Who Needs Radicalisation?

Matthew Morris
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A couple of weeks ago I was copied in to one of those email misunderstandings that normally just make you smile because you have been there yourself,  but this time it got me thinking, “What is going on here?” and. “What a messed up world I inhabit.”

A person from local services contacted the chairperson of a meeting that I was due to attend, they requested that radicalisation was put on the agenda for the meeting.  A service user read this and responded with a plea to support and celebrate radical thinking. He seemed to fear that her request was to attack radical thinking in services. The manager then apologised for the misunderstanding and explained that what she was wanting to highlight was some national training that is being rolled out across the UK. Apparently this training is to make people aware of the threat  to “vulnerable” people from radical thinking and terrorism, and is called Prevent!

Whilst this was a genuine misunderstanding that was quickly resolved with a brief apology and explanation, I have been left with a strong sense of irony and scratching my head at another example of the madness of this world that we work in.

I imagined a response that would go something like;

“So let me get this straight, staff from mental health services are to receive mandatory training so that they can protect service users from a dangerous ideology that is based purely on faith, one that has no basis in science or truth? That this training is considered vital because innocent people are losing their life? That people who are using services are more vulnerable because they are more susceptible to the ‘bad’ people who might exploit their need for money, esteem, a sense of purpose and social status? And that these bad people are motivated by the own need for wealth and power?”

“Well, perhaps this might be a very good time to pause and reflect a little more deeply at what is happening a little closer to home! Where is the evidence base to support the assertion that the millions of people in our ‘civilised society,’ that are defined as having a mental illness, are in fact ill at all? We know that the chemical imbalance theory has been disproven, we know that the geneticists have found nothing to validate a theory that people are vulnerable to inherent defects and that psychiatry remains the only stream of medicine that relies on the subjective assessment of a human being.  What we also know is that there are severe consequences for many of those people as a result of these—at best—hypothetical assumptions about the causes of emotional distress.”

“How many people have their lives cut short by as much as 30 years by the treatments based on these hypotheses? How many suffer the indignities associated with the social consequences of having these diagnoses applied to them, often at a time when life has already delivered them events and traumas that have challenged and threatened their worlds? Once you have answered these questions then tell me where the priorities are in challenging dangerous ideologies.”

“If we want to address the exploitation of the vulnerable, perhaps we could also ask ourselves a few questions; why are people who use services more vulnerable? Why would they be influenced by people offering esteem, a sense of purpose and money? What has happened to them that they might feel that these things are missing from their lives? Perhaps the stigma that is the consequence of being diagnosed with ‘illnesses’ that place them on the scrap heap as regards prospects of work, family life and social life could be something to do with it. Or may be the drug treatments that ‘work’ by causing people to be apathetic, diabetic, obese, dependent and yet terrified of coming off them as they have been sold the idea that they were ill!”

“And, last but not least let’s explore the protection of ‘vulnerable’ people from people wanting to exploit them for the purpose of their own power and wealth! Well is there any real need to delve into this? Is this a dark joke? The industry of turning people’s worries, fears, sadness, trauma and abuse into profit appears to be booming and ever expanding. We are all beneficiaries in some way if we are working in this industry, even those of us trying to change it. However, we all know that there are those in the industry who utilise fear, power, and threats. People who manipulate ‘evidence’ in order to sustain or achieve their own status, power and financial reward.”

So where should the fight against the radicalisation of the vulnerable begin? Could the true irony be, when we consider the original email misunderstanding, that never has the mental health system needed radicalisation more,  in order to protect the people made vulnerable from that system from what is just another threat? Perhaps the radicalisation of our society to a new way of addressing emotional distress would give us a greater and deeper sense of purpose, love, respect and understanding of difference that could serve to unite and truly challenge the radicalisation Prevent is attempting to prevent?

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Matthew Morris
Matthew is the Operational Director for Stepping Stones Community Outreach, which is based in Ipswich in the UK. Stepping Stones Community Outreach is part of the Stepping Stones Community of services that provide housing with support, help for people overwhelmed by clutter in their homes, training designed to encourage new thinking and practice, and are registered with the Care Quality Commission to provide help for people that can be an alternative or complementary to mainstream services. Matthew has worked for 30 years in a variety of settings and always as part of new initiatives and trying to implement new ideas. His approach is one of trying to encourage people to harness natural human attributes and abilities in a skilful yet simple way.

5 COMMENTS

  1. “Fighting radicalcalization”?! Probably the most dangerous slogan the Thought Police has ever produced, since *any* dissident or contrarian thought can be labeled “radical”. And, knowing the reckless enthusiasm of the Thought Policemen, all such thoughts are very likely to be labelled “radical”, sooner or later.

    Mad in America, for example, is definitely “radical” through and through! So many subversiveness, heresy and rebellion here – just read the articles, the comments. The smell of radical libertarianism and anti-authoritarianism fills the air here… Such nest of anti-social thought needs to be reported to authorities, quickly!!!

    Well, it won’t be reported by me, since I might be called a “radical libertarian” myself… 😉

  2. My experience with today’s “mental health” industry is they are a gas lighting industry, not a “mental health” industry. Personally, I ran into a bunch of psychopathic doctors and pastors whose actual goals were to cover up the sexual and spiritual abuse of my small children and easily recognized iatrogenesis I unfortunately experienced. But I later ran into an ethical pastor who was kind enough to confess that historically, and obviously still today, such cover ups have always been the function of the psychiatric industry. He called such a gas lighting the “dirty little secret of the two original educated professions.”

    I hope some day the medical and religious industries will get out of the business of raping small children, and then profiting off of covering up such crimes. And I’m quite certain all doctors have malpractice insurance in the hopes they will not feel the need to behave as psychopaths and railroad easily recognized malpractice victims into the psychiatric system due to medical paranoia of a malpractice suit. Unfortunately, the “dirty little secret of the two original educated professions” is not only alive and well, it has seemingly gone viral.

    How embarrassing for me to have formerly thought doctors and religious authorities were trustworthy human beings. Read all about the evil that’s taken over my former religion, the ELCA:

    http://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Culture-Wars-Reclaiming-Prayer/dp/1598868330

    Perhaps it’s time to get the psychopaths out of the so called “caring professions”? Truly, change is needed.

    • Not surprising though. I still remember, from my time being a student in UK, the government-sponsored posters that were encouraging people to basically do a Stasi-like spying and denouncing their neighbours – suggesting if you see your neighbour doing something suspicious like throwing empty chemical bottles in trash you should suspect terrorism and call authorities. It’s state-sponsored paranoia and fear-mongering, while in the same time the government has a free hand in slashing social benefits, healthcare etc.

  3. Wait… Are you saying that the UK believes the mentally ill are running out to join ISIS?
    This is where I thought America was headed after the Charleston shooting, but they country diverged into a group they want to hate more apparently. …

    However, why do people think that just because they can’t fathom a person’s reasoning that they must be “insane”? As vulnerable people have less access to funds and power, not to mention the public view that they are disposable, they are hardly the people that ISIS would see as driving home their agenda. A few people have tried to make a connection between the shooters racist views and mental illness, but I’m old enough to recall that, in this country, you don’t need a diagnosis. You only need a bed sheet. Plus, the KKK would fight back against being called mentally ill repeatedly by the media. It’s a little sad when the KKK is ashamed to be mistaken as one of you. That also illustrates the problem. In the Connecticut shooting, the news media was quick to refer to the shooter as autistic, but in less than an hour, a spokesperson for autism was there to correct them. That was the last time “autism” was mentioned. There should be someone speaking up for us in that regard. Why isn’t there?