“Please Be Normal!” My Experience Working for NAMI

Mike McCarthy
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2590

The numerous articles about NAMI (the National Alliance on Mental Illness) on Mad in America over the years have always piqued my interest because they were so closely relatable to what actually happens at a NAMI office. In my experience, NAMI deserves all the criticism it gets, if not more.

I was employed as a mental health “advocate” for a NAMI affiliate for almost four years and volunteered for three years before that, so I saw how NAMI works for a good seven years. I got involved with the organization for the same reason many other naïve people do: trying to help people with “mental illness.” As someone with a family member diagnosed with a “mental health condition” and having “lived experience” myself, it seemed like a logical fit at the time. I had all the NAMI bases covered: I’d done the NAMI Walks, attended the support groups, and had also worked in the mental health system. I vividly remember going to my first family-support group, which was largely made up of older parents complaining about their adult children’s mental illness. I didn’t think about it much at the time and figured they were just blowing off steam, but I was wrong.

It wasn’t until I began working for NAMI full time that I saw what it was really all about. Up to that point, I had been working for an affiliate of Mental Health America as an “advocate.” It was a job that, at first, I was really excited about. I thought I could change the mental health system from the inside and get rid of all the things that I thought were wrong, such as forced treatment, the overuse of psych meds, lack of housing, and so on. (Did I mention I was naïve?) The MHA affiliate was closed for financial reasons and NAMI got their contract. I was aware that NAMI, as a national organization, was taking money from drug companies and insurance companies and supporting “assisted outpatient treatment.” But I thought an affiliate might be different. Nope.

One of the first things I remember when I first started at NAMI was how much they seemed not to like outsiders. I did come from a rival organization, if you could call it that, but already knew some of the people who worked there and had already been doing the job for a few months. Yet it seemed like the air would be sucked out of me each time I would walk into the office. As if people were talking about me behind my back. I thought I was just new. Wrong again.

As an advocate, my job was to make sure that my “clients” had a voice and a choice in their treatment and that their rights were being upheld by the system. Many clients had been involuntarily committed/forced drugged. I became increasingly frustrated with this situation and felt helpless that I couldn’t do more about it. So I asked the CEO, who was my boss at the time, what some solutions might be.

I said, “I feel that a lot of my clients’ rights are being violated. What can I do? This isn’t right.”

The reply: “They don’t have rights.”

I was shocked and saddened. I was beginning to realize that a lot of people at NAMI—not everyone, but many—looked at people with “mental illness” as non-people, non-human, the “other.” Day after day, I took phone calls from family members calling their children or loved ones “crazy,” telling me that their family member “needs to be locked up,” that “we need more state hospitals” and “more involuntary commitments.”

Inside the office, it was no different. Staff who had mentally ill (their words) family members spent their entire lunches talking about how bad mental illness was and how much it ruined not their family member’s lives, but their own. About how inconvenienced they were, about how it seemed as if their loved one were dead. What they were implying, but didn’t come right out and say, was “WHY CAN’T THEY BE NORMAL LIKE ME?” If NAMI had a tagline, it would be “Please be normal like us.” Having someone with a mental illness in your family at NAMI made you part of some cult-like club. As someone who has a parent with a mental health condition, I was expected to share details about his life. I needed to become part of the “Lunchtime Gossip About Our Family Members Club.” It started to creep me out.

Over time, I became more and more disillusioned with my job, the system, and especially working for NAMI. My own mental health started to suffer. I was constantly depressed and would dissociate in my office. It was obvious to everyone that I disliked it there. Every day I would drag myself home. I can’t speak about other NAMI affiliates, and I’m sure some fine people work at them, but I know that the NAMI I worked for targeted dissenters and people they just didn’t like. They wouldn’t fire you, but would make you so miserable you would quit. I saw a trend of people quitting on poor terms after being targeted in this way, driven out by gossip and passive-aggressive bullying. I know they hired individuals based on their being a person of color for the sake of “diversity,” only to let them go/make them quit in short order because they didn’t meet the “NAMI standard.” After I saw friends pushed out for no real reason besides standing up for what they believed in, I knew the leadership would come for me sooner or later. And they did.

I got my first performance review in more than two years, which was basically a personal attack. A board member had heard and complained about a podcast on which I had been a guest. Or so I was told by the CEO. In the podcast (which I did on non-work time, and never mentioned NAMI by name) I had criticized forced treatment and family-member discrimination. Because of this, I was accused of being “anti-family,” whatever that meant. I had a family member with a mental illness, so the accusation made no sense. I now think what it was really about was the guilt. I heard that guilt on the phone with people every day, guilt about how they treated their family member with a mental illness. The othering. They knew it, deep down.

I pushed back that my podcast had nothing to do with NAMI and that I had never mentioned who I worked for. It didn’t matter. I was told I lacked insight into the things I said. It sounded very familiar to the way NAMI talks about “people with mental illness” and anosognosia. I was told this is a “family organization” and that “we support families.” The lines were drawn. My punishment: I had to attend up to eight months’ worth of classes on how to be a “good family member.”

I was done. I felt helpless, so I quit. I refused to be censored or be trapped in the NAMI cult anymore. In telling this story, I’m not looking for sympathy from anyone. I’m glad I left. My livelihood was screwed around with for childish reasons. It was frustrating. However, had I not worked in the mental health system and at NAMI, I don’t think I would have become so critical of forced treatment or looked into alternatives to the traditional mental health system. I don’t think I would have logged on to Mad in America or Mind Freedom International, whose members people at NAMI mocked for being “radicals.” I don’t think I would have formed a point of view.

I’m glad I no longer work in the mental health system. I’m glad I don’t have to hold my opinions back or be looked at like I’m “crazy” because I think psych meds can be harmful. NAMI is not about changing things; it is about branding and getting money from insurance companies and making nice NAMI Walk t-shirts. It was never about any substance. And it was certainly never about addressing the abuses in the system. The existing mental health system—at least the very narrow one that NAMI promotes—offers nothing to me nor to so many other people seeking support.

25 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you for sharing your story and experience with NAMI, Mike. This is an interesting perspective, “Mike strongly opposes all forms of coercion and believes a revolution is needed to create a mental health system without force, fear, or ‘professionals.'”

    I largely agree. And I think the problem with the so called “mental health professionals” – aside from the fact they claim to know nothing about the adverse effects of the drugs they prescribe – is that they’ve been given “omnipotent moral busy body” status, by our government. They’ve been given the right to play judge, jury, and executioner of innocent, non-criminal people.

    In a country, which was founded on the common sense knowledge that separation of power is imperative, since ‘power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.’ Our government (or was it the “empire”) was insanely unwise, and ‘lacking in insight,’ to give ANY industry absolutely power.

    But our government (or the “empire”) has given the so called “mental health professionals” absolute power. So our “mental health professionals” have corrupted themselves and their professions absolutely. For example, the number one actual societal function of our “mental health” workers, historically and today, is covering up child abuse, which is illegal.

    https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2019/01/23/18820633.php?fbclid=IwAR2-cgZPcEvbz7yFqMuUwneIuaqGleGiOzackY4N2sPeVXolwmEga5iKxdo

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2016/04/heal-for-life/

    Another example of the absolute corruption of our “mental health professions” was, after Whitaker pointed out the massive in scale misdiagnosis of the adverse effects of the ADHD drugs and antidepressants as “bipolar,” resulting in a completely iatrogenic “childhood bipolar epidemic.”

    https://www.alternet.org/2010/04/are_prozac_and_other_psychiatric_drugs_causing_the_astonishing_rise_of_mental_illness_in_america/

    Rather than adding the ADHD drugs to this DSM-IV-TR “bipolar” disclaimer:

    “Note: Manic-like episodes that are clearly caused by somatic antidepressant treatment (e.g., medication, electroconvulsive therapy, light therapy) should not count toward a diagnosis of Bipolar I Disorder.”

    The psychiatrists completely eliminated that disclaimer from the DSM5 altogether.

    And how sad, every psychiatrist is taught in med school that both the antidepressants and antipsychotics can create “psychosis,” via anticholinergic toxidrome.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxidrome

    Yet the majority of “mental health professionals” claim to be ignorant of this medical truth, because the psychiatrists neglected to put this medically known syndrome/toxidrome in their DSMs. Absolute corruption.

    Our government once knew we need checks and balances to maintain fair systems. Today our “mental health” industries have no checks and balances on the “professionals,” so the “professionals” have corrupted themselves absolutely.

    But apparently, since the number one actual function of today’s “mental health” system is covering up child abuse and rape, and we are apparently now living in an “empire” controlled by pedophiles.

    https://www.amazon.com/Pedophilia-Empire-Chapter-Introduction-Disorder-ebook/dp/B0773QHGPT

    We have systems failure. The “pedophile empire” needs to be defeated. And we need to strip the undeserved power from their “omnipotent moral busy body,” “professional,” DSM “bible” deluded, child rape cover uppers.
    Oh, but God forbid, how dare anyone speak out against the abuse of innocent children.

    It’s a shame NAMI is such a corrupt organization, but it’s a bigger shame that all the “mental health professions” have corrupted themselves absolutely.

  2. Thanks so much for posting this. I know how hard it is to “come out” on this site. I’ve been procrastinating for a decade. Calling out NAMI is courageous. I hear it varies though at the local and state levels, although that has not been my experience judging from the one (1) meeting I attended. When I get back to Florida, I’m going to pick up MIA Meetups again, which I had started in Tampa. We only had a couple of those, but I found them valuable. I hope you keep posting. Would love to hear more from you.

  3. Ah the Cult of the Curve. If only they fell within the range of us ‘Normal’ people. Sadly they don’t and we will need to exclude them from our definition of human and bring them under control by any means necessary.

    Shocked and saddened when you found out that those defined as mentally ill have no rights? Me too Mike. What made it even worse was how easy a doctor in my country can remove those human rights by drugging people without their knowledge and having police beat them sensless till they comply with your wishes. We have a media that complains when a gay person can not have a cake made for their wedding by a baker who is a Christian, but simply ignore the use of known torture methods being employed in our hospitals and being called medicine.

    I laugh that the discussions surrounding ‘mental illness’ you speak of during lunch times (oh my family member has type 2 bi polar with ….blah blah blah) is reduced to the big three mental illnesses by our police. Window lickers, psychos and nutjobs. At least they are operating with no illusions of what they are actually doing for doctors. And it becomes obvious that they are aware of the lack of human rights of patients given the ‘outcomes’ we see regularly. Not that this would be discussed openly or honestly by those concerned.Its a tough job convincing folk to be subjected to torture disguised as medicine, and if we can’t shoot a few to scare the rest into compliance where will it all end?
    Anyhow, glad you finally got to see what is really going on in these organisations. Lot of folk never grow in stature enough to recognise their hypocrisy.

  4. Mike, thank you for speaking truth to power and so clearly exposing the attitudes of discrimination and degradation of those working in the mental health field and also of some family members. It is like a gang mentality. “Cult-like” is also a good description. Much respect and gratitude for your integrity and for standing up for your principles and values and not allowing anyone to silence you.

  5. My parents joined NAMI in the 1980s. This was mainly a support group. They said to me that I was compliant and that most parents complained of noncompliance. They felt that my situation wasn’t the same. Even in the 1980s he introduced me to the Vermont Liberation Organization, or something that sounded like that. This was just what it sounds like. They worked mostly by telephone since Vermont is mountainous and most people/patients couldn’t get around easily.

    I believe it was 1986 that they took me to see Dr. Pfeiffer. This likely cost them a lot, but since I was steeped in the brainwashing, I’d say I didn’t get much out of the appointment.

    My dad later rose to leadership in NAMI. Prozac had exploded on the scene but had not picked up the popularity it has today and the drug wasn’t yet passed out like candy. NAMI changed my dad. He had a chance to do a lot of research and attend conferences. He read On Our Own and saw Judi speak in person. He wanted me to learn about this “other way.” Then he started mentioning this bizarre thing called Human Rights. He kept talking about it, telling me I should learn about it. I figured, in my total naivete, that Human Rights meant something in history, like maybe the abolishing of slavery after the Civil War, or the Civil Rights Movement, and couldn’t possibly be relevant to me, here and now.

    My dad’s cancer was starting to return, but he took on a job as “monitor” in the state hospitals. He went to Westborough State, I recall. He spoke directly to the patients and asked them about human rights abuses. He was also highly instrumental in getting Metropolitan State (The Met), which was very near where I grew up in Lexington, closed down for good.

    Years after his death, my mom encouraged me to join her in the NAMI walks. The last year she asked me, I asked 1) if I could bring Puzzle, and 2) if I could run the walk instead of walking the walk. She said I should ask the organizers. If I recall correctly the organizers did not say, but implied, that most were far too sick (from their “treatments”) to be able to run it. This was an eye-opener to me. At the time, I was just shedding the unwanted “services” and “treatments” from my life.

    • Your dad sounds amazing.

      I debated a NAMI guy in a prestigious public forum right around 1980 when they were getting started. I remember closing by demonstrating that by its own definitions psychiatry is “mentally ill,” which got rousing applause. Afterwards what has come to be known as a “NAMI mommy” came up to me with some choice insults (forget the exact words).

  6. Your experience with the NAMI affiliate you worked for sounds horrendous. I am very suspicious of NAMI because it accepts pharmaceutical donations and has a drug-centered approach to treatment. But, I understand that some affiliates are better than others, and the one, very brief, encounter I had with a local affiliate was positive. Nonetheless, I would never support NAMI. It is too uncritical in its support of drug treatment for such things as ADHD, anxiety, depression, and psychosis. But this is what I would expect from an organization that is funded, even if only in part, by big pharma.

  7. HI Mike, thanks so much for posting about your experiences working for NAMI. I have not been involved with them on a personal level, but they offer many support groups in the Baltimore area and are highly regarded. I’m a real outlier when I talk about their relationship with Pharma as many I talk to still believe the story about chemical imbalances. I participated in a community event and engaged in a conversation with a NAMI volunteer, and the longer I talked to her, the more I noticed her jerky movements, eye-blinking, and head-shaking. She was explaining to me how much the drugs helped her bipolar disorder, but all I could think about was the possibility that she was experiencing akathisia from the drugs. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. I abhor the idea of “mental illness” and wish we had a better term for the emotional distress caused by trauma and abuse or difficult life-circumstance. Bravo for your work.

  8. We don’t have NAMI in Canada but local hospitals do have support groups for family which seem very similar. I went a few times and I found it very disturbing. Anyone who said anything negative about the drugs was silenced. One woman kept bringing up vitamin therapy and she was asked to leave the group. It was the least supportive “support group” that I have ever attended.

  9. A compelling read, sadly rings true. Glad you got out of there. Many of us have learned these lessons the hard way.

    “I got my first performance review in more than two years, which was basically a personal attack. A board member had heard and complained about a podcast on which I had been a guest. Or so I was told by the CEO. In the podcast (which I did on non-work time, and never mentioned NAMI by name) I had criticized forced treatment and family-member discrimination. Because of this, I was accused of being ‘anti-family…'”

    These are the examples set nowadays–personal attacks rather than a real evaluation; criticism of the system turns into name calling and pejorative and false labels (as opposed to an adult-to-adult discussion for mutual clarity and understanding, where everyone can move forward from there); and complete disregard for personal experience and opinion thereof, which, in fact, is turned against you. Just awful.

    It also reminds me of 1 on 1 sessions with psychiatrists, also accusatory, projecting, and being way out of bounds with respect to what the goal and objective SHOULD be.

    And I used to work in the system as a voc rehab counselor, very similar experience, which proved to be costly for them because at least I got some legal vindication given that my former employers were so entirely in the wrong and I knew this. But this shit should not be happening in the first place, this is so below par. And sadly, how we do things these days. Very frustrating.

    God, we soooo need better leadership and better examples of how to treat people!!! What you describe here is the road to nowhere because it’s gonna stress the hell out of everyone. Bad strategy for doing business, and for living, as far as I’m concerned.

  10. I found your feature utterly heartbreaking. When I look at society these days (I’m a Brit, living in the UK – Brexit: ugh 🙁 ) the tendency to look down on others is utterly apparent, and to me, utterly abhorrent. I had a younger brother with lifelong mental health issues, as well as drug use, but he had a wonderful outreach team in the last few years of his life. He was always a very gentle man and misunderstood as such.

    I’d go and see him and take him out for walks and meals. He was also terrific at supporting other drug users whose families didn’t want to know, just as the NAMI families don’t want to. (The rest of my family found him difficult or frightening – he was more likely to cause himself harm than anyone else.) And I’ve had mental health issues, too. Coming out the other end (via Open Dialogue therapy, which is very holistic!) has made me very compassionate.

    Answering WHY people are so sensitive/addicted is much, much more important than condemning. I hope you’ve found a role which makes the best use of your experiences, in a proactive way, Mike. Good luck to you!

  11. At the moment I am an In Our Own Voice presenter. I agreed to do at least two presentations and was referred by folks I knew at our local NAMI Affiliate. After I agreed to do this, I began investigating NAMI. I had heard positive things before I joined but after, I began seeing contradictions.
    I will finish my second presentation in a couple of weeks. Then I am done with NAMI having fulfilled my contract. During my talk, I speak about how the drugs did not help me and other therapies worked better. All this is couched in the “in my experience” speech required by NAMI. I can’t name folks who can help people nor suggest these other therapies to anyone. It is very frustrating and disheartening.
    Thank you, Mike, for sharing your experience as a leader in this organization. I am glad to be leaving this group so that I can intentionally spread info that really helps people.

  12. “Day after day, I took phone calls from family members calling their children or loved one’s crazy, telling me that their family member needs to be locked up, that we need more state hospitals and more involuntary commitments.”

    This is awfully pervasive, and the driving force behind such noble initiatives as the Murphy Bill:

    https://eu.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/health/2018/06/14/mental-health-treatment-iowa-quicker-civil-rights-loss-feared/661109002

    “Leslie Carpenter hopes Iowa families like hers, who have loved ones with severe mental illness, will no longer have to wait for a life-threatening crisis before authorities order treatment. Carpenter, whose adult son has been repeatedly hospitalized for schizoaffective disorder, helped lead a successful effort this spring to change Iowa’s mental health commitment law. The change is designed to bring prompt, court-ordered treatment to people such as Carpenter’s son, who goes off his medication and falls back into dangerous delusions after he’s released from the hospital. “If somebody had a heart attack, we wouldn’t wait until 99 percent of their heart was dead — we would get them care at the beginning of the problem, not at the end of the problem,” Carpenter said. “If somebody is deteriorating with their mental health, it’s terrifying to sit there and hope you’re going to catch them at just the right moment before they hurt themselves, or before they even, God forbid, hurt somebody else.””

    “People with common mental health issues, such as moderate depression or anxiety, would not face commitment. Instead, the law change is aimed at people like the Carpenters’ son, whose illness has caused him to be terrified of water, bed linens and believe food was poison. He doesn’t stay in treatment long enough for his brain to heal to the point that he can understand he is mentally ill, they said. His brain fools him into believing the medications that help him are actually poison, Leslie Carpenter said.”

    “The young man loses touch with reality, becomes a danger, and is locked up, his parents said. Then he gets out, stops cooperating with treatment and plunges back into psychosis.”

    Proponents are described as opponents:

    “Phil Steffensmeier, a mental health advocate from Iowa City … who was voluntarily hospitalized five times for treatment of his bipolar disorder when he was in his 20s, has mixed feelings about the change to Iowa’s metal health commitment laws. “There’s such a delicate boundary to walk, and I’m not sure we know yet how to walk it,” he said. Steffensmeier, 37, was voluntarily hospitalized five times for treatment of his bipolar disorder when he was in his teens and 20s. He has never faced an involuntary commitment, but he understands such orders can be necessary. “It is definitely not something to be taken lightly,” he said. “At the same time, I can’t look around at my fellow sufferers and say nobody needs that help.” Steffensmeier is an activist with the National Alliance on Mental Illness, which supports the law change. He regularly speaks in public about the need for improvements to Iowa’s tattered mental health system.”

    Adults at their parents’ mercy — that’s the reality of people. According to the article, “The [earlier] law was used to involuntarily commit Iowans more than 5,200 times last year.” This means more than 14 people every single day in Iowa alone, and that’s before the Murphy Bill. Parents who forcibly drug, electroshock or surgically mutilate their children are described as hapless individuals at the mercy of the “insane person’s” whims, but the “insane person”, deprived of their mind by the “treatment” imposed on them, can do nothing. And who is responsible for all forced lobotomies, besides psychiatrists? Who is responsible for this:

    https://breggin.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/01/lobotomy.pbreggin.1972.pdf

    It is known that Walter Freeman was thanked personally by parents whose children he has lobotomized.

    https://i.postimg.cc/NMnpPkHT/a8cc629b2b48ed31a80f92a4e0765bb0.jpg

    • And before “Doctor” Freeman there were parents and husbands eager to lock up their family members in madhouses. Ensuring that they would never get over the episode and–if not already crazy–would soon become that way.

      Thank God my mom was not a “NAMI mommy” and actually wanted me to lead an independent, happy life.

      We had one commenter here saying she would never let her beloved daughter read MIA. She censored her reading material. She further stated she didn’t care if her daughter suffered and died prematurely. If she could get the treatment the NAMI mommy wanted her to get the “good” mother would be happy.

      It’s easy to see why the daughter had emotional problems with a piece of work like that controlling her every move. That’smother love. 😛

      Look up Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy. Not all members of NAMI act that way by any means. But getting a spouse or child labeled mentally ill and incapacitated with drugs is so easy to do in our society. And there are a few horrible people, eager to control others and gain attention as the saintly parent/wife/husband of a crazy sicko, who know how to milk the system.

      Sadly these eager beavers usually end up running NAMI. Those who sincerely love the members they are told to write off as hopeless are apt to encourage the loved ones to succeed apart from the MI System. And they have lives too.

      A friend of mine left NAMI in disappointment after psychiatry killed her sister with lethal “side effects.” NAMI didn’t care since she died with her rights OFF.

      • Thank you very much for your response. I was worried that my comment might have been bit too aggressive.

        “But getting a spouse or child labeled mentally ill and incapacitated with drugs is so easy to do in our society.”

        Except that it’s not only easy, but also praised. Human societies are violent. Noise and violence prevail everywhere, and psychiatry is just one manifestation of that — it exists in order to protect the peaceful public against the “violent mentally ill.”

        I don’t live in the United States but in Eastern Europe. There’s no such organization as NAMI here, and yet people still seem to have unlimited control over their relatives. Psychiatrists provide a service, for which they are paid. And when dealing with psychiatrists, it doesn’t matter what one says in one’s own defense — psychiatrists will lie about everything and everyone will believe them:

        “We had one commenter here saying she would never let her beloved daughter read MIA. She censored her reading material. She further stated she didn’t care if her daughter suffered and died prematurely.”

        It can be assumed that she has already died; psychological death, which is the common result of all psychiatric interventions, is just as literal as physical one. The individual is no longer who they once were — that person is forever gone.

        Doctor Breggin quotes Freeman in the article I linked to:

        “[A 20-year-old youth] said that he could understand the thoughts of the poets, even the most obscure, whereas other people had no appreciation of them and very little understanding. He would like to write poetry himself — but had not set pencil to paper. [Following lobotomy, he] was able to discuss more coherently his present attitude and future prospects, but likelihood of a good occupational adjustment seemed rather remote because of his inertia and because of his resentfulness toward his father’s domineering attitude. However, the fantasy life to which he had been so addicted seemed to be smashed and he was no longer interested in poetry or science.”

        The contempt is clearly visible and yet it’s not his, but the society’s that he serves. The only truly important thing is universally despised. The opposite view is a rarity: “The more one has in himself, the less he needs from the outside and the less others can be to him.” It is obvious that contemporary psychiatrists value everything that the lobotomists valued. Psychosurgeons still believe that it is proper to make their victims shallower if it only causes them to be more productive or “social.” And people admire everything that psychiatrists do. What is the cause of such absurdity as this?:

        https://www.semanticscholar.org/search?q=neonatal%20paroxetine%20withdrawal&sort=relevance

        People being “drugged” before they are even born.

        “Thank God my mom was not a “NAMI mommy” and actually wanted me to lead an independent, happy life.”

        An independent life might not be a happy one, but it is often meaningful. Not that the dependent life is inherently meaningless. Not everyone can afford to be independent. It’s not really about psychiatry or anti-psychiatry, or dependence and independence at this point. You wrote, “And before “Doctor” Freeman there were parents and husbands eager to lock up their family members in madhouses. Ensuring that they would never get over the episode and–if not already crazy–would soon become that way.” So “psychiatry” is older than psychiatry. There were always people who were willing to impose themselves on others, and they were always admired. This is not about power, either. If it was, then there would be more outrage about all of this. Think about parents who place their five-year-old children on amphetamines or similar chemicals. It’s not about control, it’s a simple question of values. Psychiatry is just a means by which dead people make others as wretched as they themselves already are.

        In the end, only one question exists in psychiatry:

        “A friend of mine left NAMI in disappointment after psychiatry killed her sister with lethal “side effects.” NAMI didn’t care since she died with her rights OFF.”

        How can we defend ourselves against these people?

        • The only thing required for Evil to prevail is for Good men (persons) to do nothing. (Think it was Edmund Burke who said something like this). These people have been tested and many have failed miserably. They have been given the opportunity to correct the errors of their ways, and refuse to do so. For this they are condemned to eternal Hell. They will laugh when reading this and yet …. as I can bear witness…. they cry out to a God they do not believe in when their time comes to be thrown into the fire. The money is no good to them then, the corruption no use, and what is in their hearts will be exposed.
          My sin? The sin of anger. The anger raised from the dead by people who would torture and kidnap and attempt to disguise this as ‘medicine’. So does torture work? Only as a tactic to create an angry man and then justify the killing of that man. What sort of fool would beat a man for speaking the truth and stop when he tells them what they want to hear? 2 Thessolonians 2 “And God sends upon them a great delusion that they might believe the Lie”.
          I’d say more but someone needs to keep the fire burning lol Ezekiel 22 23 -32 says it all anyway.

  13. Thanks Mike for writing this. Because I come a variety of view points I would like to share some of my NAMI story.
    From a family perspective differences were allowed and I grew up knowing about folks – my own family had issues but the MH Field was not seen as saints but some good folks there.
    In my professional life NAMI was looked down upon by most professional folks. This seemed to change with the Big Pharma bio roll out.
    There were the newspaper columns of NAMI folks seeing the light. The MH Board was run by a safety service admin and instead of mobile crisis units MH checks by police became the rule. I dropped out of the Social Work world but then ran into overwhelming trauma. I tried not to take meds but it was not acceptable. Most people bought into chemistry. And there were no good places for alternatives. I became drugged out of my mind. During that time I tried NAMI – it was awful the group and the folks were so into chemicals without seeing the possibility this is not working well for many.
    I rue the day I ever tried to reach out.
    Someday, I hope to find a way of resolution. Good luck in your next life steps.