Dear Boston Globe, Part II: You Forgot the Facts


So many terrible things have happened in the last 48-hours or so. On Tuesday, July 5, Alton Sterling was brutally executed by police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. On Wednesday, July 6, another black man, Philando Castile also lost his life at the hands of the police in Minnesota as he sat in his car and reached for his wallet. That same day, the Murphy Bill passed the House, and you released your second ‘Spotlight on Mental Health Care’ Globe article, this time called  ‘The Desperate and the Dead: Police Confrontations.’ (Couldn’t you at least have pretended to hear us just a little bit and have ditched that sensationalized title by now?)

These things are not equal. In no way is an article in some newspaper even close to the same as the brutal murder of yet another black man at the hands of the police. (Though, interesting, that you should be focusing on police killings at this moment in time.) In some ways, it’s silly to mention them all even in the same paragraph.  (As a white woman I’m painfully aware that I both have no idea what it is like to live as black in America, and I have a responsibility to not look away and onto other issues that are more comfortable for me for that very same reason. I at least want to pause to name that here, even if I am not always sure what to do.) But, there is a connection.

These things are all the acts of cowards masquerading as the brave. I’m sure you’ll find this to be a harsh statement where yourselves and your Globe friends are concerned, but read on to understand.

In regards to the Globe’s piece in all this, I’ve learned a fair amount in the relatively few days since you kicked off this series. Here’s the top two lessons gathered thus far:

  1. You’re bad at statistics: And, I don’t just mean bad mathematically. I mean you seem to be intentionally twisting numbers for your own gratification, and to prop up the opinions of the powers that be. As some of you may recall, for a brief moment (and only for the sake of experimentation), I agreed to accept at face value your ‘10% of murders committed by the mentally Ill’ figure, and to also accept the National Alliance on Mental Illness’ (NAMI) ‘18.5% of people are mentally ill at any given time’ assertion.

Then I did my own math:

Let’s say we have 1000 people. Bearing in mind the assumptions above, that would mean 185 are ‘mentally ill’ and 815 are apparently just fine. Then we have 100 hypothetical murders, and we propose that people among the 185 group are responsible for 10% of them.

Based on those figures (and assuming one person per murder, which is a bit of a simplification, but never mind), that would mean that about 5.4% of the ‘mentally ill’ group are murderers, whilst 11% of the ‘non mentally ill’ have also committed the same crime.

I offered that to you, and here was your retort: We aren’t using NAMI’s 18.5% figure. We’re using NAMI’s 4% figure.

Well, okay, then! That does change things. Except. Except! Apparently, 18.5% refers to the ‘generally mentally ill,’ and 4% refers to those with ‘severe and persistent mental illness,’ (or ‘SPMI’ as some like to say), and you’re mixing the two up all willy nilly and such.

Let me remind you that your very own disclaimer reads:

“The Globe included cases where reporters found that the accused had some indication of mental illness, such as being diagnosed with a mental disorder, spending time in a psychiatric hospital, taking psychiatric medication, acting suicidal, or being found unfit for trial or not guilty by reason of insanity”

Well-studied reporters such as yourselves certainly know that several of those points above would qualify one for the 18.5% group, but not automatically for the 4%’ers club. How can you, on the one hand, employ such broad criteria to rule in murders to your database, while using that smaller percentage of ‘mentally ill’ that rules the vast majority out? It’s like you’re purposefully using the biggest nominator in combination with the smallest denominator to distort the numbers in favor of your premise.Globe statistics explanation

It’s confusing, I know, this statistical mixing of apples with oranges. For anyone who wants to better understand what I mean, see my ‘bunny’ side bar.

But, for now, suffice to say… you can’t do that! I mean, apparently you can because you’re ‘The Globe,’ but it’s bad. For sure, you’re going to come along again at some point and tell me how I’ve still got this all wrong, but anyone who’s paying any attention at all to your various disclaimers and loose definitions is going to be able to see that.

  1. ‘Nothing About Us Without Us’ might as well be the name of some pop song playing in the background of your newsroom for all you care: You are consulting some of the most conservatively biased people in the industry. You claim no ties to places like the Treatment Advocacy Center, but everything seems perfectly timed, including your latest release which has coincided oh so neatly with the very day that the Murphy Bill went to vote in the House.

Meanwhile, you’ve essentially cordoned off those who have firsthand experience receiving mental health services into a closed Globe statistics explanationFacebook group that is incredibly difficult to navigate and where we will largely only be heard by each other (and the few others who seem to go there solely to lament that we have even that much voice). You’ve failed to represent us in your articles, your editorials, and even your ‘Letters to the Editor’ (the last run of which only gave space to two psychiatrists and two parents, one of them incidentally the head of the Massachusetts NAMI group that just championed the anticipated passing of the aforementioned Murphy legislation). We can’t even comment directly on the editorials without going through the tedious task of registering (a process full of technical glitches and delays) and paying a fee.

And, when we challenge you directly in the Facebook group we are ignored, kicked out, or offered responses that mirror the scripted variety I’m used to receiving from Comcast when I’m unlucky enough to have to call their late night (second string) support team for help. (Thank you very much, Globe reporter, Todd Wallack. Step away from the canned responses, if you would.)

Surely, you must know that there is a history of marginalization of those who’ve been diagnosed and treated, right? Have you ever even heard the phrase, ‘Nothing About Us Without Us?’ Have you considered what it means?

The ‘gold standard’ crisis training you cite for the police in your most recent article also generally suffers from the same fault. How does the simulated voice hearing you report on do anything other than imbue fear? (And why are you necessarily equating voice hearing with ‘illness’?) Voice simulation exercises must be combined with training from people who hear voices in order to understand what that experience can mean or what might be helpful to someone who’s experiencing it. (And, I do not mean people who’ve been yanked out of their lives by NAMI to tell their stories without ever having been given a chance to build their own knowledge base or sense of empowerment.) We happen to be lucky enough to have some of the only national trainers on Hearing Voices living in our very own state. Why aren’t you or the police talking to them?

There are so many of us eager to be heard beyond some Facebook forum with all its jumbled threads and bickering. Afford us the same space and opportunity to be seen as credible.

We are waiting, but we are tired of doing just that.

More about the current article: I am reminded that just a few days ago, a member of the ‘Spotlight’ Facebook crowd presented the story of a man (Kelly Thomas) diagnosed as ‘schizophrenic’ who was beaten to death by police. Bafflingly, she offered that story as evidence of the need for forced outpatient commitment (what you and others insistently and euphemistically refer to as ‘Assisted Outpatient Treatment’ or ‘AOT’).

Yes, in order to stop police officers from beating an unarmed man to death, that unarmed man should have been subjected to forced psychiatric drugging so that he’d… act more to their liking and they wouldn’t have to… beat him?

This strikes me as not dissimilar from those who would blame a woman for being raped based on the length of her skirt
or how much she had to drink. Is it too much to expect that police simply wouldn’t do that? And that they’d be given the
proper training and support to live up to their mission?

Police are, after all, servants of the public. All the public. And speaking of missions, I looked up the mission statement of several police departments. Here’s one from the Boston Department, just as a point of reference:

“The Boston Police Department is dedicated to working in partnership with the community to fight crime, reduce fear and improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods. Our Mission is Community Policing.”

The mission statements vary a bit from city to city, but all the ones I read refer to improving, “quality of life” within the communities
where police work. I wonder what that gets interpreted to mean in the day to day? I wonder how that could possibly boil down to ‘we need to force drug people so that we don’t have to beat them?’

I realize that the police have a difficult job, that they’re not all bad apples (even if they are all working in a rotten system), and many in-the-moment judgment calls need to be made. But, I look at your article, and I find myself once again at a loss. It all reads more story (one-sided, told only from parents and police officer’s point-of-view as if it were all absolute fact, then dressed up in your now signature dramatic fashion) than reporting. Even more importantly, it perpetuates so many of the same flawed themes as the last go around.

Here are but two:

  • You continue to confuse distress with illness: The bulk of the stories you rattle off in thispiece reference people who are suicidal, and you speak consistently as if thoughts of killing one’s self are unquestionably synonymous with ‘mental illness.’ Your story references people who were struggling with alcohol and drugs, who’d been beaten by bullies, were grieving lost jobs and relationships, but you ultimately wrap that all up in neat ‘mental illness’ packaging.

I’m not sure I could challenge this faulty logic any better than I did in a piece I wrote back in January (Suicidal Tendencies, Part I: I’m Suicidal Because I’m Mentally Ill Because I’m Suicidal). Here’s a brief excerpt:

“In a world where one can earn a psychiatric diagnosis largely because they acknowledge suicidal thoughts or tendencies, this may just be the greatest tautological trap of all time. In other words, what does it really mean to say one is suicidal because they’re ‘mentally ill’, if the proof of such supposed malaise is largely that they’re suicidal in the first place?”

We live in a world full of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, classism, poverty, addiction, joblessness and so much else that might drive one to question the point of living. Have none of you, my dear Globe reporters, ever stood even on the sharp edges of such pain? As a society, it would seem that the greatest accomplishment we achieve when we boil down such existential crises into ‘mental illness,’ is a big fat pass to keep ignoring what’s really wrong.

Are the police in this story truly killing off ‘the mentally ill,’ or are they more so caught up in the grind of re-enforcing the status quo… ignoring what’s truly killing us, with use of force as needed? As a reputable news outlet, I believe it is your job to take a serious look at that, and sincerely question why you believe what you believe.

  • You continue to speak as if the biggest issue we face is lack of access to ‘treatment,’ and not the ‘treatment’ itself: I spoke to much of this in my last article, but if you are going to keep repeating the same misguided notions about access, then I might as well keep remaking my points, too.

I know this is a huge leap for you to take, but let’s get real here for a moment. There isn’t even any conclusive evidence that these psychiatric diagnoses point to a real, concrete thing. No brain lesions have been found that explain why people fall apart sometimes. Brain scan research is hugely problematic and proves absolutely nothing. The chemical imbalance theory has been debunked. Genetics have gotten us nowhere, in spite of the now decades-long promise that we’re always “just on the brink of a huge discovery.” No one in the medical community even really knows what it is they’re trying to ‘treat,’ let alone how best to go about it.

Perhaps even more importantly, conventional treatments as they exist today are a large scale, inarguable failure. (I mean, unless you’re in total denial. Denial isn’t just for the so-called ‘mentally ill,’ you know!) Yes, your entire next story could be about all the people who claim psychiatric drugs (and even force) saved their lives. But, one can always find people who will say that even the some of the most torturous approaches were for the best. For some, perhaps it’s true. (What do I know?) For others, I see them claim having been saved while I watch their hands shake uncontrollably and they simultaneously confess they’ve been unable to work for the last ten years. It’s in those moments that I wonder most what definition of ‘save’ we’re all using?

Yes, unearthing those whose stories coincide with the dominant paradigm’s desired message isn’t so hard, but I choose to look at the big picture. And, that big picture tells an important story that you seem to be ignoring in its entirety. While certain conditions have improved to some degree (as in physical spaces in hospitals, dramatically reducing certain archaic practices like lobotomies, etc.), outcomes have not. While prognoses for medical diseases like cancer, diabetes, HIV, and so on have shown indisputable advances, we aren’t seeing that with these treatments you seem so eager to force on us.

What we have seen is people subjected to these treatments dying (on average) 25 years younger than the rest of the population, and struggling to live in any legitimate sort of way. (And, by ‘legitimate,’ I simply mean not being so drugged and institutionalized that they’re able to live a life they themselves see as truly worth living.) We see that the rates for suicide are actually highest directly after a forced psychiatric hospitalization. (Surely, that can’t just be because the hospital didn’t ‘keep them long enough,’ eh?) And, if we’re listening (even a little bit), we hear story after story of people who have expressed how very traumatized they’ve been by this system you wish to grow.

The World Health Organization has been telling us for decades that living in places where access to these ‘treatments’ is greatest is actually a predictor that we’ll never fully recover.

So, what’s your hurry? It would seem to me that this bears as much attention in your research as anything else. If you fail to go there in future articles, I can only assume it is with intent.

Now, I do have to acknowledge one deviation in this last report. Amidst all the storytelling and such, you did share the following:

“Six months after the shooting, in the spring of 2007, the FDA issued a new medication warning. Previously, the agency had warned that antidepressants — including Lexapro, the medication Dave Hill took for three weeks before his death — could increase suicidal thoughts and actions in some children and teenagers. Now it said that young adults like Dave were also at risk.”

Great (and special thank you to Jenna Russell of the Globe’s Spotlight team for ‘going there’)! If only this weren’t such an outlier and seeming afterthought. How many of the other people you reported on were taking psychiatric drugs? What does this mean for your broader assertion that people are worse for not taking psychiatric drugs? Are you aware that the period of withdrawal from such a psychotropic is also a great risk (and not because of any underlying issues that a person may have, but because of the chemical changes that ensue)? You don’t say, and so I’m sure most won’t give this lone paragraph a second thought.

I sincerely hope you will pursue this further. And, not just this, but the traumatic impact of force, and an exploration of why suicide rates are so high following ‘treatment.’ When you did your expose on sexual abuse and the church, you had to go up against real power to get the truth out. Pursuing these questions will require you to do the same (and failure to do so represents the cowardice I referred to at the start). Isn’t that what real reporting is all about?

Those of us who’ve ‘been there’ aren’t hiding the truth. We don’t have the power to squirrel facts under any rocks, like the pharmaceuticals (and so many others) do. In fact, many of us are screaming our stories from our respective rooftops. Hear us, and then look (and I mean really, honestly look) where there’s silence or noise only in the form of diversion and scapegoating. That is where your real story will be found. Until then, you’re just reporting the same regurgitated propaganda as everyone else.

My blogs about the Globe have been criticized as being ‘too sarcastic’ by some, but here’s the thing: You have tremendous power from your Globe writing perch, and what you’re putting out there at the moment is incredibly harmful. Worse, you are just one of many who are attempting to paint us into a corner of violence and force. Given all that, I can’t quite find it in myself to be entirely ‘polite,’ but I hope you will understand.

The truth is, I’m not closed off to the possibility of things being different between you and I, or the potential that you might approach the rest of this series in a different sort of way. Are you?


Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.


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  1. Looks like the simpletons are out again in force at the Globe.

    It’s the same old same old…

    – Drugs to nothing to address the causes of problems and do not treat any specific illness. Long term, on average, they provide very little benefit over placebo… and benefit is only defined as dulling down the ability to feel, anyway, not making your life better, not what people really care about, i.e. getting housing, being financially secure, making friends, having a girlfriend-boyfriend, having a good job.

    – “Lack of access to treatment” is supposedly the problem, but all treatment is is recommending or forcing people to take drugs and seeing a delusional doctor who thinks you have a brain disease and makes you more pessimistic. So that ain’t gonna work baby…

    – People are too in denial or don’t have the support to face up to the fact that getting better from trauma, neglect, and not-being-a-mature-strong-human being requires a shitload of emotional support, patience, hard work, time, and money/resources. There is no drug to cure faulty or arrested emotional development. And so more psychiatric treatment – with treatment defined as drugging and controlling a person – ain’t gonna do shit.

    – It is just pathetic to see the ignorance of NAMI fools who recount platitudes like, “We need to get more people access to treatment.” Kind of like saying, “We need to drop more people in pots of slowly boiling water as if they were frogs”… and the simpletons who think they can say, “18% of people have a mental illness, and 82% of people don’t and are normal.”… HOW FUCKING STUPID ARE THESE PEOPLE FROM NAMI AND THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA? More like ignorant, I know. It is pretty exasperating sometimes.

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    • Thank you, Sera.

      You have again cogently written an important blog. Unfortunately many in our communities will miss it as so many people receive only the dominant message delivered from our media which is managed by the 1 – 2% with economic and political reasons for maintaining the status quo. I believe that many of those privileged firmly believe in their own message. My guess is that the reporters at the Globe are sincere in their efforts. Their intentions are “honorable,” and they discount and devalue the perspectives of those of us with lived experience because they are afraid of our difference and dissonance, so to them it must indicate pathology.

      The Globe’s research presupposes the weightier validity of those carrying the dominant message which was “validated” by experts who look and sound and use language familiar to the reporters’ worldviews. I wish that the blogs, articles and Continuing Education opportunities offered on MIA could more readily reach more people.

      It is excruciating to me that this week as we witness violence and counter violence, the Murphy Bill has fl0wn past the vast majority of the House to await Senate consideration, and the deadline has passed for commenting on the new policy to require the Social Security Administration to release the identities of those SSI/SSDI beneficiaries whose funds are controlled by Representative Payees in an effort to prevent their purchase of guns.

      I feel like I’ve entered a magician’s tent where the skilled power-brokers are playing a shell game and I am left stunned.

      Sera, I am grateful for your excellent posts and wonder if we could find ways to introduce pink bunnies to those who don’t frequent MIA website.

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  2. Exquisite. Well formulated. Well constructed. Love the bunnies (cause some if us need it broken down for us.)

    When I read these Globe articles both bile and fear gurgles up in me. Their misrepresentation plays to the fears of the uninformed but they play to me, too. They’re informing me that I can and will be subject to this farce…this growing diagnosis of human emotion.

    I guard my emotions and my full self carefully (as those that know me can attest.) When I’ve failed, I’ve been locked up, against my will, shackled, prone in my own home, “for my own good.” The police were answering to their protocol and said so. They were not there to hear me or protect or serve me. They were there to do a job, one that gave no thought to me, my pain, my liberty or the fact that I had broken no law. A decade has passed, I still cringe at every siren and avoid those regaled in blue.

    The Globe creates more distance between me and those that have not had a similar experience, more fear, more denial, more separation. They do so with no regard to journalistic integrity or truth, having sought none of our voices. All this…when, as a white woman, I watch my brown and black brothers and sisters struck down in cold blood by similar blue uniforms. My fear must only pale compared to what they carry. My heart breaks for what or our society is willing to tolerate.

    Thank you, Sera. If only I could write as fearlessly as you seem to.


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  3. Your articles always provide lots of places to take off from.

    Yes, in order to stop police officers from beating an unarmed man to death, that unarmed man should have been subjected to forced psychiatric drugging so that he’d… act more to their liking and they wouldn’t have to… beat him?

    You got it. This is the mentality we are expected to accept. Which highlights that this is a struggle against domestic repression, not one of “health reform.”

    During the Toronto conference in 1982 I wandered into some sort of mass demonstration downtown (I wondered if they had them every week) and bought a T-Shirt that said “Support Your Local Police — Beat Yourself Up!” Of course the police themselves aren’t the enemy. But they often get paid to do the enemy’s dirty work.

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    • Oldhead, Great (terrifying) tshirt. Yes, the police not being somehow evil themselves was kind of part of my point.. they are part of a terrible system, which drives their actions regardless of how terrible or not they are as individuals. Sera

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        • Yes, ‘all police aren’t bad…’ neither are all psychiatrists.

          They have to make really difficult decisions sometimes.

          And besides, at times ‘the mentally ill’ are doing some really crazy things. If they weren’t, the police wouldn’t have to react that way!

          I’ve heard it all before (as has everyone), and it all misses the boat on the fact that the *system* is the issue and good people in a bad system can still end up perpetuating terrible things.

          These sorts of comments derail important conversations, and need to be shut down as soon as they crop up.


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      • The definition of good is “respecting and protecting innocent life.”
        The definition of evil is “hurting, oppressing, or killing for fun or for profit.”

        The system we live in is run by evil people, not good people. Look at government, psychiatry, corporations, the military-intelligence-industrial-complex. Look at the American governments drone strikes that kill hundreds of innocent people, look at the Patriot Act and NDAA that allows people to be kidnapped, detained, and tortured (sorry, ‘enhanced interrogated’) without charge, trial, or access to a lawyer, look at the government doing everything it can to destroy constitutional and human rights. The system itself, and the people who run it, are not the good guys.

        So when you have a system that is designed by evil people to benefit evil people (you could call them psychopaths instead of evil if you’d like), then people caught up in the system, even if they are initially good, end up shifting towards evil (though often without realizing it is evil and they think they are doing good) because that’s how the system works. Look at psychiatry for example. Psychiatry is a psychopaths wet dream. It gives those in power (the doctor/psychiatrist) all the power while the patient/client has none. Psychiatry is allowed to kidnap, detain, restrain, and force treatment on a person against their will. Psychiatry is based on lies and propaganda, not truth or science, because ‘mental illness’ is not a real biological illness, brain disease, chemical imbalance, or genetic defect, and psychiatric drugs are not ‘safe and effective’. DSM diagnoses are based on subjective ‘symptoms’ which any ‘doctor’ can slap on a person and that person has no recourse to challenge the diagnoses or treatment. If a child is given a diagnosis and prescribed drugs and the parent chooses not to drug their child, ‘child protective services’ (hah) may be called and the child taken away because of ‘medical neglect’. Psychiatric treatments over the years have been more akin to torture than treatment, such as electroshock, lobotomy, hydrotherapy, insulin coma therapy, etc. Psychiatry is a psychopaths wet dream because it gives the psychiatrist all the power over another person and it allows the psychiatrist to torture people and call it treatment. So even if a good person enters psychiatry because they want to help people they are quickly shifted from that moral ideal because the system itself is evil. They may then promote forced treatment of electroshock or psychiatric drugs and think they are doing good and helping people because that’s what the system says when in fact they are doing great harm, but they have been brainwashed into believing that psychiatry is good and helping people, when in fact psychiatry is evil and harming people.

        Onto police, going by the way of the D&D moral compass, police should primarily be lawful-good, lawful-neutral, or neutral-good. But they, like us, live in a system ruled by evil. Which is why we are seeing so many cops in America having a moral compass closer to lawful-evil, neutral-evil, or chaotic-evil. I include chaotic-evil because they hurt, oppress, or kill, and they don’t even follow the law – they act like they are above the law because of a badge and a gun.

        This is why we are seeing so much evil in the world. So much evil committed by police against unarmed civilians, so much evil committed by psychiatry against the ‘mentally ill’, so much evil from corporations with poor working conditions and wages, and especially so much evil from governments against their own citizens but also people in far away countries. This is all partly to do with the status quo of power, profit, and control, and the status quo is merely an extension of the fact that evil rules this planet, not good. This planet is an insane asylum, and the truly insane people are the ones running the joint. You wanna change things and put an end to all the police killings and psychiatric abuse? Then get the insane-evil-psychopaths out of power.

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        • Thanks for chiming in, Ragnarok. If you had to pinpoint was who was evil verses who was caught up in a terrible system, how would you go about that? Are all the evil people even still alive, or are we fighting against ghosts and their legacy?


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          • How to define who is evil vs who is caught up in a terrible system can be difficult, but look at the actions of people. People can commit an evil act (even without knowing it is evil and they intend to do good), but that doesn’t mean they are necessarily an evil person. We all have the capacity for good and evil. There’s a difference between those who do evil because that’s how the system was designed and what it tells people to do, and those who actively seek to commit evil or to modify the system to make it more evil.

            Look at American leaders for example. George Bush lied to the people after 9-11 to invade Iraq where reports suggest up to a million innocent Iraqi’s lost their lives. That was evil. Look at Obama’s secret kill list, and drone strikes that kill hundreds of innocents. And what about Hillary Clinton? She absolutely fits the definition of evil/psychopath (narcissist, pathological liar, manipulative, no empathy, guilt, or remorse). Look at the actions of people (not their words) and their own actions will give it away if they are mostly good or evil. Do politicians write and pass laws that respect and protect innocent life? Or do they pass laws that hurt, oppress, or kill for fun or for profit? What about corporations? Do corporate practices respect and protect innocent life or hurt, oppress, or kill for fun or for profit? It’s different for a person that follows rules/laws/ideologies that are evil and those who actively write and enforce such rules or laws.

            There was a book, several I believe, that looked into how psychopathic personality traits may actually be beneficial in our current corporate system, because it allows someone to lay off hundreds or thousands of workers and not feel any empathy, guilt, or remorse, it allows them to lie to their workers, shareholders, or the media, it allows them to use or manipulate others to climb the corporate ladder to a higher status position and more money. So although this particular book stated that psychopathic traits may be beneficial, it’s the wrong question being asked. If psychopathic traits are beneficial in the current system then it means the current system was designed by and for psychopaths (evil).

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    • In my State, having proof of police (and Public Sector) criminality means the person is “hallucinating” and will be referred to Mental Health Services for forced psychiatric drugging. The people who are witnesses to this are told that “it never happened”. It’s all working pretty well really. I think from memory the statistics show that 1 in 4000 complaints about police are upheld (we can afford to cancel that old ladies speeding fine and it looks like the watchdog is performing).

      It does seem to ebb and flow a little. The use of beatings, simulated drownings, cattle prods of the 80s was slowed after the Kennedy Royal Commission was published and a police watchdog created. This has as a result of a lot of money flowing into the State resulted in the defanging and drugging into a stupor of the watchdog. Hence the need for police to have access to MHS tools. And with the ability to put the ‘heavies’ onto Doctors, we have more organised criminals operating in our hospitals than in our nightclubs.

      Still, “give the people what they want. I hope everybody gets what they deserve” The Kinks.

      Keep at em Sera.

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      • Personal opinion: Ya know, if they ever made Greed, and the exploitation of trust to chase the Dragon of money and power into a mental illness, we might get somewhere. I just can’t seem to locate it in the DSM (Don’t Slander the Money).

        Going to need bigger hospitals? lol

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        • It is just as surely an ailment as OCD. There’s a guy in my town who pays below market when little old ladies sell up. The real estate agents get the listings and slip them to him. Never mind that the lady needs money so she can age in comfort and safely. They are easy marks. He tears down the adorable (and valuable) house and builds the biggest house he can fit on the lot. Then he sells it and can profit half a mil or so depending on how little he paid for the property. Everyone hates him, but he’s relentless. I think of him as the Opulence Addict.

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          • How positively predatory BetterLife. I had a bit of a smile thinking about why these types of behaviours are absent from the DSM (greed, addiction to chasing money and power) and then thought about the people who wrote it. Hardly going to notice their anasognosia now are they? lol

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  4. And, when we challenge you directly in the Facebook group we are ignored, kicked out, or offered responses that mirror the scripted variety I’m used to receiving from Comcast

    Not to mention tracked, profiled, consigned to corporate/government data banks, and possibly wiretapped, and much more. Fuck Facebook.

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  5. You continue to speak as if the biggest issue we face is lack of access to ‘treatment,’ and not the ‘treatment’ itself…if you are going to keep repeating the same misguided notions about access, then I might as well keep remaking my points, too.

    I’m afraid they win this gambit. The key is they don’t misunderstand you, you’re highly articulate. You give them an out by letting them act like they don’t understand. They don’t care. Their job is to promote corporate well-being at whatever cost possible. In fact it’s a mistake to use pronouns like “they” because we’re talking about a media corporation, an “it.” For all you know you’re talking to a computer.

    RFK Jr. says that 70% of news advertising is by pharmaceutical firms. Recognizing this makes it easier to strategize based on a realistic grasp of the situation.

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    • Oldhead,

      Fair enough. On one level I quite agree with you. Except I think these news reporters are just another example of people caught up in a bad system. I don’t imagine they as individuals are invested in nothing but corporate greed and pharmaceutical interests, although I do think they are being used as a tool of that… But if Whitaker could shift, is it not reasonable to have hope that others might, too?


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      • Except I think these news reporters are just another example of people caught up in a bad system.

        News reporters don’t decide what gets printed, editors (and higher) do. Reporters learn what and what not to write to get their stories printed. An excellent reporter I knew some years ago started reporting on a citizens’ group supporting the resistance struggle in East Timor and literally ended up writing obituaries.

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  6. A day in the life of the system, a survivors impression:
    The Boston of shit Globe pours gasoline on witch hunt fires as the “serve and protect pigs” skin color profile and shoot and kill dead, the darker hued innocent people first in between rounding up and gas lighting more and others before delivery to prisons or into the “caring hands” of “angels of mercy” “psychiatric miracle workers” and manufacturers of “wonder drugs” and modern medieval electrical shock treatment high voltage torture machines for frontal brain cell removal and “proper behavior control encouragement”, for as long as “health assurance insurance ” is not exhausted . Then a van ride that unloads on skid row for a reprieve before more target practice ensues. The Roman Empire lined up the Crucified along the roads as a proper behavior control encourager so the rest of the people could be shock and awed .

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  7. Until the 1950s, schizophrenia was characterized as social withdrawal. What? I know. Weird, but I got an online student subscription to NEJM and searched the archive for ‘schizophrenia’ after reading that some place, and indeed that is what I found, in the blurbs for articles going back to 1900 or thereabouts. For more money I could read the articles, but it was pretty clear from the blurbs the search tool presented.

    The first antipsychotic was tested on a highly agitated person regarded as manic, not schizophrenic. It didn’t go as well as hoped. He was taken off the drug and given barbiturates and ECT more than once during the three week treatment. His doctors did write about the case, because at the end of three weeks, he was discharged, apparently recovered.

    If you read about the case in Lieberman’s ‘Shrinks’ you won’t know about the barbiturates and ECT. Lieberman called it a resounding success for Chlorpromazine. The doctors in 1952 disagreed. They said they did not think they had discovered a new therapy for mania and only grudgingly praised it. Obviously not a great therapy, if the patient inspired them to drug him with barbs and hotwire his nervous system him after he took it for a few days. (Thomas Ban and Chlorpromazine in a search engine should turn that up.)

    Since then, schizophrenics have gain a different reputation (wildly violent) as have Chlorpromazine and its successors (highly effective). I am pretty sure the drugs cause the florid symptoms.

    Then antidepressants joined the mix and eventually it was decided drugs could take the place of hospitals. It wasn’t just that the hospitals closed in the 70s and patients were in the community fending for themselves, as every newspaper asserts. It was that all the patients were on the new
    (post-1952) drugs or in withdrawal when sent away from the hospitals, and these were drugs people knew little about. They cause intense agitation and violence and suicidality.

    Even today, family members know worse than nothing. They think the drugs reduce the very symptoms they cause. They think withdrawal symptoms are proof the patient needs the drugs. The patient needs non-existent inpatient specialized care in a setting where no one buys into the biological psychiatry toxic myth. That is what we need: Aftercare for those who have been pharmaceutically assaulted. Until that is known and acted upon, there will be more blood.

    It is jerks like Lieberman and useful idiots like Murphy that prevent progress. There is no voice from within APA to counter Lieberman and that indicts a lots of doctors. Maybe some of the good doctors should hold their noses and join and overthrow the biopsych toxic myth. I mean yes, that would help, and I hope some will do it.

    Patients, pseudo patients, recovered from the drugs or not, have no influence. The help has to come from medical doctors. Go for it, doctors. Heros are needed right now.

    Boston Globe article was an embellished recitation of crazy people killed by cops. No research, no investigation of what ‘mental illness’ is. It is two words, is what it is. A useful label for people other people want to kill. A disservice to all, including cops.

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  8. Yes, the conception of SCZ has completely changed from the 1950s, as you found in your research. J. Metzl’s “The protest psychosis: How SCZ became a black disease” discusses the change from SCZ as social withdrawal in white women in US to how this is presented to us now. There are power points on web too about this, with drug ads showing the target for the Dx and Tx over time. Have not read Shrinks. I thought that the Globe was the paper that R. Whitaker wrote for, maybe wrong here.

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    • Thanks for adding to the history, Eileen. Such interesting stuff!

      Whitaker’s story of how he shifted from traditional journalism and reporting on this topic to learning the truth and coming to be where he’s at now is such an interesting one. I’m hoping there might be someone with the same sort of openness on this Spotlight team…


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    • I haven’t SHRINKS it either. I read excerpts when I come upon them.
      I’ll look for the old ads.
      I thought the same about the globe. Maybe the initial reporting Mr. W did was acceptable because it was focused on bad guys, not the whole kit and kaboodle.

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  9. if only……if only reporters were decent people
    ……………..if only editors only commissioned decent articles
    ……………..if only psychiatry wan’t such a pile of poo
    ……………..if only……………………………………………………………….

    If only survivors of psychiatry invaded the offices of The Boston Globe and shut it down

    I am a UK citizen but I shall end by quoting a USA citizen:

    “I have a dream……..”

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  10. Sera, you wrote:

    “Couldn’t you at least have pretended to hear us just a little bit and have ditched that sensationalized title by now?”

    You write well, and I believe that you mean to be doing well. But at this point I am having a hard time following you. Before I registered for MIA I read lots of its articles, and I was quite impressed by one you had written denouncing Recovery.

    And then of course I don’t want this Murphy Bill to become law, and I don’t want there to be any further persecution of those branded as being “Mentally Ill”.

    But I still find myself having to disagree with you and with the kind of a message you are putting out.

    As I see it, the mental health system exists to enforce the dictates of Capitalism, and so it acts against anyone who does not comply with the expectations of the middle-class family. And so as Peter Breggin has written, the original reason for Psychiatry was to provide the justification for incarcerating homeless men who have broken no law. This still seems to be how it functions to this day.

    Okay, but we all know what happens if you keep jabbing at an animal with a stick for long enough. If people are being branded as “mentally ill”, and then stigmatized for long enough, it is very likely that some of them really will lose it and may well strike back violently. Why would this be a surprise? Why would you expect anyone to behave any differently? And if you have a society full of guns, why would it surprise anyone that some would strike back with guns?

    I read your writing and it sounds like you want those branded as ‘mentally ill” to prove that they are non-violent.

    “Don’t worry, I have been drugged to the point that I am no longer capable of violence. I have been chemically pacified. I have been chemically lobotomized. I have been chemically castrated. I am a chemical eunuch. And besides, I confess on my therapists couch every week. And I AM A CHRISTIAN. So you don’t need to worry about me at all.”

    I am now beginning to feel that people are misconstruing this Murphy Bill, not recognizing the broader political context of oppression from which it comes. Capitalism always needs to have some kind of an underclass. They have often been third worlders, they have been slaves, but today it seems that it is the scapegoats of the middle-class family.

    Pointing a gun at someone and pulling the trigger is very easy, too easy. And at this point it accomplishes nothing. What remains undone is the hard work of organizing and reclaiming the humanity of those who have been stigmatized and exploited. And it makes very little difference whether the scape goats are working in low wage garbage jobs, if they are slaves, or if they are living in public housing and getting welfare or disability. Our economic system still needs to have them as symbols, in order to keep everyone else in harness.

    So while I do not approve of any of these shootings and I know that they accomplish nothing, I am not the least bit surprised by them. And I do not think anyone should be making pleas for pity on behalf of those who already are our society’s scapegoats.

    We are no where near this point yet. But none of us know what the future will hold. And most important, we must hold on to hour humanity, and we must do this by any means necessary:

    documentary about Battle of Algiers

    5 directors discuss


    film segment

    Here, the version with English Subtitles has been taken off of youtube, but some types of subject matter do not require translation.

    Remember that when John Brown led 18 men and captured Harper’s Ferry, Abraham Lincoln said that he was misguided. When Virginia prosecuted and executed him, they said that he was crazy. But very shortly after most of the abolitionist movement was trying to emulate him.

    And then when Abraham Lincoln feared that he would lose the 1864 election, he summoned Frederick Douglas to the White House and offered to supply him with troops in order to do what Brown had attempted, to start a large scale slave revolt.

    We must not attempt to live by asking for pity, or by following the error of MLK and making an open ended commitment to non-violence as a way of life.


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    We all know that when police are summoned to situations involving the so called ‘mentally ill’, that far too often it results in death. Police training and tactics are just inadequate for dealing with these situations.

    And then at the same time we have these highly suspicious police killings of black males, and then this Murphy Bill working it’s way along.

    So yes, these things don’t really connect, and Boston Globe is probably going way too far in making it look as though they do. But Sera, you are still acting like mental illness could plausibly be real, not proven via observable physical evidence, but still plausibly real. Your writing is a plea, not a commitment.

    So you are trying to argue against the Boston Globe by challenging their linking of the ‘mentally ill’ with violence, and with confrontations with police that end in death.

    So you are trying to sanitize the ‘mentally ill’, refute the idea that there is a crisis by downplaying the connection to violence and lethal outcomes.

    And then you quote, ‘Nothing About Us Without Us’, from the newspaper. Okay, well as I know that comes from the Autism Self-Advocacy Network. And it is exactly why I am opposed to that group, because they are committed to the premise that autism and this ‘neurological difference’ are objectively real. I do not agree with this and I would never show any kind of support for it.

    Same goes for ‘mental illness’ when you are acting as though it could be plausible, instead of seeing that those behaviors which get people labeled mentally ill are simply rational and also often desperate responses to the life situations in which they have been placed.

    So in effect you are asking our society to lighten up on the mentally ill and give them a chance at Therapy and Recovery. While I don’t want there to be any more persecution, I also don’t want to go along with anything which acts as though mental illness could somehow be a plausible reality, or that the remedy is to be found in Therapy or Recovery.

    Instead I want to look at the societal injustices which get someone to a point where they are at risk of being labeled as mentally ill. And then of course it makes no particular difference whether or not the individual in question is violent or not. Part of our basic humanity is the ability and desire to take violent actions, well thought out and planned or not, against abusers.

    Make the abusers and make our society prove that they are non-violent, but not the victims who are only trying to stem the loss of anything more.

    People have made the mistake of handling racial injustice issues the same way, trying to seek approval, and hence surrendering humanity, rather than claiming their humanity and committing to defending it.

    Our Capitalist system needs to take the humanity away from some large groups, in order to keep everyone else in line. Getting people to the point where they feel that they somehow have to disavow defending themselves means that Capitalism and the middle-class family have won.


    Capitalism runs by scrambling social codes and then applying it’s own overcodings. My view of this is being influenced by Deleuze and Guattari’s Anti-Oedipus. And how I take it is that one of these overcodings is the bogus science of eugenics and social Darwinism.

    When a group of people can be broken to the point that they feel that they don’t have the right to defend themselves, then by the bogus science, this affirms the view that they don’t really deserve to live. So internment, gas chambers, and ovens will not be far away.


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    • Cat, I agree with you that people should remain peaceful and non-violent in their protests. The sorts of violence written about in the Boston Globe, and in Sera’s article, and then the recent events in Dallas, accomplish nothing and they are entirely unjust.

      But do you agree that when people are dehumanized and denied social and civil standing that it is quite reasonable that some of them will sometimes lose it and strike back recklessly?

      We know what will happen if you keep jabbing at an animal with a stick for long enough. And then our society is saturated with guns. So is any of what has happened unreasonable?

      Do you agree with me that both the mental illness labels and the circumstances and behaviors which are called mental illness are simply manifestations of systematic abuse and oppression?

      And so then, do you agree that we must unequivocally refuse to go along with the concept of mental illness, or psychotherapy, or recovery in any way at all?

      And do you also agree that we must absolutely refuse to ever make any open ended commitment to non-violence as a way of life, because to do so would be to surrender our humanity and play right into the hands of those trying to use the bogus sciences of eugenics and social Darwinism to say that we do not even deserve to live?


      To Live with Honor and Die with Honor: The Story of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

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    • Hey The_Cat,

      I’m not totally sure I follow your comment, especially the first part, but I can certainly appreciate the sarcasm behind your ‘please protest our violence peacefully.’ It holds so much truth about the reality that people who experience so much oppression live under.



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  12. Well you’re still saying that the refusal of the mental illness label is contingent on the lack of physical evidence. Where as those applying the labels aren’t doing it on the basis of physical evidence. They are doing it on the basis of an interpretation of behavior. So your rebuttal may open some doubt, but you still stop way short of committing to absolute legitimacy for those victimized by the mental health system.

    So you are not really rejecting the logical basis for the Murphy Bill, you are just making a plea for more compassion.

    And as you are also trying to diminish the connect between those labeled as mentally ill and shootings and fatal encounters with police, you have indeed established the requirement of absolute non-violence for those who have been labeled as mentally ill to reclaim their person hood.

    I say that this is to deny them personhood.

    So they are expected to live with the indignities of welfare money, disability money, or homelessness, and drugging, and talk therapy, and in general being desexualized, and now also any attempt to reclaim their person hood is being made contingent upon an absolute commitment to non-violence, while they plead for Recovery.

    And this is being advanced, when the entire reason for the psychiatric label in the first place is usually to back up family scapegoating, and this is meet the needs of Capitalism to have an untouchable caste to use to keep everyone else in line.

    We who are the survivors of the middle-class family, of the psychiatric system, of psychotherapy, of Capitalism, of any of this should be setting up our own Foster Care Group Homes, and our own homes to take in the adult homeless and ‘mentally ill’. And from these there should emerge a revolutionary vanguard.


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  13. Thank you Sera! What a refreshingly intelligent presentation. I imagine it was not an easy argument to compose, but you did a fantastic job. Unfortunately, the majority of people have forgotten how to slow down, read, digest, and think critically about the information posted by the media…including those writing for the media. People seem more obsessed with reacting quickly without comprehending the big picture. Perhaps they should consider hiring someone like you, who has clarity about the “truth.”

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  14. Police shootings of the mentally ill interest me. In my situation (and i’m not sure that this method is being used in the US) when my wife and a psychologist planned to plant a knife on my person for my refusal to speak to a psychologist, and have me snatched from my bed and referred to MHS, they decided that it was best I was drugged with benzos to reduce the risk of me being shot. Made planting the knife a whole bunch easier too.

    Jumped in my bed by police (didn’t find the knife when I put my pants on and was searched. Didn’t matter, they just said they found it), and intimidated into an interview with a Community Nurse, I am diagnosed with a mental illness and taken by police in my pyjamas to a locked ward. Police interviewed me on the way.

    Police and Mental Health then make an agreement with my wife to conceal the drugging without knowledge from me, and the FOI officer and my wife run me in circles trying to obtain documents. I finally get the documents proving that ‘suspects’ are being drugged without knowledge before questioning by Police/MHS, and not being informed about this.

    Big problem, however they thought they got the documents back and my claim of being drugged without knowledge was now a symptom of mental illness that needs treating. Until of course I show the documents to a psychologist and then attend a police station. Police are still running with the “hallucinating” narrative, and MHS can’t justify forced drugging as long as I have the proof lol.

    All sorted, get the psych to find out who else has the documents and …… people trust Doctors more than Police, especially when they believe that confidentiality rubbish. And given the ability to drug ‘suspects’ without their knowledge before questioning?

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    • Sounds terrible when I put it like that. Good news is that the mental illness disappeared 7 hours later and I was released before being restrained and injected with a drug cocktail for such serious symptoms as being “grandiose” (“i have rights you know”) and “verbose” (“let me make this perfectly clear, you do not have the right to insert objects into my mouth or anus when I have expressly denied you consent”. Do it anyway, no one is watching and i’m a doctor).

      I’ve got a whole new way of seeing now that the Chief Psychiatrist and Minister have said this was all “reasonable”.

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      • Boans,

        Wow, that’s terrible!!!! *And* I wish I could say I’ve never ever heard another story like it… But I’ve heard similar ones. Brings me back to the CS Lewis quote about tyrannies for one’s ‘own good’ being the worst kind…


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        • Boston Globe could maybe interview the psychiatrist who told me that after hearing the details of what was done to me that it was proof that the system was working lol. And forget that the reason I was explaining to a psychiatrist was as a result of preferring death to being subjected to this sort of Fascism in my own home. Coz they sure as Hell never publish these stories given the ‘negative outcome’ methods of covering their ‘medicine’ up.

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          • 70 years ago it was a Torah under the pillow, a call to the Schutzstaffeinel and yell “get the Jew”. These days it seems that it is ‘mental illness’ and the ‘potential for violence’ that needs to be hunted down and eliminated. Hence the need for media to highlight the violent mentally ill and not a peep about the Silent Violence (see Wole Soyinka) being done in the locked wards (coming to your Community if Murphy passes).

            Even my written complaint on arrival at the Ariel Castro Memorial was disposed of in the bin by the doctor who decided that he could examine me without consent. (I had not yet been examined by a psychiatrist, so could be deprived of my liberty, but not my right to consent. Though even this is a farce when saying “no” constitutes and “emergency” and the person can be treated against their will anyway).

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  15. This is an ignorant article because you describe all the problems with society, unemployment, addiction, poor relationships, past abuse, and your solution is to attack people who want to help with the diagnosis of mental illness.

    How else do you expect to help these people if not by providing them with a therapist to talk about their problems too, a medical Doctor to prescribe them medications that will help them cope with their problems, or get compensation when they can’t work due to their problems.

    Do you have a comprehensive system set up to address the problems of society? Or do you just attack without any constructive criticism?

    The psychiatric establishment is there to help with treatment, there are many people who don’t get any treatment and suffer a great deal when they are unable to function in society.

    How dare you say treatment is the problem without offering a solution to replace to treatment for those who are suffering in “distress”.

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    • Liberalminority,

      It’ strikes me as really strange that I should need to be responsible for all the fixes, or otherwise need to remain silent about something so terrible. I’m pretty sure that’s not how it works in most cases.

      If you look at some of my other blogs, you’ll see that I do sometimes also suggest alternatives… but in this instance what I am suggesting is that the Globe stop doing damage and talk with people to learn alternatives… both alternative understandings and alternative approaches to supporting people.

      Honestly, this seems like a really (to use your own word) ignorant and reductive statement:

      “How else do you expect to help these people if not by providing them with a therapist to talk about their problems too, a medical Doctor to prescribe them medications that will help them cope with their problems”

      I use neither of those things and know so many who have moved through their distress in similar ways to me…

      But more importantly, I know people who have died or lost years off of their lives because of the mainstream belief that those things are necessary and ‘the only way.’

      There is much to speak out against in what the Globe offers. The idea that any media is good media if it ‘starts a conversation’ is foolish. I hope you’ll take a closer look.


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      • Anyone who wants their opinion respected by responsible people should offer constructive criticism, otherwise this is all nonsense that is meant to further your own self interest and not help anyone but yourself.

        Are you going to talk to everyone who has or is experiencing past or present abuse, addiction, bad family relationships, unemployment, about your alternative? Are you going to pay their bills when they don’t have any income due to mental illness? Are you going to offer good suggestions to someone in a bad family relationship weekly? Are you going to help people detox from their addictions? Are you going to show love to people who experienced past abuse, and offer advise on how to deal with present abuse?

        How about using your articles to explain to the readers with mental illness how you overcame ‘distress’ without talking to a licensed therapist, or sought medication from a medical Doctor?

        Maybe you sit on a high horse and feel you can speak for everyone who has experienced mental illness because you felt you were distressed?

        You are enabling people to be victims or make victims with your articles if you can’t offer a solution.

        If you have nothing nice to say, you shouldn’t say anything at all because you become part of the problem when you do.

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        • Gosh, this all seems a little nonsensical to me, liberalminority.

          You say: “Are you going to talk to everyone who has or is experiencing past or present abuse, addiction, bad family relationships, unemployment, about your alternative? Are you going to pay their bills when they don’t have any income due to mental illness? Are you going to offer good suggestions to someone in a bad family relationship weekly? Are you going to help people detox from their addictions? Are you going to show love to people who experienced past abuse, and offer advise on how to deal with present abuse?”

          Why would I do any of these things, and what do they have to do with anything I have said?

          I mean, I’m not arguing against SSI or SSDI for people who are unable to work, although I would *very much* argue for a change of frame so that the reason doesn’t not need to be medically justified as I do not believe that psychiatric diagnosis, on the whole, is a medical issue. That’s very different than saying that someone’s suffering or inability to work at that point in their life isn’t real… But, research sure does seem to tell us that the US way of ‘helping’ at present is *increasing* long-term dependency on SSI/SSDI…

          I mean, I’m just not sure what else to say in response to you. You seem to be arguing in favor of a system without understanding the research that says it’s killing people and just overall not working…

          So, I’d suggest you take a look at some of that before criticizing me.


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          • You are arguing against help from the state, and you don’t give any solutions other than your personal secret ‘alternative’.

            Again when someone is suffering from unemployment, abuse, addictions, grief, sadness, anger, bad relationships, what is your solution other than a Therapist or Medical Doctor trying to help these people?

            Do you just merely criticize others to hear yourself talk?

            The system is is not perfect but its helping a lot of people who would ordinarily not survive without the system.

            Honestly I understand you want to protect your right to self harm yourself with a cigarette lighter, but please allow others who want treatment that could help them get it, okay?

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          • I’ve offered plenty of alternatives in the past as have others, and already explained that I am not opposing help, but simply the type of help that is given (and the way that both the need and the treatment are being portrayed by the Globe).

            From your remarks about self-harm, I can only assume that mik is correct and you are someone who is using a new name, but has been around before.

            Given your nastiness and refusal to hear what’s actually being said, I’m going to stop responding to you now.



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          • liberal minority (as a progressive leftist person I would be insulted to be called a “liberal” btw):

            Maybe someday when you grow up you’ll look back at these posts of yours with embarrassment. Meanwhile I fully support them being deleted by the moderator for any number of posted guideline violations, but primarily for general offensiveness, ad hominems and negativity.

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          • There are plenty of alternatives offered in articles throughout this site, and in comments offered after the articles. You don’t appear to be open to hearing much of it, though. Start with the Open Dialog model in Finland if you need an alternative. Or read the WHO studies in the 90s that showed that one of the best things you can do to “treat” psychosis is to move to a developing country where they don’t use drugs as a primary intervention. Or read a bit about peer support services, which Sera actually participates in providing to the “mentally ill” in her center every single day.

            Sera, in fact, is the last person in the world you should accuse of failing to provide alternatives. She is LIVING the answer to your question every day. I hope you’re able to put your need to be “right” aside and actually listen to the answers to your questions. It is not necessary to deny people’s need for support and financial assistance in order to critique the current model of service delivery.

            Stop defending and LISTEN and you might just learn something.

            —- Steve

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          • Steve Mecrea give me a break, are you going to pay for the mentally ill to travel to Finland for open dialogue treatment?

            Do you have the funding set up for medical tourism of the mentally ill?

            None of your solutions or your friends alternatives are practical or pragmatic that is why they aren’t being used.

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    • Hate to butt in but,

      I just spent an hour talking with a client (I volunteer at a rehab) who got “help” with the diagnosis of mental illness.

      He told me about the child trauma moms abusive boyfriend and all the crazy shit, foster care , the anxiety and the paranoia , we shared stories of thinking that there were cameras in the smoke detectors and stuff like that, the hospitals…

      He wants to go learn how to do air conditioning technician school and get job get started in life.

      He can’t. I can see the motivational anhedonia all the “meds” are causing this guy. He has ideas some hopes and plans but he is so drugged he can’t act on them.

      Do you even understand what motivational anhedonia is ? The common slang used buy patients is “I feel like a zombie” nothing I do feels rewarding or fun. Think I will just watch TV and get fat now.

      I know how that feels its like living death “zombie”

      You don’t get that that the “treatment” that makes people unable to function in society. Person has problems > gets “treatment” > dead end . Zombie dead end.

      No one from psychiatry gives a shit about this guys motivational anhedonia dead end. None of those bastards gives a shit keep him drugged keep him quite and shut down, no effort to reduce dosages and probably to damn stupid to even recognize motivational anhedonia.

      You got alot to learn. Maybe there damn chemical straight jackets appear to help during acute distress to outside observers but to the person it is not “better”.

      I am going to try and help this young man get out of the psychiatric waste basket. THAT is the solution. No one ever effing helps people get out of the psychiatric zombie for life wastebasket.

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  16. Oldhead,

    Liberal Minority seems to want to do nothing but troll this site as she/she has shown no interest in engaging in a respectful dialogue with anyone. I would suggest that people not engage him/her and report comments to the administrator that are particularly nasty.

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  17. Liberalminority wrote: Your alternatives obviously aren’t working, or they would be in practice right now.

    Oh sure, the multi billion dollar a year psychiatric pharmaceutical industry is going to say hey look at these alternatives they work better than what we are selling lets put those into practice right now !! Those billions we make mean nothing to us we want people to have only the very best treatment !!

    Your alternatives obviously aren’t working, or they would be in practice right now.

    I vote that one as the funniest MIA comment of all time.

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    • Really you saved a homeless person’s life who was addicted to a dangerous illegal drug with your alternative remedy of prayer?

      You saved someone who came out of prison and who suffered a life of unimaginable abuse, and got them to be productive members of society with meditation?

      I wouldn’t discount your ‘alternative therapies’, but until I see their results helping those who really need it as opposed to what’s already been working, I would be open to your criticism of the pharmaceutical companies and therapists you despise as modern day fascist Nazi’s.

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      • How about those soldiers who came back from several tours in the Middle East and saw the worst things imaginable, did you help them pay their bills with yoga on the beach and enlightening music?

        Did your alternative therapies get them compensation from the VA which has a several year backlog so they didn’t suffer living with a mental illness, homelessness, and unemployment for years while waiting?

        Did your alternative therapies help a civilian who was in the same predicament with social security?

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        • Liberal: I’d suggest you go to the Orthomolecular Medicine website and shop around in the Archives section if you’re interested in successful treatments of mental disorders. The easily accessible archives only go up to 2009, but the techniques used are far more advanced than you’ll see here (though they’re sneaking in here gradually). These MIA guys may be behind here, because their patron saints were originally more hostile to “radical” complementary treatments, than to the present level “Drugs ‘r Us” treatments seen in conventional psychiatry.

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        • Army Psychologist: ‘Direct Correlation’ Between Military Suicides, Psychiatric Meds

          They are disturbing because everybody seems to be pretending there is no link between psychiatric drugs and soldier suicides.

          Half a million veterans prescribed psychotropics without diagnosis

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          • That is disgusting and disingenuous, how would you treat people who saw the worst things in war?

            If a medication can keep their demons away and them off harder illegal drugs and alcohol you are doing them a disservice with this criticism.

            Many times they don’t want to take the medications, it is not because they are on the medications which cause their harm.

            At least allow those who benefit from the medications to survive longer and try to work through their experiences with a competent therapist before you snatch their only crutch away so they fall.

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          • Thanks, “The_cat”, for another great comment, as usual!….
            This is a reply to “liberalminority”, below – but there’s no “reply” button down there! LOL!….
            First, ‘liberalminority”, it’s YOUR COMMENT which I find “disgusting and disingenuous”. Those fols who “saw the worst things in war”, as you put it, were not as well prepared and trained as they coulda’-shoulda-woulda’ been, and the LIES of the pseudoscience drug racket known as “biopsychiatry” bear a large responsibility for that. A staggering percentage of active duty military are on DRUGS. Um, I mean “meds”. Both Ritalin and Adderall are basically methamphetamine, with similar effects profiles. Even combat-zone troops are drugged at very high rates, 25 – 50%+, and more. Both of the links “The_cat” provided above will show more evidence of what I’m saying here. Those “harder illegal drugs”, and alcohol, are both used widely and rampantly in all ranks. As “The_cat” says, MOST active duty and veteran suicides DO involve persons taking prescribed DRUG “mads”. Most so-called “anti-depressant”/SSRI’s have had an FDA-mandated “black box warning” regarding their tendency to induce suicidal thoughts and behaviours for over 20 years! The “Prozac defense” has even been used in murder trials. If the “only crutch” propping up somebody is an RxDRUG, then they have already fallen. Why don’t YOU actually go out and find a veteran, and talk to them? You seem to get all your “facts” from lame-stream popular media. And, yes, much of what you CLAIM, – is factually and provably WRONG…. You really don’t know what you’re talking about, and that explains the responses and rebuttals you’ve been getting. And, in “Navy Photos of the Day”, recently, a female sailor was shown leading a Yoga class on the deck of a forward-deployed nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. Yoga is one of the fastest growing exercise and healing modalities in the military…..Please spend more time in reading and research, and less time posting errant nonsense, ok?. ~B./

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  18. INCREDIBLE…the “families in mental health crisis act (HR 2646) is being sold with a big falsehood. Rep. Murphy markets the bill on his official web platform,, with outright false information. He would have met with every other representative in the house and probably all the senators by now, spewing this rubbish, when opposite is true.

    It says this:

    “Untreated serious mental illness in recent acts of mass violence – Adam Lanza (Newtown, CT), James Holmes (Aurora, CO), Jared Loughner (Tucson, AZ), Aaron Alexis (Washington, DC), Elliot Rodger (Santa Barbara, CA) – demands action.”*

    In this PDF:

    This bill goes to the senate next and I strongly advise all of us, including myself, to write or call our senators and inform that that Murphy promoted his bill with false information. You don’t have to prove the drugs are harmful, just that he used cases of treated patients and called them untreated. (If you cite anything, make it mainstream, as in, not

    One place to get house and senate contact info
    (I run ad blockers and spyware disablers and can’t load the official .gov sites)

    * Loughner is the only one that had never been to a psychiatrist and was not a current or very recent user of psych drugs AFAIK. He supposedly smoked Salvia divinorum a lot, but I don’t what’s officially known about his drug use or toxicology)
    ( )

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    • Between now and when the Senate moves to screw us we could be compiling information from Breggin and others regarding these psych drug shooters. We could use reverse scare tactics — i.e. the Murphy bill puts us all in danger of drugged up people shooting up our schools and workplaces.

      Thanks for gathering this info; could you maybe write up encapsulations of the shooters and shootings you mention in press release style, with the main points in the first couple sentence followed by longer elaborations, then post them here as samples for people who want to write letters? (I’m pretty frustrated by all those who have written Murphy articles here then failed to show up with info and tactical suggestions when it counts.)

      And would people nag MIA again about putting up a “Murphy Watch” section on the home page?

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    • I think the Senate vote is in a couple weeks. The next big distraction will be the conventions so I’m guessing they might use that as their smokescreen like they did with July 4. .Again, a real vacuum of leadership here when it counts the most. Where the F are all the people who are always talking about “fighting for change within the system” — this IS the system, goddamn it, where are YOU?

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      • Steve McCrea suggested, a few years ago, that opposition to things like the Murphy bill should target forced drugging and, as a tactic, leave the kidnapping and captivity part alone. I see the value in that approach. It is more defensible and eliminates one of the more horrific results of of the K&C procedures.

        Steve, are you still in favor of that approach?

        I’ll elaborate in the forum.

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    • Also — I just read the NCMHR “talking points.” They are totally inadequate in my view and do not constitute a winning formula, and are all from the perspective of those who believe that the “mental health” system is basically valid and just needs some tweaks. I.M.O. this approach is guaranteed to get us screwed like we already did by the House. Here they are, judge for yourself:

      1.Nothing about us without us. HR 2646 excludes the voice of people who have lived experience with mental health issues in decisions that dramatically affect our lives.

      2.The bill expands grant funding and the timeframes for Assisted Outpatient Treatment. There is no evidence that outpatient commitment is more effective than voluntary care.

      3.HR 2646 significantly weakens the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

      4.HR 2646 uses “anosognosia” [pronunciation: as a rationale to relax confidentiality issues and promote forced treatment. There is no scientific basis for anosognosia in mental health.

      5.The bill is hostile to programs and concepts of recovery.

      6.Increased services in the community are needed; they cannot be replaced by hospitals.

      We need our own talking points, don’t you think? I’ll be continuing this in the Organizing Forum.

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  19. A doctor/hospital/nurse(?) could disclose medical/psych/drug history, prognosis, diagnosis, etc., to just about anyone deemed a “caregiver,” and I don’t think the so-called patient had a say in who was a caregiver. It was defined to include someone who provides some care, not necessarily all care.

    It’s called “COMPASSIONATE COMMUNICATION.” (copied and pasted as all caps from the original)

    This is where it the bill lives on the web. I don’t know if the one under the “text” tab is the exact one the House voted on:

    There’s a version showing proposed (or actual) changes, too. The link (below) is found under the “Actions” tab.


    I did just notice something worth noting in the house report (the second link of the two in this comment)…there is to be a “INTERDEPARTMENTAL SERIOUS MENTAL ILLNESS COORDINATING COMMITTEE” that has to come up with …

    a summary of advances in serious mental illness and
    serious emotional disturbance research related to the
    prevention of, diagnosis of, intervention in, and treatment and
    recovery of, serious mental illnesses, serious emotional
    , and advances in access to services and support
    for individuals with a serious mental illness or serious
    emotional disturbance

    Wow. They slipped in “serious emotional disturbance” at some point. I don’t mean to the bill per se. I don’t know how much it comes into play in the bill. I just mean that most of the government concern in recent years has been about “serious mental illness,” which requires a diagnosis.

    They were already stretching it by calling “bipolar” a “serious mental illness (SMI),” when half the time (these days) it’s an adverse effect of taking or quitting an antidepressant and will self-resolve if the poor soul doesn’t get put on Abilify or something.

    But now you don’t even have to be diagnosed bipolar. Just have an emotional disturbance — possibly just an episode, it sounds like — and you’re in THE BIG CATEGORY: SMI/SED

    They’re spreading that net nice and wide…

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    • “A doctor/hospital/nurse(?) could disclose medical/psych/drug history, prognosis, diagnosis, etc., to just about anyone deemed a “caregiver,” and I don’t think the so-called patient had a say in who was a caregiver. It was defined to include someone who provides some care, not necessarily all care.

      It’s called “COMPASSIONATE COMMUNICATION.” (copied and pasted as all caps from the original) ”

      Ah, now I get it. The person who spikes the ‘patient’ with benzos and plants the knife to obtain a police referral (the caregiver), and the psych from a private clinic who says the person has a SMI to a public hospital (the provider, though you didn’t hear it from me) are engaging in “compassionate communication”? Seems a soft way of saying conspiring to kidnap but ….. they call fraud, editing so why am I so surprised? lol

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      • This “compassionate communication” does open up the possibility of doctors arranging plausibly deniable negative outcomes. And whats the chances of someone else finding out about it and catching Doc in the middle of his ‘woopsie’? So any corruption in the system is self correcting 🙂

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        • I can only assume that when (not if) the Murphy Bill is passed that there will be a similar reaction by psychiatrists as there was here. All those who were in the profession for altruistic motives will leave, and more money will be required to reward those who are doing the jobs no one else wants to do.

          So making the law sound like it has protections with these charming figures of speech (assault becomes “accepted practice” for example) and turning a blind eye whilst this rather distasteful solution to our communities woes is enacted might look like a solution.

          Trouble being it’s like defining an alcoholic as someone who drinks more than you. The community thinks there is some science to this scam, and that a person has a mental illness if they don’t agree with what you say.

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    • What I’m getting is that violence, threats, etc. are no longer an essential part of the equation — now anyone who is upset about something, or just not as happy as someone decides they should be is vulnerable to involuntary drugging?

      It really gets me when someone calls Trump a “fascist” with horror in their voice — if things like this can get passed it’s obvious we’ve been living under fascism for some time now.

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      • He’s more like a Libertarian, the opposite of fascist.

        Those people think fascist means ultra-racist, I think.

        I bet he’d be open minded about the Mad in America (book) thesis. He’d deplore the waste of money. In fact I think the right is more useful than the left in this movement.

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        • It’s a paradox. You may not agree with this right off but I agree that the rightward-leaning folks have a more instinctive distrust of psychiatry, but a non-dogmatic socialist/Marxist analysis is necessary to understand the forces arrayed against us. However organizing against Murphy is not a “left-right” cause per se and should not be presented as such. (For example, I’ve often encouraged people to call talk radio.)

          Trump is neither a libertarian nor a fascist, he’s an intelligent blowhard who knows how to manipulate. Neither he nor Clinton will ever be our friends, however I consider Clinton to be more dangerous because like Obama she will carry out lots of murderous repressive stuff that hypocritical liberals wouldn’t let a republican get away with.

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          • C’mon, “oldhead”, *PLEASE* give it a rest, will ya’…????… …
            …a “non-dogmatic socialist/Marxist analysis”…???? – WTF? Gimme a break, will ya? There’s no such thing as “non-dogmatic “socialism(ist)”, or “Marxism(ist)” Both socialism and Marxism are blatantly dogmatic. As are “libertarianism” and “fascism”. And therefore any “analysis” upon those bases will be dogmatic, and unthinking. Yes, politics and economics ARE involved here. The Murphy bill is politically fascist, and Wall St. and PhRMA love the Murphy bill. The pseudoscience LIES of the drug racket known as “biopsychiatry” are inextricably linked with what we’re dealing with here. But I say we’ll get much better results to let the politics take a back seat. They’re distractions. Look at Holmes & the “Colorado theater shooting” – we’ve got *paid* psychs for both the prosecution AND the defense, who give completely contradictory testimony under oath in Court. Obviously, they can’t BOTH be “telling the TRUTH”. Was Holmes “mentally ill and incompetent”, AND “NOT “mentally ill and incompetent””? BOTH at the same time? That’s what the case would seem to suggest. And I’ve just scratched the surface of the twisted mind-games the psychs and the media are playing here. While factors such as Repub/Dem, and Clinton/Trump, etc., should inform us and our debate, I also say they more so serve to distract us from what should be our focus. Confusion and obfuscation are tools of the oppressors. Clarity and TRUTH should be our TOOLS. Let Marx molder in his grave. How would you like it if I got all Freudian on you? Women’s sexuality is repressed penis envy, and cocaine is great….????…. Now, let’s you and me go tag-team “liberalminority”….~B./
            PS: Have you heard from “Surviving & Thriving” yet?…..

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    • Wow, that is REALLY disturbing! Apparently they don’t know or choose to ignore the fact that many peoples’ “caregivers” are very invested in their remaining “ill” and under control of the system. In fact, a lot of “mentally ill” adults got the way they are because their “compassionate caregivers” treated them like crap for years or decades leading up to their deteriorating state.

      Sums up again to having your civil rights removed based on some subjective assessment by a person who doesn’t know and maybe doesn’t even care about what’s really happening in your life. SCARY!

      —- Steve

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      • “Caregiver” – information I have as a result of my ‘treatment’. Once the hospital who had me snatched from my bed realised that I did not have a ‘caregiver’ and that the private clinic psychologist was not my ‘provider’ (200 bucks and a person is now a ‘patient’ with a SMI), that they had been complicit in a conspiracy to kidnap, they started trying to have me sign my medical records over to my new ‘caregiver’. All very nicely and what I have heard called ‘grooming’ in other circles (we will give you these documents if you just sign here 🙂 ).

        So it would seem that the definition of “caregiver” is anyone who has access to your medical records? Be careful what you sign.

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        • And this is when the ‘treatment’ really begins. Your ‘caregiver’, ‘provider’ and the hospital administration now have ears to the ground about what you are saying to your advocate (lawyers). They then provide fraudulent documents to them (in my case they removed the documents demonstrating the drugging without knowledge and contact with my non ‘provider’) and with a little bit of negligence, fraud and slander (oh he is a paranoid delusional raving on about being drugged without his knowledge, common symptom….did I tell you the police say he carries weapons and is a wife beater?)

          Caregiver is now in possession of everything you ever worked for, police prepared to brutalize you for a phone call, mental health have justification for sticking a needle in you for their own fraud, and the ‘provider’ is off doing this to other families for 200 bucks a pop.

          Scary all right when people are being pushed to suicide for convenience by criminals posing as mental health professionals.

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          • Police can’t find their copy of the criminal code so no point putting the proof in front of them.
            Hospital is sending fraudulent documents to lawyers authorised by the Clinical Director. And ensured the ones which were released are retrieved (thanks Constable).
            Chief Psychiatrist is telling lawyers that he doesn’t know first year law or psychology.
            Minister for Mental Health gives a Gold Star as “reasonable” to drug and snatch people from their beds because someone wants it done and went to the trouble of setting it up.

            No one is looking???? Good, coz the ‘provider’ (and her husband a psychiatrist) have arranged a little ‘woopsie’ in the ED. Wait, what do you mean the ‘caregivers’ doctor interrupted the restrain and inject? Sokay, he can’t prove the original crimes and sounds like a nutjob, so no way anyone gunna listen to him about this. And if they do? State will ensure they don’t assist coz well…. they got families too.

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          • “Compassionate communication” – it changes what used to be called conspiring to pervert the course of justice into lawful conduct, and will enable the home delivery of a diagnosis requiring forced treatment with a chemical baseball bat. At last some politicians who are doing something for the community. lol

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  20. liberalminority,

    you wrote, “Again when someone is suffering from unemployment, abuse, addictions, grief, sadness, anger, bad relationships, what is your solution other than a Therapist or Medical Doctor trying to help these people?”

    The help is when people at the bottom, people who have been victimized, start to band together and act. Then, I’ll be with them. But when people are trying to solve their problems by tuning out, like pscyh meds, psychotherapy, 9am New Wine, street drugs, alcohol, no I am not going to help them because I cannot. But I will try to shut off psych meds and delegitimate psycho therapy.


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    • That is the problem with you people, you have the luxury of sitting on your high horse and complain about the only system in place which helps the poor who are suffering with unemployment, addictions, abuse, anger, sadness, all you care about is your religion of alternative treatment that has no basis in reality.

      All you do is sit there and defend people who are bitter about the past because they were forced to sit in a hospital and take some medications from not being able control their tempers when they were out of control.

      Does your ego really blind you to the fact they are many people out there who are homeless, who are going through real struggles with mental illness, and you want to sit there and defend someone’s right to self harm with a cigarette lighter?

      Put things into perspective for god’s sake, all of you. Look for the real problems in society and your movement will be better for it, don’t address the little problems you are offended by.

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  21. Just on the topic of media like the Boston Glob. The reporting of the events in France this morning an interview with a terrorism expert.

    Guest: The media is scaring the public in the way it is reporting these types of events.

    Host: yes, but the government is telling us what to say and what not to say so we are stuck between a rock and a hard place.

    and that’s journalism?

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  22. Some of my final thoughts on this matter, when you look at those who are most oppressed by the system people will support your goals of ending mistreatment.

    None of you look at the biggest victims of society, if you want to see true brutality of the mental health system find those who don’t have access to mental health treatment.

    Look at the homeless, look at those in the prisons, look at the abuse going on with those who don’t get treatment.

    You all would rather them not get any treatment and end up suffering in the street, a prison cell, or far worse instead of taking a psychiatric pill or getting a therapist.

    How much more sickening is that than an anti depressant? Clean out your own closets before you go after the psychiatric community, start helping the people who need the most help.

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      • liberalminority,

        I do not agree with you. As Peter Breggin has written, the original reason that Psychiatry was invented was to justify the incarceration of homeless men who were breaking no law.

        Where I live, they will dump homeless people into the psychiatric system for the slightest of reasons. And then they get drugged. And most of the women are already kept on drugs. It makes it easier for the authorities to deal with.

        And as far as those in jail or prison, there is no reason to expend the resources of psychiatry or psychotherapy on them, as they are already experiencing the intended effects.

        If you are saying psychotherapy, psychiatry, and psychiatric medication are sometimes a good thing, then you could just as well say that alcohol and street drugs are good things.

        And everybody wants to do well. Everybody wants the respect and admiration which comes from friends and family when one has been able to develop their abilities and apply them to a worthy cause.

        But what we have here is the middle-class family which is built on a fallacy, that children are inherently lazy, and so parents need to break them in order to instill the Self-Reliance Ethic. This ethic is just a repacking of the religious doctrine of Original Sin. It makes people guilty without evidence, until they can prove otherwise.

        And so we have our future Einstein’s, Mozart’s, and Elon Musk’s being turned into Homer Simpson’s.

        We must stop acting like mental illness is real, or that people need therapy. We must start organizing and standing up for ourselves and each other, and rejecting any and all approaches which involve making appeals to pity.


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        • You are mistaken not every criminal was on an anti depressant medication, there are many people in prison and never took an anti depressant medication.

          The psychiatric institution keeps many out of prison or homelessness by giving them these drugs to combat their negative feelings living in oppression.

          It only appears that the most vulnerable are abused by psychiatry because it is intended to treat the oppressed.

          Just be competent in your criticism of it and don’t exaggerate like this website is encouraging, without psychiatry more people would be in prison and more people would be homeless.

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          • “liberalminority”:
            1. Nobody said “every criminal was on an anti-depressant DRUG”. You’re twisting words, and mis-quoting and mis-characterizing. Please stop doing that….
            2.Our gross over-incarceration is the direct result of both the “War On Crime”, and so-called “War On(some)Drugs(sometimes”, and private, for-profit prisons. Geo Corp., and CCA/Corrections Corp of America, are only 2 of the largest, for-profit prison companies which are driving the explosion of incarcerating the so-called “mentally ill”. Psych drugs are WIDELY used in prisons, with or without direct psych supervision, as means of behavior control. They are DRUGS, not “meds”. Please stop with the fraudulent euphemisms. Psych DRUGS do NOT “combat negative feelings”, as you suggest. Yes, psychiatry continues to create oppressed persons. And oppress them. Life-long SLAVERY to psych drugs is the implicit goal of the Guild. The pseudoscience LIES of so-called “biopsychiatry” have done, and continue to do, far more harm than good. And, it’s clear to me, that you have no direct, LIVED experience of much of the blather you post here…. Let me tell you about my lady friend, who was recently, again, hauled off by the Sheriff’s, in handcuffs and shackles, because she doesn’t like being force-drugged…. You really don’t have a clue, dude….

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          • “It only appears that the most vulnerable are abused by psychiatry because it is intended to treat the oppressed. ”


            You speak non-sense. Those already oppressed are the most vulnerable.

            And as far as your idea that drugs somehow help people, you speak like someone who is addicted to recreational drugs, be they bought in a back alley, or bought in a pharmacy.


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