Wednesday, June 16, 2021


News, reports, and blogs by leaders of alternative treatment programs, and those organizing legal and political efforts to change our current drug-centered paradigm of care.

REFOCUS Psychosis Recovery Intervention Ready for Trials

A new pro-recovery manualized intervention – called the REFOCUS intervention – has been developed and will now be evaluated in a multisite randomized control trials. The strengths-based intervention, which focuses on promoting relationships, is outlined in the latest issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry.

Electroshocking Veterans and Their Fetuses

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.

Massachusetts Launches New Strengths-Based Early Psychosis Program

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.

Mad Economy: Let’s Change the World!

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?

The UK National Health Service Peer-Supported Open Dialogue Project

The Open Dialogue approach is a model of mental health care that involves a consistent family and social network approach. All healthcare staff receive training in family therapy and related psychological skills. October 2015 sees the completion of the first wave of Peer-supported Open Dialogue (POD) training for National Health Service (NHS) staff in the UK, paving the way for the establishment of pilot POD teams in the NHS and a large-scale evaluation.

“Hearing Voices: The People Who Say Talking Back is the Only Answer”

Journalist Emma Reynolds profiles Amanda Waegeli, Ron Coleman, Nathan Grixli and Lyn Mahboub about their experiences coming to the Hearing Voices Network (HVN). HVN was established 10 years ago in Australia and provided a support group that encouraged people to listen to their voices rather than trying to block them out. The group now operates in 25 countries.

“’Psychiatric Survivor’ Wilda White Says She Is Ready to Lead”

When Wilda White recovered from a manic episode triggered by her ADHD medication, she had lost her relationship, her home, and her dream job as a public interest lawyer. She reached a turning point when, she told Seven Days newspaper, "in the course of trying to figure out what had happened to me, I went on the website Mad in America.” Through the site, she connected with a job listing from Vermont Psychiatric Survivors, a non-profit dedicated to empowering and protecting the rights of people labeled “mentally ill.” She is now their executive director.

Hearing Voices Network Responds to Susan Inman HuffPo Piece

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.”

What Do We Owe When a Shock Survivor Dies? – On the Death of...

What do we owe to shock survivors when they die? We owe them what we owe everyone who underwent an atrocity that is ongoing, that is being visited on others daily—doing something about that atrocity. Given that shock is anything but a legitimate medical procedure, it is minimally a moment to renew our commitment and our pledge to both bring an end to this treatment and to build a world where brain-damaging people in the name of help would be unthinkable.

“Knowing Together” vs. “Knowing Apart”: The Importance of Extending Our Network

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.

Lessons from Soteria-Alaska

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 Time to Curb Forced Drugging is Now: In Your State, and Nationally

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.

The Sunrise Center: A Place For Adults To Recover From Psychiatric Drugs

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.

Upon Leaving Soteria-Alaska

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.

ECT Day of Protest: Time for You to Take Leadership

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.

Drugging Foster Kids: Let’s Do Something About It

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.

Campaign Against Drugging of Foster Children

-The US National Center for Youth Law has launched an "action campaign" to persuade government officials to reduce the psychiatric drugging of children in foster care.

Changing the World and Other Extreme Sports

By Dani, Director at Afiya For anyone who’s unfamiliar, Afiya is the first peer-run respite in Massachusetts and it is one of only about 18 in the country. It’s no surprise, then, that people are confused about how we do things. But, it’s not just confusion. I’ve come to realize there is actual defensiveness that arises at times when we talk about what we do at the house. If I’m wearing my activist hat, this can be supremely annoying.

Rethinking Mental Health and Drug “Therapy” for Children

A group of caring and concerned experts, specializing in mental health, child development, research, and parenting, have started a united movement to help families nationwide. Our effort is called Project #ForTheKids, and our goal "is to dramatically slow down the trend of over diagnosing, labeling and medicating children in the name of mental health."

“Hearing Voices: tracing the borders of normality”

-Rhianna Goozee discusses the development of the Hearing Voices Movement and how research has blurred the lines between "healthy" and "normal" minds.

Peer Respites Hold Promise for Reducing the System’s Reliance on Institutional Treatment

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.

Finding Human Life on Earth

Through the ISPS listserve, I read a blog this morning written by Thomas Insel, director of the NIMH. The way he described people I daily meet in work and in my own life created a rising pulse, so I decided to find out some more about his thoughts and practice. I am not saying that what I read on his blog is unknown to me, but still it made me wonder how on earth is it possible to invest so much money - and resources - in research which is so distant from practice, and so far away from humanistic and holistic ideas and theories.

The Case of the Missing Schizophrenia

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?

Hearing Voices Researched at Edinburgh Book Festival

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...

Hearing Voices, Emancipation, Shamanism and CBT: Thoughts After Douglas Turkington’s Training

When Doug Turkington, a UK psychiatrist, first announced to his colleagues that he wanted to help people with psychotic experiences by talking to them, he was told by some that this would just make them worse, and by others that this would be a risk to his own mental health, and would probably cause him to become psychotic! Fortunately, he didn’t believe either group, and in the following decades he went on to be a leading researcher and educator about talking to people within the method called CBT for psychosis.

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