SAMHSA’s Rose-Colored Lens


The US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) should be commended for its attempt to provide a basic understanding of recovery-oriented care, and its attempt to bring recovery-oriented practice into the mainstream of professional practice. To that end, it has produced a series of online training modules for peers, social workers, nurses, psychologists and psychiatrists. It has done this in collaboration with related national professional and peer organizations.

I have taken advantage of their availability recently to review them for content and to make some comparisons to what we are offering on the Mad in America Continuing Education project. In this blog, I will share my observations and focus on the medication module developed by SAMHSA in partnership with the American Psychiatric Association and the American Association of Community Psychiatrists. At the outset, I acknowledge that all three organizations represent a broad and often politically sensitive spectrum of members and political constituents. And it shows, as you will see.

First of all, SAMHSA should be commended for undertaking an important educational task with laudable goals. The medication segment, The Role of Medication in Recovery, emphasizes promoting partnership with patients and hope for recovery. It also provides at least some awareness of side effects issues.

Unfortunately, as might be expected from a federal agency that operates under constant pressure to be responsive to widely divergent advocacy organizations, and also under pressure related to the guild interests of the various mental health and addictions disciplines, SAMHSA usually takes a conservative, politically neutral position on most issues. And so, in spite of using now fairly popular words like “recovery” and “partnership with peers,” these training efforts do not display an in-depth understanding of these key concepts.

What does this mean?  In general, the materials present a very casual overview of psychiatric medications and their effectiveness. For example, a false claim was made—without any reference to a citation in the video—that they work for 50% of patients. Aside from the fact that there is no differentiation between the various categories of psychiatric drugs, the training doesn’t say a word about well-constructed mid- and long-term outcomes research that should be known by now to all serious students of the literature.

For the record, a few of these researchers are Martin Harrow, Courtenay Harding, Lex Wunderink, and Regitze Solling Wils. These studies call into serious question the ongoing use of psychiatric medications, and in some instances even their short-term use. More than three years ago, former NIMH Director Tom Insel was calling attention to the fact that many people diagnosed with schizophrenia and other psychoses could be better served by a more selective and limited use of drugs and more diverse treatments. The SAMHSA medication module shows no awareness of these changes in practice recommendations.

Given that it is common knowledge that the pharmaceutical corporations have been shown to falsify data (see Study 329 review by David Healy), and the frequency with which “research” is ghostwritten and funded by them, it is concerning that there is no critique of the industry’s influence. It affects nearly every aspect of the development of treatment standards and has permeated the culture of prescribing professionals.

And while there is some minimal attention given to the side effects of psychiatric drugs (mostly about weight gain), the module doesn’t come close to providing a comprehensive review, one that could be the basis of informed consent. And none of the presenters noted the serious problems with reducing and withdrawing from medications if the patient chooses to do so. A careful informed consent protocol would cover all of these concerns.

Given that the course is entitled psychiatric medication, it also seemed odd that there was no information given about prescribing antidepressants, anti-anxiety agents, or combination of these and other psychoactive drugs. As Dr. Peter Goetzsche has shown with his meticulous meta analysis of all the literature related to these drugs, there is little effectiveness to them (beyond placebo) for most patients, and the risks of long-term use largely outweigh the benefits. Similarly, there is no attention to using medications with children, youth and seniors. At the very least, the title and scope of the module needs to reflect this omission.

Other critiques of the training would be that it assumes that diagnoses are valid and reliable. As Bob Whitaker and Lisa Cosgrove detail in Psychiatry Under the Influence, these were major problems in the development of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual and they were again influenced by the relationship many of the DSM task force members had with the pharmaceutical industry.

Finally, there should have been at least mention of how medications interfere with working through issues of trauma and other psychological reasons for symptoms. The chemical imbalance hypothesis just does not hold water and diverts attention from the role of trauma and discrimination and the other determinants of health. This is, in fact, a problem with all of medicine as it is practiced in most healthcare settings. Stephen Schroeder’s 2007 article in the New England Journal of Medicine makes these points crystal clear as he points out that only about 10% of health outcomes are attributable to medical interventions.

Unfortunately, I have to conclude that SAMHSA’s Recovery to Practice module on medications for psychiatrists is a very minimal and even misleading attempt at educating psychiatrists. It is certainly very acceptable to the guild interests of the American Psychiatric Association and disregards the best interests of people who may be discussing the use of psychiatric medications. It makes me all the more enthusiastic about the way in which the Mad in America Continuing Education project is “filling in the blanks” and will continue to do so as we expand our course offerings into early psychosis programs for young adults and, in the future, provide additional online trainings for evidence-based work with children, adolescents and seniors. Stay tuned.


Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.


Mad in America has made some changes to the commenting process. You no longer need to login or create an account on our site to comment. The only information needed is your name, email and comment text. Comments made with an account prior to this change will remain visible on the site.


    • Hi oldhead, Good question. I’m NOT looking for any discussion on vaccines here, but will just offer this: It was reported that Trump supports some very credible, vaccine-critical (critical of their ingredients and schedules) science and research. He’s apparently setting up a commission on it, headed by RFK Jr. Vaccines are run in tandem by Big Government public health policy bureaucrats and Big Pharma. Even though vaccine injury is common (paid out by a private court system so the stats are out of public sight), the vaccine issue has been sacrosanct. Question it and you’re branded as an ‘anti-vaxxer weirdo’. NOBODY in any position of power would dare question anything connected to vaccines, least of all a head of state (!). My long-winded point is that if for some reason Trump had personal reason to question psychiatry or psychiatric pharma, then ‘mental health’ issues might budge in a different direction under his administration.
      Liz Sydney

      Report comment

      • Consider me an anti-vaxxer weirdo. I expect that Trump will be doing good things followed by outrageously awful things, as he seems to have no consistent analysis of anything. Appointing RFK Jr. is one of the good things so far, probably the best. What we need is a film like Vaxxed (which Trump told the filmmaker he would watch when it was given to him). Anyone have any suggestions about what he should watch?

        Report comment

        • Vaxxed was aired at the local public library last week. 2 people showed up, organized to disrupt and counter-protest. The guy was going on about “UFO’s”, & “conspiracies”, etc., He was clear that he thinks EVERYBODY should be FORCED to get vaccinated. They were either “paid shills”, or “fanatic true believers”, or BOTH…. They had NO reply, when I accused them of being MEDICAL FASCISTS….
          Psychiatry is the original medical fascism….
          Speaking of which, the N.H. Legislature is considering a bill to actually write the DSM into N.H. Law, because it contains “substance use disorder”. The idea is this is going to help the “heroin epidemic”. By FORCED INCARCERATION of addicts…. “For your own good”, doncha’ know….(They also recently made addicts who call 911 for their OD’ing friends immune to arrest & prosecution….)
          Apparently, drugs can cause *delusional* *psychosis* in folks who don’t even ingest them!….

          Report comment

        • The idea that “vaccines save lives” is just that: an IDEA.
          There is NOT, nor can there EVER BE, valid scientific evidence of that assertion.
          Repeat, it is a BELIEF that vaxxing saves lives, and therefore is neither provable, nor falsifiable.
          With some exceptions, the same is true for ALL PSYCH DRUGS…..
          I’m not a rabid anti-vaxxer, nor am I pro-drug….
          But, using the euphemism of “meds” for DRUGS, is a form of subtle, pro-drug propaganda. Yes, sometimes some folks seem to do better, for some length of time, on some drugs…. But life-long polypharmacy, the current standard of care for the psychs, usually results in worse long-term outcomes….
          We here on MiA are LIVING PROOF of that. But at least we’re still alive….~B./

          Report comment

        • @shaun f: I think your question about vaccines is irrelevant and misleading. Trump invited Robert F. Kennedy Jr., to meet with him, because 5 of Trump’s friends, – whom he named & discussed w/Kennedy at their meeting, – had normal children, until their 2-yr “wellness check-up”, when they were given multiple vaccinations. Shortly after, all 5 children began to regress, and now have full ASD (“Autism Spectrum Disorder”) diagnoses. The main-stream media is essentially CENSORING this story. It’s no secret that the media is largely a PhRMA mouthpiece. The massive corruption at the CDC is another suppressed story. Yes, it all ties in with 21st Century Phrenology with neurotoxins – aka “psychiatry”. We so-called “mental patients” here at MiA are FAR from the only group to suffer iatrogenic damage and death by pharmaceutical. RSVP? ~B./

          Report comment

    • Actually, defunding SAMHSA is attacking the wrong target. What needs to be defunded is enforced involuntary “treatment” with drugs, as well as the constant flow of money to drug “research.” Such money should be redirected toward psychosocial interventions, especially peer-based services. SAMHSA is actually the only federal agency I am aware of who has ever supported peer-based services. The NIMH would be a better place to start.

      Report comment

      • Disagree. The promotion of “peer-based services” is also a Trojan horse. The “peer” industry was a reaction formation to the anti-psychiatry movement and remains a huge obstacle to progress. We don’t need the feds sticking their noses into our lives in any form. Just give us the money if they really want to help, we don’t need intermediaries.

        Report comment

      • I agree with you, Steve. It has been fun to accomplish so much in the past ten years that has produced tangible and meaningful changes along with good evidence based outcomes. I am afraid that the landscape of NIMH and SAMHSA will be “contoured” to reflect the massive and destructive Trumpian changes everywhere.

        Report comment

      • Speaking of “NIMH” – anybody else remember the 1982 animated feature film, “The Secret of NIMH”?….(yes, it’s on youtube!). It’s (sorta) based on John B. Calhoun’s “Rat Utopia” experiments. That’s the kind of scientific-induced mass group psychosis we are all suffering the effects from…. SAMHSA is just a clogged money filter. Like the CDC, and NIMH, etc., They exist to justify themselves, NOT to in any way “promote the general welfare”. Hopefully, President Trump will fix that. (I don’t want to start a rumor – so that’s all I’m saying this is – but I’ve heard that Barron has an “autism spectrum” diagnosis, and THAT is why Trump named Bobby Kennedy, Jr., to lead the vaccine safety study panel.)
        All the Federally-funded “Institutes” are meant for, is to preserve the status and prestige of the moneyed elite. The more $$ we throw at them, the worse social problems we have. I’m sure there are many PhD’s, and MD’s, at these places, that actually believe they are helping humanity. No drug can fix that level of hubristic delusion….)….~B./

        Report comment

      • Oldhead, how exactly are peer-based services a bad thing? These professionals are available to help provide support to people who are often marginalized in society. Most of the peer mentors/specialists I’ve worked with have been helpful and supportive; the only concern I’ve had is that organizations often do not put enough thought into how to provide support and supervision to people in these roles. People with lived experience can be immensely beneficial to helping others heal.

        Report comment

        • But, it all depends on what kind of training the peer workers are given. Many times peer workers can’t do the job they’re supposed to do, which is to support people in finding their own voices so that they can claim what they themselves need, because they’re subordinate to an authority like Nursing. Being subordinate often means that they’re told to get the “patient” to be compliant with the “meds” and to make them behave. People want to keep their jobs, especially if they’ve never worked or haven’t worked for a long time. So we know what happens. Peer workers must have a department to themselves with their own supervisors who have lived experience. This isn’t the case most of the time. All too often peer workers are coopted by the system, as usual. Peers have a very difficult time working in traditional institutions such as state “hospitals”. If I’m not mistaken the state of Georgia does not allow it’s peer workers to take jobs in these institutions since it’s impossible to do what peers are supposed to do in such places.

          Report comment

          • I agree, Stephen, that training is very important and often it is inadequate for peer roles. Certainly most of the peers I’ve met believe in the current model and generally support what it is doing because it worked for them. They, more than anybody in the system, are a source for social support and encouragement for individuals with mental health issues. Not all of them support psych drugs but many do. Use of peers are in my view are a step in the right direction but I can see how others don’t feel that way.

            Report comment

          • Peers should be DOING the training, not receiving it from their “superiors” (which is what is implied by the term “peer”).

            Stephen (who is an exception) notwithstanding, most “peers” serve the same functions as trustees in prisons, or of “house mental patients.”

            Report comment

  1. Thank-you, Robert Nikkel! I can just study the links you’ve provided above, and probably get more better education than what SAMHSA & the FedGov will give me!
    It’s not news that New England has been especially hard hit by the so-called “opioid/heroin epidemic”. And, in numerous newspaper articles, it has been shown how this fabricated “crisis” was largely the result of PhRMA pushing opiate pain pills in the 1990’s, and early 2000’s…. PhRMA helped create and fund bogus “astroturf” groups to push “responsible pain management”, or whatever they were calling it. All to drastically increase availability and supply of narcotic pain pills. “Narcan”, the opiate antagonist which can save lives in an overdose situation, has seen both sales and price rise dramatically in recent years….
    And, the N.H. Legislature is in the process of literally writing the DSM into N.H. Law. Why? Because the DSM-5 contains “substance use disorder”. The intent is FORCED MEDICAL INCARCERATION of heroin addicts.
    Psychiatry is a pseudoscience, a drug racket, and a means of social control. PhRMA, and it’s FedGov puppet keep PROVING that…. SAMHSA is BLIND. Those “rose-colored glasses” are FAKE! ~B./

    Report comment

  2. Great article. SAMHSA has been a foundation of Recovery Principles and the growth of some humanity in our mental health system. As Murphy, the National Council, and NAMI try to take us back and “make psychiatry great again,” we are seeing the seepage of ill-founded psychiatric biological and involuntary band-aid approaches into an evidence-based set of non-medication and Peer strategies. The intent is clear: place a medical professional over SAMHSA and gradually make Recovery-based healing devolve into oblivion.

    Thank you for this article.


    Report comment

      • “There is nothing governmental agencies have to contribute to the resolution of people’s personal or emotional issues.”

        Apart from funding for our EXITS from psychiatry – housing, home health care, education, etc., you’re absolutely right.

        Report comment

        • Yeah and equal access to the job market, too, that would be awesome….And how about government funding for legal assistance specifically for psych, such as commitment cases and legal representation for those abused by psych professionals or institutional abuse related to psych? We don’t need more psych professionals but we do have a serious shortage of attorneys, we need hundreds more to help get people out.

          Report comment

          • Not if the funding went to a university that trained the law students to work in the field. That way, the funding would only be indirectly from the government, say, in the form of a grant. Or possibly this could all be privately funded via a grant which would be collected from contributions from private concerned citizens. Don’t the Nikkels have such a grant for worthy projects? There is such a need to train attorneys, not only to work on commitment cases (what a shortage on those!) but also on “insanity plea,” school shootings, drug-induced violence, wrongful death, and all kinds of psych-related cases that “malpractice” simply doesn’t quite cover. Or shall I say the malpractice attorneys can’t research it in as much detail as these cases require, because psych is so specialized. If I had an extra 50 years to live I’d go for paralegal training myself since I find the field fascinating, but I’m too darned old.

            Report comment

  3. Thanks. I found a recent SAMSHA pamphlet (I am unsure of the date it came out) and I was glancing through it noticing the various use of buzzwords and fuzzy terminology I seriously question. I also noticed the wiggle room, vagueness about the dangers of the drugs, and no real specific benefits of them. If you water your garden the right amount, the plants will clearly benefit. We see greener, larger leaves, healthier plants, stronger stalks and roots, more fruit, etc. We do not see clear benefit like this with psych drugs. Lie to me about a healthier brain and a phony fixed imbalance and I’ll show you how many of my buddies from the wards are dead and gone now. Yes, SAMSHA is selling out. Thanks for this article and the clear and succinct explanation!!!!

    Report comment

  4. Wasn’t SAMSHA, or its precursor, the organization responsible for destroying the Survivor, Ex-patient Movement’s yearly convention in the 1980’s? Then they replaced it with the Alternatives Conference? I might be wrong but it sticks in my mind that tis is what happened.

    Report comment

    • Initially there was no SAMSHA, it was the NIMH that funded the first Alternatives Conference. I would fault government funding in large measure. Government funding is still a big problem. The same government that is funding forced treatment would be funding alternatives to forced treatment. If the irony is lost on anyone, it isn’t lost on me. What happened to the International Conferences on Human Rights and Psychiatric Oppression? They were a heck of a lot of work, and some people ended up doing more of it than others, as would be expected. Also, there were conferences that didn’t pay for themselves, that ended up, to one degree or another, in the red. My view is that the people who brought these things off in the 70s just got plain exhausted, and without dedication, it ain’t going to happen. I think we need something like the conferences we used to have that aren’t a matter of the government pulling puppet strings, but you need the kind of dedication, extending to the pocketbook, that is often hard to find among survivors of psychiatry. If you see the government as your hero, your knight in shining armor, then no problem, here comes the Calvary. Funding is taken care of, however, if government is part of the problem (witness Al Gore and the climate change conference), big problem. We shouldn’t be embracing the mental health movement, too. It is a movement that is all about getting more and more government funding for the “treatment” of people who often don’t want to be subjected to such “treatment”. Intolerance is intolerance, even when it disguises itself in a hospital uniform.

      Report comment

      • The states where private peer organizations sponsor and pay for their own conferences, like Peerpocalypse in Oregon, continue to provide a forum where voices and opinions across a spectrum are heard loud and clear. These conferences are wonderful, and spawn new actions and a strong feeling of support and affiliation.

        Report comment

        • I have a few doubts about this whole “peer” thing, you’ve got survivors engaged in all sorts of activities above and beyond paid “peer support” (i.e. mental health work), and this matter of state conferences still leaves people coming from states without such organizations out on a limb. Nationally, internationally, we need to forge the alliances that we don’t have at present, and alliances that don’t leave the major portion of the movement out in the cold and on shaky ground.

          Report comment

          • Frank,
            We will get far without union, and so far… seems there are no clear core unions points… and a infinite amount of painful issues.
            As for get a 50,1%… a majority, so to say… i would not bet on it. Does not seen possible, not in a near future.

            At a lot of tasks… a few work hard and provide the basic direction and drive. A lot of people wont work at all.

            That said…
            Quote: “forge the alliances” … i liked that.

            Report comment

          • I’m not talking about working for the system, I’m talking about working against it.

            No, 50.1 % about it. I don’t think we need a lot of people, I do think we need a few. The way I see it, given 1. the demise of the movement that used to be, ca. 1985, and 2. the recent passage of the Murphy bill, I think we’re way back where we were in 1969/1970. So we need a movement (within the movement) against what the movement has become.

            But the money is coming from the system, SAMSHA, like the NIMH, is a federal agency. I wouldn’t remain beholden to the feds by taking their cash. There are, if not always, usually strings attached. I think we need people working outside of the system, against the system.

            We won’t get far without some sort of organizing effort. If that’s union, then ‘I’m sticking with the union’. If not today, then tomorrow. The need is great, and it’s not going away.

            I stand by the need to ‘forge alliances’. Solidarity forever!

            Report comment

        • Frank,
          I agree with that the movement: lost the north/ lost energy/ got divided / got buyed (or similar).

          And i also agree that the laws at the USA are getting worse and leaving less options. Likely some variations of that laws will be exported to the rest of the world (since is the way that things work).

          About: “working outside of the system, against the system”…
          Despite that will require more efforts and way more sacrifices… is the proven way.
          But are the users ready? Are they willing to follow that path?
          As i see it… “the peer ilusion” is still going strong.

          Are users able to see what they needs to be done?
          Well, as 2017… i see users that despite taking psychiatric drugs for years, they still have not decided… if these drugs help them… or hurt them.
          There is still a long way to go, and some users are lost cases.

          As for the choice of words: “organizing/ working/ forging/ fighting/ activism (or similar)”, english is not my native language, so i only try to “get the ball in the park”.

          To unite, to join forces/ experiences is needed, yes.
          But is ALSO needed: to be aware of what divides us.
          Like: “do not forget what divides us, but remember what unites us”.

          Now… logic (and history) says that is not wise to have one single “wolf” among the sheep.
          Naif mistakes like that… end “movements”. In due time.

          And to post something related to the thread: SAMHSA is a organization of the United states of America. But its effects reach beyond the USA.

          SAMHSA = Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
          I hate the idea of people with schizofrenia beeing associated with: “substance abusers”, or “criminals”; or “violent people”; “freeloaders” or “SSI or SSDI lazy & worthless check collectors”.

          The SAMHSA may have “some” good intentions, but eveybody knows the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Some people with schizofrenia never used drugs. Some people with schizofrenia never even smoked/ used alcohol their whole life.

          when a person is diagnosed with schizofrenia is often assumed to be: a drug addict/ substance abuser/ potential suicider. Because of ideology behind SAMHSA.

          So, SAMHSA saves money? Treating drug abuse that also have mental problems (comorbidities), saves money? Is possible. Is another way to the Pharma make MORE money? You bet.

          Do schizofrenics need help for mental issues and also physical issues? They do: dental work for example. But that is not typically done. What is done is give them MORE psychiatric drugs/ treatments for the diabetes that Zyprexa (one example), created in the first place.

          SAMHSA has power. Do the schizofrenics have power?

          Report comment

          • @AntiP: Your use of Modern American English is VERY GOOD!
            “Naif/naif” = “naive/Naive”. I’ve seen you use that in other comments.
            Overthrowing the MEDICAL FASCISM of psychiatry and PhRMA is an ongoing process. I’m glad you’re on OUR side! ~B./

            Report comment

          • User/consumer = mental patient. Mental patients’ liberation = ex-patient/survivor. We’re inundated with this propaganda. 1 in 5 (or 4) have a “mental disorder”. BS. The idea is still to become 1 of the 4 in 5 without a psych-label, even should doing so “stigmatize” psychiatrists.

            “Users” aren’t ready, that’s why they’re “users”. There is no “peer illusion” without them.

            Forced outpatient drugging laws are an improvement over forced inpatient drugging laws. Things are improving in some respects. The shift is from a physical and chemical prison to a bureaucratic and chemical prison. There was a time when spending a lifetime in a psychiatric institution was the rule. Perhaps we’ve made a bit a progress since then.

            Agreed regarding factionalism and divisions. They aren’t all bad at all. I will always mark myself among the radicals in this struggle. What remains are the conservatives and moderates. For them, when it isn’t eternal “recovery”, it’s careerism and a paycheck, or it’s not rocking the boat. A boat I just want to see capsized.

            Follow the money. SAMHSA is all about the money. It is through SAMHSA that some of these “alternatives” get their slice of taxpayer pie. SAMHSA is the system. Protecting people from the system. Getting people out of the system. Such is much more problematic. The government controls, and keeps “needy” people “needy” through the money.

            SAMHSA, with recent legislation, and a new administration, has it’s share of problems. The power you speak of SAMHSA having is very shaky. It could crumble into very little over night.

            Schizophrenia is a foreign language used by the people who want to impose one version of reality on all peoples. I tend to dismiss the idea that there is any such animal.

            Tolerance of folly. De-medicalization, and de-criminalization, of madness. There you go. I could see that. Rein in the thought police, and let freedom ring.

            Report comment

  5. The last time I looked into peer support (I can’t even mention with whom) I was shocked to look around at the pool of applicants. How many had actual lived experience? I think me, the supervisor of volunteers, and one other. Did these other applicants not even understand what peer support is? I hope they were turned down. I saw college students looking for something nice to add to their resumes but no lived experience. One social work intern. No lived experience, again seeking stripes on the uniform. I couldn’t believe these folks were not immediately informed that they can’t even apply! Sadly, I think they were hired. I have extensive experience but was turned down from any work for them due to my Human Rights Self Empowerment approach. I am pissed off that this precious lived experience you will not find anywhere else but from a real mental case (an alive one) has repeatedly been shoved away like it is useless trash.

    Report comment

      • shaun f ,
        Oh? Why dont i seem surprised?
        Quote: “Every peer support person I’ve worked with have significant lived experience.”

        Short comment from me: you REALLY should get out more.

        a) Not only there “peers” that lack lived experience;
        b) there are also “peers” that have/seen little beyond their own “lived” case;
        c) there are also “peers” that have been totally brainwashed;
        d) there are also “peers” there are just there for the money ( READ: if they do not get payed, they do not help ANYBODY).

        Report comment

        • AntiP,

          You don’t know my experience and seem quite dismissive. I’ve worked in large and small agencies, all of which had peer mentors/specialists, and I never saw what you are talking about. I don’t doubt that this occurs, but in my experience professionally this hasn’t been the case in my home state.

          No doubt there are peers who see things through a narrow window, but frankly most of us do that to some degree. Regarding “brainwashing”, I guess it all depends on your definition. There are many people who I talk to regularly who have seen great benefit from traditional treatments such as psychotherapy and med management. They say it saved their lives. I find it sad that many on the MIA forum completely dismiss these people as being “brainwashed.” Medications, or psych drugs like they are called on MIA, can help to manage symptoms but they aren’t a cure. Most people I’ve interacted with, hundreds if not thousands by this point, agree with me that when used appropriately, meds can help (and they also agree that side effects are problematic).

          I’ll also add that most people won’t do a job unless they get paid. That is how it works. Also, many folks I know too often will offer their help for free but it ends up being an unhealthy dynamic. I don’t see peers getting greedy like you imply. Many of the folks I know who have done peer work actually like helping people, and if they can get paid for it sometimes, all the better. Most of these folks are low income and can use all the financial resources possible to live.

          Report comment

          • @shaun f: DRUGS are DRUGS are DRUGS are DRUGS…. Calling them “meds”, or “medications” is using deceptive euphemisms with fraudulent intent. The pseudoscience drug racket known as “psychiatry” is a means of social control, and represents the personification of MEDICAL FASCISM. Maybe some time I’ll tell MY story, of helping to found a local “peer support agency”, intended to be a COMPLEMENT to the local “CMHC”, that was soon infiltrated, co-opted, and “Borg-ed” by the local “CMHC”. Psychiatry is nothing more than 21st Century Phrenology, with neurotoxins. I’m in my home State of New Hampshire. What State are you in? ~B./

            Report comment

    • The situation you describe is pretty typical, Julie. The people most likely to be hired are the people with the least worrisome diagnostic labels. So least, in fact, that sometimes they, of course, are also those with the most questionable diagnostic labels. Human rights work won’t get you so far in the system as an investment in that system will, and as it is basically a system of oppression, so much for that.

      Report comment

      • Frank,
        I am re-building my definitions (will take a big while).

        Thanks for telling me about the “user”. I was not aware of that. As for “consumer”… it always seemed to me a fake word. Is easy to see that the APA likes the term: “consumer”, as uses it often at the titles of: APA books/articles.

        At countries other than the USA, they have their own words (of course i wont those words at MIA).

        I consider myself to be a “ex-user”, but all schizofrenics i know use one/several pchychiatric drugs. So they are users. And they are the majority.

        As for the term “survivor”… i dont like it. Somehow is more used at people that had cancer and did not die (for a while). So for a while some call themselves: “cancer survivors” and give interviews how they win the cancer.
        Yet… sometimes cancer returns. And they die earlier than the average person that never had cancer.

        I am aware that posters/participants of this site have objections about using basic terms like: mental illness. And many hate the whole DSM-5.

        I dont have time at the moment to study: Thomas Szasz, Laing, Michel Foucault or Emil Kraepelin.

        So… to avoid a vacuum i need to use the term schizofrenia/schizofrenic (for a while). But likely soon i will be using the short version that Martin Harrow uses at his artices: “SZ” (i think). Much easier to write 🙂

        Like many poster here… i dont like the terms: schizofrenia/schizofrenic… and absolutely dont like the heavy negative emotional charge these 2 words have. Yet… is hard to find a substitute.

        Quote: “The power you speak of SAMHSA having is very shaky. It could crumble into very little over night”.

        Well, i am aware that the Murphy Law (and similar recent laws at the USA), want to weaken the SAMHSA (and to make it the way of the dinosaurs).
        Over the net there are sites that want to put SAMHSA under the worst ligth possible (while promoting quicker/easier forced hospitalization).

        But even that SAMHSA disapears, gets assimilated, or gets empty… SAMHSA definitions are all around the world. As are the texts/ideas of SAMHSA. That wont disapear all of the sudden (and outside of the USA, SAMHSA influence possibly will remain longer).

        Quote: “Tolerance of folly. De-medicalization, De-criminalization of madness”.

        re: is nice to have goals, long term goals. Of those three i dont know which one will come tue first. Surely will not happen at 2017.
        Some beaviours will get “a bit more tolerance” at the developed countries? Likely.
        Yet… privacy seems less and less for the average person. And to have it you need to pay.

        “De-medicalization”. Hard to do… and seems the trend is not going that way (people use more medications, but i havent been looking at that data lately).

        “De-criminalization of madness”. I suspect that during the Donald Trump mandate… new kinds of crimes will be createad (and punished). Here at Europe, we were very much surprised that he won the election for President.

        And at the UK there are petitions to block Trump to travel to the UK.
        De-criminalization of madness

        That said, i dont like the SAMHSA definitions, or line of work. Yet… if SAMHSA is bad, the substitute could be: UGLY.

        Report comment

        • @AntiP: Because you’re in Europe, I want to say just a bit about Clinton/Trump. I’ve been a very careful, and keen observer of politics for decades, especially how they lie, deceive, etc., Generally, the mainstream media covered up for both Hilary, and Bill Clinton, and they still are. And, they twisted, skewed, distorted, and even LIED about Trump. Trump lost the popular vote overall, but won the Electoral College vote in key Mid-western States enough to win the election, even though he got far fewer popular votes! (The “Electoral College” is in the 12th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, enacted in 1804.)
          Trust me, the average American really doesn’t know what’s going on, because of mass dis-, and mis-information. America does NOT have a “free press”, rather we have a very expensive press which caters to the rich and powerful, and Hollywood elites. Every day, I am less worried about Trump, and am actually very hopeful. Yes, he’s a jerk, and a blowhard, and a rich white guy. But I think he represents more better hope for us poor ex-“mental patients” than Hillary would have. Please tell your friends in Europe that I say not to worry! For what that’s worth! Trump’s Mother WAS born in Scotland, as he proudly said during a recent public meeting with PM Teresa May, of England! Sorry for the politics! Trump also called in Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., to head a commission looking into vaccines and the massive $$ and corruption around that, but the media is suppressing that story.~B./

          Report comment

          • Bradford,
            Quote 1: “I think Trump represents more better hope for us poor ex-“mental patients” than Hillary would have”.

            We at Europe have access to America news at TV (despite i dont have the time to do that). I was very excited when Obama was figthing to get his first mandate as President of the USA. I thougth that he would do what he was promissing. Big disapointment.

            I did not folowed the public propaganda around Trump/Clinton.
            But since i was betting Clinton would win… o looked at her program regarding the mental issues. Was funny. Not very different from any typical NEW politician. But Hilary Clinton is NOT NEW… she is been around for a long time. So i no way i believe what she was saying.

            I did not looked for Trump program, since (to me), the man would be a far better “clown” than a USA president.

            Quote 2: “Trump also called in Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., to head a commission looking into vaccines and the massive $$ and corruption around that, but the media is suppressing that story.~B./”

            re: We at Europe, have good memories of John F. Kennedy (that was murdered at 1963, at Dallas). He helped to keep Europe free from the URSS influence, and prevent the worse. And he also took good and corageus decisions at the Cuba missile crisis.

            But if i am not mistaken, a sister of him had a lobotomy?

            Quote 3: from the wikipedia: “Kennedy’s younger sister Rose Marie “Rosemary” Kennedy was born in 1918 with intellectual disabilities and underwent a prefrontal lobotomy at age 23, leaving her permanently incapacitated.”

            So, everybody knows that at families maybe very unfair to criticise one member, since John F. Kennedy could had nothing to do with that lobotomy. Yet…

            Also… is known that John F. Kennedy took several medications/drugs and had several doctors. And that him prefered medications/drugs over exercise.

            As for Trump, he posted the evaluation of his physical health. That was funny. And other candidates followed the idea. Is a bit silly the average person believes such thing.

            A typical politician of that age… and looks (even with expensive suits), says he/she is physically healthy? Those are OLD PEOPLE. (that was not to you Oldhead, i like your posts =)

            And a former USA president: Franklin D. Roosevelt (as can be read at Gary Taubes book: “Good Calories, Bad Calories”), his personal doctor, lie to him… time after time. Doctors and wanna-be doctors (psychiatrits), do that. PSYCHIATRISTS LIE !!

            Lie-berman 🙂

            That said (as i see it), Europe (SZ related), ex-users lacks the energy/vision. My hope is at the USA: Whitaker, MIA, and such.

            Trump can help? Is possible. Time will tell.

            And the USA press/media (TV/newspapers/net/freedoom of speach), is still one of the best USA things.

            Report comment

          • But since i was betting Clinton would win… o looked at her program regarding the mental issues. Was funny. Not very different from any typical NEW politician. But Hilary Clinton is NOT NEW… she is been around for a long time. So i no way i believe what she was saying.

            I did not looked for Trump program, since (to me), the man would be a far better “clown” than a USA president.

            AntiP — Clinton supported the “Senate Murphy Bill” (some of which got mixed in as part of the “21st Century Cures” Act last fall). It included “early intervention” (i.e. drugs) for 3 year olds.

            Trump will do nothing for poor people, however what he does do is put the contradictions of capitalism right in our faces rather than disguising them (as liberals do). I was glad to see Clinton defeated, as she & Bill were responsible for many racist policies (at least she didn’t denounce them, or say she would change them). Hillary was also responsible for lots of bloody chaos in the Middle East and Africa. Trump is a bozo for sure, though since he’s an individualist and an egomaniac more than a politician his policies will likely be totally contradictory. But neither the Dems nor the Repugs are good news in any way.

            Report comment

  6. As far as I can see genuine peers that have recovered are the only people with any real message to pass on regarding recovery from substance abuse (or “mental illness”). There are plenty of these people around from all walks of life who are only to glad to help – for free (in self supporting recovery groups).

    Report comment

      • I just now googled “Schizos Anonymous”. Wikipedia says they were founded in 1985.
        And they no longer exist. They don’t appear to have been very successful! They’ve been replaced by some equally depressing-sounding group! But THANK-YOU, “bcharris”, for the info! Sadly, common nutritional supplements seem to be one of PhRMA’s biggest bogeymen! To me, that’s just more evidence which proves psychiatry is a bogus drug racket – 21st Century Phrenology, with neurotoxins….~B./

        Report comment

  7. One of the basic, underlying problems with peer workers is that; without proper training they often end up doing to people what was done to them by the system when they were “patients” themselves. Also, I think that some peer workers work out of this dynamic because there is such a strong tendency to not question anyone in authority in the system. It takes courage to speak out and stand up, especially when your bank account depends on you having that job, and as someone above mentioned peer workers usually are not rolling in the dough. Peers must be supported by the administration in the organizations where they work or they will never survive when they stand up for people on the units. Psychiatrists run most of the traditional institutions and the assumption is that they are not to be questioned nor are you to speak out against the “treatment” that they dole out to people in their power. Administrations defer to psychiatrists in almost everything. So, I think that lot of peer workers hunker down and spout the party line.

    I believe that it’s a lot different for peer workers who find jobs in alternative settings. In my state there are no alternative settings, at all. There are organizations which provide alternatives to the traditional “treatment” but these organizations charge an arm and a leg for their services and as a peer worker I would not be able to affiliate myself with such places because of this.

    Report comment