"Hey I just got a great idea. We should start a pledge for mental health workers to only endorse evidence based practices to help ensure sound scientific progress and the fair humane treatment of individuals."
(that's my boy!)
In February of this year there was event held in Portland Oregon it was a gathering of peers active in the Psychiatric Civil Rights Movement and professionals. There were people from several states, including psychiatric survivors who work as peer counselors and Professionals working in the mental health field. What all of these people have in common is a desire to be part of the mental health transformation to effectively help those experiencing emotional difficulties due to being in crisis and/or experiencing extreme states; more commonly know as the symptoms of psychosis. What is apparent to psychiatric survivors and many professionals, is that the current paradigm of drugging people, adults and children alike for the symptoms of distress and behavioral issues that children have, whatever their psychiatric diagnosis; is causing far too many harm.
This medicalization of mental health treatment, is not Evidence-Based, in my opinion. Evidence-Based Medicine, by definition, would require the clinical trial data on psychiatric drugs to demonstrate safety and efficacy for a majority of patients who take them with minimal risks, and tolerable side effects. Determining what are "acceptable risks" and how tolerable the "side-effects" of psychiatric drugs are, needs to be decided by the patients, and in the case of children, with support and approval of their parent or guardian. These decisions need to be based on accurate and complete information about both the diagnosis and the drugs being recommended to treat their symptoms.
The fact is, psychiatric drugs do help some people; however it is a minority of patients, with any psychiatric diagnosis, both children and adults, who benefit from psychiatric drug treatment. there are evidence-based treatments that are effective, and can be used with or without psychiatric drugs. Treatments which can and do help those who are in distress, experiencing depression, psychosis, and symptoms of PTSD, or any diagnosis. These evidence-based treatments are often not made available in the current mental health care system in this country, due to a bias towards the psychiatric drugs. Devotion to the "medical model" while excluding psycho-social, and cognitive-behavioral, and therapeutic support programs, and alternative treatments which are Evidence-Based treatments, or promising practices, is not working for the vast majority who need mental health treatment. The psychiatric survivors, peers and professionals who attended this conference in February and others who were unable to attend, who are active in providing support and services in the mental health system around the country, signed this document in support of,
I am asking for peers, professionals and advocates in the mental health and social services field and those who support family and friends who experience these difficulties to sign it as well. Working together, and supporting each other, we can achieve better outcomes for our children, ourselves, our elderly, and our Veterans--this is about ALL of US. Please click on the link read the document and sign it, together we can:
Change the World
Here is a very short list of the more than 500 people who were at the symposium in Portland, Oregon
Robert Whitaker, author, "Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America"
Beckie Child, Director of the Mental Health America of Oregon
Cindi Fisher, Movement of Mothers Standing - Up -Together: Taking Back Our Children
( The M.O.M.S. Movement )
Chris Gordon, Assistant professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School,
Medical Director of Mental Health Advocacy.
Will Hall, Portland therapist and national leader in Peer Recovery
Gina Nikkel, Director of the Oregon Association of Community Mental Health Programs