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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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Apr 29, 2020

This week on MIA Radio we share the audio from our first Town Hall panel discussion. Mad in America, Open Excellence and the HOPEnDialogue project have collaborated to create an ongoing series of Town Hall discussions exploring the challenges, learnings and opportunities for personal and societal growth found through dialogical responses to crisis in the age of COVID-19.

The title of this first discussion is: Are We Living in the Most Dialogical Time Ever? And the hosts are Kermit Cole and Louisa Putnam.

COVID-19 has forced us all into new ways of being, new ways of relating to each other, and new ways of responding to each other in a time of crisis. These new ways reveal more clearly than ever how essential dialogue is to the human experience. 

What are dialogical practitioners doing — and learning — in this time of crisis? What do these learnings suggest or make possible that might have previously seemed unattainable? What insights do people who have lived with a sense of crisis, often cut off from “mainstream” dialogues, have to offer a world in crisis?


Kermit Cole and Louisa Putnam are inspired by Open Dialogue to respond as a team to individuals, couples and families in crisis. They have hosted many symposia in Santa Fe, New Mexico to explore the intersections between Open Dialogue, Hearing Voices, and other Dialogical approaches, and recently completed their studies under Jaakko Seikkula to be Open Dialogue trainers.


Jaakko Seikkula teaches Dialogical practice to the many people around the world who have been inspired by the Open Dialogue, the response to mental health crises in Tornio, Finland that Jaakko’s team created.

Richard Armitage is a dialogical practitioner and trainer in Denmark at a large centre for supported living and rehabilitation.

Iseult Twamley is a Clinical Psychologist and Open Dialogue Trainer/Supervisor. Since 2012 she has been Clinical Lead of the Cork  Open Dialogue Implementation, Ireland. 

Rai Waddingham is an Open Dialogue Practitioner, international trainer, and has created, established and managed innovative Hearing Voices Network projects in youth, prison, forensic, inpatient and community settings.

Andrea Zwicknagl is a peer support worker in Switzerland and a board member of HOPEnDialogue.