In yesterday’s newsletter, I announced the arrival of two new resources at Mad in America: a section on psychiatric drugs managed by Robert Whitaker, and one on psychiatric drug withdrawal, which I’ll be curating. Each of these can be found on the menu bar of our home page under ‘Drug Info’, or in our righthand column under ‘MIA’s Sunshine Campaign’ (which you’ll be hearing more about in the near future, in case you’ve been wondering about it!)
Before I describe MIA’s new withdrawal resource, I’d first like to thank those in the online withdrawal community who provided me feedback and offered ideas about resources as I worked on this endeavor—you know who you are. I am also deeply grateful for the voices of hope, inspiration, and wisdom that you’ll find housed in this new section in various forms of media.
I know from firsthand experience how hard it can be to read a simple sentence about withdrawal when on or coming off psychiatric drugs, let alone to feel clear-headed enough to track down information on the internet, sift through it all, decide what’s trustworthy and reliable and what should be ignored, and make a safe and responsible plan. The purpose of our psychiatric drug withdrawal section is to make it easier, clearer, and more accessible for those in our community to get informed about coming off psychiatric drugs. In this new section, you will currently find:
- information on adverse effects and long-term outcomes of psychiatric drugs
- books, manuals and guides on psychiatric drug withdrawal
- videos and radio interviews about withdrawal
- personal stories of withdrawal
- resources for family members and friends of people in withdrawal
- hope, helpful tips and techniques for getting through withdrawal
Some of you may remember Mad in America’s directory of practitioners and places that support drug withdrawal; this is currently offline while we rebuild the platform to make it more streamlined and helpful.
We would like to make clear that Mad in America does not endorse any particular methodology, organization, or resource we list, nor are we stating an opinion about the very personal choice to take or withdraw from psychiatric drugs. Rather, we see this section as an informational resource for those who are thinking about tapering from psychiatric drugs, as well as doctors and others who want to support withdrawal efforts.
We encourage feedback from you on the resources we’ve gathered for this section, and in the next few days, we’ll be putting up a feedback submission form. Eventually, we hope to open the feedback channel up publicly, so that people can post directly about the resources that have been helpful (or not helpful) to them. We also envision this section one day expanding into an interactive online community—one with safety, security, and privacy at its core—so that people can find one another, connect, exchange ideas and support one another. But as MIA has very limited resources, and we are made up of a small team, this remains a vision for the time being.
Going forward, we hope others will contribute to this effort by submitting resources, sharing personal stories of withdrawal, and providing us feedback and suggestions so that this section can continue to grow in safe and beneficial ways, and reach as many people out there as possible. It is very meaningful for me as both an ex-mental patient and a part of the Mad in America team to be curating this section, and it’s exciting to think about what might grow out of this new community endeavor: personal and collective empowerment, grassroots connections, increased opportunities for online and in-person mutual aid, dialogue and exchange about withdrawal, and perhaps even withdrawal research projects. We look forward to expanding this resource in partnership with many others who share our mission of rethinking all things “mental health.”