A conversation with Mike, who spent seven years in a federal prison on a drug conviction. He talks about the circumstances which led to his arrest, including an abusive upbringing and a chemical dependency which began in his mid-teen years. He describes his arrest in a hotel, and the subsequent trial in which the perjury of a key witness caused Mike to receive a much longer sentence than he would have otherwise. He goes on to explain how he eventually accepted this fate, dropping his legal appeal, and why this decision was an important turning point both in his prison sentence and in his life.
An interview with Alicia Barnes about her brother Josh Barnes who had schizophrenia. Alicia describes his fear that he had brought in on himself, and how much blame and judgment there is for mental illness. She describes his difficulty with taking medication, and how the medicines impacted his creativity and sense of purpose in writing and playing music. She describes the limits of his care and how he never had access to talk therapy, but only to 20 minute medication checks. She talks about how stigma resulted in his not talking about his illness and how that may ultimately have been lethal for him. She speaks movingly about becoming involved with Bring Change 2 Mind, a group devoted to helping reduce stigma and discrimination for people with mental illnesses.
This is part two of an interview with violence prevention educator, Daryl Fort, about ways in which we are all bystanders to social interactions that foster violence against women. Daryl challenges us to see these situations for what they are and to have the courage to intervene. He describes two everyday social situations in which it feels very risky to speak up and challenge what is going on; one in which guys are debriefing their sexual conquests together, and one in which a man is trying to get a woman drunk at a bar so he can have sex with her. He acknowledges how difficult it is for such verbal challenges to go well, and suggests that we make a clear decision ahead of time to act when someone is at risk.
An interview with David Moltz about his experience of being a psychiatrist. David talked about his reasons for going into psychiatry and the things he finds most difficult about the profession and the things he loves. He spoke about the use of power, the difficulty of deciding whether to commit someone to a hospital, how he listens to a suicidal patient and the importance of being present in the midst of someone’s pain. David also talked about the differences between the culture of mental health, and the culture of substance abuse treatment or recovery models of care. He also talks about the corruption of psychiatry by the pharmaceutical industry and how this has brought us back to the importance of human relationship in healing.
An interview with Ronnie Katz, director of substance abuse prevention for the city of Portland. [Read more…]