Showing 43 of 43 comments.
Brilliant! (Like all other Whitaker’s publications, of course)
This is fantastic! Sounds like an excellent, well-thought-out plan, and with so many people who want to sign up, there is a good chance that it will work.
One thought I wanted to add.
Many people say that antidepressants work for them. My response to this that many people say exactly the same about alcohol and nicotine: having a drink or a smoke helps them to relax, to forget their misery, lifts their mood. And not everyone gets harmed in the end.
When I worked in high school and talked with my students about drinking/smoking, I often heard, “My grandpa has smoked since childhood, he is 75, healthy and active,” or “My aunt was drinking every day through her pregnancy, and the baby is healthy and is doing great,” etc.
So, yes, psychotropics — SSRI, vodka, nicotine, you name it — do help some people, without damaging them. The problem is that you never know if you are one of these people before you try.
Thank you for another clear and accessible explanation of important research. Pioneer Fund is very notorious for empowering “scientific racism” and poisoning public discourse. See this great research: The Funding of Scientific Racism: Wickliffe Draper and the Pioneer Fund (https://www.amazon.com/Funding-Scientific-Racism-Wickliffe-Pioneer/dp/0252074637)
Jennifer, thank you so much for sharing your story. You are an incredibly brave and strong person and also a very good writer. It is very difficult to describe an experience like that, and you did it powerfully and beautifully. Is there any way to connect with you? I am involved in some activism for psychiatry reform, I recently submitted a public comment for the SAMHSA serious mental illness committee and plan to do so again and, hopefully, to organize more people critical of the system to submit their comments. I think it would be great if they could hear you powerful voice. Also, where can one find your books? If you would like to connect, my email is [email protected]
Maybe the target should be not the principles of rationality and evidence, but the flaws of what is called “evidence-based medicine,” but actually is anything but? David Healy did great research on why “evidence-based” in its current form is neither rational, nor evidence-based. BTW, he will give a public online talk on this topic Feb. 2, 4pm Mountain Time at https://zoom.us/j/95619186579
Some good news, at least, that a US manufacturer went bankrupt – but, presumably, there are more than one?
Kindredspirit, I really like this.
Done. I mean, I emailed the President and the new SAMSA head. Thank you so much to David Oaks for the work he is doing. We need more concrete actions like these. I encourage everyone to take a few minutes and to send these emails – and thank you, David, for making this so convenient, with the links right in the text!
Thank you for the great article. “Reason does not enter into it” – I especially like this! Indeed, if one applies PANSS rating scales to “the psychiatric definition of what constitutes a panic attack” and to other such definitions, their authors, according to their own criteria, should get a psychiatric diagnosis. One PANSS item is “stereotyped thinking … as evidenced in rigid, repetitious or barren thought content.” Right on target – you cannot get more stereotyped and less barren thought content than displayed by such definitions
Here is an effort to start a psychiatric “me too” movement – please sign and share: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1X-22I-R5bJGOGmgCfUFF_J5MzUlCfCMgkBslVuHdS5s/edit
Thank you for sharing this. I think the people in the article are talking about a different experience than yours, and I think it’s very important to acknowledge variety of experiences. Some people love voices they hear in their head, some hate them, and neither are “right” of “wrong” – this is just how they feel.
A very interesting article. I am white, and until I had an experience with psychiatry, I had an abstract sympathy for victims of racism and other forms of systemic discrimination, but now I realized that I did not really feel their pain. The way my daughter and I were treated when my daughter was hospitalized – I could not believe this was possible in the US. So, when it’s race on top of a psychiatric diagnosis, it seems to be the worst discrimination possible. Now, some of you may be tired of this, but I here is again an open letter that I invite you all to sign: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1X-22I-R5bJGOGmgCfUFF_J5MzUlCfCMgkBslVuHdS5s/edit
Those with relevant degrees, would you also sign this petition: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1X-J-DGJLNC_j–o2F0K9cGVV_E3ifP87mnlqEANiqeg/edit
Great work! Really shows that involuntary commitment is imprisonment by another name. The BLM leaders should see this article.
Thank you for sharing your story. You are an amazing person
Oh my goodness, just when you think it cannot become any more terrible, it does. There is a tiny ray of hope that ProPublica reported on this. Consider signing and sharing this letter to the media trying to attract mainstream journalists’ attention to what’s happening with the psychiatric system:
This is so sad … also, this is another proof that the only way to break through the wall of silence is a mass campaign against the corruption of medical science and pharmaceutical industry by monetary interests. They are too powerful to be affected by critical psychiatry movement alone, and we need a broad coalition beyond those concerned with psychiatry
Maria, thank you so much for this post. I was wondering how typical my daughter’s hospital was, and I now know that it was typical. I am so sorry for what you brother and your family went, and still going, through. I hope that he will make a full recovery – it seems like there promising signs, and he is fortunate to have such sister
Dear Dr. Hickey,
Thank you for your kind words about my post and for this wonderful collection of resources.
I think, the notion of winning or losing depends on one’s definition. Yes, there are all these great publications, groups, organizations, and websites. Yes, it’s great that use of electroshock was greatly reduced. But other than electroshock, were there any other changes in real life? If we count not informational resources, but the number of involuntary hospitalizations, prescribed drugs, laws that govern both, number of people on mental illness disability, will we see a change for the better?
Also, the Internet is a double-edged sword in many respects. For one, it greatly encourages polarization and compartmentalization – there are now a lot of groups that only talk to themselves and do not have any relevance to the outside world. To take an extreme example, you may have heard about the “flat earthers,” who probably also think that they are winning the battle. There are many thousands of them, with a lot of internet resources (I know, because I used these resources to discuss pseudo-science with my students). To have internet resources is good, but this does not necessarily lead to a real impact, alas …
I share your dislike of globalist elites and big bankers, but, as a historian, I don’t think that globalist bankers existed in 1913, when it was still the age of nationalism. I also strongly oppose single-cause explanations of historical processes – for example, when Marxists explain everything through class struggle, Foucault followers through power relations, postmodernists through “discourse” etc. Life is more complex than that.
The current psychiatric system is terrible, and this is a result of many convergent developments, and yes, corporate greed was and is a big factor. However, I don’t believe in “globalist bankers” as an explanation for everything that is wrong in the world.
Also, what you write about Covid pains me personally. This year was terrible for me. My father died from Covid, which he caught from his caretaker, a healthy, athletic woman in her early 50s. She almost died, and she still has 25% of her lungs affected. My sister caught it as well, and she was very sick. She recovered, but this was scary. They all live in Russia, and I don’t see what American reserve system has to do with them.
Pandemics happened throughout human history, regardless of financial systems.
As i mentioned in a comment above, I suggest to concentrate just on one, limited and realistic, goal and not to get sucked into a discussion of all political, economic, and other problems. I do not necessarily agree with you on many accounts. I am puzzled by your claim, “Psychiatry is so powerful is because all of healthcare was taken over by John D. Rockefeller Jr. in 1913 with the Flexner Report.” What about other countries then? Soviet psychiatry was terrible, but surely Rockefeller had no influence in the Soviet Union. I do think that the Covid vaccine developments was rather transparent, with the media covering failed attempts, side effects etc. I do think that the whole story exposed the uselessness of big pharma companies that spend all their money on marketing and lobbying, nor research. That said, I don’t see why we cannot be allies in a struggle for holding psychiatrists accountable and at the same time agree to disagree on other issues.
Thank you, Rosalee. I am emailing back very soon.
Kristen, this is so true, And this is at the root of so many social problems.
Thank you, Enric.
Yes, this is very true. For me, it’s bringing difficult emotions back all the time, and I was not even a patient, just a family member. This is why we need allies – many psychiatric survivors are too traumatized to be efficient activists, and those who are nor traumatized often want to just move on with their lives and to forget the whole nightmare, which is very understandable.
Sorry, but I am not with you about the Covid vaccine. The trial results were published and critically examined by independent scientists, unlike trials for psychotropic drugs. Also, I don’t see how Twitter or, say, Fox News censor Trump and his supporters. We all have our political, religious, and other, views and beliefs, and we have agendas and interests other than mental health. However, I think that, if we want to achieve results in exposing problems with psychiatry, it would be more productive to concentrate on just this one area. If we start discussing all the world problems at once, I am afraid that it will be a lot of talk, but not much else.
This is very true. That’s why I suggest either a letter campaign or a collective letter with a lot of signatures (hopefully), or both, protesting this censorship. I think, such letters should be sent to the general, mainstream media after every publications related to mental health. At some point, after enough people do this, they will feel the pressure to start a more open conversation. Also, I would challenge the “biological-harmacalogical” forums to start a dialogue. They don’t care, but journalists may. What if MIA sends an invitation to, say, the Mental Illness Policy website to publish their views and to criticize the MIA posts on the MIA website in exchange for the MIA authors doing the same on the MIP website? Like some local newspapers still have a liberal and a conservative publishing their political comments on the same op-ed page. They probably will not agree, because they don’t have any real arguments. But what if MIA still sends such an invitation and CCs all the leading national media and all the leading health and science journalists? At least some journalists may get interested, and the MIP will have to explain why they reject the invitation. Or if they accept it, it will be a lot of fun to have a direct discussion with them.
Sorry, what is CCHR?
Thank you for nice words about my blog and for formulating all the problems so precisely. Let’ try an least to raise awareness among the people without the first-hand experience. I sending the second group email tomorrow or the day after tomorrow at the latest.
“The conversations held behind closed doors of magazine offices get pretty heated. There are a LOT of reporters that want to dig deeper, go farther, bring issues into a more illuminated space.”
Oh wow! This is really illuminating. Do you have an experience with media and know such reporters? If yes, it would be really interesting to hear more. I had no idea.
I signed, and I will share it with my Canadian friends. I don’t expect it to succeed, though, if you allow me to be frank with you. I think, the approach should be more strategical, not attacking the psychiatric coercion directly.
My blog post is accepted and hopefully will appear here soon, and I hope to follow up with another post discussing what I see as strategies more likely to succeed (and to bring an end to psychiatric coercion eventually)
Oh, and if you do submit something and it is accepted, let this forum know so that we can send readers’ comments to counteract the attacks that will surely be numerous and vicious.
Oh yes, it is surely more pleasant and more comforting to talk to like-minded people in the safe space of the wonderful website than trying to reach out to the society at large. I don’t blame anyone for preferring psychological comfort and safety, but, sorry, I see no reason to think that “the sun will shine” and “our voices will be safely heard.” This is not how society works.
Rosalee, please feel free to email me at [email protected] so that we can join our efforts and plan something together (and hopefully recruit more people). I am also working on a blog that I hope to submit to this website in a couple of days, where I try to outline my proposals.
Thank you, Dr. Hickey! This really made my day. In terms of “seeing how it goes,” I can tell you that it will not go well. They will probably refuse to publish it, and if they do, there will be an outcry from psychiatrists on pharma payroll. However, if many people try to get through, it may have a result, and somebody needs to start this effort. If you do it, consider yourself this heroic soldier who rises up first to lead the attack against the enemy line. One possibility to consider is New York Times op-ed to be submitted here: (https://help.nytimes.com/hc/en-us/articles/115014809107-How-to-submit-an-Op-Ed-essay). If you do not hear from them in three business days, you are free to send it elsewhere; the Atlantic may be a good option.
Anyone here would be interested in creating and/or signing a collective letter to the media that would include the points that you have made in this, and other, discussions on this platform? If yes, can we form a group here? Or, if you feel comfortable, just email me at [email protected]. I know that it’s unusual to publish one’s private email on a public website, but I do feel that I can have complete trust in the people visiting this particular platform
Well, sure. But there is a lot of criticism of the system in general and of what the government is doing in all areas of life, a lot of loud voices of dissent – it’s only the critics of psychiatry who stay in their closed Facebook groups or on forums where they preach to the quire. Say, private prisons are an abomination, they are part of the system, they are supported by American government – all you say about psychiatry applied to the private prison industry as well. And I read a lot of negative things about private prisons, signed petitions against the private prison industry that I received by email etc. Why should the situation with the psychiatric system be different?
Sorry for the confusion with “bitter” – I now realized that I was mentally translating from my native Russian, and it was a poor rendering of a Russian phrase that simply means “negative” or “bad experience.” So, I only meant that people who did not encounter psychiatric system personally do not have any idea what’s going on. I surely did not, before I had a first-hand experience.
Yes, Whitaker wrote a great book, and he also co-authored an equally great book Psychiatry under the Influence (https://www.amazon.com/Psychiatry-Under-Influence-Institutional-Prescriptions/dp/113750692X). This is a great way to bring about change, but I cannot agree that this is the best way. The best way would be to submit op-eds based on the books in the leading mainstream media, as authors often do, and to get these books reviewed in the New Your Times Review of Books, New Yorker, Atlantic, etc. This is not to blame Whitaker in any way, of course – I sincerely admire him. To continue, even such op-eds and reviews would be only a beginning.
I think that I will rather submit a blog post to continue this discussion. I hope, you will forgive me for disagreeing with your point about flyers and referring people to websites. I think, there are much more efficient forms of activism, and I am now talking as a historian, that is, somebody who studies social change for a living.
Again, I hope to express it all more coherently in a future post.
Well, what if I declare myself an expert on everything in the world? Would this empower me to pontificate and take action in virtually every current problem? I would argue that what empowers psychiatrists is a nexus of powerful economic and political interests.
I mentioned my daughter in the previous comment. She was prescribed a cocktail of drugs that were ruining her physical and mental health. She stopped them before she suffered a permanent damage and is now healthy and thriving.
When I realized that the drugs were harmful and that there was no real evidence that they did any good, a difficult task was to convince her to stop them. As a good young Democrat (age 19 at the time), she believes in science and expertise. She kept saying things like, “I will listen to professionals, not to what you found on the Internet. Whitaker is a journalist, he does not have a medical degree. ” When I showed to her publications in medical journals, she said, “Anti-vaxxers also cite some publications.”
What convinced her was the publication by the legal scholar Eugene McCarthy, which I found when I googled “antipsychotics side effects” (https://repository.law.umich.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1078&context=mbelr; see also his paper https://lawreview.syr.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/H-McCarthy-Syracuse-Law-Review-Final-Draft.pdf). This paper played a crucial role for my decision to get her off the drugs as well. When one sees the legal-economic system that produces the current psychiatric prescriptions practice, everything becomes crystal clear. But to see it, one needs to read specialized, peer-reviewed publications
Did you ever try making these points in the mainstream media? I don’t understand why we never hear the voices of conscientious and scientifically rigorous mental health professionals like you, or why psychiatrists, such as David Healy, are not known to the educated general public.
Why do people like you keep arguing with people like Dr. Pies and don’t bring the argument to the court of the public opinion? Consequently, psychiatry is the only field exempt from the public debate of the kind that is routine for all other areas of life.
For example, women with PhD reacted to the recent WSJ publication disparaging the “Dr.” title of the future first lady by publishing this letter that is now collecting signatures (https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSci2ETjX5tj7TgFrzXsGbW900lKQbJ0tuRB3thWSToLotNoNA/formResponse). Scientists who did not agree with the Covid lockdown published the “Great Barrington Declaration” (https://gbdeclaration.org/) that was discussed in all major media outlets. The examples are countless.
I would like to draft a letter on behalf of psychiatric survivors and their families to be sent to the media, but so far I could not find people interested in getting out of their “safe spaces” – forums such as this one, Facebook groups, etc., which are read only by the like-minded audience.
Of course, I cannot draft a letter on behalf of mental health professionals and scientists critical of the prevailing psychiatric practices – I am not one of them (I mean, I am critical, but I am not a professional, my field is medieval history). But, again, I don’t understand how come I regularly read about controversies in all areas of medicine, except psychiatry; about systemic discrimination of all kinds of groups except those diagnosed with mental illness; about violations of human rights committed by all kinds of institutions, except the mental health system. How come I did not have any idea about psychiatry until my daughter got hospitalized? I am just trying to figure out what’s going on.
This is a very good point, but I wonder whether the Psychiatric Times is really part of the court of the public opinion? Who are its intended audience? Extending my analogy, is not this like presenting your rational arguments about race to an antebellum Southern newspaper?
I like how you put it. This is so true, but my concern is, how can we then spread this truth? It seems that everyone here (me included) speaks from a bitter personal experience. How do we reach out to the people without such an experience and convince them?
Dr. Hickey’s arguments are irrefutable – but is not arguing with Dr. Pies akin to arguing about race with somebody profiting from the Atlantic slave trade? One out of a thousand of slave-traders may be convinced and would stop what he is doing, but the rest 999 would not be interested in logical and evidence-based arguments. It looks like by now, with all the overwhelming scientific evidence, all the mental health professional, who act in good faith and care about their patients, are convinced that the current biological-pharmaceutical approach is a disaster. Those, who continue to defend it, cannot be convinced, because it’s about their own interests and profits, not about logic and evidence.
By any chance, did you contact the New York Times about it?