Film Fundraiser: Medicating Normal
The CEMH held a film screening of Medicating Normal last Thursday 16 September to raise funds for the Lived Experience Leadership and Advocacy Network (LELAN). LELAN is a peak body that empowers South Australians with lived experience of mental distress and/ or social injustice by amplifying their voices, influence and leadership to drive change. Please visit their website for more information about their work and opportunities to get involved in.
We hosted a discussion panel following the film screening (see video below), chaired by Prof Malcolm Battersby (Flinders University) with Prof Jon Jureidini (CEMH), Ellie Hodges (LELAN founder) and Dr Jörg Strobel (Barossa Hills Fleurieu Local Health Network).
Medicating Normal is an American documentary on ‘the untold story of what can happen when profit-driven medicine intersects with human beings in distress’:
Combining cinema verité and investigative journalism, Medicating Normal follows the journeys of a newly married couple, a female combat veteran, a waitress and a teenager whose doctors prescribed psychiatric drugs for stress, mild depression, sleeplessness, focus and trauma. Our subjects struggle with serious physical and mental side effects as well as neurological damage which resulted from taking the drugs as prescribed and also from attempting to withdraw. Says one psychiatrist, “There’s not a chemical on the planet, to my knowledge, that can require years to taper – not Oxycontin, not crack cocaine, not heroin, and not alcohol. But psychiatric medications, any tapered patient will tell you, can take sometimes years if possible, at all.”
During the course of the film, prominent psychiatrists and scientific experts explain how it came to pass that – shockingly – one in five Americans take these drugs daily, and often for many years. They reinforce the fact that debilitating side-effects including addiction are common, yet not commonly acknowledged.