‘PROTEST PSYCHIATRY – My Newest Film, Free!’ by Daniel Mackler

‘I just made a new film, called PROTEST PSYCHIATRY, on the psychiatric survivor-lead protest of the American Psychiatric Association’s annual meeting in New York City.  And I’m thrilled by how it turned out.  For starters, I filmed it on no budget whatsoever, created the entire film in three days, and have uploaded it straight to Youtube, so it’s freeeeeee!

This film, for me, was an experiment.  I have been feeling lost as a filmmaker for the past year or more.  I think the big reason has been the process:  it’s huge and expensive and time-consuming.  Each film has absorbed months, literally months, of my life.  Well, all that changed five days ago.

Five days ago (May 2) I was hit with the inspiration bug:  to make a film a new way.

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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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‘People with psych labels suffer discrimination: mental health professionals are often guilty of such prejudice’ by Monica Cassani

Epiphany - 2014-03-23_240560_sense-of-place.jpgExcellent posting from one of my favourite blogs.

‘People with psychiatric labels suffer discrimination that is not only demeaning but can also be dangerous.

A 2007 UK study by the Royal College of Psychiatrists revealed that prejudicial treatment of mentally ill patients extends to physical medical care; they receive poorer quality of care and doctors spend less time with them possibly leading to higher rates of death and preventable disease.

Though tragic, the more scandalous aspect of the phenomena is the fact that mental health professionals apply the same prejudices to those whom they attempt to treat. The worst thing someone in mental distress can experience is dehumanizing treatment from other human beings who are supposed to be caring for them.

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‘Neutralising Suffering: How the Medicalisation of Distress Obliterates Meaning and Creates Profit’ by Joanna Moncrieff

jmoncrieffThere is so much great content on Mad in America. Here’s a new piece from British psychiatrist Joanna Moncrieff, one I wholeheartedly endorse. In fact, this blog is essential reading. The original article has all the references.

‘People have used psychoactive substances to dull and deaden pain, misery and suffering since time immemorial, but only recently, in the last few decades, have people been persuaded that what they are doing in this situation is rightly thought of as taking a remedy for an underlying disease.

The spread of the use of prescription drugs has gone hand in hand with the increasing medicalization of everyday life, and a corresponding loss of the previous relationship that people had with psychoactive substances.

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“Healing Voices” Promo

I don’t know where this film is in terms of production but it looks as if it will be very good.

‘HEALING VOICES is a feature length documentary currently in Production, examining mainstream mental healthcare in the US, and the experience commonly labeled as “psychosis”.’

‘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.

‘Psychiatry bible blamed for manufacturing a host of ghosts in complex inner human world’ by Cherrill Hicks

rsz_1gary_2694012bA brilliant article for you to read at the end of your work week, focusing on the medicalisation of psychological problems and the bad use of diagnosis. I saw this published  in the Sydney Morning Herald, from an original source in the Daily Telegraph in the UK.

Has the drive to identify all illnesses created a ‘fiction’ of psychiatry?
In his riveting tale of how psychiatrists ”medicalise” human suffering, Gary Greenberg recounts that, in 1850, a physician called Samuel Cartwright reported a new disease in the highly respected New Orleans Medical and Surgical Journal.

Cartwright named it drapetomania, from the ancient Greek drapetes for a runaway slave; in other words, here was a disease that ”caused Negroes to run away”. It had one primary diagnostic symptom – ”absconding from service” – and a few secondary ones, including ”sulkiness and dissatisfaction just prior to flight”.

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Development of the recovery model in the mental health field, Part 1

rsz_emil_kraepelin_1926A recovery revolution is occurring in both the addiction and mental health arenas that is challenging practices within both fields. In various places in different countries, recovery is becoming the concept around which addiction and mental health systems of care are being organised.

A transformation of systems of care is underway, shifting away from systems based on pathology to ones that promote wellness and recovery. Hopefully, these changes will also see a much needed bridging between the addiction and mental health fields.

Where did this interest in recovery arise? And why do we feel that we need to change our present systems of care? In this, and in following blogs, I will look briefly at the development of the recovery model in the mental health field.

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Rights of the consumer

2007_0116walpole0118‘I am writing a short piece on the Survivor (or Consumer) Movement in Psychiatry at the moment.

This Movement arose initially from people who had received psychiatric treatment speaking out about what they considered to be the less helpful or abusive aspects of their treatment. They have tried to change the system so that poor practices and outright abuses cannot continue and impact negatively on other people.

Whilst writing this piece, I came across an article by Sally Clay, A Personal History of the Consumer Movement, which is well worth a read. How many things described here are relevant to people’s experiences in the addiction treatment field?

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