Thinking Upstream: Winning Real Mental Health Reform By Joining the Anti-Corruption Movement

At the end of my talk at the American Psychiatric Association Institute on Psychiatric Services , a psychiatrist in the crowded lecture room put his hand up and posed a surprising challenge: Why was I so concerned about reforming psychiatry and ending iatrogenic harm from medications, diagnosis, and forced treatment when there are so many other issues in society to worry about?
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40,000 Suicides Annually and America Still Shrugs

In my last two posts, Back in the Dark House Again: The Recurrent Nature of Clinical Depression and Am I Having a Breakdown or Breakthrough? Further Reflections on a Depressive Relapse, I have shared my recent relapse into depression. Although it has been tough, when I wake up each morning I am grateful for one thing — I am not suicidal. Others are not as fortunate.


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9 Ways to Stop the Next Village Shalom Shooting

If you haven’t heard about the Village Shalom shooting yet, it happened. This time it’s my own community. So I when I list these 9 ways to stop the next Village Shalom shooting know that I speak with full love and compassion. The main thing I want to share is the real story about mental health. Emotional distress can be temporary and transformative. Recovery can mean, “All this goes away.”
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Six Ways You Can Really Help Prevent Suicide

The first time I tried to kill myself, I was 14. I won’t go into the indignity of being involuntarily locked up, time after time, until I satisfactorily convinced the staff that I wouldn’t harm myself or attempt suicide again. (I was lying.) The system taught me to lie, to hide my suicidal feelings in order to escape yet another round of dehumanizing lock-ups and “treatments.”
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5 Things You Can Do In 5 Minutes to UnDiagnose Emotional Distress

A lot of posts on this site are about the problems in mental health care. This post is about some solutions. Many of us can do small, simple things to move advocacy forward. We can all make a difference so people can learn how to handle emotional distress without using disease based approaches with chemically based “solutions.” Here are 5 things you can do in the next five minutes to promote UnDiagnosing Emotional Distress.

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Backsliding in the Bay State

The drumbeat for more “Risk Management” just gets louder. And nowhere is this so alarmingly evident as a new policy proposed by the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (DMH) in November 2012.
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Five Types of Mental Health Advocates

I’ve figured out there are five types of mental health advocates. We need to respect all five types of motivations and viewpoints in order to support or combat their agendas. The question for us, is how can we each of us maximize our own impact to share awareness of this situation and then impact change? The answer is that each of us has to work from our own passions and interests and talents and skills and motivations.
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Common Sense, Deferred: Lessons From the “Fresh Air” Fight, Part Two

How and why the right to fresh air is continuously blocked by money, politics and ignorance. Plus, personal reflections on how nature heals.
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Five Things I Learned at the Partnership with Patients Conference

1) We need to unite with other health care improvement advocates. 2) We can make money doing this. 3) Time to get more mental health folks on Twitter. 4)Have a good conference networking system. 5) Allow serendipity to happen.
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Common Sense, Deferred: Lessons From the “Fresh Air” Fight, Part One

How does a straightforward, common-sense idea – guaranteeing the elemental pleasures of fresh air and access to nature to those in inpatient and residential psychiatric/mental health facilities – repeatedly fail on a policy level?
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The First Ever USA Olympic Gold Medal in Judo – and a Recovery Story

This morning Kayla Harrison won the first ever Olympic gold medal in the history of USA Judo. Kayla has overcome many, many obstacles on her route to a medal, including sexual abuse by a previous coach. Kayla testified against that …
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Entrepreneurship Is The Way Out of Our Mess

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” ― Richard Buckminster Fuller. This is why entrepreneurship is our way out of the mental health mess. It …
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How Many Deaths Will It Take Till We Know?

Each time I see the initials for Mad In America, MIA, I think of the Vietnam war and lost young men. I remember engraved steel MIA bracelets, each with the name and birthday of one man lost to our world. …
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Risk Management vs. Dignity of Risk

What does “risk” really mean? Is it something to be afraid of and avoided at all costs, or something to be embraced?

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The “I Am Not The Butcher” Speech

On Thursday I had an interaction with a psychologist where I basically said, “I am not sure I want to attend a workshop you are leading if you don’t know about the mental health civil rights movement and the problems …
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Why Can’t They Hear Our Truth? We Have a Cure.

There is a guy named David Kennedy who, along with other people, figured out how to cut the murder rate of a city in half overnight. It was called the “Boston Miracle” and was covered heavily in the media, but …
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