Madness Radio: Voices And Visions from Outside Mental Health explores 'madness' from beyond conventional perspectives and mainstream treatments, featuring survivors, authors, advocates, professionals, and artists.
Hosted by Will Hall, Madness Radio launched in 2005 on Valley Free Radio and aired more than 150 shows since then. We're heard on KBOO in Oregon, syndicated through Pacifica, and podcasting on iTunes. Check our About page.
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Are psychiatric treatments, experts, and medications the best way for traumatized communities to heal their mental health problems? Could indigenous practices, including traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture, offer a different way forward — through grassroots community development?
Herman Garcia is the Vice President and Ryan Bemis Founder of Crossroads Community Supported Healthcare, which offers practical skills training to local healers in the violence-stricken communities of Ciudad Juarez and Sierra Tarahumara, Mexico. Joined by health promotors Maria de Jesus, Sister Maria de Rosario Cordova, and Gloria of the Rahrami indigenous group, they discuss supporting communities harmed by the War on Drugs, severe poverty, and inequality.
Are beliefs in witchcraft and “voodoo death” not real? Do magical explanations of disease mean people are primitive and less educated? Or are stories and beliefs at the heart of reality for all cultures – including yours?
Frank Bures, author of The Geography of Madness: Penis Thieves, Voodoo Death, and the Search for the Meaning of the World’s Strangest Syndromes, looks beyond travel literature’s colonial superiority and explores how meaning, perception, and belief shape what we think of as “real” in disease and health.
How does the legacy of colonialism affect mental health in India? Are women’s rights, spiritual freedom, and ant-colonialism intertwined? Do women who choose a path of spiritual renunciation have the same freedom as men? Where are human rights more respected: in traditional temples, or in hospital locked wards?
Bhargavi Davar’s mother Bapu was a psychiatric abuse survivor persecuted for her religious devotion. Bapu’s struggle inspired Bhargavi to found the Bapu Trust, where she leads advocacy for mental health reform and community development throughout Asia. Bhargavi is also a lead organizer with INTAR, the International Network Towards Alternatives for Recovery.
What if psychotic experiences express historical and intergenerational trauma? Does one person’s emotional crisis reach beyond their own individual mind? Could synchronicities and meaningful coincidences guide recovery instead of just being “symptoms”?
Naas Siddiqui, a psychiatric survivor and therapist in training who founded the Spiritual Emergence and other Unusual Experiences student group, descended into altered states after withdrawing from psychiatric medications. She discovered how her Bangladeshi heritage shaped her madness, and found a unique pathway to use her visionary states to heal personal and family trauma.
What if psychiatry recognized that schizophrenia does not exist? How might diagnostic categories (left over from the asylum era) be replaced by spectrums of experience that show how psychotic experiences can also be normal? What if services were oriented around individuals, not the statistical groups of “evidence based” research? And could a new definition of health as empowerment, not the absence of disease symptoms, replace the mental health system as we know it?
Jim van Os, professor of Psychiatric Epidemiology at Maastricht University and member of the Royal Dutch Academy of Science with more than 700 publications, is one of the top one percent highly cited scientists in the world. His research combines with the experiential knowledge of people with lived experience of psychosis to envision a radically new direction for the mental health system.
The Families in Mental Health Crisis Act HR 2646 — The Murphy Bill — proposes drastic changes to US mental health policies. Will the Murphy Bill curb violence and improve care? Or will more forced treatment, medication, and hospitalization only enrich pharmaceutical and medical industry power and reinforce stereotypes at the expense of real human needs?
Leah Harris, psychiatric abuse survivor and organizer for the Campaign for Real Change in Mental Health Policy, completed an investigative report on the Murphy Bill’s potential impact on people in crisis, how the gun manufacturer lobby is involved, and the role of Otsuka Pharmaceuticals.
www.realmhchange.org http://www.ndrn.org/en/issues/mental-health/protect-paimi.html www.proteus.com/press-releases/u-s-fda-accepts-first-digital-medicine-new-drug-application-for-otsuka-and-proteus-digital-health/
Is mental health about individual diseases, or the health of communities and countries as a whole? How do economic policies after the 2008 crisis impact disability rights, suicide rates, and community wellbeing? Are cuts in social spending really necessary for economic growth, or do they cause more problems in the long run?
Guardian columnist Mary O’Hara, author of Austerity Bites, discusses the devastating impact of austerity economic policies in Europe, the scapegoating mindset behind social spending cuts, and the dangers of pursuing similar policies in the US and globally. http://www.theguardian.com/profile/maryohara www.austeritybitesuk.com
Psychiatric survivor leader Oryx Cohen was at a national conference when a seizure suddenly launched him out of his body and into a visionary state of madness. Avoiding medications or hospitalization, friends held a hotel room vigil for Oryx for many sleepless nights, and then drove him 4 days across country to safety.
What surprising lessons – about the usefulness of medications, support, spirituality, and his own trauma – did Oryx learn? How can the fear of manic psychosis turn into healing?
Is thinking a cognitive process of information input and output? Or do consciousness and emotion take place in our bodies – animated, moving, and responsive to the environment? And what would Darwin think of today’s focus on brains and neuroscience – is there an evolutionary way to understand the mind instead?
Maxine Sheets-Johnstone, dancer, philosopher, and author of more than 70 journal articles and 9 books, including The Corporeal Turn: An Interdisciplinary Reader, The Primacy of Movement, and The Phenomenology Of Dance, explores her understanding of the evolution of mind. http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Movement_as_a_Way_of_Knowing
Celebrated US President Abraham Lincoln also suffered from life-threatening depression. Did he view his “melancholy” as a treatable illness, as a punishment from God — or as a source of his gifts? How did Lincoln’s extraordinary leadership abilities arise from his struggle with extreme pain?
Joshua Wolf Shenk, author of Lincoln’s Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness, explores the famous President’s battle with despair, suicide, and intense sorrow, and discusses what people with depression – and the medical establishment empowered to treat them – can learn from Lincoln’s suffering. www.shenk.net www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2005/10/lincolns-great-depression/304247/ www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2009/06/what-makes-us-happy/307439/ www.shapell.org/manuscript.aspx?lincoln-mccullough-civil-war-condolence
What if you were the only one seeing coded messages, covert realities, and elaborate plots all around you? Does that make you out of touch with reality, “paranoid” and “psychotic?” Or is it real — but you are just so upset that everyone thinks the problem is you instead?
Tim Dreby, a psychotherapist and author in the San Francisco Bay Area, endured a life-threatening — and real — encounter with gangsters, police, and political conspiracy. He also survived a schizophrenia diagnosis, and today leads support groups for people facing overwhelming intuitions, coded messages, and conspiracies, helping them heal from trauma and regain control of their lives. fightingforfreedominamerica.
In schizophrenia really an “incurable illness” — or a state of chronic terror? Are there ways for psychotherapy to reach people in different realities? And does Freudian psychoanalysis offer a humane and empowering approach?
Bert Karon, psychoanalyst since 1955, co-author of the classic textbook Psychotherapy of Schizophrenia, and Professor of Clinical Psychology at Michigan State University, outlines psychoanalysis and discusses how his talking cure helps people diagnosed psychotic and schizophrenic.
Are there ways to reach people in states of madness? How do talking with ghosts, hearing voices, and seeing visions — as well as enduring family turmoil — relate to psychotic crisis?
When Dina Tyler discovered the meaning of life in an altered state, the treatment she received only inflicted further trauma. Dina instead embraced her madness as a guiding force for recovery, and found a way to leave labels and medications behind. Today she works as a counselor to youth experiencing psychosis, communicating across different realities with people driven away from traditional care.
Dina is the co-director of the Bay Area Mandala Project, co-founder of Bay Area Hearing Voices, and works with an early psychosis intervention program in Alameda County, California. She was awarded Peer Specialist of the Year by the National Council for Behavioral Health in 2015!
What if ordinary families could provide care for people psychiatry has given up on? Is there a way out for people stuck long-term as mental patients? Can human relationships and living together be more effective than medications, diagnosis, and hospitals?
Carina Håkansson’s values wouldn’t allow her to work in the traditional psychiatric system in Sweden. She left to create the Family Care Foundation, providing foster homes, therapy, and supervision for people with psychosis and extreme emotional distress. What can we all learn from this visionary — and simple — solution?
How do we recover from childhood violence? When Lauren Spiro was 14, her father was murdered. Eighteen months later, she began to have unusual spiritual experiences and was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Today she works to promote peace and healing in communities, fulfilling the vision she had in her extreme state.
Lauren is co-director of Emotional CPR, associate director of the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery, and her new memoir is Living For Two: A Daughter’s Journey from Grief and Madness to Forgiveness and Peace.