freakoutcrazy

Blog des AK Psychiatriekritik der NFJ Berlin

Thinking Upstream: Winning Real Mental Health Reform By Joining the Anti-Corruption Movement

At the end of my talk at the American Psychiatric Association Institute on Psychiatric Services, a psychiatrist in the crowded lecture room put his hand up and posed a surprising challenge: Why was I so concerned about reforming psychiatry and ending iatrogenic harm from medications, diagnosis, and forced treatment when there are so many other issues in society to worry about?

Looking back, the answer was obvious: because psychiatry harmed me personally, and because I saw so many others harmed (including both of my parents), I was inspired to make a difference. I wanted to share what I learned so other people wouldn’t go through what I went through. Like many people who endured injustice personally, I was motivated to do something about it.

An obvious reply now, but not the reply I gave at the time.

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What the Research Has Told Us About Peer-Run Respite Houses: The Second Story Story

The Second Story Peer Respite House, located in Santa Cruz, California, is completing their five-year funding cycle with a Mental Health Transformation Grant awarded by SAMHSA. The intent was to implement and evaluate the effectiveness of peer respites in promoting wellness and supporting individuals experiencing psychological distress through community-based alternatives to psychiatric emergency services.

When Second Story opened its doors in the fall of 2011, we were the first peer respite house in California, and the seventh peer respite in the nation. The experience of “transformation” has been alive and well in Santa Cruz County over the past five years as the community joined together, built new collaborations, flattened traditional hierarchies, and embraced the core values of Shery Mead’s model and practice of Intentional Peer Support.

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The Spurious Chemical Imbalance Theory is Still Alive and Well

On April 5, 2015, Scott Alexander, MD, a trainee psychiatrist, posted an article titled Chemical Imbalance on his website Slate Star Codex.  (The writer tells us that Scott Alexander is a blog handle and not his real name, but for convenience, I will refer to him as Dr. Alexander.)

Dr. Alexander begins by noting that there have been a number of articles recently that have criticized psychiatry for “botching the ‘chemical imbalance’ theory.”

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Allen Frances and the Spurious Medicalization of Everyday Problems

On April 5, Allen Frances MD, published an article on the Huffington Post blog.  The title is Can We Replace Misleading Terms Like ‘Mental Illness,’ ‘Patient,’ and ‘Schizophrenia’  It’s an interesting piece, and it raises some fundamental issues.

Here are some quotes from the article, interspersed with my comments.

“Those of us who worked on DSM IV learned first-hand and painfully the limitations of the written word and how it can be tortured and twisted in damaging daily usage, especially when there is a profit to be had.”

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Antipsychiatry, (Ex)consumers, Peers, and ‘This Movement’: Assembling the Histories of Reform and Resistance, Part 1

Within the communities that surround Mad in America one is likely to hear reference to ‘the movement.’ The basic meaning of this phrase seems clear enough. The movement broadly refers to the groups of people actively rethinking the mental health system, and the treatment of persons labeled as mentally ill, in the United States and abroad. Upon further inspection, however, we realize that there is no centralized ethos uniting these groups. There may be consensus that the current mental health models are troublesome, but within each subset of ‘the movement’ there are many different perspectives about such troubles’ causes and solutions.

In recent years many articles and books have been published, and many conferences held, outlining various problems facing the mental health system in this country. Each person speaking out seems to have their own solution to these problems. There does not appear, however, to be any work that outlines, compares, and synthesizes the broad array of what we call ‘the movement,’ as a whole, with all its the varying proposed solutions, perspectives, and reform initiatives.

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