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Welcome to the Mad in America podcast, a new weekly discussion that searches for the truth about psychiatric prescription drugs and mental health care worldwide.

This podcast is part of Mad in America’s mission to serve as a catalyst for rethinking psychiatric care. 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 psychiatric care around the world.

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Jul 29, 2020

Jussi Valtonen is both a novelist and a psychologist. As a novelist, his work has been compared to both George Orwell's 1984 and Aldous Huxley's Brave New World for the way it weaves together social commentary and science fiction to jolt readers into confronting difficult questions about the soon-to-come worlds we are creating in the present. His research as a psychologist investigates how changes to the human brain impact how we think, experience, and make sense of the world. This includes recent investigations of the role of psychiatric drugs and polypharmacy on cognitive decline and functional impairment.

Valtonen is from Helsinki and studied English, philosophy, and psychology in Finland before coming to the US to study neuropsychology at Johns Hopkins University and NYU.  He was also trained in screenwriting at the University of Salford in the UK and has worked as a journalist and science reporter.

He has written three novels and a short story collection. Carried by Wings (2007) was given second place in Bonnier's novel competition, and received a warm reception from both critics and bloggers. Valtonen's recent book, They Know Not What They Do (2014), won the Finlandia Prize, Finland's highest literary honor.

In this interview, Valtonen discusses how he found psychological science and literature to complement one another, the blind-spots in current psychiatric practice that harm patients, and how novels can help us to ask questions about the world we're creating.