Samizdat Health Writer’s Co-operative Inc. is an international writers’ co-operative owned by its members. Samizdat is open to taking works in fiction, non-fiction, graphic or other forms, that engage with the difficulties and issues thrown up by “health” – a domain that now occupies the place in our lives religion once occupied. We engage with mainstream medicine. Our objective is to ensure that ideas that are now difficult to publish get the widest possible distribution and earn a return for their authors. A member is anyone who writes or produces artwork for or otherwise works on publications produced by Samizdat and is willing to be a member and help find works and promote them.
Samizdat Health Writer’s Co-operative is a member of the Independent Book Publishers Association.
Members of the Samizdat Health Writers Cooperative
Jim Gottstein grew up in Anchorage, Alaska where his father was a prominent businessman and his mother one of the most beloved women in town. Jim was on track to go into the family grocery and real estate empire, studying for a business degree at the University of Oregon when the law found him during his required Business Law class. He didn’t miss a question the entire class and realized law was a good fit. He managed to get into Harvard Law School as the only sky-diving applicant from Alaska that year. After graduating from law school in 1978, Jim went into private practice in Anchorage with Robert M. Goldberg, primarily representing Alaska Native organizations. In 1982, he experienced a psychotic break due to sleep deprivation and was introduced firsthand to the mental illness system. He was told he would be permanently mentally ill and to forget about his law career. Luckily, he escaped psychiatry and the experience led him to legal representation and other advocacy for people diagnosed with mental illness not as lucky as he. Jim opened his own law office in 1985, generally focused on business matters, and is now mostly retired from the private practice of law. In 2002, Jim founded the Law Project for Psychiatric Rights (PsychRights) to mount a strategic litigation campaign against forced psychiatric drugging and electroshock, and to inform the public about the counterproductive and harmful nature of the drugs and shock.
Patrick D. Hahn
Patrick D Hahn is a freelance writer and independent scholar with a long-standing interest in iatrogenic harm and the medicalization of everyday life. His first book, Madness and Genetic Determinism: Is Mental Illness in Our Genes?, explores how genetic determinist views of so-called “mental illness” have obscured the well-established role of childhood sexual abuse and other adverse childhood experiences in the genesis of those conditions. His second book, Prescription for Sorrow: Antidepressants, Suicide, and Violence, traces the history of how so-called “antidepressants” came on to the market and have stayed on the market, detailing how the drug companies and the mostly compliant mainstream media have exaggerated the benefits and hidden the harms caused these drugs, which include addiction, suicide, and violence. His latest book, Obedience Pills: ADHD and the Medicalization of Childhood, describes the harms wrought by the drugs commonly prescribed for something called “ADHD,” and the nexus of special interests which sustains this twenty-billion-dollar-a-year industry whose influence is now spreading from the United States to the entire globe. Dr. Hahn is an Affiliate Professor of Biology at Loyola University Maryland.
David Healy, a professor in the Department of Family Medicine in McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, is a doctor, psychiatrist, psychopharmacologist, scientist and author. His main areas of research are the contribution of antidepressants to suicide, conflict of interest between pharmaceutical companies and academic medicine, and the history of pharmacology. Healy has written more than 200 peer-reviewed articles, 200 other articles, and 24 books, including The Antidepressant Era, The Creation of Psychopharmacology, The Psychopharmacologists Volumes 1–3, Let Them Eat Prozac, and Mania: A Short History of Bipolar Disorder.
He has been involved as an expert witness in homicide and suicide trials involving psychotropic drugs. He has brought concerns about some medications to the attention of drug regulators. He has also said that pharmaceutical companies sell drugs by marketing diseases and co-opting academic opinion-leaders. In his 2012 book Pharmageddon, he argues that pharmaceutical companies have dominated healthcare in America, often with life-threatening results for patients. Healy is a founder and chief executive officer of Data Based Medicine Limited, which aims to make medicines safer through RxISK.org an “online direct patient reporting of drug effects” platform.
Teresa Heartchild is an artist, poet, author, and self-advocate who has Down syndrome. Teresa has shown remarkable resilience and courage. In 2013, an Ontario government social worker determined that she was “not capable,” and immediately, she lost her right to decide where she would live. Teresa was put into a nursing home by two of her older siblings. However, Teresa did not have any medical need to be in long-term care. Within days, her father, sister Franke James, and brother-in-law, Bill James, helped her get discharged.
Then Teresa had a new capacity test done that determined she could decide where she lived, and who would take care of her. In March 2014, Teresa moved across the country with the Jameses to British Columbia, where she started an online petition asking for an apology. In the Change.org video, Teresa said it was wrong to put her in a nursing home. On behalf of Teresa, the BC Civil Liberties Association wrote to the Ontario Minister of Health, saying, “We are gravely concerned that the government, through its actions, appears to condone the forced placement and mistreatment of developmentally disabled adults.” With further publicity and after two years of campaigning, the Ontario Minister of Health publicly apologized to Teresa.
In 2016, Teresa published an illustrated poetry book, Pretty Amazing: How I Found Myself in the Downtown Eastside. In 2018, she followed up with her second book, Totally Amazing: Free to Be Me. She has had solo and group art shows and won arts awards including two Canada Council grants to travel to art events in Boston, MA and Merida, Mexico. Teresa’s successful activism for disability rights was honoured by the British Columbia Human Rights Commissioner, who named Teresa as a “Champion for Change” in 2019. In 2023, Teresa is celebrating the 10-year anniversary of her rescue with the publication of Freeing Teresa. She lives with Franke and Bill in Vancouver, BC.
Billiam James is an artist, musical storyteller and activist. What does he care about? People, emotions, and mental health. His mission? To change the way we act, by changing the way we feel… about ourselves, and about each other. Billiam James combines storytelling, visual art, music, and social activism. Over the past three decades, he has produced work addressing the following themes: rights for people with intellectual disabilities, over-medicalization of human behaviour, environmental activism, and free speech and political censorship.
Franke James is an activist, artist, and the author of several books on disability rights, climate change, free expression, and ethics. For Franke, the diverse issues in Freeing Teresa, Banned on the Hill, Bothered by My Green Conscience, and Dear Office-Politics are all connected by the need to speak up and take action. The spark for Freeing Teresa was lit in 2013. Franke and her husband Billiam James helped her younger sister Teresa get out of a nursing home, regain her decision-making rights, and get a public apology from the Ontario government.
In 2014, Franke won the BC Civil Liberties Association’s “Award for Excellence in the Arts” for her national campaign on the importance of free expression. Her poster campaign, “Do Not Talk About Climate Change,” appeared in three Canadian cities and Washington DC. In 2015, Franke was awarded PEN Canada’s Ken Filkow Prize for her “tenacity in uncovering an abuse of power and her commitment to fostering a national conversation in the face of censorship.” She lives in Vancouver, BC, with her husband Bill and her sister Teresa.
Joanna Le Noury
Joanna Le Noury has been the Senior Research Psychologist at the Department of Psychological Medicine in North Wales since 2005. She trained as a biological psychologist at The University of Leeds and was previously involved in the development of an international program aimed at improving the health and nutrition of young people, an intervention which has since been rolled out across several European countries and the US – and of course my family. She is a founding member of Data Based Medicine, which has been responsible for setting up RxISK.org, a free searchable and independent drug safety website aimed at improving our understanding of the effects of prescription medications. The data from this has led to a number of recent publications on Post SSRI Sexual Dysfunction (PSSD) and the effect of treatment on cardiac QT intervals. She is also involved in TheMadnessofNorthWales, a website that catalogues the rise and fall of some of the major mental illnesses such as melancholia, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia and brings this quantitative data together with short stories, drama and patients records to create a unique insight on a hidden world. This is due to launch soon. Having joined the RIAT team re-analyzing Study 329, while I was out of the room one day, I ended up with the job of mastering the GSK “periscope” to look at adverse events. This “simple” job took a year of my life between reconstructing the adverse events database and carrying out an audit of the original Clinical Record Forms (CRFs) and patient narratives of Serious Adverse Events (SAEs) from the study. Le Noury is a co-author of Children of the Cure Missing Data: Lost Lives and Antidepressants.
With her husband Peter, Wood is the driving force behind RxISK.org, SSRI Stories and Study 329.org—a website that hosts all of the documents behind the Study 329 story. Like a growing number of others she lost a talented and beloved child to antidepressants. Wood is a co-author of Children of the Cure Missing Data: Lost Lives and Antidepressants.
Samizdat Health Writers
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