Re-Examining Violence in Mental Health

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From The Guardian: “Any death associated with the psychiatric system must always be a matter of major concern. But the evidence has long suggested that political and media preoccupations with violence and mental health service users has not been reflected in any major increase in deaths or attacks. The point is not to belittle the problem of violence in relation to mental health but to examine it from broader, fresher perspectives.

Just as modern understanding of disability takes account of people’s circumstances and the barriers they face, so mental health and violence should be re-examined, noting the powerlessness, poverty, racism and other discrimination service users can experience disproportionately.

Drawing on first-hand accounts such as Anna’s, a new book I have co-edited explores how ‘slow violence’ – activity often not even recognised as violence – has been inflicted on mental health service users and people experiencing distress, damaging people over time no less than any physical or emotional assault.

Such slow violence includes public policies that sustain or exacerbate inequalities and poor health for marginalised people, such as gentrification policies that force people out of their neighbourhoods and increase their isolation. It’s also a consequence of psychiatric systems still employing coercion and restraint, in which people are neglected, abused, discriminated against, put at risk and in some cases even die unnaturally.

Far from protecting human rights, many criminal justice systems and laws in areas such as housing, planning and employment push people to the margins of society. Welfare reform policies such as the bedroom tax force people out of homes and communities where they have networks of support into homelessness, poverty and greater distress.

Violence in relation to mental health service users should be seen as a direct consequence of the slow violence of inadequate policy and antiquated treatment.”

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4 COMMENTS

  1. WHEN THE “VIOLENCE” IS NOT MENTAL HEALTH

    The LINKS below concern a case of “Extreme Violence” which I Suspect could have been triggered by unrecorded/unreported (Depot type) “medication”, rather than “Severe Mental Illness”.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2007/jul/10/australia.mainsection

    http://www.xenu-directory.net/topics/20070709-australia-tragedy.html

    “…the treating psychiatrist appears to have been of the view that her psychotic symptoms were the result of medication she had been prescribed…”

    In the case above the “person” had previously been exposed to Depot injection type “medication” and had reacted “Extremely” to it.

    I Suspect possible “foul play”: in reference to an example from my own case in Ireland in April 1984 when through the intervention of a Charge Nurse, I was admitted in a state of Acute Akathisia to Galway Psychiatric Unit, though Staff had been previously instructed not to admit me.

    48 hours later I discharged myself, never to experience Mental Health hospitalization (or Disability), again.

    A few days previous to this hospitalization I had been injected with twice the introductory dose of Depixol Depot “medication” and released into the community (even though I had warned the junior doctor of the dangers).

    Had I NOT been admitted at Galway and had the administration of the first time Depixol Injection (by the junior doctor) NOT been recorded I could easily have ended up DEAD with nobody the wiser. (I had previously experienced 2 suicide attempts at Galway in the same state of Acute Akathisia).

    In Autumn of 1983 I had laid my (drug) Disability at the door of my Consultant Psychiatrist who had consistently held me responsible for it, and who had expressed this Disabilty as being my main (or only) Mental Health problem.

    Notice that when patients do DIE after contact with the Psychiatric Services the investigations tend to be MILD.

    • Prescripticide
      In the Australian case mentioned above, as in most similar cases which carry All the Hallmarks of Akathisia Induced Violence, the information on “medication” is very vague.

      The Hallmarks of Akathisia Induced Violence are
      1. The Behaviour is Extreme
      2. The Behaviour is Out of Character
      3. The Behaviour follows the Starting, Stopping or Changing of Psychiatric Medication.