Friday, May 29, 2020

Blogs

Essays by a diverse group of writers, in the United States and abroad, engaged in rethinking psychiatry. (The directory of personal stories can be found here, and initiatives here).

twins using a phone

Three Recent Genetics Books and Twin Studies’ Indefensible “Equal Environment Assumption”

Behavioral and psychiatric gene discovery claims have been appearing since the 1960s, sometimes accompanied by sensational reports in the mass media, yet rarely if ever hold up. Based on a half-century of false-alarm behavioral gene discovery claims, the appropriate reaction to new claims should be extreme skepticism and caution.
card reads "did you know?"

12 Essential Facts About Psychiatry

With these twelve facts, you are equipped to defend against the misinformation propagated by academic psychiatry, Big Pharma, and the laypeople they target. You are encouraged to use this knowledge to (firmly but respectfully) challenge statements you hear in passing or from loved-ones such as “He is mentally ill,” “I have a chemical imbalance and these drugs help correct it,” or any other commonly accepted falsehoods that the above facts expose.
open dialogue

Four Decades of Allying to Make Safe Spaces for All Voices: The Hearing Voices...

Please come join us for our discussion on June 5 with Caroline Mazel-Carlton, Cindy Marty Hadge, Ronda Speight, Rufus May, Paul Baker, and Chackupurackal Mathai. This “Dialogue in a Time of Crisis” Town Hall will explore how the Hearing Voices Movement, like Open Dialogue, has been building the resources the world needs at this pivotal moment of in our collective history.
woman rejecting mask held by psychiatrist

Should You Ever Ask Someone “Are You Suicidal?”

For every person “Are you suicidal?” may assist, there are many more of us who are scared into silence when those words are uttered. Why? Well, “Are you suicidal?” is, in fact, the king of the suicide risk assessment questionnaire. “Are you suicidal?” has become the red, neon, flashing sign that screams “Stop! Don’t talk to me!” Perhaps this might just explain why suicide risk assessments are well known not to work.
electric shock

Electric Shock Update: Allegations of Regulatory Misconduct Filed with the FDA

The New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) is publishing false and misleading advertisements about electric shock services under the guise of educational materials without even acknowledging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) December, 2018 Rule.
Drawing of Trump and American flag

Should We Diagnose Donald Trump?

I have been involved in hundreds of commitment hearings in which psychiatric diagnoses were crucial. In that context, I have never witnessed the presence of all three factors: (1) the transparent (honest) use of diagnostic labels (which includes the acknowledgment of the inherent biases built into the labels as well as their limited validity), (2) allowing full voice to and full acknowledgment of the labeled person’s view of reality, and (3) using the labels in a manner that produced a useful understanding, which in standard mental health practice would require that the understanding be significantly more beneficial to the labeled person rather than the labeler.
pills and American dollars

Does Pharma Need the Entrepreneur?

Capitalists don’t discover new medicine; they invest in it. The incentive to do so, as everyone will admit, is to return a profit. Most would also agree that this profit shouldn’t be "too large," but enough to encourage adequate investment into new treatments. However, the idea that this is a well-functioning system, and indeed the best way of producing medicine, is a myth.
yellow flowers

Beyond the Buzzwords: What Does Trauma-Informed Care Truly Mean?

Rethinking Psychiatry's March meeting was a rich discussion of what "trauma-informed care" means. It is an important idea, but can be an empty buzzword. Our goal was to have a deeper, more meaningful conversation on what this term really means. A diverse group from the local community attended and we had a really interesting, thoughtful discussion.
woman in medical mask peers out of darkness

What COVID-19 Has to Teach Us About Psychiatric Oppression

The answer to DJ Jaffe’s question as to whether or not forced incarceration in psychiatric facilities leads to fear of psychiatric facilities (or of reaching out for help in general) is an obvious one. Yet, it is important that we find ways to use this opportunity to draw the connections in bold, impossible-to-miss lines, and turn this crisis into a learning opportunity that might actually help move psychiatric oppression out of the shadows of the unknown and into the light.
cartoon drawing of a superhero ripping a sign that reads "DSM"

DSM Led Us Far Astray. Life Story Is the Path to Truth.

When the DSM-5 came out six years after the study was published, it ignored the evidence that psychological injuries caused 88% of “depression” in adulthood. It wasn't just this study that was sidelined. All the research that linked childhood trauma to later episodes of “depression” was ignored as well.
judge's hammer

When Telling A Psychiatrist You Are Not Mentally Ill Is Grounds for Commitment

Both these cases are examples of people whose only symptoms were stating they were not mentally ill and did not need psychiatric medication. They both certainly had problems at some time in their lives, but the one size fits all system of commitment and mandatory medication did not fit their needs at all. Does having mental symptoms in the past mean that one should have a lifetime of mental health commitment and forced medications?
woman wearing medical mask

Loneliness Is Deadlier Than COVID

What we are being required to do and what many are rightly electing to do for their own health—that is, social distance, isolate and quarantine—are exacerbating the felt sense of loneliness that was an epidemic long before the present crisis. The coronavirus pandemic has made it obvious that the precious-sounding axiom “we need each other” is quite literal.
flower

Why Compassionate Activism?

Compassionate Activism encourages people to “take a second look,” as Deron and Linda advised me to do. It is not the easiest thing to do, as we have learned the language and lived the life that profits some while others suffer. Knowing what has happened before can help light a pathway to where we want to be, so sharing the history of mental health is a big part of CA.

Dialogue Is Just What the Doctor Ordered: Town Halls in a Time of Crisis

The next Town Hall in this Dialogical Series, which is being jointly convened by MIA, HOPEnDialogue, and Open Excellence, will be held on May 15th at noon Eastern U.S. time. It will feature a discussion between Russell Razzaque of London, Regina Bisikiewicz of Poland, Corinne Hendy of Nottingham, Rob Cotes of Atlanta, and Martijn Kole of Utrecht that begins with their experiences of fostering a dialogical perspective in systems of “mental health” care.
Debra and David Oaks

Re-establishing My Credentials: Psychiatric Survivor Activists Are Needed Now!

For more than four decades, I have worked as a psychiatric-survivor human rights activist. Then, at the end of 2012, I broke my neck. As readers of my blog posts, such as those on Mad in America, know, I have devoted the past few years to rehab and activism. But it has been a while since my last personal blog. Let me sum up my Mad Pride journey today, because a lot is changing.
Man holds sign reading "TRUMP THAT BOY DON'T ACT RIGHT"

The President’s Fitness: Can Professionals Help Decide?

For psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and other therapists to claim that they are essential for warning people that Trump is dangerous is to claim special expertise and insight to which they are not entitled, and it simultaneously demeans the judgment of nonprofessionals and helps strengthen the power of their guilds.
group therapy

“Be Kind to Yourself… For Us!”

Ann: "I’ve fallen in love! With my group! And they’re in love with me!" Hugh: "The group and you have an important relationship that you’re creating together week after week. This includes breaking down the authoritarian boundaries that keep people in their “places” so that they can’t grow."

Induction to Virus Psychosis

Psychiatry: the science of the obligation to adhere to the norm. The norm has changed, and also changes whatever can be defined deviant and erroneously made pathological.

Mental Health Is Our Common Wealth

Fear and grief are not "mental illness" (... and never were). Join us for a Mad in America urgent conversation, on Thursday, May 7, 2020. We hope that as we emerge from the COVID crisis we can avoid repeating psychiatry’s mistakes. The fact that symptoms such as fear and grief that might, in calmer times, seem to an observer as “psychotic”, and candidates for medical treatment, are more clearly now than they have for been decades the result or our shared peril and traumas.

Jordan B. Peterson’s Support of Corporal Punishment for Children: A Critique

In his book 12 Rules for Life, supposedly based on "cutting-edge research," Jordan Peterson attempts to justify the hitting of children as a form of discipline. But Peterson does so without citing a single study to support his view. In fact, this entire section of the book is bereft of any reference to any research supporting the effectiveness of corporal punishment.

The Launch of Mad in Sweden Culture Section

Today we launch our brand new culture section where you can find tips on books and films related to mental health issues, and which contribute to the critical review of the current health paradigm in the psychiatric field. The page also has its own section for poetry.

Recovery – From Personal Reform to Social Change

From Mad in Sweden. One of the most important contributions made by research on recovery, is understanding people diagnosed with “severe mental health problems”, as not merely victims of an illness, but as agents in their own lives.

Injuries in the Children of Parents Living With Mental Illness

Parental mental illness is associated with increased risk of injuries among offspring, particularly during the first years of the child’s life. Efforts to increase access to parental support for parents with mental illness, and to recognize and treat perinatal metal morbidity in parents in secondary care might prevent child injury.

“Depression Among the Elderly Must be Prioritized”

Older people are the group that gets the most antidepressants in Sweden. 17 % of those over 65 used antidepressants in 2019, and in the group over 75 the medication comprised 26 % of women and 16 % of men, according to the statistics from National Board of Medicines statistics.
crowd in masks with signs

Mad in America and Activism

The question that is presently unanswerable is whether this crisis will stimulate progress or regression. I choose to believe that it is an opportunity but that we must fight to make it happen. My dream: To build compassionate communities where people who look, act, or think differently are supported in ways for them to develop their innate potential.

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