Involuntary Hospitalization: What’s Love Got to do With it?

Noel Hunter, PsyD
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Psychiatry is the most powerful medical profession in existence. Aside from those doctors who might commit a person because of the fatal health risk they pose to society (i.e., tuberculosis), psychiatrists and their associated mental health professionals are the only medical persons who can legally take away a person’s rights when they have committed no crime. Unlike those doctors who might commit a TB patient, however, psychiatrists can also force their “care” onto another person whether he agrees to it or not. It is a power that is unbelievable in an era where “freedom” is the quintessential goal of humanity.

On the surface, arguments about how some people have benefitted from the time spent in hospital and have had their lives saved by being committed are compelling. Indeed, it has been found that many individuals who have experienced suicidal impulses have been saved by time or blocking access to the means by which one might complete suicide. Most suicides, though, are not impulsive; they are the result of chronic feelings of oppression, helplessness, hopelessness, loneliness, anger, frustration, terror, and victimization. Interestingly, these are the same adjectives many persons who have been through the psychiatric system use to describe the very system that is supposedly “saving” them from that which is being inflicted. Hmmmmm….doesn’t sound like a whole lot of love there.

I have worked in many outpatient and inpatient settings. I have seen the conflicting messages portrayed to mental health professionals from patients, from “I hate you” (guaranteed to lead to a “personality disorder” diagnosis) to “You have saved my life, you are the greatest doctor on Earth.” One can forgive the singular professional from having conflicts on whether or not it is best to hospitalize someone “for their own good.” It is a worthy debate that I, like another commenter recently suggested, would love to see take place center stage at an APA conference.

Studies are also conflicting; there is no way to know what a person who died from suicide might have benefitted from and there is no way to experimentally show the effects of an involuntary hold versus letting the person go off on their own.  Additionally, I cannot think of any way to ever measure the vast number of people who fear reaching out to a mental health professional when in distress because they might be punished for doing so (i.e., by being hospitalized). I’m pretty certain there are plenty of individuals who die from suicide precisely because they could not get help for fear of commitment. Science cannot be the only deciding factor. We must listen to those people who have been there.

This is a moral issue. The question as to whether or not any human being in a democratic, free society should have the right to strip another human being of his or her autonomy for any reason other than as the result of a crime having been committed is a question that goes beyond the realms of science. Even giving the benefit of the doubt that any, some, or even most people benefit from involuntary hospitalization, does this make it justifiable? There is a fad in current society to never be extreme, to always find the middle ground, to avoid the demonized “black-and-white-thinking.” This is ridiculous. I stand pretty firm in my extreme positions on believing that there should never be any justification for rape. Or for slavery. Or for discrimination and racism. And, in line with these, for involuntary commitment when no crime has been committed.

Having said that, however, I also understand the dilemma of mental health professionals. I am one. I have been fortunate thus far to not be in a position where I might have to make a decision as to hospitalizing someone. For certain, this luck will be coming to an end in the very near future. What will I do? Will I stand by my principles and risk not only losing my job but also any chance that I will ever graduate, get licensed, and get an opportunity to provide real alternatives to some people? Will I follow the rules and justify it by admitting that I am sacrificing one to possibly help many in the future? Will I even have the chance to find out after this article goes live? I humbly admit, at the risk of much backlash, that I do not know what I would do. What I do know with 100% certainty, however, is that I will not pretend that I am doing something “for someone else’s good” and then pat myself on the back.

Here is an analogy:

I have been a personal trainer for 10 years. My clients come to the gym, sometimes grudgingly, and willingly have me torture them for their own good. I offer advice about things like “maybe broccoli is better for you then a plate of French Fries.” My clients are generally thankful for the help I have provided, even if they also sometimes hate me for it. But, I am pretty certain that the day I take a handful of broccoli and shove it down one of their throats while telling them “this is what’s best for you” is the day that I stop being helpful. The day that I show up at a client’s house, drag them from their bed, throw them into a locked gym and tell them “Work out now or you’ll never get out” is the day that I become a tyrant. Guess what? Working out and eating vegetables IS what is best for my clients, but forcing them to do so is, quite frankly, insanity. Some might argue and say this analogy is irrelevant because the dangers of poor eating and missing workouts are nothing compared to someone who is suicidal. Really? What would you say, then, in regards to my clients who are morbidly obese, with frighteningly high blood pressure and the risk of heart attack looming over every second of their day? Do I justify these behaviors then?

What I find most intriguing are the lengths to which mental health professionals will go to justify their power (or worse, pretend they don’t have power) and to ward off any insinuation of wrong doing or responsibility for harm. This is especially infuriating when no accusation of personal wrongdoing was ever made. There have been a slew of research studies in the field of social psychology that have explored how and why people will almost universally justify the group they belong to, the system in which they reside (political or otherwise), and status (race, wealth, and power). In general, people will justify these things to assuage their own intolerable feelings of guilt and perceived accusations of being a “bad” person. Further, they need to believe that their actions and positions are just and fair… because we all, every single one of us, are driven to believe in the justice of the world. Even those of us who have experienced chronic injustice still believe that if we yell loud enough, if we fight hard enough, if we just keep persisting, justice will be served. The few who lose this belief cease to be motivated for much at all.

In understanding the defensiveness that mental health professionals have when confronted with the harms of their profession, I have to say that I have completely lost all tolerance for the frequent response from those in power that those who have been harmed are “too angry,” “insensitive,” “un-empathic,” or other suggestions that marginalized and oppressed group should consider the feelings of those in power when protesting. Nicki Minaj has provided quite a bit of controversy lately in expressing her outrage over the constant bias and discrimination against black women in the music industry. The only reason this is controversial is because white artists are protesting that their feelings are hurt because the black woman was too angry in her criticism. WHAT?!?! Read some of this

http://everydayfeminism.com/2015/09/lessons-on-tone-policing/

http://www.salon.com/2015/08/28/miley_cyrus_has_learned_nothing_why_her_shots_at_nicki_minaj_were_so_tone_deaf_partner/

Even more powerful is this excellent piece by Reni Eddo-Lodge: Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race. All one needs to do is replace the word “white” with “mental health professional,” replace the word “person of colour” with “psychiatric survivor,” and the word “race” with “mental health” and it says everything so clearly. And, if you read this article and still don’t get it then you are part of the problem.

The term “tone-policing” has arisen to describe what is happening when white people tell black people to stop being so “angry” and “rude.” These articles also describe how often those individuals expressing their frustration with discrimination and oppression start off level-headed, polite, even-keeled, and every other synonym for the same; it is when they keep getting ignored and dismissed that the “tone” gets heavier and more insistent, until finally someone notices. But, one doesn’t even need to be “angry” to have their tone policed when expressing that a particular group is responsible for the mistreatment of another. This quote is a pretty polite way of saying what needs to be said: “It is oppressive and unhelpful when people police the way we speak about our struggles.” Precisely.  I couldn’t have said it better myself.

The very real dilemma surrounding involuntary commitment is one that cannot be solved by intellectual debates. This is a moral debate about human rights violations, oppression, discrimination, and systemic harm that is being perpetrated in the name of “treatment.” Yes, some people are in fact helped and even “saved.” But, this does not justify tyranny in my humble opinion (and I concede that perhaps my opinion is wrong). A crucial dialogue cannot take place on this subject if those in power are more concerned with their hurt feelings and defending their personal actions than actually hearing and learning from those who have been harmed. Laws must be changed and the moral implications need to be screamed from the mountain tops, no matter how many diagnoses are accrued for doing so. And, I’m tired of walking on egg shells and worrying about ensuring that no one’s feelings are hurt in the process. No matter how polite or nice or empathic I am in my outspoken criticisms of the actions within this field, it fails to matter. My tone is not the problem. Neither is the problem the tone of those who have been traumatized and tortured by their experiences. Can we just get real? I fear the answer to that question.

36 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Noel,

    Excellent article!
    The point that you make about suicidal feelings coming about after years of hopelessness and helplessness is crucial. Maybe there are people who suddenly feel suicidal without long standing struggles, but I have never met someone like that. I never send people to hospital, as it is crucial when working with someone who does feel intense emotional pain to be able to build a trusting relationship and to be able to sit with and hold their pain in some way. As you point out, psychiatric hospital tend to increase the very feelings of futility that people may struggle with.
    About the only time I have seen people benefit from psychiatric hospitalization is when the poor treatment they receive allows them to express anger or rage that previously has been turned against themselves. The provocation of this anger sometimes help people recognize the abuse they have suffered in life, and helps them to stop feeling hopeless and self hating. However, more often, psychiatric hospitalization just increases feelings of hopelessness.

  2. Noel

    Great blog on a most important question. You have covered all the main excuses that people working inside the system use to justify ‘force.’

    ‘Force’ apologists do not want to answer the question: how many people have committed suicide because of the accumulation of negative experiences with the prior use of ‘force’ directed against them within the current mental health system?

    Noel, I will soon write about my experiences over the last year and half challenging the ‘system’ (community mental health) from inside the ‘beast.’ It is not easy, but I am convinced that with your overall strong political stance and your well earned sense of humility, you are going to do just fine.

    Comradely, Richard

  3. I have personal experience with psychiatric incarceration. About 15 odd years ago, in my mid to late teens, I had difficulty coping due to certain things that happened. Anyways, at the time I knew some people who had access to some drugs (anti-psychotics) that made them hallucinate and have a great time. So I got hold of some in the hopes that I would forget my troubles and enjoy the hallucinations. Well, hallucinate I did, and I got locked up in a mental institute for it. Once inside they didn’t talk to me, didn’t offer me therapy, didn’t ask what was going on in my life. The only thing they did was give me drugs. Oh, and take away my belt and shoe laces, even though I wasn’t suicidal (but I had self harmed). I had anti-psychotic induced hallucinations and they gave me anti-psychotics to treat my hallucinations. Hows that for insane?

    Now I will freely admit that at the time I needed help. And I needed some place to be to keep me safe. But what I received was not helpful. It made me feel helpless. It made me feel like a prisoner. I was locked up because of bad drugs in my system, but instead of looking after me while those drugs got out of my system, they locked me up and gave me the same chemical compounds that sent me loopy in the first place. It was like treating a heroin overdose with more heroin. Thankfully I wasn’t forcibly restrained or drugged, but I was out of it and at the time didn’t know any better so I took whatever drugs they told me to.

    I took a handful of psychiatric drugs on three occasions and got locked up twice (the first two times). I got hold of some anti-psychotics myself the first time. They prescribed me the anti-psychotics and anti-depressants I used for the second and third times. If they hadn’t prescribed me drugs (for my anti-psychotic/psychiatric drug induced hallucinations) I wouldn’t have had any to take and potentially overdose on for the second and third time. I needed help. Instead they gave me drugs. The same types of drugs that got me locked up in the first place.

    Psychiatrists don’t treat the insane. Psychiatrists are the insane.

  4. Your best moment is your 100% certainty that you will never pretend you’re “helping” people who don’t know what’s best for them, when in fact you are imprisoning or torturing them. There are justifications for almost anything in extreme circumstances, but that one is simply a lie.

  5. I agree “forced treatment” is wrong, and should be illegal, especially since it’s being used for immoral reasons. I was “force treated” twice, both times by the same psychiatrist, a woman who was not a doctor of my choosing, and who was the psychiatric “snowing” partner in crime of a Dr.V R Kuchipudi. Here’s a little about their MO, and his 2013 FBI arrest.

    http://chicagoist.com/2013/04/16/chicago_hospital_owner_doctors_arre.php

    The torturous treatments (10 different, willy nilly, anticholinergic toxidrome inducing drug cocktails over 10 days) I dealt with during these forced treatments were the most appalling experience of my life.

    I was force treated to cover up the medical evidence of the abuse of my child for an ELCA pastor, in the ELCA hospital in which I was force treated. And to cover up prior easily recognized iatrogenesis by paranoid of a malpractice suit doctors. Psychiatric forced “treatments” are being perpetrated for greed inspired reasons. And such unethical behavior is, according to an ethical pastor, known as the “dirty little secret of the two original educated professions.”

    Since you mentioned the impropriety of dragging people out of their own beds “for their own good.” I’ll mention the first time I was “force treated” I was, in fact, illegally dragged out of the comfort of my own bed and taken to a hospital that was no longer covered by my new insurance group; I’d switched insurance groups due to the prior iatrogenesis. The second time I was forced treated, I was quietly lying in a public park watching the cloud formations, minding my own business, trying to mentally come to grips with the awe inspiring betrayal by my child abuse covering up ex-religion and doctors, who had also created psychosis via anticholinergic toxidrome, but called this “bipolar.” I was justifiably disgusted after doing my medical research.

    No person should be given the legal right to force treat any other person, and absolutely the medical community at large is not moral or ethical enough to be given this right. Forced treatment should be abolished.

  6. I also had experience many years ago with an involuntary hospitalization, which was extremely traumatic and unhelpful.

    Since most psychiatrists cannot and will not relate to people on their level, and since they cannot see through the lies about false diagnoses and harmful medications, people should be advised to avoid seeing psychiatrists whenever possible and certainly to avoid psychiatric hospitalization. That is my “extreme” position, but it is safer than risking the nightmare of being caught up in false labels, psych rugs, and forced commitment for years.

    To me psychiatric hospitalization is about as helpful, and as likely to end well, as the following scenarios:

    1) Going to Raqqa or Bahgdad to hang out with ISIS.
    2) Taking a vacation to North Korea.
    3) Taking a one-way sailing trip toward the South Pole in a one-man dinghy.
    4) Volunteering to be part of the first small group to colonize Mars.
    5) Seeing the gate in Dante’s Inferno that says “Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here” and walking right in.

    Actually, that may be an insult to the things above to compare them to psychiatric hospitalization. At least the scenarios above end quickly 🙂

  7. Hi Noel,

    You have made the point that there is no way of knowing when there is a suicide what may have helped prevent the individual going down that road. This is another very important aspect. Many people tend to assume that it always in the person’s best interest to make sure they’re safe, but forced treatment will often make people feel worse.
    I’ve been training volunteers who work on sexual abuse and suicide hotlines for many years. In training, I give what I call my “don’t panic, do nothing” talk. The main points of the talk is that one needs to stay calm to be able to hold the pain of the other, one needs to not rush into action, and certainly not run to recommending hospitalization, and one has to not try to play detective and feel that one has to figure out whether a suicide is likely. The main role of a volunteer on a phone line, and basically of anyone offering some kind of emotional support, should be to simply be present, show respect and try to make some type of emotional connection. The focus should be on the present interaction, rather than on trying to figure out what to do. We can’t know for sure with anyone what actions may be helpful, but we can try to be emotionally present for someone. In this way one can possibly give some hope.
    Opting for short term “safety” (which is actually for the mental health worker) rather than looking at long term emotional growth can not give an individual hope that someone trusts in them or in life enough to take the chance that one’s life can improve. As you have written, people don’t abruptly come to the point where they feel hopeless, so short term solutions are unlikely to help. One always has to consider longer term progress, and try to begin the process towards that progress with respect and building trust.

    • One of the officers of the police force at the state hospital where I work (yes, we have our own police force and the women and men who are part of it are certified police graduates) said it as well as I’ve ever heard it put. He stated that if you are dealing with a person who says that they want to kill themselves, that you have all the time in the world to listen and talk as long as they don’t have a gun or knife in their hand.

      I agree, the focus should be on providing emotional support and connection for the person who is in pain. The problem is that most people don’t want to feel the pain of others and will do just about anything to keep from experiencing it. Most decisions that are made in these situations where someone has voiced that they want to die or kill themselves are made to make the worker feel more comfortable, not for the benefit of the person experiencing the pain in the first place.

      “As long as they don’t have a knife or a gun in their hand you have all the time in the world to listen and talk.” But you also have to have the desire to sit with that person in their intense pain and to embrace it and them.

  8. Noel,

    Beautiful writing, as usual! Your analogy with the sports training process is so appropriate, I’m going to use that in the future when discussing this issue. I’ve used the rape analogy before, but some people really can’t process the intensity of that one. This gives a great example of drawing a moral line between helping and domination/oppression.

    And it IS a moral issue, and the attempt to redefine it as a scientific one is a big part of why they get away with continuing to do this. It may be helpful and acceptable to remove the means of suicide from a person’s access temporarily, but it’s impossible to see how to morally justify locking people up and shoving pills down their throat as anything but rank oppression and abuse.

    I have faced the dilemmas you describe and ultimately decided I couldn’t work for that system any more, and got into advocacy, but I still believe it is fortunate that people ran into me rather than someone else when they were in crisis and at the emergency room. I hope you can find a way to continue to live with your principles and still be there for the people inside the system who so badly need someone like you to connect with!

    —- Steve

  9. Re: Laws must be changed and the moral implications need to be screamed from the mountain tops…

    I am not near any mountains so lets keep writing and posting and posting till it is impossible to type any mental health keywords into a search engine without a link to an article calling out psychiatry’s crimes and harms appearing first page results so they can no longer deny it.

    I would love to see them on trial for all their crimes against humanity but this is the way psychiatry as we know it ends,

    Not with a bang but a whimper.

  10. Great article, Noel. What specially stood out for me was your insistence that what “mental health” professionals do are MORAL issues, not intellectual ones. Seeing these issues as intellectual leads only to talk, and a failure to actually do anything about these abuses. Understanding them as moral issues leads, hopefully, to ACTIONS that might change things.

    Good work!

  11. Nice sentiments, but it seems like you are already half way to a pragmatic decision to fall in with the system in order to build and preserve a career. Doing something in full and open acknowledgment of the fact that it is wrong doesn’t make it OK. Think about looking for a role that doesn’t require you to act contrary to your values.

    • Maybe contacting and brainstorming with Kelly Brogan MD , ABIHM whose latest blog Psychiatry & Organized Crime far down the MIA page could be helpful . Also check out her links to her talks and her website .
      Once a person has house payments and kids to send to college and/or debt it becomes way easier to rationalize acting contrary to your values.
      Thanks for this great article.

  12. “The Big Difference Between Idiot and Wise Compassion”
    by Ed and Deb Shapiro
    Huffpost Healthy Living

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ed-and-deb-shapiro/wise-compassion_b_841019.html

    A couple of highlights—

    “Another way to see idiot compassion is when we give for our own benefit, not for the recipient’s, because we can’t bear to see them suffering. Our giving has less to do with what they need, but plenty to do with trying to escape our own feelings of inadequacy.”

    “Skillful compassion also means dealing with our own aggression, seeing the violence, anger, irritation and moments of closed-heartedness, fear and insecurity within ourselves. We can bring mercy and tenderness to those places, to the wounded parts, so that the war inside can stop. Compassion is not only our ability to be with another’s pain and suffering but also to see and accept our own pain.”

  13. “Those who are relatively powerless may develop a certain misplaced gratitude to those with power over them — gratitude for ordinary decencies, for less abusiveness.” (Card) If a patient is sufficiently diminished in self-consideration, is compliance with the medical expectation of gratefulness worthy gratitude? Few committed patients are retrospectively grateful for their care. (Gardner) Expressed patient gratitude is not an ethical exculpation for coercive psychiatric interventions.

    http://peoplewho.org/readingroom/caras.gratitude.htm

  14. What I struggle to understand is how people miss the issue. Involuntary commitment aka imprisonment without due process requires that a person be declared ‘mentally ill.’ Now, this is supposed to be determined through some ‘medical’ process; I believe federal law requires two psychiatrists to declare someone ‘dangerous to self or others by dint of a mental illness.’ Needless to say, most states do whatever they want so that’s already not a protocol honored by at the very least my state.

    Worse, though, is that no one on here seems to want to acknowledge that diagnosing ‘disease’ requires SCIENTIFIC EMPIRICAL MEDICAL evidence. Psychiatrists are not acting in any medical capacity whatsoever when they ‘diagnose.’ Neither are psychologists (in my state only psychiatrists’ ‘diagnoses’ are considered valid for court purposes).

    Before I go on, is there any regular on here who is able to see this?

    Because the answer is obvious to the questioning in the article. Only a jury of one’s peers can decide/vote to imprison them. A jury can decide if someone is dangerous enough. The state of Iowa recognizes this. Why don’t people on here?

    Because once ‘science’ is used to justify eviscerating due process when there is NO science, all one has are hollow claims made by psychopaths – and anyone pretending to practice medicine or science who has none to show is a psychopath, plain and simple. We need to call out the essential pivotal lie of psychiatry. It simply has nothing to do whatsoever with medicine. As such to hide behind some pretense of ‘care’ when a jury is just as capable of determining concrete reality (no MD is needed) will always be a tactic of repression and exploitation – a form of racketeering. Psychiatrists are worse than frauds; they’re deeply spiritually sick individuals, who often suffer from ‘serious psychological illness.’

    • Before I go on, is there any regular on here who is able to see this?

      Many people here will have no problem whatever following your reasoning. The problem to be solved is how to best counter the situation, as unfortunately simply exposing injustice doesn’t guarantee positive change. But it’s a good first step.

    • “Needless to say, most states do whatever they want so that’s already not a protocol honored by at the very least my state. ”

      Yes they do. And then they fix the documents to show that they did everything by the book – including testimony from the second doctor who wasn’t even there (corroborating the 1st doc’s testimony), fabricating “danger to self and others” lying about drug dosages and so on. It’s real “fun” when you get out and go to complain to patient “advocacy” and they tell you that no illegal activity was mentioned in the documents therefore no violations were committed. In other words: “we asked the criminal if he/she committed the crime and they denied” – case closed. Is there any other part of the legal system where that is allowed?

  15. ETA: Once the racket is set up and systematized, the psychopaths will simply lie and lie to maintain their power pulpit. Concretely this means that they’ll look at who has insurance and lie to commit those who do, for just one example that’s happened horrifically to me. There is no court to challenge their claims, and since they aren’t ‘scientific’ in the slightest or objective, it’s pure tyranny. Please anyone who has any moral compass and/or equanimity realize that once a bureaucracy arises that is built totally on a lie by liars all that will come out of it are lies.

    The net effect on society is evil. I’ve known some manic depressives who probably could be at risk during their depressive episodes for suicide, but they (manic depressives) exist in such infinitesimal numbers in the population and only hurt themselves. Losing a statistical non entity is nothing compared to allowing the state to install tyranny over all, and besides, the depressive phase is usually non psychotic anyway. If they really want help they can get it.

    True psychosis (material delusions and hallucinations) is inherently self referential. They do harm to no one nor usually themselves, other than to deal with disruption. Again, the scant numbers and non violent nature of true psychosis militates that they and only they decide to get this supposed help, lest the majority lose their most basic liberties.

    This is the only cogent, ‘evidence’-based and constitutional way. There can be no justification by the authority of science that has NO SCIENCE.

  16. In terms of “why” I think these frameworks exist…in relation to risk to self, I think it’s seen by most people as legitimate to lock someone up who poses a suicide risk for the following reasons:
    – Most people have no experience of such states, and find the idea really frightening. In this situation, I think most “normal” people look to “someone to DO something.” What that thing is I don’t think really matters…ultimately involuntary hospitalisation is essentially custodial, they sure as hell don’t provide any form of meaningful treatment. But I think it gives comfort to other people (like family members) that someone is doing something. Reality, no one cares if the “help” does nothing other than “hurt.” I think psychiatry as a profession are the ones who market themselves as the people who know what to do, even though in reality, I don’t think they have much of a clue.
    – Part of it I think is also a legacy of historical attitudes to suicide (largely originating from religious doctrine) that used to literally criminalise suicide. This is where the idea of “badness” comes from.

    In relation to risk of “harm to others” – easy…if people are afraid of someone potentially hurting someone, they don’t give a damn about due process, human rights or anything.

    Personally, I am not holding my breath for society to repeal involuntary hospitalisation provisions…it’s not going to happen. I just can’t see that society and lawmakers are ever going to care enough about “those people.” With this in mind, all I ask is can they at the very least *try* to have a radical overhaul of what they consider treatment(!). Though apparently even this is asking too much.

    • It is the same human instinct that calls for bringing back death penalty every time a horrific crime is committed and will hung even an innocent person simply because the mob can’t accept sometimes there’s nothing one can do and no one to punish. It explains why people insist on bombing the living crap of the Middle East even though it creates more “terrorists” and human misery overall than simply doing nothing. It explains how the Patriot act was passed and how people allow their civil and human rights to be taken away from them if you only scare them badly enough. Not every human being is giving in to that instinct but most do and thus we end up with systems of oppression “for our own good”.

      Sometimes there’s just nothing you can do – it’s not a sexy message that people like even if it’s true. And the opposite message – “we’ll just use force and it will all be good” is so willingly used by politicians and otehr power-hungry persons around the world because it gives them tools to control you. It doesn’t matter it’s not true.

  17. Where there is force, coercion, oppression, power imbalance, deceit, betrayal–and this includes via the ‘do-gooder syndrome’–there is no love. In fact, there is ‘mental illness’ (or whatever you want to call it) because there is social illness. The only way to break the cycle is being at least open to the idea of true, authentic, unconditional love. It’s a process, but it has to start somewhere. May as well start now.

  18. “I’m tired of walking on egg shells and worrying about ensuring that no one’s feelings are hurt in the process. No matter how polite or nice or empathic I am in my outspoken criticisms of the actions within this field, it fails to matter. My tone is not the problem. Neither is the problem the tone of those who have been traumatized and tortured by their experiences.”

    Thanks Noel for stating that so clearly.

  19. “All one needs to do is replace the word “white” with “mental health professional,” replace the word “person of colour” with “psychiatric survivor,””

    We probably should *not* do that.
    But I appreciate what you’re saying here – the cognitive dissonance of group dynamics can get real dangerous real fast.

    • So white people don’t oppress anyone??????????????????????????????????????

      Most people have no idea that they have power and privilege given to them simply because they are born with a white skin. They already begin one up on everyone else, especially white men. They are one up above everyone else, including white women. No one wants to hear this or talk about this. I am First Nations but look white and have been granted power and privilege simply because of what people assume about me. Granted, not every white person oppresses others, but enough still do so that it’s still a real problem.

      Where do you get your stats on rape? Most rapes are not reported because of the way that the victim is treated by everyone. I suspect that your stats are not correct. And by the way, it was a law on the books of this nation, at one time, that raping a Black woman was not considered a crime because they “were licentious and depraved and lacking in morals.” White men were allowed to rape with impunity and it was not considered a crime and not even a misdemeanor!

      • And by the way, the African American and First Nations communities in this country have suffered and still continue to suffer great cultural and historical and intergenerational trauma because of the attitudes of the White community and culture.

        And trauma produces what many like to refer to as “mental illness.”

      • And I hope that you do realize that in the late 60’s and early 70’s thousands of angry, young, African American men found themselves incarcerated in “mental hospitals” with the diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia? I remember the Summer Olympics which were held in Mexico City in 1968(?) where the two young African American men who’d one Gold and Silver in some track and field event raised their black gloved right fists in the air when the National Anthem was played at the medal ceremony. People here were calling them “traitors” to their country and people were frothing at the mouth. The incarceration of these young men didn’t happen by accident, let me assure you. And there was a federal program for drugging inner city kids called the “Violence Initiative” that was instituted around the same time but thankfully Dr. Peter Breggin got wind of that and defeated the carrying out of the programs not once but twice! African American people were compared to Rhesus monkeys who “just want to have sex and fight and kill one another”. This was done under the Nixon administration along with the beginning of the “war on drugs” that zeroed in on the arrests of thousands of African American men for selling drugs. They got prison time while young White men selling the same drugs got probation and community service.

        Read your history of your own nation. Read the history of the psychiatric system.