rise While Antidepressant Use Climbs

Multiple media sources are reporting on new data from the CDC revealing a substantial increase in the suicide rate in the United States between 1999 and 2014, with a steep increase in rates among girls and women. Few report, however, that the percentage of Americans on antidepressants has nearly doubled over this period.

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My Response to the FDA’s ECT Rule Change

I lived through forced ECT from 2005-2006 at the Institute of Living in Hartford, Connecticut. My experience with ECT was the impetus for me to become involved in the antipsychiatry and Mad Pride movements, although I am not entirely opposed to voluntary mental health treatment. The following is the comment I submitted to the FDA on its proposal to down-classify the ECT shock device.
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Victim Blaming: Childhood Trauma, Mental Illness & Diagnostic Distractions?

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?
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Our Day in Mental Health Court

For weeks I had been trying to get released from the psychiatric ward of a private hospital in NYC, and none of my arguments, compliance, or attempted air of normality had made an impression on the barely-visible ward psychiatrist who had 2pc’d me. I had, I was told, made a very serious suicide attempt and this was a predictor of future attempts. They would let me know when they thought I was sufficiently remorseful and stabilized to be released.
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“Transgender Veterans Have High Rates of Mental Health Problems”

A new study finds that ninety percent of military veterans who identify as transgender have at least one mental health diagnosis. “Traumatic brain injuries sustained in combat, military sexual abuse, and stigma related to gender struggles are common in this population.”

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Simple Things

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.
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Doctor O’s Adventures in Wonderland

I am a female physician who survived my own suicide attempt. I had managed to fly under the radar as a very progressive family MD for twenty years. And when I stumbled and bled, the sharks were there ready to devour the carcass. Do I believe that racism and sexism influenced charges being filed against me? I certainly do.
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“To Stop Trans Kids from Killing Themselves, Shocking Study Says ‘Accept Them’”

“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.”

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“Reducing Future Suicide Attempts by Forging Connection”

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.

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“MIT Students Turn Their Brainpower Toward Suicide Prevention”

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.

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Rethinking Public Safety – The Case for 100% Voluntary

It is time to create an entirely voluntary psychiatric system. International conscience is clear. The singling out of people with psychosocial disabilities is not worthy of a free society. There are better, safer ways to address legitimate public needs.
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Mental Health Crisis Assistance an Alternative to Police Response

"There's a growing awareness that alternatives to law enforcement are needed, that alternatives to emergency medical services are needed. There's a lot of people having problems related to psychiatric problems and addiction based problems and poverty problems, that end up getting addressed by the police but may be appropriately addressed by another resource," said CAHOOTS team member Brenton Gicker.

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“Is It Her Hormones?” A Case of Psychiatry Missing the Mark

The case of “Beth” depicts, almost innocently, the trials and tribulations of a well-adjusted, talented 15-year-old who developed depression, paranoia, panic attacks, and self-injurious and homicidal behavior, and “bipolar disorder” after being prescribed antidepressants, and then antipsychotics. After Beth decided – on her own – to discontinue psychotropic medications in favor of hormone therapy, she remained free of psychiatric symptoms.
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Further Evidence of the Adverse Effects of Antidepressants, and Why These Have Taken so Long to be Confirmed

When the idea that selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) might make people feel suicidal first started to be discussed, I admit I was sceptical. It didn’t seem to me the drugs had much effect at all, and I couldn’t understand how a chemical substance could produce a specific thought. Because these effects did not show up in randomised controlled trials, they were dismissed and few efforts were made to study them properly. Then some large meta-analyses started to find an association between the use of modern antidepressants and suicidal thoughts and actions, especially in children.
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“Woman Can Sue Study Sponsor for Suicide Try”

A woman in Texas attempted suicide while in the active group of a clinical trial for smoking-cassation drugs Chantix and Zyban, both known to exacerbate depression. An appeals court ruled Thursday that she is able to sue the University that admitted her into the study.

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“Pentagon Wants Psychologists to End Ban on Interrogation Role”

Only months after the American Psychological Association voted to ban psychologists from “advanced interrogation” facilities like Guantánamo Bay prison the Pentagon is asking them to reconsider, James Risen reports in the ‘Times. Steven Reisner and Stephen Soldz, who led the campaign to end the APA’s involvement in torture, say that those criticizing the ban ignore “a wealth of evidence that systemic military interrogation abuses continued long after the time when the authors claimed they were banned.”

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“Federal Judge Declines to Toss Paxil Suicide Case, Setting GSK up for September Trial”

Wendy Dolin sued GSK after her husband committed suicide after taking a generic version of Paxil. The US District Court has declined GSK’s motions for summary judgement and the case will now stand trial.

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“Where Police Violence Encounters Mental Illness”

In The Opinion Pages of the New York Times, Matthew Epperson discusses the devastating results of police acting as the primary responders to mental health crises. “If we are to prevent future tragedies, then we should be ready to invest in a more responsive mental-health system and relieve the police of the burden of being the primary, and often sole, responders.”


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“Veterans Let Slip the Masks of War: Can This Art Therapy Ease PTSD?”

“Service members suffering from PTSD often feel like they’re wearing a mask,” Samantha Allen writes in Invisible Wounds. Melissa Walker, an art therapist, asks them to make one. “The results are stirring. One mask, striped in red and black with hollow chrome-colored eyes, is wrapped in razor wire with a lock where its mouth should be.”

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“How We Learned to Stop Worrying About People and Love the Bombing”

For Tom Dispatch, historian Rick Shenkman “explores the biological phenomena that may well underpin our appalling lack of empathy, the animal instincts that allow so many of us to stand by in the face of unspeakable acts,” and “how the stories we tell ourselves and others might offer us a path to overcome our utterly human inhumanity.”

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“Obama Gun Regs Ease Mental Health Reporting to FBI”

"HHS said it took pains to avoid any change to gun check reporting that would weaken physician–patient confidentiality and deter individuals from voluntarily seeking mental health treatment.”

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“Psychiatric Medications Kill More Americans than Heroin”

“In 2014, 10,574 people died of heroin overdose while 15,778 died from an overdose of psychiatric medications, nearly 50% more,” writes addiction specialist Kenneth Anderson. “What account for this high overdose death rate for users of psychiatric medications and for the steep climb in death rates over the past 15 years?”

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