Bob Whitaker on Bressie podcast: “I’m saying to the Irish people, please lead us out of this wilderness”


Mad in America founder Bob Whitaker featured on a top podcast this week- Niall Breslin’s (Bressie) Where Is My Mind? and called for the Irish people to ‘lead us out of this wilderness’ and develop a new way of treating human distress.

As regular readers will know, Bob Whitaker, a medical journalist and award-winning author, has dedicated his career to turning a critical lens on the work of psychiatry, debunking the claims of chemical imbalances and miracle treatments and tracing back the history that still casts a shadow of stigma on mental health today.

The episode digs deep into Bob’s research regarding the questionable science that backs up psychiatry and how it was in the past used to control those considered unfit or different.

Bob and Niall discussed the reason psychiatry and outdated ways of treating people and thinking about mental health still holds so much power in our treatment models today.

They took a forensic look at the birth and origins of psychiatry and made a compelling and urgent case for a new paradigm. Bob also also put forward a case for the paradigm shift needed to ensure people have informed consent and a true understanding of the root of their symptoms, moving away from the ‘broken brain’ theories and examining the social, political and environmental factors at play.

Bob highlighted the work of the critical psychiatry community in Ireland and in particular Mad in Ireland, an affiliate of Mad in America, as a platform to talk about the new paradigm and help bring about change.

Regarding the past Whitaker said: “The mad were not considered to be reliable witnesses. It’s OK if people were damaged because they didn’t have worth as they were.”

Breslin asked – “Why are we still here?” That is in a place where myths about chemical imbalances, coercive services and the use of drugs as a solution to mental distress abounds.

That is indeed the question – why, with all of the evidence we have now, are we still here?

Listen back where ever you get your podcasts.