Tuesday, June 2, 2020

In the past decade, suicide has become an epidemic plaguing the military and veteran community, with upwards of 20 suicides a day by veterans, service members, Guard Members and Reservists. To play a role in combatting this crisis, Mad in America has launched the Veterans, Service Members & Military Families Initiative, under the editorship of Derek Blumke,  to help the community become better educated and to assist service members, veterans and their families to identify alternatives to the dominant drug-based model of mental health. If you have queries about this page please get in touch with Derek.

Editor's Corner

Derek Blumke

Welcome home to every service member, veteran, family member or supporter who has ever felt not listened to. Welcome home to every person who has felt their prescriber heard only a series of symptoms, and not a person having real responses to real experiences and real challenges. This page is meant to be a place where you can learn more about yourself through the stories of others, and where you can help others, simply by sharing your story. 

A person is not defined by the aggregate of their symptoms. Instead a person is a reflection of the communities they are a part of; their openness to see good in humanity; and their hope for all of us to become better through the connectedness to others. Welcome home.

silhouette of soldiers

The Persistent, Misdirected Search for Causes of Trauma-based Suffering

In the United States and other countries that have a military, there is often a great deal of talk about supporting veterans, but way too often, research aimed at learning what will be helpful is misguided and can even be harmful. The same applies to nonveterans who have been through traumatic experiences. Two new studies exemplify such wrongheaded approaches.

Paula J. Caplan – Listen to a Veteran

This week on MIA Radio, we chat with Paula J. Caplan, clinical and research psychologist, author of books and plays, playwright, actor, director, and activist. Paula is also a passionate and steadfast advocate for service members, veterans and their families.
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.

David Joslin – Remedy Alpine, Giving Veterans the Power to Seek Personal Discovery

An interview with David Joslin. David is a retired army medic, having been deployed to Iraq in 2003 and Afghanistan in 2008. David currently works as a senior healthcare administrator and he has co-founded Remedy Alpine, a Veterans therapeutic recreation non-profit dedicated to providing wilderness therapy adventures in Alaska.

Amanda Burrill: Self-Advocacy and Self-Belief – Escaping Psychiatric Drugs

An interview with Amanda Burrill, who, after a successful career as a Surface Warfare Officer and Rescue Swimmer in the US Navy, was on track to continue her career as a professional triathlete and marathon runner. Around the time of her discharge, she was prescribed a cocktail of psychiatric medications that caused physical injuries, leading to an early end to her rapidly accelerating career.

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.

From the Archives

Support This Initiative

Mad in America Foundation needs your support to sustain this resource and critical psychiatry forum for veterans, military members, and their families. Please donate here, and check off the veterans box to support this initiative. — Derek Blumke

Get Involved

If you have a personal story to tell, or are involved in psychiatric care in some way, please send an inquiry to us.

On Suicide

The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and the American Legion have begun to seek answers as to the role of antidepressant medications in causing suicides of service members, veterans and their families. Check back soon to learn more about what they are working on to save the lives of those within this community.

For more info on suicide and antidepressants, see MIA report on Suicide in the Age of Prozac.

Resources

There are multiple resources on Mad in America for researching the effects of psychiatric drugs, alternative non-drug therapies, and withdrawal from such medications. These various resources are listed in the menu bar under drugs and parents. Specifically:

In-depth reviews of antipsychotics and antidepressants; non-drug therapies for anxiety, depression and PTSD; and withdrawal resources, includes a directory of providers who will support people who want to taper from psychiatric medications. The Parents section provides similar reviews of treatments for children and adolescents.

In addition, you can access our archival reports of findings about psychiatric drugs that have been published in peer-reviewed journals.