From iai News: “By sweeping the social causes of distress into the private corners of self, our mental health sector has helped stifle collective and community action. Collective suffering, after all, when fully owned and properly channelled, has always been a vital spur for social change. This was true for the civil rights movement, the women’s liberation movement, and will be true for any successful movement to come. But by dispersing our socially caused and shared distress into different, self-residing dysfunctions, medicalisation refracts and diminishes collective experience. In this way, diagnostic tribes replace political tribes, as we identify with a given ‘mentally ill’ social grouping rather than with a particular social cause (or the interests demands of the diagnostic grouping become the one and only social cause). Once suffering has been politically defused in this way, individualised and profitable treatments then follow, emphasising on self over social reform.
Just as religion served industrial capitalism in the mid-1800s, our mental health sector now performs a similar function. Through the medicalisation, privatisation, depoliticisation, dehumanisation and commodification of distress, it has aligned ideologically with aims of the neoliberal economy, with its emphasis on individualism, political quietism, marketisation, deregulation and corporatisation success. By sedating people to the causes and solutions for their socially rooted distress – both literally and ideologically – our mental health sector has stilled the impulse for social reform, has distracted people from the real origins of their despair, has favoured results that are primarily economic, while presiding over the worst outcomes in our health care system. It is due to this our mental health sector has now surely become the new opium of the people.”
Back to Around the Web