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.”
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.
The basic idea of the experiential democracy project is to supplement conventional legislative or other forms of diplomatic and moral deliberation with person-centered (“I-Thou”) principles of encounter. These principles, which derive from existential-humanistic psychology and person-centered therapy, stress the attempt to engage participants to more intimately understand each other, and through this context to more intimately understand each other’s often conflicting positions on issues of moral import.
The Massachusetts Benzo Bill H4062: Informed consent for benzodiazepines and non-benzodiazepine hypnotics was just scheduled to be heard by the Joint Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse on Monday, April 4th. Less than a week away! The committee will decide whether the bill moves forward to the house and senate, goes to study, or is denied.
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.
As part of the effort to stop the down-classification of the shock device, on March 24, 2016, people who are psychiatric survivors, shock survivors, allies, and MindFreedom International members sent a 47-page public complaint to the FDA Ombudsman Office and Medical Devices Ombudsman concerning the FDA's attempts at down-classifying the shock device. Here are some excerpts. Please sign the petition and add your support to our growing strength!
The argument that is usually made against involuntary commitment and forced treatment is that these actions, under the authority of a state, violate a person’s basic civil rights. They deprive a person of liberty and personal autonomy, and do so in the absence of a criminal charge. However, there is another argument, one of adjunctive value, that can be made against involuntary commitment and forced treatment. Medical science argues against forced treatment too.
For psychiatric ‘help’ to happen by force is a paradox and makes absolutely no sense. It can destroy people's personality and self-confidence. It can lead, in the long run, to physical and psychological disability. My dear daughter Luise got caught in this ‘helping system’ by mistake, but she didn't make it out alive. I'm sad to say I later discovered that the way Luise was treated was more the rule than the exception.
On February 24th, 2016 Bill HD4554 - An Act relative to benzodiazepines and non-benzodiazepine hypnotics was filed by Representative Paul McMurtry in the Massachusetts State House. The bill received 47 co-sponsors during the seven-day open period in which legislators can co-sponsor. This is an impressive and promising turnout.
Despite the fact that no one in history, not even the omnipotent American Psychiatric Association -- which produces and profits mightily from the "Bible" of mental disorders -- has come up with a halfway good definition of "mental illness," and despite the fact that the process of creating and applying the labels of mental illness is unscientific, any of those labels can be used to deprive the person so labeled of their human rights. This is terrifying. It ought to terrify those who are so labeled and those who are not, because deprivation of human rights on totally arbitrary grounds is inhumane and immoral.
Rethinking Psychiatry recently hosted a showing of the award-winning film 'Bipolarized.' The film criticizes both the mainstream mental health system and societal standards of masculinity. The author of this post draws parallels to the film and the one-man show "Crimes Against Nature," in which psychology professor Dr. Chris Kilmartin critiques traditional standards of masculinity as harmful and unrealistic.
Massachusetts Bill HD 4554 needs to gain sufficient state representative support by Tuesday, March 1, 2016. This bill will put restrictions on the prescribing of benzodiazepines and non-benzodiazepine sleep aids, and will require that all patients be informed of the potential dangers of these drugs, specifically the dangers of long-term use.
To create his theory of relativity, Einstein had to see things differently. He used imagination and empathy to come to know a new 'reality' of existence. In this essay, we delve deeply into the nature of human experiences that lead to public concern and discover ourselves in a whole new realm.
Over the past few weeks I have been witness to, and increasingly involved in trying to stop one of the most extreme examples of psychiatric brutality I have encountered in my 40 years in this field. And I have encountered quite a few. I suggest you sit down before watching and reading. This is not your usual, run-of-the-mill psychiatric abuse story.
Please join us in demanding that the FDA stop the shock device from being down-classified to a Class II device. We have until March 28th, 2016.
For the last six years we, a group of researchers, social work students, peer experts, and social professionals associated with the Amsterdam University for Applied Sciences, have been studying and facilitating the development of self-managed programs in homelessness and mental health care in the Netherlands. With our research we want to contribute to the development of new and existing programs through critical reflection. With this blog, I hope to share some of our findings, to give back to the respites from which we learned so much.
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.
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.
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.
This week we launched PeerRespite.net, a website dedicated to information and resources regarding peer respites in the U.S. As part of the initiative, recruitment is open for the 2015 Peer Respites Essential Features Survey.
Mental health policy does not sound exciting. It is - you’ll just have to take my word for it-, but even if you don’t, you might agree with me that it’s crucial. Mental health policy shapes mental health legislation, and mental health legislation shapes issues such as consent, access, equal opportunities and de-institutionalisation, to name but a few. Influencing policy is key to reframing the debate around mental health, and changing the reality on the ground for people with lived experience. With this in mind, here is an introduction to Mental Health Europe’s work on the revisions to ICD 10, and a call to action, for you to get directly involved in this international debate.
By Ana Keck, Afiya The person who answered your call to stay at Afiya could have been me. When I answer the phone at the respite, I often find myself wondering what the caller thinks of me. When I called to stay at Afiya myself, I had a quite radically different vision of what the person on the other end of the phone was like. I pictured someone very much in charge, with their life together, who maybe had some hard times years ago. Now being on the other side of the phone, I can tell you I have not reached some recovery nirvana. I don’t actually want to get there, because I personally don’t think it exists. I could be in the midst of a variety of hard or wonderful or transformative life experiences right now. I just happen to have the emotional space to support other people, too, and so here I am at work today.
On December 29, 2015, the FDA proposed reclassifying ECT, essentially approving of its routine clinical use. I submitted a statement to FDA, explaining why the FDA should ban ECT until it goes through rigorous testing. I urge others to respond quickly to the FDA’s call for comments.
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.
An international group of researchers from multiple disciplines has published a historical, qualitative, and quantitative investigation into voice-hearing in women. The interdisciplinary project, freely available from Frontiers in Psychiatry, explores how sexism, exploitation, and oppression bear on women’s’ experiences of hearing voices.