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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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Dec 23, 2020

Piers Gooding is a Mozilla Foundation fellow (2020) and researcher at the Melbourne Social Equity Institute at the University of Melbourne Law School. His main interests are disability law and policy, international human rights law, the law and politics of mental health, and empirical legal research.

Gooding describes his scholarship as an interdisciplinary undertaking that blends theoretical inquiry with applied qualitative research at the local, national, and international levels. He has collaborated with the UN Special Rapporteur for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the World Psychiatric Association on recommendations for alternatives to coercion in mental health. He blogs at and tweets at @p_gooding.

In this interview, he discusses his journey pursuing a human rights agenda in mental health. We focus on his efforts to marry international human rights law and the work of disability rights committees to ensure that people with psychosocial disabilities are not left out. He then talks about his longstanding work to prevent coercion in mental health and its connection to the digital, data-driven direction taken by the field as a whole. He elaborates the regulatory and ethical issues he has uncovered in his research at the intersection of mental health services and data-driven technologies and gestures at emerging methods of “algorithmic accountability” for addressing some of these issues.