107 episodes

Welcome to the Mad in America podcast, a new weekly discussion that searches for the truth about psychiatric prescription drugs and mental health care worldwide.

This podcast is part of Mad in America’s mission to serve as a catalyst for rethinking psychiatric care. We believe that the current drug-based paradigm of care has failed our society and that scientific research, as well as the lived experience of those who have been diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder, calls for profound change.

On the podcast we have interviews with experts and those with lived experience of the psychiatric system. Thank you for joining us as we discuss the many issues around rethinking psychiatric care around the world.

For more information visit madinamerica.com
To contact us email podcasts@madinamerica.com

Mad in America: Rethinking Mental Health Mad in America

    • Mental Health

Welcome to the Mad in America podcast, a new weekly discussion that searches for the truth about psychiatric prescription drugs and mental health care worldwide.

This podcast is part of Mad in America’s mission to serve as a catalyst for rethinking psychiatric care. We believe that the current drug-based paradigm of care has failed our society and that scientific research, as well as the lived experience of those who have been diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder, calls for profound change.

On the podcast we have interviews with experts and those with lived experience of the psychiatric system. Thank you for joining us as we discuss the many issues around rethinking psychiatric care around the world.

For more information visit madinamerica.com
To contact us email podcasts@madinamerica.com

    Paula Caplan - Listen to a Veteran

    Paula Caplan - Listen to a Veteran

    This week on MIA Radio, we chat with Paula J. Caplan. Paula is a clinical and research psychologist, author of books and plays, playwright, actor, director, and activist. She was born and raised in Springfield, Missouri, attended Greenwood Laboratory School, received her A.B. with honors from Radcliffe College of Harvard University, and received her M.A. and Ph.D. in psychology from Duke University.
    Currently, she is an Associate at the Du Bois Institute, Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, Harvard University. She has been a Fellow at the Women and Public Policy Program of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard; a Lecturer in Harvard's Program on Women, Gender, and Sexuality in the Psychology Department. She is former Full Professor of Applied Psychology and Head of the Centre for Women's Studies in Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, and former Lecturer in Women's Studies and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto.
    Paula is also a passionate and steadfast advocate for service members, veterans and their families. She has written: When Johnny and Jane Come Marching Home: How All of Us Can Help Veterans and has founded the Listen to a Veteran! Project.
    In this interview, we discuss Paula’s work to support service members, veterans and their families, and the role psychiatric drugs have played in harming these communities.
    We discuss: Paula’s experiences that drove her towards working in mental health and advocating for veterans, which came from her father’s service in World War II. This included combat in the Battle of the Bulge. After hearing her father’s story that had been recorded as part of a history project, she learned her father had been a forward observer, and as result learned he had been on the front lines of the war. This led to her realizing that most American’s don’t understand military service and the only way of doing this, is through hearing veterans’ stories. Prior to the invasion of Iraq, she became concerned about the care of service members of veterans and veterans upon their return from war, and more concerned of the “psychiatrization”, diagnosing and prescribing psychiatric drugs to veterans. To get started in her efforts, she began by listening to a veteran share his experiences with her. The veteran talked for three hours, and Paula just listened. The next day, he called her and thanked her for listening, as he got a good night sleep for the first time in years. This led to her starting Listen to a Veteran, which was originally called “When Johnny and Jane Come Marching Home”. As part of this initiative, a veteran of any era can meet with another person who has volunteered to listen to the veteran share any stories or experiences they’re interested in sharing. Paula has faced barriers in getting this program expanded to the VA or throughout the “mainstream” mental health community because the system has been created to function based upon current “evidenced-based” best practices. How Paula is positive that we are currently causing harm to veterans and that alternative approaches need to immediately be implemented throughout the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs. How “therapy” needs to be dropped from the terms “art therapy”, “music therapy” and the like, so we can stop pathologizing individual experiences, and instead support people in doing things that improve their overall well-being. Any veterans who want to be a listener as part of Paula’s Listen to a Veteran initiative, or would like to have someone listen to them, they can go to listentoaveterans.org.

    • 44 min
    MIA Report - Medication-Free Treatment in Norway - A Private Hospital Takes Center Stage

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

    Welcome to MIA Reports, showcasing our independent and original journalism devoted to rethinking psychiatry. We take selected MIA Reports and provide them as audio articles. Click here for the text version of this and all of our MIA reports.
    Medication-Free Treatment in Norway - A Private Hospital Takes Center Stage
    Written by Robert Whitaker, read by James Moore with thanks to Birgit Valla for pronunciation assistance, first published on Mad in America, December 8, 2019.
    The Hurdalsjøen Recovery Center, which is a private psychiatric hospital located about forty minutes north of Oslo, on the banks of stunning Lake Hurdal, was set up by its director, Ole Andreas Underland, to provide “medication-free” care for those who wanted such treatment or who wanted to taper from their psychiatric drugs. Norway’s health minister was urging public mental hospitals to offer such treatment, and this private hospital stepped forward before any public hospital had taken the plunge.
    Hurdalsjøen opened on April 1, 2015. The first person to show up at its doors was 31-year-old Tonje Finsås, and she had a medical history that could fill volumes. She had developed an eating disorder when she was eight; she was put on antidepressants at age 11, which is when she started cutting herself; then came a prescription for a benzodiazepine; and soon she was cycling in and out of psychiatric wards with astonishing frequency. She arrived at Hurdalsjøen with prescriptions for 31 medicines, including three antipsychotics, and a record of 220 hospitalizations. She had spent most of the three previous years in isolation at a psychiatric hospital in Bergen, where she was watched over by two aides at all times, and was often restrained in a belt.
    “I tried to kill myself every day,” she recalled. “I didn’t want to live anymore. This was not a life. Even a dog in a cage has it better than what you have in there.”
    Although Lake Hurdal provides a beautiful setting, the hospital is located in a 1970s building, one that was used to treat people suffering from nervous problems, and inside it has an institutional feeling: small rooms located off a long hallway, not all that different from what you might find in an older psychiatric hospital. When Finsås balked at staying there, Underland proposed a novel solution.

    • 49 min
    Ian Parker - Psychology is Not What You Think

    Ian Parker - Psychology is Not What You Think

    Ian Parker is one of the most important contemporary critics of the discipline of psychology. A prolific writer, with over 25 books to his name, he has a formidable reputation in the fields of critical psychology, Marxist psychology, and psychoanalytic theory. He is a fellow of the British psychological society, Emeritus Professor at the University of Leicester, and the managing editor of the Annual Review of Critical Psychology. Parker is also a practicing psychoanalyst analyst and a member of the Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research and the London Society of the New Lacanian School.
    His career reflects the principles he talks about – the importance of challenging powerful institutions and the need for collectively mobilizing against discrimination and exploitation. As the "Psy-disciplines" face increased scrutiny for involvement in past abuses, continued collusion with powerful and unjust institutions, and deep criticisms over current psychological research and practice, Parker's work has particular relevance.
    His criticisms of psychology and psychiatry started from his university days as a student. He observed that while other social sciences were critical of their received knowledge and open to contributions from the civil rights and women's movements, psychology continued to reinforce old power relations and pathologized these same social movements. Since then, Parker has become one of the most well-known critics of mainstream psychology, and his work repeatedly questions the role of ideology and power in the field. These contributions are evident throughout his writing, including his four-volume 'major work' Critical Psychology (2011) and a Handbook of Critical Psychology (2015). He is currently the editor of the 'Concepts for Critical Psychology' series for Routledge.

    • 53 min
    Beatrice Birch - Inner Fire and Soul Health

    Beatrice Birch - Inner Fire and Soul Health

    This week on MIA Radio, we chat with Beatrice Birch who is the initiator of the residential healing community Inner Fire. For over 35 years, Beatrice worked as a Hauschka artistic therapist in integrative clinics and inspiring initiatives in England, Holland and the USA where the whole human being of body, soul and spirit was recognized and appreciated in the healing process. She has lectured and taught as far afield as Taiwan.
    Her passionate belief in both the creative spirit within everyone and the importance of choice, along with her love and interest in the human being has taken her also into prisons where she has volunteered for many years offering soul support through Alternatives to Violence work and watercolor painting.
    In this interview, we discuss how Inner Fire works to help the people that attend, and how a core principle of their healing work is that ‘human being are creators, not victims’.
    We discuss: Beatrice’s background and experiences as someone providing alternative help and support for mental and emotional challenges, including her time in the UK National Health Service (NHS) utilizing Hauschka artistic therapy and other artistic therapies alongside improving nutrition and connection to new skills.
    How she came to be interested in the resilience of the human spirit, wanting to understand why some people cope and others do not.
    That Beatrice worked for many years in prison settings, working with Alternatives to Violence (AVP) and providing artistic therapies to inmates before founding Inner Fire, based in Vermont.
    Inner Fire is a proactive healing community officially recognised by the state of Vermont as a Therapeutic Community Residence (TCR) that has been operating as a 501(c)(3) non-profit for almost 6 years.
    How Inner Fire provides a medication-free approach to recovery from debilitating or traumatic life experiences, helping people to reclaim their lives.
    That Beatrice believes in the importance of allowing people to connect with their divine, creative selves and this leads to a core principle of Inner Fire which is that ‘human being are creators, not victims’.
    Inner Fire doesn’t influence a person’s choice to stay on or come off psychotropic drugs, but they will work with people who want to gradually taper either to a comfortable level or off completely.
    Beatrice presented a paper to ISPS Rotterdam entitled: Suppose ‘Mental Health’ is a Reductionist Term for ‘Soul Health’…
    How Beatrice describes those that come for help as ‘seekers’ and those from Inner Fire that support them as ‘guides’.
    That the focus of Inner Fire is participation, connection and community achieved by learning new skills in a group environment, getting people out of their heads and into their limbs.
    The importance of rhythm when following the Inner Fire programme and how it is key to the healing process.
    Inner Fire has a staff psychiatrist who has an appreciation of the spiritual dimensions of our lives, allowing spiritual and biological aspects to coexist.
    How Beatrice’s experience is that while medications can be helpful for some for a time, typically one drug will lead to another and then another and ultimately to hospitalisation.
    Where tapering is concerned, the seeker and the psychiatrist together decide on the tapering approach but that it is recognised that tapering must be slow and must adapt to the experience of the person trying to reduce.
    That Beatrice wants to raise enough money to provide a space where people can freely express the emotion that often arises as they come off their psychotropic drugs.
    Inner Fire is currently private pay and that people donating can therefore help seekers who want to attend but don’t have the financial resources.
    How Inner Fire is not a profit-motivated enterprise because the focus

    • 1 hr 5 min
    Laysha Ostrow - Live and Learn

    Laysha Ostrow - Live and Learn

    This week on MIA Radio, we interview Laysha Ostrow. Laysha is the founder and CEO of Live & Learn, a research and consulting company that specializes in the inclusion of people with lived experience of the mental health system.
    She researches community-driven interventions that present safe and effective pathways to independence and empowerment. Ostrow earned her PhD from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and holds a master's degree in public policy from Brandeis. Ostrow is passionate about improving the experience of mental health service users, partially due to her personal experience with mental health systems. She has discussed some of her previous research on Mad in America.

    • 46 min
    Peter Statsny - Reimagining Psychiatry

    Peter Statsny - Reimagining Psychiatry

    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 working on the development of services that obviate traditional psychiatric intervention and offer autonomous paths towards recovery and full integration.
    Stastny has frequently collaborated with psychiatric survivors in conducting research and writing projects, including the book and major exhibit at the New York State Museum, The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic(together with Darby Penney) and the edited volume Alternatives Beyond Psychiatry (with Peter Lehmann). He has directed several documentary films.
     

    • 38 min

Customer Reviews

Sergeblanco ,

Fantastic perspectives

Critical thinkers debunking a lot of commonly held ‘truths’ - wonderfully refreshing take week on week

_Laura_12345 ,

Listening to this could save your life

I'm not kidding, listening to this podcast could save your life. I almot died from the side effects of an antidepressant prescribed for work stress, so I know what can happen by first hand experience.

This podcast gives you the information you need to go into a discussion with your doctor with the right information. You're entitled to be informed not only about the benefits of psychotropic medication, but also about the risks. This podcast gives you the information you need, neutrally presented without drama. James Moore interviews renowned scientists and patients who have suffered from antidepressant withdrawal.

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