For many years, mental disorders were simplistically understood as imbalances or deficits in the neurotransmitters in the brain. Recent research has debunked the “chemical imbalance” theory, and has given rise to more complex understandings around how the various systems of the body interact to influence physical and mental health. For example, many people are unaware that 95% of the “feel-good” neurotransmitter serotonin in the body is produced in the intestinal tract.
In recent years, scientists have begun to study what is known as the “gut-brain axis,” or the system of communication between the brain and the gut. Scientists have discovered what could be called “a second brain,” located in the walls of the digestive system. This “second brain” is referred to in scientific literature as the enteric nervous system (ENS), made up of two thin layers of more than 100 million nerve cells that line the gastrointestinal tract from esophagus to rectum. Increasingly, science is coming to understand that the ENS interacts in complex and significant ways with the central nervous system (CNS) via the vagus nerve and what is known as the “adaptive immune system.”
The recognition of the complex and delicate interactions between different systems in the body has given rise to a new field called “psychoneuroimmunology.”Read More
Today, far too many professionals with mental illness are forced to live “in the shadows.” This is often because they are, quite understandably, unwilling or afraid to disclose their conditions and challenges to coworkers and friends, for fear of losing their jobs and place in the community.
As a result, professionals with mental health challenges often lack a resource others take for granted: peer support. Professionals in every field are taught to consult with their peers to discuss issues like work goals, client and coworker relations, and stress management.
However, for professionals with psychosocial disabilities justifiably afraid to live openly, this support is often unavailable. As a result, they can be less equipped to address common and concerning issues, negatively impacting their work performance and quality of life.
At Pro2Pro, professionals with mental health challenges can anonymously connect, communicate with each other, discuss common challenges, develop solutions, and give and get the support everyone needs to perform their best on the job and in life.
As several authorities* over time have researched, documented, and reported, there is no “mental illness.” It is not an “illness”, as practitioners of psychiatry using the medical model, have long conjectured without evidence. There are no “them” with mental illness and “us” without. How we interact with the world does not conform to the construct of illness in physical health, nor can it be treated using that construct to intervene when life challenges arise.
Instead, as I have experienced personally, with family members, and with those I have served, there appears to be a continuum of emotional vulnerability in play daily for all of us, with each of us experiencing fluctuating manifestations of those vulnerabilities in our unique and individual ways. For example, some individuals can be seriously “thrown off” by a sequence of personal financial challenges; others by their spouses suddenly being inexplicably absent in the evenings from the home; or adolescents being bullied on social media, etc.Read More
I am standing here today because – like perhaps many of you – there is a question about Open Dialogue that has been with me for a long time:
WHAT IF? – What if we had had Open Dialogue?
I would like to share a little of my WHAT IF with you.Read More
It is widely believed that the only appropriate response to hearing voices and other unusual experiences is to deny and silence them by whatever means necessary.
In reality, hearing voices isn’t so unusual. Various studies agree that it is (at least) as common as left handedness (and much more so in certain cultures where it is more broadly accepted and even, in some cases, revered). ‘Hearing voices’ is considered an umbrella term, and also encompasses seeing visions, as well as smells, touch, tastes, and unusual beliefs that may not be common or shared.
The Hearing Voices approach offers a non-pathologizing, open way of understanding and supporting people through the experience of hearing voices. It is different from ‘care as usual’ in several ways.Read More
We are all on a spectrum of mental health and everyone will struggle at some point in their life. Let’s build a toolbox for living better.
Beyond Well: Science With Sheila Hamilton is here to explore our understanding of mental health challenges and what we’re learning about ways to help ourselves and others navigate and grow through them.
In this episode, Sheila talks with Cindy Marty Hadge about how a Hearing Voices support group in her neighborhood helped her move from a place of despair to a life of purpose and connection.Read More
Andrea Zwicknagl’s presentation at the kickoff meeting of HOPEnDialogue, a new Open Dialogue international research collaborative, in Rome, Italy, July 2, 2019. Read by Guiseppe Salamina in her absence.
To learn more and to support this project, please visit https://mental-health-excellence.networkforgood.com/projects/72234-open-dialogue-research-developmentRead More
In this episode, Sheila talks with psychiatrist and the Foundation’s Vice Chair Chris Gordon about his path to Open Dialogue practice and how he has integrated the approach into his community mental health program and into his teaching at Harvard Medical School, MacLean and Mass General.
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Corporate sponsors are welcome and donors of $75,000 or more will receive special invitations to meet Sheila’s celebrity guests in studio as well as dinner with Sheila and Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care CEO, Gina Nikkel, PhD.Read More
Robert Whitaker and Michael Simonson produced an essential review and critique of forced outpatient interventions in their July 14 article, “Twenty Years After Kendra’s Law: The Case Against AOT.”
Bob has sometimes been criticized for not advocating more on the issues he raises. The way I see it, that is not his job as an investigative medical journalist. That is the job of his readers.Read More
On July 2 and 3, 2019, I was privileged to attend the first meeting of the HOPEnDialogue International Research Collaborative in Rome. I attended as a representative of the Board of the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care, along with the Foundation’s President and CEO, Gina Nikkel, and the Foundation’s new Chief Philanthropy Officer, Kevin Aspegren.
The meeting was hosted by the leaders of the project, Raffaella Pocobello and Giuseppe Salamina, and brought together forty representatives from 12 countries, first in an open forum to discuss the goals and overarching strategy of the project, and a second day for the 20 international members of the Advisory Council to address more focused challenges, such as site selection requirements; inclusion/exclusion criteria; training; fidelity; and outcomes.Read More