Friday, June 5, 2020

MIA Reports

In-depth reporting on psychiatry and its impact on society.

Bringing Human Rights to Mental Health Care: An Interview with UN Envoy Dainius Pūras

MIA's Ana Florence interviews United Nations Special Rapporteur Dainius Pūras about his own journey as a psychiatrist and the future of rights-based approaches to mental health.

“Free Our People!” Ex-Psychiatric Patients Demand COVID-19 Accountability in State-Run Facilities

Residents and workers are dying from COVID-19 exposure in Massachusetts state hospitals. One group of ex-psychiatric patients and allies has had enough.

When Psychology Speaks for You, Without You: Sunil Bhatia on Decolonizing Psychology

MIA’s Ayurdhi Dhar interviews Sunil Bhatia about decolonizing psychology, confronting the field’s racist past, colonial foundations, and neoliberal present.

Muzzled by Psychiatry in a Time of Crisis

The American Psychiatric Association and its former president, Jeffrey Lieberman, have used the Goldwater Rule to try to silence Yale psychiatrist Bandy Lee and colleagues who warned, in a collection of essays, about why President Trump is "dangerous." Why would a guild choose to do this?

Do Antipsychotics Protect Against Early Death? A Review of the Evidence

Psychiatry is now claiming that research has shown that antipsychotics reduce mortality among the seriously mentally ill. A critical review of the literature reveals that this claim is best described as the the field's latest "delusion" about the merits of these drugs.
A woman holding a sign that says LA Jails are the Largest Mental Health Institution in the Country."

Bedlam: Public Media, Power, and the Fight for Narrative Justice

A new mental health documentary awakens longstanding tensions around voice, representation, and the power to define problems and solutions.

The Door to a Revolution in Psychiatry Cracks Open

The Ministry of Health in Norway has ordered its four regional health authorities to offer medicine-free treatment in psychiatric hospitals. A six-bed ward in Tromso, which is in the far north of Norway, is now providing such care.

America’s Psychiatric Facilities Are ‘Incubators’ for COVID-19

As the novel coronavirus continues to wreak havoc around the globe, whistleblowers at American psychiatric facilities paint a picture of mismanaged COVID-19 responses and lax safety protocols, putting patients, workers, and the surrounding communities in harm’s way. Some even allege coverups of deaths.

Where Western Medicine Meets Indigenous Healing: An Interview with Anthropologist Ian Puppe

MIA's Micah Ingle interviews the anthropologist Ian Puppe on how the imposition of psychiatric treatments can lead to harmful iatrogenic effects with Indigenous peoples.

The Charade of New Drug Approvals for Schizophrenia

The FDA recently approved lumateperone for schizophrenia. A review of the clinical trials reveals a testing process that is fatally flawed, and a new drug coming to market that doesn't provide a clinically meaningful benefit.

Medication-Free Treatment in Norway: A Private Hospital Takes Center Stage

At the Hurdalsjøen Recovery Center in Norway, patients with a long history of psychiatric hospitalizations are tapering from their medications and, in a therapeutic environment that emphasizes a good diet, exercise, and asking patients "what do they want in life," are leaving their old lives as chronic patients behind.

Suicide in the Age of Prozac

During the past twenty years, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and American psychiatry have adopted a "medicalized" approach to preventing suicide, claiming that antidepressants are protective against suicide. Yet, the suicide rate in the United States has increased 30% since 2000, a time of rising usage of antidepressants. A review of studies of the effects of mental health treatment and antidepressants on suicide reveals why this medicalized approach has not only failed, but pushed suicide rates higher.

MIA Survey: Ex-patients Tell of Force, Trauma and Sexual Abuse in America’s Mental Hospitals

In a MIA survey of people who had been patients in mental hospitals, nearly 500 respondents told of an experience that was often traumatic, and frequently characterized by a violation of their legal rights, forced treatment with drugs, and physical or sexual abuse. Only 17% said they were “satisfied” with the “quality of the psychiatric treatment” they received.

Soteria Israel: A Vision from the Past is a Blueprint for the Future

In Israel, there is a budding Soteria movement that foretells of a possible paradigm shift in care. The thought is that such care may become a first-line treatment for newly psychotic patients.
Hospital entrance with no visitors sign.

Life Inside America’s Psychiatric Facilities During the Pandemic: Eyewitness Accounts

Insiders paint a picture of chaos and fear in public and private psychiatric hospitals across the country. "Now that she has been discharged, Sevigny is getting the truth out, just as the nurse asked her to do. She also plans to continue to organizing in her state, with and on behalf of those who continue to be subjected to dangerous conditions in the name of care."

“Not Fragile”: Survivor-Led Mutual Aid Projects Flourish in a Time of Crisis

During the current pandemic, the practice of mutual aid—defined broadly as the ways that people join together to meet one another’s needs for survival and relationship—has become mainstream. Yet, often missing from major media coverage of mutual aid is any acknowledgment of its roots in movements led by marginalized people, including Black and Brown people, disabled people, mad people, and psychiatric survivors.

Peer-Support Groups Were Right, Guidelines Were Wrong: Dr. Mark Horowitz on Tapering Off Antidepressants

In an interview with MIA, Dr. Horowitz discusses his recent article on why tapering off antidepressants can take months or even years.

Lancet Psychiatry Needs to Retract the ADHD-Enigma Study

Lancet Psychiatry, a UK-based medical journal, recently published a study that concluded brain scans showed that individuals diagnosed with ADHD had smaller brains. That conclusion is belied by the study data. The journal needs to retract this study. UPDATE: Lancet Psychiatry (online) has published letters critical of the study, and the authors' response, and a correction.
medical mask

Inside a Pandemic: Media Struggle to Define What’s Normal

Press coverage of the effect of COVID-19 on mental health sends a confusing message: Becoming anxious about it is normal if you are mentally healthy but a sign of illness if you’re not. Although apparently some "normal" people might experience so much anxiety that they, too, could now be seen as mentally ill.
adverse childhood experiences

Adverse Childhood Experiences: When Will the Lessons of the ACE Study Inform Societal Care?

The ACE study tells of how adverse childhood experiences increase the risk of psychological and physical problems in adulthood. When will we start incorporating these findings into public health policy and medical care?
antidepressants

Do Antidepressants Work? A People’s Review of the Evidence

After a meta-analysis of RCTs of antidepressants was published in Lancet, psychiatry stated that it proved that "antidepressants" work. However, effectiveness studies of real-world patients reveal the opposite: the medications increase the likelihood that patients will become chronically depressed, and disabled by the disorder.
Rows and rows of metal markers commemmorating unmarked patient graves.

Narrating Asylum History Through an Anti-Racist Lens: An Interview with Author Mab Segrest

Mab segrest is Professor Emeritus of Gender and Women's Studies at Connecticut College and the author of Administrations of Lunacy: Racism and the Haunting...
the new yorker

The New Yorker Peers into the Psychiatric Abyss… And Loses Its Nerve

The New Yorker's story on Laura Delano and psychiatric drug withdrawal is a glass-half-full story: It addresses a problem in psychiatry and yet hides the deeper story to be told. A story of how her recovery resulted from seeing herself within a counter-narrative that tells of the harm that psychiatry can do.
veteran suicides

Screening + Drug Treatment = Increase in Veteran Suicides

For the past 15 years, the VA's suicide prevention efforts have focused on getting veterans screened and treated for psychiatric disorders, with antidepressants a first-line therapy. This effort has caused veteran suicide rates to steadily rise.

Twenty Years After Kendra’s Law: The Case Against AOT

The proponents of compulsory outpatient treatment claim that it leads to better outcomes for the recipients, and protects society from violent acts by the "seriously mentally ill." Those claims are belied by history, science, and a critical review of the relevant research.

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