Monday, October 4, 2010

What version of coming off meds did Will Hall sign off on?

I was going to write an update today on how well Chris is doing. Instead, after reading a postcript to the Huffington Post article by DJ Jaffe, I realized that Chris couldn't possibly be doing well.

Jaffe is highly critical of the  Alternatives 2010 Mental Health Conference, which took place Sept. 29 - Oct. 3 in Anaheim, CA.  Jaffe is not a  psychiatrist, but rather an opinion leader from the patient ranks. Jaffe is obviously a friend of state mind control, while maintaining he is a advocate for the mentally ill, so in that respect, people may confuse him with being a psychiatrist. He is no friend of the mentally ill because the opinion piece he wrote on the Alternatives Conference is a put down of human beings every step of the way in the best best tradition of institutional psychiatry. In a follow-up article today in the HP, Jaffe doesn't seem to get that so-called mentally ill people are exactly like you and me, and that's appalling, coming from someone who purports to want to help. He wants to lock'em up in a police state run by relatives in collusion with the police. He doesn't seem to get it at all.

This guy is a do-gooder by appearance but he has aligned himself with interests that are the opposite of empathetic. There are many like him out there. They are not on the side of the sufferer because they continue to deny that the labelled person has any mind of their own or any rightous reason to behave as they do. They continue to believe that there is something called serious mental illness, because not believing in it might turn the spotlight on their own biases towards the individual. They use the language of dependency. The mentally ill can't possibly know what is good for them, so we must protect them at all costs. According to Jaffe's bio, he's been advocating for the "seriously" mentally ill for over thirty years now. He only takes an anti-depressant. He's done a good job in advocating in favor of the seriously mentally ill because we still have lots of seriously mentally ill folks whose relatives like Jaffe's views.

Jaffe was very critical of Will Hall's workshop of coming off psychiatric meds. The organizers of the Conference wanted Hall to downplay the coming off psych meds. From my understanding, Hall refused to change the wording and that in effect cancelled the workshop. The organizers then backed down, and Hall agreed to deliver the workshop.

First, I looked up Will Hall's presentation - Coming Off Medications: A Harm Reduction Approach

Here's what I read today (Oct. 6) on the Internet:

Participants will learn what a harm reduction approach is, receive a copy of the Harm Reduction Guide, understand the goals of medication empowerment, and explore how to collaborate in a partnership with prescribing professionals. This workshop is not medical advice but is about educating participants to be more empowered and make wiser, more confident choices about mental health treatments including starting, continuing, reducing, changing, and going off medications.

If this was the wording that Will Hall signed off on, then that's exactly what I would want to see written.

Jaffe reports an updated description of the workshop which I reprinted below. If this is in fact what Will Hall agreed to, I am (a) very disapointed, to say the least, and (b) plenty discouraged today about Chris's prospects because apparently Chris is seriously mentally ill, a schizophrenic who needs his medications to prevent him from deteriorating. (I thought it was my job to help prevent the deterioration.)  As a labelled schizophrenic he has been singled out from the rest of the mentally ill people attending the conference as the worst of the worst. Other people who are not as well informed as you and me are going to take this advice at face value. Once a schizophrenic, always a schizophrenic is the message I get from this. Don't ever separate these seriously whacko people from their medications or tragedy will always result. My job as a supportive parent who believes in her son's innate wisdom and mental health and accepts my own share of the responsibility has just been delivered a devastating blow. So has your job.

Jaffe's update on Oct. 2nd on what we are led to believe is the revised description of Will Hall's workshop :

Updated 10/2/2010: The following section was inserted: "For the 'labeled' participants, there will be a workshop on how to go off medications. That could be a dangerous, if not deadly, 'alternative,' should someone with schizophrenia who needs medication to prevent them from deteriorating decides to do it".

It replaces a section which previously read, "For the 'labeled' participants, there will be a workshop on how to go off medications. That could be a dangerous, if not deadly, 'alternative,' should any people with real mental illness be in attendance.

Jaffe's description sounds like it might have been taken from document not related to the Conference agenda, e.g. "there will be a workshop." Did Will Hall agree to deliver the workshop as described in the Jaffe update? Please, someone, tell me no.


  1. The DJ Jaffe amount of hate speech about the "seriously mentally ill"/"the schizophrenics" in combination with his boundless stupidity sometimes has me wonder if he's really real, or if he's some kind of caricature. But I fear, he's real enough.


    A comment to you from me on that blog, it won't fit on here, your blog has a 4000 character limit. Did you know that?

  3. Survivor - I can see I aroused some passion on your part re your comment on Kris's blog. While I do not believe that "mental illness" is criminal behavior, nor do I believe it is an illness, I do believe that I would be remiss if I did not step in at some point if it is veering into the dangerous. A large point of my blog is to have parents/family members examine themselves and take some responsbility in how their relative got to the state they are in. I believe that the person with the label has justifiable cause. While I understand your passion as a survivor, you should understand my position as a parent. A lot of people don't want to hear from the parent, because it brings up all kinds of memories of ill treatment, so they won't accept anything coming from us. I do everything I can to keep my son off meds, out of the hospital, and away from the clutches of the psychiatric establishment, but there is also the real world where we do intersect.

    Survivor and Marian - Do you know if Will Hall's workshop went ahead with the wording described by Jaffe?

  4. Rossa: I can't imagine it did. I think, these are DJ Jaffe's words only. He puts "labeled" in quotation marks, quoting the language of survivors, just like the term "mental illness" for instance is put in quotation marks in the Harm Reduction Guide, quoting biopsychiatry's language. The following sentence, saying that going off the drugs could be "a dangerous, if not deadly," alternative for people labeled with "sz" (see? DJ Jaffe would have written: " 'labeled' with schizophrenia", because he's convinced "sz" is a real brain disease, so people aren't labeled but scientifically, medically correct diagnozed) is his personal opinion on the matter. It's not something he's picked up from any description of the workshop. And when he refers to the section that was inserted, he means in his own blog post, not in the description of Will's workshop at Alternatives.

  5. It looks to me, from reading the Jaffe HP article, that he inserted his own language into the workshop description, in which case he should have said so. He has left the audience thinking that Will Hall went ahead and delivered something that Hall wouldn't have agreed to do.

  6. Will Hall delivered that lecture as he originally intended to - with no rewording. I wasn't there to confirm this but that was the agreement made before he decided to return to the conference schedule.
    I think that the organizers (SAMHSA) backed off completely but not before leaving some indelible scars on their reputation.

  7. "I do believe that I would be remiss if I did not step in at some point if it is veering into the dangerous."

    I can only repeat my position. There are criminal laws, against planning crimes and disorderly conduct that cover the danger of a crime being committed.

    To lean on coercive psychiatry, even as a 'last resort', is a selfish position that transfers 'benefits' to the parent, while forcing untold countless others to live in constant fear and terror of the possibility of being targeted by the commitment laws.

    "A lot of people don't want to hear from the parent, because it brings up all kinds of memories of ill treatment, so they won't accept anything coming from us"

    It's not that you're a parent, every supporter of coercive psychiatry, regardless of if they are a parent, voter, old lady in the street, is someone who needs to consider if they are ok with the INEVITABLE group of people who become collateral damage and are destroyed by the 'net' that can be considered either a 'safety net' or a torture net... it is time to consider the victims and survivors of the laws you yourself obviously would not abolish if you like having them there as a 'last resort'.

    When considering danger, a society only has the right to isolate those who have already shown they are dangerous by committing crimes. It does not have the right to force one brand of someone's idea of 'help' on anyone.


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