“Robin Williams’s body was scarcely cold when liberal commentators began using the tragedy of his death as publicity for suicide hotlines and professional mental health intervention in general,” writes Michael K. Smith in Counterpunch. “Depression sufferers were urged to ‘be honest’ and avail themselves of the services of professional therapists and counselors.” Smith contests this narrative by accusing most psychiatrists, psychologists and therapists of generally focusing too much on individual culpability instead of on the impacts of social circumstances.
“Because of its conviction that attitude is everything, conventional approaches put the onus of responsibility on the poor for their poverty,” writes Smith. “Conventional counseling and therapy isn’t even focused on this problem, much less is it offering a solution to it.”
He writes that, “There is no evidence that this [mental health professionals] group suffers lower rates of depression than the rest of the population, nor any that any kind of therapy has a cure for it. In fact, the evidence suggests that the mental health profession plays a crucial role in perpetuating a status quo within which depression is said to be growing by leaps and bounds.”
Robin Williams, Mental Health, and Social Insanity (Counterpunch, August 18, 2014)