Mad In America Forums and Other Updates

Natan
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Today we are launching discussion forums on Mad in America. We intend for these forums to serve three broad purposes.

 

 

  1. This is a platform for our community of readers to further the discussion of the issues raised on our blogs and in Bob Whitaker’s books Mad in America and Anatomy of an Epidemic. This may include, among other things, discussion of the history, politics, economics, and science of psychiatric drugs, as well as discussion of what it really means to be mentally well or ill.
  2. We are providing an in-depth space for sharing personal experiences of using psychiatric drugs, including positive experiences, dangers, withdrawal, and tapering.
  3. To connect with and learn from one another in a personal way. This could be through the sharing of stories, ideas, and dreams, as well as making personal connections that carry over into real-world work and activism.  We aspire to provide a grassroots platform for changing the current culture of mental health care.

It is our intention to help these forums grow over time based on the needs of the community. We will add and change areas of discussion as needed. I personally invite input from readers regarding what you would like to see happen next.

You will notice other new features on the site:

  • Avatars have been enabled in comments across the site as well as the new forums. These avatars are pulled automatically from your Gravatar, a free and easy system that serves avatars to many sites on the web.
  • The front page has been rearranged slightly, and now includes a brand new Blog Roundup section below the news where we will report on other blogs of interest.
  • Kermit Cole, our primary editor, has begun doing original video interviews for Mad In America. These will soon be featured in their own section on the front page. The first clips are already available under “Mad Media.”
  • There is one other new interactive feature we will be launching in the near future that I am excited to see in action. More on that soon!

This site exists to serve you, our readers. Please let us know how you think it’s going.

37 COMMENTS

  1. “There is one other new interactive feature we will be launching in the near future that I am excited to see in action. More on that soon!”

    A cryptic surprise? Hmm.

    I wonder what it is? Crosswords? Games? Psychiatry scrabble?

    A paypal donate button where we can fund lawsuits to destroy psychiatry?

    A call in internet radio talk show?

    Prizes? like a trip to a country with the least psychiatrists?

    I am curious now. I want to know what it is. Interactive, and coming soon, hmm.

  2. Feedback. The forums, and the new blogosphere thing, and the recovery stories, and the op-eds, have always been too far down the main page. It’s like a scrolling down odyssey where your mouse wheel finger becomes arthritic. It’s a long way down.

    The New York Times website is seven columns across, five for content, two for ads.

    Instead of three across, this site could at least be four, to bring some of the content up to the eye level of the main page upon first sight.

  3. This may sound weird, and I doubt you would do it, but how about a personal ads section? After all, if it’s good enough for the New York Review of Books, it could work for MIA as well.

    Myself, I have found personal ads very important for making connections in my life, but going on Craigslist and looking for another psych survivor activist (and actually finding one) doesn’t sound very likely.

    There’s gotta be a way to do this.

      • I’m very glad Matt and Kermit are positive about this. I was thinking a personal ad would fit in the “community” section. I am drafting mine in my head right now. My only question (to myself) is if I want to be secret about my name and who I am. But this isn’t match.com or Craigslist. Hmmmmmm. In any case, thank you MIA for offering this.

        • I think one of the fundamental criteria for success on this website is whether the various ideas, beliefs, sets of facts, organizing principles, etc., that are explored or embraced here lead to people connecting in positive, productive, life-affirming and life-fulfilling ways.
          Without casting aspersions it might be said that, here, the tenets of the disease “model” of mental illness are being questioned; that is, that even if we assume that those who pursued it as an explanatory model meant well, it has not proven to result in “the greatest good for the greatest number” and as such is subject to review.
          So, then, of the remaining “models” (stress, trauma, social construct, spiritual emergence, alien abduction, “stuff happens,” “welcome to monkey house”) available to us, which produces the greatest good for the greatest number?
          I think it might reasonably be said that no one model answers every question at all times for all people. It really comes down to have a flexibility of thought, perception, etc., and being open to how various perspectives “feel” or “work” at a given time. By “work” I mean, does looking at things this way get me closer or further from that which might be called a fulfilled and fulfilling life? Does it bind me well to others, or further separate me from them? Does it truly help me to relate to myself, others, the world and the unfolding future in adaptive, integrative ways?
          Toward that end, the opportunity to participate in discussing all the various ways and means that are discussed on this site is a tremendous opportunity and privilege. The opportunity to connect with like-minded or at least similarly-intended people can lead to all kinds of good things.

          Not least among them: a date.

    • Anything would be better than the hideous apartheid dating site ‘nolongerlonely’.

      http://www.nolongerlonely.com/

      A dating ‘for the mentally ill’ website where they:

      “encourage anyone considering membership to first consult with their psychiatrist and/or social worker.”

      And anyone who dares question psychiatry gets their profile deleted.

      Success stories include:

      “Judith
      A Mother’s Thanks

      I just wanted to tell you what a GREAT idea this website is. My schizophrenic daughter who was diagnosed about 4 years ago has had a hard time meeting people who understand her illness, and who aren’t fearful of her because of it.”


      Meeka
      Thankful Mother

      I read about this site on schizophrenia.com. I think what you have here is wonderful. My son carries a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder and dating is painful for him. I just wanted to thank you for this outlet!”

      A dating site where people’s mothers speak for the people who use the site.

      Upon signing up you’re asked ‘diagnosis-check all that apply’, whereupon you’re offered a DSM menu.

  4. As this site contiues to develop and expand in a variety of exciting ways I am increasingly curious about who the folks are who have formal roles and decision-making power in this important endeavor. I am familiar with Robert Whitaker, of course, and also Kermit and Matthew, and I am wondering if there are others who are involved not as bloggers or commenters but in administering the site.

    When I see Kermit and Matthew make comments like “this is what we’re hoping for” or “as we develop” I wonder who is included in the “we”. Who is officially on “the team”? I have read the mission statement and do not find an answer to these questions.

    I am sure that many informal advisors are involved in an undertaking like Mad in America. I understand that a community of “we” can develop among everyone who participates here in any capacity. What I am asking about is who has assumed formal roles and functions and to whom and how they are accountable.

    I hope this isn’t interpreted as being critical. I am genuinely curious.

  5. Yes, it would be wonderful to be able to invite your readers who live near Vancouver, BC, to join about 15 of us who have met twice a month for a year to listen to Will Hall’s interviews (with Robert Whitaker, Gail Hornstein, Joanna Moncrieff, Jacqui Dillon, Catherine Penney…) from the madnessradio.net archives. We listen, eat, then talk about the shows together in the basement of the Unitarian Church, at no charge, and less than half of us are members of the church. And to let them know of the other free classes (Tai Chi, Restorative Yoga, Jung and dream study groups, annual lectures) that are part of the church’s adult education “Mental Diversity” program.

    Thanks. You guys are the bee’s knees.

  6. As I hold my breath and prepare to post my personal ad, I notice that the section called “Community,” which seemed like the right place for the ad, has been renamed “Beyond “Anatomy.” I liked the old name better. Or maybe you could add the name back as another section.

    I just KNOW that I am not the only reader/writer/participant with MIA to want to make personal connections on the site.

    PS I was hoping someone else posted a personal ad already so I wouldn’t have to be the first one.

  7. I agree, Altostrata. I had posted on the forum “Beyond Anatomy” (formerly “Community”) that a “meetup board” to facilitate people in the same geographical area getting together in person would be VERY welcome. Might lead to an informal social club, or a book group, or (hey wow) some organizing, who knows? If it led to romance from time to time as well, cool. We could organize a separate “personals column for that too if folks wanted to.

  8. Matthew

    I would like to suggest that the “In the News” part of the blog expand its coverage a bit to include some noteworthy journal articles and stories related to the field of addictions. For example, over the past year I have read a few journal articles on line that linked the use of marihuana to symptoms of psychosis. Of course we do know that many people who have been given a psychiatric diagnosis are also “self medicating” with other legal and illegal drugs that may,in and of themselves, have many negative effects, but also they may be interacting with prescribed psychiatric medications.

    I have worked 21 years in addictions treatment, including 19 years in community mental health. There is much overlap between the problems of addiction and those symptoms that get labeled as so-called “mental illness;” many people in the community mental system end up being labeled as “Dual Diagnosis.” I am currently crafting a submission to the blog entitled “Addiction, Biological Psychiatry, and the Disease Model.” This will address the intersection of these two types of problems and the damaging effects that Biological Psychiatry and the Disease Model has had on both understanding and treating addiction problems.

    Richard

  9. Matthew, in the forums, the format commands are not working in the visual editor or in HTML.

    The pagination is also not working — no way to get to the second page of a thread.

    Suggest a support forum where we can let you know about stuff like this.

    Also, the system needs an “Ignore” function so those of us will irreconcilable differences don’t have to be irritated by seeing each other’s posts. Believe me, this is very effective in keeping the peace.

    • Not to belabor the point, but like any site, MIA has its shares of trolls, who like to disrupt conversations with nonsense, and wankers.

      Since I assume you want to keep an “open door” policy, it would be very helpful to the general population to be able to filter out the nonconstructive posters with an “Ignore” function.

      • Nonsconstructive posters, trolls.

        Coming from someone whose hit parade of personal attacks against others in recent days include the words

        ““Wankers”, “Idiots”, “God-damned”, “Garbage”, “Bozos”, “self-indulgent crap”, “Idiot savants”.

        That’s rich altostrata. Real rich.