A space where families can exchange information and share experiences to foster a dialogue that goes beyond the predominant mainstream medical treatment model.

Welcome! This Mad in America (MIA) forum hosts online parent support groups. We have started these groups in response to the many inquiries from parents who are skeptical of conventional drug-based treatments for children struggling with mental health issues and are now looking for alternatives.

We currently offer two groups – United States/Canada and United States/Europe both conducted in English.

This initiative, begun in the fall of 2018, has generated strong interest, and we hope to accommodate as many people as possible. The United States/Europe group meets once a month and the U.S./Canada group operates on a weekly, drop-in basis. The support groups, which last 90 minutes, are moderated and provide a confidential space where people can share information and experiences that foster a dialogue about psychiatric diagnosis, the use of psychiatric medications, and non-drug alternatives. We hope these groups will help parents and other family members to feel less alone as they struggle to best support their loved ones.

Everyone in the group has the opportunity to speak, and everyone is expected to be respectful of others. The moderators occasionally invite guest speakers to the meetings. Although MIA is hosting these forums, the moderators do not represent MIA. Their opinions and suggestions are their own.

Please write ([email protected]) with any questions about the support groups. You may also want to visit our Family Resources section, which provides information about drugs, blog posts written by both professionals and parents, Q&As, research news, and other informational links. To sign up for a support group, please click “sign up here” at the bottom of the page and then complete the form.


Time: Monthly. Every second Thursday of the month. For parents of children of all ages. 18:00 to 19:30, Berlin Time (UTC+1)


Claudia Esteve: “Trained in Open Dialogue (Foundation Training – UK) and eCPR (National Empowerment Center – USA), I am currently based in Switzerland, where I work at the JAEC Foundation, promoting alternative approaches to the biomedical model of treatment and offering online support groups for those caught up in psychiatry. There is always hope.”

 There is always hope.” Olga Runciman: I have worked as a psychiatric nurse and been a patient in the mental health system as well. Since earning my license as a psychologist, I have worked extensively with families as an Open Dialogue therapist. I also facilitated the longest-running support group in Denmark for people who hear voices. I find that weaving the ethos of the Hearing Voices movement and human rights into Open Dialogue adds perspectives that promote greater understanding.” Sign up here


Time: Weekly, Tuesdays from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm, U.S. Mountain time (5:00 pm Pacific, 7:00 pm Central, 8:00 pm Eastern).


Louisa Putnam:I am the mother of two sons and the grandmother of three. I am committed to creating, supporting, and offering alternatives to the course my eldest son’s life took when he became psychotic at age 17 during a drug trip, ending when he took his own life at age 32.  As a licensed family therapist, I work with families in crisis, using a process inspired by Tornio, Finland’s Open Dialogue approach.”   Kermit Cole: “My years of work with traumatized, dissociative, and psychotic people have shown me that engaging with the family can contribute to positive and long-lasting outcomes. I now practice family therapy with my partner Louisa Putnam in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and am part of the large and growing network of people committed to studying and working on ways to bring the open Open Dialogue approach to people and families in crisis throughout the world.” Sign up here