It is time to create an entirely voluntary psychiatric system. International conscience is clear. The singling out of people with psychosocial disabilities is not worthy of a free society. There are better, safer ways to address legitimate public needs.
State of the Re:Union, a public radio project that tells "the story of America, one story at a time," devotes a show to stories...
Rethinking Psychiatry is an independent, grassroots group in Portland, Oregon that advocates for a paradigm shift in mental health care. On January 20, we hosted a film and discussion by activist and artist Barbara Ford. The subject was “Despair and Resilience: How to Face this Mess We’re in Without Giving Up.” Ford also showed film called Joanna Macy and the Great Turning, featuring philosopher, writer, and activist Joanna Macy.
Carina Håkansson, co-founder of the Family Care Foundation in Sweden, discusses her work with family care homes, psychotherapy and family therapy absent from psychiatric diagnoses and manuals.
On Saturday morning, Susan Inman, writing for HuffPost Canada, published “What You’re not Hearing About the Hearing Voices Movement.” In it, she criticizes HVM for “failing to differentiate between the needs of people who actually have psychotic disorders and those who don't.” On Sunday the Bay Area Hearing Voices Network published an open letter in response, writing: “Ms. Inman has profoundly mischaracterized hearing voices networks (HVNs) and also demonstrates a troubling lack of understanding of the empirical literature on psychosis, optimal psychosocial intervention and recovery.”
For three days in December, I was fortunate enough to attend the Hearing Voices Facilitator Training held in Portland, OR. This training expanded my understanding of the voice hearing experience and equipped me with a number of tools to use in facilitating hearing voices support groups. Grounded in a feeling of community, the training was dynamic, emotionally therapeutic, and educational all at the same time – a crystal clear example of how support groups themselves might manifest in the lives of their members.
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.
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.
Chelsea Roff is the Founder and Director of Eat Breathe Thrive (EBT), a non-profit with an inspired mission to bring yoga, mindfulness, and community support to people struggling with negative body image and disordered eating. I reached out to Chelsea to learn more about her life and organization, which she writes, “…is like AA for people with food and body image issues, plus yoga and meditation.” Chelsea shared her journey from life as a patient to yogi, author, and innovative community organizer. With her permission, you can find this interview below.
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.
A kind of epidemic is occurring in the field of psychotherapy and psychology, with its increasing use of disparate approaches, methods, manual-based formulas and different theoretical schools, each having their own understanding and different treatments. Psychotherapy has come to mean everything and at the same time nothing.
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.
I don't usually talk about this much because it's still somewhat traumatizing. I don't really do advocacy around shock treatment because it still triggers too much stuff. But this is a modern day advanced story of medical harms and misinformation, and you should comment on the FDA ruling.
Is the time ripe for MadinAmerica readers to organize legislative action to curb the use of drugs as chemical restraints? Recent developments in Congress, in the state of Washington, and in California suggest that the answer is yes.
Everyone in the world is either touched by their own mental health issues or have had a family member affected. What if they directed their buying power to an organization that would use the profits to fund exciting mental health & recovery projects both in the developing world and in their own countries; projects that would be ethical, non-coercive, personal recovery-based, and were aimed at creating recovery communities? What if they could buy products, crafts, services, art, music, books from people who had experienced mental health issues, enabling them to set up their own businesses or buy from social co-operatives that enabled distressed people to work and earn a living wage?
This is an invitation to action. Mad in America readers know that psychotropic medications, especially “antipsychotics,” often are used to sedate and restrain problematic people, including children—and not just any children, but foster children especially, and most of all, foster children in so-called “group homes.” Agreement is widespread that foster kids are over-medicated: too many, too young, too many drugs per child, on dosages that are too high and are maintained too long, oftenyears on end. The PsychDrugs Action Campaign of the National Center for Youth Law invites Mad in America readers to join us to make positive changes now.
If not every week, then very often, we receive requests from people not living in Sweden asking if it would be possible to come to the Family Care Foundation and take part in our shared work. I often day-dream that I have a list of different places in different countries where it was obvious that the main task for the organization and everyone involved was to meet those we call clients and their families in a relational and dialogical way, where it was NOT important at all to define people in terms of diagnosis and where it was NO big deal to support people to get off medication. Where the big deal was about something else: to try to create a safe place and to make sense of experiences and to try to share the very hard things with each other.
Work on the May 16 International Day of Protest Against Shock Treatment is moving right along. This spontaneously-organized, grassroots effort now includes 21 cities in 16 states, plus two each in Canada and the United Kingdom. There will also be demonstrations in Ireland, New Zealand, and Uruguay. We CAN win, and you CAN be a leader.
Many people now using psychiatric drugs have been convinced or forced to use them while being treated in the mental health system. A good number of people are eager to stop using these drugs, but are often discouraged by others from doing so. Many psychiatric survivors believe that they can never stop using these drugs because they were told they would need to use them the rest of their lives. We hope the Sunrise Center will become a catalyst for a movement of people creating places for people who want to stop using psychiatric drugs.
Researchers from Durham University's Hearing the Voice project are attending the Edinburgh International Book Festival through August as part of a study, asking both...
Various instruments of the United Nations have commented on forced treatment, or involuntary confinement, or both (for details, see Burstow, 2015a), and a number of truly critical additions to international law have materialized. Arguably, the most significant of these is the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. What makes it so significant? For one thing, it is because this landmark convention puts forward nothing less than a total ban on both involuntary treatment and the involuntary confinement of people who have broken no laws.
ServiceNet, a mental health and human service agency in western Massachusetts, received a three year, two million dollar grant to launch a program designed to support young adults who have recently experienced their first episode of psychosis. The Prevention and Recovery Early Psychosis (PREP) program is funded by the Massachusetts department of mental health and is designed to treat psychosis as a symptom, not an illness, resulting from other illnesses, substance abuse, trauma, or extreme stress.
This past Thursday I attended the American Psychiatric Association's Institute for Psychiatric Services in San Francisco, and then a talk by the Bay Area Mandala Project on "Providing Loving Receptivity Can Help People in Extreme States." I would like to thank both groups for the motivation to publish this — particularly as they would seem to be at odds in the reductionist "dialogue" we so often have — but really aren't so different in my mind for reasons discussed herein: Who is not "in crisis" for questioning their identity and fit within dominant paradigms?
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.”
Those of us who are concerned about the state of the behavioral health service system would agree that voluntary, cost-effective services and supports that preclude the need for coerced or institutional treatment should be widely available. Peer respites may be one component of such a system.