Saturday, April 4, 2020

MIA Reports

In-depth reporting on stories and issues related to all aspects of psychiatry and its impact on society today.

Mutual Support in an Age of Social Distancing

Connection, whether one-on-one or in groups, is at the heart of peer support. In a time when social distancing, shelter-in-place, and stay-at-home orders proliferate,...
cartoon drawing of many eyes on red background

Mental Health Apps: AI Surveillance Enters Our World

While the developers are promoting the apps as a public health initiative, they are effectively an AI that would be snooping on you at all times—ostensibly coming to know you better than you know yourself. And ultimately doing so for commercial purposes that will expand the psychiatric enterprise.

Psychology is Not What You Think: An Interview with Critical Psychologist Ian Parker

MIA’s Ayurdhi Dhar interviews Ian Parker about critical psychology, discourse and political action, and whether psychology has anything left to offer.
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.
Laysha Ostrow

Live and Learn: An Interview with Laysha Ostrow

MIA’s Peter Simons interviews Laysha Ostrow about her mental health research and consulting company, the inclusion of peer specialists in mental health care, and her personal experience with the mental health system.

The Carter Center’s Guide for Mental Health Journalism: Don’t Question, Follow the Script

The Carter Center’s Journalism Resource Guide on Behavioral Health is a manual for docile journalism. There is no encouragement to be skeptical of the powerful in psychiatry. Rather, the guide provides reporters with a template to follow that reifies conventional wisdom, offering a message similar to what the American Psychiatric Association has sounded for years.

“Reimagining Psychiatry:” An Interview with Peter Stastny

Peter Stastny is a New York-based psychiatrist, documentary filmmaker, and a co-founder of the International Network toward Alternatives and Recovery (INTAR). He has been...

Moving Mental Health Work Away From Diagnosis: Sarah Kamens and Peter Kinderman on New...

MIA's Justin Karter interviews two leaders of the Task Force on Diagnostic Alternatives, a group of mental health professionals who have issued an open letter demanding a new look at psychiatric diagnosis.

Capitol Hill Briefings Debunk Myth Linking Gun Violence to Mental Illness

The public is regularly led to believe that mass shootings are committed by people diagnosed with a serious mental illness. Researchers explain that is just plain wrong, and prevents our society addressing the most common causal factors.
Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders’ ‘Revolutionary’ Disability Plan Opposes Expanding Involuntary Treatment

Candidate Bernie Sanders' 'disability rights as civil rights' plan is distinctive in its explicit inclusion of people with psychiatric disabilities and diagnoses, an orientation that runs counter to prevailing policy discourse in the U.S. 

Psychology and Poverty: An Interview with APA President Rosie Phillips Davis

MIA’s Gavin Crowell-Williamson interviews psychologist Rosie Phillips Davis about her presidential initiative to address deep poverty.

The Charade of New Drug Approvals for Schizophrenia

The FDA recently approved lumateperone for schizophrenia. A review of the clinical trials reveals a testing process that is fatally flawed, and a new drug coming to market that doesn't provide a clinically meaningful benefit.
prison

The Management of Captive Populations with Psychiatric Drugs: An Interview with Anthony Ryan Hatch

Dr. Anthony Ryan Hatch is a sociologist and associate professor of Science in Society, African American studies and Environmental Studies at Wesleyan University, who...

Opening Doors in the Borderlands: An Interview with Liberation Psychologist Mary Watkins

MIA’s Micah Ingle interviews Mary Watkins about reorienting psychology toward liberation and social justice.

The Whistleblower and Penn: A Final Accounting of Study 352

After 18 years, the full story of the scientific corruption in a study of paroxetine for bipolar disorder, and the psychiatrist who blew the whistle.
Trump at mental health summit

Trump Calls for “Keeping Very Dangerous People Off Our Streets” at Mental Health Summit

A common refrain from the pro-forced treatment advocates at the summit was that "four walls" are not the solution to the crisis. Dr. Drew slammed such efforts in California during his presentation: "The vast majority have serious mental illness and drug addiction. Four walls are not going to do anything, if they would even go in."

Healing Youth with Nature and Connection: An Interview with Peter Mayfield

An interview with Peter Mayfield, founder and Executive Director of the Gateway Mountain Center. Peter talks of his journey from mountaineering to his role as an educator and mentor, and how enabling children and adolescents to connect with nature has such a profound effect on their health and wellbeing.
Britney Spears

The Media’s New Hashtag: #GuardianshipIsGood for Britney Spears

Recent press coverage of top star Britney Spears, who remains under a personal and professional guardianship, reflects conventional attitudes about “mental illness” that are both stigmatizing and encourage legislation that promotes forced treatment.

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.
Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris’s ‘Mental Health’ Plan: Why It Still Matters

Harris’s plan was met with vociferous condemnation from psychiatric survivors, civil libertarians, and disability justice advocates, who vowed to fight it. While Harris has dropped out of the presidential race, the ideas behind her policy proposal have existed for decades, and are likely to endure.

Mutual Support in an Age of Social Distancing

Connection, whether one-on-one or in groups, is at the heart of peer support. In a time when social distancing, shelter-in-place, and stay-at-home orders proliferate,...
cartoon drawing of many eyes on red background

Mental Health Apps: AI Surveillance Enters Our World

While the developers are promoting the apps as a public health initiative, they are effectively an AI that would be snooping on you at all times—ostensibly coming to know you better than you know yourself. And ultimately doing so for commercial purposes that will expand the psychiatric enterprise.
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.

The Whistleblower and Penn: A Final Accounting of Study 352

After 18 years, the full story of the scientific corruption in a study of paroxetine for bipolar disorder, and the psychiatrist who blew the whistle.

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.

Medication-Free Treatment in Norway: A Private Hospital Takes Center Stage

At the Hurdalsjøen Recovery Center in Norway, patients with a long history of psychiatric hospitalizations are tapering from their medications and, in a therapeutic environment that emphasizes a good diet, exercise, and asking patients "what do they want in life," are leaving their old lives as chronic patients behind.
veteran suicides

Screening + Drug Treatment = Increase in Veteran Suicides

For the past 15 years, the VA's suicide prevention efforts have focused on getting veterans screened and treated for psychiatric disorders, with antidepressants a first-line therapy. This effort has caused veteran suicide rates to steadily rise.
veterans do shakespeare

Veterans Find A Path to Healing Through Shakespeare

Veterans struggling with a diagnosis of PTSD, or depression and other difficulties find that learning to perform Shakespearean monologues, and developing their own dramatic monologues, can help them "unwire" from the traumas of war.
digital antipsychotic

The Rise of the Digital Asylum

The digital pill Abilify MyCite, which is now being introduced into the market, foretells of a future where such technology is used to monitor the behavior, location and "medication compliance" of a person 24 hours a day.

Mad Pride Rises in Mexico

The Mad Pride movement continues to spread around the world, with a first-ever march in Mexico City.
AOT

Andrew Rich: “I Didn’t Know Stuff Like This Existed”

In this second part of MIA’s report on compulsory outpatient treatment orders, Michael Simonson tells of how he came to report on this topic, the results from MIA’s survey of people who have experienced such forced treatment, his interviews with several of the survey respondents, and more on Andrew Rich’s life.

Twenty Years After Kendra’s Law: The Case Against AOT

The proponents of compulsory outpatient treatment claim that it leads to better outcomes for the recipients, and protects society from violent acts by the "seriously mentally ill." Those claims are belied by history, science, and a critical review of the relevant research.
adverse childhood experiences

Adverse Childhood Experiences: When Will the Lessons of the ACE Study Inform Societal Care?

The ACE study tells of how adverse childhood experiences increase the risk of psychological and physical problems in adulthood. When will we start incorporating these findings into public health policy and medical care?

William Styron: His Struggles with Psychiatry and Its Pills

Author William Styron is often remembered for speaking about depression as an illness. But a review of his life reveals that psychiatric drugs may have triggered and even worsened his depressive episodes.

MIA Survey: Ex-patients Tell of Force, Trauma and Sexual Abuse in America’s Mental Hospitals

In a MIA survey of people who had been patients in mental hospitals, nearly 500 respondents told of an experience that was often traumatic, and frequently characterized by a violation of their legal rights, forced treatment with drugs, and physical or sexual abuse. Only 17% said they were “satisfied” with the “quality of the psychiatric treatment” they received.

Suicide in the Age of Prozac

During the past twenty years, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and American psychiatry have adopted a "medicalized" approach to preventing suicide, claiming that antidepressants are protective against suicide. Yet, the suicide rate in the United States has increased 30% since 2000, a time of rising usage of antidepressants. A review of studies of the effects of mental health treatment and antidepressants on suicide reveals why this medicalized approach has not only failed, but pushed suicide rates higher.

Soteria Israel: A Vision from the Past is a Blueprint for the Future

In Israel, there is a budding Soteria movement that foretells of a possible paradigm shift in care. The thought is that such care may become a first-line treatment for newly psychotic patients.
deep brain stimulation

Brain Implants: Spinning the Trial Results to Protect the Product

The published report of the Broaden Trial of Deep Brain Stimulation for Depression whitewashed the results: although the efficacy results were negative, the investigators concluded that the therapy still showed "promise", and adverse events suffered by the patients were downplayed or attributed to the disease, and not the treatment. An in-depth investigation of how the trial results were spun, and interviews with patients that tell of harm done.

Lancet Psychiatry Needs to Retract the ADHD-Enigma Study

Lancet Psychiatry, a UK-based medical journal, recently published a study that concluded brain scans showed that individuals diagnosed with ADHD had smaller brains. That conclusion is belied by the study data. The journal needs to retract this study. UPDATE: Lancet Psychiatry (online) has published letters critical of the study, and the authors' response, and a correction.

The Door to a Revolution in Psychiatry Cracks Open

The Ministry of Health in Norway has ordered its four regional health authorities to offer medicine-free treatment in psychiatric hospitals. A six-bed ward in Tromso, which is in the far north of Norway, is now providing such care.

Exploring Psychiatry’s “Black Hole”: The International Institute on Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal

When Carina Håkansson sent out an invitation for a symposium on "Pharmaceuticals: Risks and Alternatives," some of the world's top scientists, along with experts-by-experience, came from 13 countries to explore better ways to respond to people in crisis.

Love is Dialogical: The Open Dialogue UK International Conference and Training

In the past five years, there has been a dramatic explosion of interest in the Open Dialogue Therapy practiced in Tornio, Finland. It is a humanistic “treatment” that has produced five-year outcomes for psychotic patients that are, by far, the best in the developed world, and there are now groups in the United States, Europe and beyond that are seeking to “import” this care. However, the challenges for doing so are many and, last month, Open Dialogue UK - on the occasion of the first-ever fully recognized Open Dialogue training outside of Tornio - organized a conference in London to hold an open dialogue about Open Dialogue.

Adverse Effects: The Perils of Deep Brain Stimulation for Depression

Hundreds of people have been given remote control deep brain stimulation implants for psychiatric disorders such as depression, OCD and Tourette’s. Yet DBS specialists still have no clue about its mechanisms of action and research suggests its hefty health and safety risks far outweigh benefits.

Where Critical Psychiatry Meets Community Resilience

The International Society for Ethical Psychology and Psychiatry had the clout to draw a stellar line-up of presenters to its recent conference, including internationally prominent critics like David Healy, Peter Gøtzsche, Robert Whitaker and Allen Frances. There were lots of learnings and even some tense discussions, but one of the most intriguing aspects of the entire conference was the way in which scientific and social issues became deeply intertwined, especially when presenters reached for better pathways forward.

DRC Will Challenge California’s Outpatient Committal Laws in Court

Disability Rights California will challenge Los Angeles’ Assisted Outpatient Treatment program in court this fall, DRC attorney Pamela Cohen announced Friday. According to Cohen, California’s AB-1241 or “Laura’s Law” diverts funding from community mental health services and towards police, administrators and courts, doesn’t reach the people it purports to be trying to help, and violates people’s civil rights. “This is an illegal program,” said Cohen.

The Charade of New Drug Approvals for Schizophrenia

The FDA recently approved lumateperone for schizophrenia. A review of the clinical trials reveals a testing process that is fatally flawed, and a new drug coming to market that doesn't provide a clinically meaningful benefit.
veteran suicides

Screening + Drug Treatment = Increase in Veteran Suicides

For the past 15 years, the VA's suicide prevention efforts have focused on getting veterans screened and treated for psychiatric disorders, with antidepressants a first-line therapy. This effort has caused veteran suicide rates to steadily rise.

Suicide in the Age of Prozac

During the past twenty years, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and American psychiatry have adopted a "medicalized" approach to preventing suicide, claiming that antidepressants are protective against suicide. Yet, the suicide rate in the United States has increased 30% since 2000, a time of rising usage of antidepressants. A review of studies of the effects of mental health treatment and antidepressants on suicide reveals why this medicalized approach has not only failed, but pushed suicide rates higher.
antidepressants

Do Antidepressants Work? A People’s Review of the Evidence

After a meta-analysis of RCTs of antidepressants was published in Lancet, psychiatry stated that it proved that "antidepressants" work. However, effectiveness studies of real-world patients reveal the opposite: the medications increase the likelihood that patients will become chronically depressed, and disabled by the disorder.

Psychiatry Defends Its Antipsychotics: A Case Study of Institutional Corruption

Jeffrey LIeberman and colleagues have published a paper in the American Journal of Psychiatry stating that there is no evidence that psychiatric drugs cause long-term harm, and that the evidence shows that these drugs provide a great benefit to patients. A close examination of their review reveals that it is a classic example of institutional corruption, which was meant to protect guild interests.

The Case Against Antipsychotics

This review of the scientific literature, stretching across six decades, makes the case that antipsychotics, over the long-term, do more harm than good. The drugs lower recovery rates and worsen functional outcomes over longer periods of time.

Psychology is Not What You Think: An Interview with Critical Psychologist Ian Parker

MIA’s Ayurdhi Dhar interviews Ian Parker about critical psychology, discourse and political action, and whether psychology has anything left to offer.
Laysha Ostrow

Live and Learn: An Interview with Laysha Ostrow

MIA’s Peter Simons interviews Laysha Ostrow about her mental health research and consulting company, the inclusion of peer specialists in mental health care, and her personal experience with the mental health system.

Moving Mental Health Work Away From Diagnosis: Sarah Kamens and Peter Kinderman on New...

MIA's Justin Karter interviews two leaders of the Task Force on Diagnostic Alternatives, a group of mental health professionals who have issued an open letter demanding a new look at psychiatric diagnosis.

Psychology and Poverty: An Interview with APA President Rosie Phillips Davis

MIA’s Gavin Crowell-Williamson interviews psychologist Rosie Phillips Davis about her presidential initiative to address deep poverty.
prison

The Management of Captive Populations with Psychiatric Drugs: An Interview with Anthony Ryan Hatch

Dr. Anthony Ryan Hatch is a sociologist and associate professor of Science in Society, African American studies and Environmental Studies at Wesleyan University, who...

Opening Doors in the Borderlands: An Interview with Liberation Psychologist Mary Watkins

MIA’s Micah Ingle interviews Mary Watkins about reorienting psychology toward liberation and social justice.

Healing Youth with Nature and Connection: An Interview with Peter Mayfield

An interview with Peter Mayfield, founder and Executive Director of the Gateway Mountain Center. Peter talks of his journey from mountaineering to his role as an educator and mentor, and how enabling children and adolescents to connect with nature has such a profound effect on their health and wellbeing.
Celia Brown

On Human Rights and Surviving Race: A Conversation with Celia Brown

An interview with Celia Brown: psychiatric survivor, human rights activist, and president of MindFreedom International.
Behind Locked Doors by Dorothy Dundas

Survivorship, Resistance, and Connection: An Interview with Dorothy Dundas

An interview with activist Dorothy Dundas about her connection to the psychiatric survivor movement from the 1970s to today.

When Healing Looks Like Justice: An Interview with Harvard Psychologist Joseph Gone

MIA’s Ayurdhi Dhar interviews Joseph Gone about how a history of dispossession, conquest, and colonization shapes mental health outcomes in Native American communities.

Climate Change, Mental Health and Collective Action: An Interview with Jennifer Freeman

In an interview with MIA's Akansha Vaswani, narrative therapist Jennifer Freeman calls for a shift away from individualistic approaches to 'eco-anxiety' and toward responses that connect us all to a counter-tsunami of action for the planet.

Tensions in Mental Health Care in China: An Interview with Zhiying Ma

Anthropologist Zhiying Ma explores mental health care in China, including tensions between Western psychiatry and socially-oriented local frameworks.

Addressing the Roots of Racial Trauma: An Interview with Psychologist Lillian Comas-Díaz

MIA’s Hannah Emerson interviews Comas-Díaz on the need for culturally competent care in a medicalized and individualistic society.

Toward a Critical Self-Reflective Psychiatry: An Interview with Pat Bracken

MIA’s Justin Karter interviews critical psychiatrist and philosopher Pat Bracken about the necessity of challenging received wisdom.

Learning a Different Way: An Interview with Maori Psychiatrist Diana Kopua

MIA’s Ayurdhi Dhar interviews Diana Kopua about the Mahi a Atua approach, the global mental health movement, and the importance of language and narratives in how we understand our world and ease our suffering.

The Creation of a Conceptual Alternative to the DSM: An Interview with Dr. Lucy...

MIA's Zenobia Morrill interviews Lucy Johnstone about the reaction to the Power Threat Meaning Framework, her life influences, and her hopes for the future.

Poverty, Pathology and Pills: An Interview with Dr. Felicity Thomas and Dr. Richard Byng

MIA’s Tim Beck interviews Dr. Felicity Thomas and Dr. Richard Byng about their report, Poverty, Pathology, and Pills, which situates increasing rates of mental health diagnosis and psychiatric prescriptions within socioeconomic and policy trends across the UK.

Getting Pharma Out of Medical Education: An Interview with Dr. Adriane Fugh-Berman

MIA's Gavin Crowell-Williamson interviews PharmedOut founder Dr. Adriane Fugh-Berman about Big Pharma's influence on medical education.

Mad Science, Psychiatric Coercion and the Therapeutic State: An Interview with Dr. David Cohen

MIA's Peter Simons interviews David Cohen, PhD, on his path to researching mental health, coercive practices, and discontinuation from psychiatric drugs.

Fighting for the Meaning of Madness: An Interview with Dr. John Read

Akansha Vaswani interviews Dr. John Read about the influences on his work and his research on madness, psychosis, and the mental health industry.

Capitol Hill Briefings Debunk Myth Linking Gun Violence to Mental Illness

The public is regularly led to believe that mass shootings are committed by people diagnosed with a serious mental illness. Researchers explain that is just plain wrong, and prevents our society addressing the most common causal factors.
Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders’ ‘Revolutionary’ Disability Plan Opposes Expanding Involuntary Treatment

Candidate Bernie Sanders' 'disability rights as civil rights' plan is distinctive in its explicit inclusion of people with psychiatric disabilities and diagnoses, an orientation that runs counter to prevailing policy discourse in the U.S. 
Trump at mental health summit

Trump Calls for “Keeping Very Dangerous People Off Our Streets” at Mental Health Summit

A common refrain from the pro-forced treatment advocates at the summit was that "four walls" are not the solution to the crisis. Dr. Drew slammed such efforts in California during his presentation: "The vast majority have serious mental illness and drug addiction. Four walls are not going to do anything, if they would even go in."
Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris’s ‘Mental Health’ Plan: Why It Still Matters

Harris’s plan was met with vociferous condemnation from psychiatric survivors, civil libertarians, and disability justice advocates, who vowed to fight it. While Harris has dropped out of the presidential race, the ideas behind her policy proposal have existed for decades, and are likely to endure.
RESPONSE Act

Here We Go Again: RESPONSE Act Pushes Forced Treatment of the “Mentally Ill” As...

In the name of preventing mass shootings, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced a bill that calls for "enhanced mental health services," including involuntary treatment and long-acting antipsychotic injections. It also calls for increased collaboration between mental health and law enforcement authorities, and promotes online monitoring of American students.

Congress Holds Historic Hearing on Childhood Trauma

On July 11, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform held its first-ever hearing on childhood trauma, featuring emotional testimony from survivor witnesses, as well as a number of prominent public health experts and government officials.
proposed act would address childhood trauma in america

Bipartisan “RISE from Trauma Act” Introduced to Address Childhood Trauma in America

The Resilience Investment, Support, and Expansion (RISE) From Trauma Act, legislation designed to increase support for children who have been exposed to Adverse Childhood Experiences, includes $50 million in funding for a “mental health in schools” program. Exactly what these programs would entail remains unclear.

The Carter Center’s Guide for Mental Health Journalism: Don’t Question, Follow the Script

The Carter Center’s Journalism Resource Guide on Behavioral Health is a manual for docile journalism. There is no encouragement to be skeptical of the powerful in psychiatry. Rather, the guide provides reporters with a template to follow that reifies conventional wisdom, offering a message similar to what the American Psychiatric Association has sounded for years.
Britney Spears

The Media’s New Hashtag: #GuardianshipIsGood for Britney Spears

Recent press coverage of top star Britney Spears, who remains under a personal and professional guardianship, reflects conventional attitudes about “mental illness” that are both stigmatizing and encourage legislation that promotes forced treatment.

The Media Scolds Marianne Williamson (And Gets It Wrong)

Journalists have called Marianne Williams’ comments on depression dangerous and irresponsible. A closer look reveals that her “opinions” on mental health treatment are more in line with the science, and that the know-it-all assertions by Cooper and colleagues are belied by it.
the new yorker

The New Yorker Peers into the Psychiatric Abyss… And Loses Its Nerve

The New Yorker's story on Laura Delano and psychiatric drug withdrawal is a glass-half-full story: It addresses a problem in psychiatry and yet hides the deeper story to be told. A story of how her recovery resulted from seeing herself within a counter-narrative that tells of the harm that psychiatry can do.

Adolescent Suicide and The Black Box Warning: STAT Gets It All Wrong

STAT recently published an opinion piece arguing that the black box warning on antidepressants has led to an increase in adolescent suicide. It is easily debunked, and reveals once again how our society is regularly misled about research findings related to psychiatric drugs. STAT has lent its good name to a false story that, unfortunately, will resonate loudly with the public.