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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Is a champion athlete more powerful than madness and psychiatric medications?
When Meaghan Buisson said she wanted to break the world record for inline skating, her psychiatrist diagnosed her as psychotic. Two years later, she won the title — only to face the even greater challenge of self-harm, starvation, and psych meds withdrawal. Buisson now directs BodyWhys Canada, supporting youth with peer education.
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.”
Can people’s behavior really be explained by neuroscience and our evolutionary needs as hunter-gatherers — or is this just a popular fad? Does understanding the brain really solve the mysteries of being human?
Neurologist Dr. Raymond Tallis, philosopher, Academy of Medical Sciences Fellow, and author of Why the Mind is Not a Computer and Aping Mankind: Neuromania, Darwinitis and the Misrepresentation of Humanity, exposes the bad science and faulty logic behind pop obsessions with the brain and evolutionary psychology.
Is it possible to navigate the “multiple worlds” that emerge during psychotic experiences? Are voices and altered states also like a shamanic journey, needing guidance to find your way?
Anusuya StarBear has heard voices and gone through altered states her whole life. A tragic near-death experience 20 years ago left her with severe and chronic physical pain — and the calling to be a healer. Today visionary painting and Native American spirituality transform her pain into a creative pathway as a Process Oriented therapist, coach, and energy healer.
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.
What do you do when medications for your emotional problems become worse than the problems themselves? Laura Delano went to a psychiatrist at age 18, and for the next decade was prescribed nineteen different psychiatric drugs. After devastating physical and emotional effects, she began a journey to become medication free — and re-discover who she is. What lessons did she learn?
Laura blogs regularly about her experiences at Mad in America, works for a mental health agency in Massachusetts, and is an advocate for drug alternatives and safe withdrawal.
Childhood sexual abuse is pervasive in our society, leaving lifelong wounds that affect men as well as women. Is it enough to hold perpetrators accountable, or are there deeper causes of abuse? Do police, courts, and child protection services help heal — or lead to more trauma? And how can body-oriented approaches move beyond the limits of talk therapy?
Child sexual abuse survivor Staci Haines, author of Healing Sex: A Mind-Body Approach to Healing Sexual Trauma and co-founder of Generation Five, discusses transformative justice and liberating society from child abuse.
Hearing voices is strongly connected with traumatic experiences, but are voices a brain malfunction or a creative strategy for protection?
UK psychologist Eleanor Longden survived a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia and went on to be a leading researcher around voice hearing, trauma, and dissociation. She is a pioneer in the movement to understand voices as a normal human experience — and truly help people by healing trauma.
Can psychotherapy be a replacement for medication for psychosis and extreme states? Should therapists hospitalize suicidal clients against their will — even when they could be traumatized by the very care intended to protect them?
Dr. Toby Watson, clinical psychologist, discusses how to be an ethical therapist in an era of medications, diagnostic labels, and forced treatment.
Why are so many children being diagnosed bipolar? Do medications treat disease – or just keep children under control? What else can parents do when faced with difficult behavioral problems?
Sharna Olfman, Psychology Professor at Point Park University and editor of the book Bipolar Children, discusses the growing social and economic pressures to label children bipolar.
Shamans of the Amazon jungle heal the spirit by communicating with plants and singing people back to health. Can indigenous medicine, including the psychedelic ayahuasca, help anxiety, depression, and addiction? What do healers of Peru have to teach us about mental health?
Metsa Niwue, a curandero who has studied for more than sixteen years with the Shipibo and Quechua Lamista peoples, discusses the promise and potential dangers of traditional Amazonian plant medicine for the west.
Could a young man’s overwhelming visions of Christ and apocalypse be a creative response to life trauma, rather than signs of paranoid schizophrenia? Does madness unfold differently depending on whether it is supported – or feared?
Irish activist and punk musician Grainne Humphrys, herself a survivor of an extreme state, discusses the campaign for the release of former partner John Hunt. John has been incarcerated and drugged against his will since 2005, sparking international outcry.
How can we truly help combat veterans facing the aftermath of war? Is veteran trauma a sign of mental illness, or a healthy response to violent situations? Are medications and therapy the answer?
Paula Caplan, author of When Johnny and Jane Come Marching Home: How All of Us Can Help Veterans, discusses healing the wounds of war by listening to the stories of veterans in our communities.
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.
How common are suicidal feelings? Is a psychiatric illness behind suicidal despair — or a meaningful and even spiritual life crisis? Does forced hospitalization really provide help?
Suicide attempt survivor David Webb, author of Thinking About Suicide: Contemplating and Comprehending the Urge to Die, discusses how speaking openly about suicidal feelings, rather than reacting with panic and fear, is the best form of suicide prevention.