Monday, December 9, 2019

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).

Ivor Browne

The Mystic of Ireland: An Homage to Ivor Browne

Ivor Browne fearlessly challenged what he saw as a dehumanizing system, liberating many from institutional care and pioneering new experimental therapies. He developed innovative community models and most of his groundbreaking work took place outside of, and in spite of, orthodox thinking.
re-visioning public mental health system

Collaborative Strategies for Re-Visioning the Public Mental Health System

The beauty of sticking around for a while is that we’re living to see some of our “outsider” ideas beginning to challenge modern psychiatric doctrine in the public arena, and our “radical” mental health stance is slowly re-visioning important conversations and practices.
anger

In Defense of Anger

The therapy industry has aided and abetted the rejection of anger our society is hell-bent on, and made it astoundingly difficult to know what healthy anger looks like. I clawed myself apart trying to “heal” from all this anger, which compounded with every failure to dispel the anger until I was basically a human-shaped sack of rage.
graphic detail

No Graphic Detail: The Injustice of Being Silenced

They tell us we’re too fragile to speak our own truth, and that those around us are too fragile to hear it. If you must name what happened to you, at least slap a “trigger warning” on yourself, and don’t “paint a picture.” Fuck that. The truth is that graphic detail can make some of us stronger in a way that silence never could.
Marianne Williamson

We Must Hear Marianne Williamson’s Message About the Overuse of Antidepressants

Although some of Marianne Williamson's rhetoric on the subject of the overuse of prescription medications may be over the top, the topic deserves much more public attention and debate, since it is a crisis as real as the opioid epidemic.
surveillance psychiatry

Brave New Apps: The Arrival of Surveillance Psychiatry

Large, centralized, digital social networks and data-gathering platforms have come to dominate our economy and our culture. In the domain of mental health, huge pools of data are being used to train algorithms to identify signs of mental illness. I call this practice surveillance psychiatry.
hate speech

Blaming the “Mentally Ill”: This is Hate Speech

As could be expected, in the wake of the mass murders in El Paso and Dayton, we have politicians such as President Trump and others such as E. Fuller Torrey blaming the killings on the “mentally ill.” We have heard this over and over again, and I think it is time to call this out for what it is: Hate Speech.
antidepressants and suicide

Antidepressants and the National Suicide Epidemic

We encourage young people to see themselves as fragile creatures whose brains can go haywire for any reason, or no reason at all. Then we tell them they have the “disease” of depression and ply them with drugs with a known link to worsening depression and suicidality going back for decades. How many more will have to die before this changes?
suicidal

How “Safe Messaging” Gaslights Suicidal People

Suicide prevention constructs a reality in which the problems of suicide lie within suicidal people. Sanity is constructed around wanting to live, insanity around wanting to die. Within this paradigm, the suicidal person can never be trusted. They are fragile, vulnerable, demanding protection, surveillance, and management.

Helping People Come Off Medication—Bad for Business?

The message in journal editorials, comments and opinion articles, is that 'this new study shows great promise' and that 'we need further research'. My interpretation is: 'give us the money and we will be happy to carry this out'. With the implied promise that, once this new research has been done, we will get a better world. Sadly this is rarely ever the case.
eugenics

Psychiatric Eugenics Then and Now—You Betcha It’s Still Happening

Most are oblivious to the fact that psychiatric eugenics initiatives continued to exist—and beyond that, to flourish—long after the end of what is normally thought of as “the eugenics era” (roughly, late nineteen century to 1945). Sadly, we are not learning from history what we direly need to learn.

Rock Bottom: When You Are in Your Darkest Moment

The one big lie that your mind will tell you when you are in that dark night: I am never going to feel okay again. This is the lie that drives people to self-destruction. It’s also the lie that keeps dynamic, complicated individuals captive in a system that says: your struggle is a permanent and defining feature of your brokenness.
paying people to take pills

It’s the Economics, Stupid: The Problems With Paying People to Take Pills

A recent article in Psychiatric Services looks at the use of payments to people for taking their psychiatric medications. I was horrified to read it. We need to reevaluate our prescribing practices, and the true risk-benefit ratio for these drugs, before we throw money at people along with pills.
radical mental health

We’ve Been Too Patient: Voices from Radical Mental Health

LD Green and Kelechi Ubozoh are co-editors of We’ve Been Too Patient: Voices from Radical Mental Health, published by North Atlantic Books, distributed by Penguin Random House, and released July 9, 2019. In a brief interview by email, we asked them about their creation of this work.
Mind Fixers by Anne Harrington cropped

An “Even-Handed” History of Psychiatry as Damning as the “Polemics”?

Where Professor Harrington's book seems to differ from books that others might call polemics is that she does not attribute nefarious motives to the psychiatric establishment. I worry that she underplays the ways in which the current model causes harm, but I support her suggestion for a retraction of psychiatry's scope.
Janet Foner

We Lost a Giant Today: A Tribute to Janet Foner

Janet Foner, a longtime mental health liberation activist, passed away on July 24, 2019. Many people do not know that Janet helped form the very early Alternatives Conferences in the U.S. and she co-founded MindFreedom International and continued serving on its board to this day. Here we honor her wisdom, tenacity and courage.
case against AOT involuntary outpatient commitment

Responding to “The Case Against AOT”—Next Steps for Change

Many will direct their efforts toward repealing involuntary outpatient commitment statutes in their states—an extremely challenging and uphill battle—or reforming abuses. Their arguments will be strengthened immensely by the findings in MIA's report. What follows are suggestions about what kinds of interventions to consider.
chemical imbalance theory

The Chemical Imbalance Theory: Dr. Pies Returns, Again

Psychiatrist Ronald Pies published a recent piece in the Psychiatric Times titled "Debunking the Two Chemical Imbalance Myths, Again." The subtitle: "A little learning is a dangerous thing." And indeed it is. But not nearly as dangerous as a psychiatrist with a head full of spurious diagnoses and a ready prescription pad.
trauma wars adverse childhood experiences

U.S. Politicians Now “Trauma Informed”—Should We Be Hopeful?

It is good that the general public is finally hearing about the ACE Study, but I do not count on U.S. politicians to address the core implications of the ACE findings—the need to re-make U.S. society so as to (1) prevent preventable adverse childhood experiences, and (2) create a society in which healing from trauma can more easily occur.
Howard Stern psychotherapy talk therapy

An Open Letter to Howard Stern, the “Poster Boy for Psychotherapy”

Dear Howard Stern: What may come as a surprise to you is that the quality of talk therapy that was available to you—time-intensive, in-depth sharing of feelings, exploring childhood traumas, examining and changing difficult personality traits—is steadily becoming unavailable to the average American.
abolish psychiatric slavery involuntary commitment

End Kendra’s Law Now: Racist, Classist Practices in Involuntary Psychiatry Persist

In addition to involuntary outpatient commitment being an assault on and targeting people who are living in or near poverty, the statistics demonstrate racial disparities in the application of involuntary outpatient commitment.

Talking About Psych Diagnoses and Drugs: A Primer for Parents & Professionals

It is important to tell parents the truth about what can and cannot be known about their child. In this way, people come to appreciate that labels and treatments offered by psychiatric professionals are far from being grounded in hard science.
green movement mental health

System Change Toward a Green Movement in Mental Health

As a counter narrative, I believe that understanding system change and reform in mental health with a "green" lens makes use of a powerful theme which is increasingly accepted — and it lays out a road map to make innovative programs and initiatives the new norm for system-wide responses to mental health challenges.
supported decision-making equal legal capacity

Equal Legal Capacity or ‘Supported Decision-Making’?

At a recent conference on legal capacity, I was struck by the failure of another invited expert to adhere to the paradigm of supported decision-making as articulated by the CRPD Committee. We still need to work to ensure that this paradigm is well understood and appreciated, despite the progress made in national reforms.
cognitive liberty

On Cognitive Liberty: A Principle to Rally Behind

The concept of cognitive liberty is valuable—one might even say necessary—precisely because it goes to the core of what we are as human beings. Correspondingly, it unmasks psychiatry for the profound human rights violator that it is. It reveals such transgression as the essence of what psychiatry is actually all about.

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