Dr. Thomas Insel worked as the director of the NIMH for thirteen years, and now he is moving on to Google where he hopes to help develop technology to monitor our mental health.
Marcia Angell in the New York Review of Books writes about the inherent conflict in clinical trials between “the search for scientific answers," on one hand, and “the rights and welfare of human subjects,” on the other.
Google has hired the former director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Thomas Insel, with plans to create “a wearable sensor to measure mood, cognition and anxiety.” Gizmodo points out the problems with this idea:“One can easily imagine a message popping up on some poor desk jockey’s monitor: ‘You’re not in the right mood today. Please take a day of unpaid leave.’ Or, worse: ‘We’ve detected signs of mental instability, based on how you’ve been talking and sleeping. Please report to a doctor immediately.’”
Former president of Psychologists for Social Responsibility (PsySR), Roy Eidelson discusses efforts to undermine the Hoffman report which revealed the American Psychologica Association’s collusion in torture. "First, from a familiar playbook, we have the obligatory attack on the patriotism of Hoffman and those who have criticized psychologists’ participation in abusive detention and interrogation operations,” he writes. “The most outrageous example comes from two retired military officers, David Bolgiano and John Taylor. In a recent piece they described the Hoffman Report as a ‘classic attack of cowards’ and also stated, ‘By the publication and release of this report, the APA becomes a willing co-conspirator to the likes of al Qaeda and ISIS.’”
Existential therapist and writer, Jason Dias, claims that there is something deeper and more pervasive than guns, drugs, or mental illness at the bottom of the United States’ mass shooting problem. On aNewDomain he writes: “We have to acknowledge that people who are despairing right now, they’re the sane ones, the normal ones. It makes sense to despair when you’re looked down on, tormented, bullied. When you feel different and you’re alienated. When your culture is alienated. When violence is glorified not by movies and games and television, but by the government, by the news. When violence is fetishized by political parties.”
The BBC reports that the number of people in Scotland taking antidepressants has increased by 5% in the past year with most of the patients being women and those in the poorest parts of the country. “We are now looking at the flabbergasting statistic of more than one in seven people in Scotland being prescribed antidepressants this year,” Conservative health spokesman Jackson Carlaw said. “We urgently have to look at better alternatives than simply parking people on medication in the hope things don't get any worse, with no aspiration for complete recovery."
On Tuesday morning, the ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of three former detainees against the psychologists who collaborated with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to oversee the torture program. According to the Intercept, psychologists James Mitchell and John “Bruce” Jessen and their employees collected over $85 million dollars for designing and implementing techniques, based off of the work of Martin Seligman, that combatted torture-resistance techniques by creating a state of “learned helplessness.” There is, however, no evidence that these techniques gleaned any useful intelligence.
To coincide with World Mental Health Day on October 10th, 2015, Verso Books, the largest independent and radical publishing house released a series of blogs on mental health and critical and antipsychiatry. The posts include pieces on R.D. Laing, colonialism, women’s oppression, delusions and art, “The Happiness Industry,” and social and institutional oppression.
Even thought current mental health treatments are “suboptimal,” there is a lack of attention paid to the preventative effects of diet and nutrition. Recent studies suggests that nutritional changes can influence the risk for mental health issues and that nutritional supplements, called nutraceuticals, can be prescribed for existing conditions.
Nunavut, Canada’s largest and northernmost territory, is suffering from a suicide rate that is 10 times the national average. “In the case of Inuit boys 15 to 19,” CBC News reports, “the suicide rate is 40 times higher than those of their peers in the rest of Canada.”
Psychologists for Social Responsibility (PsySR), one of the groups that led the push for changes to the American Psychological Association’s (APA) collusion in the CIA torture program (as detailed in the Hoffman report), is again calling on the APA for a change in policies.
“In Gallup's annual measure of 25 major U.S. business sectors, the percentage of Americans with a positive view of the pharmaceutical industry dropped from 40% in 2014 to 35% this year, while the percentage with a negative view rose from 36% to 43%.”
Writing for Truth-Out, hurricane Katrina survivor G. Maris Jones writes: “To adapt to a changing climate, survivors of these catastrophes - especially those in marginalized, low-income communities - need long-term physical and mental health services.” She adds a concurrent call to “assume our responsibility to make positive change through action on climate change.”
How we think about health, happiness, and self-fulfillment, how they are linked with flawed systems of government has been assigned to the domain of social scientists. The most influential of those are the psychiatrists who have been given the government-mandated power to diagnose, incarcerate and forcibly drug those who are perceived to have a form of mental illness. I believe that such power is arbitrary, unjust and frequently harmful.
Canoe.ca reports on the doings of Canadian psychiatrist Dr. Stanley Kutcher, previously exposed by MIA Blogger Alison Bass for his role as a co-author...
In many respects it is difficult to fault the report Understanding Psychosis and Schizophrenia, recently published by the British Psychological Society (BPS) and the Division of Clinical Psychology (DCP)[i]; indeed, as recent posts on Mad in America have observed, there is much to admire in it. Whilst not overtly attacking biomedical interpretations of psychosis, it rightly draws attention to the limitations and problems of this model, and points instead to the importance of contexts of adversity, oppression and abuse in understanding psychosis. But the report makes only scant, fleeting references to the role of cultural differences and the complex relationships that are apparent between such differences and individual experiences of psychosis.
A new generation of multilateral and bilateral trade agreements is likely to significantly threaten access and cost of healthcare, and limit signatory Governments sovereignty to prioritise health care policy to protect and improve the health of citizens. The Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), a Pacific Rim regional trade agreement involving 12 countries — including New Zealand, Australia and the US — is one such agreement, and it has the potential to significantly alter the domestic environment for health policy-making.
McGill University's Laurence J. Kirmayer and Duncan Pedersen examine the core controversies that dog the "global mental health" agenda in a freely available editorial...
The Ottawa Citizen has published two feature stories exploring a growing collaboration between scientists involved in the US National Institute of Mental Health-funded brain...
In a commentary in the American Journal of Psychiatry, George Washington University psychiatrist Amir Afkhami writes that the US State Department-funded Iraq Mental Health...
The Movement for Global Mental Health Newsletter has published a substantive interview with one of the movement's most prominent critics, China Mills, author of...