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Mad in America: Rethinking Mental Health

The Mad in America podcast, hosted by James Moore, examines mental health with a critical eye by speaking with psychologists, psychiatrists and people with lived experience.

When you hear such conversations, you realise that much of what is believed to be settled in mental health is actually up for debate. Is mental health a matter of faulty biology or is there more to it? Are the treatments used in psychiatry helpful or harmful in the long term? Are psychiatric diagnoses reliable? With the help of our guests, we examine these questions and so much more. 

This podcast is part of Mad in America’s mission to serve as a catalyst for rethinking psychiatric care and mental health. We believe that the current drug-based paradigm of care has failed our society and that scientific research, as well as the lived experience of those who have been diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder, calls for profound change. 

On the podcast over the coming weeks, we will have interviews with experts and those with lived experience of the psychiatric system. Thank you for joining us as we discuss the many issues around rethinking mental health around the world.

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Jan 18, 2020

This week on MIA Radio, we interview Amanda Burrill. After a successful career as a Surface Warfare Officer and Rescue Swimmer in the United States Navy, Amanda was on track to continue her career as a professional triathlete and marathon runner, as she had already been competing internationally still while in uniform. Around the time of her discharge, she was prescribed a cocktail of psychiatric medications that caused physical injuries and leading to an early end to her rapidly accelerating career. 

Amanda completed a Masters degree in Journalism from Columbia University, a culinary arts degree from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, and continued her work as a travel and culinary journalist; all while surviving a cocktail of over a dozen psychiatric medications over eleven years. 

While being treated for a traumatic brain injury (TBI) by specialists at New York University in 2018, Amanda’s doctors raised concerns about the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), benzodiazepines, stimulants, sleeping medications and mood stabilizers concurrently prescribed to her by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Over the next 12 months, Amanda was successful in withdrawing from her cocktail of meds, which included the SSRI, Zoloft. She now sees it as her mission to ensure what happened to her does not happen to others.