Personal tools
Look inside...
Document Actions

Long-time national mental health peer leader, Laura Van Tosh, spoke in Eugene, Oregon about her quest for well-being, including quitting her psychiatric drugs. This reporter covered the event, which took place at the Lane County, Oregon's mental health consumer/survivor advisory council.

From Ativan to Acupuncture: Mental Health Alternatives

Date Published:

Jul 25, 2012 12:00 AM

Author: R. L. Stollar

Source: Eugene Daily News

To see the original complete article at Eugene Daily News, click here. 

The subject of mental health sparks a plethora of emotions and arguments among advocates, patients, family members, and providers. The history of mental health treatment itself is a controversial one, dating back to ancient times when early humans would chip into afflicted individuals’ skulls using crude stone instruments, in order to release evil spirits.

While skull-chipping, asylum freak shows, and lobotomies are now shadows of the past, the contemporary emphasis is on medication.

In the 1400s, the first mental asylum opened in Valencia, Spain. Asylums were known for their notorious conditions. They were not places to heal the ill but places where the ill could be abandoned. The most infamous of these was the monastery-turned-asylum “Bedlam,” where violent patients were put on display as a freak show. The public could watch a crazy person for a penny.

In 1935, the first lobotomy was performed. This procedure involved shocking a patient into a coma, then hammering an ice-pick-like instrument through the top of each eye socket. The instrument would then sever the nerves connecting the frontal lobes to the emotion-controlling centers of the inner brain, leaving the patient in a subdued, often vegetative, state.

While skull-chipping, asylum freak shows, and lobotomies are now shadows of the past, the contemporary emphasis is on medication. From Ativan to Zoloft, from Xanex to Seroquel—the variety of chemical mental health remedies is astounding. Some of the most commonly used are anti-depressant, anti-anxiety, anti-psychotic, mood stabilizing, and stimulant medicines.

From survivor to advocate

Laura Van Tosh, a national mental health peer leader, spoke this afternoon in Eugene. In the mental health community, the “peer” movement involves community-based services and supports provided by peers, and peer support specialists, to individuals or family members with similar lived experience. A key aspect of her presentation involved this modern emphasis on chemical treatments and ways in which she believes it might be too emphatic.

To read the rest of the article at Eugene Daily News click here. 

Donate Now

Give securely online and indicate if you have a preferred campaign that you'd like to support with your donation!

We are MFI

Laura Delano - Psychiatric survivor blogger activist

Laura works as a peer specialist in the traditional mental health system and writes a blog at, where she is sharing her story of recovery from psychiatry. After living with psychiatric labels for 13 years and taking psychotropic medications for ten of them, Laura says she found liberation in 2010 from her psychiatric diagnoses, from her reliance upon the mental health system, and from the once deep-seated belief that she was sentenced to a life-long "mental illness." Laura says, "I am proud to be a member of the MindFreedom International community for all MFI does to promote equality, justice, and civil rights for people who have been labeled 'mentally ill.'" (See 'Related Content' links below for link to Mad In America web site where Laura's blogs.)
Sign Up Today!

Social and Email Marketing by VerticalResponse
Facebook Like Box