The #FDAStopTheShockDevice petition has received over 2,200 signatures and 800+ comments. A more thorough analysis of those comments is forthcoming, however, we wanted to offer a glimpse of what people shared. The sixth, seventh, and eighth most common words used in the comments submitted through the petition were "damage," "barbaric" and "torture." We must continue the fight to make sure that the FDA hears the people who will be adversely affected by the proposed rule if it becomes an order. There is still a small window of time for you to sign the petition and leave a comment to the FDA.
Why, despite the fact that the vast majority of people diagnosed with a mental illness have suffered from some form of childhood trauma, is it still so difficult to talk about? Why, despite the enormous amount of research about the impact of trauma on the brain and subsequent effect on behaviour, does there seem to be such an extraordinary refusal for the implication of this research to change attitudes towards those who are mentally ill? Why, when our program and others like it have shown people can heal from the effects of trauma, are so many people left with the self-blame and the feeling they will never get better that my colleague writes about below?
Garth Daniels, a 39-year-old Melbourne man, has been shackled for 110 days and forced to undergo ECT 94 times at three times a week against his will. Last year, his family asked me to provide a second opinion on Garth’s case. As predicted, my recommendations against continued ECT were quickly dismissed by the hospital. There are critically important issues at stake in this case.
The primary factor protecting psychiatry’s unwarranted power and authority is that it is perceived as shielding society from folks who are believed to be dangerous. It would seem, then, that one logical step toward reducing society’s trust in biological psychiatry would be to reveal the evidence of a significant correlation between the use of prescribed psychoactive drugs and the commission of violent acts against oneself or others.
During the 1970s, the head of schizophrenia studies at the NIMH, Loren Mosher, conducted an experiment that compared treatment in a homelike environment (called...
IPS is about creating a power-balanced, relational context in which we can begin to explore and even challenge the stories we have been taught. We can name our experiences, and challenge the meaning that we have constructed around those experiences. This fundamentally alters what we think of as “help,” but also challenges social and political constructs of disability.
For five years, I and others worked to create a residential healing community in Brookline, Vermont, where people could recover from debilitating and traumatic life experiences, which often lead to addiction and mental health challenges, without the use of psychotropic medications. We welcomed our first six seekers to a yearlong, therapeutic and farm-based, day program last September, and we now can report on what we have learned during this time.
The Open Dialogue psychiatric treatment approach is associated with reduced utilization of mental and general health services for Danish youth.
At Mental Health Europe, we see 2017 as having been a crossroads for mental health and human rights. Let’s ensure that this yields concrete change in 2018 with the support of like-minded communities ready to take the discussion to the next level and truly enact this as a civil rights movement.
Changing the mental health and psychosocial support system in Germany requires public debate about the ways our society should help and support people in mental crisis and with chronic mental health problems. We believe the driving force behind all help and support should be humanitarianism and respect for inalienable human rights.
If people who work in mainstream biological psychiatry are willing to consider referring people in severe psychiatric crises to a program that operates under both a completely alternative philosophy and model to their own, then I see hope for our world’s mental health system. If our local psychiatric emergency room is willing to refer to a program like ours, then other psychiatric emergency rooms elsewhere in the United States and the world must be willing at least to consider doing the same. For this reason, I do not feel like Don Quixote tilting at windmills. I feel the system can change.
I imagined a world in which anyone can hit a button on their phone and be connected with a compassionate and empathetic listener, 24/7. So in 2019, I founded Peer Collective. Today, there are 30 peer counselors on the platform offering 30-minute counseling sessions for just $14.
Dr. Raymond Armstrong and I are currently working together to push Texas lawmakers to adopt restrictions on the prescription of benzodiazepines and sleep drugs. We feel fortunate to be able to draw from the experience of the benzo movement in Massachusetts, and we are grateful for the information that long time advocates like Geraldine Burns have provided us.
It is possible to heal, and at the same time healing also means restoring the part of oneself that can face violence and disobey to protect what is most sacred. I am that sacred, and so are you.
The hearing for Bill H4062: Informed Consent for Benzodiazepines and Non-benzodiazepine Hypnotics took place on Monday – in the middle of an April snowstorm! The discussion clarified some important points in the legislation and gave survivors an opportunity to tell their stories. I was so proud to be there and witness the courage, camaraderie, resilience, advocacy, and vulnerability of fellow survivors. This legislation is our chance to be heard. As one survivor said, through tears, to the committee, “Do not let my suffering be in vain. I beg you to pass this bill.”
For World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day, we are asking everyone to submit an FDA report about their injury. We have teams of people willing to help with this. This problem has been going on for 60 years, and we can be the generation that stops it, but we need to come together and take action.
For persons with psychosocial disabilities, one of the most fundamental rights laid out in the CRPD is the right to equal recognition before the law and legal capacity (Article 12). Our latest Position Paper focuses on Article 12 of the CRPD.
We now have only 89 days to respond to Docket No. FDA-2014-N-1210. Tell the FDA no to the down-classification of shock devices. Tell the FDA exactly how subjective and damaging the terms “treatment-resistant” and “require rapid response” are, and how they fail as legitimate medical concepts. The known risks of electroshock should not be ignored because one has been psychiatrically labeled.
Hearing Voices Network self-help groups are an important resource for coping with voice hearing, study finds.
Yes, Soteria-Alaska is closing. And its sister organization, CHOICES, Inc., has lost its way. As the person who conceived of both of these and got them going, I have some thoughts that might be worthwhile about what went wrong; what should or might have been done differently; and most importantly, what lessons might have been learned.
The conventional Western classification systems of health conditions are based on flawed science shaped by reductionist, hierarchical, and profit-driven ideologies. THEN wants to create a new paradigm built upon principles drawn from systems science, the life course perspective, developmental neurobiology, and other evidence-informed studies.
I have long been concerned with the way society responds to people who come back from war. Veterans are routinely funneled into psychiatry’s grasp. Over the decades, some people who fought in wars have shared with me their experiences of being psychiatrized upon return from war. Sometimes these experiences included veterans being stripped of their second amendment rights, and a host of other constitutional, civil, and human rights violations as they began to be forced into complying with psychiatric regimens, and on several occasions this included veterans being subjected to electroshock.
Soteria-Alaska, a program modeled after the highly effective Soteria developed in the 1970s by the late Loren Mosher, M.D., opened its doors in 2009. It is also impossible to convey the actual simplicity which in fact is the crowning jewel of the Soteria approach. A conservative review of the effectiveness of the Soteria approach revealed that it is at least as effective as traditional hospital-based treatment — without the use of antipsychotic medication as the primary treatment. Considering that people treated in the conventional way die on average 25 years younger than the general population, this is a substantial finding.
I have given up on psychiatry as a system capable of “being there” for people who are dealing with life and death issues. Psychiatry as a system of care lacks validity. Every day — unfortunately — we learn of new examples proving this statement. But here's the good news: every day we meet people who show us that the predictions of psychiatry are not true; that there are “cures,” that it is possible to reduce or withdraw psychiatric drugs.
For a long time I have been interested in offering a course on CRPD (Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) to pass on my knowledge to other activists and allow more people to take up the frustrating and passionate responsibility of human rights work. Finally I have come up with a plan that is doable.