‘Coyote’s Swing: A Memoir and Critique of Mental Hygiene in Native America’ by David Edward Walker

I am pleased to announce the release of David Walker’s new book Coyote’s Swing, in which he condemns the U.S. mental health system’s partnership with the pharmaceutical industry and presents research on this system’s history of complicity with Native oppression.

Here is the press release, author biography, and a review (NB. I have broken up some of the long paragraphs to make online reading easier):

Psychologist’s Experiences  and Research Expose How Western Mental Health Ideology Threatens Native Lives and Culture

‘PULLMAN, Wash.— David Edward Walker combines firsthand experiences as a consulting psychologist with rare history and sociocultural critique to expose how the U.S. mental health system reframes Native American reactions to oppression and marginalization into “mental disorders” and “mental illness.”

Read More ➔

‘Healing is in Our Stories’ by Deron Drumm RIP

ddrummHere’s an excellent article by the late Deron Drumm about the importance of Stories in helping people recover and change the mental health system which appeared on Mad in America.

‘”It’s important that we share our experiences with other people. Your story will heal you and your story will heal somebody else. When you tell your story, you free yourself and give other people permission to acknowledge their own story.” Iyanla Vanzant

I have spent a lot of time talking to politicians, media members and those working in the mental health system about the failings of the current method of viewing and treating emotional distress. I have come to the conversations armed with stats and outcomes about the bio-medical paradigm. I have found that the people I speak with do not doubt the facts conveyed. They seem to agree that the current state of affairs is not good. The difference is that I think the tragic outcomes demonstrate the failure of the current system. The folks I talk to tend to think things are so bad because “mental illness is just that serious.”

Read More ➔

‘Complexity’ by Jonathan Keyes

PdxJonThis powerful blog is one of the best I have read in some time. Jonathan recognises the challenges we face in trying to improve the mental health system. Essential reading!

‘The movement to radically reform the modern mental health system is rooted in a desire to offer people going through emotional distress a wider variety of options for care.  As a society we have largely shifted to a model of care that is limited to a select few options that primarily advocates the use of strong psychotropic drugs and simplistic diagnostic labels for complex and widely varying narratives. 

Recently I read that from 1998 to 2011 there has been a 400 percent rise in the prescription of antidepressants.  Likewise in Canada, at least 60 percent of female prison inmates are prescribed psychiatric drugs.   

Most people receive psychiatric medication from their general practitioner.  The stigma of going on an antidepressant has been lessened to such a degree that one out of nine people in the US now takes this class of drug.

Read More ➔