‘WA Attorney General: Please don’t sell our family home of 30yrs – don’t make my kids homeless’

ZqLhKcpfLOAFEhi-556x313-noPadSomething pissed me off today! I came across Valerie’s Story on change.org and immediately signed the petition. My comment was: “This situation is disgusting and is a clear human rights issue. Why are we so backward and so willing to disregard basic human rights here in WA?”

Please read and sign the petition. I don’t know the lady, but this story does not surprise me.

‘A few years ago I was at a desperately low ebb in my life. I was a 40-something single mother of three kids who had just fought my way out of an abusive relationship.  I worked hard at a range of jobs (book keeper, courier driver, Avon rep) but money was always tight.

Then I somehow fell into the darkest years of my life. I fell in love with a man who used drugs and I started using too, soon after I started selling some (to people already using) to fund my habit and to make ends meet. I know now it was wrong. I wasn’t thinking clearly but I became trapped in this world and didn’t know how to get out.

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‘Patient Centred-Care Doesn’t Go Far Enough: We Need Patient-Perspective Care’ by Tim Carey

timAn excellent article by Tim Carey on Mad in America.

‘A growing appreciation of the importance of involving people in their own health care has seen the development of initiatives such as “patient-centred care.” Patient-centred care has been defined as “providing care that is respectful of and responsive to individual patient preferences, needs, and values, and ensuring that patient values guide all clinical decisions.” (Institute of Medicine, 2014)

While this definition seems reasonable enough, it appears to be very difficult to translate into practice; particularly in the area of mental health.

It is not always clear in mental health, for instance, that it is patients’ values that guide all clinical decisions. I experienced some of this when I began to develop a system of mental health service delivery which I came to call “patient-led” treatment.

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‘Human Rights Are Fundamental to Good Mental Health Services’ by Paul Farmer

Unknown-2It’s good to see a reminder about Human Rights, in particular in relation to mental health services. This article which appeared in the Huffington Post is from the Chief Executive of the mental health charity Mind.

‘Thankfully most people never have to worry about their human rights. For many, they can seem fairly distant: something for lawyers and politicians to worry about, with little impact on our own everyday lives.

When we do hear about human rights in the media it’s usually via a story that links them with supposedly ‘undeserving’ groups or used as a proxy for anti-European views. But this picture hides the uncomfortable truth that people in the UK do still have their rights abused.

People with mental health problems often fall through the human rights safety net. The mental health system has extensive powers to detain people, to deprive them of their liberty, to restrain them and to force people to take life-changing drugs.

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‘Psychiatry: We Need a Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Mental Health’ by Leah Harris

lharris‘Speech written for the protest of the American Psychiatric Association – May 4, 2014 

My name is Leah Harris and I’m a survivor. I am a survivor of psychiatric abuse and trauma. 

My parents died largely as a result of terrible psychiatric practice. Psychiatric practice that took them when they were young adults and struggling with experiences they didn’t understand. Experiences that were labeled as schizophrenia. Bipolar disorder.

My parents were turned from people into permanent patients. They suffered the indignities of forced treatment. Seclusion and restraint. Forced electroshock. Involuntary outpatient commitment. And a shocking amount of disabling heavy-duty psychiatric drugs. And they died young, from a combination of the toxic effects of overmedication, and broken spirits.

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Stigma and Discrimination of Injecting Drug Users

“I think what we need to do is to just talk about fundamental rights. I think it is such a basic right that someone who is coming for healthcare should receive that healthcare without any judgement.”

An excellent video from the Australian Injecting & Illicit Drug Users League (AIVL). ‘A short video of professionals and drug users discussing the impact of stigma and discrimination towards people who inject drugs.’

‘Challenging the Status Quo’ by Maria Bradshaw

lfennellI was greatly moved by this recent article on Mad in America. Having spent 25 year working as a neuroscientist and interacting with drug companies and psychiatrists, i can see the frustrations (and the hypocrisy of the system) here:

‘In 2009, my friend Leonie’s 22-year-old son Shane killed himself and another young man after taking Citalopram for 17 days.

Shane is the kind of son every mother dreams of. A student at prestigious Trinity College in Dublin, he was devoted to his younger brothers and sister, regularly gave money and the clothes off his back to homeless people, didn’t drink or smoke and was kind, handsome, gentle and much loved by his family, friends and college professors.

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‘About Mad in America’ by Robert Whitaker

“We started Mad in America as a webzine in February of 2012 and we launched it with the thought that it would become a forum for rethinking psychiatry and also for building a community of people, an international community of people interested in that topic.”

I love the Mad in America website and have been inspired by Robert Whitaker’s books. We’ll be referring to content on this website a great deal. In this short film clip, Robert describes the purpose, history, achievements, community, and future plans of Mad In America.

‘Nelson Mandela: uniting humanity around the world’ from The Elders

The Elders are deeply saddened by the death of their founder Nelson Mandela, and join millions around the world who were inspired by his courage and touched by his compassion.

Promoting community led solutions to indigenous youth suicide

I have just received the email below. Last week, I attended an aboriginal healing retreat and had spiritual experiences that confirmed my commitment to helping the Indigenous people of Australia tackle addiction and mental health problems and other consequences of historical trauma.

This email reminds me of the scale of the problem. The video touched my inner soul. I am so happy I have made this commitment. I know the journey ahead is a long one.

Please support this cause, first by sending this blog and the website link out to as many people as possible. Thank you.

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