was given the schizophrenia diagnosis when, aged 18, he
lived in a "day-dream fantasy world" and thought he
was a spy.
psychiatrist told him he
would have to take neuroleptic medication for the rest of his
But May - against medical advice - later successfully withdrew from all his
He went on to qualify as a clinical psychologist and, aged 38, has since become a key voice promoting a non-medical recovery approach to
, who refutes the validity of the schizophrenia diagnosis, fears psychiatry often confuses the withdrawal effects of medication with symptoms of an underlying mental illness.
has now helped set up comingoff.com
, a website providing information on different psychiatric medications, including neuroleptics, antidepressants, Lithium and benzodiazepines.
Speaking to psychminded.co.uk, May
said: "The website is about trying to give people safe and succinct advice.
, who experienced compulsory treatment when in a London psychiatric hospital, came off his
antipsychotics without professional help and managed to see through the surges of mania and restlessness which accompanied his
friends, and those he
met at community centres and churches, to rediscover his
social skills and confidence.
After a number of casual jobs, May
embarked on a psychology degree and went on to train as a clinical psychologist at the University of East London
He now works with Bradford District Care Trust's assertive outreach team,
June 6, 2005: Our acute problem - To alleviate the culture of violence on inpatient psychiatric wards exposed by a Healthcare Commission audit, psychologists should have more of a role in care, argues Rufus May
There should also be more service user "consultants" helping manage wards and training of staff.
But above all, says May
, we need more non-medical residential alternatives to hospital care.
Mental health comment
Feb 7, 2005: Compassion not compulsion - psychiatric treatment by force amounts to state-sponsored violence, says Rufus May
Sept 23, 2000: Going undercover - When Rufus May was a teenager he
was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and told he
would have to take medication for the rest of his
The same as Rufus May
, I was told that I would be on medication for the rest of my life.
I believe Dr May
is an inspiration.