Thursday, November 26, 2020

A Three Pronged Approach to Mental Health System Change

I thought I would begin my blogging career with a description of how I see three elements that reinforce each other in ways that...

The Taint of Eugenics In NIMH-Funded Research Today

Recently, Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, identified the “NIMH’s Top 10 Research Advances of 2011.” He wrote: “This has been a year of exciting discoveries and scientific progress . . . Here are 10 breakthroughs and events of 2011 that are changing the landscape of mental health research.”

At the Intersection Between Black Pride and Mad Pride

The Grand Jury indictment on January 21st of a Georgia policeman for the felony murder of Anthony Hill brought national attention to the intersection of Black Pride and Mad Pride. Hill, who was black and a veteran, was murdered in March 2015 while in an extreme state or “mental health crisis.” He was naked and clearly unarmed when shot by a white policeman. The indictment brings attention to the failure of mental health care system in America.

Book Review: “Mad Science: Psychiatric Coercion, Diagnosis, and Drugs”

Mad Science is not 'just another critical mental health book' - the authors are not simply telling the same-old-story. Instead, it is innovative, creative, and thought-provoking. All of us hold fundamental assumptions about mental health diagnosis, coercion, and drugs. Mad Science guides the reader through identifying these assumptions, and then rigorously evaluates the underlying scientific evidence.

Mental Health Seclusion Rates Increase

From Stuff: More than 800 New Zealand mental health patients were held in seclusion at some point last year, representing a six percent increase in...

It’s the Coercion, Stupid!

Both Michel Foucault and Thomas Szasz dated the beginnings of a distinct Western institutional response to madness to the late 1500s-early 1600s. But while for Foucault it started in France with the creation of the public “hôpital général” for the poor insane, for Szasz it began in England with the appearance of for-profit madhouses where upper class families shut away inconvenient relatives. Regardless of their different ideas on the beginnings of anything resembling a mental health system, both authors agree that it was characterized by the coercive incarceration of a specially labeled group.
Berlin Manifesto launch

Berlin Manifesto for Humane Psychiatry Released

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.

Criticism of Coercion and Forced Treatment in Psychiatry

A recent editorial, published in BMJ, argues there is an increase in coercive measures in psychiatry that are damaging to individuals diagnosed with mental illness.

A Diluted Murphy Bill Clears the House and Goes to the Senate

Organized psychiatry, committed irrevocably and wholeheartedly to drug pushing and to their corrupt and corrupting relationship with pharma, simply will not countenance the fact that their primary product is fundamentally flawed and destructive. So they hire a PR company; they fund and lobby politicians; they parrot slogans; and they encourage one another to ever-increasing heights of self-congratulation. But they will not commission a definitive study to clarify and assess the scale of this problem once and for all. And the reason for this inaction is because they know that it would be bad for business. It would "cause a lot of people to stop taking their medications."

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.

Mad Science, Psychiatric Coercion and the Therapeutic State: An Interview with Dr. David Cohen

MIA's Peter Simons interviews David Cohen, PhD, on his path to researching mental health, coercive practices, and discontinuation from psychiatric drugs.

Current Research on Outpatient Commitment Laws (“Laura’s Law” in California)‎

Outpatient commitment laws, passed by a number of states, permit forced commitment to ‎treatment of those whom a psychiatrist, psychologist, or mental ‎health official deems in need of treatment. The majority of this “treatment,” while not ‎specifically written in the law, results in coercive tactics to pressure agreement to take ‎pharmaceutical preparations of limited-to-no effectiveness but - as shown in early research - with ‎massive effects on cognitive functions and subsequent decision-making ability, not to ‎mention a long-term or lifelong diminished quality of life and ability to function as a productive ‎member of society.

Snail’s Pace Race

I live a slow paced life. I meditate every morning, refuse to get a smart phone (yet), and it takes me generous amounts of time to do things. This isn't because I am “stupid” or slow to get things. Sometimes I wonder how others get so much done each day - yet the quality and vibration of what I do is unique. It needs time. How does this relate with psychiatric drugs? Psych drugs are rooted in impatience, urgency, emergency.

Six Ways You Can Really Help Prevent Suicide

The first time I tried to kill myself, I was 14. I won’t go into the indignity of being involuntarily locked up, time after time, until I satisfactorily convinced the staff that I wouldn’t harm myself or attempt suicide again. (I was lying.) The system taught me to lie, to hide my suicidal feelings in order to escape yet another round of dehumanizing lock-ups and “treatments.”

Correction: No “Charges” Against Former FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg

Our headline on an Around the Web item posted on June 8 stating that the former head of the FDA, Margaret Hamburg, had been "charged"...

APA Statement on Gina Haspel Nomination

The American Psychological Association has issued a letter expressing serious concerns about the nomination of Gina Haspel for the director of the CIA due...

Feral Psychiatry: More on the Garth Daniels Case

On Wednesday, May 18th, Daniels had what was probably his 102nd consecutive episode of ECT. As always, he told the staff that he did not want it and did not consent to it; as always, he got it. Later on the next afternoon, Garth left to join his family in Brisbane. None of us have a crystal ball but his position now seems much better than at any stage in the past. Let's look at some of the facts and opinions surrounding this case.

I was Forced to Choose Between an Abortion or a Mental Hospital

In this personal essay for MarieClaire, one woman shares her story of being locked up in a mental hospital for refusing to have an abortion.

Shocking Rise of NHS Abuse of Mental Health Patients

From The Sun: Reports of abuse against NHS mental health patients hit a record high last year. In 2016, almost 200 cases related to the...

Lancet Study Questions Safety of Locked Psychiatric Wards

A new study published in Lancet Psychiatry challenges the common practice of locking psychiatric wards to prevent patients from attempting suicide or leaving against...

Coercion in Care

To this day I do not know how I found my way back. I think it might’ve had something to do with willpower, as I was NOT going to lose myself. I was NOT going to end up like those people who were living indefinitely in the hospital—those “chronic schizophrenics”, as they say. I was going to find my way back, back to myself.

Word Salad is Not “Disorganized Thought and Speech”

This piece for Holistic Elephants discusses the role of social context and environment in our perception and construction of "word salad," a common symptom of psychosis and...

Regarding Representative Tim Murphy’s Helping Families In Mental Health Crisis Act

Representative Murphy has released the second version of the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (H.R. 2646). Few can argue that the mental health system and the current approach towards helping individuals and families in crisis are abysmal. H.R. 2646 is an effort to create increased service provisions and to enhance interventions that many professionals, family members and service users alike believe to be effective. When people are desperate and suffering they do not wish to be told "Sorry, there's nothing we can do." And so, it is understandable and even laudable that so many support the proposals laid out in H.R. 2646. But the bill is based on distorted and faulty logic that misrepresents the research and evidence base. This is highly disconcerting. And so a collective of mental health professionals, mental health advocates, and persons with lived experience came together to produce the following documents in response to H.R. 2646.

Why Do We Say That Mental Health Detention is Discrimination?

The disability community, including users and survivors of psychiatry, has sent a letter (drafted and circulated by WNUSP) to the UN Human Rights Committee urging that treaty monitoring body to follow the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in prohibiting all mental health detention. The signatories came from all regions of the world and include user/survivor organizations, disability organizations, other human rights organizations and individual experts. Since our letter is quite technical in pointing out the divergence of the Human Rights Committee's position from that of the CRPD, which is a higher standard of human rights protection, I would like to bring out some additional points that may be helpful in our advocacy.
revolution

How Would We Know If We Overthrew the Mental Health System?

What would it take to go about abolishing psychiatry? If we truly eliminated all the horrid practices that are currently committed by the mental health system, what would the world look like? What follows are 15 ways our society would need to change before we could be confident that we are free from the tyranny of the mental health system.

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