Is poetry the way to truly understand madness? Do rituals and music -- such as Ireland's tradition of keening -- have the power to heal emotional suffering? Susan McKeown, Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter and folklorist, supported her partner through an extreme state. She began a journey to uncover intergenerational trauma in her family and in the history of her native Ireland, and was inspired to take poems about madness -- by Anne Sexton, Theodore Roethke, James Clarence Mangan, Gwendolyn Brooks, and others -- and set them to music in her album "Singing in the Dark."
What if people struggling with madness could explore their emotions in a supportive sanctuary? Do frightening 'psychotic' experiences have the power to transform and heal? Is breakdown also breakthrough? Michael Cornwall became a therapist after surviving his own crisis -- without medication or psychiatric treatment. For more than 30 years he has worked in the tradition of Carl Jung and R.D. Laing to support people to go through psychotic
states in medication-free community settings, including
John Weir Perry's Diabasis House in the 1970s.
Why are nearly a third of all elders in nursing homes given anti-psychotic drugs, despite life threatening side effects? Are medications being used as chemical restraints? Can nursing homes be places of dignity -- or should they be abolished? Carole Hayes-Collier was diagnosed schizophrenic at 19 and left to a lifetime of hospitalization. When she recovered, the abuses she witnessed inspired her to join the Gray Panthers and dedicate her life to elder rights and mental health. http://graypanthers.org/ http://online.wsj.com/article/SB11967291... http://www.canhr.org/stop-drugging/
Can breakdown sometimes be breakthrough? Neuroscientist Daniel Fisher suffered an extreme emotional state and ended up in a locked psychiatric ward diagnosed with schizophrenia. His crisis of scientific faith fueled his recovery, and he went on to become a practicing psychiatrist bringing new insights to work with people experiencing psychosis and their families. Today Dr. Fisher is Director of the National Empowerment Center, guided by a vision he had in solitary confinement of mental health system change, including the peer movement and hospital alternatives. http://www.power2u.org/
Seamstress Agnes Richter was locked away in a mental asylum in the 1890s, and was so determined to have a voice that she embroidered her personal story onto the jacket she wore on the ward. What is the hidden history of people writing their own narratives of going insane? How important is it to listen to the experiences of "mentally ill" people? Is there meaning in madness? Gail Hornstein, Mt. Holyoke College professor and author of Agnes's Jacket: A Psychologist's Search for the Meanings of Madness, discusses the work of the Hearing Voices Movement in the UK, peer run support communities including Freedom Center in the US, and why professionals should let patients speak for themselves. http://www.gailhornstein.com http://bit.ly/aG9bnS
How did the New York underground of punk rock music, squatting, and homeless protest give rise to a thriving and innovative peer-run mental health community? Are there creative gifts to be found in the depths of madness? Does the future of Mad Pride lie in the joining of activism with spirituality? Icarus Project co-founder Sascha Altman DuBrul discusses his escape into apocalyptic visions and psychiatric hospitals, and how he was inspired to challenge the identity of bipolar disorder. www.theicarusproject.net; scatter(at)theicarusproject(dot)net
Is bipolar disorder a disease? Can medications like lithium correct chemical imbalances and stabilize mood? Do psychiatric drugs act completely differently on the brain than recreational drugs? UK psychiatrist Dr. Joanna Moncrieff, author of The Myth Of The Chemical Cure: A Critique of Psychiatric Drug Treatment, discusses how seeing psychiatric medications as treatments for disease misleads the public about how they actually work, and obscures their potential for abuse as tools of social control. www.critpsynet.freeuk.com www.academyanalyticarts.org/moncrieff.htm http://www.mentalhealth.freeuk.com/howwo...
How did the definition of schizophrenia change during the civil rights and Black Power era of the 1960s? Why did a disease primarily affecting withdrawn white housewives suddenly become focused on angry and "paranoid" African American men instead? Psychiatrist and historian Jonathan Metzl, author of The Protest Psychosis: How Schizophrenia Became a Black Disease, discusses racism and social control in psychiatric diagnosis, and how Black protest was turned into a mental disorder. http://bit.ly/byOeIw, jmetzl(at)umich(dot)edu
Can a severe, chronic case of "schizophrenia" ever recover? Is psychotherapy an alternative to medications? What role does trauma play in madness? Hear the inspiring story of how Catherine Penney, RN, was catatonic and locked in a hospital back ward for years, and then emerged to create a new alternative healing community. www.dantescure.com www.desertgathering.com www.iraresoul.com/dvd.html
What do modern psychiatric drug treatments have in common with lobotomy? Is informed consent possible when patients' judgment is impaired by medication? Should psych drugs be banned? For more than 50 years Dr. Peter Breggin has been a leading crusader against psychiatric abuse, Big Pharma, and medication dangers. His latest book is The Conscience of Psychiatry: The Reform Work of Peter R. Breggin, MD. www.breggin.com