In the 20 years that Hartlepool and East Durham Mind has worked with people experiencing emotional distress we have been inspired by many people, ideas and groups. 

Our approach is informed by the people, projects and ideas accessed below. We invite you to hear the stories and share in the ideas:

Challenging the culture of psychiatric diagnosis [&] exploring trauma informed alternatives. The group, joined by other mental health practitioners and people with lived experience of mental distress, have organised a series of inspirational one day workshops around the UK – in which the voices of people with lived experience are heard alongside practitioners. Highly recommended if you can attend.

The British Psychological Society is a long established national lead body for Psychologists in the UK, they offer a wide range of support and professional courses.  We are particularly interested in the Power Threat Meaning Framework, developed by a number of their members, including Lucy Johnstone (one of the founding members of A Disorder for Everyone),  offering an alternative perspective on why people experience mental distress.

Some psychiatrists are seriously critiquing much of the current work and ethos of mental health services. Visit this site to explore their ideas for rethinking and reshaping how mental distress is understood and addressed.

For several years in the early 2000’s the founder of Moodswings – Tom McAlpine – delivered many workshops at Hartlepool and East Durham Mind, where he is fondly remembered. Tom had personal experience of severe mental distress and inspirationally & humorously shared his own journey from psychosis to cheerleader for a more common sense, compassionate, practical and down to earth approach to helping people suffering emotionally. Tom was awarded an OBE in 2012 for his 40 years of service to mental healthcare. Tom passed away in 2018.

A sister site to MadinAmerica – the UK website demonstrates the groundswell in the UK for a new approach and a critical look at what is currently available to people in distress.

Contributors to MadinAmerica include psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, researchers, academics, journalists, researchers and, not least, people who have experienced emotional distress, medication treatment and the mental health system. The website has been pioneered by the journalist and campaigner Robert Whittaker whose books Mad In America and Anatomy of an Epidemic illustrate the urgent need for reform of how distressed people are helped and how emotional distress is understood. As well as the regularly updated blogs from contributors, the site is increasingly becoming a platform for a radical overhaul of mental health “services” – including online training courses, research reports, news stories and accounts of people aiming for recovery. If you visit only one of the inspirational sources listed here, this is the one.

The Council for Evidence Based Psychiatry “exists to communicate evidence of the potentially harmful effects of psychiatric drugs to the people and institutions in the UK that can make a difference. The scientific record clearly shows that psychiatric medications, portrayed as safe and effective by areas of the medical profession, often lead to worse outcomes for many patients, particularly when taken long term. [CEBP] members include psychiatrists, academics, withdrawal support charities and others who are concerned about the prevalence of the ‘medical model’ and the increasing numbers of prescriptions for psychiatric drugs being given to both adults and children.” The “unrecognised facts” described on this website serve together as an indictment of the medical model on which many people’s treatment for mental distress is based.


A survivor of ECT and decades of psychiatric drugging


Recovery from psychiatric labelling and unnecessary treatment


Goes ‘cold turkey’ from 60mg of diazepam


Journey off clonazepam


Recovery from antidepressants


Recovery and subsequent work for the Bristol Tranquilliser Project

The films above have been produced by the Council for Evidence-based Psychiatry and are accounts of people who have recovered from ill-effects of the drug-based treatments prescribed by well intentioned doctors.

The films are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.