Evidence That More Psychiatry Means More Suicide


This has got to stop.  Around the world a million people die from suicide each year and the response internationally is to pour more funding and channel more people into psychiatric services.  Three large studies have now found that the more we spend on mental health services the higher our suicide rates.  In addition, a recent study has completely discredited claims that 90% of those who die from suicide are mentally ill at the time of their death.  We need to use this evidence to stop the expansion of psychiatry as a suicide prevention measure.

In 2004 a group of Australian researchers and the WHO conducted a study across 100 countries which tested the theory that the implementation of national mental health policies, programs and legislation would be associated with lower national suicide rates.  They found the opposite.

The introduction of a mental health policy and mental health legislation was associated with an increase in male and total suicide rates, and the introduction of a therapeutic drugs policy was associated with an increase in total suicide rates.[1]

The authors were bemused.  Given their belief that mental illness causes suicide, they found the results counter-intuitive and rushed to dismiss them.  It would be naïve, they said to accept the findings without question.  They stated that there was a clear need for further studies in the area.

And so another study was done.

In 2010 researchers from the UK replicated the results and found suicide rates were increased in countries with mental health legislation, higher spending on mental health, greater numbers of psychiatric beds, psychiatrists and psychiatric nurses, and the availability of training in mental health for primary care professionals.[2]

As with the previous study, the authors cautioned against accepting their findings and advised that further studies were needed to replicate the results of their study.

Recently a third, much larger, study was conducted over 191 countries and a population of 6.4 billion people.  This study controlled extensively for economic factors and found that numbers of psychiatrists and mental health beds were significantly positively associated with population suicide rates and concluded that “Countries with better psychiatric services experience higher suicide rates.”[3]

The authors are again cautious about their results but note that their study corroborates the positive associations between mental health provision and population suicide rates and suggest that “The consistency of these findings indicates the need to examine potential underlying pathways.”

What makes these authors so ready to question their findings and suggest they be treated with caution?  It is, I think, the ubiquitous belief that suicide is caused by mental illness.  The 2004 study states

It would be anticipated that cohesive, national mental health strategies would be associated with comparatively low suicide rates, given that mental health problems significantly increase the risk of suicide.

The 2010 study states

Availability of healthcare services may reduce suicide rates by allowing identification and treatment of mental illness.

And while the most recent study takes a more skeptical approach to the notion that mental illness causes suicide and psychiatric treatment reduces it, it does not directly challenge the data on which the links between suicide and psychiatric illness are made.

While data from high income countries indicate that severe psychiatric illnesses, especially depressive disorders, are the principal cause of suicide, research from LMICs (Low to Medium Income Countries) suggests that social, economic and cultural factors also have significant influence.

This idea that psychiatric disorders are present in over 90% of suicides is based on psychological autopsies, not on data about diagnosis before death.  In a psychological autopsy, dead people are labelled with psychiatric diagnoses on the basis of interviews interviewing a few of the relatives and/or friends.

I have spent five years arguing that psychological autopsies have no reliability or validity and that the idea that almost every suicide can be explained as a product of mental illness is a marketing message not a scientific finding.  The issues associated with diagnosing a living person are well known – how many more issues must exist in performing a psychiatric assessment on someone who is dead?

The authors of my new favourite study introduce their work with the claim that

One of the most established “truths” in suicidology is that almost all (90% or more) of those who kill themselves suffer from one or more mental disorders, and a causal link between the two is implied. However, there has been little reflection on the reliability and validity of this method.[4]

They challenge the reliability of the psychological autopsy process on numerous grounds.  They argue, for example, that some questions in a diagnostic interview are impossible for someone other than the subject of the question to answer, and ask “is it really possible to assign psychiatric diagnoses to someone who is dead by interviewing someone else?”

What living person would be happy to be diagnosed as depressed on the basis of their mother/brother/friend (a proxy) answering the following questions about them?

  • In the last month, did you lose interest or pleasure in things you usually enjoyed?
  • How did you feel about yourself?
  • Did you have troubles thinking or concentrating?
  • Were things so bad that you were thinking a lot about death or that you would be better off dead?
  • If something good happens to you or someone tries to cheer you up, do you feel better at least for a while?
  • Is your feeling of depression different from the kind of feeling you would get if someone close to you died?
  • Have you been feeling guilty about things you have done or not done?
  • Do your arms or legs often feel heavy (as though they were full of lead)?
  • Are you especially sensitive to how others treat you?” “What happens to you when someone rejects, criticizes, or slights you?
  • Have you avoided doing things or being with people because you were afraid of being criticized or rejected?

Is a spouse/parent/child able to reliably answer the following questions which may lead to a diagnosis of substance abuse disorder?

  • Did you need to drink more in order to get the same effect that you got when you first started drinking?
  • During the times when you drank alcohol, did you end up drinking more than you planned when you started?
  • Have you tried to reduce or stop drinking alcohol but failed?

The researchers point out that “most questions asked to assign a diagnosis are impossible to answer reliably by proxies, and thus, one cannot validly make conclusions.”

While the authors of psychological autopsy studies claim the diagnostic tools they use are reliable and valid, they ignore the important fact that they have not been validated for use by proxies.  The authors point out that family members or friends may have opinions about a dead person’s mood and drinking behaviour, but that such subjective opinions do not necessarily represent the reality of the deceased.  They point out that “Proxies can speculate, but such speculations can hardly be used to assign psychiatric diagnoses to others.”

The study points to evidence from studies of suicide attempts showing that differences have been found between what the person who has made the attempt says about their mood, feelings and intentions and what his/her family or doctors say about them .

It questions the validity of psychological autopsies based on the fact that in assessing mood disorders some of the indicators are about suicidality.  Given the person has already killed themselves they receive an automatic positive on this criterion and as such the threshold for diagnosis is lowered.  Before the interview has commenced, then, suicide victims are more likely than controls to reach the diagnostic criteria and as such is an effective way of ensuring that the results show suicide victims are more mentally disordered than other groups of people.

As the diagnostic threshold for mental disorders is lowered with each new iteration of the DSM, more and more suicide victims will be retrospectively labelled mentally ill.  For these and other reasons, the authors state that “as a diagnostic tool psychological autopsies should now be abandoned.”

A range of social factors have been associated with suicide risk.  The following table shows the percentage reduction in suicide that a variety of studies have estimated could be achieved through elimination of these factors, and based on WHO estimates that 1,000,000 people worldwide die from suicide each year, the number of lives that could be saved.

PAR Chart 2

Spending on mental health treatment in the United States was $155 billion in 2009, with prescription drugs accounting for 29% of spending.[5]  The State of California alone spending  $1.842 billion in  2011-12[6]

In 2008, the OECD reported that a recent analysis had shown that 28 European countries had spent more than €118 billion just on treatment for depression.  This figure comprised direct costs of €42 billion; €22 billion for outpatient care, €9 billion for pharmaceuticals and €10 billion for hospitalisation, with indirect costs due to work absenteeism and premature mortality estimated at €76 billion.[7]

Australia spent over $6.3 billion on mental health-related services in 2009–10, Ireland spent €113m on psychiatric drugs in 2009[8] and England spent £1.1 billion on mental health services for people aged 18-64 in 2012.[9]

We spent all this money, and the more we spent the more our suicide rates increased.  More people died – alone and in anguish – by their own hands.  More families were destroyed and left to live with unimaginable pain and grief.  Less money was available to address the real causes of emotional distress and suicide.

This has got to stop and I think it could if each one of us presented this data to our local government representative, spoke to our local media or called a meeting of voters in our community.  A million people will take their lives in 2014 unless we join forces and use the data these researchers have provided us to make this stop. In this new year, do you think you could do something?




[1] Philip Burgess, Jane Pirkis, Damien Jolley, Harvey Whiteford, Shekhar Saxena Do nations’ mental health policies, programs and legislation influence their suicide rates? An ecological study of 100 countries Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 2004; 38:933–939

[2] Shah, Ajit ; Bhandarkar, Ritesh ; Bhatia, Gurleen The Relationship Between General Population Suicide Rates And Mental Health Funding, Service Provision And National Policy: A Cross-National Study International Journal Of Social Psychiatry  Volume: 56   Issue: 4   Pages: 448-453   Doi: 10.1177/0020764009342384   Published: Jul 2010

[3] A.P. Rajkumar, E.M. Brinda, A.S. Duba, P. Thangadurai, K.S. Jacob National suicide rates and mental health system indicators: An ecological study of 191 countries International Journal of Law and Psychiatry 36 (2013) 339–342

[4] Heidi Hjelmeland Gudrun Dieserud Kari Dyregrov Birthe L. Knizek Antoon A. Leenaars Psychological Autopsy Studies As Diagnostic Tools: Are They Methodologically Flawed? Death Studies, 36: 605–626, 2012  Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3662079/pdf/udst36_605.pdf

[5] Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2013). Behavioral Health, United States, 2012. HHS Publication No. (SMA)13-4797. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

[6] State of California Mental Health Services Act Expenditure Report Fiscal Year 2013-14 http://www.dhcs.ca.gov/formsandpubs/Documents/Legislative%20Reports/Mental%20Health/MHSA_Expend_Report-Jan-2013.pdf

[7] ORGANISATION FOR ECONOMIC CO-OPERATION AND DEVELOPMENT Policy Brief NOVEMBER 2008 Mental Health in OECD Countries http://www.oecd.org/els/health-systems/41686440.pdf

[8] Irish Examiner 5m drug prescriptions for mental health a year Friday, August 05, 2011 http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/5m-drug-prescriptions-for-mental-health-a-year-163317.html

[9] Health & Social Care Information Centre Personal Social Services: Expenditure and Unit Costs, England – 2012-13, Provisional release [NS] Publication date: September 19, 2013 http://www.hscic.gov.uk/catalogue/PUB11644

Previous articleWhen I Grow Up, I Want to be a Psychiatrist: Redefining the Profession for the Betterment of All
Next article“Behaviour and Biology: The Accidental Epigeneticist”
Maria Bradshaw
DelusionNZ: Maria Bradshaw lost her only child to SSRI induced suicide in 2008. Co-founder and CEO of CASPER (Community Action on Suicide Prevention Education & Research), Maria promotes a social model of suicide prevention focused on strengthening community cohesion, addressing the social drivers of suicide and providing communities with the knowledge and tools required to reclaim suicide prevention from mental health professionals. Maria has an MBA from Auckland University and particular interests in sociological and indigenous models of suicide prevention, prescription drug induced suicide, pharmacovigilance and alternatives to psychiatric interventions for emotional distress. Maria has researched and written a number of papers challenging the medical model of suicide prevention.


  1. Your last paragraph seems to me the most important. I intend to do this in Illinois!

    It’s worth considering that, whatever the reasons may be for researchers’ tendency to ignore the implications of their own evidence, there must still be some explanation somewhere, for the actual correlation, more psychiatrists=more suicides.

    I suspect that when psychiatry pervades a culture, human dignity is degraded by the theory that everything an individual ever thinks, feels or dreams is a mechanical product of brain function; that when we look in the mirror we must admit we are staring at a machine, nothing more!

    If you generally degrade humanity within a culture, individuals will have less hope and more disgust for themselves and their fellows. Hence, more suicide and more violence.

    Report comment

    • I agree 100%, but we should not forget that increased psychiatric treatment also means increased drug use, and some of those drugs by themselves increase suicidal feelings and actions in otherwise healthy individuals. So I think it’s a one-two-three punch of invalidating one’s personal experience (your feelings or the reason they arise is irrelevant), conveying hopelessness (you’ll never recover from this, you are now officially disabled for life), and giving drugs that exacerbate or even help create feelings of suicidal or homicidal intent. If you tried to increase the suicide rate, you’d be hard pressed to come up with a better plan.

      And I think the reason they can’t follow the results of their own investigation relates to the religious nature of the psychiatric profession. Since the diagnoses themselves are only held up by general agreement, and nobody really knows or understands what’s really going on in any of these “diagnoses,” anything that questions this structure is deeply disturbing, as if you’d told a dedicated fundamentalist that his/her god or holy figure was not real. The reaction is visceral and irrational, and the easy solution is to somehow blame the victim, who has less power, for failing to respond as they should have to your “helpful” intervention. Same thing happened when the WHO study in the 90s showed dramatically better schizophrenia outcomes in developing countries – they didn’t believe it, so they re-did the research. When it showed exactly the same thing, they attributed it to cultural differences and inadequate or incorrect diagnostics in the offending countries who had dared to show up Western medicine.

      The narcissist can never be wrong, and anyone who threatens him/her must be eliminated, even if it’s their own studies. The truth almost always takes a back seat to preserving the ego when psychiatry (or medicine in general) is involved. Not to mention the threat to a lot of people’s bank accounts…

      —- Steve

      Report comment

      • Maria and Others , Vitally important post .Thank you Maria. Just wonder if you suspect that the drug companies are purposefully designing a suicide factor into their drugs. Remember how the tobacco companies were purposely putting chemicals into their tobacco products to enhance addiction to it. Why wouldn’t this more ruthless group do similar or worse crimes and couldn’t independent lab analysis and or whistleblowers reveal the truth ? Look also how hard it is to come off of some of their drug cocktails and look at eugenics history. The book “War Against The Weak” by Edwin Black points to an ongoing disguised effort at eugenics without calling it eugenics by the same powerful interests that originated the effort in the United States earlier in the 1900’s.

        Report comment

    • I have posted this great article many times on FB when I see someone advocate for more “mental health” spending or promote the notion that “getting them the treatment they need” will reduce or prevent suicide. I did so recently and today received a message from FB Community Standards that informed me that; “This content goes against our community standards on spam”.
      It included a place for me to click if I wanted them to review it which I did, but was given no field where I could say anything in defense of Ms. Bradshaw’s fine article. I have had several other censoring events, including one recently where an article about a study showing a link between psychiatric drugs and dementia I tried to post was prevented from doing so.

      Report comment

  2. Psychiatry should stay out of the suicide business more often than not.

    Suicide is an individual’s choice. Even if people are acutely mentally distressed (whether they are psychotic, depressed, delusional, have voices telling them to kill themselves etc.), after a certain point they gain lucidity (sometimes with “treatment” and sometimes without). Once they are lucid, they can make the decision to live or not live.

    Constantly preventing suicide by force should be criminalised.

    Report comment

    • So you’re saying that if a person wants to kill themselves because they are a victim of social injustice, then no attempt at helping them achieve such justice should be made, and they should be allowed to just go and kill themselves?

      Sounds like letting the bullies off the hook.

      Report comment

    • @ registeredforthissite,

      I agree with your comment, above (January 12, 2014 at 11:44 am), and it seems to me that the three comment replies which followed (by JeffreyC, Jonathan Keyes and Joanna Care) were based on a misunderstanding. (JeffreyC’s reply was, in large part, a question to you, which I believe indicates a failure to understand your comment; and, the other two commenters agreed with JeffreyC.)

      As you never replied to their replies, here I offer a hopefully clarifying response, in the form of a brief passage, from the writings of Thomas Szasz (his book Suicide Prohibition: The Shame of Medicine, 2011, p. xiii):

      Laws that enable some persons to lock up some others persons whose behavior they find upsetting have nothing to do with health, medicine, or treatment: They are a system of extralegal social controls without the due-process safeguards of the criminal justice system. Calling the arrangement “suicide prevention” is deception and self-deception. The coercive prevention of death may, depending on circumstances, be a noble end. The coercive prohibition of it is, a priori, ignoble and unworthy of modern people in secular societies.

      Essentially, Szasz wisely draws a distinction between government interventions (prohibition) against suicide on the one hand (he finds them deplorable) and other means of preventing suicide which, of course, might be genuinely compassionate.

      Your comment elicited a long discussion on this thread, regarding the sorts of suicides that are precipitated by various kinds of social injustice and economic hardship.

      Personally, I believe it’s important to bear in mind, suicide is, by definition, an intentional act.

      Hence, no matter how one may believe that s/he has no choice but to kill himself/herself, there is always free will involved — and ones own choice — in suicide.

      Typically, the person who seems most ‘suicidal’ is one who believes s/he has no other choices besides suicide available.

      Yet, reality dictates s/he can always choose to just do nothing. (I once read a study that indicated, those who’ve developed a tendency to fantasize about killing themselves should be encouraged to realize the power of just waiting for their their most intense ‘suicidal’ urges to pass; they will usually pass after twenty minutes. Of course, that isn’t necessarily a complete solution; but, I think it could be useful advice.)

      In any case, I quite agree with you comment. That’s all I really cared to say. There’s no need for me to go writing here…

      If you are interested, I have offered that above-mentioned passage from Szasz and have addressed some of my views regarding suicide previously (and was too wordy, really), …on a comment discussion beneath a post by MIA blogger Jennifer Maurer. [See http://www.madinamerica.com/2013/05/man-jumps-news-at/ ]



      Report comment

    • Registered, I don’t get that. So you’re saying if a person isn’t lucid, they have no ability to make a responsible choice? Who decides who is lucid and who isn’t? Psychiatry.

      I also agree that suicide is a personal choice. We don’t know people’s situations. We can’t get into their heads, which is really a good thing, when you think about it. If we do, we’ve gone too far.

      Report comment

  3. Maria,

    Conventional psychiatry is afraid of human suffering.
    It doesn’t know how to address human suffering.

    So it ignores it.
    Or masks it by altering the brain.
    Or covers it up entirely.

    But it doesn’t *address* the suffering.

    This is why conventional psychiatric treatment has not worked and why it will never work. And why it does not save lives. It costs lives.


    Report comment

  4. Your voices is more powerful than ever, here, Maria. I’ve worked hard over the years to persuade and convince the perpetrators of these crimes against humanity, but with every push I give, they push back at least twice as hard and the wall gets thicker. Reason, even statistically–based, just doesn’t seem to work, here, not for long, anyway. That’s been my experience, at least. Even if I manage to stretch the rubber band around the box just a little bit, it always seems to snap right back into place.

    What I’ve been doing, that appears to be making an impact around me and for which I’ve gotten very positive feedback, is to work with people on their perceptions of what life and death are. As you know, I firmly believe that life is eternal, and that we’re calling ‘death,’ is, in reality, merely a transition from physically focused reality. We’re ALL part of non-physical reality. That is our collective consciousness. Our individual spirits continue, and those who have transitioned are around us, constantly. They never stop being part of us.

    There are signs everywhere, if we know how to read this energy. For example, I know when I’m craving a steak sandwich (which I never eat) or when I have this sudden urge to play an Edith Piaf record, I know my dad is with me, as these were two trademarks of his, and often I have a really nice conversation with him. He passed away 4 years ago, this week. When he was in a body, we had our troubles which caused me grief, but that’s a thing of the past. I forgave him and made peace with him in my heart. In present time now, he’s one of main guides and I love him very much. He’s my dad!

    Knowing this and perceiving it is a matter of expanding heart consciousness. Eventually, the mind can fathom this, but it takes time and a diligent practice of heart consciousness to undo all the illusory perceptions which we have internalized, as well as quieting our habitual thinking. Thanks to this expanding heart awareness, we can heal and grow, in general, with greater ease and understanding. This ripples outward, and in that process, we are upgrading our society to a more humanitarian resonance.

    I came scarily close to succeeding in my attempt to end my physical life years ago, and I am in 100% agreement with you. I can easily trace, like math, all the components of my mental health treatment at the time, which led me to believe that my life was not worth a plug nickel, that I was of no value to society and only a burden, that I had ‘lost my dreams’ (the phrase my psychiatrist used repeatedly during my sessions with him), and that my life and health would be chronically compromised. I bought it, hook, line, and sinker, because it did seem that way at the time. I was not the same person I am now. Deep down I was, but my ability to focus and function was greatly compromised, thanks to medication.

    Yes, they hand us one big mess to sink into. It’s become standard operational procedure.

    It was during my near death experience that I discovered the eternal nature of our consciousness. I got a lot of information at that time that took a while for me to digest and process, which I have now integrated into my practice and teachings.

    I don’t think we can all understand each other, and many of us simply rub each other the wrong way. It’s when we attach an illness or some kind of ‘defect’ to the person that triggers a negative emotion in us, then we’re not owning our stuff and taking our guidance.

    I don’t think life is so much a matter of fighting for turf, as much as it is about finding our ‘resonant families’–that is, communities which we find supportive to our natures. Since we have diverse natures, we’ll have diverse communities. No one needs to attack the other. If you’re hurt by them, get away and start your own community! I feel this will disempower the debilitators.

    I envision a society where each of us finds our healthy and supportive communities so we can heal all of this overt and covert victimization going on in the world. Maybe then, people won’t be in such a hurry to leave the planet pre-maturely, and, in fact, will revel fearlessly in their own process of life. That’s my Sunday prayer for today.

    Report comment

    • And btw, my shrink could not have been more wrong. I’ve realized all my childhood dreams in the 10 years since I was seeing this guy. Now, I’m just creating more as I go along. Reality is quite different out of ‘the office.’

      Report comment

      • Alex, so true! Psychiatric care does nothing but insult the patient. We get so accustomed to these insults that they become the new “normal.” We are led to believe we are so worthless that we deserve these insults and abuse, and that it’s for our own good. We are led to believe that any mistake they make, no matter how devastating the consequences to us, was “trivial” or “an oversight.” If a secretary copies a SSN wrong and billing is done wrong, this is a true oversight. If a doctor or therapist who should know better shows in every way possible how little he thinks of you and insults you constantly, that’s not an oversight, that’s abuse. Funny, the underpaid secretary is the one far more likely to apologize and be upfront about her mistake, which is far more honorable than the doctor’s insistence on blaming the victim.

        So we are pummeled with insults. Our sense of worthlessness grows. I can tell you one thing: the one time I ever did self-harm behavior was because I was being abused by a very bad therapist. The times I have tried (and, obviously failed) at suicide I can tell you each time it was due to some form of not being listened to. In fact, each time, it was specifically mental health professionals that were misunderstanding me the most. Had I not gone to them, I wouldn’t have been subject to their abuse. You want counseling? Ask your friends for advice. I learned that in high school.

        Julie Greene

        Report comment

        • “it was specifically mental health professionals that were misunderstanding me the most”
          Well, the one I talked to tried to convince me that all my friends really don’t like me and only pretend they’re my friends and that my loving family was abusive and when it didn’t fly – was abusive by being too good for me. And all of that while knowing close to nothing about any of it, never seeing or talking to anyone in my family etc. Yeah, if I didn’t scream at him but sit there and listened and internalised I’d be probably dead by suicide or at the very least separated from all my social circle for good.
          Btw, the only time I’ve tried to commit suicide was when I was forcibly drugged and imprisoned by psychiatry. So I think I can give them a plausible explanation for these “surprising statistics”, duh.

          Report comment

  5. Or another, probably more accurate reality is that while at least the symptoms of “mental illness” can cause someone to become suicidal, psychiatric treatment can both make mental illness symptoms worse and cause suicidality even in people who weren’t suicidal to begin with.

    On one hand there may be a large percentage of people committing suicide because their life sucks, even though they are not depressed or anxious, etc. On the other hand, more likely, they are experiencing such symptoms, but the pysch drugs they are given just make them worse, do nothing at all, or screw them up in other ways on top of their original suffering. Not to mention that suicidal responses some people have to ADs.

    Report comment

    • Jeff,
      I had to agree. My friend was on as AD and recently was put on Seroquel. I just got a phone call saying she’d taken her life. I don’t know the whole story and already people are saying the usual platitudes about suicide:

      “She’s better off”
      “She didn’t believe in religion”
      “She’s left the rest of us to ponder why she did it”
      “She was selfish to do this”

      Did the psych drugs help?? No and I saw how the neuroleptic changed her personality.

      I’ll miss her.

      Report comment

    • I know and it shocks me, yet it’s there in the research. Sometimes the critical psychiatry network promotes social causes of mental distress and radical psychologists like Bentall, but mainly it is ignored. Even the lefties ignore it. In my experience only anarchists seem to understand.

      Report comment

      • I know John it is shocking when psych survivors have to rely on the work of physical disability activists and anti-poverty groups. AMHP’s estimate 50-70% of their workload is now taken up with dealing with the consequences of ESA/Atos/bedroom tax. One also relayed to me how they’ve seen people being admitted to hospital because of swallowing political messages (useless/burden to society if unable to work enough to support themselves) and in fear of losing their homes. I’ve witnessed attempted suicide in others because of social policies, ending up in MH services, yet this doesn’t seem to be of interest to MH activism

        Report comment

        • Where I work in inpatient psych, I would guess 90 percent of the patients are in severe poverty and/or homeless. I have heard someone derisively calling many of them “three hots and a cot”, meaning they came into the hospital voluntarily as a way of getting off the streets for a few nights. When I hear their stories, their desire for death makes sense. Most are broke, living in shelters, estranged from family often due to trauma and often dealing with addiction issues. But while I acknowledge their hopelessness and despair, I always look for the possibilities, the place of hope. So much of the despair and suffering is societal at root, and without societal changes, there is little that therapy, and certainly not psychiatry, can accomplish. These folks want solid housing, a safe place to sleep at night, a job that can earn them a decent wage, community that is accepting and caring, enough food to eat. And we offer them…Celexa? Wellbutrin? Seroquel?

          Report comment

          • Jonathan, so true. My shrink told me she was force-drugging me so I’ll quit complaining. She told me that patients on public assistance get “great care.” Was this woman blind? Delusional herself? I told her we got poor care, that most have no access to anything but ER’s and forced drugging, so she said I was “paranoid.” She had over 100 patients. It’s so easy to give a pill and hope we quit complaining and stop marching in the streets and making noise to upset the status quo.

            Report comment

  6. People fail to take an important point into account. The very aspect of [i]being[/i] a mental patient causes some people suffering. That is, the very aspect of living in a reality where you are or have been a mental patient makes you not want to live in that reality. Because we all know what happens in such a reality to the individual (who’s a mental patient).

    People are so foolish. They think that if someone feels suicidal, they should turn to psychiatry. They don’t understand that all they’re asking this person to do is to “solve” a problem with another problem. This may not be the case for everyone, but it is the case for enough people.

    Sometimes, once you’re screwed by chance, no “help” is good enough, because all the “help” does is prolong an unwanted life, sometimes in ways which are torturous.

    Which is why I say, psychiatry should stay out of the suicide business more often than not.

    I also don’t understand why people look at suicide with disdain. I feel happy for many suicides, because these people have left lives of suffering. I just don’t like that people have to do it in painful ways like hanging, jumping off a building etc.

    Report comment

    • Hard to be black & white about it, would we stand by and watch a young person go for want of some problem solving?
      Conversely I’ve seen people OD over months till death was achieved and they were offered nothing because of being viewed as ‘untreatable’. We have physical palliative care why not emotional? (which isn’t suggesting psychiatry). Then how about the few who would state that intervention stopped them at that point and now they’re glad (whether that intervention was classed as helpful or unhelpful). I’ve come across 2 psychiatrists in my life who have been prepared to section using no forced treatment. How many non-medical and residential crisis facilities to we have for people who are suicidal (I can only think of one in the UK). I’m not arguing for psych involvement I’m just saying that for me I don’t see as black & white.

      Report comment

      • I think the idea of “sectioning” and the idea of forced treatment need to be completely divorced from each other. Someone can be temporarily held for his/her own safety without having to DO something to him/her! How’s about we create a safe space where they can relax, take a bath, get some food, get some sleep, and talk to someone about what is up if they want to? Add some good social service support to address issues of poverty, victimization by parents or partners or other adults, general disempowerment, and so forth, and you might be able to turn things around pretty fast for a good proportion of these folks.

        I worked at a suicide hotline for years, and did involuntary detention evals for a bit after that. I hated the latter job, because I felt awful sending anyone into the hands of those monsters who ran the psych wards, but I helped many dozens avoid that trauma. I never found a depressed person who would talk to me whom I could not help feel a little better, at least temporarily. Listening and asking good questions really DOES help, especially if you really care about the answers. And empowering folks to find some way to regain a little control over their environments without ordering them around really helps as well. Unfortunately, most of the time the MH industry sees DEPRESSION as the problem, where as I see depression as an indication of another problem the person can’t find a way to solve.

        Point being, setting up a safe place for suicidal people to hang out and talk to staff if they want to is a very realistic plan. Nobody is endangered, and the odds of at least partial resolution will go up dramatically. Why is being held equivalent with needing forced treatment? It should not be.

        —- Steve

        Report comment

        • From my own personal experience I say that you are correct. Depression is not an “illness” and is certainly not a “mental illness.” It’s the normal response to overwhelming experiences that batter a person down until they see no way out of their situation other than killing themselves. It’s a way to stop the pain.

          The one person who made all the difference to me during my attempts to kill myself was a young nurse in the medical hospital where I was held who sat down and listened, actually actively listened, to me. She spent an hour of her own time listening to my story. She treasured it as a gift I’d given her. She then shared some reflections about what I’d told her.

          It wasn’t the psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers in the state hospital where I was held who made the difference in my wanting to live. It was that one, young nurse who gave me a bit of her own life so that I could begin finding some balance in my own once again. I treasure the memory of that hour that we spent together. I am alive and well today due to her kindness and compassion. She was a Wiccan. If that’s what so-called “witches” are like then give me more witches like her.

          Report comment

        • That’s great you did that – in where I live the suicide prevention hotline tells you to go to the nearest psych ward and get admitted and drugged (no kidding – they basically give you an address). When you make a mistake and go to the psychological crisis center personally they – lo and behold – give you drugs and call for an ambulance to take you to psych ward so they can continue to sit around and pick their noses and do whatever they do without the pesky crazies.

          Report comment

  7. To people who use the argument, “How about people who are glad that they were prevented from committing suicide?”, I would use the well written argument of Dominic West ( http://asperlosophy.blogspot.in/2014/01/suicide-are-there-sound-valid-reasons.html ):

    “‘But there are people who have been forcefully prevented from committing suicide who have been grateful for people preventing them!’
    Yes, and there are children who have been beaten who will recommend the practice as adults, so it can’t always be bad, can it? There are people who have come to be conscious after years on life support, so we shouldn’t switch anyone off, should we? There are babies that have been born prematurely at an age when abortion would be permitted, so we shouldn’t abort at that precise number of weeks? There are people who say they choose to be straight after being gay, so it’s a choice, right?
    It may be that some people are now thankful for intervention in their own attempted suicide, but there are also many people who are not thankful, and who’s suffering is either prolonged or made worse because of such intervention. And we will never know about the suicides of whom are now grateful that they could take their own life, because they are dead and so cannot tell us. The only suicidal people alive are those who have either been prevented from committing suicide and are grateful, or those who still wish to end their lives and are simply ‘still in the process of receiving treatment’. They will either continue such suicide attempts until they succeed, or eventually be convinced that life is worth living and will be the show-piece of ‘treating’ suicidal tendencies. A bit like pointing to the disproportionately low number of women raped in city centres while wearing burqas, and asserting that burqas are therefore an effective preventative measure against rape and empowers women, while ignoring the countless women forced into wearing burqas, and the oppression of women that the burqa symbolises and promotes.”

    About the palliative care bit, don’t assume what you’re doing is palliative care. Ask the person in question how he feels about it.

    I am all for problem solving. But only when the person in question feels that it is helping him solve his problems. If not, the option of suicide should rest in his hands.

    Report comment

    • i think you are mixing up two issues. The article was about the social causes of suicide. Domestic violence was one, psychiatry is another. The implication being that if domestic violence was reduced then suicide rates would drop and if there was less psychiatry, or if psychiatry was reformed in some way, then suicide rates would also drop.

      The argument you are forwarding is that suicide is something that people should have a right to. That is well worth debating but it is a separate argument. It is a rich argument and one that is live in the UK as people are getting publicity for going the an assisted suicide clinic in Switzerland and the issues around this are hotly debated.

      What ever opinion people reach on the debates around whether people have the right to commit suicide I hope that people would agree that looking at the social causes of suicide is essential if we want to reduce suicide rates, reduce other misery (because some will struggle on in lives of great misery when confronted by situations that will lead others to kill themselves) or offer competent help to those who are considering suicide so that we can help them either resolve their difficulties so that they no longer want to kill themselves or that if they still do want to that they have had a chance to consider other options and know that at least some people have tried to understand their predicament.

      Report comment

      • My concern is psychiatric prationoners who try to kill patients via known iatrogenic artifacts, such as anticholinergic intoxication, to cover up child abuse by pastors or their wealthy friends. Why are such attempted murders by psychiatrists happening , other than for reasons of greed by unethical religions?

        Report comment

      • I don’t think you can uncouple the issues of “suicide prevention” and legality of suicide. I think as long the suicide is considered illegal or otherwise punishable by forced incarceration and/or drugging one cannot do much to really prevent it. Same when the mental illness gets blamed for 90% of suicides.
        If you assume this then every person who is suicidal is a societal outcast with a sick brain who should be locked up for their own good. That way of thinking makes the problem considerably worse. On the other hand making suicide legal and considering that an individual can make such a choice open the door to asking: why. And possibly addressing some of the causes (not all can be addressed of course).

        Report comment

  8. What positive results can anyone expect to get from asking the mental health system for help with suicidal thoughts ?

    Getting locked up, strip searched and then a few days walking around with no shoe laces wile people observe your behavior wile you go through caffeine withdrawal cause morning coffee is “agitating” and not allowed for psychiatric inmates ?

    A “diagnosis” and prescription for a life time on drugs ?

    The Most Dangerous Time: Suicide After Discharge from a Psychiatric Hospital… Why is that ? (sarcasm)

    Here is a problem , what if being suicidal or claiming to be resulted in positive attention, preferential treatment, people being nice, kind and a real help, would there be an epidemic of “crying wolf” ?

    Report comment

    • “The Most Dangerous Time: Suicide After Discharge from a Psychiatric Hospital…”
      Yeah, I’ve seen that soon after I was discharged – fortunately for me I get more angry than depressed when someone abuses me… But it was obvious to me that this has to be the statistics even before I found out that’s indeed the case.
      But if you ask psychiatrists it’s because they didn’t “help” you for long enough. Bunch of @!@#$%^&*#^&* (censored)…

      Report comment

  9. Many people get suicidal over the stress from financial problems.

    How much does “help” cost ?

    The average cost to deliver care was highest for Medicare and lowest for the uninsured: schizophrenia treatment, $8,509 for 11.1 days and $5,707 for 7.4 days, respectively; bipolar disorder treatment, $7,593 for 9.4 days and $4,356 for 5.5 days; depression treatment, $6,990 for 8.4 days and $3,616 for 4.4 days; drug use disorder treatment, $4,591 for 5.2 days and $3,422 for 3.7 days; and alcohol use disorder treatment, $5,908 for 6.2 days and $4,147 for 3.8 days.

    From http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22588167

    Report comment

      • I think about this a lot when I hang out with “societally ill”. (Sounds better than mentally ill) depressed, poor homeless people in the hospital. If only Medicaid was paying for a trip to Hawaii for you instead of sitting in this hospital and coerced to take a drug that will do nothing to help your “societal illness.”

        But really, people don’t just need the cruise, or th trip to Hawaii….they need housing, good food, a decent job, etc.

        Report comment

        • “societally ill”

          Reminds me of this story

          “Robert Lee Marion is called “Loan Shark Bob” around Tompkins Sq. Park, where he’s been known to lend money to the down and out at 100 percent interest. A sometime homeless figure, he’s also known for spouting his theory of “povercide” — that the government is killing the homeless through poverty.

          But Marion’s days of usury and suffering from povercide may soon be over.

          A federal jury last month awarded him $1 million in his lawsuit charging he was illegally held and injected with drugs at Bellevue Hospital over a six-day period five years ago. The defendants were two psychiatrists at Bellevue and the city’s Health and Hospitals Corporation. ”

          Marion was offered but refused medication. But Bellevue Dr. Robert LaFargue wrote out an order authorizing him to be injected with Haldol, an antipsychotic, and Ativan, a tranquilizer, and stating that, from then on, Marion was to take another drug, Depakote, orally, on threat of injection.

          In his testimony, Marion described being strapped down to a gurney, a nurse hovering over him with a needle, then injecting him, “like in ‘The Cuckoo’s Nest,’ ” referring to Ken Kesey’s novel about a psychiatric hospital from hell. Comparing himself to “Louima,” as in police brutality victim Abner Louima, Marion said, “They used a toilet plunger for him and a needle for me.”

          The whole story here http://thevillager.com/villager_35/homelessmanwins.html

          Report comment

        • “I think about this a lot when I hang out with “societally ill”. (Sounds better than mentally ill) depressed, poor homeless people…”

          Allowing myself to perceive duality for a moment, if I were to call anyone ‘societally ill,’ it would most definitely not be people who are currently experiencing, either, depression or homelessness, nor any other manifestation of social illness.

          The folks that I’d consider to be socially ill are not so obvious, at first. But eventually, thanks to how much more aware of how people operate, in large part to all the immensely brilliant, creative, and courageous thinkers on this website, everyone becomes pretty transparent, one way or another. It’s the times.

          Report comment

        • My medical records indicate this well insured person claimed all that she thought was wrong with her was she needed a vacation to get away and mentally absorb the appalling crimes committed against my family, and our society after 9.11.2001. I was right, but that wasn’t profitable for the ELCA religion or doctors’ who’d committed easily recognized medical mistakes, and wanted to cover up child abuse against my children. Psychiatry defames women to cover up child abuse for the religions.

          Report comment

        • Or just a little help to pay the bill every month so that they don’t have the heating switched off in the middle of winter, they don’t become homeless or have their kids starve/be taken away by social services.
          But that money would go to the people instead of the pharma +psychiatry monster.

          Report comment

  10. A lot.

    Of course the insured will cost more..kinda makes sense but it’s the wrong question.

    How much would it cost to make societies more equitable to help reduce the risk of people ending up in psych services. That’s the question. A Basic Citizens Income would also remove the need for welfare being tied to diagnosis.

    Report comment

  11. Exactly Johnathon exactly, wouldn’t it be nice if people were not driven into hospital by preventable social issues.All people need housing, income to live, extra help if disabled, flexibility for inconsistent working ability, decent working conditions where salaries don’t need food stamps. I’m sure Americans would really like healthcare too and not fear bankruptcy from medical bills.

    Report comment

    • To the extent that the Housing First model has not universally replaced the continuum of care or staircase models I have little doubt that treatment engagement either mandated or prescribed continues to be a barrier to housing for many.

      The use of leverage is a hallmark of our mental health system despite all “consumers” being putatively empowered. I can’t count the number of times I have heard the following said to a “consumer”: “If you don’t (fill in) we will (fill in something punative).”

      Report comment

  12. Thank You Ms. Bradshaw.

    The following is from the 2006 FDA label for Risperdal;

    “Suicide attempt was associated with discontinuation in 1.2% of RISPERDAL®-treated patients
    compared to 0.6% of placebo patients, but, given the almost 40-fold greater exposure time in
    RISPERDAL® compared to placebo patients, it is unlikely that suicide attempt is a
    RISPERDAL®-related adverse event”

    A 100% Increase in Suicide Attempts associated with discontinuation, but Suicide Attempt is unlikely to be a Risperdal related adverse event.

    And here’s the reason Why Suicide Attempt is “unlikely to be a Risperdal related adverse event.”


    The U.S. Govt is going to have to find Some way of funding its FDA which includes a COI firewall between FDA and its owners: the Drug Makers.

    Report comment

    • And you SERIOUSLY don’t think that same exact statement applies to a large percentage of conservatives?

      Most people, regardless of political persuasion, are too afraid to be wrong to accept genuine feedback or to acknowledge when the facts undermine their cherished belief system. Real scientists are few and far between.

      — Steve

      Report comment

      • Exactly like debating a fan of biological psychiatry!

        Ritalin (and Adderall) logic: An imaginary conversation
        1. What do psychoactive drugs do?
        A: They change brain chemistry.

        2. Why do you want to change the brain chemistry of small children?
        A: Their brain chemistry is flawed.

        3. What biologically based test do you use to determine that this is so?
        A: We do not use such tests.

        4. Why not?
        A: There are no valid tests available.

        5. How then do you diagnose and prescribe?
        A: We use behavioral tests.

        6. Are you saying that merely by observing a child’s behavior you can tell exactly what problems he has with his or her brain chemistry and then prescribe the correct substance in the precise dose needed to correct it?
        A: That’s the theory.

        7. Why do you suggest to some parents that they give their children a vacation from these drugs on the weekends and on holidays, including summer vacation?
        A: These children have their biggest problems in the school environment.

        8. Are you suggesting that the brain chemistry of these children is different on the weekend than it is Monday through Friday?
        A: The problems are often more acute in the school environment.

        9. Why do you think it is that countries with better health care systems and longer life spans than ours (Japan, Sweden, and Switzerland, for example) prescribe almost no Ritalin or Adderall for their children and that the US and Canada consume over 85% of the world’s supply of these drugs?
        A: They are not as advanced as we are in the diagnosis and treatment of ADD and ADHD as we are.

        10. Since you have no biologically based test for the drugs you are prescribing and there is no scientifically valid evidence that proves these drugs are effective or even safe, how can you claim that your science on this subject is superior?

        A: I’m an expert. How dare you question me? You are obviously anti-child and anti-progress. This conversation is over.

        Copy catted from http://www.brasscheck.com/druggingkids/

        Report comment

          • “No child left behind” program.

            Translation , “no child left undrugged”.

            Why are so many poor kids taking risky psychiatric medications? A front-page story in Tuesday’s New York Times offers one surprising answer: some pediatricians are prescribing drugs — medications to treat ADHD — to try to boost kids’ grades and give the most disadvantaged students an edge in school.

            Read more: Drugging Poor Kids to Boost Grades in Failing Schools: One Doc Says http://healthland.time.com/2012/10/10/drugging-poor-kids-to-boost-grades-in-failing-schools-one-doc-says-yes/

            Why your kid is drugged in school

            How it works:

            The State Department of Education gets monies from the Federal Government (Disability) under a program called “IDEA” for each child diagnosed with a disability. A disability could be ADD/ADHD, Bi-polar disorder, Depression or any of the other mental diagnoses.

            Who profits: The State Department of Education, the mental health and counseling Industry, the Pharmaceutical company and the money that is kicked back by lobbyists for politicians special interest and of course the legal profession.

            All this at the cost of your child’s Health and welfare.

            Report comment

          • Just a reminder: NCLB was a CONSERVATIVE (or I should say “neoconservative” – no real conservative could approve of the waste of money) program championed by George W. Bush, but pushed for years by his neocon colleagues. I remember talking about it way back in 1982, when I was getting my MS in education – it was stupid back then, and it’s stupid today, but it was always a big draw for those ideologues who wanted to see “accountability” without any understanding of the vast number of variables that would affect testing outcomes, socioeconomics being the most prominent. It’s been said by competent social scientists that you could substitute socioeconomics for test scores and get almost exactly the same proportionate results.

            Why are you so down on liberals and blame them for everything when most “conservatives” are just as rigid in their own views? Isn’t the problem ideological rigidity, rather than a liberal vs. conservative split?

            I notice you didn’t answer my last question, either…

            —- Steve

            Report comment

          • Hi Steve;

            “Why are you so down on liberals and blame them for everything when most “conservatives” are just as rigid in their own views? Isn’t the problem ideological rigidity, rather than a liberal vs. conservative split?”

            Look to our current Administration in D.C.

            PPACA aka Obamacare was decided by the Supreme Court to be the law of the land.

            Making and Changing laws is the purview of Congress, not the Executive.

            Our current President is the embodiment of decades of Liberal desire, and ceaseless work to achieve.

            I can’t count the times he’s personally made changes to PPACA on his own and without any legal authority to do so.

            The very term Liberal has been co-opted into the diametrical antithesis of the Jeffersonian concept of liberal.

            It is no longer Liberal in any way, shape, of form. Its liberality extends only to others whose ideology marches in lock step with them: cutouts, set asides, special preferences, handouts, and shoving 1 group after another out in front of every other group until the very concept of a Constitutionally Limited Government is lost in a welter of squabbling factions.

            Today’s Liberalism is Collectivism, the Primary desideratum of the mental health system.

            Report comment

          • I’m just saying that Conservatism is no better. The “conservatives” are the ones who are always in favor or reducing or eliminating any regulation that stops businesses from doing whatever they want, and supports allowing corporations and rich folks being able to buy elections. If we’re going to rein in Big Pharma, we aren’t going to do it by letting the so-called “free market” do the job. We’re seeing the results of the “free market” right now in the “mental health” world and it SUCKS!

            I don’t think the split should be between Liberals and Conservatives. It should be between those who believe in empowering those who have to live with the oppressive society we’ve created, or empowering those who already have power to continue to oppress more easily. There are folks at both ends of the political spectrum supporting either of those viewpoints. Unfortunately, most, whether “liberal” or “conservative,” are better described as “sold out to our corporate masters.”

            I frankly don’t have respect for almost any of them.

            —- Steve

            Report comment

          • Hi Steve;

            “I frankly don’t have respect for almost any of them.”

            I’m right there with you on that one.

            When I invoke the word Liberal in its current incarnation I’m using it to identify people who believe in the State over the Individual: Govt knows best so Govt must make and enforce regulations that cover every action you, I, and everyone else can take.

            “I’m just saying that Conservatism is no better. ”

            IF by that you mean politicians who identify as Republicans rather than Democrats, again, we Agree, because I identify most office holding Republicans as Big Government Liberals.

            “We’re seeing the results of the “free market” right now in the “mental health” world and it SUCKS!”

            Here. I’m afraid, is where we diverge.

            What we are seeing is not a Free Market but a Govt. and its Cronie Owner manipulated, Centrally Planned Market.

            A Conservative as I understand the concept ascribes to the Highest Law of the Land, the Constitution, in its every part.

            And that Law provides for Equal Treatment under Law, through the 14th Amendment.

            This is most definitely not what we have at the moment.

            The SUCK factor in the mental health system is rooted in the fact that everything the MH system does is Already prohibited by Law both Federal and State.

            Once you understand the violation of Fed Racketeering Statutes, everything else falls like a line of dominoes.

            This is The Lynchpin.


            More Fed Racketeering Statutes
            Fed Civil Rights Statutes
            Fed Healthcare Fraud Statutes
            Fed Mail Fraud Statutes

            State Felony Aggravated Assault and Battery Statutes

            In my personal cosmogeny, a true Conservative in Govt. would proceed from the understanding that since Everyone is Equal in the eyes of the Law, then No One may violate the above Laws with impunity, whereas a true Liberal in Govt (which is 98 percent of elected office holders) will continue to create special cuts outs, carve outs, and privileges for groups rather than individuals.

            Those groups – for the purpose of this discussion – can be psych patients, psych drug makers, and psych drug inflictors, BECAUSE, Big Govt knows better, therefore Big Govt. can openly ignore ANY LAW it has already enacted.

            Those 3 groups are all treated differently under the Same group of laws.

            Report comment

          • I don’t think we disagree, except for my definition of “liberal” being a little different. The “conservatives” of today (who aren’t really conservative at all, because if they were, they’d be avoiding unnecssary foreign entanglements, allowing criminal banks to fail, and letting people do what they need to do to survive instead of locking them up) are really less “liberals” than they are FACISTS. They don’t believe in a minimally intrusive State, they believe in merging the interests of corporations and government. So rather than getting a “free market”, we get a very warped and manipulated market that favors those who already have power, and they conspire to use fear and military force to keep us peons in tow. Including psych hospitalization, of course. The Nazis were very big on psychiatrists. They were also very big on spying. But so is the Obama administration, apparently, so perhaps they’re all just facists pretending to be “liberals” and “conservatives” in order to provide an illusion of choice. Bottom line, most of them support the current psychiatric-big pharma hierarchy 100%, regardless of which side of the aisle they sit on. Perhaps it’s best if I avoid the terms “liberal” and “conservative” entirely, as it plays into the little game our Corporate Masters want us to play.

            Thanks for the exchange. You’re clearly a man of some intelligence. If you were running for office, I’d probably vote for you in a second!

            —- Steve

            Report comment

  13. I honestly hate the way politicians have the “red team” and the “blue team” .

    They run around in there red and blue ties like street gang members “flying there colors”… GROW UP !

    I believe in this I guess

    : an advocate of the doctrine of free will
    a : a person who upholds the principles of individual liberty especially of thought and action

    The Libertarian Party gives liberty-lovers within the Democratic and Republican Parties the juice they need to effect change.

    The liberal nanny state acts just like psychiatry “we know whats best for you.”

    “Department of children and families”

    Refusal to feed your kid psych meds is child abuse…

    Wait what ? Is it my child or the states ?????

    I despise the nanny state, I just do.

    I love my “guns and religion” even if I don’t even own one and rarely goto church.

    Report comment

  14. Copy_cat,

    As boring as it seems, it all comes back to *freedom* and *personal responsibility*. The first never works without the latter.

    I agree with your assessments of the problems with the “nanny state” and the “war on drugs”. Neither has worked very well. Neither party has come up sane ways to address all of this “mental illness: stuff.

    At the end of the day, I wonder how many people want their freedom, but not the responsibility that comes with it.

    IMO, the topics of politics and religion go over like a lead-filled balloon on MIA…. Good luck if you have any conservative or libertarian tendencies; especially if you enjoy shooting pistols and rifles; actually attend church.



    Report comment

    • Oh, and I actually enjoy debates about politics, but not with the tiny keyboard/mouse bytes online, where neither person is really heard; rarely appreciated, respected. I’ve come to understand that most intense debates belong in person (not online).

      But hey, that’s just me…. You may disagree.


      Report comment

      • I mainly agree with you Duane. I will however point out that Copycat is bringing forth an argument that lies on libertarian principles. I read in an online article, possibly from Chomsky, that this is an almost uniquely American philosophy. It’s one that a lot of people from the rest of the world apt to be shocked and amazed by as it sits so far outside their experience.

        I’m writing this because it comes up fairly often on these pages and it often raises heated debates. Often people from outside the USA are involved.

        I don’t want to debate this, but I do want to explain my basic position as it might help people understand why these arguments are arising. On the one hand there is the personal responsibility, small state, libertarian viewpoint as espoused by Copycat amongst others and then there is the viewpoint that the state, and indeed the worlds economic order, should be there to support the maximum number of citizens in living decent, enjoyable lives.

        One veiwpoint says we are personally responsible for ourselves and all political decisions should arise from that viewpoint and the other says we are also to some degree responsible for each other and that part of being a citizen means holding each other and our organisations to account, that our organisations should be for the common good.

        Report comment

        • That’s right John but it’s not an outlook welcomed here, you just end up being ridiculed for it or accused of being a medical model sop. I’m staying off this site permanently now because because I just end up feeling laughed at and viewed as an idiot.

          Report comment

          • I, too, hope you change your mind, Joanna Care. I am always happy to read your comments.

            Please don’t take any of our American political sloganeering seriously – our politicians certainly don’t. We are raised to think that we are accomplishing something by arguing the merits of Coca-Cola vs. Pepsi and vice versa. Meanwhile, we get diabetes and our teeth rot. (“Libertarianism” is merely the latest cola.)

            And thank you, by the way, for sharing the auto-genocide link above. As someone who is being slowly murdered by the social order for the benefit of the elite, I greatly appreciated that perspective.

            Report comment

  15. “More Psychiatry Means More Suicide”

    How can we stop it ?

    My letter,

    To [email protected]

    Subject: ADHD and Coexisting Conditions

    The NAMI web page on ADHD and Coexisting Conditions states:
    ” Antipsychotic medications and mood stabilizers have been proven to be effective in treating oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder.”
    Thats here: http://www.nami.org/Content/NavigationMenu/Mental_Illnesses/ADHD/ADHD_and_Coexisting_Conditions.htm

    Antipsychotic medications and mood stabilizers have been proven to be effective on ODD by who ?

    That is my question, thank you.


    Soon as they write back I will post it.


    I called NAMI , told them I was reading their page on “ADHD and Coexisting Conditions” and asked :

    Antipsychotic medications and mood stabilizers have been proven to be effective on ODD by who ?

    Does the FDA approve of these drugs for ODD ? (the correct answer is no)

    Are you telling parents to use these drugs off label ??

    Did you know that off label promotion of psychiatric drugs is illegal ?

    Report comment

    • Copy_cat,

      I spent a lot of years calling NAMI – both national and local offices. Not anymore. I appreciate your doing so, but I haven’t got the patience any longer.

      As far as helping with the specific issue of “off-label” drugs, specifically neuroleptics for issues like oppositional-defiant disorder…

      It’s my understanding that promoting this kind of off-label use is *illegal* with government money – for example, Medicaid systems (jointly funded by feds/states). This is why federal prosecutors have taken on the drug-makers; why states have lined up, won *criminal* (not civil)lawsuits, at least with monetary settlements; money back to the states for *financial* losses suffered… not to the *citizens* for injury.

      I have not heard of any *criminal* charges ever being pressed by an individual for “off-label” promotion of these drugs, or any state taking on such a case.

      A good way to get involved IMO may be through the PsychRights Medicaid Fraud Initiative. –


      It’s my understanding that if a person can put the pieces together – that Medicaid Fraud is taking place – by a prescriber, group, facility involved in “off-label” prescribing where *Medicaid* dollars are at play, a case can be made, and a person/group fined.

      I have wondered why the same thing could not be done in nursing homes with Medicare fraud (off-label). The VA violates federal law every day, or so it would seem, with off-label use. But if memory serves, the government has to agree to a lawsuit against it… Go figure.


      Report comment

      • What I meant to say was that I have not heard of a *criminal case* (not civil) being made for off-label promotion where *government funds* were not involved.

        In other words, where private sector money was involved and *individuals or groups* (rather than states) were the ones involved in the *criminal* trial – for *off-label* promotion.

        If someone knows otherwise, please respond.


        Report comment

          • Years of calling NAMI Vs my 6 calls…


            “When you deprogram people, you force them to think…But I keep them off balance and this forces them to begin questioning, to open their minds. When the mind gets to a certain point, they can see through all the lies that they’ve been programmed to believe. They realize that they’ve been duped and they come out of it. Their minds start working again.”


            I think got one NAMI mind out there to start working again.


            Its so easy to back them into a corner they can’t get out of.


            Hello, I see the NAMI web page states Antipsychotic medications and mood stabilizers have been proven to be effective in treating oppositional defiant disorder…

            Proven effective by WHO is my question.

            And what are the long term effects of anti psychotics in childern ‘diagnosed’ with oppositional defiance disorder ??

            What are the side effects ?

            we could increase the list ad infinitum

            1 (800) 950-NAMI 6264

            Report comment

          • Hi Duane;

            ‘Negligent’ Homicide?

            What’s ‘Negligent’ about it, in SF where they’ve got the highest percentage of Shrinks per person, 2 Brick and Mortar Hospitals and their Psychiatric Staffs didn’t even exist as part of the 2007 C&C Mental Health Board’s plan, and J&J’s wonder Lobotomizer requires State Police Registration?

            That’s not Negligent my friend. That’s Intent.

            Report comment

          • Copy_cat,

            Here in Texas, NAMI lobbies the state legislature in Austin – Big-time.

            I’ve testified with my friend Dr. John Breeding on several occasions (a couple of legislative sessions back).

            You would not believe the clout NAMI has. They show up big-time at house and senate committee hearings… Always there to push for more drugging in foster care, Medicaid.

            And they push to have laws that make it easier to put people in psychiatric facilities.

            John and I testified in front of one senate committee against a bill that would have allowed for the police department to immediately take a person to a psychiatric facility if they were in “close proximity” to a crime and there was “reasonable suspicion” on the part of the officer that the person “with a history of mental illness” had “committed the crime.”
            Fortunately, the bill never made it to the floor; never got out of committee.

            NAMI Texas constantly lobbies for “under-served” – the poor, rural areas, children and youth… convinced they are doing good work, when in fact they are doing quite the opposite.

            Yeah, I’ve had my battles with NAMI. I think it would make much more sense to pro-actively get a federal law passed that would prevent this stuff at the state level.

            Normally, I’m for states’ rights. But in this case, with all the fraud, injury, loss of constitutional rights; we need a piece of legislation drafted, sponsored, lobbied, passed in both houses and signed into law.

            A federal law, once-and-for-all.
            Call me crazy.


            Report comment

          • NAMI is busy at both the states and *national* level.

            We’re constantly putting out firs at the state level. With nothing major taking place at the national level. Nothing that guarantees rights under both the ADA and constitution are withheld…

            Nothing that protects vulnerable groups from drugs – children and youth; elderly folks in nursing homes; war traumatized veterans.

            We’re fast asleep at the national level.
            The other side is busy.
            For example, the recent Murphy bill.

            More are coming from the other side.
            They’re not dome yet.
            We have yet to start.

            We need to get started:



            Report comment

    • The NAMI page is not changed yet but, here is the reply



      We recently spoke on the phone regarding some of our information on oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) and you are correct. We are updating the wording on our webpage on “ADHD and Coexisting Conditions” http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=ADHD&Template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=106383 ) to reflect the conclusions of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP).

      On its webpage on oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) at http://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Resource_Centers/Oppositional_Defiant_Disorder_Resource_Center/FAQ.aspx#ODDFAQ3, the AACAP states:

      · “Throughout all ages, medication may be a useful component of treatment to help address specific symptoms or to treat co-existing conditions (e.g., depression, ADHD, or anxiety disorders), although there is no single medication which specifically treats ODD. There is also limited research data on the safety and efficacy of medications in the treatment of ODD.”

      Thank you for pointing out this error to us…

      Report comment

  16. Thanks for your important article.

    Unipolar Major Depression is among the leading causes of disability in the world. http://twitpic.com/dsf5wb
    War is another.

    Integrative Public Health Model to Heal Violence – against self or other

    “Corruption is a form of violence, ‘the cancer of the modern world'” ~ His Holiness the Dalai Lama

    Some posthumous ostensible suicides are probably murders, which can be by family members, iatrogenic and/or corruption aka organized crime.

    Compare this case, of the suicidal New York woman who woke up on the operating table while her organs were being harvested.

    Report comment

  17. Janna, I love your website! One thing I was particularly taken with was how the Integrative model shows that “the mistaken view of self is the root cause of violence.”

    I so believe this wholeheartedly, and my own personal emotional and perceptual journey has allowed me to feel this.

    I believe that our deepest soul and heart center, we are unconditionally loving beings, and that is what connects us all. Doesn’t mean we’re always grounded and cheerful, we continue to have emotions and ups and downs, etc, but we can reflect on thim and respond to them much differently from this space. In essence, we practice self-healing when we know our self-love.

    Certainly, this is not consistent with the behavior we observe around us, which is violent in so many ways, overtly and covertly, and one of dependence on others, fearing we cannot take care of ourselves (one skewed self-perception).

    So I’m thinking it’s pretty obvious that, as a collective, we’re about as far away from our soul and heart center as we can be, creating an illusion of complete disconnection and separation (another skewed perception), that is, we create duality. That’s a very scary place to exist, as we have been, as it causes feelings of profound alienation, as it has been doing for centuries, now.

    I think only individually, one by one, can we find our way back to that heart and soul center, where we can perceive our true spirit nature. Once we do this as a collective, I feel people will feel their natural internal support, and have a more comfortable and loving view of themselves, and, therefore, a more compassionate view of others.

    I can see how this would heal violence, easily. The trick would be to not get people to fight about this. For some, getting into the heart center is like trying to give a cat a bath. It’s quite the unknown, but a worthwhile journey, nonetheless. I believe it can save lives, even one’s own.

    Thank you for your wonderful information! I look forward to perusing your website more thoroughly. It’s got a lot of fascinating information on it!

    Report comment

    • Thank you!

      You might like to read Trance and Mental Health.
      So-called ‘mental illness’ is rare in Tibet. http://therealjannaweiss.blogspot.com/2012/06/trance-and-mental-health.html

      Perhaps also: Common in Tibet

      The solution for all the collective aggression is, of course, cultivating inner peace, conquering the aggressive tendencies within our own hearts, whether the violence is directed towards self or towards others. The more individuals in society that transform their own minds, that conquer their own demons, their own hateful judging minds, gradually society as a whole, which is comprised of individuals, will become more compassionate and less aggressive overall. This is how the Tibetans transformed their society from a violent society to a peaceful compassionate one. Education for ethical mindfulness is a must. The Dalai Lama recommends universal secular science-based education for ethics from kindergarten to university as a cure for the violence that plagues humanity. Violence is 100% man-made and is therefore 100% curable.

      Report comment

      • Yes, yes, YES!! Wow, this is the most exciting research I’ve seen. Finally. Thank you so much for all of this.

        From the article on trance:

        “Tibetan medicine is an integrated system of health care that has served the Tibetan people well for many centuries and which, I believe, can still provide much benefit to humanity at large. The difficulty we face in bringing this about is one of communication, for like other scientific systems, Tibetan medicine must be understood in its own terms, as well as in the context of objective investigation.”

        Indeed, communication is where we have been challenged, here (like the Tower of Babel!)–especially when it comes to listening and actually sitting with and contemplating perspectives other than those with which we are familiar.

        Not only do I agree with you completely that cultivating inner peace one-by-one is the solution, my entire practice is based on this. I’ve been facilitating groups for a few years now where this is exactly what we practice, and it’s been working beautifully, I’ve gotten wonderful testimonials.

        My work is based on how I was able to heal from the severe symptoms I had experienced for such a long time (made so much worse by mental health treatment), thanks to some wonderful spiritual teachers and healers.

        It is very exciting for me to come across your work.

        If you feel inclined, please check out the film I made a couple of years ago, Voices That Heal, if you get a chance, it speaks to all of this. A friend told me it is very Buddhist in message and vibration.


        Voices That Heal is now a part of the Spirit Enlightened Film Festival, whose mission it is “to witness the evolution of consciousness toward our shifting and awakening humanity.” They spotted it on YouTube and solicited it from me, which was thrilling for me, and an honor. There are many fascinating documentaries on this site which offer multiple and cutting edge perspectives, based on ancient wisdom, to help support our shift into a humane, compassionate, and non-violent global society.

        I made this film as self-advocacy, and it has since rippled out in exciting ways.

        A few days after I posted it, I found this review posted, which practically made me cry, I was so moved and humbled by the fact that this reviewer ‘got it:’

        “Alex Goldenberg has captured the depth, courage and humor involved in the crawl out from mental illness into health and higher consciousness. He has provided those he interviews the opportunity for profound honesty we can all relate to. This is an inspiring film for all of us with similar struggles, overturning the predominant medical model that offers no hope for people with mental illness diagnoses. Instead he provides vivid examples of how we can heal and become healers in the process.”

        Thank you so much, Janna, for your very exciting and thorough work. This made my week!

        Report comment

        • Oh, and here’s my website, if you’re interested in checking this out, too. This is how I got back into the flow after a very debilitating period, by creating this. Doing great with it all now! I have a group of 7 very powerful healers and teachers in the area, which meets weekly, and we discuss and meditate on all of this, exactly what you talk about.


          Report comment

  18. Maria,

    You’ve written a very important article here; and, for that reason I feel compelled to offer some technical criticism — all having to do with your ‘table’ (the chart you provide).

    I can’t make heads or tails of your ‘table’; a visual aid, should be clarifying; but, it’s got some serious problems, IMHO.

    One very simple but significant issue: 67% of 1,000,000 is miscalculated in your bottom row. (Though, it is correctly calculated in your top row.)

    And, more deeply disconcerting, IMHO: The categories of most of the rows contain much overlapping criteria.

    Also, you provide no sources for any of that data, which you offer in that chart.

    (It’s really a good example of a ‘meta-analysis’ poorly conceived, IMHO.)

    Hopefully, you won’t mind such criticism.

    Again, I must say: For me, the only problem is that chart.



    Report comment

    • P.S. — Maria, now, as I look more carefully at your chart, I see, in fact, the calculation problem exists in every row except the top two.

      (If I were you, I’d get rid of the chart — because the categories are so largely overlapping. However, if you’re attached to the chart, you’re going to want to fix your numbers.)

      Report comment

  19. Evidence That More Psychiatry Means More Suicide

    1. http://www.google.com/search?q=militry+suicide+psychiatric+drugs


    Storosum JG, Wohlfarth T, Gispen de Wied CC, Linszen DH, Gersons BP, et al. (2005) Suicide-risk in placebo controlled trials of treatment for acute manic episode and prevention of manic-depressive episode. Am J Psychiatry 162: 799–802.


    OBJECTIVE: The authors` goal was to investigate whether there is a greater suicide risk in the placebo arms of placebo-controlled studies of active medication for the treatment of acute manic episode and the prevention of manic/depressive episode. If so, this would be a strong ethical argument against the conduct of such studies. METHOD: All placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized trials of medication for the treatment of acute manic episode and the prevention of manic/depressive episode that were part of a registration dossier submitted to the regulatory authority of the Netherlands, the Medicines Evaluation Board, between 1997 and 2003, were reviewed for occurrence of suicide and attempted suicide. RESULTS: In 11 placebo-controlled studies of the treatment of acute manic episode, including 1,506 patients (117 person-years) in the combined active compound group and 1,005 patients (71 person-years) in the combined placebo group, no suicides and no suicide attempts occurred. In four placebo-controlled studies of the prevention of manic/depressive episode, including 943 patients (406 person-years) in the combined active compound group and 418 patients (136 person-years) in the combined placebo group, two suicides (493/100,000 person-years of exposure) and eight suicide attempts (1,969/100,000 person-years of exposure) occurred in the combined active compound group, but no suicides and two suicide attempts (1,467/100,000 person-years of exposure) occurred in the combined placebo group.

    Report comment

  20. There is no question that SSRIs and also many other psychiatric drugs can cause suicide, although many psychiatrists and the drug companies deny this. However, the three references Bradshaw lists in support of the terribly interesting hypothesis that more psychiatry means more suicides are not convincing. These are ecological studies, which are likely full of all sorts of between-country confounding factors, and the authors of these studies admit this. I very much hope more robust studies will appear.

    Report comment

    • I doubt there will be any. There are hardly any studies on psychiatric “treatment” induced trauma, suicide or violence because the people who are able to make these studies are the very people who practice such atrocities. There is no money to be made on it and there is money and reputations to be lost. So I’d not expect many studies on the subject anytime soon:(.

      Report comment

  21. Hi Peter. I don’t disagree that ecological studies have problems, not only with between country confounding but with issues around the direction of the influence of each of the factors shown to have an association. I note however that across the western world, ecological studies are used to inform policy such as that which governs media reporting of suicide (and in my country makes me a criminal for talking about my son’s suicide). This evidence is at least as strong as the ‘copycat suicide’ evidence and yet is being ignored by governments in developing suicide prevention policy. I, like you, hope that more robust studies will be conducted but in the meantime, and in the spirit of the precautionary principle if nothing else, I think these are worth highlighting and using to generate discussion.

    Report comment

  22. “The introduction of a mental health policy and mental health legislation was associated with an increase in male and total suicide rates, and the introduction of a therapeutic drugs policy was associated with an increase in total suicide rates.”
    How comes I’m not surprised? Maybe because when I had a suicide attempt it was BECAUSE of the so-called mental health treatment…

    Report comment

  23. Studies done in America have shown when they decreased the mental health spending more people committed suicide. There have also been more recent studies done here in America showing that psychiatric intervention has a positive effect on suicide persons.

    Report comment

  24. B makes a good point re the difficulty of who would do such studies. However there is some hope in that such studies need not be too expensive; one model might simply look for suicides or attempts that occurred during or shortly after “treatment” by anyone who was not suicidal previously. I am aware of at least one person and possibly two, and would suppose there might be readers here who do also.

    Another angle would be find out what percentage of persons who made successful attempts had undergone unwanted “treatment”. Perhaps someone can suggest a way to put such an inquiry together using volunteers and some help from academia or other credible figures or agencies.

    Report comment