By Amy Biancolli

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Won’t you help to sing
These songs of freedom?
’Cause all I ever have
Redemption songs
Redemption songs
Redemption songs

The words are Bob Marley’s, the music a lilting reggae. The voice belongs to James O’Flynn, child of Ireland, as he sings them with the Claddagh Rogues.

Watch as he struts his stuff with power and joy in a clip from “An Open Door,” a documentary short about a well-being-centered community space in Skibbereen, Ireland. Listen as he mouths the words that matter to him. …


By Rob Wipond

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Citizen-driven efforts to make communities more “resilient” or “adaptive to stress and crises” can be inspired by many challenges, from small-town sawmill shutdowns to COVID-19. However, climate change has been fueling a dramatic rise in community resilience-building. Ordinary people collaborate to both reduce energy consumption and prepare for emergencies by making their buildings, blocks, neighborhoods, or communities more socially connected and mutually supportive, economically self-reliant and equitable, and ecologically sustainable.

Part activism and part pragmatism, piloting what’s needed at larger scales to tackle climate change, projects include community gardens, reskilling, sharing of tools, space, and equipment, Transition Towns with Energy Descent Action Plans, community-supported agriculture, alternative currencies, and relocalized economies. Hundreds of Transition Town groups now exist in the US alone, and proliferating community resilience organizations like the nonprofit I volunteer with garner support from charitable funders, government agencies, and business associations. …


By Robert Whitaker

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Twelve years ago, Ronald Kavanagh-who at that time was a reviewer of psychiatric drugs for the FDA-turned into a whistleblower, telling the Office of the Inspector General that his superiors at the FDA were turning a blind eye to the risks of a new atypical antipsychotic, asenapine, and doing so in collusion with Schering-Plough, the company that was seeking to market the drug. …


By Caroline Colwill

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The mental health professionals who make it as experts in mental health in mainstream media typically seem like kind, empathic, wise, insightful, good people. The kind of people who seem as though they might be able to really help you, and offer good life guidance. They sometimes encourage people to get “help” when they are experiencing difficulties in life. This, in my experience, is deceptive advertising. It’s the kind of promotion that can easily lure an unsuspecting public into an industry that has actually done and continues to do a lot of harm to some people. What was done to me by the mental health industry entailed human rights abuses and flat out torture. …


By Sarah Price Hancock

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As a young university student studying creative writing at Brigham Young University, I never imagined that my writing career would be prematurely halted by medical treatment just six months after graduation. You see, my doctors presumed I had agitated catatonia and ran 450 volts of electricity through my head 116 times to “reboot” my brain. They called it electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). I call it Electroconvulsive Trauma.

By the time I quit treatment against medical advice, I could no longer read. I lost the honors-educated vocabulary previously used to edit university faculty papers for publication. I lost my “mind’s eye,” critical to writing vivid descriptions of imagined events. Worse than that? …


By Paula J. Caplan, PhD

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The coronavirus pandemic has provided a golden opportunity for some psychotherapists, Big Pharma-funded entities, and others, who have sounded an alarm, claiming that massive numbers of people are “mentally ill” because of fears of the virus and reactions to social distancing.

Media producers have promoted these warnings during May, which was deemed Mental Health Awareness Month. A recent Washington Post article headlined “A third of Americans now show signs of clinical anxiety or depression, Census Bureau finds amid coronavirus pandemic” made that claim. …


By Lucas Richert

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A half-century ago a “radical caucus” formed in the American Psychiatric Association. The group believed that mental medicine needed to change. The caucus also felt this way about the United States more generally. Racism. Sexism. Poverty. Dislocation. Militarism. Political divides. Corruption. Sound familiar?

Black Lives Matter. When we think critically about the needless death of George Floyd and other people of color, the removal of confederate statues and symbols, and massive protests across the country, it’s worth highlighting that racial justice was an important element of radical mental medicine over fifty years ago. …


By Caroline Colwill

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As many Americans currently struggle with mental health issues arising from the coronavirus and its fallout, can we not now begin to understand that people who have experienced what gets labeled and treated as mental illness have also arrived at their distressed states through difficult life and situational experiences? It’s easy, under normal circumstances, to explain away other people’s distress as a biochemical imbalance in the brain or faulty genes. …


By Noel Hunter, Psy D.

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As calls for police defunding and reform become louder amidst the powerful Black Lives Matter movement, the suggestion that mental health workers step into the void is also taking hold.

Why is it that so many people seem to think it’s a good idea to replace certain functions of police with mental health workers?

It is likely that deep down, people know that the mental health system, particularly psychiatric hospitals, serve much the same function as the police and jails: social control.

As stated by Stefanie Lyn Kaufman-Mthimkhulu, in her recent article We don’t need cops to become social workers: We need peer support + community response…


Phrases That Sound Helpful, But Are Actually Gaslighting, Part 1

By Megan Wildhood

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Therapists, professionals and regular people who think they’re being caring or kind seem to have a reference book where they go to find phrases that sound really helpful but are actually gaslighting and self-serving. They’ve been repeating these sentiments since long before the pandemic, though the pandemic and the resultant solitary confinement, damage to livelihoods and indefinite suspension of civil rights has only increased their use. This needs to be addressed. There are, of course, more than these things therapists or people who want to actually be helpful should stop saying. …

About

Mad In America

Mad in America’s mission is to serve as a catalyst for rethinking psychiatric care in the United States and around the world. https://www.madinamerica.com

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