Who Decides Which People are Mentally Ill . . . Who Gets That Control?

Sheila Matthews
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The Ct.Post.com website ran an article yesterday titled, Sandy Hook Study Dragging, which on its face is one of the most biased and misinformed articles of “news” this writer has seen in some time.

As is so typical of the reporting in Connecticut, the Ct.Post.com uses the Sandy Hook shooting as an excuse to attack the gun lobby and cheerlead for increased mental health services in the state. The problem with this self-serving reporting is that there is absolutely no proof that Sandy Hook shooter, Adam Lanza, lacked good mental health services.

In fact, according to the records that have been made available, Lanza received abundant mental health care throughout his life. The problem for the Ct.Post.com, and other Connecticut “news” organizations, is that it hasn’t read the investigation of the shooting incident.

If anyone at the Ct.Post.com had read the investigation, it would have become clear that the last five years of mental health records for Adam Lanza do not exist. That’s right. Adam Lanza’s mental health records, since the age of 15, have been withheld from public review.

So how exactly has the Ct.Post.com come to the conclusion that based on the Sandy Hook shooting, and the subsequent investigation, that increased mental health services are needed or, for that matter, even desired by anyone other than the mental health and pharmaceutical industries?

The argument can, and should, be made that until Adam Lanza’s mental health records are made public and reviewed, that there should be no increases in mental health services. After all, is it not possible that Adam Lanza got the best mental health care that money could buy and maybe, just maybe, the mental health treatment he received needs to be scrutinized? Oops, can’t do that. Not on the agenda?

The Ct.Post.com article explains that “mental health screenings for buyers and sellers of firearms in Connecticut? Of course. Logic says no one would want a weapon in the hands of a mentally ill person.” Really? Let’s think about this for a moment.

Who decides which people are mentally ill? Who gets that control? If we go by the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) then just about anyone can be labeled “mentally ill.” The DSM so distorts and redefines human behavior that there is a mental illness for every human emotion, including grief and baby tantrums. So how about people who suffer from depression, ADHD, bi-polar, PTSD? Or how about people who are taking a psychiatric mind-altering drug which, at this point, includes 79 million Americans.

And, if these people are too mentally ill to own a firearm are they also too mentally ill to drive an automobile (a deadly weapon), own knives or baseball bats, continue to serve in the armed forces? It’s easy to see the ridiculousness of such thinking, unless you’re the writer of the Ct.Post.com article.

Remember it is the mental health “guessperts” that tell people who suffering from mental illness that the drugs they prescribe actually “treat” the disorder. If that’s true, why would there be any problem with mentally ill people owning a firearm, so long as they’re getting the appropriate “treatment?” The mental health community can’t have it both ways. Either psychiatric drugs “work” and “treat” the disorder, or they don’t and that needs to be investigated.

The idea that the Ct.Post.com would even suggest supporting sweeping mental health increases and firearm restrictions, without even questioning what documentation exists to support it, is insulting to the taxpayers and voters in the state. Come on. Why not just say it up front. There is zero evidence that Adam Lanza lacked good mental health care, but it’s a great excuse for the mental health industry to expand its control over the lives of the people of Connecticut. At least that would be honest.

34 COMMENTS

  1. Lets point to the biggest elephant in the room.

    By age 18, a U.S. youth will have seen 16,000 simulated murders and 200,000 acts of violence. (on television)
    – American Psychiatric Association

    http://www.parentstv.org/ptc/facts/mediafacts.asp

    A Columbus principal suspended a student for three days last week after the child pointed a “lookalike firearm” at another student in class and pretended to shoot.

    The boy’s age? 10. The “level 2 lookalike firearm” cited in his suspension letter? His finger.

    Read more http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/04/student-points-finger-like-gun_n_4895507.html

  2. Sheila, thanks for this article and also for your work. I’m glad you’re using quotation marks around things like “treatment,” etc. It does become tedious having to do that all the time but in the Carrollian world of “mental health” what are our options?

    I presume when now & then you use terms like “good mental health care” you know you are using an oxymoron. But you are focusing on a key issue — for me the key issue, which is the distortion and manipulation of language to convince people that their fears, confusion, pain, or for that matter ecstacy are “symptoms” of “diseases.” The conflation of metaphor and concrete reality known as “mental illness” is indeed a social/political construction, not a medical one. Who decides who is “mentally ill”? Follow the power, follow the money.

  3. Hi,

    I agree with all of your points and sincerely thank you for your article.

    However, I find your line which describes the CtPost as ‘an excuse to attack the gun lobby’ disturbing. The gun lobby spends millions to keep our Congress from fairly representing the interests of the American people. Instead, this money (like all corporate PAC money, including BigPharma) is used to buy votes to keep a ridiculous number of guns with a ridiculous number of rounds in the hands of the public….just not sure why you want to defend this.

    Thanks for everything else you mention…I believe that we need to know what leads to these shooting sprees..and whether meds. may have contributed to these horrific events.

    • Yes, I was wondering about this too (although I liked the article overall). From what I read of US news, most of these tragedies are presented in the media as “crazy person with gun …. ” and the NRA chooses to focus on only the first variable while many of us (including myself) are more concerned with the second.

      • Its interesting really when you think about it.

        A large group of people who have “potential for harm to self or other”, subjected to brutal violations of their human and civil rights, and access to large amounts of firearms.

        And we’re having trouble bringing about change? Lets hope Chairman Mao was wrong when he said political power grows from the barrel of a gun. Im hoping reason will prevail.

        • Hi again,

          Just wanted to say that I consider the government our government. As a democracy, we each have a vote and a voice…at least in theory. My concern is with the influence of any big money from industries who want to sway our democracy in their direction and take our collective voice away. I think we tend to value the same things here, maybe just have different perspectives about how to protect our rights and move forward.

          I feel that getting all PAC money out of our democracy is critical, whether it be BigPharma or mental health industry money…or the gun industry money. I have come to believe that we need to overturn Citizen’s United and re-take our democracy from the hands of all corporate interests. Someone from this site told me about Wolfpac which is trying to do just that…

          Wishing all of us civil rights, a voice and full informed consent to all “treatments.”

          • Yes truth in psychiatry. The differences in our respective governmemts acroos borders makes a huge difference to the equation.

            I dont live in a democracy. I live in a place where the government is handing over the mythical rights of a large portion of the population to big corporations for large sums of money, and they are doing this though enacting laws to make it all seem fair and ethical. And if you do not agree with this, then the thugs of the state will use coercion and force until you do.

            If we ever get to a point where we do actually have rights, rather than minimal privileges I may feel differently.

            Until then I will follow the words of one of our politicians that it is “better to die on your feet than live on your knees”.

    • Sheila – I just got Emmeline’s worry on the above comment, while unfortunately my intention had been to congratulate you on very much so really getting the point stated loud and clear that’s the right point. I see how it could sound like I took you for a complainer, but my honest belief is that you get that there is no excuse for this foot-dragging and cheapened attitudes by officials about how it’s justified. I am going to try to imagine that every sentence can mean an insult and start saying “not to insult you, but you look great here–” I not only admire your work, it is inspiring and impossible not to believe in for me. I concur so totally with your idea of this incident and the general issues, that I shouldn’t comment except to say when I don’t.

      You are doing exactly perfectly, and it would make no sense from me to say otherwise.

  4. Thank you for you article Shiela, its important that people are aware of how the psychiatric industry is covering their backsides when it comes to these types of issues. Ive no doubt that the mental illness label will be used in order to disarm the American public.

    From someone who lives in a country where this has been done (Australia) it has been nothing more than enabling an increase in brutality by the state. The statistics are massaged to make it look like it was a success, and depending on the side of the fence your on, it has been. If you value your liberty however…

    Politicians here used an event like Sandy Hook as a political football, and have to this day never released all the information that they gathered. Why? Doesnt suit the agenda maybe.

    Good luck keeping these bas#[email protected] honest.

    Regards
    Boans

  5. Sheila – In other words, to me you are giving it to them good who deserve to here they are not getting things underway effectively. You are telling the truth. You and all other lone voices in the wilderness know that you have to stand out against all the same prejudices that actually matter for stigma itself. The whole fight for truth and disclosure has to take place over again every time anyone bucks the dominant opionion in power or in the press or in the homes and workplaces.

    • Psychiatry is not the tool that’s going to rid the world of evil, I think its bringing us more and itself is evil , there is something incredibly wrong with the size and scope of psychiatry in the world today, maybe it’s that false God many religions warn of.

      • “(Psychiatry) is that false God many religions warn of.”

        Did evil and good exist before mankind was on the planet/world?

        One persons “evil” is another persons “good”.

        People are just making money. When the vampires suck too much blood from the host, it will end.

    • Lanza and all the other shooters were angry and chose to do evil. The wrong method of expressing the anger they felt. Lanza was taught to shoot, so guess what he did?

      Anyone might be possessed by the feeling of anger. Normal rational people (who enjoy the present, and want a future) would calm themselves somehow.

      And as to choice, if Lanza was on drugs/withdrawing from drugs, how much choice does a crack-head have , when he/she needs the crack-cocaine?

  6. Exploiting Newtown was a failure , it only resulted in more people learning the ugly truth about psychiatry and at the six-month anniversary of Newtown shooting and Smith & Wesson gun sales hit an all-time high in the year after the shooting.

    I should really try harder to avoid the online gun debate and focus the time I donate to furthering human rights and truth in mental health.