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.
We will continue exploring the challenges and learnings of dialogues in times of crisis on the first and third Fridays of the month, at 12:00 pm EST (5:00 BST). This Friday, May 1, Jimmy Ciliberto, Charmaine Harris, Jasmin Ishaq, Ramune Mazaliauskiene, and Alita and Fletcher Taylor will discuss what they are learning in their respective systems.
Allen Frances' latest article: There are problems in the psychiatric field, but none of these problems can be blamed on psychiatry. But the spurious promotion of psychiatric "diagnoses" as real illnesses, and the routine prescribing of chemical and electrical "cures" were and are psychiatric inventions.
Mental health resilience is a function of a well-nourished brain. Even in our developed, western society, our brains are only marginally nourished, contributing to the epidemic of mental illness visible even before COVID-19 arrived on the scene.
TMS not only has not improved my mental health, but also has robbed me of some of the most important things in life. There has been little to no research on or awareness around the negative side effects that TMS can inflict. This must change.
This “advice” to “remain positive” is spreading faster than COVID-19 and even faster than fear. The only people that benefit from that are the people already benefiting from predatory systems of capitalism and psychiatry that were in place long before COVID-19.
A review of the "Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents" books by Lindsay Gibson. Even though adults experience emotional loneliness, such loneliness can also start in childhood when we might have felt (and I would submit, actually were) unseen emotionally by self-preoccupied parents.
Now is not the time for family members to be nursing old hurts or believe the all-too-common delusion we all periodically fall prey to—you can get, without giving, when it comes to goodwill. Gestures of decency, gratitude and appreciation will need to prevail.
In June 2014, Arif Khan et al. published a trial of 361 patients randomised to three groups: abrupt versus 1-week taper versus no discontinuation of desvenlafaxine. Curiously, although all patients had depression, the readers were told that data on depressive symptoms “are reported elsewhere.”
Mad in America is proud to introduce a new venture: a web series of virtual “Town Hall” conversations, “Exploring Dialogical Responses in a Time of Crisis,” on Fridays at noon, eastern standard time. The first live town hall will be held on Friday, April 17.
Just like jails, psychiatric hospitals and treatment centers in Washington, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, and Louisiana have seen major outbreaks of the virus, revealing, in similar fashion, the health dangers inherent to forcing large groups of strangers to live in small, confined, and often filthy spaces.
My role within the Mad in America community has been to provide a perspective largely conditioned by six years as a state mental health commissioner. I believe that, realistically speaking, psychiatry isn't going away. Cultures in everything from state hospitals, to community-based inpatient programs, to crisis services, to outpatient settings don't change quickly.
How do Western-trained Muslim therapists work with clients that believe they are possessed? How do they balance their belief in Jinn with their knowledge of psychological/sociological theory? How do they formulate and work with a client in the British context?
Most, if not all, mental health providers, will face dealing with major ethical issues. In their quest to reach as many consumers as possible, to streamline the process, to be as efficient as possible during this pandemic, was the therapeutic process truly helpful? Were key components of what “should” happen between both parties still prioritized?
The words psychiatrist and psychiatry, along with their counterparts in other languages, have come to mean something that is not reflected in their Greek origins. Would you allow a psychiatrist to treat an illness of the soul (in Greek, ψυχή [psychí]) if he or she couldn’t explain what part of the human person psychiatrists treat?
We need a new narrative of shared distress to replace the failed one of individual disorders. We need human connection and mutual support. We can learn to manage our feelings in a way that helps us through the crisis and gives us the energy to make much-needed social and environmental changes afterwards. The usual dividing lines melt away in the face of global emergency. We really are all in this together.
The psychiatric hospital of today is a panopticon, a modern prison for the daring mind and for weird behavior. I was once inside and thus, am inviting you to have a look. I will take your hand, and encourage you to join me, on an exploration of the inside of the psychiatric institution. We'll have a small peek, but in reality, it is much more distressing for the one who is being observed.
We need to stop believing that suffering people are genetically inferior or “diseased.” You, as sufferer, are not alone in having social determinants of health. They are universal. They are systemic. And they are not solvable or “addressable” at the individual level. The only way to alleviate negative social determinants of health is to create a more equitable, inclusive, and just society.
The debate between the majority and dissent shows how distorted and destructive the stereotypes of madness are as they have passed down through the law. But there are also winds of change coming from tensions inherent in the insanity defense itself, and we should take this opportunity to develop some sensible policies.
Part Two: Jessica Lowell Mason describes founding a mad community, Madwomen in the Attic, the challenges faced during its first year, the importance of community, and projects and hope for the future. "This two-part piece outlines our struggle to build a mad community across locations, across differences, across challenges, across borders and barriers, across countries."
Part One: Jessica Lowell Mason describes her personal experiences with involuntary commitment, the psychiatric system, and the courts—leading to her founding of a mad community, Madwomen in the Attic. "This two-part piece outlines our struggle to build a mad community across locations, across differences, across challenges, across borders and barriers, across countries."
Being a psychiatric patient likely puts you at much greater risk for illness or dying from COVID-19. While most of the talk about "mental health in the time of the pandemic" focuses on mindfulness, ways to relieve your stress, and the accessibility to psychiatrists during social distancing, this reality of COVID-19 and mental health is being overlooked.
In the United States and other countries that have a military, there is often a great deal of talk about supporting veterans, but way too often, research aimed at learning what will be helpful is misguided and can even be harmful. The same applies to nonveterans who have been through traumatic experiences. Two new studies exemplify such wrongheaded approaches.
During this global pandemic, organizations have come together to issue a joint statement making recommendations to governments on how to respect and ensure the human rights of people with psychosocial disabilities, who are among the groups more vulnerable to human rights violations as well as infection with and severity of the illness.
The job of educating the public on common medical conditions and the range, efficacy, benefits, and risks of potential treatment options should be undertaken by an independent and objective government health agency, not a for-profit, multi-billion dollar industry with a conflict of interest.