Monday, April 12, 2021

MIA Reports

In-depth reporting on stories and issues related to all aspects of psychiatry and its impact on society today.

What Does Our Species Require for a Healthy Life? An Interview with Peter Sterling

In his book "What is Health," Peter Sterling asks this provocative question: What does our species require for a healthy life? And can we achieve this with drugs?

Feminism, Psychoanalysis and Critical Psychology: An Interview with Bethany Morris

MIA's Micah Ingle interviews Bethany Morris about the psychoanalytic study of film and the history of the "monstrous feminine" in psychiatry.

Creative Maladjustment: An Interview with Donzaleigh Abernathy

Donzaleigh Abernathy—goddaughter of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.—shares her thoughts on the civil rights movement and the legacy of racism in the United States.

Uncomfortable Truths in Survivor Narratives: An Interview with Helen Spandler

MIA’s Ayurdhi Dhar interviews Helen Spandler about how psychiatric survivors challenge and change our thinking about mental health.

The Lessons of Music: Nurturing Mental Health in Cultures Around the Globe

Music is an ancient and omnipresent tool for wellness, a carrier of peace for individuals, and a bonding agent for communities throughout history and the world.

Jill Nickens – The Akathisia Alliance for Education and Research

This week on the Mad in America podcast we turn our attention to prescription-drug-induced akathisia and joining me to discuss this is Jill Nickens. Jill is the president and founder of the Akathisia Alliance for Education and Research, a nonprofit organization formed by people who have personal experience of akathisia.

Trauma and Mental Health in Social Movements: An Interview with Janice Haaken

MIA's Emaline Friedman interviews psychologist and filmmaker Janice Haaken about how mental health discourse impacts social movements.

The False Memory Syndrome at 30: How Flawed Science Turned into Conventional Wisdom ...

Soon after states finally began providing adults who remembered childhood abuse with the legal standing to sue, the FMSF began waging a PR campaign to discredit their memories—in both courtrooms and in the public mind.

Psychiatry and the Counterculture: An Interview with Health Historian Lucas Richert

Richard Sears interviews pharmaceutical industry scholar Lucas Richert about American counterculture and psychiatry in the 1970s.

Music Aids Mental Health: Science Shows Why

What can science tell us about music’s impact on our cognition and on our mood, on our capacity for empathy, and our sense of connection with others? How does it change the brain? How does it change us?

Fascist Subjectivity and the Subhuman: An Interview with Critical Psychologist Thomas Teo

MIA's Tim Beck interviews critical psychologist Thomas Teo on how theory and research can do justice to the people it means to describe and explain.

Making Music, Healing Souls

The healing power of communal singing is at the heart of two organizations in England and Ireland: Sing Your Heart Out and 49 North Street.

Psychosocial Disability Rights and Digital Mental Health: An Interview with Piers Gooding

MIA's Emaline Friedman interviews legal scholar Piers Gooding on his work on disability rights and digital mental health technologies.

Suicide Hotlines Bill Themselves as Confidential—Even as Some Trace Your Call

Every year suicide hotline centers covertly trace tens of thousands of confidential calls, and police come to homes, schools, and workplaces to forcibly take callers to psychiatric hospitals.

Rethinking Suicide Prevention: An Interview on Critical Suicide Studies with Jennifer White

MIA’s Samantha Lilly interviews critical youth suicidologist Jennifer White about what suicide prevention could look like outside of the medical model.

A Short History of Tardive Dyskinesia: 65 Years of Drug-Induced Brain Damage That Rolls...

Psychiatry has long turned a blind eye to the full scope of harm associated with TD. New TD drugs "work" by further impairing brain function.

The Latest “Breakthrough Therapy”: Expensive New Drugs for Tardive Dyskinesia

The increased prescribing of antipsychotics, which frequently cause a brain injury that manifests as tardive dyskinesia, has provided pharmaceutical companies with a lucrative new market opportunity.

How Culture Influences Voice Hearing: An Interview with Stanford Anthropologist Tanya Luhrmann

Ayurdhi Dhar interviews Tanya Luhrmann about cultural differences in voice-hearing, diagnosis and damaged identities, and conflicts in psychiatry.

Surviving Antidepressants: An Interview with Adele Framer

That is the truth about withdrawal syndrome: It’s like a 50-50 chance that you’re going to have a problem. If you’re in the unlucky half, you’re gonna be really unlucky.
illustration of a voter box in a stormy ocean with a ladder

Voting While “Mentally Ill”: A Legacy of Discrimination

Legal and practical barriers to voting disenfranchise people judged "mentally incompetent." The centuries-old, unclear laws and regulations also disproportionately affect people of color.

The Lessons of Music: Nurturing Mental Health in Cultures Around the Globe

Music is an ancient and omnipresent tool for wellness, a carrier of peace for individuals, and a bonding agent for communities throughout history and the world.

The False Memory Syndrome at 30: How Flawed Science Turned into Conventional Wisdom ...

Soon after states finally began providing adults who remembered childhood abuse with the legal standing to sue, the FMSF began waging a PR campaign to discredit their memories—in both courtrooms and in the public mind.

Music Aids Mental Health: Science Shows Why

What can science tell us about music’s impact on our cognition and on our mood, on our capacity for empathy, and our sense of connection with others? How does it change the brain? How does it change us?

Making Music, Healing Souls

The healing power of communal singing is at the heart of two organizations in England and Ireland: Sing Your Heart Out and 49 North Street.

Suicide Hotlines Bill Themselves as Confidential—Even as Some Trace Your Call

Every year suicide hotline centers covertly trace tens of thousands of confidential calls, and police come to homes, schools, and workplaces to forcibly take callers to psychiatric hospitals.

The Latest “Breakthrough Therapy”: Expensive New Drugs for Tardive Dyskinesia

The increased prescribing of antipsychotics, which frequently cause a brain injury that manifests as tardive dyskinesia, has provided pharmaceutical companies with a lucrative new market opportunity.
illustration of a voter box in a stormy ocean with a ladder

Voting While “Mentally Ill”: A Legacy of Discrimination

Legal and practical barriers to voting disenfranchise people judged "mentally incompetent." The centuries-old, unclear laws and regulations also disproportionately affect people of color.
Illustration of the Queer Eye cast

Diving into Your Soul: Lessons from “Queer Eye”

"Queer Eye" has a fresh, therapeutic twist: Installment after installment, it sends the repeated messages: Take care of yourself. Be kind to yourself. You’re beautiful. You’re good. We love you. Love yourself. Or, in the words of Van Ness: Yass, queen!

An FDA Whistleblower’s Documents: Commerce, Corruption, and Death

In 2008, a reviewer of psychiatric drugs at the FDA, Ron Kavanagh, complained to Congress that the FDA was approving a new antipsychotic that was ineffective and yet had adverse effects that increased the risk of death. Twelve years later, a review of the whistleblower documents reveal an FDA approval process that can lead to the marketing of drugs sure to harm public health.

World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day 2020

This week on MIA Radio, we present the second part of our podcast to join in the events for World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day 2020...
A woman holding a sign that says LA Jails are the Largest Mental Health Institution in the Country."

Bedlam: Public Media, Power, and the Fight for Narrative Justice

A new mental health documentary awakens longstanding tensions around voice, representation, and the power to define problems and solutions.

Muzzled by Psychiatry in a Time of Crisis

The American Psychiatric Association and its former president, Jeffrey Lieberman, have used the Goldwater Rule to try to silence Yale psychiatrist Bandy Lee and colleagues who warned, in a collection of essays, about why President Trump is "dangerous." Why would a guild choose to do this?
Hospital entrance with no visitors sign.

Life Inside America’s Psychiatric Facilities During the Pandemic: Eyewitness Accounts

Insiders paint a picture of chaos and fear in public and private psychiatric hospitals across the country. "Now that she has been discharged, Sevigny is getting the truth out, just as the nurse asked her to do. She also plans to continue to organizing in her state, with and on behalf of those who continue to be subjected to dangerous conditions in the name of care."

America’s Psychiatric Facilities Are ‘Incubators’ for COVID-19

As the novel coronavirus continues to wreak havoc around the globe, whistleblowers at American psychiatric facilities paint a picture of mismanaged COVID-19 responses and lax safety protocols, putting patients, workers, and the surrounding communities in harm’s way. Some even allege coverups of deaths.

“Not Fragile”: Survivor-Led Mutual Aid Projects Flourish in a Time of Crisis

During the current pandemic, the practice of mutual aid—defined broadly as the ways that people join together to meet one another’s needs for survival and relationship—has become mainstream. Yet, often missing from major media coverage of mutual aid is any acknowledgment of its roots in movements led by marginalized people, including Black and Brown people, disabled people, mad people, and psychiatric survivors.

Mutual Support in an Age of Social Distancing

Connection, whether one-on-one or in groups, is at the heart of peer support. In a time when social distancing and stay-at-home orders proliferate, the Western Massachusetts Recovery Learning Community/Wildflower Alliance (WMRLC) is finding creative ways to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances dictated by the novel coronavirus.
cartoon drawing of many eyes on red background

Mental Health Apps: AI Surveillance Enters Our World

While the developers are promoting the apps as a public health initiative, they are effectively an AI that would be snooping on you at all times—ostensibly coming to know you better than you know yourself. And ultimately doing so for commercial purposes that will expand the psychiatric enterprise.
VA Secretary Robert Wilkie

An Open Letter to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie: A Plan for Deprescribing Veteran Suicides

Through my research and experiences, I've found that what the Veterans Administration has been doing to fight the veteran suicide epidemic isn't working and appears to be unintentionally exacerbating it. These problems are fixable. But I need your help.

The Whistleblower and Penn: A Final Accounting of Study 352

After 18 years, the full story of the scientific corruption in a study of paroxetine for bipolar disorder, and the psychiatrist who blew the whistle.

Prescribing an Epidemic: A Veteran’s Story

Had I known what I know now, I never would have taken any of these drugs, and I absolutely would not have taken a role in which my outreach efforts to get veterans into mental health treatment might place thousands of lives at risk.

Medication-Free Treatment in Norway: A Private Hospital Takes Center Stage

At the Hurdalsjøen Recovery Center in Norway, patients with a long history of psychiatric hospitalizations are tapering from their medications and, in a therapeutic environment that emphasizes a good diet, exercise, and asking patients "what do they want in life," are leaving their old lives as chronic patients behind.
veteran suicides

Screening + Drug Treatment = Increase in Veteran Suicides

For the past 15 years, the VA's suicide prevention efforts have focused on getting veterans screened and treated for psychiatric disorders, with antidepressants a first-line therapy. This effort has caused veteran suicide rates to steadily rise.
veterans do shakespeare

Veterans Find A Path to Healing Through Shakespeare

Veterans struggling with a diagnosis of PTSD, or depression and other difficulties find that learning to perform Shakespearean monologues, and developing their own dramatic monologues, can help them "unwire" from the traumas of war.
digital antipsychotic

The Rise of the Digital Asylum

The digital pill Abilify MyCite, which is now being introduced into the market, foretells of a future where such technology is used to monitor the behavior, location and "medication compliance" of a person 24 hours a day.

Mad Pride Rises in Mexico

The Mad Pride movement continues to spread around the world, with a first-ever march in Mexico City.

A Short History of Tardive Dyskinesia: 65 Years of Drug-Induced Brain Damage That Rolls...

Psychiatry has long turned a blind eye to the full scope of harm associated with TD. New TD drugs "work" by further impairing brain function.

The Latest “Breakthrough Therapy”: Expensive New Drugs for Tardive Dyskinesia

The increased prescribing of antipsychotics, which frequently cause a brain injury that manifests as tardive dyskinesia, has provided pharmaceutical companies with a lucrative new market opportunity.

An FDA Whistleblower’s Documents: Commerce, Corruption, and Death

In 2008, a reviewer of psychiatric drugs at the FDA, Ron Kavanagh, complained to Congress that the FDA was approving a new antipsychotic that was ineffective and yet had adverse effects that increased the risk of death. Twelve years later, a review of the whistleblower documents reveal an FDA approval process that can lead to the marketing of drugs sure to harm public health.

Do Antipsychotics Protect Against Early Death? A Review of the Evidence

Psychiatry is now claiming that research has shown that antipsychotics reduce mortality among the seriously mentally ill. A critical review of the literature reveals that this claim is best described as the the field's latest "delusion" about the merits of these drugs.

The Charade of New Drug Approvals for Schizophrenia

The FDA recently approved lumateperone for schizophrenia. A review of the clinical trials reveals a testing process that is fatally flawed, and a new drug coming to market that doesn't provide a clinically meaningful benefit.
veteran suicides

Screening + Drug Treatment = Increase in Veteran Suicides

For the past 15 years, the VA's suicide prevention efforts have focused on getting veterans screened and treated for psychiatric disorders, with antidepressants a first-line therapy. This effort has caused veteran suicide rates to steadily rise.

Suicide in the Age of Prozac

During the past twenty years, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and American psychiatry have adopted a "medicalized" approach to preventing suicide, claiming that antidepressants are protective against suicide. Yet, the suicide rate in the United States has increased 30% since 2000, a time of rising usage of antidepressants. A review of studies of the effects of mental health treatment and antidepressants on suicide reveals why this medicalized approach has not only failed, but pushed suicide rates higher.
antidepressants

Do Antidepressants Work? A People’s Review of the Evidence

After a meta-analysis of RCTs of antidepressants was published in Lancet, psychiatry stated that it proved that "antidepressants" work. However, effectiveness studies of real-world patients reveal the opposite: the medications increase the likelihood that patients will become chronically depressed, and disabled by the disorder.

Psychiatry Defends Its Antipsychotics: A Case Study of Institutional Corruption

Jeffrey LIeberman and colleagues have published a paper in the American Journal of Psychiatry stating that there is no evidence that psychiatric drugs cause long-term harm, and that the evidence shows that these drugs provide a great benefit to patients. A close examination of their review reveals that it is a classic example of institutional corruption, which was meant to protect guild interests.

The Case Against Antipsychotics

This review of the scientific literature, stretching across six decades, makes the case that antipsychotics, over the long-term, do more harm than good. The drugs lower recovery rates and worsen functional outcomes over longer periods of time.

What Does Our Species Require for a Healthy Life? An Interview with Peter Sterling

In his book "What is Health," Peter Sterling asks this provocative question: What does our species require for a healthy life? And can we achieve this with drugs?

Feminism, Psychoanalysis and Critical Psychology: An Interview with Bethany Morris

MIA's Micah Ingle interviews Bethany Morris about the psychoanalytic study of film and the history of the "monstrous feminine" in psychiatry.

Creative Maladjustment: An Interview with Donzaleigh Abernathy

Donzaleigh Abernathy—goddaughter of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.—shares her thoughts on the civil rights movement and the legacy of racism in the United States.

Uncomfortable Truths in Survivor Narratives: An Interview with Helen Spandler

MIA’s Ayurdhi Dhar interviews Helen Spandler about how psychiatric survivors challenge and change our thinking about mental health.

Jill Nickens – The Akathisia Alliance for Education and Research

This week on the Mad in America podcast we turn our attention to prescription-drug-induced akathisia and joining me to discuss this is Jill Nickens. Jill is the president and founder of the Akathisia Alliance for Education and Research, a nonprofit organization formed by people who have personal experience of akathisia.

Trauma and Mental Health in Social Movements: An Interview with Janice Haaken

MIA's Emaline Friedman interviews psychologist and filmmaker Janice Haaken about how mental health discourse impacts social movements.

Psychiatry and the Counterculture: An Interview with Health Historian Lucas Richert

Richard Sears interviews pharmaceutical industry scholar Lucas Richert about American counterculture and psychiatry in the 1970s.

Fascist Subjectivity and the Subhuman: An Interview with Critical Psychologist Thomas Teo

MIA's Tim Beck interviews critical psychologist Thomas Teo on how theory and research can do justice to the people it means to describe and explain.

Psychosocial Disability Rights and Digital Mental Health: An Interview with Piers Gooding

MIA's Emaline Friedman interviews legal scholar Piers Gooding on his work on disability rights and digital mental health technologies.

Rethinking Suicide Prevention: An Interview on Critical Suicide Studies with Jennifer White

MIA’s Samantha Lilly interviews critical youth suicidologist Jennifer White about what suicide prevention could look like outside of the medical model.

How Culture Influences Voice Hearing: An Interview with Stanford Anthropologist Tanya Luhrmann

Ayurdhi Dhar interviews Tanya Luhrmann about cultural differences in voice-hearing, diagnosis and damaged identities, and conflicts in psychiatry.

Surviving Antidepressants: An Interview with Adele Framer

That is the truth about withdrawal syndrome: It’s like a 50-50 chance that you’re going to have a problem. If you’re in the unlucky half, you’re gonna be really unlucky.

Can We Move Toward Mindful Medicine? An Interview with Integrative Psychiatrist Natalie Campo

MIA's Madison Natarajan interviews Natalie Campo about integrative psychiatry and holistic approaches to drug tapering and withdrawal.

Leading Psychology in Existential Times: An Interview with Kirk Schneider

MIA’s Justin Karter interviews humanistic-existential psychologist Kirk Schneider about how psychology can play a role in confronting the political, social, and climate crises facing humankind.

“I Found My Lion’s Roar”: Ro Speight on Combining Peer Support and Open Dialogue

MIA's Ana Florence interviews recovery advocate Ro Speight about her journey from receiving Peer Support to working as a facilitator in Peer Partnered Open Dialogue.

Psychiatry and the Selves We Might Become: An Interview with Sociologist Nikolas Rose

MIA’s Ayurdhi Dhar interviews the well-known sociologist of medicine, Nikolas Rose, about the role psychiatry plays in shaping how we manage ourselves and our world.

How to Know What We Don’t Know: An Interview with Psychologist and Novelist Jussi...

MIA's Gavin Crowell-Williamson interviews the neuropsychologist and novelist Jussi Valtonen about how novels can lead us to see the limits of our understanding.

Mental Health and Emotion in the Digital Age: An Interview with Ian Tucker

MIA's Tim Beck interviews psychologist Ian Tucker about the relationships between digital technologies, emotion, and mental health.

Bridging Critical and Conceptual Psychiatry: An Interview with Awais Aftab

MIA’s Justin Karter interviews psychiatrist Awais Aftab about how “conceptual competence” uses philosophy to transform psychiatry.

Exercise for Youth Mental Health in the Lockdown: Interview with Psychologist Scott Greenspan

School Psychologist Scott Greenspan discusses how to promote exercise and mental wellbeing for adolescents stuck indoors during the pandemic.

“Free Our People!” Ex-Psychiatric Patients Demand COVID-19 Accountability in State-Run Facilities

Residents and workers are dying from COVID-19 exposure in Massachusetts state hospitals. One group of ex-psychiatric patients and allies has had enough.

Capitol Hill Briefings Debunk Myth Linking Gun Violence to Mental Illness

The public is regularly led to believe that mass shootings are committed by people diagnosed with a serious mental illness. Researchers explain that is just plain wrong, and prevents our society addressing the most common causal factors.
Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders’ ‘Revolutionary’ Disability Plan Opposes Expanding Involuntary Treatment

Candidate Bernie Sanders' 'disability rights as civil rights' plan is distinctive in its explicit inclusion of people with psychiatric disabilities and diagnoses, an orientation that runs counter to prevailing policy discourse in the U.S. 
Trump at mental health summit

Trump Calls for “Keeping Very Dangerous People Off Our Streets” at Mental Health Summit

A common refrain from the pro-forced treatment advocates at the summit was that "four walls" are not the solution to the crisis. Dr. Drew slammed such efforts in California during his presentation: "The vast majority have serious mental illness and drug addiction. Four walls are not going to do anything, if they would even go in."
Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris’s ‘Mental Health’ Plan: Why It Still Matters

Harris’s plan was met with vociferous condemnation from psychiatric survivors, civil libertarians, and disability justice advocates, who vowed to fight it. While Harris has dropped out of the presidential race, the ideas behind her policy proposal have existed for decades, and are likely to endure.
RESPONSE Act

Here We Go Again: RESPONSE Act Pushes Forced Treatment of the “Mentally Ill” As...

In the name of preventing mass shootings, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced a bill that calls for "enhanced mental health services," including involuntary treatment and long-acting antipsychotic injections. It also calls for increased collaboration between mental health and law enforcement authorities, and promotes online monitoring of American students.

Congress Holds Historic Hearing on Childhood Trauma

On July 11, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform held its first-ever hearing on childhood trauma, featuring emotional testimony from survivor witnesses, as well as a number of prominent public health experts and government officials.
proposed act would address childhood trauma in america

Bipartisan “RISE from Trauma Act” Introduced to Address Childhood Trauma in America

The Resilience Investment, Support, and Expansion (RISE) From Trauma Act, legislation designed to increase support for children who have been exposed to Adverse Childhood Experiences, includes $50 million in funding for a “mental health in schools” program. Exactly what these programs would entail remains unclear.
Illustration of the Queer Eye cast

Diving into Your Soul: Lessons from “Queer Eye”

"Queer Eye" has a fresh, therapeutic twist: Installment after installment, it sends the repeated messages: Take care of yourself. Be kind to yourself. You’re beautiful. You’re good. We love you. Love yourself. Or, in the words of Van Ness: Yass, queen!
covid in a psychiatric hospital

Reporting the COVID Crisis at Psychiatric Hospitals: A Missed Opportunity

In its coverage of the impact of COVID on psychiatric hospitals, the media missed opportunities to challenge stereotypes and interrogate problems with current carceral approaches to mental health treatment.
medical mask

Inside a Pandemic: Media Struggle to Define What’s Normal

Press coverage of the effect of COVID-19 on mental health sends a confusing message: Becoming anxious about it is normal if you are mentally healthy but a sign of illness if you’re not. Although apparently some "normal" people might experience so much anxiety that they, too, could now be seen as mentally ill.

The Carter Center’s Guide for Mental Health Journalism: Don’t Question, Follow the Script

The Carter Center’s Journalism Resource Guide on Behavioral Health is a manual for docile journalism. There is no encouragement to be skeptical of the powerful in psychiatry. Rather, the guide provides reporters with a template to follow that reifies conventional wisdom, offering a message similar to what the American Psychiatric Association has sounded for years.
Britney Spears

The Media’s New Hashtag: #GuardianshipIsGood for Britney Spears

Recent press coverage of top star Britney Spears, who remains under a personal and professional guardianship, reflects conventional attitudes about “mental illness” that are both stigmatizing and encourage legislation that promotes forced treatment.

The Media Scolds Marianne Williamson (And Gets It Wrong)

Journalists have called Marianne Williams’ comments on depression dangerous and irresponsible. A closer look reveals that her “opinions” on mental health treatment are more in line with the science, and that the know-it-all assertions by Cooper and colleagues are belied by it.
the new yorker

The New Yorker Peers into the Psychiatric Abyss… And Loses Its Nerve

The New Yorker's story on Laura Delano and psychiatric drug withdrawal is a glass-half-full story: It addresses a problem in psychiatry and yet hides the deeper story to be told. A story of how her recovery resulted from seeing herself within a counter-narrative that tells of the harm that psychiatry can do.

Adolescent Suicide and The Black Box Warning: STAT Gets It All Wrong

STAT recently published an opinion piece arguing that the black box warning on antidepressants has led to an increase in adolescent suicide. It is easily debunked, and reveals once again how our society is regularly misled about research findings related to psychiatric drugs. STAT has lent its good name to a false story that, unfortunately, will resonate loudly with the public.

Will the Mental Health Industry Undermine the Community-Based Climate Change Revolution?

As mainstream mental health ideas and approaches are increasingly incorporated by community resilience-building groups, critics warn about the dangers of pathologizing and medicalizing reactions to climate change.