New Madness Radio Book!

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 on other stations through Pacifica, and podcasting on iTunes and Google Play. Check our About page.

Madness Radio Producer is Nina Packebush. Thanks to past Producers Leah Harris and Jeremy Lanzman.

Madness Radio is now an affiliate of Mad In America Radio!
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Listen to recent shows below, subscribe on the right, browse by topics, search by keyword, or list all 175+ shows by date and title. Shorter versions are also available.

Madness Radio is creative commons copyright! Please copy, post, and share freely. And get involved: send topic ideas, leave comments, ask FM stations to air us, leave an iTunes review, or make a donation.

Meanings of Madness: Gail Hornstein

First Aired 11-03-2010 | 10 comments | Add comment
Agnes's Jacket by Gail Hornstein

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.

Icarus Project: Sascha DuBrul

First Aired 10-04-2010 | 12 comments | Add comment
Sascha Dubrul

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.


Bipolar Medication Myths: Dr Joanna Moncrieff

First Aired 08-26-2010 | 17 comments | Add comment
Dr Joanna Moncrieff

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.

Schizophrenia and Black Politics: Jonathan Metzl

First Aired 06-11-2010 | 4 comments | Add comment
Author Jonathan Metzl

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 and psychosis was a political tool.


Open Dialogue Alternative: Mary Olson

First Aired 04-19-2010 | 5 comments | Add comment
Mary Olson

Is a ‘psychotic’ crisis inside one person’s mind — or does it happen between people, in their relationship? Can therapy untangle the web of madness by addressing the family, providers, and entire social network?

Smith College social worker and Fulbright scholar Mary Olson discusses the innovative work of Jaakko Seikkula and colleagues’ Open Dialogue Approach in Finland, which has achieved dramatic success helping people through extreme states labeled ‘psychosis’ and ‘schizophrenia’ — while relying much less on medication and hospitalization.

Violent Voices: Erica van den Akker

First Aired 04-02-2010 | 8 comments | Add comment
Erica van den Akker

People who hear voices are no more violent than anyone else — but what about the small number of voice hearers that do actually commit violent crimes? Are medications and locked wards the best way to help those who act on their aggressive “command hallucinations?” What is the relationship between trauma, violence, and voices?

Dutch psychiatric social worker and Hearing Voices Movement member Erica van den Akker discusses her innovative counseling work with violent offenders in the Netherlands.


Prison Mental Health: Terry Kupers

First Aired 03-02-2010 | 5 comments | Add comment
Terry Kupers

The US incarcerates more people than any country in the world – and 70% are people of color. Do we need better mental health care inside prisons — or do prisons themselves cause trauma and madness?

Psychiatrist and civil lawsuit expert witness Dr.Terry Kupers, author of Prison Madness: The Mental Health Crisis Behind Bars and What We Must Do About It, discusses overcrowding, racism, sensory deprivation, isolation, and sexual abuse in the disgraceful US prison system.

Schizophrenia Psychotherapy: Catherine Penney

First Aired 01-21-2010 | 12 comments | Add comment
Catherine Penney

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.

Survivor Spoken Word: Leah Harris

First Aired 12-30-2009 | 11 comments | Add comment
Leah Harris

Leah Harris was orphaned after both parents were diagnosed with schizophrenia and died from medication toxicity. Today she is a leading voice in survivor activism, and her powerful spoken word poetry, including “I Was A Teenage Mental Patient,” has been featured in publications including Word Warriors: 35 Women Leaders in the Spoken Word Revolution, and DC Poets against the War: An Anthology. Leah is also the co-coordinator of the US Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry.

Buy her new cd “Take Refuge” at the National Empowerment Center:

Ireland Voices: Brian Hartnett

First Aired 12-16-2009 | 6 comments | Add comment
Brian Hartnett

Can recreational drugs be an opening to genuine spiritual awakening? Brian Hartnett’s passion for rave dance music — as well as alcohol and ecstasy — cost him his career.

Doctors labeled his paranoia, telepathy, and voices symptoms of schizophrenia. But Brian went on to become one of the founders of Hearing Voices Ireland, and discover a new, heightened spirituality.

Recovery and Diagnosis: Lisa Darbyshire

First Aired 12-01-2009 | 3 comments | Add comment
Recovery Learning Communicty

How can a chaotic and oppressive family life lead to trauma and extreme states? Do medications and diagnosis provide help, or can they make things worse?

Psychiatric abuse survivor Lisa Darbyshire, Massachusetts organizer with the Freedom Center and the Recovery Learning Community, discusses her personal experiences of hospitalization and recovery, including the struggle with learned helplessness and dependence.

Autism Self Advocacy: Ari Ne’eman

First Aired 10-14-2009 | 6 comments | Add comment
Ari Ne'eman

What does it mean to be autistic, have Asperger’s, or be on the autism spectrum? Is autism a disease to be overcome, or a difference to be embraced? Is autism advocacy like mad pride activism?

Ari Ne’eman, a person on the autism spectrum and director of the Autism Self Advocacy Network, discusses the autism movement’s challenge to what we consider “normal.”

Conscience of Psychiatry: Peter Breggin

First Aired 09-16-2009 | 6 comments | Add comment
Dr Peter Breggin

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.

Beyond Belief: Tamasin Knight

First Aired 09-16-2009 | 7 comments | Add comment
Tamasin Knight

How do we respond to bizarre beliefs like CIA brain chips, abduction by aliens, hearing voices, spirit possession, or telepathy? Is respect for a different reality “colluding” with a delusion? Or is there meaning in madness?

Medical doctor Tamasin Knight was hospitalized for delusions, and went on to write the practical guidebook Beyond Belief: Alternative Ways of Working with Delusions, Obsessions and Unusual Experiences, available as a free download at (PDF).

Paxil On Trial: Alison Bass

First Aired 08-26-2009 | 4 comments | Add comment
Alison Bass

When GlaxoSmithKline was caught lying about the risks of its blockbuster anti-depressant Paxil, it set off ongoing investigations. How did New York state take on one of the world’s most powerful companies? Was NY Governor Eliot Spitzer driven out by his corporate enemies?

Pulitzer-nominated Boston Globe journalist Alison Bass, author of Side Effects: A Prosecutor, A Whistleblower, And A Bestselling Antidepressant On Trial, discusses legal battles to clean up drug company corruption, including pay-offs to the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill.


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