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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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Nov 9, 2022

Morgan Shields is one of the few health policy researchers who focuses on quality of care and issues of coercion within inpatient psychiatry. Her research exposes how current healthcare settings are influenced by power imbalances, profit structures, and organizational priorities that are fundamentally misaligned with the human needs of individual patients.

Dr. Shields completed her Ph.D. in Social Policy at Brandeis University and is currently an Assistant Professor at the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, where she also directs her own research group. She has published over 25 peer-reviewed articles in outlets such as Health Affairs, Psychiatric Services, and the JAMA Network.

She has also completed several policy reports for entities such as the U.S. Health and Human Services Office, and has served as a legal expert in cases related to psychiatric patient discrimination. In doing so, her research has effected change at the state and federal levels, prompting internal investigations and structural reforms within agencies such as the Veterans Health Administration and the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health.

In this interview, Dr. Shields discusses her current work, which aims to identify strategies for implementing patient-centered and equitable treatment within existing mental health care structures—toward a wholesale re-imagining of inpatient psychiatry.