Managing, or Failing to Manage, an Epidemic of Mental Illness
June 23, 2012 1:33 PM Subscribe
There is a critical shortage of acute mental health services
throughout the nation
that is making it increasingly difficult for people who don't meet standards for "imminent danger" to receive adequate care.
Barring a dramatic change in the systems that provide care, what alternatives are there for seriously mentally ill people? Incarceration has often become a form of care provision
, but behavioral courts are an emerging alternative
Outside of established legal and medical settings, there is increasingly a move toward dramatically democratized networks that rely on peer and community support. The Hearing Voices Network
) works in the UK and the US
uses peer support to aid people who hear voices without confronting or challenging them. The organization was covered in The Sun
[pdf alert] last year and in The New York Times
five years ago. Legal scholar Elyn Saks wrote about her own experience of schizophrenia
, noting that some of her most successful treatment came from practitioners who acknowledged the lived reality of her hallucinations.
The Icarus Project previously
) is a self-described "radical" mental illness collective that is sometimes connected with the modern manifestations of the anti-psychiatry movement, such as the Freedom Center
in Northampton, MA [pdf alert].
Finally, however, critic Thomas Szasz
has levied criticism at both psychiatry and anti-psychiatry throughout his long career
. In a system with few ideal alternatives, how will the field move forward?
, Marcia Angell on psychiatric drugs.