Now is a far better time to be mentally ill than it was a few hundred years ago. Institutions like the infamous Bedlam were not happy places, and you might just find yourself chained to the wall for years on end. James Norris at Bedlam, circa 1814 In the 1800s, you may have ended up… Continue reading The Downside of Psychiatric Deinstitutionalization
Mental illness is fairly unique in that laws allow for treatment to be imposed involuntarily. I'm not against involuntary psychiatric treatment entirely, and it can play an important role, but there are some things that can and should be done better. When involuntary treatment is necessary Working as a nurse in community mental health, there… Continue reading The Problem with Involuntary Psychiatric Treatment
The Collected Schizophrenias: Essays by Esmé Weijun Wang gives insights into her life with schizoaffective disorder and some of the major issues she's faced as a result. Want uses the term schizophrenias to refer to primary psychotic illnesses like schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder. Her initial diagnosis was bipolar disorder, and it took 9 years to… Continue reading Book Review: The Collected Schizophrenias
In this series, I dig a little deeper into the meaning of psychological terms. This week's term is autonomy. While autonomy falls more under the umbrella of philosophy than psychology, it also has significant implications when it comes to mental health and mental health care. The philosopher Immanuel Kant identified several key elements of autonomy, including… Continue reading What Is… Autonomy in Mental Health Care
From abuses in asylums to horrific "experiments" in Nazi Germany, the anti-psychiatry movement arose in response to what were seen as abuses within the mainstream psychiatric establishment. Yet has the movement actually brought about any sort of positive change for those people living with mental illness? Or has it generated more of an academic debate that's… Continue reading Is the Anti-Psychiatry Movement Helping Us?
The disturbing documentary God Knows Where I Am tells the story of Linda Bishop, and her death after being released from a state psychiatric hospital. The film includes readings from Linda's journal, and commentary from people who knew her, including her sister and her daughter. Their words powerfully captured the pain and frustration of a… Continue reading God Knows Where I Am: Death By Mental Illness
No One Cares About Crazy People is Pulitzer Prize-winning and New York Times bestselling author Ron Powers’ exploration of his two sons' journeys with schizophrenia, combined with a sweeping social history of mental health care and attitudes towards those with mental illness. He skillfully interweaves these separate threads, drawing the reader along from the early… Continue reading Book Review: No One Cares About Crazy People
How do issues like paternalism vs. autonomy affect the experience of being hospitalized on the psych ward?