Exploring Psychiatry’s “Black Hole”: The International Institute on Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal

When Carina HĂ„kansson sent out an invitation for a symposium on "Pharmaceuticals: Risks and Alternatives," some of the world's top scientists, along with experts-by-experience, came from 13 countries to explore better ways to respond to people in crisis.

Some Observations of Soteria-Alaska

If people who work in mainstream biological psychiatry are willing to consider referring people in severe psychiatric crises to a program that operates under both a completely alternative philosophy and model to their own, then I see hope for our world’s mental health system. If our local psychiatric emergency room is willing to refer to a program like ours, then other psychiatric emergency rooms elsewhere in the United States and the world must be willing at least to consider doing the same. For this reason, I do not feel like Don Quixote tilting at windmills. I feel the system can change.

Navigating the Mental Health Wilderness: Steven Morgan’s Journey

Steven Morgan discusses his transformative journey from chronic "patient" to leading mental health advocate. Steven has been working in peer support and helping to create alternatives to traditional mental health services for the past decade...

Transforming the Traditional Mental Health System Through Peer Staffed Respite Programs

This is a brief description of the project design and some reflections on “lessons being learned” at Second Story, a Peer Run Respite service in California. Second Story invites people to come before they are in crisis, to take personal responsibility and prevent spiraling into a crisis, which often results in an involuntary hospitalization. Former guests often stop by to talk, and visit with current guests. Sometimes they ask to volunteer, to give back to the community by running a group, gardening, cleaning, cooking, whatever they wish to offer. They are growing their own support community.

Inpatient Hospitalization: An Inside Perspective

When someone is in severe crisis due to feeling emotionally overwhelmed, one of the main access points for care is an inpatient hospital setting.  Though many disparage the hospital setting, there are few alternatives to this setting during an acute mental and emotional crisis. At the same time, there are a number of barriers to individuals getting optimal care. I will try to examine some of these barriers and some of the main critiques of hospitalization. In a perfect world, those experiencing severe emotional crisis would be able to find true sanctuary; a place for rest and healing. With enough time, nourishment and self-care, people experiencing severe emotional distress can and do get better.

Steven Morgan, Project Director of the Vermont Soteria Project, Reflects on Working With Psychosis

Soteria Vermont is a project of the Vermont state government, which seeks to be a leader in mental healthcare. When Hurricane Irene washed away...