Sunday, May 16, 2021


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).

Our Coming to Mad in Aotearoa

Madness cannot be separated from our cultural contexts. Our dream is that there are spaces for people of all cultures and countries who experience living with, through and beyond madness to tell their unique stories. We have created Mad in Aotearoa for all the people in our country.

Chapter Five: Filling the Void

When I returned to boarding school in the fall of my junior year, I brought with me not just duffel bags of clothes, athletic...

The Problem of Blame

On January 27 I posted a blog, Maternal Attachment in Infancy and Adult Mental Healthon my website Behaviorism and Mental Health. In this article I reviewed a longitudinal study by Fan et al.  The main finding of the study was: “Infants who experience unsupportive maternal behavior at 8 months have an increased risk for developing psychological sequelae later in life.”

Why I Won’t Buy the DSM-5

As the medical director of a community mental health center, my colleagues look to me for guidance on how to approach the new edition of the DSM. How many should we buy? How much time should be devoted to staff training? This is my answer.

An Opportunity for “Mad Caring”: David Oaks Needs Our Help

For decades, one of the most prominent voices for radical change, or “non-violent revolution” in mental health care has been David Oaks, former director of MindFreedom International. Many activists today were drawn into their work due to David’s influence. Robert Whitaker, for example has credited an interview he did with David in 1998 for propelling him into noticing and writing about the way psychiatric drugs were harming more than helping. My own journey in becoming outspoken on these issues has also been massively influenced by David’s activism and ideas, which is one reason I care strongly about the issue I am bringing up here. While David has been helpful, directly or indirectly, to so many of us, he now needs our help.

Chapter Three: At War With A Diagnosis

Note: In this third entry, it is still early on in my story. It is the fall of my ninth grade year, I am...

Partner Bill of Rights: Speaking to the Cycle of Abuse

In 1993, the World Health Bank estimated that domestic violence, or intimate partner violence (IPV), was a greater cause of poor health than traffic accidents and malaria combined. It was believed that 5-20% of healthy years lost for women were attributed to IPV. By definition, violence is considered to be any physical, verbal, or sexual assault that significantly comprises a person’s body, trust, and sense of self. But it is not solely a female issue even as women are disproportionately perpetrated against in this way. Results from a study conducted in the United States found that 22.1 percent of women and 7.4 percent of men reported acts of IPV in their lifetime.

Personal Responsibility and Advance Directives

Thursday afternoon, June 21 from 2-3 Pm EST, I am presenting a free webinar, open to all, on the Advance Directive or Crisis Plan....

Chapter Nineteen: Playing the Part

In the months following my five-year high school reunion in the summer of 2006, I drifted about in a sea of indistinguishable days. Amidst...

Where There is No Word for “Alone”

I learned a lot about the meaning of community in Senegal, West Africa where I lived for a few years. One day while I was still learning to speak Mandinka, the language of my village, I asked “How do I say, I am going running (alone, by myself)?” It was explained to me that there was no word for "alone" in Mandinka.

Diagnosing the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

What can we say about the DSM that hasn’t already been said? Quite a lot, actually. The manual (full title: the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), produced by the American Psychiatric Association, is incredibly powerful. It shapes research agendas, clinical practices, social care, economic decision-making and individual experiences internationally. As Rachel Cooper notes in her excellent new book, Diagnosing the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, changes to it impact ‘the lives of as many people as changes in the policies of most countries’ (p. 2). The DSM needs to be talked about.

Healing the Body and Mind

My name is Mark Foster. I am a family physician and writer from Colorado, and the co-Founder and president of a new non-profit called...

Tipping the Scales in Favor of Collaboration

In caring for patients with mental illness or distress as a naturopathic physician, I am either indirectly or directly working with the conventional (allopathic)...

Prozac and SSRIs: Twenty-fifth Anniversary

Twenty-five years before Prozac, 1 in 10,000 of us per year was admitted for severe depressive disorder - melancholia. Today at any one point in time 1 in 10 of us are supposedly depressed and between 1 in 2 and 1 in 5 of us will be depressed over a lifetime. Around 1 in 10 pregnant women are on an antidepressant.

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