The Algorithmic Managing of ‘At-risk’ Children

Part two of a Mad In America investigation into the expansion of psychological screening and electronic surveillance of children and youth.



The coroner’s report on the February 2010 suicide of Victoria, British Columbia teenager Freya Milne seemed to suggest that Freya’s mental health treatment may have contributed to her death. The coroner’s report notes, for example, that Freya and her mother were “not advised of the potential risks” of the benzodiazepine medication Freya was prescribed in mid-January of 2010, such as increased “paradoxical behavior” and “suicidal thoughts and behavior.” And the report describes how “the dosage was increased and the medication refilled” by the treating psychiatrist twice more, even as Freya suddenly became alternately too depressed, hyperactive or panicked to attend her psychiatric appointments.

Nevertheless, the coroner recommended boosting mental health training and interventions in schools. In part from those recommendations emerged the Practice Support Program for Child and Youth Mental Health (PSP-CYMH), a training program for British Columbia family doctors and school staff. Independent experts criticize many of that program’s educational materials, saying that they tend to misrepresent the scientific evidence base and downplay the risks of psychiatric medications (see Part One: The Proactive Search for Mental Illnesses in Children).

The coroner’s report on Freya Milne also advised the provincial Ministry of Education “to ensure that all documentation related to a student be placed on a student file including email correspondence, meeting notes and anything else pertaining to a student,” and to start a “flagging system on all student files where a child or youth has a diagnosed mental health issue.”


The government has begun taking action in line with those recommendations, too. But experts are warning that the well-meaning intentions behind those recommendations are dangerously divorced from what the evidence base shows about the psychological and social impacts of surveillance activities on children and youth. And along the way, they explain why being divorced from any scientific evidence base may not be an accidental feature of these recommendations and programs.

School-based mental health programs in action

Jo Ann Nolan described what those types of recommendations, and programs like the PSP-CYMH, ultimately lead to on the ground.

“There’s so much pressure on teachers and superintendents and school boards to do this,” said Nolan, a social worker assigned to eight Ontario public schools. Nolan said that all professionals connected to Ontario schools are constantly being deluged with “fact sheets,” training workshops, screening tools, and hand-outs and educational videos that are just like the PSP-CYMH materials (and in some cases they’re the exact same materials), ultimately geared towards identifying students from pre-Kindergarten on up who have mental health problems and getting them into treatment. Typically, said Nolan, these initiatives begin by inviting discussion about the normalcy of anxiety and sadness and the importance of learning coping strategies to maintain mental healthiness, and then transition into stating that when problems endure beyond a short time they may indicate signs of “brain diseases” that require the earliest interventions possible with drug treatments.

In this video from the PSP-CYMH, Edward is anxious about asking a girl to dance and when giving presentations at school. He wonders why he can’t ‘just chill out and have fun’ like all the other kids.
His doctor tells Edward he has ‘Social Anxiety Disorder’ which is ‘a real medical condition.’ If therapy doesn’t help, his doctor says he can prescribe some medications for Edward.

“Everything we’re doing is talking about brain illnesses and brain diseases. And everybody, teachers, social workers, psychologists, they’re all onto that language,” said Nolan. “It’s unbelievable how something could be changed that drastically in just a few years.”

Nolan said she watched the number of students taking psychiatric medications rising in the 90s, and that’s when she began researching on her own and discovered prominent critics like the International Society for Ethical Psychology and Psychiatry. But in recent years she’s seen a dramatic increase in school-based mental health programs.

The growing movement is easy to spot even for people who never visit schools, in the corresponding online profusion of child and youth-centric mental health-promotion organizations, resources and initiatives, such as school curriculum guides, help lines, chat rooms, comprehensive educational websites, videos, animations, and apps, many of which are heavily funded by a range of governments, institutions, pharmaceutical companies, and other corporate sponsors and advocacy groups.

Pharmaceutical companies are among the sponsors of When Something’s Wrong, a mental health guide for teachers from the Canadian Psychiatric Research Foundation.

“Most people see it in a positive way, that it’s going to be activities or resources or treatments that are going to help children,” said Nolan. “There doesn’t seem to be any critical analysis. And it’s hard to believe that teachers in schools have no critical thinking skills. If they do, maybe they’re just frightened. It’s a pretty hierarchical system.”

According to Nolan, even trained, experienced social workers like herself are no longer entrusted to take actions that two decades ago were part of her normal day, such as simply talking issues over with children who were feeling suicidal. Today, said Nolan, everyone is instructed to watch for “markers” of risk such as falling grades, disruptive behavior or self-cutting, and then are required to refer students to physicians and mental health professionals at specialized agencies or organizations.

Required? “It’s expected,” she said. And dissidents are kept under control. Nolan recently gave a copy of Robert Whitaker’s book detailing the negative findings from studies of long-term use of psychiatric medications, Anatomy of an Epidemic, to a parent, and then waited with trepidation. “Oh yeah, it’s risky,” said Nolan. One time after she recommended that a parent consider taking her child off an ADHD drug, Nolan said, the parent reported her. “I was called into the principal’s office. I remember [the principal] saying, ‘You’re not a doctor.’”

Nolan said financial interests are a major driving factor, whether people are working in the private, public or non-profit sector, or in psychiatry or psychology. “They’re all little businesses,” Nolan said. “They’re all coming into schools offering their services.”

Other warning signs of schizophrenia in children according to this online tool from HealthCentral include ‘unusual crawling’ in toddlers and low grades at school.

Nolan said she’s also concerned about the increasing amount of intimate psychological information that’s being gathered about students through these surveys, screenings, proactive intervention efforts, and other initiatives. “After a year or two, I used to tear up my notes and shred them and no one would know about Johnnie or Susie being involved with me,” said Nolan. But over the last few years it’s become common for many professionals involved with schools to share the same electronic data systems, said Nolan. The assumption is that more information will lead to better decisions about kids, but Nolan said she more often finds that old information left by other people prejudices others against looking at children with fresh eyes. She said she also wonders who else is looking at that information, and for what purposes. “It’s all getting stored somewhere,” said Nolan.

Nolan isn’t the only one becoming concerned about that. Running these mental health programs in part as a means to collect sensitive personal and psychological information about school children has become for some a crusade, for others big business, and for still others a worrisome threat to privacy. It’s certainly a key part of an important international governance shift. Developments in both BC and the US provide illustrative examples.

Towards better management of “unproductive mindsets”

This year, in line with the recommendations and lobbying after the deaths of Milne, Proctor and Kozeletski to intensify the tracking and psychological monitoring of students, the BC government began pushing all BC school districts to participate in a new, much more comprehensive electronic student information system. The old system already collected test results, grades, report card comments, attendance, discipline incidents, and Individualized Education Plans. This new system was designed to also track assignments, surveys, school-related health and mental health records, ongoing assessment and counselling notes, extracurricular activities, email communications and more.

Then, the government declared that it planned to link all this information to the province’s developing system of federated databases connecting driver’s license, social service and electronic personal health records from the public health care system. What would be the purpose of doing all this?

BC Civil Liberties Association policy director Micheal Vonn, whose organization commissioned two studies of these new data systems, stated that the BC government has “bought into” the Big Data revolution. “This government is convinced that data linkages are going to generate important information in research, quality control and citizen services,” said Vonn. Using schools as an example, Vonn said, while teachers generally are skeptical of this initiative, there is a spreading belief among politicians and managers of education systems that analyzing mass amounts of aggregated student data will eventually lead to improved teaching and learning.

Micheal Vonn

The same goes for the aggregation of health records, said Vonn, and she could only speculate about what sorts of studies or initiatives might emerge in that field, especially if pharmaceutical companies gained access to integrated school, health and mental health records. “There’s no question whenever we’re dealing with health information of any kind that we’re dealing with big moneyed interests. This is incredibly valuable information.”

Governments around North America are chipping away at privacy laws to facilitate these efforts, said Vonn, pointing to increasingly controversial school database systems in the US. “We see these issues highlighted much better, they fall into starker relief with systems that are a little more down the road than we are,” she said.

The goal is to capture more “noncognitive” information about school children like “attributes, dispositions, social skills, attitudes, and intrapersonal resources.”

The Gates and Carnegie Foundations have put $100 million into InBloom, one of the biggest of a growing number of for-profit companies and non-profits gathering and analyzing school records, and in some cases linking those with post-secondary and workforce records. These organizations generate analytical reports and sometimes give or sell direct access to the data to private companies or government agencies that provide goods or services to the education sector or to children and families. It’s a rapidly expanding business in nearly every state, bolstered by federal stimulus funding, while lobbying alliances like the Data Quality Campaign give a mixture of rationales about improving education strategies and school accountability. A 2013 US Department of Education draft report draws a vivid picture of where this movement is heading. Lamenting the analytical limitations of test scores, the report endorses a “growing movement” to implement more comprehensive data gathering systems and use more invasive surveillance methods such as video cameras and sensors in computer mice. The goal is to capture more “noncognitive” information about school children like “attributes, dispositions, social skills, attitudes, and intrapersonal resources.” The hope, the report explains, is to gain better understanding of what traits create “high-achieving individuals,” while improving management of children who are “at-risk” of  developing “unproductive mindsets” or mental health problems. In essence, there’s growing interest from many sectors of our society in achieving panoptical surveillance of school children.


Health is one of those sectors. Wendy Armstrong, a health policy analyst and consumer advocate, told Mad In America that many health researchers are among the strongest promoters of testing and screening, accessing school and electronic health records, and even mass surveillance to gather information from a multitude of sources, in hopes of being able to better identify “risk factors” and then intervene early to prevent all manner of ills. “Health policy researchers have actually been the biggest pushers for amalgamating all of these databases, because now we’re big into the ‘determinants of health.’” Your schooling, work history, income, housing, intimate relationships and more affect your physical condition and psychological status, said Armstrong, “It’s all seen as important health information.”

Wendy Armstrong

Yet this aspect of population surveillance and health research is nascent and often weak, said Armstrong. “What the public and government are being sold is actually the power of prediction.” And governments, she said, are buying – particularly when it comes to methods of psychologically profiling children and youth.

Surveillance and identification of “at-risk” children

If we want to see where our governments are driving all this, said Valerie Steeves, a criminology professor at the University of Ottawa who has extensively researched the surveillance and “dataveillance” of children and youth, we need only look to Britain.

The UK now tracks all of its eleven million kids through integrating health and mental health data, school records, and information held by social services. In a 2010 special issue of the journal Surveillance and Society co-edited by Steeves, various authors examine how British authorities are increasingly screening and tracking kids, and studying these pools of aggregated data, all with an eye to locating children and youth on a spectrum somewhere between “vulnerable” or “at risk of mental illness” to “potentially delinquent” or “susceptible to extremist radicalization.” In effect, the government surveillance system now operates with an overlapping child protection, health and mental health, anti-bullying, anti-violence, and national security agenda that’s focused on predictive “early intervention” in all these arenas.

When the database was first started, said Steeves, “The idea was to create these detailed dossiers to protect kids from domestic violence and other kinds of harm. They also used artificial intelligence software to identify potential criminals. And the youngest ‘criminal’ they identified was a three-year-old boy. To me, this is the hub of what’s wrong with this kind of thinking.”

Valerie Steeves

A psychological screening tool’s “high risk” scores and a database’s analytical risk algorithms may seem scientific and objective, said Steeves, but in reality they are as discriminatory as the people who design them. “A child who could be just a regular three-year-old kid who has a temper tantrum now and then, if he’s racialized, if he’s living in social housing, if he’s impoverished, suddenly becomes identified as a potential criminal.” And once such a child is identified as being “at risk” of criminality, mental illness or anything else, said Steeves, usually “there’s an obligation to intervene.”

Yet much like the mental health screening programs that contribute to this data pool, Steeves said dataveillance and risk-based algorithmic analysis of children and youth have not been proven in any sorts of large trials to be effective or beneficial, and instead often demonstrably lead to many false positives, unnecessary interventions, and harms.

Even before the introduction of any questionable treatments, said Steeves, the act of surveillance itself isn’t benign. “Everything we know about child development is that children develop well and thrive when they are in strong relationships of mutual trust and mutual respect.” However, kids regard being put under surveillance as a breach of trust, said Steeves, and so surveillance “interferes with the development of those kinds of relationships.”

“The rhetoric in the press is that kids don’t care about privacy,” said Steeves. “If you’ve ever done research in the area, the first thing you learn is kids care a lot about privacy.”

In addition, surveillance discourages the very kind of “help seeking” that mental health professionals behind programs like the PSP-CYMH say they want to encourage. “The rhetoric in the press is that kids don’t care about privacy,” said Steeves. “If you’ve ever done research in the area, the first thing you learn is kids care a lot about privacy.” Confidentiality and trust are essential for creating “safe space” for nuanced conversations about sensitive topics, said Steeves. Conversely, surveillance, dataveillance or other types of systematic monitoring that search for “markers of risk” and automatically trigger interventions by outside experts destroy that safe space. “So put that into the context of mental health issues where it becomes much more difficult to go to the teacher for help because [as a child you know that] as soon as you’re identified, the system – not the individual teacher that you trust and know, but the system – will begin to make all sorts of assumptions about you and slot you in for all sorts of interventions.”

Vonn and Armstrong similarly said that these risk-management approaches haven’t been shown to help kids, and expose too many to unnecessary harms.

“It’s not like we can point to great successes in this model writ large,” said Vonn. “It’s completely predicated on the notion that we actually have effective predictive capacities. And what we find out time and time again is, we don’t. Full on, we don’t. And the mistakes that we make in this system create huge amounts of collateral damage.”

Vonn compared it to the building of anti-terrorist no-fly lists. “Risk logics are by nature grotesquely over inclusive,” said Vonn. “The bureaucratic rationale that you employ when you consider putting somebody on the list, is this: If I miss them and they’re [a terrorist], it’s my neck on the chopping block. If I add them and they’re not [a terrorist], oh well, nothing bad happens to me. Of course, something bad happens to that person.”

“This identity theft is far more profound than the theft of papers, this steals who I am,” writes Wrennall. “I cease to exist and in my place is what is written about me by people who do not know me.”

One of the most common damaging impacts comes from “data shadows,” said Vonn. If a child is once screened and identified as “at risk” for a mental illness – even if he’s simply one of the hundreds of false positives in every thousand – then comprehensive data systems like we’re building mean that changing classes, changing schools, or even quitting school, moving, and entering the workforce soon may not allow young people to escape from repercussions and prescribed interventions. Vonn and Armstrong both described examples of mental health labels recorded in databases that were subsequently shared in other contexts and created unexpected serious consequences for people months or years later, including loss of child custody, denial of health insurance, difficulty having physical complaints taken seriously in doctors’ offices, subjection to involuntary treatment, and loss of the right to make decisions regarding financial affairs. This year, for instance, it was disclosed that Canadian police have been routinely sharing personal mental health information on their files – in some cases dating back to people’s childhoods – with prospective employers and U.S. law enforcement, causing people lost jobs and difficulties crossing the border.


In one essay from Surveillance and Society, criminologist Lynne Wrennall, from Liverpool John Moores University, even likens this kind of dataveillance, labeling and sharing of decontextualized information about children to the damages that can be caused by identity theft. “This identity theft is far more profound than the theft of papers, this steals who I am,” writes Wrennall. “I cease to exist and in my place is what is written about me by people who do not know me.”

Scientific accountability interferes with political power

Even though there’s no evidence any of this ultimately helps children, said Steeves, child surveillance has become a multi-billion dollar global industry involving some of the world’s biggest technology companies, with its own vast machinery of public and political influence preying on people’s fears.


“Over the last five or ten years, there’s this recurrent theme that if you love your kids, you’ll put them under surveillance.” And the spreading of mental health screening and education programs in schools that involve psychological surveying and testing, like the PSP-CYMH training program in British Columbia promotes, said Steeves, is just one part of this broader societal shift towards a surveillance-based, risk-management approach to kids.

But if none of this has been proven to help children, why are governments so supportive of it? Wrennall provides commentary on this question in her essay.

Consequently, writes Wrennall, many public service agencies involved with children now function less like “social welfare” and more like “social policing.”

Governments are increasingly turning towards aggressively monitoring, identifying and intervening ever earlier because such intensive psychological micro-management of “problem” children and youth seems like it may be cheaper – and to some governments it’s ideologically more palatable – than broadly funding affordable housing, poverty reduction, accessible daycare, better schools, or other substantive social support initiatives that demonstrably help children. Consequently, writes Wrennall, many public service agencies involved with children now function less like “social welfare” and more like “social policing.”

Meanwhile, Wrennall argues, the lack of any agreed-upon scientific evidence base and scientific framework in effect gives government, law enforcement, social work and mental health authorities broad leeway and discretionary powers. “Almost every child can be labelled as ‘at risk.’ Almost any narrative event can be construed as a Child Protection ‘concern’. There are no clear constraints on the construction of what constitutes transgression or what justifies investigation,” writes Wrennall. “This surveillance is part of a general strategy of subjugation that is able to arbitrarily summon powers in a flexible but intensely aggressive expression of discipline.”

Essentially, argues Wrennall, surveillance-based risk management is an authoritarian approach to governance. The primary concern of its agents is to maintain the ability to conduct surveillance and, when necessary, exert power over others based on their own beliefs, prejudices, political goals, and financial or other motivations. In that context, being democratically and scientifically accountable for truly helping people tends to get in the way.

Where does the illness lie?

After four years of reflecting on the circumstances surrounding her daughter Freya’s death, Shelley Milne has also come to regard issues of scientific accountability and social responsibility as centrally important.

In conversation with Mad In America, Shelley acknowledged that Freya’s Generalized Anxiety Disorder label at times helped her get valuable extra assistance. However, Shelley added, she has noticed since that time how often the label has provided a means for people to escape accountability for their own actions by blaming Freya’s death on her “personal mental problem.” Shelley pointed to the coroner’s report describing how school staff refused to make a simple accommodation for Freya at a crucial time, and how the treating psychiatrist did not follow best practices nor what health regulators advised. “Freya felt forsaken, and in the long run I have felt that, too,” said Shelley. “Because these were trusted professionals in our lives. And nobody has said, ‘We made terrible mistakes and we’re going to learn from them and make changes.’”

With the rate of mental health problems exploding, said Shelley, the social institutions around children need to learn to better accommodate children’s needs, not “treat” at-risk children ever more aggressively to try to get them to fit in better. “I know it’s a massive challenge but, if we address people’s needs,” said Shelley, “what would we do to the rate of mental health issues?”

She described Freya’s unusually sensitive sensory experience of the world, and her struggles spending hours sitting in uncomfortable chairs and submersed in unnatural lighting, constant bustle, and overcrowded classes, while feeling anxious about the time that school and homework demanded. “I never thought of Freya as mentally ill,” said Shelley. “I understood that Freya was vulnerable. The school system was what was ill.” Shelley pointed to a guide to preventing youth suicide from the BC Ministry of Children and Family Development (notably, not the Health Ministry), which cautions that focusing on “individual-level risks” such as identifying and treating mental illnesses can “mask the role of social, structural and institutional factors” like racism, poverty, lack of social opportunities, and overstretched, unaccommodating school systems.

Steeves agreed. “This discourse around risk is being driven by a neo-liberal approach to governance as a whole: Download the responsibility to the individual, don’t look at the social causes.” And by expanding surveillance-based risk-management approaches, said Steeves, “We are focusing on avoiding bad, instead of creating a nurturing, healthy, socially just society.” However, building a better society requires having more honest public discussions about the type of society that we’ve created, and accepting accountability for it, said Steeves. “And that’s a really hard conversation to have. First of all, it’s about us. It’s about us taking responsibility for the environment.”



  1. I agree with pretty much everything that Rob Wipond says in the article. In the last couple of days, I got into a heated exchange with Andrew Yoder here on the role of psychiatry/psychology/social workers in modern Western societies.

    My contention was, and I stand by it, that the main role of these disciplines is, primarily, to exercise social control, replacing older institutions of social control such as churches. This article is just one example of how these disciplines operate in collusion with government to take us closer to a “Minority Report” type of society. I do not know the legal framework operating in Canada, but I am assuming that they are targeting minors because government always have it easier to justify interventions “for the good of the children”. In the US, we have the recent example of Justina Pelleter reflecting a similar attitude by the institutions of social control in Massachusetts.

    The matter of data mining of medical records raised here is also problematic. Besides the ways legally authorized for sharing -which I am assuming are more limited in the US- there is the fact that the healthcare industry doesn’t have a particularly good culture of protecting the privacy of patient data. Most American healthcare providers are required to report to the US government breaches of patient data that affect 500 people or more. Here is the list of said breaches,

    Note that this doesn’t include breaches that affect less than 500 people. I think that the way these records are managed represent a time ticking bomb. It is only a matter of time before some disgruntled employee or contractor does to the healthcare exchanges what Snowden did to the NSA.

    So the question is, what can you do about it? The answer is a technique known as . If you are still one of those people who sees value in the psychiatric/psychological quackery, at least make sure that your mental health records are operated by a provider different from that from which you get the rest of your healthcare. If you have the means, you might as well avoid insurance companies altogether and go to a private provider that is not mandated by HIPAA to keep electronic records. It is more expensive, put the privacy you get in exchange is worth it.

    Also, at least in the US, HIPAA covered entities are required by law to let you opt out of health information exchanges while at the same time, they can have you “opt in” by default. I have encountered providers clueless about these matters, but federal law and regulations are very clear , question “Can a covered entity use existing aspects of the HIPAA Privacy Rule to give individuals the right to Opt-In or Opt-Out of electronic health information exchange? ”

    So write a letter to your healthcare providers asking them to opt you out from whatever health exchange information they are using.

    These steps will not make eliminate every breach of privacy but will make them more difficult. Also, by writing a letter to your providers denying them the right to share your information with other providers, you are effectively rising their liability in case your data ends up in the wrong hands because of their negligence.

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    • Expanding slightly on one of your points — it might be useful to start a paradigm shift of sorts and start personally and publicly viewing and treating psychiatry as a branch of law enforcement rather than a branch of medicine. The main distinctions between it and the other departments of law enforcement are that it doesn’t require a criminal act or conviction to exact its toll on the individual, and that it enforces both written and unwritten laws.

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      • Interesting observation oldhead.

        And in fact, I heard a similar sentiment from another survivor when I explained the measures that I take to hide my “psychiatric past”. I was told that I lived my life as if I was a wanted criminal :).

        While the two are not exactly the same, I think that as first order approximation to start thinking of psychiatrists, psychologists and in general “mental health workers” as part of law enforcement is a very good mental abstraction that everybody understands:

        – Their job is to enforce the behavioral normality that emanates from the DSM, just as law enforcement’s job is to enforce our criminal laws.

        – There might be people who know nice psychiatrists, but again, there are also people who know nice cops.

        – As as it happens with law enforcement, “anything you say to a psychiatrist might be used against you”, so be careful with what you say when you talk to a psychiatrist.

        – Unlike cops, whose power to detain you when you are suspected of a crime is limited in time, psychiatrists, in collusion with the mental health courts, can hold you for as long as they want, in many cases even years.

        – In addition, this mental abstraction feeds my theme of psychiatry as a parallel system of social control outside the criminal justice system.

        I am all for it!

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        • Just got back to this but I’m glad you agree w/this as an analytical model.

          Your point about the right to remain silent is one of my pet peeves — why in the world haven’t we been making a consistent organized demand that psychiatric detainees be read and given their Miranda Rights??

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          • Can not agree more oldhead.

            Without words to misrepresent they have virtually no way to detain a person.

            It is something they would prefer the public not know about, and maintain the falsehood that they are helping someone.

            I know my life would have been very different if i’d known their motives and the corrupt methods used to make detentions appear lawful.

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          • Good idea. I remember reading the Millenium trilogy wishing that I had used Salander’s approach to dealing with psychiatry. It’s not impossible for them to stick a label on you when you don’t talk to them but it’s much harder unless they are prepared to lie a lot.

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    • ““Minority Report” type of society”
      Exactly my association…
      “It is only a matter of time before some disgruntled employee or contractor does to the healthcare exchanges what Snowden did to the NSA.”
      I hope that happens and it happens soon. And I am still waiting for any ethical nurses/doctors to record what happens in the closed psych wards and come forward but I am likely to be disappointed.

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  2. “The possibility of enforcing not only complete obedience to the will of the State, but complete uniformity of opinions on all subjects, now existed for the first time” George Orwell 1984.

    I got the opinion when I read 1984 that Orwell was sending a warning, these guys are using it as a plan.

    I can think of much better ways of spending the huge sums of money going into this surveilance. Of course it would end up in a redistribution rather than a concentration of wealth.

    Woops, i’d write more but i’ve got an appointment with Dr O’Brien in room 101 in an hour.

    Great articles Rob
    Thank you.

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    • “The masses never revolt of their own accord, and they never revolt merely because they are oppressed. Indeed, so long as they are not permitted to have standards of comparison, they never even become aware that they are oppressed.”
      ― George Orwell, 1984

      What else do today’s kids know ? Today I went to school like every other day, I went through the metal detectors and they x-rayed my book bag and then I was called to the school psychologists office for the mental health screenings they do. So what ? That’s the way school “always” is.

      This fight oppression talk will likely change nothing , parents need to know the expansion of psychological screening and electronic surveillance of children and youth is really just a scam for the psychiatric-pharmacuitical industry to create a new class of chronic mental patients. That’s why pharma is always funding these customer dragnets.

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  3. Dear Rob,
    Fair play to you for exposing this creeping abuse. My own opinion is that a lot of the notions within psychiatry are ‘simple minded’, and that a lot of the people that work in psychiatry don’t look ‘right’ themselves.

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  4. We need a law requiring written informed consent to treatment , I found this model consent form online.

    Maybe word could be spread to students using social media about all this mental health profiling and electronic record keeping.

    I maintain my right not to have any psychiatric evaluation or diagnosis based upon the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) as such diagnoses are unreliable. According to Allen Frances, who was chairman of the fourth edition of DSM, “There are no objective tests in psychiatry—no X-ray, laboratory, or exam finding that says definitely that someone does or does not have a mental disorder.” Additionally, the DSM system is not scientific. It’s own editors state that “there is no assumption that each category of mental disorder is a completely discrete entity with absolute boundaries dividing it from other mental disorders or from no mental disorder.” (DSM-IV, pg. xxii)

    Such codes and descriptions should not be entered into my medical records as this unreliable and unscientific information will remain in my records and may wrongly influence any future medical treatment I might receive.

    Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.

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    • In some countries there exists a possibility of getting a psychiatric testament as it is called – you go to a lawyer and submit in writing that in case you are considered insane you decline any type of treatment you list (psych drugs, ECT etc). It does not protect you from incarceration but saves you from brain damage.

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  5. As a parent of adult children who have received mental health services, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that we have to stop throwing bodies in the water upstream and this is a disturbing and ominous trend. If unchecked, more children will be harmed physically, emotionally, and mentally through psychiatry and psychiatry will remain unchecked, become drunk with power, and increasingly aligned with the prison industry complex, big Pharma, school to prison pipeline, media, disability industrial complex, gun lobby, etc. Lives will be ruined through incarceration, isolation, stigma, etc. Meanwhile, abusers and bullies will go unchecked and valuable, evidence-based early childhood interventions will be neglected, ignored, and unfunded.

    What is so scary to me is that parents seeking to protect their children from psychiatric harm and abuse and whose loved ones need some compassionate support to heal from traumatic events in their lives, will be forced to go ‘underground’ As the alternative programs such as peer services, respite care, cognitive behavior therapy, family therapy, recreational therapy, etc. dry up for lack of funding, the only way we can help our children while protecting them from harm is by giving up everything, and fleeing our communities. We, with adult children who are currently being harmed by forced medication and psychiatric tyranny, already feel like refugees in our own communities. This movement to identify more and more ‘sick’ children’ will open up new drug markets and increase shareholder profits at the expense of lasting recovery for millions.

    What to do about it? One contributing factor to our movement being bogged down is because so many of the would-be supporters are intensely focused on keeping a loved one out of the ‘system’ to avoid more harm. Consumers, survivors and their loved ones cannot become effective advocates and tell their story of harm and abuse in the psychiatric system until we are in the ‘clear’ and it can take years, even decades.

    Since families are usually unable to obtain any meaningful services that are paid for by taxpayers, we desperately look for resources within the private sector. For families of modest means, finding such resources is easier than climbing Mount Everest. We remain on the fringes of every social system; we have few recreational outlets, few sources of unbiased media, few housing and employment supports for our systems, as these things come with many strings attached.

    Our focus is to stay ‘hidden’ even though, we are by nature, very social, and we long for opportunities just to tell our stories to unbiased individuals who have power and influence. We find ourselves dreaming about an Underground Railroad for our loves ones, but we are unable to help build one, we are so busy running, and basically just surviving day to day. We do not have the time or energy to talk to our senators, write letters to the local newspaper, circulate petition, sit on advisory boards, attend NAMI meetings to counter the propaganda fed to other hapless parents.

    A substantial population of individuals whose recovery is delayed or prevented through a horrendous cycle of drugging and incarceration are used by anti-recovery advocates as ‘proof’ that alternatives don’t work. Proponents of the disease model of mental illness use as evidence, a substantial population of people like us whose family members are not getting better. They need us to fail to justify their doomed model and expand forced medication at an earlier age. Advocates of the failed disease model thrive on violence and secretly relish when violent crimes occur, especially when violent crimes can be linked to mental illness; this helps them win hearts and minds. Prison officials are dreaming of the day when nearly all crime can be linked to mental illness because massive drugging of prisoners by force, and at levels that will cause irreparable brain damage will make prisoners easier to manage. Some educators, rather than lobby through teachers unions for more realistic class sizes, will become unwitting advocates for more drugging for classroom management.

    I can envision a horrific future if our society continues to go down this path, pro gun lobbies ganging up with deluded, zealous NAMI members, with phony research and financial backing from big Pharma. It is not a pretty picture, not the kind I like to envision when I start my day. But every day is a chance to make a difference on a personal level. At my workplace, place of worship, within my extended family, even at the places of harm where my beautiful daughter is locked up and not allowed to see us at will, I operate with hope, one day at a time.

    I believe that good eventually outweighs evil. Individuals who basically want to create a loving, caring society will eventually have their way, over individual who seek mainly profit and power. Unfortunately, our movement is paved with silent martyrs who are paving the way, such as the person you see walking down the street who has tardive dyskinesia, those whose died alone, in state asylums, and those who live on the streets, by choice because any way of life is better than being labeled and forcibly injected with brain damaging mind numbing medication.

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    • Hi madmom,

      I know this is from awhile ago- this article popped up on the Best of MiA section of the main page; I didn’t catch it fresh. I’ve been reading here, a lurker, for many months and only just recently logged in and started commenting. So though I’m a new voice here, there are many of the frequent commenters I feel allied with, and you are one. I feel hugs for you and your daughter, in my heart, as I read your heart’s struggle and hope and pain and passion and anger and love. I hope along with you for her freedom, and her eventual healing from all the trauma they have put her through, and for understanding of the personal meaning behind the initiation of her altered state that was so terrifying and confusing it sent her and you to seek the help of the wolves in sheep’s clothing. May you both see the day where she is whole and well.

      My mother is one of those martyrs you speak of in your last sentence– though never silent! She is one who has chosen homelessness as a way of life. I want to share some of her story with you here. Her childhood was a horrific one. I know the details, but suffice it to say that she was subjected to neglect (from both poverty and alcoholic parents) and to physical and emotional abuse from infancy. The incest began at age 4; the psychiatrist and his pills, shortly after she started kindergarten. At 15, she suddenly became head of household (in charge of the house, the bills, the younger siblings) when her father was jailed for shooting her brother and her mother had a nervous breakdown. She didn’t know what the pills she took were for– I think she initially was told they were vitamins, and just never questioned swallowing her pills as a child. But she began to question everything she had ever been told, and more importantly not been told, when she got her first period at 16 and thought she was dying. Getting the real truth about that made her start asking questions. And when she started getting answers, she quit the pills cold-turkey. Or her self-medicating version of cold-turkey. But she never got okay; sometimes okay enough, but never for long. And she gets pulled through the revolving door whenever she stars in this play: go to an agency that is supposed to provide a basic human need, like food or shelter, and encounter a series of convoluted hoops to jump through (always) presented in a condescending way by a frontline worker who is burned-out and projecting (often); get legitimately frustrated and pissed-off in public; interact with the management in a loud, obnoxious way using excellent vocabulary they don’t understand, making demands that come off as threats; someone calls the authorities, and off she goes to jail or psych hold.

      My mother is amazing and wise and intuitive beyond belief, and she is feisty and belligerent and dangerous to my emotional well-being; so though I love and admire her, I’ve had to have lots of boundaries with her. When the economy tanked, so did my household finances and we had to cancel redundant bills like cable and home phone (the number she knew by heart), now there’s no way anyone could contact me as her next-of-kin; it’s a situational estrangement. I hope that she is okay, but I will never know if/when she becomes one of those statistics. Thank you for acknowledging her, and the countless others like her. And thank you for being vocal, and involved, and advocating for change.

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  6. The PSP-CYMH screening questionnaires and ‘educational’ material constitute one of the most fraudulant abuses of ‘science’ I have ever explored. The targeted distorsion of pseudoscience – can it get any more simplistic and therefore false ideology – is just another manoever for the creation of ‘demand’ and ‘dependancy’ from the most criminal shareholders in the pharma business and a minority of magnificence-addicted pseudo-academics. What is even more shocking is the total(itarian) buy in of the entire administrative and educational sector. I would very much appreciate eluciation of the connections with more surveillance strategies as an escalating, if embellished in protection-prevention-care propaganda, expansion of ‘information technology slavery of citizens’ kids beamed into medicalized drug business’. What are the suprastructures of a more perversely sophisticated lobby-mafia-infiltration that makes the lucid warnings of Eisenhower sound like a dark lullaby. Avid and livid to continue reading on this sweet and clean ‘homeland terrorism against normal citizens’ childern’.

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  7. With Gates and the Carnegie Foundation involved the Rockefeller Foundation can’t be far behind Ted Turner and squeaky clean Warren Buffet as well ,and others. Those they don’t succeed in aborting , or sterilizing , or disabling or weakening through their eugenic vaccination programs disguised as health care and yet promoted as reducing population ? Bill Gates master of the doublespeak. Not even speaking of Diabolical GMO food tampering programs(monsanto) and Dow Chemical allowed by AmeriKa government to spray all produce with sulfural fluoride ,(our own EPA tests show it causes holes in various parts of the brains in 4 different tested animals (mice,rats,cats,and dogs) Signed by President , into law passed within a farm bill in 2014.{grow your own organic produce or buy from small known organic farmers}
    I guess this Big Pharm push is all part of the shock and awe we are to be overwhelmed by . Are they trying to create our children into a psych-med drugged version of the hitler- youth to do additional surveillance in every home and report everything to the Authorita. Is this a prelude to David Rockefeller’s dream of computer chip installation under the skin of every citizen containing all personal info, credit ,location, associates ,etc. which can remotely be turned off for any violation of the ruling elites dictates . 1984 on steroids. The same cast of families that funded Eugenics in America and Germany and created World War ll. See Edwin Black’s book “War Against The Weak” for a documented historical perspective like no other.
    Thanks Rob and others for a very eye opening article. What can we do?
    By the way they removed iodine supplementation from most flour and replaced it with bromine a poison. (Advise to supplement with(food grade) nascent iodine drops) One of the reasons most everyone is so fatigued. It raises kids I Q by 10 to 15%. ) They say 75% of the US population is iodine deficient.
    The only progress I’ve made in life is by looking for real understanding and trying to avoid being fooled and finding my way to continue enjoying being alive. Still working at it.

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  8. Rob,

    I have delayed commenting on this superb article since I read it the first day you posted it because though I was/am certainly aware of the growing predation on our children by psychiatry/Big Pharma/government to push their life destroying stigmas and lethal drugs and other brain/body disabling “treatments,” I was not aware of the whole horrific deliberate surveillance part of this travesty in so many ways including all those shared electronic records you cited. You describe this menace so thoroughly whereby there are so many so called “professionals” policing children in and out of school it seems it is almost impossible to escape this death trap of biopsychiatry for children and families. With the ongoing brainwashing of parents and society with the NAMI type Big Pharma front group sales pitches along with the usual infomercials from psychiatry and so called government health agencies for the biopsychiatry/Big Pharma cartel, it is all too easy for unsuspecting parents/families to get caught up in this deadly trap because it is shocking and hard to accept that so called health experts or doctors could be so evil, corrupt and predatory since many naïve people still trust them completely without doing their own homework. Many of us here have been there having to learn the hard way about our naïve, misguided trust as so called medicine became increasingly corrupt largely “thanks” to the great KOL “leadership” of psychiatry exposed a great deal by Mickey Nardo of 1boringoldman. Yet, having encountered this with loved ones years ago, it was nowhere near as all encompassing as it is now, so it was “easier” to avoid/escape with the great advice of those like Dr. Peter Breggin with books like Toxic Psychiatry and Your Drug May Be Your Problem, 2nd ed.

    I also didn’t comment immediately after reading this because I felt really angry that this is going on while also feeling sick to my stomach that this is happening to children worldwide! I suppose that it is a positive thing that the people you included in the article are still brave enough and able/willing to speak out, but is it doing any good or are they just being ignored or worse fired, punished, bullied/mobbed into silence or quitting as happens to such whistleblowers all too often if you read Dr. Heinz Leymann’s Mobbing Encyclopedia online? Or the many work bullying web sites throughout the world.

    I see now that Aldous Huxley with his Brave New World whereby society would all be drugged zombies on “soma” and George Orwell with his 1984 and Animal Farm exposing Doublespeak and the total robbery of all freedom by Big Brother or the “pigs” at the top who “were/are more equal then others” in their version of “democracy” were seeing the beginning of the end for humanity once the psychopaths or 1% hijacked the globe as they’ve pretty much done by now as described in the book and web site, Political Ponerology. It is quite apparent that normal humans have a very tough road ahead.

    All that I can say is that for your article to get to me that much shows what a fantastic, thorough, amazing job you did to present such a complete frightening, crucial, truthful picture of what is happening to so called human freedoms in so called democracies in North America and other parts of the world. What I mean is you did your job as a journalist all too well!

    As I said elsewhere: True words often aren’t beautiful and beautiful words often aren’t true.

    Since you did all the research and probably couldn’t include all that you found, I would like to know from you if you think there is any hope in turning this growing global assault on our children around or do you think it is too late? Do you think home schooling might be the answer or do these “experts” have that covered too with their Big Brother surveillance? Do you think enough people have caught on to the true motives and agenda of this so called mental health “screening, stigmatizing and drugging” or do you think most people are clueless about it or complicit? Since medicine has become so corrupt it’s best to avoid it unless one has an emergency. That Dr. Sandra Steingard, psychiatrist, who posts at MIA, says that is what she does to avoid medical harm, should give anyone pause when a doctor avoids the medical profession as they often avoid the toxic treatments they dole out that they wouldn’t inflict on themselves or their own families.

    Again, both of these articles on the screening and surveillance of children are amazing and all too informative to the point that I hope you might give us a bit of hope or a glimpse of a bright side you may have seen while doing all the research for this very hard hitting article. I guess what gives me some hope is all the people you included who were willing to speak out and expose this destructive, fascist, greedy, predatory, psychopathic agenda that poses a huge threat to children and families everywhere.

    Thank you for your hard work in researching, writing and sharing these amazing articles. Thanks to Bob Whitaker too!

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    • As far as emergency rooms : Two weeks ago my girl friend tumbled down a flight of 11 wooden stairs ending flat on her back onto a cement landing. She slipped as she took her first step down onto a wet spot.It was an on and off drizzle type day on the Oregon coast.We live in government subsidized housing neighbors watched it happened. It took 45 minutes for an ambulance to arrive from a hospital 30 miles away to take her to a local hospital 3 blocks from where we live.I followed the ambulance to the emergency room. We both have been diagnosed by the psych- machine. I’m a psych survivor retired ,my SSD disability check switched over to Social Security when I reached 66 years old .( My girlfriend doesn’t want me to write her name in this post so for brevity I’ll call her Luv.) I’ve been helping her wean off of psych -chems and we’ve been making progress.I brought her meds including wellbutrin and klonopin to the hospital as she instructed me to do.
      The E-room doc decided to do a full panel cat scans. Luv was conscious and lucid at all times. Luv told the doc when he asked(I was right there) that she recently had a tetanus shot. He asked if she was interested in getting any immunizations. Luv said to him “Absolutely not, I don’t do vaccinations, I know whats in them.”(I was right there)
      Turns out thankfully the scans showed she had no broken bones , there was pain in in various places and the doctor gave her an injection of torredal for pain which she appreciated.
      At some point against her will, by stealth while I was in the waiting room they gave her 3 immunizations.
      We caught a glimpse 2 weeks later of her records. We will have a copy soon.
      Due to therapy we did at home she’s doing much better. Do they really have a right to inject people with g-d knows what unrelated immunizations against their will in an emergency room when they are there because of physical trauma? They did it to luv.

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        • Uprising,
          Yes against her will, by stealth straight into her IV into her bloodstream . She asked ,” what did you put into my IV more pain medicine ?” The nurse said ” no ,something else .” Luv said ,” what was it?” He replied, ” Just a standard procedure related to your IV.”
          After he did that, she started hyper-ventilating because she was in more pain in places she wasn’t injured then the pain she felt when she fell down the stairs. The pain became unbearable and she began to cry for the first time . She laid there alone for about 30 minutes ignored as they walked back and forth. Another nurse came to take her vitals with a machine and she said ” Whats the matter, you don’t feel good? Luv said “get me help”.The nurse said , maybe I’ll come back when you feel better.” Then the radiologist ,who was kind came back to explain that she was sorry that Luv had been ignored since several emergencies came up at the same time in the ER. Therefore staff had no choice but to leave her alone in an isolated area, unattended. Luv asked her to please get Fred in the waiting area. I came right to her. When the nurse came back that gave her the unasked for “immunizations” Luv said she was really scared because she had intense pain in places other than the initial injuries. The nurse said it was probably just the pain medication wearing off. She asked,” do I need more torridol .” He said no ” It lasts 24 hours.”After about a half hour the pain that arrived after the immunizations went away. The nurse asked Luv to sign paperwork to bill the insurance. He removed her IV .The doctor came said “No broken bones , you can go home ,return to the ER if you have complications. ” She said “Can I take excedrin migraine at home if the pain in my head increases? ” He replied,”Definitely, that would be just fine.”
          We arrived there at 10 pm and left around 3 am, Thankfully!
          She is feeling much better now 2 weeks later.

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    • Hi Donna,

      It is challenging to see a ‘bright side’ to such movements. Like you, I derive some encouragement from the people who are willing to learn about what is going on and speak about it honestly, critically, and with social and personal self-questioning.

      I think growing awareness and concerns about surveillance and privacy could help — it’s really not that hard to start preventing this kind of broad-based sharing of personal information that’s going on, if governments become committed to creating and enforcing appropriate privacy laws.

      Breaking society’s deeply embedded faith in “the science” of psychiatry and psychology is, as you know, proving to be a hard nut to crack. But truth is its own inspiration, right?

      Hmm, I guess it’s probably a whole other, three-part article this question! Or more likely a book… or two…


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  9. A list of some of the best known experts on psychopaths or evil people with no conscience, empathy, compassion or guilt, which allows them to act as intraspecies predators on normal humans while using charm, deceit and flattery to exploit and prey on others by finding and exploiting their human weaknesses while psychopaths are able to study and mimic normal human emotions and behaviors while hiding in plain sight. As Dr. Hervey Cleckley said, “They know the words but not the music.”

    Political Ponerology (A Science on the Nature of Evil Adjusted for Political Purposes) Paperback – April 4, 2007
    by Andrew M. Lobaczewski (Author), Laura Knight-Jadczyk (Introduction

    Psychopathy issue of FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin with Dr. Robert Hare

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  10. Wait a minute did I miss the idea behind the post with all the links on psychopaths ?

    Creating all-pervasive surveillance systems for diagnosing ‘pre-crime’… in kids.

    Is this system also “psychopath detector” too ? This is to much for me, later.

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    • Copy Cat,

      My idea in posting the information about psychopaths is to consider all the current robber barons or 1% with their crony capitalism and global “shock doctrines,” constant wars and other predation to rob people, other countries and the globe of all their wealth and resources for their own insatiable greed, lust for power and lack of conscience/empathy/remorse for the devastation they inflict on millions of people and the environment, water/food supply, etc. The psychiatry/Big Pharma/Government cartel is part of this nightmare as is well know by anyone having researched the fraud and devastation caused by this predatory, deadly enterprise with its only agenda making billions while blaming the victims and exerting vicious social control and robbery of all human rights from those they target.

      But, you raise another good point about schools monitoring for possible psychopaths/sociopaths in this surveillance. Based on my research children and teens aren’t inclined to be labeled psychopaths because it’s seen as a devastating label. At younger ages, kids are “diagnosed” with conduct disorder and oppositional defiant disorder and more recently and more likely ADHD and/or bipolar to force a lethal cocktail of drugs on them. I have expressed my disgust elsewhere at MIA that I have noted that serial killers, rapists and abusers as well as their victims all tend to be given the bogus bipolar stigma so the toxic drugs can be forced on one and all. I have read that this was the plan of the original DSM committee with the horrible narcissist Robert Spitzer at the helm in that they created bipolar as a garbage can stigma like schizophrenia where they could stick anyone from psychopaths to their victims and I’ve seen that happening a lot. I noted that Gary Sampson and Robert Hanson, both serial killers were given bipolar stigmas. I was shocked that Dr. Ragins posting at MIA said in passing that rape victims are given bipolar stigmas as if that was the most natural thing in the world. Experts elsewhere acknowledge that abused women and children are routinely stigmatized as bipolar now rather than the former insult stigma of borderline personality disorder for their Complex PTSD. Needless to say, any abuse trauma experts like Dr. Judith Herman and Dr. Carole Warshaw are appalled at such misdiagnosis and related huge harm and retraumatization, but the biopsychiatry cartel must make those billions by forcing their neuroleptic/epileptic lethal cocktails on vast numbers of women and children especially since they are easier marks.

      Experts thought that one of the Columbine killers was a psychopath, but I’ve also heard that many of these school shooters were bullied a great deal.

      Believe it or not, people have to do pretty horrible things to be considered psychopaths by real experts and even their victims. Only a small percentage of the population is thought to be psychopathic, but the problem is that they are excellent at manipulating, conning, inciting, smear campaigning and other nasty tricks to instigate groups of people against each other and to mob and bully people that are in their way. Psychopaths hate authority figures anyway, so they always target bosses and anyone in a more powerful position. Malignant narcissists are another group of nasty people similar to psychopaths.

      Finally, this is just psychological language to describe evil people. Some psychiatrists are studying evil now like Michael Stone, so these terms aren’t set in stone.

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      • Last night I read about half of “Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work” , a book by industrial psychologist Paul Babiak and psychopathy expert Robert D. Hare

        It was very interesting, read online PDF

        Check it out Psychopath Sidney Taurel , the former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Eli Lilly and Company to retire

        This Sidney Taurel dude should be in prison for life for the Zyprexa crimes.

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        • Hi Copy Cat,

          Thanks for all of your informative posts. I didn’t know Snakes in Suits by Dr. Robert Hare and Dr. Paul Babiak is now online since I own it. I highly recommend it to those who want to know the real reason why our world is in such a nasty, horrible state with these psychopaths of the biopsychiatry/Big Pharma/government/prison industrial complex preying on our children to expand their multibillion drug and other profits since children/toddlers/babies in utero are the most “lucrative market” now as former Pharma rep Gwen Olsen exposes on her web site. And as we all know their attitude is that if the 1% robber barons and their shareholders can get all the more filthy rich, then, the consequences of children be damned!

          Here is one of several books exposing the horrors of stigmatizing and drugging our children:

          If you check out the “look inside” feature of the book on display, you will see an article by Robert Whitaker on the toxic effects of neuroleptic and other psych drugs on children.

          Another book by the same editor on “Bipolar Children” with expert contributors including Dr. David Healy, Robert Whitaker, etc.:

          Book Description:

          Over the last decade, the number of children diagnosed with bipolar disorder has increased up to fortyfold. This is a trend exclusive to the United States, and one that, alarmingly, leads to most of the diagnosed children—some still in their infancy—being prescribed antipsychotic drugs, often in combination with anticonvulsants. These classes of drugs have dangerous side effects, including a doubling of mortality rates, shortened life span, extreme weight gain, and Type II diabetes. In this book, psychologist Sharna Olfman leads a team of widely known experts who examine that astonishing rise in the diagnosis of pediatric bipolar disorder, particularly in the absence of any compelling evidence for either the validity of the criteria being used to diagnose it or the safety and effectiveness of the drugs being used to treat it. When a child is unnecessarily prescribed antipsychotic and anticonvulsant drugs, his or her mental and physical health may be irrecoverably compromised, says Olfman. With as many as two-and-a-half million children from across the socioeconomic spectrum now taking antipsychotics, we have set the stage for widescale child abuse.

          The contributors to this revealing and disturbing volume include psychiatrist David Healy, one of the world’s leading authorities on psychotropic drugs; pediatrician Philip Landrigan, an internationally renowned health researcher; and Robert Whitaker, an award winning medical journalist. The contributors identify and explain complex and interrelated factors that have set the stage for the pediatric bipolar epidemic, and they recommend practice and policy changes to stem the tide of misdiagnosis and dangerous drug prescriptions.

          Can there be any doubt that only very evil, predatory, greedy people/corporations could devise such a scheme to make billions by preying on children with life destroying bogus, voted in stigmas by DSM committees now declared invalid by Dr. Thomas Insel, Head of NIMH, to push the latest lethal drugs on patent that are known to cause the many physical harms listed above and elsewhere?

          As described in Political Ponerology and other sources, the so called “global police” are now the real criminals!

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      • Btw, even Robert Hare has spoken against any campaign to screen for, label and lock up psychopaths – he is too much aware that the first people who would take control of such a system are psychopaths themselves.
        People like that unfortunately do exist on a spectrum of human personalities. Serial killers are a minor problem – the biggest problem are people who can mask themselves as pillars of community.
        “Psychopaths hate authority figures anyway, so they always target bosses and anyone in a more powerful position.”
        Well, that’s probably not entirely true. They love authority if they can use it for themselves. I know one personally who knew exactly the borders of the law and was walking on the line while pushing others over the line and then enjoying reporting them to police even though they provoked the situation on purpose, just for the “fun” of it.
        It’s hard to explain to someone who has not been close and personal with a guy like that. It is like looking into the abyss and it’s a really uncomfortable realisation that not everyone out there has goodness in them…

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  11. I wish to express my disappointment on the individualist ‘psychopathologization’ of supposed irresponsible and reckless powerful actors as the culprits of screening, labeling and drawing innocent children and parents into the pharma-psychiatric complex which has by some lobbyist efforts extended its harmful influence into the educational and social institutions.

    The illusion of moral choices and degree of integrity of values and conduct represents, in my view, an adolescent state of mind, with high hopes and righteous condemnation of ‘the wrongdoers in power’ without the socialized and regulated career experience of making a way into ‘responsible leadership’ within international political, economic, technical systems. It is my view that shaking fists at and vociferating against the psychopaths in power surves the need of individualized morality but misses the political, cultural and technological suprastructures in which political domination and commercialisation execute structural violence, surveillence and exploitation of ‘individuals’ , i.e. by screening kid’s for the ‘state-regulated’ sell-out to consumerism, individualism, defective organicism (a technological and not eco-bio-socia-cultural framing).

    Turn righteous anger against greedy, antisocial psychopaths to me seems a fantasy product of ‘childlike magic thinking’ that imprisons itself in a vicious cycle of shooting at the mythic aggressors where there are no such individually bad and powerful evil actors. The anger and furor that I also experience are all too humane. Any meaningful understanding nevertheless requires what I call adult world views: a shift of perpective/s which allows to see oneself and others as members of worldwide political and commercial systems, to acknowledge one’s part in keeping those systems running (nobody is forced to buy products made in exploitative conditions, but most of us do) and (not) protesting, developing and demanding possible transformations which rely on critical review of eco-culturally accountable economic models, models for reclaiming (via democratic associations and organizations) and rebalancing representative policy powers, models for eco-socially accountable political regulations and transformations of corporate systems’ power which need, in my view, be rooted in the democratic associations and organizations which we can create and make sustainable by respecting and making realities eco-social and cultural initiatives and their international networks. We have the means but most of us, me included, prefer a quick shout back in anger to some bad greedy others in power. We give them power by not beliefing that our eco-social initiatives can grow responsible societal alternatives and provide us with the credibility to develop and claim alternative politics, economics, cultures of solidarity vs. unlimited growth. We allow ourselves be weakened and passive obververs shouting their discontend against the powerful that we empower in doing so. Thereby many of us keep her/himself ‘slave’ to the current commercialization and neoliberalisation of the many realities.

    I suggest have a look at ‘Sacred economics’ and other inspirations which empower us to introduce real and mutually relevant change by appreciation of mutual empowerment with no bottom vs top ideology. Then watering the plants on one’s balcony becomes not an escape from a world run by evil superpowers, but an embodied gesture of empowering solidarity with like-minded people and our eco-system. Connection in such daily gestures can sustain the membership in alternative associations and vitalize to go protest the structural injustice systems and to go claim alternative systems of representative legalisations, regulations, fair trade and fair politics. We can do peer support and education in our free time without first wanting financial rewards, this is why I mention Eisenstein ‘Sacred economics’, as living in empowering mutuality and working with our incredible assets. This gives integrity and drive to political analyes and much needed protests too. Good luck to us who belief that a better world is possible. Get real. Join. Appreciate. Do peer support, alternative education, read Fanon and Occupy, empower ourselves in mutual empowerment, education, action, celebration. Water the plants on one’s balcony and in many hearts and minds.

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      • Second thought I urgently need to contextualize:
        We allow ourselves be weakened and passive obververs shouting their discontend against the powerful that we empower in doing so BUT NOT ALLOW US ACTIVE CHANGE IN BELIEVING AND DOING DIFFERENTLY, IN EMPOWERING RESISTANCE AND PROTEST WITH LIVED SOLIDARITY AND ALTERNATIVES. ILLUSION ONE NEEDS BECOME A POWERFUL LEADER ‘FIRST, AT LAST, EVER’? WHAT A TRAP. Thereby many of us keep her/himself ‘slave’ to the current commercialization and neoliberalisation of the many realities.

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        • Ute M. Kraemer,

          Given that the psychopathy literature has many experts who write about these predators and their victims, I find your comments very insulting to me, naive and “childish” in themselves though you accuse me of these “crimes.”

          Have you studied any of the experts on psychopathy and/or malignant narcissism? Read any accounts by the many victims of psychopaths and/or malignant narcissists in books and all over the web and described on many web sites?

          If you have not been targeted or victimized by one of these intraspecies predators, consider yourself lucky, but by denying they exist, you are negating the agony of all Ted Bundy’s and Bernie Madoff’s many victims of physical and financial murder as well as the thousands of humans who were conned and harmed greatly due to these social chameleons. There are many web sites for the victims including and that have world authority Dr. Robert Hare’s seal of approval.

          You would be wise to read some of the literature I cited above so that you will learn to recognize the red flags of these dangerous predators in romance, work, community and in general. Dr. Martha Stout gives a list of 13 warning signs you are dealing with a person with no conscience, empathy or humanity in her book, The Sociopath Next Door.

          Of course, these are terms for evil people with their evil traits and disguises studied for the purpose of helping people avoid their predations as is true in many religious works and wisdom.

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          • Donna,
            I wish to answer your thougts. First, yes, I have read over the years few ‘psychology’ books and many websites, blogs, crime stories, criminal inverstigations into those ‘individuals’ characterized as psychopaths. Apart from few studies on psychopaths in commerce and big business, nearly all others, perhaps written by ‘experts’ constructed, as you write above ‘psychopaths or evil people with no conscience, empathy, compassion or guilt, which allows them to act as intraspecies predators on normal humans while using charm, deceit and flattery to exploit and prey on others by finding and exploiting their human weaknesses while psychopaths are able to study and mimic normal human emotions and behaviors while hiding in plain sight’.
            As many I had personal reasons for wanting to know wether a very close person in my life was actually a ‘psychopath’- and I do not mean narcisstic traits- but those supposedly evil creatures with no conscience, empathy nor guilt. It is not because I don’t know their conscience, feelings and guilt, that they have none. At least the people I know and others co-patients on wards have spoken about, in the situations and actions described used narcissism and moral aggression, accusation and blaming etc. Nevertheless, for the people I knew these scenes and time-parts of their personalty never respected nor talked to many other facets of their selves in their life stories. This for me is very disrespectful, at least the timewise very narcisstic people I had lost it against and – for societal and economic inferiority reasons – timewise was ‘a targeted victim in a warfare’, because I had challenged them disregarding their higher positions, these people I knew – mostly from others, a little by myself, to have deep feelings and reflectiveness, to know humor, kindness and yes guilt. I also had learned, by getting to now them about the authority figures (hm, parents?) they had grown up with to be totally egocentric or abusive, and this in historical, political, moral, economic contexts and family destinies. So even these ‘evil parents’ had not just been evil. A total lack of considerations for the conditions and histories which mediate the outwards traits and behaviors. To resume, never did any of the people I had had to do with, or the more ‘double faced ones’ co-patients talked about, meet the poverty of the traits described by the experts. Simplified, I disbelied those experts and find their writings unusually judgemental in the field of psychology. This does not even address the lack of broader and deeper considerations of the roles these ,narcisstic’ people hold in much larger, social, normative, political or commercial systems and, if I may refer to the recent writings about the Pfitzer CEO, wich ‘breed and shape’ in everyday shareholder-guided business competition what easily gets denounced as an individuals bad character. I forgot, an acquaintance of mine had had to do with russian mafia, I was near dead just by listening to him. Evil individuals, I not even had this association, but a very intricate organisational system of terrifying ‘business’ conduct the representatives had been bred into over many years I suppose. But I would not even try to guess that therefore in more private parts of their lifes these ‘evil mafia leaders’ had no empathy, conscience nor guilt. As I also wrote, I have myself some narcisstic traits, and feel haunted by still sometimes buying products made in certainly terroristic and dehumanizing conditions for the employees in Asia and like special economic imperialist terror zones. Sometimes I reflect wether this just reveals the deeply evil traits of my character, or wether it has, also, not exclusively, to do with my relative poverty I use as an excuse, still having nightmares about my supporting of terrorist industrial and trade business.
            Psychopaths. There is limits I learned I can’t cross. See many FBI investigations and the mostly, not always, terrorictic chldhoods they reveal of the later serial killers. But I let go of reading or watching these cause I feel like an idiot-voyeur.
            What I miss the most is the sociocultural and structural daily life influences on those which are discussed, by experts?, as evil narcissists, as well as the lack of acknowledgement of ‘islands of empathy and many shades of conscience’ these people always had as far as I had personal exchanges with their, mostly, ex-spouses. So many reasons for me to disagree with individualistic constructs of psychopaths and narcissists, as with borderline or schizophrenics, which are far from people’s real life experiences (inside and outward). I hope I was clear enough myself with sometimes tapping into these kind of expert personality contructs as if they would help me to finally get what this (kinda) person is like. For me it is very very wrong but fulfils some desire I have, which I caracterise as ‘adolescent’- if I am more in defence/revenge lust I name ‘childlike magic thinking’ , to look away from my role and behavior (the looser is a painful, shameful position and I had made many mistakes also) and – ah wish I could – feel and belief there are these evil narcissists and psychopaths as the experts characterise them. For me, that seems to have come to age, because I am even disgusted by the descriptions, which really concerns the ‘experts’ and certainly not the people who are in a relationship with this kind of manipulative characters. At least for me, there were two, and I had not grown into my adult self, that is what I learned for me, and I remember the narcissists I had to do with as much more complex and timewise truly empathic. So much to reflect on my position.

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          • If the experts don’t speak to you maybe this will (it’s very disturbing and I need to give a huge TRIGGER WARNING):
            I would not have taken that seriously if I didn’t have a personal experience. The worst you can do with a person like that is try to wonder “why are they doing this/saying that” and what inner trauma and childhood deamons cause them to. Sure, some of them have been through some shit themselves but the moment you start giving them breaks they will manipulate you to your grave.

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        • I’d be happy if you didn’t make such assumptions on people here. Personally I am involved in as much “watering of plants” (literally as well) as I can given my life circumstances and I am sure many people commenting here and reading this piece do. It doesn’t help my feelings of powerlessness when I see what is happening to humanity and our environment both globally and locally. Concentrating on solutions is crucial but it’s also important not to be naive that all people are intrinsically good and if you could only get through to them. There is a lot of darkness in the world and denying it is naive and can be very harmful. Btw, the people who deny existence of people with psychopathic personality features (I don’t consider it as a disease just like I don’t consider that for other labels) are the very ones who are most likely to fall victim to them.

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  12. Correction:

    Here is the full email address for the psychopath recovery web site, Aftermath, initiated by Dr. Robert Hare, to help “survivors” cope with the typical devastation caused by these “charming” manipulative predators:

    Here is the full web address for the psychopath recovery web site, Lovefraud, to help survivors of psychopaths in romantic and family relationships cope with them as well:

    Both of these have been recommended by Dr. Robert Hare, recognized world authority on psychopaths.

    There are tons of other web sites, articles and blogs about psychopaths and narcissists on the web as well as books and articles at Amazon and other sources, but not all are created equal. Thus, I have provided the basic recognized experts with Dr. Robert Hare as the foremost expert who based much of his work on that of Dr. Hervey Cleckley with both included in my above list.

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    • I hope you realize I meant web address rather than email address for the Aftermath web site.

      Of course, there are good Christian/religious books on the topic of evil with one of my favorites by Dr. Martin Buber, called Good and Evil, which gives much food for thought.

      The People of the Lie by Dr. M. Scott Peck, a Christian psychiatrist, discusses the concept of evil people and the huge damage they do to others.

      The Bible has many examples of evil people throughout the entire work that match those listed by experts above fairly well.

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  13. Thanks, Rob, for this article, it certainly points out the fact that we may actually have a problem with a truly evil “one world government” taking over, with the intent of destroying the decent and innocent. Forgive me for pointing this out, but the real bible predicted this would occur some day. As to whether that’s relevant to what’s going on now, or not, only time will tell. But, as a Christian, I am praying for peace on earth and justice for all, and would be grateful for anyone who might like to also utter such wishes.

    Forgive me if hope in an intelligent higher power seems “childish” to any of you, but it appears the systems currently ruling our world are terribly misguided, unjust, and / or psychopathic in nature (as are some individuals working within). And I figure maintaining hope has value, however one chooses to do so, and one must start somewhere when fighting such a menacing Goliath.

    Donna, thank you for pointing out that the “bipolar” stigmatization is commonly being used to cover up sexual abuse. That is what happened to my family, I was misdiagnosed to cover up the sexual abuse of my 3/4 year old child for a pastor. And my subsequent pastors admitted I’d dealt with the “dirty little secret,” implying that indeed, covering up sexual abuse with “bipolar” stigmatizations has been the long term job of the psychiatric industry. I do not, of course, personally respect that aspect of the psychiatric industries’ societal function, since it keeps the child molesters on the streets raping more and more children, and denies justice (and tortures) the victims. If you have any specific links regarding this societal problem, I’d be grateful if you’d share them.

    God save the decent, please. And inspire us to bring about a better world … as it appears we’re up against an enormously evil system. And individual people being forced to fight evil corporations and societal systems seems to be a terribly unjust position in which to find oneself. My enemies at this point are all corporations, how bizarre. And how is an individual expected to beat a corporation or corrupt industry? It seems an impossible task. I hope it’s really You inspiring people to sing, “this is my kingdom come” across the airways. God save the decent. And I pray for the day, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

    When I was a child, I thought the world was rather boring, but essentially good. (I was very sheltered as a child.) Now that I am in the prime of my life, I am utterly disgusted by the paternalistic evil rampant within our societal structure. We do not need an industry whose function it is to cover up sexual abuse and kill the creative and spiritual people, yet those apparently are the psychiatric industries’ goals. How sick can a society get?

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  14. Before these 2 articles slip off the home page into the archives, just wanted to say that my only problem with them both is that they will (I presume) stay confined to the pages of MIA. Not that MIA folks can’t benefit from the research and reporting, but this sort of thing really belongs in Time Magazine, on and in other mainstream venues. Any thoughts about getting it reprinted or even syndicated somehow?

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    • Hi Oldhead,

      The articles of mine that have been most widely read were forwarded and/or re-posted by readers to their own friends, to email list groups, to other websites like reddit, or to relevant discussion forums, etc. So you can play an important role, if you like, in trying to broaden the readership.

      That said, I’m always interested in publishing where I can, but I have found that many publications are not particularly open to articles that are extremely critical of popular ideas about mental health. Feel free to email me any specific suggestions of publications that you believe might be open.


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      • “I have found that many publications are not particularly open to articles that are extremely critical of popular ideas about mental health. Feel free to email me any specific suggestions of publications that you believe might be open.”

        “Not particularly” would be an understatement, I’m sure, which was the implication of my comment, not any sort of critique of your distribution policies. And I think we probably share the frustration of being marginalized by the so called “progressive” community. It wasn’t always like this, btw. Over 30 years ago we conducted an international boycott of Smith Kline & French, developers of Thorazine, and had wide support from the left. Now it’s easier to get through to a lot of libertarians and “conservatives,” who are keen to sense liberal bs even when they can’t really contextualize it.

        I’ll think about potential venues & let you know if I come up with anything though. You’re right, the truth will get out eventually via the more grassroots methods you mention. But there’s no reason it should be forced to.

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        • Well, progressives are big on helping people and the psychiatric complex has sold itself as a “helping people in need”, “treatment instead of incarceration” and first and foremost “evidence-based science”. People don’t know how that looks in practice until they get run over by this bus themselves. But not all progressives are oblivious to these issues: there are interviews with Michael Moore on gun violence where he discusses drugs, Bill Maher has ridiculed happy pills a few times and there are mentions here and there about overmedicating kids and people in general but I don’t think that the broader understanding is there. MIA is really the only place where you can find a comprehensive discussion and resource and I am so happy to have it.

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        • That’s interesting, Oldhead, I didn’t know that. And I’ve been thinking for a long time about writing something about these strange political divides and alliances on psychiatric issues. So what are your perspectives on when/why/how that change you describe occurred? (Though I belatedly see B was starting to answer my question in a follow-up at the same time… Any more thoughts?)

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  15. “This discourse around risk is being driven by a neo-liberal approach to governance as a whole: Download the responsibility to the individual, don’t look at the social causes.”
    Sums it all. The direction our world is going now seems more and more grim everyday. We are destroying our planet and we are creating a Big Brother authoritarian system of control. Welcome to world-wide fascism.

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