Firstly, it is great to see the subject of mental health being discussed, and especially the motion of removing the medical approach!

The motion was unfortunately defeated, but not without a weak debate beforehand. You can listen to the debate by clicking play below

{play}images/audio_pods/NUIG_reform_debate.mp3{/play}

It began with Dr Shari McDaid opening the motion "for", with the caveat that she believes in a bio/psycho/social model. Not a great start! There are people, other than myself, who would like to see the "medical model" being removed entirely..... or, failing that, would like to see the "medical model" adhering to the usual criteria of science and medicine.

Next was Dr Colm Mcdonald, he made some wild claims about psychiatry adhering to science, worryingly, he may even believe them, despite having accepted that on the level of individual cases there are no tests. He concluded that removing the medical model would "weaken capacity to know when we are wrong"! - I found that quite ludicrous. It suggests that they have an understanding of where they "went wrong", at the moment, and that that is informed by science. The Survivors of Psychiatry have done far more to change psychiatry, than psychiatry itself has afaik.

Unfortunately the level of knowledge of the speakers from the floor was very poor. One guy said that Psychology was a science (last I checked it was part of the humanities), the same guy seemed under the impression that science and medicine are part of psychiatry.

The next speaker was Dr. Mary Bar, a homoeopath. She talked about the importance of seeing the whole life experience of a person, and listening to their story, of treating people as individuals. Her position made a lot of sense, but it too failed to challenge the "medical model".

Both the speakers on stage, and the ones from the floor, apparently believed in the myths of bio. It is a shame that the debate was not more robust, as this issue is a big one in Mental health

The last speaker from the stage was Mr. Finnegan. He talked of how GPs do more than just the medical side of things. I thought it a bit bazaar while listening, but when I talked to him afterwards he said he should really have been on the "for" side, but they needed another "against"!

All in all, it was worth the trip up to Galway to hear the debate, but it would be great to have the same motion in a more informed house, with people believing in their side of the argument, and speaking more directly to the motion.

I would love to see Psychiatric Survivors who oppose the system, such as myself, debating with the likes of Dr. Colm McDonald. Unfortunately, I only learnt of the debate a few hours beforehand, so I did not have stats to hand to challenge what he was saying, despite knowing much of it was either false, or half-truths.

Gordon Lucas of CreativelyMaladjusted.net