Alternative Mental Health News, No. 49

Editor’s Comment

(My thanks to readers who caught my spelling error in last month’s issue in the phrase “as ye sow, so shall ye also reap” – I shall not let it happen again!)

Remarkably, this issue starts our 5th year of bringing you the AMH News. The small newsletter we started is now so full of announcements and news items that we can scarcely contain them all.

Through the hard work and support of so many, Safe Harbor now has events going across the planet the next three months.

Would you like to help? Like all other organizations, Safe Harbor needs funding to operate. We need it to hire staff, pay our bills, and fund the many events we do.

Once a year Safe Harbor actively engages in fundraising so that we can support this important work. That time is now. Our big event is October 7, as you see below. A lot of people, including Dr. Laura Schlessinger, are donating their time and efforts to make this event a success to bring us much-needed funds.

You can help by buying your tickets early. If you can’t come, you can donate tickets or donate to our general funds or to help us underwrite the event. Or you can connect us with a foundation that may want to help underwrite the event or support our work.

If you can help us with the finances, I assure you that we will provide the heart, passion, and hard work so that, together, we can continue to carry out our motto of “changing lives every day.”


Mark your calendar for October 7, Safe Harbor’s remarkable Fourth Annual Awards Benefit – this year featuring two best selling authors who are legends in their fields.

Dr. Doris Rapp, author of the blockbuster books Is This Your Child? and Is This Your Child’s World? plus the recent Our Toxic World, is the world’s leading spokesperson on how allergies affect child behavior. Her work on Donahue, Oprah, and through lectures around the world has dramatically impacted a generation of children. One television appearance alone prompted over 100,000 letters from viewers.  Safe Harbor is privileged to honor Dr. Rapp with our 2004 Lighthouse Award, presented annually to men and women who benefit humanity by forwarding truly safe and effective mental health treatments.

Dr. Laura Schlessinger, America’s top radio therapist with over 10 million weekly listeners, has generously agreed to donate her time as our keynote speaker. Dr. Laura finds common ground with Safe Harbor as a champion of children, a public voice encouraging the use of psychiatric drugs only as a last resort, and a promoter of the philosophy that full recovery comes from taking responsibility for one’s health and one’s life.  Dr. Laura, author of seven New York Times bestsellers, including her recent mega-hit The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands, will answer questions from the audience.

Also honored will be Melvyn Werbach, M.D., renowned nutritional psychiatrist and editor of numerous internationally popular texts such as Nutritional Influences on Illness and Nutritional Influences on Mental Illness.

Ticket prices: $95 in advance; $125 at the door
Special seating at Dr. Laura’s or Dr. Rapp’s table: $500

Where: Glendale Hilton, 100 W. Glenoaks Blvd., Glendale, California

When: 7:30 PM, Thursday, October 7.

Prizes, including jewelry made by Dr. Laura, will be raffled off.

Tickets can be purchased at the Safe Harbor office: (323) 257-7338 or mail checks to Safe Harbor, 1718 Colorado Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90041


Due to the rapid expansion of Safe Harbor internationally, the main headquarters is seeking volunteers who can help in the Los Angeles office with the day-to-day activities. Schedules can be flexible but day help is needed. The office is located in the Eagle Rock section of Los Angeles between Glendale and Pasadena. Contact: (323) 257-7338 or

Physical Causes Underlying Mental Disorders


…in a series of Saturday morning workshops with,

Nancy Mullan, MD – Burbank psychiatrist
Stu Shipko, MD -Pasadena psychiatrist
Prof. James Croxton – Educator, physiological psychology
Dan Stradford – Pres., Safe Harbor

Week 1: Stress and Neurological Structures and Processes
Week 2: Nutritional Factors Relative to Brain Structure and Function
Week 3: Hormonal Issues, Cerebral Allergies, and Food Intolerances
Week 4: How Pollutants and Toxins Affect Brain Function
Week 5: Medical Causes of Mental Disorders
Week 6: Resources for Alternative Mental Health Care

PLUS hear the personal stories of people who have recovered from mental disorders through nutrition, diet changes, and other natural means

Presented by NAMI Chino Valley – formerly NAMI Chino Hills – (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill)in partnership with Safe Harbor, the nation’s leading nonprofit agency for non-pharmaceutical mental health education.

Saturdays – Sep. 25 through Oct. 30, 2004
10:00 AM – 12:30 PM
6251 Schaefer Ave., Unit G
Chino, California

Fee (all six weeks): $38
Two attendees together: $58
Each additional family member: $10
Seating is limited so register early!

Phone : NAMI (909) 923 7517 or Safe Harbor (323) 257-7338


Mail: Check payable to “Safe Harbor” or “NAMI Chino Valley”, 
send to Safe Harbor, 1718 Colorado Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90041

VISA, MasterCard, AMEX accepted.

For more information contact
or call the above numbers


Dr. Stephan Quentzl will provide an overview of complementary approaches for dealing with mental health symptoms with an emphasis on self-care. He will discuss nutrition, nutriceuticals, and exercise as well as effective interaction with health care professionals, especially related to the integration of complementary techniques. He will also cover lifestyle issues, such as time management, and their effect on mental health.

WHEN: Monday, August 23rd from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
(Note: Please do not arrive earlier than 6:15. We do not technically have
the space until 6:30.)

WHERE: The Continuum Center for Health and Healing, an initiative of Beth Israel Medical Center, located at 245 Fifth Avenue (between 27th and 28th Streets), 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10016. The closest subways: N, R to 28th St. or the 6 to 28th St.

DONATION: $5 requested donation (to help cover Safe Harbor NY’s operating costs)

RSVP: Please let us know if you will be attending: 212-302-9811 or We are volunteer-run and will not be able to confirm reservations. We will only contact you regarding reservations if you have a specific question or in the unlikely event that we have a question or concern. Please note it may take a few days to respond to any questions.

We hope to see you there!


We are pleased to announce that prominent Indian nutritionist Dr. Vijaya Sathe will be presenting the first talk for the Safe Harbor chapter in Pune, India, on August 23. The subject will be “Nutrition and Mental Health.”

For details on time and location, contact Ramya of the Safe Harbor chapter at or (0091) 020-26837644.

The current president of our Safe Harbor Boston chapter is seeking someone to replace him. For personal reasons, he is no longer able to devote the amount of time he has in the past to the chapter but he will remain to help with events, etc. Boston was our first chapter and we have had numerous events and meetings there to meet the strong interest in alternative mental health in the Boston area.

If you are interested, contact Gary at or at
617 964 5544.

Safe Harbor’s site – the world’s largest of its kind – at has been upgraded and streamlined for easier use and better access. Take a look!



Fountaindale Clinic (Australia) Presents:


Professional 2-day Workshops (August 21 & 22) plus others

Maximum 10 participants per workshop

“Designed for those many interested psychologists, special eds., nurses and others involved professionally in this huge problem – who asked me to share what I have learned.” Michael Sichel, D.O., N.D., Ph.D., author of “Good News for the Alphabet Kids”

You will learn everything necessary to reverse, or significantly improve, the vital but damaged physiological/gastro-intestinal/metabolic function and nutritional status in children with all types of regressive (late onset) autism spectrum disorders. You will learn how these damaged processes have affected the brains of these children.

For more information:

Phone: 02 43 622 458

Fountaindale “Get Well Naturally” Clinic in Ourimbah, one hour north of Sydney.


by Nathaniel S. Lehrman, M.D.

(The following was sent to us in response to recent headlines claiming that the Bush Administration is in support of mandatory screenings for mental disorders.)

Forced screening of the general population for “mental illness,” and the possibility of forced
treatment for those then “diagnosed,” is a dangerous un-American fraud. When people are troubled, they, and they alone, should determine whether to seek help, and, if so, where. We don’t need experts to tell us when we are troubled. And when children have difficulties, it is the parents, not the state, who have primary responsibility for helping to deal with them.

“Mental illness” is a vague term which has now expanded beyond all limits. Should “experts” so label any of us, or our children, how do we disprove it? And should they then insist that medication be given against our will – as some public schools are already doing with ADHD-labeled children – how do we protect ourselves against these often-dangerous substances?

Some forty years ago, a psychologist on Long Island urged a group of educators to have “mental health teams” drop unannounced into classrooms to find “sick” teachers needing “treatment,” because they were supposedly so harmful to their students. All present were horrified, and rejected this proposed resurrection of the medieval Inquisition, with “mental health experts” taking the role of the medieval Church.

Psychiatry has been called the only business in America where the customer is always wrong. Allowing it forcibly to screen the American public would benefit only the screeners and the drug companies, and harm the rest of us – as well as destroying our democratic traditions of free speech and thought.

Nathaniel S. Lehrman, M.D., is former Clinical Director, Kingsboro Psychiatric Center, Brooklyn NY.  Contact: 10 Nob Hill Gate, Roslyn NY 11576; 516/626-0238


The Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester (New Hampshire) was recently awarded a $40,000 Ittleson Foundation grant designated to support the agency’s efforts to integrate naturopathic medicine among the array of treatments available for behavioral and mental health concerns. The two-year grant will support efforts to develop a program model, treatment protocols and educational materials that can be replicated by other mental health programs throughout the country.

A year ago, The Center became one of the first community mental health centers in the United States to offer naturopathic medicine as a treatment option. At a time when more people are seeking alternatives to traditional medical care and, in particular, looking to rely less on medication to manage their symptoms, the demand for complementary therapies like those provided by naturopathic medicine is growing. Research has shown that naturopathic therapies including clinical nutrition, vitamin and mineral therapy and botanical medicine, are effective in treating conditions such as attention deficit disorder, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and other behavioral health problems.

According to The Center’s Medical Director, Daniel P. Potenza, MD, “The Ittleson Foundation grant affords us an exciting and unique opportunity to establish a first-of-its-kind program model. Dr. Jeffrey Sager, the naturopathic doctor on our staff, will be developing the program model, treatment protocols, educational and program development materials that will be an invaluable tool for other mental health organizations locally and nationally who want to replicate the program.”

Dr. Sager, a licensed doctor of naturopathic medicine, joined the staff of The Center’s Bedford
Counseling Associates one year ago. He is also on the staff of the Center for Life Management, the community mental health agency located in Derry.

Since 1932, The Ittleson Foundation has been serving the needs of the underprivileged and providing resources for not-for-profit organizations. Today, The Foundation continues a commitment to bringing a “venture capital” approach to philanthropy and is particularly interested in the areas of mental health, AIDS, and the environment.

For more information regarding Naturopathic Medicine services, contact The Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester at (603) 668-4111 or visit



Eating abundant amounts of niacin-rich foods can protect against mental decline by 80%. That is the finding of a new study reported in the August issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery & Psychiatry authored by Dr. Martha Morris of the Rush Institute for Healthy Aging in Chicago.

It has been known that a severe deficiency of niacin (B3) causes a condition called pellagra, which is characterized by dementia, and that pellagra can be resolved with synthetic niacin. However previous studies did not determine whether dietary niacin would also be an effective guard against mental deterioration.

Dietary data was collected every three years from 1993 to 2003 from a group of 6158 Chicago
residents over 65 years old. Cognitive testing was done four times over that period of time. A
random sample of various subgroups within this larger group (sorted by race, age, sex and those who had a change in cognitive performance) was done. Of 815 people identified for the random sample, 131 participants experienced mental decline.

The random sample was then divided into five groups, rated according to their intake of dietary niacin. The top fifth (highest intake of niacin-rich foods) were 80% less likely to develop dementia than the group in the bottom fifth. The middle three groups were 70% less likely to develop dementia than the bottom fifth.

The study provided controls for various important risk factors for dementia, such as age, education, race, and the presence of a gene associated with risk for Alzheimer’s, as well as intake of various other B vitamins, antioxidants, fats, and folate.

Food sources of niacin include liver, poultry, fish, lean meats, whole and enriched grains (except corn), dried peas and beans, nuts, peanuts, Brewer’s yeast, wheat germ, avocados, and dates.



Ishita Sanyal’s life completely changed when she learned that a loved one was believed to have the most dreaded mental illness, schizophrenia. As a psychologist, she felt helpless to improve the quality of life for the affected individual or the parents. Neither medication nor counseling can provide what is most needed in these cases – rehabilitation, learning life skills, social
interaction, and communication.

None of the centers she looked into offered real, practical answers. She decided to do it herself, founding the Turning Point center and designing its entire program. Where other centers offered bookbinding or pickle making as occupational therapy, she launched a computer training program for mental patients, the first of its kind in Calcutta.

Her programs have garnered international praise, usually accompanied by astonishment that she has done all this without funding. She is recognized as a pioneer in making patients more responsible. Her paper on the role of responsibility in mental treatment has been adopted by the WFSAD Conference (World Fellowships for Schizophrenia and Related Disorders).

Turning Point’s first conference took up the subject of caring for the caregiver. Under her
leadership the first parent group was formed in Calcutta, a precursor to the present trend toward family acceptance and contribution as an alternative to institutionalization.

Ishita has arranged a number of awareness programs on mental health, and plans to start a mental health quiz program at Swabhumi.

In addition to all these activities, she is a regular columnist at the Telegraph, working to promote broad public awareness and understanding of mental health issues.

Ishita may be contacted at



Japanese researchers are concerned about the impact of environmental chemicals on normal hormone functioning in mammals, including humans, according to a July article in The Yomiuri Shimbun.

The article echoed the concern of the Japan Society of Endocrine Disrupters Research that DDT, dioxin, PCB, plastics, BPA, nonylphenol, and about 65 other named substances can suppress normal growth, nervous system and cognitive development, and fertility, with abnormal behavior a likely outcome.

The Society stressed the importance of the problem at its June 25 meeting, following the release of a report that rats fed Bisphenol A – a chemical used in the manufacture of wrapping paper, plastic bottles, and other products – found it more difficult to negotiate a maze and exhibited ADHD-like symptoms.

Female rats born to mothers that had ingested Glufosinate, a weed killer used on golf courses, were extremely aggressive toward other rats. The chemical structure of Glufosinate mimics that of glutaminic acid, which is indispensable to the human brain.

A national campaign to assess the damage caused by such substances has lost momentum of late, said the story.

In Taiwan, an average drop of about five percentage points in IQ on average was reported among children aged 6 to 7 suffering from polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) poisoning.

Underactive thyroid function in mothers during the early stages of pregnancy has been linked to lower IQ scores in their children. Chemically, PCB resembles thyroid hormones and may inhibit their production.

Studies conducted in the mid-1990s reported that small traces of an endocrine disrupter could lead to smaller testes in carp and smaller penises on crocodiles, while male fish exhibited more female traits.

Japanese scientists have dubbed such chemicals “environmental hormones” because of their
hormone-like behavior when ingested, a kind of toxicity that defies usual classification.

Yoichiro Kuroda of the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute for Neuroscience said: “If something unusual happens to genes, any effects will take several thousand to several tens of thousands of years to become obvious. The abrupt changes in the past must have been caused by chemical substances.”



Streptococcal infections may lead to dyskinesias (abnormalities in performing voluntary muscle
movements) and associated psychiatric disorders in some children, says a July report in Archives of Diseases in Childhood.

In the report, Dr. R.C. Dale and colleagues summarized their experience of post-streptococcal
dyskinesias and mental symptoms in 40 patients (ranging in age from 1.2 to 16 years) examined between 1999 and 2002 at London’s Institute of Child Health.

The most frequent dyskinesias were chorea (rapid, involuntary dance-like movements) in 20 children, vocal tics in 17 children, and motor tics in 16.

An infectious illness compatible with beta-hemolytic streptococci shortly preceded the movement disorder onset in 34 children, the authors report, whereas the remaining 6 patients had 2 or more relapses associated with streptococcal infections.

Additionally, 33 of the children experienced mood swings, obsessions, compulsions, or depression, sometimes accompanied by unwanted behaviors.

The disorder resolved completely after one episode in 11 patients (27.5%), the results indicate, but 15 have persistent static disease, and 14 have relapses associated with further infections. It is hoped that further study will lead to effective treatment methodologies.



The maker of a leading anti-schizophrenic drug has notified doctors that it minimized potentially fatal risks and made misleading claims about the drug in promotional materials.

Janssen Pharmaceutica Products sent a two-page letter to the health care community in July to
clarify the risks of Risperdal, said Carol Goodrich, a spokeswoman for the Johnson & Johnson

The letter complied with a directive issued last year by the Food and Drug Administration, which told several makers of anti-psychotic drugs to update their product labels.

Janssen reported compliance in November 2003, but the FDA determined that the company’s promotional materials still minimized the risk of strokes, diabetes and other potentially fatal complications. The agency also said Janssen made misleading claims that the medication was safer in treating mental illness than similar drugs.

The Miami Herald reported in July that a handful of boys in Florida developed lactating breasts
after taking Risperdal.

Also in July, the drug – which is prescribed to more than 10 million people internationally – was named in a federal lawsuit by a doctor who claims children have been harmed and even killed by the misuse of drugs he blames on aggressive marketing by drug manufacturers.

Risperdal was first marketed about eight years ago.



Doctors will be required to warn all patients under 30 of the suicide risk posed by the
antidepressant Seroxat (Paxil) following an investigation into the drug by a European medical
agency, AMH News learned in late July.

The European Commission is expected to ratify the findings this fall, which would make the
recommendations law throughout the European Union (EU).

The European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products (EMEA) had announced in April that Seroxat can lead to an increased risk of “suicide-related behaviour in young adults,” recommending extra caution in prescribing the drug to those aged 18 to 29 and calling close monitoring of patients throughout treatment. The EMEA licenses drugs for use in the EU.

A significant number of patients prescribed Seroxat are under 30, according to the drug’s
manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline. The drug was banned for patients under 18 in the UK last year.

The mental health charity Mind called on the UK Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to order family doctors to warn all their depressed patients about the EMEA’s findings immediately.

A Mind spokeswoman said: “The European ruling on Seroxat makes it very clear that the very real problems with this drug potentially go far beyond the groups already acknowledged to be at risk.

“When there are up to 800,000 people currently taking Seroxat in the UK, there is an urgent need for these risks to be made plainly known, and for GPs to be very aware of potential problems when they hand out prescriptions.”

In the U.S., an unprecedented effort has been undertaken to evaluate suicides in a large population of depressed individuals taking antidepressant drugs for months or years. The study analyzed data collected on more than 2,500 patients prescribed fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), amitriptyline, or dothiepin.

Suicides and suicide attempts increased sharply in the month after patients started taking the
antidepressants, reported Hershel Jick and colleagues at the Boston University School of Medicine (Journal of the American Medical Association, July 21). They argued, however, that the suicides must be a result of the depression and not of the drug treatment, which supposedly takes several weeks to “kick in.”



The principal of CL Milton Elementary School in Laredo, Texas, has just announced breakthrough results for a pilot study using balancing and coordination exercises for children with learning disabilities or ADHD symptoms.

After only four months of twice daily exercises, eighty-three 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students showed 75% more reading progress than a control group of non-learning disabled students from the same grades.

According to the school principal, learning-disabled children typically progress in reading ability only 25% to 50% as much as non-learning disabled students over a given period.
The Learning Breakthrough Program is a balance and sensory activity program designed to help better organize brain processing in order to improve a child’s overall functioning in areas of learning such as reading, writing, comprehension and focus.

The program is suitable for those 7 years and older. Improvement reportedly becomes permanent after 9-12 months of use for fifteen minutes twice daily.

The program may not only help struggling children catch up, but may help gifted children to excel. It does not replace skills training or tutoring, but enhances the results of such activities.

According to Dr. Irvine Mason, Diplomate, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, “It is
difficult for many to understand how a physical exercise program can improve reading, writing, comprehension and attention ability. My initial skepticism was replaced with excitement after a careful review of the program, research and user reports. With one in six school children diagnosed with a learning disability and probably an equal number that fall through the cracks, widespread use of a non-medical program such as this will have a significant impact on not only the children and families involved, but society as well.”

“As the parent of a child with dyslexia who was also identified as gifted and talented, I had looked at everything I could find,” says Mrs. Ratliff, principal, C.L. Milton Elementary School. “The balance and sensory exercises that are part of the Learning Breakthrough Program made sense to me. So much so, that I took a leap and integrated it into the school. Simultaneously, my 8-year-old son used the program at home each day. After 5 months of program use, his reading level jumped by 2 years. My goal was to guide other parents who I knew from experience were as frustrated and desperate as I was in trying to help their children succeed.”

A child enrolled in the program watches on videotape, then performs tasks such as throwing beanbags, tossing balls at a bounce-back target, and tapping a hanging ball, while standing on a unique balance board. Two 15-minute sessions per day are recommended for maximum benefit.

For more information, visit