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New Social Media Campaign Features Stories Of Individuals Who Rejected Psychiatric Diagnoses

SAN FRANCISCO, May 18, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Open Paradigm Project, in collaboration with MadinAmerica.com , Occupy Psychiatry, and leading organizations in the movement to reform mental health care, announces a social media campaign showcasing video testimonials by individuals negatively impacted by the traditional psychiatric model, which focuses on pathology and illness rather than wellness and recovery. The launch coincides with the American Psychiatric Association's (APA) rollout of its latest revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), taking place at the APA's annual meeting in San Francisco this weekend. In light of National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) director Thomas Insel's move away from the DSM ("lack of validity... patients deserve better") and DSM-5 task force chair David Kupfer's admission of an absence of biological markers of mental illness ("we're still waiting"), these stories starkly unveil the failure of, and harm done by, the prevailing model of mental health care.

These testimonials feature individuals whose meaningful, fulfilled lives – an outcome they attribute to rejecting psychiatric diagnoses they were told were incurable, and highly toxic treatments they were told would be life-long – demonstrate the dangers of a medicalized, manualized approach towards human suffering. Many reflect on years fruitlessly lost to "illnesses" they came to realize did not have a medical basis, and discuss alternative approaches that ultimately helped them embrace life's challenges and integrate these experiences into their lives.

The stories take on even greater significance in light of the controversies surrounding the newest edition of the DSM, as international public and professional communities openly question the biomedical standard of care. Lucy Johnstone, member of the Division of Clinical Psychology of the British Psychological Association says, "Traditionalists continue to claim that 'We're getting there – honestly!' In the meantime, the overwhelming amount of evidence for psychosocial causal factors (of distress) is once again relegated to a back seat." Even so, the NIMH's Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) and President Obama's BRAIN initiative have announced they will continue to look for solutions in biology –an approach that, despite decades of acknowledged failure, Insel proposes to be only "ten years away."

"Even the most painful struggles are part of the fabric of a meaningful life, not evidence of an illness," Open Paradigm producer PJ Moynihan explains. "These stories clearly reinforce that."

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