“Are America’s High Rates of Mental Illness Actually Based on Sham Science?”


In AlterNet, MIA News Editor Rob Wipond examines the sources of statistics like “1 in 5 Americans are mentally ill” and “90% of people who commit suicide have a mental illness.” Are these broad epidemiological statistics scientific in origin, or are they merely politically motivated propaganda?

Are America’s High Rates of Mental Illness Actually Based on Sham Science? (AlterNet, February 18, 2015)


  1. Great article, Rob, with some astute observations.

    The underlying problem, they wrote, is that, unlike with cancer, there’s no scientific way to definitively determine the absence of any mental illnesses and thereby verify the accuracy of a screening tool.

    The same thing could be said about the presence of any “mental illnesses”.

    Is it science? No.

    The answer is: A lot of hay.

    The “mental illness” rate has been rising steadily ever since it was discovered that one could make a buck out of detaining people deemed ‘mad’, and calling it, “medicine”. Every since ‘lunacy’ first became a ‘trade’, 400 some years ago, not only the estimates, but the numbers have been going up.

    We could say we had a “mental health crisis” on our hands, but then that would only send the numbers soaring.

    Do we have a “broken system”? No. It’s not broken, it works all too well.

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  2. Yeah, being older, I well remember the enormous claims of the prevalence of “mental illness” that were made in the Fifties, when I was a psychology major in New York. There was something called the Midtown Study, which every year interviewed people in Manhattan and claimed that eighty per cent were “mentally ill.” We students laughed at that, because it was so clear what a nonsensical overreach it was. Now, as you point out, the figures are adjusted to something that sounds believable. Otherwise, the apologists for psychiatry would be laughed out of court.

    Great article.

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