Wednesday, September 22, 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).

Developing Policies and Practices for Medication Optimization

Southern Oregon physicians—from family practice specialists to psychiatrists—and nurse practitioners, social workers and other mental health professionals have been meeting for several months to...

Mad In America Forums and Other Updates

Today we are launching discussion forums on Mad in America. We intend for these forums to serve three broad purposes. 1) Furthering discussion of the issues raised here. 2) Sharing personal experiences with psychiatric drugs, and 3) Providing a platform for personal networking and activism.

Cognitive Therapy Found Effective in Unmedicated Psychotic Patients . . . And Other News

For a long time, psychotherapy has been seen as providing little benefit to patients with schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders. However, two recent studies,...

Heaven, Hell, and Psychosis

While the mental health system identifies psychosis as being about suffering, or “hellish” experiences, if you actually listen to individual stories, it is obvious...

Understanding Madness as Revolution, Then Working Toward Peace

While some will frame Eleanor Longden’s story, told in her awesome TED video (which has now been viewed about 1/2 million times!), as the triumph of an individual struggling against “mental illness,” I believe the story might better be seen as a refutation of the whole “illness of the mind” metaphor, and as an indication of a desperate need for a new paradigm.

A Great Strategy Meeting is a Meeting of Minds

Conferences, trainings and seminars can play an important role in changing the culture of a community. As Margaret Mead said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” The work is formidable but the results… man it is worth it!

You Are What You Eat – Part 2

There has been much attention in this site to the role of psychiatry and psychiatrists for people who are experiencing mental or emotional distress. One area that I have chosen to focus on with my patients is food since it is a place where I believe I can have a positive impact on their lives.

Start with a Solid Foundation

How are we going to do this?  That’s the question we asked ourselves when a few likeminded bureaucrats sat down and said, our current...

SSRIs in The Atlantic: Forget the Science Bring on the Anecdotes

The Atlantic web site has just published a strange piece on the efficacy of the antidepressants. When getting into a discussion with about antidepressants with a...

Rep. McCann: Taking Away the Jury Trial is Undemocratic. (Open Letter)

I don't understand your recent sponsorship of a bill to remove "the option for a jury trial for a certification for either a mental health or substance misuse hold."

The Bureau of Bears Kept Me Alive

The Bureau of Bears kept me alive when I was driving a cab all night in New York City, with a raging undiagnosed traumatic...

Say What?  Understanding That What We Say—and How We Say It—Changes Lives

Years ago, a psychiatrist by the name of Theodore Lidz published a book entitled Schizophrenia and the Family.  Unlike many others of his time, he believed that schizophrenic symptoms were not necessarily the result of an underlying disease, but could be caused by dysfunctional parental behavior.  He noted that significant conflict and high levels of tension were not necessarily the cause of symptoms; in certain families, a pattern of “skewed” communication existed in which odd, often unhealthy patterns of interaction and behaviors were allowed and even supported by one spouse, which resulted in a confusing, distorted environment for the children.

Fresh Eyes on a Paradigm Gone Awry

Day one in my job in supported accommodation in Porirua. Simple human common sense and “fresh eyes” revealed unmistakable symptoms of a paradigm that has lost heart and wisdom and moved several light-years from the basic tenet of medicine: “First do no harm.” A powerful feeling flowed through my whole body, a full-hearted, deep-bellied desire to “Hikoi” – to walk the North Island trail, and walk it to raise awareness of the need for alternatives to this system that I was so reluctantly working within.

Housing First: An Evidence-Based Approach Beyond the Medical Model

For each person not sent to a state or federal prison, about $30,000 a year is saved. By starting a War on Mental Illness just as the War on Drugs is wrapping up, some mental health advocates hope to cash in on prison reform. Of course, many Americans might prefer to cash in through lower taxes. So it is essential — if the War on Mental Illness is to succeed — that Rep Murphy create a link in the public imagination between senseless acts of violence and psychiatric diagnosis. Although Murphy acknowledges that there is no empirical data linking psychiatric diagnosis and violence, he hopes to find a link between “untreated serious mental illness” and violence.

The Voice: A Fairy Tale

At Recovery Innovations we believe in the fact of recovery, and that people tell their journeys from many perspectives. We hope that the stories in this blog from our team, the people we serve and their families and supporters will fill your heart and inspire you with hope!

Purpose is Inherently Divorced From Consensual Reality

Imagine being able to live harmoniously amongst others without fear. I cannot. Cannot imagine it even a little bit. What can be created for people in my camp? People who are sensitive and had so much trauma in childhood that life among others is highly stressful, scary and worrisome? I'm allowing myself sanctuary-time alone, quiet time, time to write… yet… will things ever be different? Will I ever find my niche in this world, where I feel safe and able, valued and worthwhile, loved, adored and comfortable? I have no idea.

Toward a Selective Use Model of Psychiatric Medication

In the United States the standard model of psychotropic treatment can be summarized as "first, frequent and forever" (FFF). In other words, the general institutional consensus within the public mental health system is that people labeled with a mental illness diagnosis will (1) require medication as the first and primary treatment, and (2) will require consistent and frequent medication, and often a cocktail of mood stabilizers, benzodiazapines, anti-depressants and/or anti-psychotics and, (3) will need to remain on these medications forever.

Grief, Peace; Not Profiling

Like everyone else, I was shocked and stunned by the senseless mass killing of young children and adults in Newtown, Connecticut. The families and community deserve their chance to mourn and search for their own meaning and healing. However, I cannot be silent about the threats now being made against my community, as people respond to this act of terrible violence. The aggressive legislation against people labeled with psychiatric diagnoses that is being promoted by the NRA and by Representative Sensenbrenner, among others, is not a fit way to honor anyone's life.

The Mentally Ill Do Not Exist: Challenging Popular Media’s Obsession

How many times have you watched a news story or read a headline where a journalist or expert commentator making a statement or writing about an issue related to mental health uses the term “the mentally ill?” What image or thoughts does that bring to mind? For me, it evokes feelings of disgust and frustration over the ignorance associated with using this term as a blanketed reference to all persons who have been diagnosed or labeled with a mental health condition. Many who do not support the medical model of treatment for mental health problems believe mental illness does not exist all together.

Dissolving Madness, Ending the Nightmare, Beginning a Better Dream

Much of what we term “madness” is, in fact, the awakening of the "Self" to its own Wholeness/Divinity. We are born totally pure. Throughout our lives we are subject to projections, flung at us from a multitude of directions: from Mom and Dad, from schools, religious institutions, the media, and the medical model. We are all buried, to some degree, under projections, and interesting symptoms emerge: nightmares, stress and anxiety, fear, flashbacks, and so on. These are not "Madness," but symptoms of health; of a "Self" attempting to break free from lies.

101 Uses for a Dead Journal

There used to be a wonderful cartoon series called 101 Uses for a Dead Cat, which led me 25 years ago to give a talk at a British Association for Psychopharmacology meeting entitled 101 Uses for a Dead Psychiatrist. That was back in the days when Psychopharmacology meetings were places of debate and the British Journal of Psychiatry was guaranteed to have something of real interest in every issue.

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