Psychology Today Article Debunks Claims By Antipsychiatrists: “Easily refuted by scientific evidence.”

NOTE: THE CITIZENS COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS was established in 1969 by the Church of Scientology and psychiatrist Thomas Szasz,

(9-7-18) While this article is long, it is well-worth reading because it debunks many of the arguments made by the antipsychiatry movement, which preaches that mental illnesses are merely a “social construct” and not actual illnesses.

PSYCHOLOGY TODAY Article

The Reality of Mental Illness: Responding to the criticisms of antipsychiatry

By Mark L. Ruffalo and Ronald W. Pies.

Psychiatry is unique among the medical specialties in the sense that it has a very active and vocal countermovement known loosely as antipsychiatry.

What started in the 1960s with the writings of psychiatrists Thomas Szasz and R.D. Laing, among others, has since broadened to include a whole host of ideas and philosophies subsumed under “antipsychiatry.”

Individuals associated with antipsychiatry may oppose coercive practices in psychiatry; the use or overuse of psychiatric medicationelectroconvulsive therapy; or the legitimacy of psychiatric diagnosis.

Not all critics of psychiatry are necessarily “anti-psychiatry,” and even some affiliated with the movement raise important ethical and philosophical questions for psychiatry. Unfortunately, others seem to harbor a visceral hatred for “all things psychiatry” One has to look no further than the comments left by some on antipsychiatry websites calling for violence against psychiatrists and others in the field.

Both authors (of this article) have personal experience with antipsychiatry. One of us (R.P.) studied under Thomas Szasz during psychiatric residency training and has since written extensively on the logical errors in Szasz’s work. The other (M.R.) identified for several years as a Szaszian psychoanalyst before more recently coming to disagree with Szasz’s claim that mental illness is merely a “metaphor”.

Both authors have come under personal attack by those associated with antipsychiatry and the related, but more nuanced, “neurodiversity” movement.

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The Importance Of Free Speech: A Memory & Words Worth Repeating

William Allen White was called “The Sage of Emporia” because he spoke for the common man in middle America.

(9-3-18) Nearly all of my blogs are about our broken mental health care system, but this one is not. It is about free speech and journalism.

In 1973, I began my first full-time job as a reporter at The Emporia Gazette, a Kansas newspaper made famous in the late 1800s and early 1900s by its editor, William Allen White.  His son, William Lindsay White, hired me while he was in a hospital dying of cancer. At the time, the newspaper gave all potential employees a writing test.  W. L. White declared, “This boy doesn’t need to take any tests. You can tell from his (college) editorials that he knows how to write.”

I worked at The Gazette for less than two years, but it was the best of the four newspapers where I worked during my reporting career, partly because of its managing editor, Raymond Call, a wonderful mentor.

So why am I writing about William Allen White and The Emporia Gazette on Labor Day?

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Hard Lessons Learned As A Parent Of An Adult With An SMI

(8-31-18) From My Files Friday. I receive emails each week from parents seeking advice. This blog that I first posed eight years ago still rings true.

Helping Someone Who Has A Mental Illness: Lessons I’ve Learned

It’s difficult helping someone with a mental illness.

My relationship with my son,  Kevin, has not always been easy. Those of you who have read my book know that I was forced to lie about him threatening me in order to get him taken into a hospital rather than put in jail. During a later break, I called the police and my son was shot twice with a Taser. These events hurt parent-son relationships.

So what have I learned?

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Please Slug My Daughter: Stories Of Resilience Help Change Attitudes About Homelessness

(8-27-18) How would your life have been different if, as a pre-teen, your father had led you into the front yard of a house in a Los Angeles’ gang infested neighborhood and invited passersby to slug you because he wanted to make you “tougher?”

The woman, who was beaten by neighbors and strangers at her father’s invitation, was one of five speakers at a national housing summit hosted by the Corporation For Supportive Housing (CSH). Its  mission is to end homelessness by constructing more affordable housing, and I proudly serve on the CSH board.

Listening to individuals who have overcome adversities is always inspiring, regardless of the different types of barriers each of them faced. The five summit presenters were especially interesting to me because of the diverse paths that had caused each of them to become homeless.

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Powerful Investigative Report Tracks 404 Deaths Of Inmates With Mental Illnesses In Jails

Photos of inmates with mental illnesses who have died in jails. Courtesy Virginia Pilot newspaper

(8-23-18) The Virginian Pilot newspaper has published an extraordinary series – the first ever comprehensive study that tracks deaths of individuals with mental illnesses in jails. It is entitled: Mental illness is a death sentence for many in America’s jails.

Even those of us who are familiar with the inappropriate jailing of Americans who are sick will be shocked by the newspaper’s reporting and the graphics that accompany it. (Please share the series with your local elected leaders.)

Students from Marquette University helped the newspaper track the deaths of 404 inmates with mental illnesses who have died in jails since 2010. They collected information from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Here are some headlines from this poignant investigative series:

At least 33 times since 2010, inmates with mental illness have died after their family or friends contacted jails to warn of their loved one’s mental health problems.

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Vacation calls: Blog Back Next Week. Have A Good Mental Health Day!

(8-20-18) Sadly, mental illnesses never take a vacation, but I do. One final week before I return to work. I’ll be back then with posts, but right now I have to drive a buddy of mine who is waiting. She is impatient. Have a great day and thanks for your support and advocacy.