By Amy Biancolli

Peace, joy, healing. You can see it, plain and powerful, in the faces of those who make music on the path to recovery. You can hear it as they speak of music’s role in their journeys out of psychiatric darkness and into the light of reclaimed lives.

Just watch and listen to those who harmonize through Sing Your Heart Out, an English program that’s open to anyone with any story — some with psychiatric diagnoses, some without, no questions asked either way. …

By Amy Biancolli

Music, essential on the path to well-being, has been a part of human existence since bipeds first flexed their larynxes into song. Long before the advent of complex cultures, our most distant ancestors made sounds akin to song — sounds that varied in pitch and functioned as proto-language, expressing emotion, soothing babies, and forming bonds.

And, almost beyond question, making them feel better.

Those sounds evolved into music. That music shaped social bonds and community, from the Ice Age to today: Bone and ivory flutes, found in the caves of Germany, have been carbon-dated at 35,000 to…

By Amy Biancolli

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

Public support for the US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is soaring. In 2017, the rapper Logic released a Grammy-nominated song titled with the Lifeline’s 800-number that peaked at №3 on Billboard. Since then, call volumes have increased more than 25% as bloggers, vloggers, health zines, and news media from BuzzFeed to USA Today have run promotional stories. COVID-19 pushes volumes higher. Recently the federal government passed legislation mandating that, by 2022, all calls to “988” will be routed to the Lifeline-and some telecommunications companies have already begun implementation.

Driving much of this is growing awareness that calling…

65 Years of Drug-Induced Brain Damage That Rolls On and On

By Robert Whitaker

On November 15, Mad in America published a report on the marketing of two new drugs for tardive dyskinesia (TD), Ingrezza and Austedo, which cost up to $7000 per month and are being touted as “breakthrough medications.” The report provided an in-depth look at the financial influences present in their development and marketing, and told of how these expensive new medications are really “me-too” compounds, with little benefit over an existing generic used to treat TD symptoms.

Given that TD is a disorder caused by antipsychotics, there is an obvious outrageous element to this story: the pharmaceutical…

By Rob Wipond

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…

By Robert Whitaker

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

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…

By Sarah Price Hancock

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…

By Paula J. Caplan, PhD

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. …

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.

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