Prepared by: National Stigma Clearinghouse


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December 6, 2004 - News of the Week

Canadian Survey: 69% of Canadians with BiPolar Disorders are Working

November 11, 2004

The vast majority of Canadians living with bipolar disorder, a severe mental illness, are high-functioning individuals who hold down full-time jobs, according to new research from Statistics Canada.

The data, which were collected as part of a landmark survey on mental health, shatters long-held perceptions about a condition that can lead to alternating bouts of mania and depression.

Approximately 444,000 adults suffer from bipolar disorder in Canada, or about 3 per cent of the population, the study reveals.

"For so long, people with bipolar disorder have been told there is no hope, but this demonstrates there is real hope," said Penny Marrett, chief executive officer of the Canadian Mental Health Association. "They can find work and have productive lives and make important contributions to society."

In its report, Statistics Canada said a "remarkable" 69 per cent of people with bipolar disorder hold down jobs.

What distinguished those who worked from those who did not wasn't the severity of the illness, the medication they were taking or the health care and psychological services they used. Rather, it was "tangible social support" that made the difference, according to the study. (Emphasis added by Antistigma Home Page)

"Everybody needs a social network -- friends, family, neighbours, colleagues at work and, for people with bipolar disorder, it's what makes the difference," she said.

Dan Marinus, a Toronto bus driver who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder six years ago, agrees. He said he managed to survive years of wild mood swings with the support of his family, friends, and an understanding employer. But when his drinking went out of control -- a side effect of mental illness, he said -- his marriage fell apart, his social circle collapsed and he lost his job.

"I had to start my life over again at age 58, and I was suffering from manic depression," Mr. Marinus said. He quit drinking and started taking olanzapine. Coincidentally, the drug, sold under the brand name Zyprexa, was approved earlier this month for the treatment of bipolar disorder. (It used to be approved only for schizophrenia.) The drug, a product of Eli Lilly Canada Inc., is the first new medication approved for treating the condition since lithium hit the marketplace three decades ago.

While the new report stressed that social support is the key ingredient that allows people to manage living with bipolar disorder, it noted that one in four sufferers could not find help when they needed it.

Ms. Marrett said that is yet another stark reminder that mental-health services are inadequate and spotty across Canada. She said the data also demonstrates the need to detect mental illness early.

The average age of onset for bipolar disorder was 19. The study also revealed that people with bipolar disorder were far more likely to suffer from a number of chronic health conditions, such as asthma, obesity and migraines, and to abuse alcohol and drugs. They also used far more health-care services.

"If you have early detection, you're going to have better outcomes. You're going to have people managing their condition, and able to hold down jobs and contribute actively to society," she said.

The Statistics Canada research on mental health will also include examinations of social anxiety disorder, panic disorder and alcohol and drug dependence.
-End of article-

November 21, 2004 - News of the Week


Findings Apply Nationwide

Source: Detroit Free Press,

Findings of the Michigan Mental Health Commission
November 20, 2004

--Public misconceptions about mental illness and emotional disturbances lead to a stigma that gets in the way of timely diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

--Too often, people must be in crisis before they can receive mental health care.

--Many people with mental illness or emotional disturbances are not receiving the care they need, and too much of the care provided is not of acceptable quality or appropriate to the need.

--There is an inappropriate use of the juvenile and criminal justice systems for people with mental illness and emotional disturbances.

--Michigan's public mental health system is neither structured nor adequately funded to deliver care to people effectively, efficiently, and in a timely manner.

--The lack of access to integrated mental health and physical health care and support for housing, education and employment slows recovery for mentally ill people.

--The needs of the mentally ill and their families do not drive the care and services provided to the degree they could and should.

Copyright © 2004 Detroit Free Press Inc. All rights reserved.
End of Article

Note from National Stigma Clearinghouse: We respectfully suggest replacing the term "mental illness" in the above report with the more accurate plural "mental illnesses." Also, instead of "the mentally ill" we suggest using "individuals with a mental illness." Both of these changes avoid the one-size-fits-all stereotype that plagues individuals diagnosed with mental illnesses or psychiatric vulnerabilities.

November 14, 2004 - News of the Week


The obituary below came to the Antistigma Home Page from Harold A. Maio, ( Complimenting the newspaper, Harold wrote, "Editors: My sincere congratulations to the author of this moving piece, and to the editors who provided it public space. The writing, the tone, the feeling, all are exemplary."
Source: The Columbian, Serving Clark County, Washington

In Memoriam: Charles Hilton Oliver
Friday, November 12, 2004

Charles "Charlie" Hilton Oliver was born on November 2, 1947 in Portsmouth, VA, and passed away suddenly on November 6, 2004 at age 57. He was the third child of Henry Marion Oliver and Helene Eva Louise Oliver, following older siblings, brother Henry and sister Laura. Charlie's mother, Helene, passed away in 1970 and his father was deceased in 1994.
Charlie's early years were spent in Virginia, Australia, California, and finally in Oregon where he graduated from Silverton High School in 1966. Charlie then joined the U.S. Navy, trained in the medical corps and was deployed to the Southeast Asia Theater.

Serving aboard the USS Arikara, he earned the National Defense Service Metal and the Vietnam Service Medal. While on active duty he developed the debilitating mental illness paranoid schizophrenia, and was honorably discharged on a service-related disability. For many years, Charlie's affliction caused him to suffer a difficult and tumultuous existence until improved medications eased his suffering. This enabled him to be able to finally endure his disability at peace and in quiet dignity.
Charlie was overjoyed when he was adopted by his step- mother Brenda Oliver in 1978. Brenda filled a deep void in his life and he loved her unconditionally. As Charlie wasn't able to have a family of his own, he shared close family ties with his father until his death, as well as his mother, sister Laura and her husband Bill, and Laura's children Sonya and Jesse and their respective children. Charlie cherished family get-togethers and celebrations especially the holidays. He loved his family deeply and was loved in return.
Charlie was a gentleman, with a kind, loving soul and a gregarious, playful nature. He loved to read, smoke cigarettes, watch TV, play bingo with his special friends, fish, go camping and patronize garage sales. He had a keen interest in science, especially chemistry and astronomy. The last several years of his life were spent in the Pacific Northwest, in the Tacoma and Vancouver areas. At the time of his death, Charlie resided at the Evergreen Inn in Vancouver, where he was beloved by residents and staff alike. Charlie knew no strangers and his trademark was a welcoming hug or handshake.
Charlie is survived by his mother, Brenda Oliver, of Salem; sister Laura Oliver and brother-in-law Bill Vaughn, Ridgefield; brothers Henry Oliver, Orange County, California, Karl Oliver, San Francisco, and Douglas Oliver, Salem; nieces Sonya Hartig, Germantown, Maryland, Andrea Oliver Luton, Salem, and Niki Oliver, Orange County, California; and, nephews Jesse Williams, Battle Ground and David Oliver, Alaska. In addition, Charlie's adopted family includes brothers Ian Cook and Mark, Scott, and Brett McDonald and sister Stephanie Zufelt. Richard Beals, a step-brother, passed away many years ago as did his step-mother, Norma Oliver.
Charlie will be laid to rest in the Willamette National Cemetery. The family requests that in lieu of flowers or donations, remembrances be sent in Charlie's name to the Disabled American Veterans Association to help support programs for these American patriots whose sacrifice for their country continues for a lifetime.

October 31, 2004 - News of the Week


Actress, author shares story of fight to beat depression

Source: Cincinnati Post,

By Wayne Perry
Post Living editor

October 18, 2004

Watching Patty Duke star as identical cousins Patty and Cathy Lane in the "The Patty Duke Show" from 1963 to 1966, you might have imagined the talented teen was having the time of her life. After the show ended she went on to make movies, perform theater and return to television many times through the years.

But Duke was not leading an ideal life -- far from it. She was behaving erratically and had no idea why until she was diagnosed as manic-depressive.

"I suffered for 35 years before the diagnosis was finally made and the lithium and therapy began," said Duke. "That was 21 years ago."

Today Duke (call her Anna please, her real name, not Patty) is a spokesperson for mental illness, encouraging others who might have similar problems to seek help.

The Oscar-winning actress and best-selling author will be the keynote speaker on Wednesday night in Cincinnati for the Health Improvement Collaborative 2004 dinner at the Hyatt Regency, downtown. "I'll be giving a really personal overview of what it was like to be manic-depressive and very, very lost -- and also very young. The diagnosis was hard to make because some of it was delayed teenage behavior, so it was hard for doctors to pinpoint."

Duke says her problems really began in her early twenties.

"It started with depression -- a depression that almost literally paralyzed me. I cried nearly 24 hours a day. It seems impossible that a person could cry that much, but I cried that much. I rejected any kind of comforting or any suggestion of seeing a doctor. And I could go anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months like that -- months!

"Not eating. Shrinking down to 70 pounds. And then -- it wasn't as if a switch flipped -- but more like a dial rotated down -- and the intensity of the depression lifted. I had no idea why, but little by little I'd begin to participate in life again. Then there would be a kind of an even keel for awhile," she said.

"There were ups and downs, Violent ups and downs. When I was going up -- I would go and buy -- you know, I never believed it when the doctors told me that over-spending, wild over-spending was a symptom -- you have to have others to make the case, but it is one symptom of mania.

"I would buy things. I went to Palm Springs once -- I didn't live there -- but I saw a dune buggy at a Sears and it was so cute I had to have it. So I bought a dune buggy. Now that's not like buying a house, many people do that -- but there I was in Palm Springs, no place to live but I had a dune buggy."

Finally, however, she was diagnosed.

"It was a series of accidents -- all in my favor. I was in the process of divorce from John Astin, therefore I was rational at this time. I'd made a number of appointments with psychiatrists. I was also doing a series at that time (1983) with Dick Crenna, my beloved Dick Crenna. It was called 'It Takes Two,' and it was wonderful. You just couldn't wait to get to work in the morning.

"One week I started to feel like I couldn't talk -- like laryngitis -- and we were to tape in two days so they sent me to a doctor to get a shot of cortisone.

Now there's a lot of debate about this, some people believe, if an episode is coming, a shot of cortisone can help it along. I don't know that for a fact. All I know is that when I got back to the rehearsal -- I was wackier than ever.

After the rehearsal, I had an appointment with a psychiatrist and after about 10 minutes he said, "You know Anna, I've suspected this for so long, I think you're manic-depressive.

"My reaction was 'Thank God! It has a name.' Why a label was so important -- I do not know -- but it gave me a sense of relief that it wasn't the 'bad me' doing it -- that it was a chemical imbalance of the brain.

"The show shut down and we began lithium therapy two days later. About three weeks later, I began, and others began, to notice a difference in me. I could still laugh when it was funny and cry when it was sad -- but that out-of-control motor that would send me into space was not running anymore. And to this day, knock wood, I have not had another episode," she said.

"I still have a tremendous amount of energy and I can get really elated about something and I can get very, very sad about something. But they refer to those as causative reactions, not spontaneous, out of your brain cells nuttiness."

Duke says that as she travels telling of her experiences (she does about a half-dozen such appearances each year) she learns a lot about human nature.

"One of the issues that is extremely important that I have found out from talking to people -- well, first of all is the fear of being 'found out.' In the work place or anywhere else. But also the fear that they will lose their creativity. I have read many things where that has been said. I can only tell them from my own experience that not only has my own creativity grown, but I am actually able to accomplish something.

When I was out of control, I could get the best ideas in the universe but I couldn't do anything about it because I didn't know how to get from 'A' to 'B.'"

She is committed to using her experiences to help others.

"When I was so sick -- you know -- you bargain a lot. I bargained with God a lot. And one of the bargains was 'if you make it stop I'll do anything. -- I'll help anybody -- .
I'll do anything I can to help somebody else so they won't have to feel like this.' So when it stopped, the first couple of months it didn't occur to me. but then I remembered 'Oh yes, I have a bargain to keep.'

"So I've kept it. It was important to me on a subjective level as well because, seeing things in print seems to validate them and I got to tell the very bad girl stuff and the struggling good girl stuff and the stuff that I truly think I'm made of which is absolute love for my fellow man," she said.

Incredibly, through it all, Duke maintained a successful career. She's made an amazing 72 television movies. Recently she starred in the Hallmark television mystery movie "Murder Without Conviction."

"I played a nun and I fell in love with the part. I'd like to play this part forever. It was very successful. I understand that they have written a second script. It's in the polishing stage. None of that means anything until some executive gives it the 'go' -- but it certainly is keeping me hopeful.

That could be my next project. Or it could be somebody calling from 'Law & Order,' which I'd also love to do."

Says Duke, now 57, of her continuing acting career: "This is what I do. And the part of me that needs to do it is very needy right now so I'm hopeful. I want my cake and I want to eat it too. I want to work and then I want to come back to Idaho, where I now live, and enjoy my family."

She says the favorite part of her work on behalf of mental illness is after she's given her speech.

"That's the portion of the evening when we open it up for an exchange -- when my answers can be much more specific to people who want to ask about a problem or anything else. We do that for what's supposed to be a half hour, but that one always goes an hour and a half.

"I don't want to put the hex on it -- but in the hundreds of these that I have done, the sensation by the end is almost like a revival meeting. People will come up to me at the end and say they suspected they had a problem but they didn't want to go to see a doctor -- but now they are going to go," says Duke.

"So that's the sort of night it is. It's usually a night of laughter, tears and a real communing."

- End of Article -

October 10, 2004 - News of the Week

Source: Pat Deegan PhD and Associates, LLC (click Recovery Journal)

History and Self-Directed Recovery

Today we talk about recovery as if it is a new idea. However, the idea that people recover is not at all new. In 1881, the Superintendents at Worcester State Hospital in Massachusetts conducted a follow-up survey on 1,157 people discharged from that asylum between 1840 and 1893. They found that 58% of those people discharged as recovered, remained well for the rest of their lives, some as long as 40 years after discharge. The same researchers found that 51% of those discharged prior to 1840 also remained well for the rest of their lives. These recovery rates from the 19th century compare favorably with modern longitudinal studies of recovery that show that half to two thirds of people diagnosed with major mental disorders recover or significantly improve.

If recovery rates are similar in the 19th century and the 20th century, then maybe these data say more about the fundamental resilience of people diagnosed, than about the "wonders" of modern treatment. This would be a consumer/survivor-centric interpretation of the data.

People diagnosed with mental illness have been recovering across the centuries with, and sometimes in spite of, the "treatment" we have received. We need to reject the image of ourselves as fragile human beings who are broken or who need to avoid stress. We are strong, resourceful and resilient. We can and often do direct our own recovery. From a historical perspective there are many examples of this. One need only read the story of John Perceval's recovery in the early 1800's. In this fascinating first person account of self-directed recovery we learn of the wide variety of coping strategies that Perceval discovered in order to find his wellness.

Among other strategies his voices taught him a form of meditation in which he attended to his breathing: "Moreover I have remarked, that when my mind is most disturbed, I breathe at that time violently and rapidly, and with difficulty through the nostrils...The spirits also which I conceived to speak to me, used to direct me to control my breath, and to 'breath gently up one nostril and down another.' I have often found too, that when I am depressed or agitated by any passion, a deep-drawn breath will change the whole complexion of thought and the tenor of my desires." (Perceval/Bateson p. 274).

Perceval also learned to be a close observer of his own behavior as well as that of others. He learned to listen to the helpful voices. "Now the voices I used to hear during my illness at Dr. Fox's (madhouse) told me...'keep my head and heart together,' not to let 'my head go wandering from my heart,' - that 'if I kept my head and heart together,' I should do well." (p.272). In time Perceval learned that these voices had something of value to teach him. To paraphrase what his voices told him: Keep your heart and your head together and you will do well. Don't let your head go wandering off from your heart or you will be out of touch with what you really desire and need. What you really need is what your heart and health dictate. Keep your head focused on that. Sage advice!!

Perceval also learned to challenge the voices that tormented him or threatened harm. Early on in his stay at the madhouse his voices were ordering him to do a variety of things and if he disobeyed, he was told he would be struck by a lightening bolt. In an act of courage Perceval defied the command, only to find that the thunderbolt struck harmlessly by his side. By challenging his delusional voices he was able to reality test the extent of their power. He concluded that they were not as powerful or correct as he as assumed: "A kind of confidence of mind came in me the evening after I had been threatened (by voices), and saw the thunderbolt fall harmlessly by my side...nothing ensuing, confidence again came in me, and this night a change took place in the tone of the voices." (p.54) Over the course of four years Perceval was able to use these and other self-directed recovery strategies to rid himself of his delusions and to think freely again.

If you are interested in reading more about John Perceval's self-directed recovery, you can find his books excerpted in a text called "Perceval's Narrative", edited by Gregory Bateson (1974).

I think we can learn from our history. Recovery is not a new idea. People have been directing their own recovery across the centuries. We are immersed in disease centered treatment systems.

Recovery is a person centered model that acknowledges that we are not diseases. Diseases don't recover but people do. We need to remember to look to ourselves and to our peers to learn what we are already doing to help ourselves cope with our distress. We don't always need to look to professionals for answers. Sometimes our answers lie within us if only we listen.

About Pat Deegan PhD & Associates, LLC:
A consumer/survivor/ex-patient run organization whose mission is to improve the personal, social, economic and cultural well being of people with psychiatric disabilities through ex-patient directed study and research.

We conduct research and study to:
  • Broaden the knowledge of recovery, resilience, empowerment and healing,
  • Promote self-determination for people with disabilities,
  • Create new resources, including self-help and peer support materials,
  • Amplify the voice and support initiatives of people of color, women, children and youth, and gay men and lesbians who have been diagnosed with mental illness,
  • Discover, interpret and preserve the historical perspective and collective heritage of people receiving services in mental health systems and
  • Investigate problems with and propose solutions to the forces that oppress and devalue people with disabilities.
    Pat Deegan PhD and Associates, LLC

    -End of Excerpt from website-

    Note from Jean Arnold, National Stigma Clearinghouse:
    When Pat Deegan's writings began to circulate in the 1980's, they were a revelation for families. Pat's gifted work, for the first time, gave clueless, worried family members valuable insights about the nature of recovery and hope as experienced by a person with schizophrenia.

  • September 26, 2004 - News of the Week

    Source: McMan's Depression and Bipolar Weekly, Sept. 24, 2004. (Contact:

    Special Kay Jamison Exuberance Issue
    Lead Story: Kay Jamison celebrates a positive life force in her latest book.

    Also in this issue: AD black boxes, AD use down in kids, Cons of Prozac, Point/Counterpoint on ADs, Exercise beats dementia, Mind over mind and matter (relaxation, menopause, heart, mindfulness), Coming soon, McMan's Web, Donations.

    In an interview this week with Kay Jamison PhD, this writer asked if she ever had her moments when she turned off the phone, drew the blinds, put on Beethoven's Seventh, and pretended she were Isadora Duncan.

    Now what kind of question is that to ask of a professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins, a celebrated researcher and author and mental health advocate, recipient of a McArthur genius grant and other awards far too numerous to mention?

    We go back in time to April 2002 to the DRADA Conference at Johns Hopkins and Dr Jamison's talk she gave there. We have "given sorrow many words," she told the conference, "but passion for life few." Exuberance, she went on to say, "takes us many places," with "delight its own reward, adventure its own pleasure." But exuberance and joy are also fragile, "bubbles burst, cartwheels abort," all part of the yin and yang of emotion, as "joy with no counterweight has no weight at all."

    Dr Jamison was reading from a draft of a book she was working on at the time, just out this week. The book is called "Exuberance: The Passion for Life," a long-overdue look at the positive life force that resides in all of us, the antidote to her previous "Night Falls Fast" on suicide. If "Night Falls Fast" constitutes the lugubrious march to the cemetery in New Orleans funeral processions, "Exuberance" is the joyous homeward journey, when the monotonous drone of the dirge gives way to life-affirming jazz in all its polyphonic glory. Together, these two works represent the equivalent of a treasured boxed set into human nature, a masterpiece of scholarship, insight, and literary elegance.

    Dr Jamison's book starts out with Teddy Roosevelt, the youngest US President, whose life, according to a friend, was the "unpacking of endless Christmas stockings." Said Kipling, after a meeting: "I curled up on the seat opposite and listened and wondered until the universe seemed to be spinning around and Theodore was the spinner."

    In her Johns Hopkins talk, Dr Jamison described TR as "hypomanic on a mild day," an observation that did not make it into her book. Rather, she sees exuberance as a temperament, equivalent to enthusiasm which in Greek means a god within. "Happy is he who bears a god within," she quotes Louis Pasteur, "and obeys it." But our species, she reminds us, is well-served by a variety of temperaments. "The joyous, and not so," she points out, "need one another in order to survive."

    In our phone interview, Dr Jamison stressed that exuberance comes in degrees. The people in her book tend to experience it in supersized dimensions, but even those who are depressed can catch it like a contagion. "Joy infects," she writes. "Expressive individuals strongly influence the moods of those who are unexpressive."

    Notwithstanding her observation of exuberance as a temperament, the author cites a 1980 study of hers where 35 bipolar patients reported positive benefits to their illness, including increased sensitivity, sexuality, productivity, creativity, and social outgoingness. Virginia Woolf, who is best remembered for her madness and suicide, tends to be forgotten as the person who lit up London's Bloomsbury group. Said a colleague: " I always felt on leaving her that I had drunk two excellent glasses of champagne. She was a life-enhancer."

    Loose Cannons and Crushing Put-Downs
    But Dr Jamison cautions there is the danger of crossing the line into being too exuberant for one's own good (earlier in the book she cites the fictional example of Toad of "Wind in the Willows" and his celebrated string of car wrecks). And when mild mania ratchets up into full-blown mania, we don't need an expert to tell us what can go wrong. Moreover, exuberance has its dark side, for example when the adrenaline rush of combat can transform into wanton bloodlust.

    General Patton, she reminds us, was literally a loose cannon, who encouraged his troops to take no prisoners, rape German women, and butcher civilians (which predictably steeled the resolve of the enemy and cost Allied lives).

    As much as society benefits from exuberant people, the world is also wary of them, Dr Jamison points out. In "The House at Pooh Corner," Rabbit and his cronies conspire to give the "too bouncy" Tigger a personality makeover and turn him into "a different Tigger altogether ... a Humble Tigger ... a sad Tigger, a Melancholy Tigger, a Small and Sorry Tigger." Happily, the plan backfires, but that is not often the way things turn out in real life. In our interview, Dr Jamison pointed out that because kids are so up-front with their emotions, they leave themselves wide open to crushing put-downs.

    In her book, Dr Jamison mentions the disturbing trend toward eliminating recess in schools. Play is critical in the development of kids and young mammals, she says, from ensuring a fully-functioning nervous system that outlasts its warranty to acquiring the intelligence and skills they will later put to use as adults.

    Over-regimenting kids' lives, she confirmed in our interview, can have enormous consequences for our society.

    Adults at Play
    Since childhood play has a biological purpose, this would explain why adults are positive stuck-in-the muds by comparison. (Bad comparison - when's the last time you frolicked in the mud? And in your good clothes.) Kids have the luxury of play under the protection of adults, Dr Jamison explained to this writer. Later, it becomes their turn to provide that same level of comfort and protection to their offspring.

    Nevertheless, some adults manage to retain their childlike capacity to respond in wonder to the world around them the rest of their lives. Writers and artists and musicians are the most obvious examples, but Dr Jamison in her book feels a special affinity to scientists. This stems from growing up in a household where her father, a scientist, surrounded himself with ebullient colleagues who shared her own youthful enthusiasm for the wind and stars and fireflies and on and on and on.

    Dr Jamison's Heroes
    Dr Jamison told this writer that scientists, contrary to public perception, are enormously inventive and creative. Her list includes Snowflake Bentley (who wrote of the beloved snow crystals he photographed, "was life history written in more dainty or fairy-like hieroglyphics?"), Michael Faraday (who pioneered electricity and commented, "nothing is too wonderful to be true"), the physicist Richard Feynman ("the ultimate scientific galumpher" whose work was play to him), and James Watson (co-discoverer of the DNA double helix, who, "in pursuit of an idea is an unnerving mix of exuberant intuition and deadly logic").

    A case study of scientific exuberance in action is Robert Farquhar, of Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, and mission director of the Near Earth Asteroid Rendevous spacecraft, which in 2001 successfully landed on the asteroid Eros. "I can't understand why they pay me to do what I love," he told Dr Jamison. His enthusiasm gave him the staying power to persevere over the NASA bureaucrats, who would have been satisfied with a mere orbital mission. His colleague, Andrew Chen told Dr Jamison that exuberance endows one with the resiliency to handle inevitable rejections and bounce back, though he confessed it can also scatter one's focus.

    In an article in Science, Dr Chen wrote: "Watching that event was the most exciting experience of my life. I was asked immediately afterwards how I felt, and I mumbled something about being tired and happy, but I missed the point. I realized afterward what I should have said: it was like watching Michael Jordan on the basketball court, when the game is on the line and he is in the groove. One miracle after another unfolds, and we are left stunned and speechless. When we learned that the spacecraft had not only landed on the surface, but was still operational, we hardly knew what to think."

    Following the Eros project, Dr Chen confessed to a kind of postpartum depression, at a loss for something new to throw himself into, but even as he made this admission he began waxing eloquent to Dr Jamison over geological anomalies on the asteroid's surface ("I'm beginning to get intrigued.") and over "this airplane-to-Mars thing."

    In response to this writer's question if there is a difference between male exuberance and female exuberance, Dr Jamison replied that a number of studies have found that the trait is far more common in boys and men than girls and women. From an evolutionary perspective, she told this writer, a group's survival may have depended on the male's capacity for adventure and exploration. But at the same time, society also has a way of squashing women, which women in turn wind up doing to themselves. Thus it was important to Dr Jamison that women be included in her book, especially in her favorite category:

    When astronomer Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin attended Cambridge in the 1920s, her gender prohibited her from receiving a degree. At Harvard, she was denied an academic appointment and had to settle for the position of an assistant. While there, she produced seminal work showing that most objects in the universe are composed primarily of hydrogen. According to Dr Jamison, Payne-Gaposchkin's exuberance was critical to overcoming the obstacles put in her way. Harvard eventually awarded her the full professorship she deserved and Cambridge finally conferred on her the degree she had earned 30 years earlier.

    Katy Payne, a research associate at Cornell's Bioacoustics Research Program is best known for her studies of the songs of the humpback whales and how elephants communicate with sounds too low for humans to hear. In her book, "Silent Thunder," she wrote: "Standing alone in a field where wildness crowded up yellow and green against our garden and house, I said out loud, 'This is the happiest day of my life and I'm eleven.'"

    Couldn't Agree More
    Almost the way I feel when I turn up the swing band music real loud and put on my tap dancing shoes. (Seriously, I love big bands and I do own a pair of tap shoes.) So now you can guess where this is headed. "You are going to see why I saved this one for last," I warned Dr Jamison in our interview. Then came the Beethoven-Isadora Duncan question and thankfully no hang-up click.

    Rather came a laugh and her equivalent to an Isadora Duncan moment - pulling down 25 books all at once from the shelves in hot intellectual pursuit, part of the never-ending thrill of her lifelong voyage of discovery instilled in her by her scientist father. Dr Jamison is as open about her exuberant temperament as she is about her bipolar illness, and it shows in her latest book, from insights as novel as each of Bentley's snowflakes to prose that sparkles like the very best champagne (invented by the English, of all people, she reminds us in her book).

    Way too often, psychiatry focuses on human failing and pathology. Dr Jamison's "Exuberance," by contrast, is refreshingly upbeat and life-affirming, from the joyous tobogganing of pandas to Louis Armstrong's inspired trumpet to the spirit of adventure in whole populations boldly seeking new lives on a strange and distant shore. As Dr Jamison reminds us, exuberance is infectious and her new book is no exception. You might want to start out on a small dose - say 30 pages a day and build up gradually to 60 pages.

    If this works well, don't be afraid to crank up the Beethoven real loud and dance like you've never danced before.

    You can help support this Newsletter by purchasing "Exuberance" using this link.

    And now back to regular programming ...

    (Note from Jean Arnold: To see many informative links missing from this reprint, please request the original McMan newsletter by contacting

    Black Box Warnings on Antidepressants
    The FDA has announced it "generally supports" the recommendations of a panel inquiry into antidepressants and suicidality in pediatric patients. Earlier this month, that panel recommended by a vote of 15 to 8 that a black box warning relating to an increased risk of suicidality in kids be placed on all antidepressants.

    Other recommendations from the panel endorsed by the FDA include: The risk for suicidality in kids apply to all the drugs studied (including Prozac, which is the only FDA-approved antidepressant for treating pediatric depression); a patient information sheet to be provided to the patient or caregiver with every prescription; results of controlled pediatric trials be included in the labeling.

    Much more on the antidepressants issue...

    AD Use Down in Kids
    In the wake of the FDA antidepressant controversy, Medco Health Solutions reports an 18 percent decrease in the number of patients who took an antidepressant in the first quarter of 2004. An additional five percent decrease occurred in the second quarter. The survey was commissioned by the NY Times.

    The NY Times reports that although Prozac is cleared for use in kids in the US and the UK, it is not significantly different than the other SSRIs that have failed to demonstrate their efficacy in pediatric populations. The NY Times quotes Steven Hyman MD of Harvard, former director of the NIMH: "It makes no scientific sense that you would find any significant difference in the effects. All target and bind to the same molecule in the brain." But the Times also notes that Prozac lingers in the body longer than the others do, which keep levels of the drug steady for people who miss doses, as kids are inclined to.

    Pros and Cons
    The Annals of Pharmacotherapy provides a "Crossfire"-style clash of views over the FDA antidepressant controversy. Patrick Finley PharmD BCPP of the University of California at San Francisco argues that owing to the fact that 60 percent of patients with major depression will consider suicide, 40 percent will attempt it, and four to 10 percent will be successful, that "attributing suicides to antidepressants, under these circumstances, may be somewhat analogous to blaming sandbags for the Johnstown flood."

    Dr Finley cites three sets of data: 1) Postmortem brain exams of suicidal patients have found serotonin deficits; 2) Population studies have found that as SSRIs came into widespread use, youth suicide rates worldwide went down; 3) Clinical trial data involving more than 20,000 depressed adults found no evidence of increased suicide risk compared to a placebo.

    Jay Cohen MD of the University of California San Diego, by contrast, cites his own clinical experience involving one of his first Prozac patients in 1988, who became psychotic after just three 20 mg doses of the drug. Dr Cohen attributes much of the problems with Prozac and other SSRIs to too high doses. Twenty mg is the recommended dose for Prozac, good for most of the population, but which can cause severe problems in others. Dropping down the dose to as low as 5 mg can be effective and reduce side effects (one study found this worked for 54 percent of patients vs 39 percent placebo, though 64 percent improved on 20 mg). The author cited a 1998 study that found that more than 75 percent of all adverse drug events (not just antidepressants) are dose-related, "an indication that, in too many cases, people are getting much more medication than they need or can tolerate."

    Another factor is that doctors fail to warn their patients over the initial anxiety, mania, and agitation side effects, again dose-related. Concludes the author: "Not one patient has ever told me of being advised that lower doses of many antidepressants are effective and less prone to causing such adverse effects."

    Working Out the Brain
    Two studies on exercise and dementia in JAMA: A Honolulu-Asia Aging study of 2,257 men 71 and older from 1991 to 1993 found that those who walked the least (less than a quarter mile a day) experienced a 1.8-fold greater risk of dementia vs those who walked more than two miles a day.

    A Nurse's health study of 18,766 women aged 70 to 81 from 1995 to 2001 and 1997 to 2003 found that women who walked at least 1.5 hours a week had a 20 percent less risk of cognitive decline than women walking less than 40 minutes a week.

    Roll Over Descartes This week's Newsweek cover feature is "The New Science of the Mind and Body," which includes several articles related to good mental hygiene.

    Highlights include:
    Relaxation - Scores of studies have confirmed that benefits of the "relaxation response," where blood pressure drops and heart and breathing slow, creating a feeling of tranquility. One exercise: Sit quietly in a comfortable position, close your eyes, relax your muscles from head to toe, breathe slowly and as you exhale say a word or a phrase to yourself such as "peace" or "The Lord is my shepherd." Calmly acknowledge extraneous thoughts and return to your phrase. Ten to 20 minutes is ideal, but five will serve you well.

    Menopause - Two studies have found that a breathing technique called paced respiration for 15 to 20 minutes once or twice a day resulted in a 50 percent reduction in hot flashes.

    The heart - Newsweek cites a study of downsized municipal workers in four towns in Finland over seven years (during a severe downturn in that nation's economy), which found those in work units with the most downsizing suffered twice the death rate from heart attack and stroke. It used to be thought that type A personalities were particularly vulnerable, but Newsweek reports that "if belligerence puts people at risk, science increasingly shows that a life of quiet desperation does, too."

    Mindfulness - I saved the best Newsweek feature for last: The essence of Buddhist mindfulness meditation is paying attention. Says Newsweek: "In 45-minute meditations, participants learn to observe the whirring thoughts of the mind and the physical sensations in the body. The guiding principle is to be present moment to moment, to be aware of what's happening, but without critique or judgment."

    It isn't easy. Our "monkey mind" keeps us flipping from past regrets to future worries. The goal is to be a mere observer to these thoughts. Says Newsweek: "Mindfulness takes you out of your same old patterns. You're no longer battling your mind in the boxer's ring - you're watching, with interest, from the stands. The detachment doesn't lead to passivity, but to new ways of thinking. This is especially helpful in depression, which plagues sufferers with relentless ruminations."

    Coming Soon
    Exciting new research into early onset bipolar is providing us with fresh insights into the illness and in ways of managing it.

    McMan's Web
    Check out more than 280 articles on all aspects of depression and bipolar, plus a bookstore, readers' forum, message boards, and other features at:

    Anger (Amazingly, the DSM fails to list anger as a symptom for either depression or mania.);  The Man Who Saw It Coming (Gustav Mahler, whose music chronicled a doomed age unraveling.)

    Oldie but goodie: Bipolar FAQ (For those new to the topic.)

    You can support this Newsletter by clicking on any of the site's links to do your online buying, including items not listed on McMan.

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    John McManamy
    "Knowledge is necessity."
    Copyright 2004 John McManamy

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    (Reprinted with permission)

    August 29, 2004 - News of the Week

    Source: Independent (UK)

    Changes in Diets 'Could 'Trigger Mental Health Crisis'
    By Maxine Frith and Sophie Goodchild
    June 27, 2004

    Changes in British diets are going to lead to an explosion in mental health problems, medical experts said yesterday. They warned of a crisis even bigger than the epidemic of obesity afflicting the UK.

    They said that most of the increase could probably be blamed on changes in farming and food over the past 20 years, which have led to deficiencies in essential omega-3 fatty acids.

    Experts will present new evidence at an international conference into the study of the impact of fatty acids in Brighton this week.

    The role of omega-3 has previously been underplayed by scientists, but evidence is emerging that it could have a big affect on mental well-being.

    Last week, the Food Standards Agency issued new advice encouraging people to eat more oily fish such as tuna and mackerel in a bid to increase intake of omega-3. Scientists are considering whether food should be fortified with the fatty acid in order to avert a health crisis in the future.

    Professor Michael Crawford of London Metropolitan University, said: "This is a major health crisis and a really serious issue, which hasn't really been looked at before.

    "We are going to have an epidemic of mental health problems in the future if we do not deal with this now. omega-3 has a major role to play in mental health and we need to start recognising that."

    Research due to be released at the conference of the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids this week will show that pregnant women with lower intakes of omega-3 are more likely to have children who will go on to have behavioural problems, attention disorders and other problems.

    The mothers themselves were more likely to suffer from depression if they had lower-than-average intakes of the fatty acid.

    Professor Crawford warned: "We are facing a monumental crisis here, and a lot of it is due to the very simple issue of diet."

    This follows a study highlighted earlier this year by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, which revealed a world-wide link between a lack of omega-3 in the diet and schizophrenia. This research showed that people who ate high levels of sugar and dairy products, instead of oily fish, were more likely to develop severe mental illness.

    Omega-3 is linked to brain development and mental health and is found in "green" foods such as cabbage due to the photosynthesis process.

    Professor Crawford said that at the beginning of the century, people's omega-3 intake was higher because of traditional farming practices where cows and lambs were fed on grass.

    However, intensive agriculture practices over the past 50 years have meant that livestock is now fed on grain and vitamins rather than omega-3-rich foods.

    Mental health problems are already predicted to become the third most costly burden of disease in the world by 2020. The Independent on Sunday has been campaigning for more than two years to improve access to treatment for the mentally ill.

    Scientists are concerned that unless the role of diet is highlighted by the Government, that burden could become worse. Researchers are already looking at ways to alter the feeding of dairy cows in order to increase the production of omega-3 in their milk.

    Decreasing intake of omega-3 has also been linked to low rates of fruit and vegetable consumption in the UK.
    - End of article -

    FOR MORE ABOUT OMEGA-3, Click here.

    August 8, 2004 - News of the Week

    ARTICLE SOURCE: Corvallis Gazette-Times,
    Forum challenges mental illness labels

    Fishbowl discussion focuses on stereotypes, awareness and rights


    Gazette-Times reporter
    July 25, 2004

    Mental health issues carry an almost unshakeable stigma, and a set of preconceived notions about what is "normal" and what is not. For those who work directly with people who have mental illnesses, and those who struggle with both an illness and its labels, confronting the issues surrounding psychiatric labels is a step toward shattering those stereotypes.

    Sunday, a group of area residents gathered at the Oddfellowship Hall in downtown Corvallis to discuss human rights for people with psychiatric labels, hoping to move from oppression of those individuals into a realm of awareness and wellness. The group participated in a fishbowl forum, that is, a central area of discussion with individual participants moving in and out of the circle to support dialogue and conversation.

    The event was sponsored by the Corvallis Community Alliance, along with several other community groups that deal with civil and human rights issues. Participants included mental health workers, advocates and community members who have struggled for years with their own illness.

    Darlene Osburn of Circle of Hope explained how the organization she represents offers a special space for those with mental illnesses in the community. "It was started by people to create more socialization for people in the community to deal with the lack of socialization," she said.

    People of all ages and backgrounds come to the center for support, conversation and events, and more than 750 people a month utilize the downtown facility. "We add to the plate of what makes life a better place," she said.

    Osburn is a poet, writer and mother, as well as an activist, and has had a long struggle with her own mental illness. "It's been a long road," she said. "I've learned a lot about my own aggression and about helping myself."

    By getting herself back on a more solid road, she's been able to devote herself to reaching out to others dealing with similar struggles.

    Stephen Lawson of the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University discussed the work of a doctor with close ties to Linus Pauling, Abram Hoffer, a megavitamin pioneer. Hoffer developed a theory about the cause of psychosis in some individuals with schizophrenia, which he believed was caused by a lack of niacin and Vitamin C.

    Hoffer believed if someone could successfully undergo therapy and reduce their psychosis to the point they could hold down a job and pay taxes, they were "better," Lawson said. That point became a topic of discussion throughout the fishbowl, as others argued that mental illnesses come in all forms, and many "functioning" taxpayers suffer daily from their mental health issues.

    "People in all forms of life are mentally ill," said Carla Carter, who discussed her own struggles with finding a correct balance of medication for her own illness.

    "Am I recovered?" asked Pam McCollum of the Accountable Behavior Health Alliance. "No. Am I recovering? All the time."

    Marie Parcell said there's a one-size fits all attitude when treating mental illnesses, and that a variety of factors and options, from medications to vitamins to diet should all be part of treatment. Too often, she said, health maintenance organizations and health care providers focus solely on medicating patients, not taking a holistic approach.

    "That would be a real enlightening attempt to find out what does and doesn't work," she said.

    McCollum said she sees some improvement in that area, as doctors are now including some orthomolecular and light therapy treatments as part of their caregiving. She said counseling was an important part of the mental health package as well.

    "No matter who you are, when you're facing a chronic problem, you need someone to talk to," she said.

    The instant impulse of many doctors to put patients on medicine such as anti-depressants, anti-anxiety pills or other treatments is not often the best choice, said some participants. They felt that the drugs led to them being withdrawn and nonparticipatory in their lives. For others, however, medication made them feel functional again.

    The emphasis was there was no blanket treatment, no one solution. But regardless of diagnosis or treatment, the issue of how the rest of the world perceives those with a mental illness is a continuing challenge as well.

    "There is a feeling in the mental health community that we can't fully participate in society," Parcell said. "There is a whole movement trying to address that."

    Circle of Hope operates with support from the community. Volunteers and financial support are both needed to keep the center operational. For more information, call (541) 738-7500 or drop in at 215 NW Monroe Ave.

    Theresa Hogue is the higher education reporter for the Gazette-Times. She can be reached by e-mail at or by phone at (541) 758-9526.
    - End of article -
    Note from Jean Arnold, Antistigma Home Page:
    In the article above, a psychiatric survivor rightly criticizes "a one-size-fits-all attitude when treating mental illness."

    However, the sentence uses "mental illness" instead of the more accurate "mental illnesses." "Mental illness," often used inadvertently, lumps together a wide range of individuals and conditions . Other terms in the original article -- "the mentally ill," and "schizophrenics" -- are similarly dehumanizing. Therefore, I took the liberty of slightly modifying these terms in the article you see above.

    FYI: The article just below ('Less Stigma Seen..." July 28 News) also refers to "the mentally ill" as a single population and uses "mental illness" in the singular rather than the plural "mental illnesses." These seemingly benign terms are markers of a subtle one-size-fits-all stereotype that when recognized by writers and editors, usually can be avoided.

    July 25, 2004 - News of the Week

    In the article below describing mental healthcare problems in Illinois, a policy analyst points to failures that apply nationwide.

    This story viewable online at:


    Interim Director Public Policy Institute
    Southern Illinois University, Carbondale
    [Saturday, July 24, 2004]

    Gov. Rod Blagojevich, perhaps unwittingly, has ignited a discussion about treating the mentally ill that could spark vast improvements in a state system freed from the clutches of the Dark Ages four decades ago but not yet fully enlightened.

    The deficit-dogged governor tried to pressure community-based service providers into helping him entice additional funds from Washington by focusing even more on mentally ill patients eligible for Medicaid, the joint state and federal health care program for the most impoverished Illinoisans. He ultimately had to settle for a more measured approach after legislators became convinced his gambit would crowd out the working poor and others already deterred from accessing services. But the throttled initiative could and should provoke full, honest and action-inducing ventilation of Illinois' sluggish progress in addressing debilitating and demoralizing illnesses that touch virtually every family.

    Mental illness is no longer widely stigmatized, but it still gets only token attention from politicians on the stump and in the legislative arena. An absolutely unacceptable number of Illinoisans lack insurance for heart and lung ailments, but even more are not covered for depression and schizophrenia. The state still treats too many mentally ill people in hospitals and nursing homes instead of more humane and far less costly community settings. Illinois has boosted local services through the years, but the demand continues to dwarf the supply.

    In the 1960s, Gov. Otto Kerner overhauled a scandalous system premised on warehousing the mentally ill with virtually no treatment. Now this governor and today's lawmakers need to marshal the intensity, ingenuity, political will and fundamental decency to make their own marks.

    They should help working Illinoisans by closing gaping loopholes in a well-intentioned law to prod insurers into giving equal consideration to physical and mental illnesses. They also should substantially increase funding for community counseling services, group homes, subsidized apartments and other normalizing arrangements that will help the mentally ill attain stability, enhance their quality of life, become productive and live as independently as possible.

    A robust community-care initiative could command tens of millions of dollars. However, a good chunk could come from rerouting funds currently channeled to institutional care.

    During the last 25 years, Illinois has reduced the number of people being treated in state hospitals by two-thirds and shut down half the facilities. But, in a bow to the clout of public employee unions and civic leaders battling proposed job losses, the state remains unduly reliant on institutions.

    It also sends thousands of the mentally ill to nursing homes known as institutes for mental disease, where the mix with geriatric patients has posed problems. The placements claim millions and millions from the state treasury each year and usually fail to generate the typical 50 percent match from a federal government that frowns on the nursing home approach and funds community-based care.

    In fact, if the Blagojevich administration does indeed want to attract more federal dollars, it should champion a dramatic shift toward supporting care in homes and apartments near families and friends. Federal reimbursement would swell, and a large share of the recovery money could be invested in expanding community care for the working poor and others.

    To do the right thing, the governor and the General Assembly must stiffen their backbones. They must risk angering the nursing home industry and the union representing state hospital workers, both among the foremost contributors to political war chests. Yet, even if their campaign coffers suffer, they may feel better about themselves, which just might be a boon to their own mental health.

    This story viewable online at:

    July 18, 2004 - News of the Week

    Source: Press Release /PRNewswire/
  • Oregon's First Recovery-based Program for Mental Illnesses Saves State $4.9 Million in Less Than Two Years

  • Public-Private Partnership between Office of Mental Health & Addiction and Telecare Prepares Residents for Meaningful Lives in the Community

  • GRESHAM, Ore., July 15

    "I feel a rekindling of hope that through the Recovery Center I may indeed call myself recovered."

    During the past two years the words of this resident have been echoed by dozens of alumnae from Oregon's first recovery-based treatment program for individuals with serious mental illness.

    The Telecare Recovery Center (TRC), a unique 16-bed facility located in Gresham, Ore., saved the state approximately $4.9 million in 17 months during treatment of its first 134 residents. A TRC resident's care costs the state a little more than half the price per day than care delivered in a traditional hospital setting.

    TRC (celebrating two years of operation during a reception on July 21 at the Center, 4101 NE Division St.) opened April 25, 2002, at a time when the state faced a crisis in funding and capacity for Oregonians needing services for serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

    Prior to TRC's opening, residents were among a group consuming up to 15 percent of the state's acute care bed capacity at a cost of up to $800 per day. During TRC's first two years, the average length of stay for a resident was 52 days, compared with a median state hospital stay of 99 days.

    "We were using significant resources for these individuals, but they were not being treated in the most appropriate setting nor were they gaining the skills needed to take personal control of their illness and create a meaningful life," said Bob Nikkel, administrator of the Oregon Department of Human Services Office of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

    According to Mr. Nikkel, TRC is the first Oregon program that uses a recovery-based model for persons who can benefit significantly from state-of- the-art treatment that falls between what's offered in an acute care setting and longer-term institutionalization.

    To create TRC, part of Oregon's Post Acute Intermediate Treatment Services (PAITS) program, the state initiated an unusual partnership with Telecare Corporation, a private California-based company with 40 years experience in developing recovery-centered care.

    "With the right type of treatment these individuals learn to take charge of their lives and return to the community with new hope and skills," said Kevin McChesney, TRC's on-site administrator. "Not only is the quality of residents' lives enhanced, but the state saves millions in health care costs."

    Highlights of a Telecare report on the first two years of operation include:

    -- For each admission, the state saved $37,000

    -- Per day cost, $454 at TRC, vs. $800 for acute care hospitalization

    -- Program structure enables Medicaid matching and state costs of just $190 per patient, per day

    -- 94% of surveyed residents believed they could grow, change and recover

    -- 80% said they are better able to deal with crisis

    -- Referrals predominately from Multonomah (74%), Clackamas (10%), and Washington (6%) counties

    According to McChesney, TRC's model is based on the premise that every person with mental illness can recover. The program relies on a multi- disciplinary approach in a community setting where carefully selected staff develop relationships with residents built on partnership and mutual learning.

    "We offer a high staff-to-resident ratio and spend less time on group therapy and more time one-on-one, providing residents with highly personalized support," he said.

    According to a staff member, "One thing I like about TRC's recovery model is the fact that residents make their own choices about their recovery. I believe this prepares them for the real world."

    Telecare is one of the largest providers of adult mental health services in the country. Based in Alameda, Calif., Telecare works in partnership with local, county, state and other behavioral health organizations to design and provide a wide range of innovative, recovery-focused, outcomes-driven services and supports for high-risk individuals with complex needs. Telecare is an employee-and family-owned organization with over 1,900 employees and more than 50 programs in California, Texas, Oregon, and North Carolina.

    Source: Telecare

    Copyright © 2004 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.

    July 15, 2004 - News of the Week


    "Soteria: From Madness to Deliverance" coming out in September

    This week's E-mail brought an outpouring of tributes to and remembrances of Dr. Loren Mosher, a nationally eminent psychiatrist who came to denounce psychiatry's over-reliance on neuroleptic medications. Dr. Mosher's battle to humanize treatment won the respect of countless individuals who have been forcibly mis-medicated, and who are joined in mourning by admirers throughout the world.

    Reprinted here is a mesage from AHRP with links to much more information.
    Promoting openness and full disclosure
    "We are deeply saddened by the death of AHRP board member, Loren Mosher, MD, a psychiatrist of integrity who never yielded to the pressures brought to bear by (in his words) "the unholy alliance" of the drug industry and industry-supported organizations: the American Psychiatric Association and  the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill.

    Dr. Mosher, former Chief of the Center for Studies of Schizophrenia, National Institute of Mental Health, founder and first editor of "Schizophrenia Bulletin," advocated for a kinder, gentler treatment model for psychosis, rejecting the coercive methods used by his profession, usually in concert with government policies of control. He encouraged mental health professionals to reject involuntary treatment policies which always resulted in increased use of powerful psychotropic drugs--a boon to the drug industry and its beneficiaries.

    In the 1970s through the early 1980s, Dr. Mosher and his colleagues founded and operated Soteria house, a residential community-based treatment for individuals undergoing their first psychotic episode. With minimal use of drugs and no restraints, Soteria-treated individuals showed comparable or superior outcomes to a control group of hospital-and-drug-treated individuals.  Two-year follow-up outcomes were also superior for the Soteria group.  Although Dr. Mosher's findings are discussed in over 30 publications, his approach received little publicity in the United States.  
    Soteria has been successfully replicated in several European countries. Indeed, Soteria Berne in Switzerland celebrated its 20th year of operation this year. Today, non-coercive, minimal-drugging family approaches to schizophrenia treatment are flourishing in several Scandinavian countries, in contrast to the United States, where coercive approaches resting on indiscriminate multiple-drug cocktails are the norm, even though such cocktails have never been tested to demonstrate either their safety or efficacy.  A succinct description of the saga of Soteria and its institutional neglect is included in Robert Whitaker's book, Mad in America.
    Dr. Mosher challenged the psychiatric profession to provide evidence-based proof that involuntarily prescribed psychotropic drugs improved patients' quality of life or their recovery outcomes compared to patients who were treated with compassionate, alternative methods. Neither the APA nor the NIMH have ever met his challenge to show proof of their claims.

    Dr. Mosher died at the age of 71 this weekend in Berlin after struggling with a liver disease. But his legacy is secure and will be broadened further with a posthumous publication of his new book, Soteria: Through Madness to Deliverance.
    Board of Directors
    Alliance for Human Research Protection

    Loren Mosher's biography: 

    Loren's work: 

    Info about Soteria:   
    Latest results from the Soteria Project: Bola JR, Mosher LR. Treatment of acute psychosis without neuroleptics: two-year outcomes from the Soteria project. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 2003 April; 191(4): 219-229.

    Psychology Today article:   

    Letter of resignation from American Psychiatric Association

    Remembrances Website
    - End of E-mail from AHRP -






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