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“Perhaps what makes us “peers” is that we’re choosing to stand with one another as equals. To admit that none of us have the one-size-fits-all solution, and we must value our different perspectives, weaving them together to make our movement strong.”
I particularly like the above paragraph. I personally do not like any “religion” purely for the excuses it gives people to judge and be little others beliefs. However my most useful skills are all found in Buddism. Mindfulness, forgiveness, being present, gratitude, learning to walk with peace and joy in my heart no matter what life throws at you. We all have different worldviews and respecting those is vital to peer work.
Thank you for sharing your story. Very insightful………unless you are a deluded psychiatrist. Your experience really highlights the “if you’re looking for symptoms you will find them”
Here in NZ we are about to have our mental health act reviewed which is a good thing as it is used far too much. I’d like to see it totally abolished but I don’t think that will happen unfortunately
Actually only 2 staff usually goes to these meetings the “others” generally are people the person wants there.
This is true. It’s not about us and them but about our own unique culture as a New Zealander. You see a lot of white NZers have some cultural identity issues as we are a country of immigrants. I’m proud to be a 5th generation kiwi but my kids are half English. Growing up there was always a cultural norm to England, with the BBC voice being how they used to speak on the radio. As a teenager when asked what is unique to being kiwi a lot of us couldn’t answer it. The reclaiming of the Maori culture gives us all a better cultural identity.
Currently Maori have higher levels of seclusion, use of mental health act, higher doses of medication, than white NZers. The cultural models in this article are still not totally mainstream even though Mason Duries work has been around for decades now. Change is so slow to happen but it is happening and us Pakeha’s would like to be treated more this way too.
What on earth do you mean by “primitive society”. Who are you to judge who is superior because using this language makes this statement. Are you from New Zealand? How much do you know about Maori culture and the effects of colonisation. I am a middle-class Pakeha, (white New Zealander). I am so proud of my Maori friends for reclaiming the culture and their language. I am also proud that I integrate a lot of Maori culture into my own culture. I certainly live by my values and beliefs, and most of my extended family do also.
Maybe you mean white middle-class Americans?
Oops this was supposed to be a reply to Pacificdawn
What on earth do you mean by “primitive society”. Who are you to judge who is superior because using this language makes this statement. Are you from New Zealand? How much do you know about Maori culture and the effects of colonisation. I am a Pakeha, (white New Zealander). I am so proud of my Maori friends for reclaiming the culture and their language. I am also proud that I integrate a lot of Maori culture into my own culture.
Thanks James for working so tirelessly on this for us, especially when you are struggling. Your courage, passion and endless commitment are so very important. “The illness has returned” is what I was taught until I joined peer support services 8 years ago. Peter and Robert’s work changed my life and my attitude so much. I’m glad I only had to withdraw from Epilim, I never stayed on thew other drugs they gave me except when I really needed to sleep.
I work with a lady who 3 years ago was cold turkeyed off clozapine then taken of clonazepam, an SSRI and another antipsychotic over the next 2-3 months. They changed her label from schizophrenia (which she’s had for 30 years) to Borderline Personality Disorder and treated all her horrendous withdrawals as behavioural. Last week, 3 years later I had my first glimpse of the woman I once new. She is so tortured having visions of people being killed etc, terrible vertigo, intrusive memories. In fact when I gave the ashton manual to her sister 3 years ago she suffered pretty much every symptom in the book. It is criminal. I have been watching the antidepressant debate in the UK closely and am pleased with the fact they are going to review the NICE guidelines. A lot of NZ clinicians actually referr to the NICE guidelines so I’m hoping it will have the required knock on effect here down under. Thank you again James and your colleagues.
This is outrageous. Can’t believe approval could be given on such a small sample. The long term effects could be devastating. Does the improvement occur because they are now too zoned out to be restless? They have had nights of shit sleep from constant “mild” zapping. We are told not to sleep with our cellphones on if we want to minimize their effect on our sleep.
Those poor kids being used as guinea pigs. Dumb down the masses to keep control of society is all it is.
$34,000 can buy a lot of practical support that our new mothers need. That would have much better outcomes than any drug.
Psychiatrist’s add a second antidepressant all the time when one isn’t working so I’m pleased MIA publishes articles like this as they give me ammunition when questioning a psychiatrist’s reasoning.
Thanks you for your work Dr Horowitz.
“So if people had told me, with these benign substances, they had such serious problems, I would have been skeptical. And I think that’s one of the reasons for doctors being skeptical of this”
To me this is the most important thing doctors need to be taught to listen. That people’s experiences are real!!! Psychiatrist’s need to stop thinking they are the expert on someone else’s experiences. If we don’t agree with them we “lack insight”. For years and years we have been trying to tell them about withdrawal symptoms but it takes a psychiatrist to actually experience this to get research like this done.
I have seen some very horrendous iatrogenic harm done. I work with one lady who’s psychiatrist thought it quite ok to cold turkey her off clozapine, and withdraw her off an antidepressant and clonazepam in a 2 month period (she’s been on all of them for over ten years) and change her diagnosis from schizophrenia to borderline personality disorder and then called all her withdrawal symptoms behavioural. No listening to her, her family or me as an advocate. After all what do we know!!!!!!
I hope you get every opportunity to keep on with this kind of research cause we need it to make doctors listen.
Hi Lawerence, I like your article because it gives food for thought but there are more reasons than you outline. Gut health: the influx of processed food has certainly increased incidents of depression, and pharma’s direct advertising telling us of their wonderful solutions has increased people seeking medication as mentioned in previous comments. But I also want to add that in our modern world we are exposed to advertising all the time and advertisers use sex and fear to sell their products. Also most governments around the world use fear as a means to rule and looking from the outside (as a New Zealander) it would appear that America is the world leader on this. As soon as the cold war was over global warming took its place. To build a wall to keep migrants out installs more fear, fear of those different from oneself.
Humans have always compared themselves to others but in the past that was limited to the village or town we lived in. Now we can compare ourselves with anyone in the world. Also advertising plays on this too.
I think Johann Hari’s book Lost connections outlines so well why modern society has an ever increasing rate of depression and anxiety. Here’s the link to his website https://thelostconnections.com/
Hi Peter I really like your article and mostly agree with what you are saying but this paragraph is way too much of a generalisation. “Nearly everything we call emotional distress or “psychiatric disorders,” regardless of how severe they are, involve a failure to give and to receive love. Experience teaches me that it is impossible to be loving and crazy at the same moment. It is equally impossible to be grateful and depressed at the same time.”
You see I believe that I am very able to give and receive love but I can still go crazy. In fact sometimes it is the fear of losing someone we love that can drive me crazy or the inability to love someone I am “supposed” to because they have abused me that screws me up.
I use the last time I went crazy as an example (which was only August last year). I had shifted house (which was the worse shift I have ever done as far as things going wrong) and about a month earlier had come to the realization that my mother wasn’t going to get better and it was not going to be very long before she died. (she died in December) also the person who abused me (who is a family member) turned up unexpected and my mum was always trying to “make things right” between us. Also whilst I was crazy I was able to give and receive love for the majority of the time although I must admit there was about 24hours when I couldn’t due to being too crazy.
Interesting though that as I write this it remains about love, just not as simple as giving or receiving it. Certainly being consciously grateful has been my weapon against depression.
I also wonder if I went crazy then, so that when my mum eventually died I could be there lovingly for my family and embrace the love that surrounds us. The abusive family member I even handled really well during her funeral and internment.
I also agree with ILNC that loving ourselves really opens the door for giving and receiving love.
And all you want to eat and grave for are carbs, no matter how much of them you eat
I saw you and Robert talk in Christchurch New Zealand earlier this year and it was a great privilege to be able to after following your work over the last 5 years. You both really opened my eyes to what I had been taught, resulting in me only using psychotropic drugs when I really need them as opposed to every day.
I hope that all of this will make you even stronger in your resolve to continue to expose the truth. You have supporters all around the world. In my eyes you are a hero as I know personally I am always conscious about what I say in order to not bite off the hand that feds me, especially when I lack the scientific skill to do so in such an objective way that you do. But I do use your material and other material to point out to as many people as I am able to see the truth. We, the world, psychiatric survivors we all need you and more like you. So we can go back to a humane health system that is about people not profits.
Wishing you the best in your future journey as you continue to fight off the corporate greedy, drug pushing monsters.
Thanks you so much Carlene,
I too have struggled with feeling suicidal but my love for my family has always been what has stopped me. 18 months ago my then 16 year old son after suffering after losing 8 people through death in less than a year (including 3 teenagers and his step mum) was picked up by the Maori Wardens, as he was standing on a motorway over-bridge, who took him to the police station where he was seen by the adolescent crisis service who did not pathologise what was happening for him but gave him hope. This year they abolished this specialist crisis team for no other reason than financial and that it was the only service like this in all of New Zealand. The man that saw my son put his career on the line and spoke up at a public meeting to try and stop that happening. My son spoke out and thanked that man publicly for saving his life. The last I heard he got suspended from his job. Now our teenagers have to deal with the already over stretched adult crisis team who do pathologise such thoughts. It makes me so sad and angry to see such a backward step. We have the highest teenage suicide rate in the world and my region had the lowest out of all the regions……so much for suicide prevetion
A healthy gut leads to healthy production of brain chemicals, as simple as that. If you give your kid fizzy, sugar raspberry or coke or other such crap food, your kid will present with what they call ADHD.
For me Oldhead you are so focused on being against psychiatry that you can’t even recognize when someone is trying to do good by us.
Good food and sometimes supplements and therapy that works for the individual to help them deal with the monsters in their heads (trauma and/or our self critic) are very useful for the wellbeing of people.
This makes me sad. Only TED talks that support multi national cartels. Lets continue to eat process food and take drugs to be well, makes for huge profits.
Kia kaha Julia
Your work is so important and I have used your TEDx talk on a number of occassions
Thank you so much.
It’s time psychiatry starting telling the truth and stopped being drug pushers. Not change someones diagnoses to borderline personality disorder when they are suffering from heinous symptoms from being made to go cold turkey but never cold turkeying them in the first place and caring for them through withdrawl
Kelli, thank you for sharing as I know how much bravery it takes and thte risks of being a mental health professional doing so but the more of us that “come out” the better. I have suffered more discrimination from mental health workers than from any other section of the community for my “mental Illness”
“Forgiveness and gratitude are the salve for the extreme betrayal, abandonment, lies, and disempowerment I went through” This statement rings so true for me and is what gave me my own personal power back. Thank you again 🙂
So what do you suggest for people that are so distressed they seek help? I agree that it is important that “mental distress” doesn’t become an psychiatric euphemism but the fact is there are people who need professional help to deal with the trauma they have been through or the irrational thoughts they have when they led to not being able to function.
Really good to see this. It is not about which government/party gets in left right etc. There is a saying “It doesn’t matter who wins the election the government always gets in” This is because our governments around the world are totally influenced by the cartels…..that’s bigger than a corporation in our world. The cartels are: oil, banks, big food eg Monsanto. Big pharma is now one of them too.
Politicians who don’t bend to be in with these people just do not last as politicians.
Keeping the people oppressed has always been the way rich people stay rich.
I used to teach juggling in schools and sold the activity using brain gym as a way to sell this as it is a bilateral activity that strengthen the corpus colostrum (hope I spelt that right) which increases the integration between the right and left brain helping with learning etc. It was trendy in schools as part of an accelerated learning model which appears to have gone out of vogue somewhat. (In NZ anyway but good things often get rehashed)
Yes i have read the Power Threat Meaning Paradigm and can relate my story to this very easily. I was also very pleased to see Intentional Peer Support in the appendices as this way of working I’m very passionate about (I coordinate peer services in my area in NZ and am a trainer. Interesting about seasonal changes. I certainly feel myself “coming alive” like a frolicking lamb in the spring. Also I am quite effected by time changes with day light savings. I used to travel a lot to the UK and suffered very badly from jet lag.
wow, thank you so much Sarah.. What you write really makes sense and gives me some ideas (and reinforcement as to what I already do) as to how to stop the mania. We can never ignore how our brain is involved in this, the amygdala is a wonderful part of our brain and the reason why I say you can never treat anxiety in the long term with drugs as our brains will always adjust to them so it can survive.
The last time I got really manic (ended up in hospital) I didn’t get depressed afterwards as I framed the low energy I felt as “convalescing” and didn’t beat myself up about it. I was back to work in 3 weeks (7 days of those I was an “acute inpatient”)
Just wondering if you have any comment on how the seasons effect this. I can have the same level of stress in summer of winter and I won’t go manic but if it happens in Spring or autumn I start revving up.
Thanks for everything you are doing. The same debate is happening here down under. less than 5 days after I read the Guardian’s story our “The Press” had the headline “Antidepressants don’t work” following a presentation by Peter Gotzsche and Robert Whitaker, and others, in Christchurch New Zealand I cringed when I saw it and thought loudly “it’s not as simple as that”
Psychiatry continues to use divide and conquer as it’s tactic. But social media is better than “the News” and we know this. I do find it a little sad as it polarizes those who have had good experiences and bad. But I see iatrogenic harm everyday and it makes me cry and unable to do my job sometimes. I am an occupational Therapist who has become a peer leader for our region. When I’m awake in the middle of the night I comment on the UK FB group “Drop the Disorder” and I’ve done that a bit this week as we have lost another beautiful young man in our community to suicide this week (another victim of psychiatry I believe)
I will continue to follow the debate with great gusto (and I must remember this hashtag thingie) BIG psychiatry has cost me over $140,000 in lost income 🙁
What on earth is “mixed depression” depression with psychotic features or depression with anxiety. These 2 drugs are so new they are not available in NZ yet (I think). If you use major tranquilizers for depression you will end up depressed pretty dam quickly — This is just criminal (oh yeah but we already know about psychiatry and organised crime.
Thanks for your article. It is very sad seeing Peer Support being co-opted into clinical services. In our last contract round the DHB, District Health Board, decided to put in it that all peer staff would be working towards or have an NZQA, a formal NZ recognised, qualification. We got them to change it to IPS, which in my opinion is far better and keeps us doing what I consider “true peer support” not as you say just another nursing assistant or support worker. The NZQA qualification here is just that, a community support workers course with a tincy bit about peer support. Unfortunately here in NZ they are into large community organisations now rather than lots of little ones and the largest one has co-opted a ever increasing number of peer contracts, they pay lees to under cut other contracts and the peer workers I have met that work for them are very disillusioned as they are unable to proper peer support. Fortunately we have been able to stay small and have IPS recognized. I hope your research helps in keeping the roles we want rather that are decided by the powers in the corrupt system. It is bad enough making sure we don’t bite the hands that feeds us but to be co-opted into clinical service is sad. i worked as a clinician before doing peer support and it has been a huge learning curve to change my ways of thinking and practice IPS….it one of the best things I have ever done and led to me stopping my psych meds (successfully). Although I still use some if I’m going high as I can’t find an alternative that works.
The most disturbing thing I find about this article is the fact that even someone at the top of the medical hierarchy, the medical director, is powerless to change the system from the inside. Good on you for quitting Eve.
This is sad, what I don’t get if she has a masters in mindfulness based CBT why she thinks the chemical balance is still a part of it. Mindfulness CBT has been my learning that has set me free from depressive thinking and a huge part of being well, and is a much better treatment for mental distress than any “medications” are.
A virus to cure anxiety!!!!!!!!! When will these idiots realize that we cannot take away our survival technique!!! The fight and flight response is the cause of anxiety. We have this built in us to survive. The brain would certainly fight back at such an assault to it, in what form who knows but I very much doubt it would be any good for us.
Olanzapine for anxiety!!!! That’s terrible. However saying that, it is very common here for quetiapine (seroquel), also an anti-psychotic to be used for anxiety, off label of course.
It is very negligent especially when these doctors don’t even follow best practice guidelines.
I was a little optimistic the other day when I was speaking to a few medical students who seemed to understand talking therapies are the first line treatment for anxiety and depression. And they were being taught mindfulness, they were pleased to see a real example of how well mindfulness works.
Thanks for writing this excellent letter. I think it’s appalling that psychiatry cannot even follow it’s own guidelines. I look to the NICE guidelines from the UK where they specifically say that medications shouldn’t be used for anxiety disorders and only short term under specific conditions and should be monitored. I have pasted them here plus the link to the website as I think this information should be put to those who allow bad practice to continue. I know here in New Zealand these gouidelines are not often followed. It may add wait to your cause that psychiatry doesn’t even meet its own standards of care.
List of quality statements
Statement 1. People with a suspected anxiety disorder receive an assessment that identifies whether they have a specific anxiety disorder, the severity of symptoms and associated functional impairment.
Statement 2. People with an anxiety disorder are offered evidence-based psychological interventions.
Statement 3. People with an anxiety disorder are not prescribed benzodiazepines or antipsychotics unless specifically indicated.
Statement 4. People receiving treatment for an anxiety disorder have their response to treatment recorded at each treatment session.
What the quality statement means for service users and carers
People with an anxiety disorder are not offered benzodiazepines (medication used to help people sleep or act as a sedative) or antipsychotics (medication used mainly to treat psychotic conditions such as schizophrenia) for that disorder unless there are specific clinical reasons why these treatments may be of short-term benefit.
Here is the link to Eleanor Longdon’s TED talk, I have it in my favorites
Thanks Deeeo, that unit sounds like a combination of just about all the things I have seen working in inpatient facilities in both NZ and the UK. We go into our local inpatient unit which unfortunately has the highest seclusion rate in the country. They still have a mantra of “if you don’t take this pill we will inject you. If you resist the injection we will seclude you”. My partner also was forced to leave the same health board as he was a whistle blower, uncovering physical abuse in some of the homes for people with intellectual disabilities. This has completed ruined his career and he can no longer get work as a social worker as no one likes a whistle blower. The systemic abuses are just awful and yes Deeeo we must win.
I have liked you facebook page 🙂
Thanks for your reply,
Yes it was very overt, the crisis triage nurses going shopping rather than seeing people in a timely way, often meaning the crisis had to be dealt with after hours and a very ineffective manager who would only act if we made a written complaint. They were “best friends” with the coordinator so the other staff wouldn’t make formal complaints due to the bullying they knew would happen, but when I found something that could stick I went for it and suffered the consequences. This happened to me almost 6 years ago and I have been very surprised how much it still effects me when I write about it. Especially as I was seen as a “management problem” Your dad sounds like a wise man, after all why did I ever have such high expectations.
Yes “gaslighting” is what happens and like you I didn’t really think of it like that until I red the comments here.
When I first discovered MIA I sent the link to my very close colleague who is the consumer adviser for mental health services and the site was blocked, therefore blocked to all mental health staff. Fortunately she didn’t have too much difficulty having the block removed. So yes it is totally systematic.
I love working in peer support, even though I earn a lot less. All my staff are so compassionate and only want the best for people. I dream that one day peer workers will take over mental health services so people can be treated humanly and long term medication become a thing of the past. I dream that future generations will look back at this period of mental health treatment as archaic.
I’m looking forward to getting time to listen to your pod casts.
And I will continue to visit MIA everyday to gather good evidence against the system and good ideas for instigating change.
I danced with joy when I saw the Council for Evidence-based Psychiatry open in the UK and are so grateful for these people’s work as they have the mana (Maori word that translates as kudos, prestige but kinda means more than that) to instigate change.
I used to think it was good there were people like me working from within the system, but I was held back from really knowing the truth and only leaving has truely opened my eyes. However I intend to educate those working in the system as I know many compassionate workers who would do things so much differently if only they new how.
Thank you for your article. So much in it and in the comments resonate with me.
I too was bullied out of working in the mental health system. However I wasn’t even sticking my neck out about the abusiveness of the medical model as at the time I had not discovered all this information but by simply standing up to those who were not doing their job properly. I have suffered more abuse and discrimination from mental health “professionals” for having a label of Bipolar disorder than any other sector of society. When I lost my temper over the clinical coordinator allowing the slack behavior to continue (and yes I admit I did shout and swear) I was sent home from work for being “mentally unwell” a day later. I had to see a psychiatrist to be cleared as fit for work, which of course I was because anger is not being mentally unwell.
Unfortunately about a month after this incident I experienced a very traumatic event that had me off work for 5 weeks and required the support of mental health services to get through this trauma. I am pretty sure that there was a lot of “I told you she was becoming manic” speak amoungst my then colleagues as I did not want them to know the trauma I’d experienced. I left this job about 3 months later and was unemployed for about a year.
Fortunately since that time I have worked in Peer Support services quickly becoming the coordinator. This position has opened my eyes to the major flaws in the medical model. Mad in America was one of the sites I came across early in my search for good information for peers and like you I now read this site every day, although have only commented very occasionally.
I struggle as to how to get the truth out there though. Although we are an independent organisation we are contracted to the district health board so although this allows us to work true to the intentional peer support model I am very aware of not “cutting off the hand that feeds us” by not shouting from the rooftops that the medical model is a lie. Not only could they cut funding but more importantly we are somewhat reliant on clinical staff to connect people into our service . I do however raise information to them about such things as the Harrow report and other such studies proving that long term medication is not good etc. It makes me hopeful that the UK now has a number of projects using Open Dialogue as here in NZ we often follow what the UK does.
As for your comments around therapy I like to think therapy is very useful but only if you have a therapist who you can relate to and understands you well. Maybe I have cognitive dissonance as I am an Occupational Therapist and would have to challenge my whole career but personally I find talking therapies very helpful with the most helpful being mindfulness based CBT. I have however found medication at times useful too. However the most traumatic treatment I have had is when forced treatment and receiving medication that has caused me to have the most horrific hallucinations I have ever experienced (also the only ones I’ve experienced)
I want to thank everyone in this community for their support and great wisdom. All I feel I can try to do is educate people one person at a time. I am currently trying to pluck up the courage to do a presentation to our local psychiatrists. I hope my fear of the clinical director won’t stop me as she was the one who medicated me with high doses of her favourite drug olanzapine and thinks the hallucinations were just my mental illness. Thanks goodness I was shipped out of town (due to my job) for the rest of my treatment. You see like you if I say too much or make too much noise I too will just be labelled mad.
Teaching our teenagers skills for resilience, healthy living and wellbeing would be a far more useful use of resources, than screening for a so called “illness” and would be far more preventative.
Hi Julia and Bonnie,
Being from NZ myself I find this very disturbing and I want you both to know you will have my full support.
I’m also annoyed (but not surprised) that this hasn’t come to my attention before now. I would like to talk to you more about how we can campaign around this issue and will email you directly Julia. I have shared your blog on my networks and as Health Action where I work also has health promotion contracts as well as peer support (which I work in) I hope to get a submission in from our organisation.
Using supplements has allowed me to be mostly medication free and your research has helped me make decisions around stopping all prophylactic medications. Unfortunately the cost of micro nutrients has stopped me trailing these which is a problem in it’s self, but to have further restrictions to access what we need is diabolical. interesting how they sold the introduction to this bill around supplements not having in them what they say they have in them. I am so over Big Pharma’s influence.
This is very scary. Not only a potentially harmful medication but what harm will a micro chip do to the human body?
I think an Avaaz petition to the FDA could be helpful. Get the international community to say no to this breach of human rights.
Oh this is terrible imagine how much open dialogue and other good therapies and people that could be truly helped rather than destroyed with $400 million
Thanks for a great article, peer support and peer respite are my passion. We run a peer support respite house here in Nelson, New Zealand, called Kotuku. Kotuku is the Maori name for a white heron which the Maori consider to be a symbol of things both beautiful and rare and for Maori to compare a visitor to a Kotuku is viewed as a compliment of the highest order. It opened in 2007 and was the first peer led respite in the country and although now there are peer support respite facilities throughout the country our service remains one of the few that are truly “Peer Led”.
Bevin I couldn’t open the link to your toolkit on evaluating peer respite and I would really like to see this to help with our work.
Hi Andrew, I totally agree with your comment below.
“We need to protect against the “institutionalization” of peer based support, as I cannot trust our system to integrate this essential and compassionate resource without totally corrupting it.”
We base our work on the Intentional Peer Support Model and it is vitally important for the service to stay true to this model, therefore not allowing corruption from mental health services. It is also vitally important that we remain totally peer led. I have seen other “Peer respite” being managed by non peer staff and basically become the pawns of the local mental health team to, which is just awful. I was working in a clinical team in the ajoining town when Kotuku opened and the BS I heard from clinicians that I worked with at the time was horrendous “There’s no way people with mental illness could do this work” was basically the flavour of the conversation, the team was so anti it they used there “peer respite” money to open a respite house managed by another NGO who has supported accommodation, with a couple of peer support workers on the staff. I have to say having seen both services running Kotuku is a much more healing environment. (I’ve got my fingers toes and everything else crossed that we will steal their contract and take over that house as it is contracted to the same district health board that we are.)
We are also in the process (unfortunately it’s taking too much time) of opening a peer run acute alternative to hospital. When researching this I discovered that in the USA you do not make this distinction. However it will be a total alternative and have “Peer” clinical staff. (unfortunately they will have to nurses due to administering medication.) My goal would be to make it a medication optional place but due to having to work with the system I am not mentioning that one until funding is secured and we have opened.
There is one such place in NZ and here is the link.
I would love to see that eventually there are no mental health unit/hospitals but many peer led houses offering true places of healing. That is one of my visions for mental health, the other is that it is peers who run all mental health services.
At long last it’s happening, but making supplements affordable will be a challenge and it is worrying that those products out there are not as good as their labels. Thank you so much for your work. Great Ted talk Julia and great to see you have so many views. Yes the public are getting it now lets hope the psychiatrist’s will do too.
Happy birthday Monica. Thank you so much for your work and inspiration. You are what inspired me to become medication free. I will be a year in 2 weeks. I’ve been lucky though and had no problems with withdrawl after a slow taper. Thank you
Drugs and possibly dietary changes!!!! eliminate grains, do the Wheat Belly diet to find good health. I came off my psychotropic meds and changed to a wheat free diet (well mostly except when I can’t resist something) and I’m feeling healthy than I have for years
Thank you so much Bonnie and Julia for your work. I discovered when looking at people’s recovery stories (particularly bipolar) that everyone seemed to have done something major with their diet. When I started titrating down my meds I looked at this more closely as I wanted something to help me when I finally stopped my mood stabiliser. I saw Julia’s latest research on micro nutrients and ADHD and was very interested and contacted Julia directly to find out more on this and bipolar. I could not afford the micro nutrients she recommended but my research on food led me to opting for a wheat free diet, and using fish oil and possibly vitamin b supplements. The wheat free diet has been so successful in stabilising my mood that I stopped the supplements after a month. I have now been medication free for 6 months. I am fascinated by gut health and this interview I did with Dr Tim Ewer summaries some of this topic quite well. I found it fascinating especailly the study of the mice who had their stomach contents replaced and low and behold their behaviour/characteristics changes. here is the link http://www.freshfm.net/Shows/Show-Details.aspx?SHOWID=c40836b6-96bb-4548-8b02-7015a2286238
Yes truama and other causes have to be addresses but we have to look after our gut as it makes the chemicals for our brains.
Thanks Julia and everyone on this site for changing my life to being one free of meds. I would like to know if others agree with the Wheat Belly by Dr William Davis? He claims that wheat “fogs the brain” and can trigger psychosis and mania. He has just released a second book that takes this further into all grains. Here is a link to his facebook page https://www.facebook.com/OfficialWheatBelly
Thanks Kjetil for an excellent thought provoking article and I share your dreams.
I host a local community radio show on wellbeing, focusing on techniques for wellbeing and “alternative” therapies and have a facebook page https://www.facebook.com/compass0800
Ideas I have are to:
Run education sessions for mental health teams
Campaign to the mental health commission (here in NZ)
Get personal stories out there
Thanks for a great article. I would love to know more about the work you are doing in NZ as I hold similar beliefs to yourself and want to see change in our system here in NZ. I’m based down in Nelson and at times feel very isolated in my views. I know there are many of us kiwis who want change but feel our voices are kept well divided and it is time we all got together to present a united voice. Better alternatives need to be made available. It would be great if we could connect.
Thanks for a great article. Mindfulness was a major changing point in my life and doing a short gratitude exercise each morning as dramatically improved my resilience. Simple techniques that have greatly improved my mental health.
I really do believe that psychologists should be clinically leading mental health services not psychiatrists. Formulation is far better than diagnosis and psychiatrists don’t know how to do this. And mental health teams should be filled with peer support workers and allied health. Peer support workers to walk alongside peoples journeys, OTs to help people find purpose and meaning, psychologists to improve how thinking etc, social workers to help with all those social issues. What role is there for a nurse other than jabbing someone in the bum.
Yes Ted I agree. I have no idea how to instigate change. I would love to see a mental health system where a peer clinician is the clinical leader. Peer support workers make up the majority of staff and nurses and psychiatrists only have a small role.
Beautifully written. Thank you for sharing this with your congregation and on this site.
Andrew, Thank you so much for sharing your story and also to reaffirm that not everyone has totally negative experiences with the mental health system, although anyone who has been treated against their will have.
I have worked in mental health for well over 20 years as an occupational therapist and have also had my own craziness to deal with being labelled Bipolar. 3 years ago a change in circumstances finally landed me working in peer support, an area I’d wanted to work in but wasn’t financially viable when I was the main provider for my family. The last 3 years has taught me so much I didn’t know. I had believed being an occupational therapist I had a holistic outlook to mental health but sites like this have opened my eyes to what I was never taught working within the medical model. I want to thank everyone at MIA and Monica from Beyond Meds. I have now been medication free for 3 months following a slow and fortunately unproblematic tapering and so far so good. But I can see how medication has helped me but I also know that I had “inside knowledge” so therefore never relied on the benzos and antipsychotics the Drs would prescribe truckloads of. (i have taken these drugs but always kept there use to an absolute minimum) I too have been “lucky” with most of my care. It saddens me that people have been so traumatised and damaged by mental health systems that they are unable to see that there can be some good done (but not really in the current systems) and that actually most mental health professions are actually kind, caring, and compassionate that often get tired out by banging their heads on the brick walls that exsist in the system. We have a job to educate those professionals who do care and are open minded so they can see where they are going wrong and give them better ways to work.
I personally would like to medical Doctors taken out of being the heads of psychiatry. They should have the smallest of roles as in my opinion Doctors don’t really know how to help without using their prescription pads.
Carry on the great work everyone, more and more people are seeing the messages that MIA is a leader in.
I am really really thankful that sites like this exist.
Thanks for writing such an insightful blog. The issue of whether or not to challenge things is always there and I know how important it is to choose your battles. My stance on this is I want to see change happen and that if I go about it the wrong way then it just becomes a battle of us and them. I have worked “in the system” for over 20 years and then the last 3 years as coordinator of peer support services so totally relate to what you are saying.
I look forward to more blogs from you that will help all of us move towards change for the better.
Mental illness or gun laws? Here in New Zealand we have very stringent gun laws, even the police do not carry them and I’m only aware of 2 mass killings like those mentioned here (although n0t in schools) happening in NZ in my lifetime. (I’m 46). As our prevalence of mental illness and treatment modalities are very similar to the USA it is blatantly obvious to me that liberal access to guns will incur more murders using guns
I Hope we have come to a turning point and all Doctors will hear the fat lady sing. We need to shout it from the rooftops!! Yes Jonathan there will need to be more public outcry, media articles and lawsuits to get the message through.
Great to see how you have these conversations with your clients. I so wish more psychiatrists had your point of view….hopefully they too will question what they have believed for so long.