In my last blog, I talked about how I was attempting to cope with a “mini-relapse” without using psychiatric drugs. One Sunday morning in the midst of this episode I awoke in a particularly dismal state. I didn’t have a structure planned for the day. And without something to look forward to, both my anxiety and depression increased.
The 90s were labeled - rather optimistically - as the ‘decade of recovery.’ More recently, recovery has been placed slap bang central in mental health policy. Is supporting recovery pretty much good common sense? Or is the term being misused to pressure those suffering to behave in certain ways?
"There is a need of a shift in investments in mental health, from focusing on 'chemical imbalances' to focusing on 'power imbalances' and inequalities"
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 special issue explores the connection between poverty, mental health, and psychotherapy.
A mental health social entrepreneurship is a business that uses market principles to maximize benefit instead of maximizing profit. For instance, my business, Wellness...
As a trauma survivor growing up in various adolescent mental health systems, I never learned any useful self-care tools or practices. I was taught that my current coping skills (self-injury, suicidal behavior, illicit drug use) were unacceptable, but not given any ideas as to what to replace them with. No one seemed to want to know much about the early childhood traumas that were driving these behaviors. Instead, I collected an assortment of diagnoses. I was told that I would be forever dependent on mediated relationships with professionals, and an ever-changing combination of pills. The message was that my troubles were chemical in nature and largely beyond my control.
Representative Tim Murphy is a psychologist who proposes unsatisfactory solutions to our most pressing social problems. In a "shockingly regressive" piece of legislation known as the “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2013” (H.R. 3717), he proposes to expand the highly controversial practice of Involuntary Outpatient Committment (IOC) for persons with serious mental illnesses. But that approach is not the answer, as documented in a fact sheet authored by the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery:
School discipline that punishes minor misbehavior may increase adolescents’ misconduct and lead to racial inequalities in school discipline.
Attempting to locate the mechanisms of psychiatric disorder is a step in the wrong direction and fails to challenge potentially unjust social practices.
For five years, I and others worked to create a residential healing community in Brookline, Vermont, where people could recover from debilitating and traumatic life experiences, which often lead to addiction and mental health challenges, without the use of psychotropic medications. We welcomed our first six seekers to a yearlong, therapeutic and farm-based, day program last September, and we now can report on what we have learned during this time.
Dr. Gail Hornstein, author of Agnes’s Jacket: A Psychologist’s Search for the Meanings of Madness, discusses the importance of personal narratives and service-user activism in the context of the global mental health movement.
During the 1970s, the head of schizophrenia studies at the NIMH, Loren Mosher, conducted an experiment that compared treatment in a homelike environment (called...
Researchers explore neoliberal influences on interactions in psychotherapy and question whether the radical potential of psychotherapy can counter prevailing social systems.
While I have lived just a few miles away from the Capitol for the last fifteen years, I have been unsure about getting involved in legislative advocacy. I’ve been intimidated by the complexity of the legislative process, and more inclined to leave it up to others who I perceive as having more experience than me. And honestly, I haven’t felt very hopeful about effecting change. My cynicism had turned to “learned helplessness.” And then along came a mental health bill so destructive, so regressive, that I had to step out of my uncomfortable comfort zone.
Contemporary empirical research explores new ways to conceptualize and heal racial trauma through anticolonial and sociohistorical lenses.
Yale's Program for Recovery and Community Health will publish in World Psychiatry's June issue a review the history of peer support, from its roots...
In an interview with MIA's Akansha Vaswani, narrative therapist Jennifer Freeman calls for a shift away from individualistic approaches to 'eco-anxiety' and toward responses that connect us all to a counter-tsunami of action for the planet.
Researchers evaluate the impact of a school-based prevention program on anxious and depressive symptoms.
Do the effects of trauma matter more, or a person's ACE score? I think this is unusable data that harms people when you gather it. Here's why.
Hearing Voices Network self-help groups are an important resource for coping with voice hearing, study finds.
Researchers from Japan found, in a study of 27 persons with a schizophrenia diagnosis, 17 with major depressive disorder, and 27 controls, that negative...
Researchers explore how culturally responsive services can create greater equity in mental health care.
As we approach world hearing voices day 2013 Karen and I are in Canada. We have just enjoyed running a preconference workshop for about 100 people in Winnipeg. I am sitting in my room before breakfast writing this piece and as I sit I am thinking back twenty-three years ago; I am in a psych unit in Manchester and I have a new support worker called Lindsay. By then I had been a psych patient for almost ten years and was fast approaching spending the rest of my life in the system. My support worker had convinced me to go to a new group that was starting in Manchester called a hearing voices group.
The Toronto Globe & Mail reports on a project to provide "microfinance" loans of $3,000 up to $25,000 to people diagnosed with mental illness...