Mental Health News: July 2017
Jun 30, 2017
Often, change seems to happen at a snail’s pace, and it is hard at times not to give up hope. Yet, as the movies so often tell us, “the night is darkest before the dawn.” And the sun certainly started shining last week, as a new UN report exposed the current failings of diseased-based psychiatry, an approach that has dominated the world of mental health since the 1980s.
The current state of mental health care has crippled so many lives, led to countless deaths, and left millions of people thinking that there is “something wrong with my brain.” Indeed, an estimated 20% of the American population take psychiatric drugs, spending around $40 billion on these drugs, as mental health advocate Robert Whitaker points out (a 50-fold increase since the 1980s). Thankfully, the UN special report on mental health care challenges the dominant narrative of brain disease and its overreliance on psychoactive drugs, calling for a holistic, rights-based approach to mental health. Its chief reporter, professor of psychiatry Dainius Pūras, criticizes the lack of scientific evidence behind the brain disease model of psychiatry, noting how it disregards life events, creates long-term mental health problems (including a dangerous reliance on psychotropic drugs) and often treats patients like prisoners, taking away their right to choose a form of treatment that truly brings mental, spiritual and physical healing and wellbeing.
Pūras points to successful mental health models like the Soteria House Project and Open Dialogue Therapy as alternatives to drug-based and forced treatment for mental health issues. Both Soteria and Open Dialogue take into account the whole individual, including their history and current living conditions. They focus on community healing, and as a result they have seen excellent, long-term results.
So the sun is indeed shining! With projects like Soteria and Open Dialogue, and individuals like Robert Whitaker and Dainius Pūras, fighting for the right of all human beings to mental health services that aid, rather than cripple, patients, there is much to hope for in the world of mental health. Healing, both short-term and long-term, is possible!
**This is informative and NOT individual medical advice.
**DRUG WITHDRAWAL should ALWAYS be done under the supervision of a qualified professional. These drugs alter your brain chemistry, and withdrawal can be a difficult process. There are thousands of patient-run sites on withdrawal from psychoactive substances on the Internet, and many books available in stores and online. We suggest you begin looking at the resources page on Mad in America: http://www.madinamerica.com/resources/#drug_tapering. Dr. Peter Breggin also has a brilliant book on withdrawal: Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal A Guide for Prescribers, Therapists, Patients, and Their Families. New York: Springer Pub. Co., 2013.
**For general information on the current state of psychiatry please visit http://www.madinamerica.com
**If you or someone you know is being threatened with drug treatment please visit http://psychrights.org
**To report any adverse psychotropic drug effects you have experienced, and for more detailed individual drug information, please visit https://www.rxisk.org