‘I went from a whole, healthy little girl into a shattered mind’ ~ Abuse as a catalyst to psychosis
Dr Eleanor Longdon ~ Voices can be recruited as part of the healing journey.
Talking with your foe ~ Rai and Dirk explore the power of dialogue with the adversarial voice
Psychiatrist Sir Robin Murray in conversation with Dr David Strange.
Dr David Strange in conversation with Professor Richard Bentall for BBC Horizon
Professor Swaran Singh on the links between social marginalisation and psychosis.
Jacqui Dillon and Rachel Waddingham interviewed by Rachel Burden for BBC Five Live
2nd May, 2017, BBC 2 9PM, See: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006mgxf
For hundreds of years, psychiatry has treated voices and hallucinations as an enemy – regarding them as ‘insanity’ or ‘madness’ and seeing them as something to be quashed and even frightened of. But today, new scientific and psychological insights into how the brain works are leading to a radical rethink on what such experiences are – and how they should be treated.
Horizon follows three people living with voices, hallucinations and paranoia, to explore what causes this kind of phenomena. Providing a rare first-hand insight into these experiences, they reveal just what it is like to live with them day to day. They examine the impact of social, biological and environmental influences on conditions traditionally associated with insanity, such as schizophrenia and psychosis, and within the film they look at how new ways of understanding the brain are leading to a dramatic change in treatments and approaches, and examine whether targeting the root causes of psychosis can lead to recovery. Above all, they try to uncover why it happened to them – and whether it could happen to you.
Coming to a town near you: real help for voice hearers
The Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care is pleased to announce that its Hearing Voices Research and Development Fund has received $250,000 in funding for a 3-year project to bring Hearing Voices peer support groups to communities across the United States and to research the mechanisms by which these peer-support groups work.
The project will train more than 100 facilitators in 5 regions of the country and create a stronger regional and local infrastructure of Hearing Voices peer support groups across the US. People who hear voices, see visions, or experience other unusual perceptions, thoughts, or actions have long been diagnosed as psychotic and given a poor prognosis. Medications provide only partial help and their benefits typically diminish over time while destructive physical and psychological side effects become increasingly problematic.
For the past 25 years, the Hearing Voices Network (HVN), an international collaboration of professionals, people with lived experience, and their families and friends has worked to develop an alternative approach to coping with voices, visions, and other extreme states that is empowering and useful and does not start from the assumption of chronic illness (see www.hearing-voices.org, www.hearingvoicesusa.org, www.intervoiceonline.org). A large scientific literature now provides support for key aspects of this approach, and the hundreds of peer-support groups that have developed in 30 countries on 5 continents are enabling voice hearers – even those who have been chronically disabled – to learn to cope more effectively or to rid themselves of the negative effects of their voices.
The US lags far behind other countries in offering this important new approach, and the new funding provides crucial support as more and more mental health organizations across the country seek training to start their own hearing voices peer-support groups. An open competition will be launched in April to choose the 5 project regions, with participants selected using a rigorous model in which mental health professionals and voice hearers collaborate in an intensive shared learning experience that itself illustrates HVN’s concepts and methods.
Equally crucial to the project is an ongoing research component that will allow identification of the distinctive components of hearing voices peer-support groups and better explain what enables them to provide such an effective and positive alternative for people diagnosed with psychosis. “This effort promises to be a movement that will measurably advance mental wellness and recovery for people in distress, their families and the community across the nation,” said Gina Nikkel, President and CEO of the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care. “Hearing voices can be truly terrifying for the person experiencing them and for their loved ones. Hearing Voices Network support groups transform the fear into understanding and then empowerment.”
The Hearing Voices Research and Development Fund is jointly administered by Gail A. Hornstein, Professor of Psychology, Mount Holyoke College, and Jacqui Dillon, National Chair, Hearing Voices Network, England. Their more than 10-year collaboration models the kind of engaged research and advocacy that the project seeks to foster. More background on the project administrators can be found here. Read their recent article on hearing voices groups here.
Key partners in the project include Mount Holyoke College and the Western Massachusetts Recovery Learning Community, based in Holyoke, MA, which has pioneered the training of HVN facilitators in the US as part of its broader mission to “create conditions that can support healing and growth for individuals and the community as a whole.”
What do you hear when you stop and listen to what’s going on in your head? A song that was on the radio yesterday? A snippet of this mornings conversation with your sister? Or nothing….? Are you debating the best route to take home? Are you saying a prayer? What does that sound like?
Jacqui Dillon hears voices. In her head. Lots of them.Voices that sound as real as you or me. Voices that wake her up. Voices that tell her to go to sleep. Voices that disagree with her, and voices that encourage her. And the voices have been there for as long as she can remember.So you might think Jacqui is mad, but this is the story of a woman who has come a long way with the voices in her head.
Twenty years ago Jaqqui’s experience of her voices drove her to psychiatric services…. and that’s where the story really begins because it was when she was told that the voices weren’t real, and that she was lying about her past that she really began to get mad. And that’s when Jacqui realised she had to learn to live with her voices and understand why they were there.
This is a story about hearing voices and about learning to live with them. A story about how your past shapes your future until you start to understand it .
If you have ever wondered what it would be like to hear voices, or have always thought that people who hear voices are plain mad, this documentary just might make you think twice.
Jacqui Dillon is the national Chair of the Hearing Voices Network in England. She is Honorary Lecturer in Clinical Psychology at the University of East London.
Narrated and produced by Leeanne O’Donnell
Production Supervision by Liam O’Brien
First Broadcast December 7th 2013
‘Documentary on One is the home of Irish radio documentaries and the largest library of documentary podcasts available anywhere in the world. We tell stories in sound, mostly Irish ones, and each documentary tells its own story’
BAD THINGS THAT HAPPEN TO YOU CAN DRIVE YOU CRAZY
Jacqui Dillon, the national chair of the Hearing Voices Network in England, discusses the work of the Hearing Voices Movement at the recent conference ‘Presence and Participation: Arguments for the Humanistic and Sustainable Work We Do’ hosted by Carina Håkansson’s Family Care Foundation in Sweden (25-27 April 2013). To listen to Jacqui’s presentation, please click here.
The full conference proceedings are available via live streaming video on MadinAmerica.com.
Speak Out Against Psychiatry (SOAP) are a group of former patients, carers, mental health professionals and concerned citizens who are campaigning for humane treatment for people experiencing mental distress. SOAP are opposed to forced treatment, electro-shock therapy and the psychiatric drugging of children. SOAP also promote humane alternative ways of helping people in distress.
SOAP are organizing a demonstration to coincide with a forthcoming Institute of Psychiatry conference on the DSM-5 (the latest of edition of the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” a book published by the American Psychiatric Association which is widely used throughout the world to classify mental disorders).
The protest will be on Tuesday 4th June from 4.30pm till early evening at the Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, London, SE5 8AF.
SOAP are organizing the protest as they feel that the DSM-5 makes it easier for normal human experiences to be labeled as mental illness. For example people experiencing grief can be more easily given the label “Major Depressive Disorder”, and children with temper tantrums can now be diagnosed as having “Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder”.
A spokesperson for SOAP says “The DSM encourages a tick-box approach to understanding human distress which serves the interests of professionals and drug companies rather than the people who really need help. With the DSM-5 things have been taken a step further: even mainstream organizations such as the National Institute for Mental Health and the British Psychological Society are distancing themselves from the DSM-5, claiming it is unscientific. ”
SOAP feels the DSM-5 will increase the number of people stigmatized by a mental health diagnosis, increase prescriptions of mind-altering drugs, and further what they see as a worrying trend of everyday human problems being put in the hands of highly paid experts and pharmaceutical companies rather than our families and communities.
SOAP also objects to the DSM approach in general, where new disorders are created by committees without any objective biological evidence. SOAP highlights the fact that in earlier versions of the DSM, homosexuality was classed as a disorder but this has since been removed as it is no longer socially acceptable. SOAP feel that, while mental disorders are frequently being changed by the professionals, patients are still forced to accept them.
A SOAP advocate says, “In the UK mental health system, if a patient rejects the psychiatric label, they are described as ‘lacking insight into their condition’ and the Mental Health Act is used to force them to take medication. How can a person be expected to agree to a label when they are changing every time the latest guide book comes out?”
The protest will give people the chance to voice their concerns about the DSM-5, and allow survivors of the psychiatric system to speak out about their experiences of labelling and forced treatment. SOAP will also be holding a memorial service for a former member who tragically took her own life following decades of forced medical treatment.
SOAP invites anybody who is concerned about the DSM-5, or other aspects of the mental health system, to come along on Tuesday 4th June – from 4.30pm till the early evening, at the Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park,London, SE5 8AF.
PDF press release available here: SOAP-DSM-5PressRelease
IT’S THE BAD THINGS THAT HAPPEN TO YOU THAT CAN DRIVE YOU CRAZY!
The Hearing Voices Network in England has issued a position statement on DSM 5 and the wide issue of psychiatric diagnoses following last week’s debate on the need for a new paradigm in mental health services, reported largely as a ‘turf war’ between psychiatry and psychology. Concerned that this debate can all too easily sound ‘academic’ and miss the voices of the very people these systems impact upon – those diagnosed with mental health problems – HVN are taking the debate back to the people.
“We believe that people with lived experience of diagnosis must be at the heart of any discussions about alternatives to the current system.”
Jacqui Dillon, Hearing Voices Network, Chair.
In their statement, the Hearing Voices Network (HVN) state that psychiatric diagnoses are both scientifically unsound and can have damaging consequences. HVN suggest that asking ‘what’s happened to you?’ is more useful than ‘what’s wrong with you?’.
Concerned that essential funds are being wasted on expensive and futile genetic research, they call for the redirection of funds to address the societal problems known to lead to mental health problems and provide the holistic support necessary for recovery.
This is part of a growing, international movement by survivors of the psychiatric system who are questioning the adequacy of a biomedical model to make sense of and respond to madness and distress (see: http://www.intervoiceonline.org/ http://www.mindfreedom.org/ http://psychdiagnosis.weebly.com/ http://www.madinamerica.com/ http://www.occupypsychiatry.net/ http://www.youtube.com/openparadigmproject )
HVN invites people with lived experience of diagnosis and their supporters to engage in a discussion about the issues and help plan a way forwards.
“People who use services are the true experts on how those services could be developed and delivered; they are the ones that know exactly what they need, what works well and what improvements need to be made. This is not just an academic or professional issue – it’s one that affects our lives.”
Jacqui Dillon, Hearing Voices Network, Chair
Notes for the editor
- The Hearing Voices Network (England) is a national, user-led charity that supports people who hear voices, see visions or have other unusual experiences. The Hearing Voices Network is part of the rapidly expanding global Hearing Voices Movement with 26 Hearing Voices Networks operating, across 5 continents. The Hearing Voices Network’s position statement can be read, and commented on, via their website http://www.hearing-voices.org/
- Hearing Voices Network Chair, Jacqui Dillon (07951 635 033 Jacquidillon333@aol.com) and Trustees Rachel Waddingham (07969 161 586, firstname.lastname@example.org) and Peter Bullimore (07950 837 694 email@example.com are available for interviews.
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