I spoke w/ @radionational Big Ideas about mental health & the culture of Aus #psychiatry. It was scary & fun! One of my meds has been giving me a slight tremor lately so pls keep that in mind when listening (god, the irony!) LISTEN BELOW, or search Big Ideas in your podcast app:
It was great to meet host @PaulBarclay, writer @kca111, psychiatrist @PatMcGorry & hear their thoughts. It was also difficult at times bc I was hyperaware of the doctor-patient power imbalance, which still prevails even outside of a clinical setting! But I reckon I did alright.
At one point during the show I mention that there is a ‘fragility’ inherent to the psychiatric profession, in that critiques of meds or the MH system are often unfairly (and conveniently!) framed by psychiatrists as antithetical to the collective pursuit of mental health & access
I believe that the opposite is true—it’s so important that we continue to interrogate the flawed, capitalist framework of our MH system and ask difficult questions of our doctors/institutions. The system shouldn’t be so narrow and fragile that patients can’t speak truth to power.
Here are some (shortened/expanded/summarised) quotes from me:
‘Engaging in psychiatric critique has [actually] really helped [my mental health]…there is lot of gaslighting and invalidation within the system, so hearing people echo my concerns gives me hope that there are others attempting to [change] the system’ in new & imaginative ways
‘The rates of [psychiatric] prescription have shot up during the pandemic…[sometimes] you have to ask whether we are medicalising and pathologising the distress that is actually inherent to the condition of the world at the moment'
'Pharmaceutical companies are able to capitalise on all of the fear and distress that is going on within the pandemic and within our capitalist, racist society…
…the psych system can even provide the government w/ an excuse not to address some of these problems, by saying that the distress you feel is due to a medical disorder rather than the result of political or social conditions that it’s very rational to be upset [by]'
‘One of my biggest critiques of the system is that to access a high level of support when suicidal or in crisis you essentially have to agree to take medication’ and engage with psychiatry—this is an unspoken rule that is unbelievably disturbing.
‘I know I am making some generalisations tonight but I hope you will allow me them, since psychiatrists have built a profession out of generalisation’ !!! 👿😇
If you'd like to hear more from me, Kate or Pat pick up @GriffithReview issue 72: States of Mind. Thanks again to @PaulBarclay and @RadioNational 🤩
Solidarity w/ all patients still navigating this broken, labyrinthine system, and to all who have managed to build a life outside of it 💘

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