Art and Transformation: Creating Justice in Mental Health
An upcoming conference focuses on the perspective of artists and activists in answering what it means to have a just mental health care system: Who decides who is labelled as mad?
Researchers Propose “Metaphor Analysis” for Understanding the Experiences of People who...
A new study, published in the journal Psychosis: Psychological, Social and Integrative Approaches, explores ways that metaphor operates in the lived-experiences of individuals who...
Ten Simple Things We Can Do Immediately to Reduce Suicide
In this piece for Unthinkable, Dr. Jacob Z. Hess describes ten ways we can all help to reduce suicide, including promoting self-determination and choice in...
Can Therapists Really Share Their Power?
From Psychology Today: It has become increasingly trendy for therapists to talk about sharing their power or even giving away their power to clients. However,...
Why Mental Health Organizations Should Endorse the Movement for Black Lives
The psychiatric survivor movement, which then became the consumer movement and recovery movement and now the peer movement, was born in a time of civil rights and Black organizing in the US. It was Black people in the civil rights movement who inspired all of us to make social change real, and psychiatric patients and progressive professionals took up that inspiration. In a very real way, Black protest made psychiatric protest possible, which then led to the modern consumer/peer/recovery movement.
REFOCUS Psychosis Recovery Intervention Ready for Trials
A new pro-recovery manualized intervention – called the REFOCUS intervention – has been developed and will now be evaluated in a multisite randomized control trials. The strengths-based intervention, which focuses on promoting relationships, is outlined in the latest issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry.
“10 Things I’d Tell My Former (Medicated) Self”
On The New York Times Opinionator Blog, Diana Spechler has written a series entitled “Going Off,” relating her experience transitioning to a life without...
From Blaming the Patient to Blaming the Brain
The idea of schizophrenogenic or refrigerators mothers was an embarrassing era for psychiatry, and so psychiatrists were only too happy to explore the brain and the genome to unlock the secrets of mental illness. Today, the rhetoric has shifted away from intrapsychical conflicts and traumatic ruptures, and instead aberrant neurochemistry or delinquent genes are held as the source of mental illness. Regardless, the message is clear: mental illness is beyond our control and requires psychiatric intervention. The moral authority the mental health industry claims over our mental life rests on this claim.
Experiencing the Possibility of Change in the Digital Age
If you are reading this, you are probably involved in the mental health system. You might consider yourself a patient. You might consider yourself a professional or perhaps a caregiver. Maybe you consider yourself a survivor of the system. If you are reading this, you are probably interested in change. The interest of change, and the exploration of its possibilities, unites the readers of this site.
Opening the Dialogue: Can Families and Survivors Heal Together?
If we believe that emotional problems are primarily disorders of the brain, then perhaps taking a “fill-in-the-blank” medical history is sufficient. However, if we believe that emotional crises and dis-ease are problems that exist between people, in our sticky or not-so-sticky web of relationships, then whether families, survivors and those in crisis can heal together is a much more relevant, if still complicated, question. Perhaps the most honest answer to this question is: “It depends..."
About Being Paul Revere
A reader asked why more psychiatrists don’t speak up louder against psychiatric drugs. I’d like to think there’s someone in charge who could sound the alarm. It’s nice to imagine that working doctors have the power and freedom to speak up in a forceful and visible manner. If such a doctor exists, it’s not a psychiatrist who works in the trenches. A working doctor today is not in a position to be Paul Revere.
We Are The Ones
My public writing has brought my mother and I closer together than we’ve been in decades. There have been disagreements. But now, my almost ninety-year-old mother tells me she reads everything I write. She recently told me that she’s glad I see things so clearly.
Backsliding in the Bay State
The drumbeat for more "Risk Management" just gets louder. And nowhere is this so alarmingly evident as a new policy proposed by the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (DMH) in November 2012.
Yesterday, Dr. Daniel Fisher emailed and asked my thoughts with regard to “recovery”. Even before I walked away from prescription-pad-only psychiatric work, others asked me about this. Other treatment providers, designated patients and family members asked what I thought they could expect to happen next and what they should do to make things better. I told them that chemical interventions are not the only, or even the essential, tool for recovery.
Many Small Actions Bring Big Results
We poison ever growing numbers of children with chemicals known to cause aggression and suicidality. We routinely drug children with these so they’ll sit still and be quiet in classrooms. Now, we drug babies for crying and 3 year olds for acting frightened while locked away from their families in day care centers. Those unsuccessful in school environments are incarcerated. It 's a well-worn path.
Building a Bridge to Hope
Hope heals. Thousand of years of experience and, more recently, numerous hope studies, prove this to be true. Yet hope is still a 4-letter word in many mental health settings. How can we build a bridge to hope from hope-stealing physical and emotional pain, hopeless diagnoses and prognoses, and hope-numbing side effects?
Common Sense, Deferred: Lessons From the “Fresh Air” Fight, Part Two
How and why the right to fresh air is continuously blocked by money, politics and ignorance. Plus, personal reflections on how nature heals.
What Are We Recovering From? Making a Case for Recovery
Is “recovery” a useful concept or is it overused, co-opted or simply not an accurate way to describe the process of learning to work with and through madness and life’s challenges. Mother Bear Community Action Network explores these arguments and makes a case for recovery.
Common Sense, Deferred: Lessons From the “Fresh Air” Fight, Part One
How does a straightforward, common-sense idea - guaranteeing the elemental pleasures of fresh air and access to nature to those in inpatient and residential psychiatric/mental health facilities – repeatedly fail on a policy level?
Do I Have Too Many Questions This Morning?
What if it were the sun that could cure you; would you have the courage to go and find it? Would you wear sunscreen? If...
Risk Management vs. Dignity of Risk
What does “risk” really mean? Is it something to be afraid of and avoided at all costs, or something to be embraced?
Shanghai’d in Recovery
I am honored to share the story of one family that has learned about the power of language, hope and letting go with love so that every family member can grab on to a life worth living.
The Pond, Learning and Humility
What an amazing ride I’ve had in the past few days on the tsunami of commentary from my previous post. While it’s been fun (dare...
Call Me “The Doctor”
I seem to have generated unexpected ire with my biographical information. This deserves more than just a few lines in the reply section. When...
A Road Map to Hope
In my last blog, invited readers to consider sharing their families’ recovery stories and to open to the possibility of the healing that is available when we connect with each other through this sharing. I would like to share one of these stories with all of you.
12Page 1 of 2