Editor’s note: This essay was commissioned by Mad in the UK, and submitted to Mad in America for simultaneous publication as a MIA Report.

***

Following the publication of the review finding no evidence for the low serotonin (“chemical imbalance”) theory of depression last month, I have been increasingly aware of the strongly held and often opposing opinions on social media. There are multiple voices in this field we broadly know as “mental health,” with clinical professionals, researchers, lived experience practitioners, service users, and the mainstream media all with apparently different views.

I thought it might be useful to talk to some of the key figures in this sometimes contentious debate. From alleged associations with the far-right, to what the experiences we call “mental illness” actually are, I challenged some of the biggest voices on the broadly “critical” side of the debate to find out what they actually believe.

It turned out to be a challenging task, trying to pin down what the critics actually think—or what they even want to be called—as it became apparent is there is no fixed, universal set of positions. The movement broadly critical of psychiatry does not exist as a monolith, and, as expected from a group of thinkers opposed to labels, many of them don’t want to be referred to as critical psychologists, “antipsychiatrists” (see why that is problematic here), or even “critical” at all! So, I am going to refer to the people I spoke to simply as “critics.”

One thing I found coming up in all my conversations is the emphasis on working in partnership with and finding inspiration from survivors and people with lived experience of distress. As someone with my own history of distress, I was pleased to hear that this movement is not just about the professionals; service-users’ experience was at the heart of everything the critics spoke about, as well as the importance of relying on the most up-to-date and accurate evidence.

All sounds sensible enough to me, so why all the media debate, and why do I keep hearing about the far-right?

(In writing this post Charlotte spoke with Dr Lucy Johnstone, James Barnes, Professor Peter Kinderman, Jo Watson, Professor John Read, Dr Sami Timimi, and several others.)

Do you really believe that mental illness doesn’t exist?

This is a common and confusing statement. Everyone I spoke to emphasised that they completely accept the existence and validity of people’s suffering, despair, and distress. (How could you not?)

What they are challenging is the idea that these experiences and divergences can best be explained as medical illnesses or “disorders.” This is a quite different point, but one that is often confusing to people who have never questioned (or even been given the opportunity to question) deeply held assumptions about distress that are widely held in society.

To challenge the medical model is not at all the same thing as denying people’s experiences. This would be a nonsensical view to hold for the many critics whose views are based on extensive clinical work, and in some cases on their own personal experiences as well. What is challenged is the idea that these very real experiences and differences can be best understood as a medical illness or “disorder.”

As one critic said: “No one would work in services if they thought people were somehow inventing these experiences!”

Ok, we’re calling it distress, but not a disorder. So, are critics all about banning words and policing language?

Some of the people I spoke to have been involved in drawing up guidelines for journalists, while others have proposed non-diagnostic approaches in services. No critics want people to be told how to describe themselves and their experiences, whether they use medical terms or any other vocabulary. But ironically, as they told me, one particular view—the current medical or diagnostic explanation—is routinely imposed on people. It is opposing this imposition that unites all the critics, despite their differences in some other respects; they all said that what they were concerned with is the lack of choice of perspective and the fact that being medicalised has almost become the precondition for receiving any mental health support or care at all.

The current medical and diagnosis-based explanation of suffering and distress is deeply embedded in services, the media, and the minds of the general public. The critics are concerned that the unquestioned use of terms like “mental illness” or “disorder” leads to a certain set of views which shuts down other possibilities.

The aim of promoting more neutral terms, especially in the media, is to open up, not shut down, room for personal preferences. As it is, people who enter services are very rarely offered any choice of language, perspective, or culturally sensitive understanding. In this system it may be risky or even be punished (for example telling them they “lack insight”) to hold legitimate but alternative views.

One of the ways of promoting choice is to use language—such as “hearing voices,” “extreme distress,” “low mood”—which does not assume any particular model.

What about my diagnosis?

The critics I spoke to explained how they believe that in the long-term there are much better ways to plan care and offer benefits, accommodations, and services than is being delivered by the current system of psychiatric diagnoses. Many of them argue for reform, or better versions of what we have; others put forward a more radical vision that is based on fundamentally different principles, such as the Power Threat Meaning Framework.

But all of them recognise that in the system we now have, no matter its significant flaws, people currently need diagnoses to access essential services and benefits, and that getting support must be prioritised. “I have spent many hours filling in forms with people,” said one clinician, “The difference is, I have an honest discussion about what term is most likely to get them what they need, and is most acceptable to them. I don’t just tell them they ‘have’ X psychiatric condition.”

The critics respect the fact that some people (both service-users and professionals) find diagnoses helpful and meaningful. They are also aware that others have found diagnostic labels deeply disempowering and stigmatising, and a long-term barrier to dealing with their actual difficulties. Labels, stigma, and stereotype-threat can all be experienced as distressing or detrimental to hope and a positive self-image.

And for some of the critics, there is a bigger issue regarding the scientific validity of diagnosis, which poses the question as to whether we should be moving towards a different way of explaining distress. Critics all believe that we need better alternatives, which would lead to services that operate on a more humane model. At the very least, people—both professionals and service users—need to be made aware that there are non-medical ways of understanding their experiences. They also have a right to be offered these alternatives. However, we are a long way from that more democratic position, despite open acknowledgement that DSM categories are not scientifically valid.

What about my medication? Are you against the use of psychiatric drugs?

First of all, if you are taking psychiatric drugs, we would urge you not to come off them abruptly and to seek the advice of your prescriber (apart from anything else, these are powerful drugs which can have severe withdrawal effects).1

Everyone I spoke to agreed that drugs have a role and can be helpful or even experienced as lifesaving by some. As one of them said, “I have personally never met someone who wanted to ban use of psychiatric drugs, or describes them as evil, or shames people for taking them. These allegations contribute to an unhelpful polarisation of views, which prevent us from having a constructive dialogue about how to use drugs with most benefit and least harm.”

However, they were all very concerned (as are many senior professionals in mainstream services) about the overuse and misuse of psychiatric drugs—the overstating of benefits, underplaying of risks, and lack of proper informed consent. The critics suggested that these factors are related to the huge increases in psychiatric drug prescribing and use. They all were adamant that proper, accurate information is key so that people can make their own informed decisions.

They also deplored misinformation—the recent debunking of the widely held “chemical imbalance” myth is an example, but critics pointed out that the same myth is promoted about so-called “antipsychotics.” The evidence for the effectiveness of many psychiatric drugs is less impressive than it appears. Some critics have been extensively involved in campaigning for awareness of potential damage, including in the form of severe withdrawal effects, and the need for tapering advice and support.

In fact, some felt these names (“antipsychotics” and “antidepressants”) were very misleading in themselves; as one person told me, “They used to be called major tranquillisers, which actually described them much better. There is no specific effect on psychosis, in the same way that there is no specific effect on depression.” Critics all knew people from the “prescribed harm” community who have undoubtedly been more damaged than helped. They want much greater honesty about what drugs can and cannot do, and thus, much better, and safer choices for service users, both when starting and when coming off their drugs.

So, where does biology come into all this?

The way this was explained to me is that all human experience has biological aspects—whether we are talking about emotional distress, happiness, or any other state of mind. There is nothing unique about emotional suffering or acute distress in that sense.

The fact itself that biology is involved does not justify calling something an “illness” or “disorder,” where the assumption is that the main cause is something that is malfunctioning in the brain or body, rather than something that has gone wrong in a person’s life or wider environment.

This is the basis of the slogan “Instead of asking what’s wrong with me, ask what’s happened to me—socially, relationally, culturally, politically etc.” In other words, critics argue—and say there is a lot of evidence to support them—that many forms of emotional distress become entirely comprehensible when read carefully in the full context of a person’s social, cultural and relational life. Obviously, this has major implications for the best ways forward.

I read online that critics are allied with the far-right?

This allegation has come to the fore recently, and critics were united in seeing it as ridiculous. In fact, they believe it can only be understood as a desperate attempt to smear their views.

What I instead found was that people critical of traditional psychiatric care tend to be politically left-wing, emphasising social justice and the need for better, and better funded, services for people in distress. One critic explained how they believe we are entitled to better and more equitable social services, financial support, and vital accommodations for people in difficult circumstances or with particular needs. In their view we should offer social and financial benefits based not on the presence or absence of disputed “disorders” but on a person’s needs (now that’s what I call socialism).

Recently, right-wing politicians and commentators have tried to co-opt language, views, and research from the “critical” perspective for their own agenda. One critic pointed to narrow forms of CBT being turned into the “back-to-work” IAPT project, as an example. They are strongly opposed to these ways of co-opting ideas. However, they were keen to point out that it is actually medical ideas (that some people have defective genes or are inherently flawed) that have been most frequently misused in this way—for example, in support of eugenics or, more recently, in conservative pro-gun policies (that blame gun shootings on “mental illnesses” rather than on lax gun laws).

Overall, everyone I spoke to seemed confident that no one actually takes this accusation seriously. However, they did see these accusations, no matter how strange, as almost inevitable. “You don’t get fundamental change without a backlash,” said one of them.

I heard that critics are anti-vaxx, anti-science, and involved in Scientology?

This is another point that critics strongly dispute. Several of them are prominent academic and scientific researchers, working in universities, and all I spoke to were also confident that their views are supported by the best evidence; evidence which, if enacted, would lead to mental health policies and practices that are more just, humane, effective, and compassionate. The critics all stated that they support evidence-based care and that includes vaccination.

This focus on empirical evidence was reiterated to me several times, with other critics arguing that many current practices in biomedical mental health care seem in opposition to the best, most up-to-date evidence—for example ECT (see below) and recent publicity about the chemical imbalance theory. Indeed, it is precisely this emphasis on the scientific approach that critics use as an argument to reform traditional psychiatry—because so much of the dominant, bio-medical, mental health care runs counter to science and is not, in fact, supported by the evidence.

“Science, as well as strongly supporting vaccination and other public health responses to viral pandemics, also tells us that many of the claims of traditional psychiatry are untrue,” said one person.

No one I spoke to was anti-vaxx, nor did they want to spend time debating what they saw as an irrelevant attempt to discredit them. Similarly, they were clear that they have absolutely no links with Scientology.

Critics are anti-ECT and want it banned

This was one of the issues where people had different opinions; some feel, and have said for years, that there is no place for ECT, while others believe it might still be appropriate in clearly defined situations if the evidence supported it. All agree that the only way to resolve the issue is to have a thorough review of ECT. That means re-visiting research about its effectiveness and taking a close look at the evidence for the claims that it is a miraculous, life-saving treatment. It means looking at how ECT is used—which in many cases is not in accordance with NICE guidelines. And it also means investigating the possibility of harm—including brain damage—caused by ECT and ensuring that people are giving fully informed consent. Campaigners strongly believe that it is unacceptable for accreditation of ECT clinics to be optional and are surprised that this idea is denied or resisted. As one of them said to me, “Surely it is in everyone’s interest for interventions to be carried out safely, and regulated properly?”

The key issue here seemed to be whether people are being honestly given the information they need to give informed consent. So, yes, people critical of traditional psychiatric care are concerned that the evidence supporting the use of ECT is simply not there, but the focus of their current campaign is a review of the practice, not a simple “ban.”

Everything is caused by trauma

No one I spoke to believed that all distress is caused by traumatic events; in fact, they thought the idea was self-evidently ridiculous. Some of them had criticisms of the rapid spreading of the term “trauma” to the extent that it risks losing its meaning. What they do say is that mental health systems typically ignore, deny, and fail to address traumatic experiences when they actually are present.

Another critic stressed the distinction between “PTSD”-type acute event trauma and ongoing relational/complex trauma. “Relational/complex traumas,” said this critic, “are subtle and insidious types of trauma that are much more common, and which do often play a role in distress, but this is very different to saying that people must have horrific events in their background.” Detractors often purposefully collapse this distinction, to make it appear as if critics are saying something clearly untrue.

Many service users have testified about how the label of “borderline personality disorder” has been used to silence and blame people who have survived exceedingly difficult events. This is not acceptable. We also need ways of understanding how distress can arise even without obvious “traumas.” The Power Threat Meaning Framework was cited to me as showing how wider contexts—such as poverty, discrimination, and living in competitive, fragmented, and unequal societies—can put all of us at risk, something we are likely to see more of as the cost of living and fuel-crises worsen.

It’s a power game; it’s all about psychologists attacking psychiatrists in order to take over from them

Critics strongly disputed this common accusation. They pointed out that a number of people in their loose group are psychiatrists and people who want their own profession to reform, and that many psychologists use diagnostic approaches. As above, some of them saw this as a way of deflecting from the real issues. Most of them have extensive clinical experience and emphasised the importance of working constructively alongside colleagues of all backgrounds. As one of them said, “The only people who accuse me of attacking psychiatrists are those who have never actually met or worked with me.”

Returning to the main issues, critics do all agree that psychiatry has serious conceptual failings, with often damaging impacts in practice. They emphasised that this doesn’t mean people are universally let down by the mental health system, but it does mean, in their view, that far too many are not helped, or even damaged and re-traumatised, and that clinical outcomes have been uniformly poor during the period of the medical model’s dominance.

I started by saying that this is not a homogenous group, nor do they have a precise or shared agenda about moving forward. Rather, they tend to point to a whole range of ongoing projects and initiatives, many of which come from the service user/survivor movement, such as the Hearing Voices Network. One of them said, “None of us has the answer, and we cannot see how the field is going to develop. But I hope that one day critical perspectives will be seen as simple, humane common sense.”

***

From my conversations with certain critics, I was struck by how passionately they talk about equality, wanting the best for service-users and the importance of grounding their beliefs in empirical research. Despite what their detractors suggest, they are a loose collective of clinicians, academics, writers, scientists, and journalists, some of whom have personal experience of distress and use of services, who just want to reform the existing models based on evidence and what’s best for the people affected. Everyone I spoke to had suffered difficult career consequences because of their views, including suspension, loss of jobs, and obstacles to promotion. However, this had not diminished their confidence, determination, and commitment to advancing and advocating for humane and effective mental health reform.

Of course, these people operate in a highly controversial arena. But I failed to find the rigidity, polarisation, and silencing that you might expect if you simply gathered your information from social media like Twitter. Whether or not you agree with such critical voices—and, as I found, they don’t always agree among themselves—many see their voices as a very necessary part of the fight for better services, better experiences, and better outcomes for people in distress.

Show 1 footnote

  1. Particularly recommended: the informative website The Inner Compass.

73 COMMENTS

  1. How come you do not reference the hearing about the Far-Left, or pronouning di-stress, dis-order? For every moth that is drawn to the flame without a left and right wing I would think might not be able to fly. And then, when at last, the creature awakens to the fact of being, that is having a flame within, might just start singing, “I’ll fly away someday, I’ll fly away”. Having grown weary from being pinned inside the collector’s box? Just ask Mark Dion! Or the Queen Bee!

  2. I am totally opposed to all forms of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy. I am not connected with the Right, I am a radical leftist.

    I go with Deleuze and Guattari’s Anti-Oedipus. Clinical mental illness is created within the mental health system. Otherwise there is no mental illness, except for one, Neuroticism. It is incurable and fatal.

    Much of what passes as the left, liberalism, or progressivism in this country right now is actually neoliberalism.

    And I say this as CA Governor Gavin Newsom has passed his Care Courts SB-1338, to be able to apply court ordered psychiatric procedures on the unhoused. And also they say that they need to do this kind of remedy before mental illness causes people to become unhoused. So that means it could be anyone.

    We have a huge labor surplus because of advanced industrial and information technology. We need a Strong No Needs Test Public Housing Offering. And we need Universal Basic Income. But do we do this? No, we designate some of the population as suitable for drugging and internment. And we designate another block as the care takes. And this second block does show up to vote.

    With Psychotherapy there have to be much stronger mandatory reporting rules when it is done on minors. The juvenile shows up at the door, that triggers the first report. There are no fix my kid doctors anymore.

    And we should not be allowing our government to license psychotherapy. It is from this licensing that the harm arises. We don’t license channelers, faith healers, or fortune tellers.

    Professional organizations could still provide certification, just not the government.

    Most of the drive behind Newsom’s new law is coming from people who have had a family member who they designated as mentally ill. So this law is supposed to “help” people.

    A psychotherapist will do nothing to change the objective circumstances in your life. They won’t approach other people to try and mediate. All they do is get you to talk yourself out and basically leave you with your problems. In this sense it is just like religion and original sin. All problems you experience are just because of your own stubbornness.

    And what qualifications do they have? Law degrees? Spanish Civil War? Warsaw Ghetto? Do they at least have flattened knuckles and knife and bullet scars?

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2022/04/saving-lives-cementing-stigma-review-just-like-you/#comment-200908

    Joshua

    • “most of the drive behind newsom’s new law is coming from people who have had a family member who they designated as mentally ill.”. Oh, great — the NAMI crowd.
      They’ve always been so helpful. /s

      “And also they say that they need to do this kind of remedy before mental illness causes people to become unhoused.”. This is terrifying. Well, the whole thing is.

      It doesn’t really seem like people want to be having these conversations (as in the article) at all. People in power are not going to sit down and have a debate or open their minds to what antisychiatry people are on about. They don’t need to — they figure, why give voice to, why come to the table for people when we can strip them of their rights (for their own good).

      • Yes, the NAMI crowd. Former head, Thomas Insel, brags that he is Newsom’s “Mental Health Czar”. He wants to use every kind of drug, like those that create the euphoria of sex, and LSD. And he likes electroshock and coercive treatment. He has a start up company, MindStrong, which will have everyone checking in for daily auditing through their cell phones. And of course since this is text, machines can try to parse the exchanges and flag those deemed needing further scrutiny and follow up.

        Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, having put his daughter in an out of state psychiatric hospital at the age of 13, has built his entire political career around mental health. He has started the Steinberg Institute, and he has made Thomas Insel director. He thinks everyone needs regular Mental Well Being Checks.

        The state legislature just passed Care Courts SB-1338 last week. Most of the people who have ever spoken in favor of this have had a family member whom they were convinced suffered from ~mental illness~.

        I just mention one here, Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva (Democrat – Fullerton) who is in charge of the Assembly Committee on Homelessness and Mental Health in Orange County. As she talks about it, Mental Illness and Homelessness are one and the same. And this is also how Darrell Steinberg talks about it.

        Quirk-Silva speaks in tones of intense scorn of some family member, now deceased, who was mentally ill and was homeless, and of course resisted all attempts to tell him what to do. So it is in this experience that she draws all her authority to direct scorn at other family’s black sheep.

        Joshua

  3. Holy Crap, the elephant in the room just sat on me……… No discussion of the use of force? Of course not, no one would want to be THAT critical.

    I think the ‘pub test’ for the use of ECT lies in the way it can be used to deliberately harm someone who you may want harmed (but can arrange the narrative in such a way as it looks like ‘medicine’). For example, I have examined a timeline of drawings as someone’s brain was deliberately damaged (I know, you can’t prove it because “edited”), and whilst you might argue that he was given ‘informed consent’, I would also suggest there was quite a bit of coercion involved. Especially after you have been belted with the ‘chemical kosh’ a few times, people tend to ‘comply’ a little easier.

    My experience was one of crossing paths with organised criminals operating under the carte blanche and zero accountability model put forward by our Chief Psychiatrist in his letter of response to the Law Centre. When citizens can be ‘spiked’ with date rape drugs (benzos), and then have police told that the ‘target’ is an “outpatient” of a hospital (falsely, a crime under our Criminal Code) and then plant a knife on them for police to find….. we could have ANYONE detained in this manner;

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZ9UQKBUrsg

    and then the documents are “edited” post hoc to make the citizen into a “patient” before their lawyers are allowed to examine the documents, and make a complaint based on facts rather than fabrications. The provisions of the law (and other associated legal mechanisms) provide the appearance that such things couldn’t happen. And in fact, this is possibly the best defense put forward in my instance ….. that is “they wouldn’t do that” (and by denying reality this defense is rock solid).

    The problem being that should anyone see the documented proof, then they might also examine what the intent behind having me ‘referred’ to the E.D. before the lawyers got to examine the documents, and police refusing to perform their duty actually was. (Kind of funny the way they were trying to nail Bugs, who kept slipping through their fingers because someone didn’t have the stomach for what they had planned to silence me) A rather delicate situation having police retrieve documented proof of human rights abuses and crimes before distributing slander and fraud and calling it “editing”.

    Though psychiatry, like a knife, it can be used for good or evil. Whilst I understand the need for the ‘invisible hand’ when dealing with the people who would use it for evil, I am firmly of the belief that concealing the truth with falsehood is an offense possibly worse than the crimes being committed and being disguised as ‘medicine’.

    Can you imagine, I have a set of documents here that show how to ‘spike’ someone with date rape drugs, and then fabricate the evidence/justification for the use of the ‘chemical kosh’, and then start force drugging them with the very same drug they were ‘spiked’ with that caused the “observable behaviours” that the Chief Psychiatrists says warrants the use of force to medicate? The guy getting his head stomped in the above video would have the ‘treatment’ he received from police completely ignored, and his response to that ‘treatment’ becomes his ‘illness’ which justifies his forced treatment? Claiming that your behaviour was as a direct result of the beating would be offering “justifiable explanations for the behaviour and does not diminish the capacity of the AMHP from considering the broader clinical picture which may give cause to suspect mental illness” according to our C.P.

    Consider that; you are mown down by a motor vehicle, then beaten senseless by a gang of thugs, and your response should be one of calm lest you be ‘suspected’ of having a mental illness that will require you to be placed in an induced coma against your will, ….. and be treated for the next thirty years under a CTO? Because the alternative is to charge the thugs?

    Maybe the letter from the Chief Psychiatrist was forged? By the Law Centre once the hospital had retrieved the documents showing the facts, and had replaced them with the “edited” legal narrative? That would make sense given the bizarre claims made by the Chief Psychiatrist in the letter that he can rewrite the legal protections out of the Mental Health Act and authorise arbitrary detentions and torture? Or does it explain why the system is an absolute mess and being used for purposes other than designed? That is human rights abuses which are “edited” post hoc? With police receiving a benefit for their negligence from such a ‘weapon’.

    “The one who is silent on the truth is a dumb devil”.

    So would speaking the truth mean that others who have been harmed recognise the pattern? It certainly seems to be the case when they are informed of the dangers of these drugs, though to inform them might result in a claim your ‘dangerous’ (as opposed to ; your a scammer, and the game is up). Or informing the community that the Chief Psychiatrist is totally unaware of the protections afforded the community by the law, despite him providing “expert legal advice to the Minister on matters of mental health law”? or do they have so little respect for the people they are forcing to take drugs that they ‘lack insight’ so much as to not recognise their human rights to NOT be tortured? Fairly easy to silence them with some drugs and electricity anyway, so why would you show any respect?

    Our Minister for Mental Health asked about a report showing that nearly 50% of women in locked facilities reported being sexually assaulted. Her response, documented in the Hansards…….” “You can’t listen to them, they’re mental patients”. Is it any wonder it is the environment of choice for abusers? And consider the savings for the Church in having someone in a position to ensure their ‘liabilities’ which resulted from their treatment of some children in their ‘care’ had their “observable behaviours” silenced with ‘major tranquillizers’. I do hope someone has the courage to look someday. Someone prepared to sign fraudulent prescriptions making date rape drugs into a persons “Regular Medications” to conceal offenses perhaps?

  4. Clearly Charlotte did not talk with ALL the critics of psychiatry!

    It seems she was interested mostly in academic critics. Religious critics (such as myself) are clearly excluded and considered by the community to be extremists and non-scientific. This is not the case. We are interested in the science, too, but are frustrated by Science’s lack of interest in us.

    In some ways it is amazing that an established medical profession with strong academic support has critics within academia and also among active practitioners. I sometimes wonder if the message of these critics basically amounts to: “Hey, you are making the rest of us look bad! Can’t you get yourselves under control so you at least LOOK like real doctors?”

    One way or another, all the alternative practitioners (the ones your medical insurance doesn’t cover) plus the academics and non-academics dealing with spiritual phenomena that obviously impact mental health are left out of the discussion. And I firmly believe that if we really want to solve this those voices need to be included and NOT made to look like nuts themselves.

  5. Are the critics of psychiatry right wing? Are they left-wing? Perhaps the best answer to that question is that the old categories of “right-wing” and “left-wing” don’t mean a whole Hell of a lot anymore.

    The term “right-wing” originated during the French Revolution, when the Presiding Officer of the General Assembly seated the landed gentry to his right, as a sign of respect. The liberals were seated to his left.

    Well, guess what? Power no longer comes from land tenure. It doesn’t even come from owning a factory. Power comes from manipulating the language of science, and the appearance of science, in order to control people.

    The drug companies take our money and use it to manufacture demand for their product. Is that right-wing? Left wing? Who cares? Whatever you want to call it, it’s causing us to be drowned in a surge of useless and dangerous medicines.

    In my experience, critics of psychiatry come from all over the political spectrum. And perhaps all of these diverse viewpoints have something to contribute to the task of creating institutions that operate on a human scale and do a better job of meeting actual human needs. I don’t claim to know all the details of what that would look like, but I am happy to have that conversation with whomever wants to have it. That’s the kind of Great Reset we could all get behind.

    • Some would even argue that the concept of a “political spectrum” is ill-conceived and only meant to give the impression that there are two distinct sides in politics, when nothing could be further from the truth.

      Of course, when majority rules, the simplest political setup is to have two parties, so that in elections one of them will get a majority. I think it is telling, though, that in the U.S. so many elections have been so close that they can be plausibly disputed.

      I only differ with your comment about power and land tenure. Land ownership – when that land is used to generate an income stream – is still a very potent way to generate wealth off the labor of others. A similar strategy is used in the financial world in the form of loans and lines of credit. The activity of loaning money is not that different from the activity of leasing property. They both require the ownership of a significant asset capable of being loaned out.

      Though we used to think of the Republicans (in the U.S.) as being the party of the land and money owners and the Democrats as being the party of the wage earners (though it was not that in its earlier form), today the situation is much less clear. We now have both parties somewhat captive to different corporate groups, and so both less willing to “rock the ship” of corporate power which depends, in part, on the current system of allopathic medicine.

      I too see the Right/Left paradigm as outmoded and in particular not suited to any discussion regarding mental health. I see the current political scene as dominated by corporate players who use the media to continue the old Left – Right story hoping most of us will remain captivated by it. There is definitely more going on here than meets the eye!

        • In a democracy – even a democratic republic – you would not expect either party to be dominated by corporate interests. All the major parties should be populist organizations almost by definition. Yet that is not what we have seen in politics. I think that’s because high-level politics and policy is not that interesting to most people. So you get the parties marketing their ideas to the population just like you get companies marketing their products. The best marketing campaign wins. That’s part of the reason why the choice of Federal President is left up to an Electoral College in the U.S.

          This is not an easy problem to solve in a democracy. What exactly IS the “will of the people”? Would the majority prefer to be told what to think and do, or perhaps be left alone to fend for themselves? When a huge disruption to life occurs, who do they want to handle it? Are they even able to understand the event well enough to make an informed choice? Democracies do not work that well in periods of high anxiety, and that has been the situation since at least about 1900.

          Though the problem of modern psychiatry is in many ways a political problem, I don’t know that we can solve it with popular (democratic) politics. We need enough people in leadership positions who are sane enough and courageous enough to see that our existing agreements about human rights and patient rights are actually enforced by governments. The population itself has no real mechanism to enforce these agreements save boycott, which I consider unlikely to be sufficient in this case.

          • I’m all for voting in as many sane people as we can find. But you described it all too well – the best marketing campaign wins!

            Outlawing corporate campaign contributions might be a good starting point, though. No one wants to bite the hand that feeds them.

      • They’re using digital solutions for a quantum problem.
        The digital mindset only allows for two inputs be it right-left, zero-one, black-white, or even correct-incorrect and discounts the infinite options between the extremes. Dynamic problems require multifaceted dynamic solutions.

    • Patrick Hahn, Thanks for addressing the pointlessness of this debate by defining the buzzterms that so often detract from true meaning.

      Not to immediately use another buzzterm, but I’m someone with ‘lived experiences’. I can tell you why I’m critical in few words: I deserve to live.

      Am I not part of the country that guarantees its citizens the “right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”?

      My mental health care was forced, incessant, and violent. If someone called me a b*tch, that may hurt my feelings, but it wouldn’t cost my right to equitable medical care. The DSM labels are so much worse than insults. The bs riddling my medical records like a regina george burn book is a permanent insult. Considering the side effects of antipsychotics, exclusion from real medicine is an insult tantamount to murder. When I had gallstones for a month and finally hobbled into the third urgent care, the doctor cried from fear of being in the vicinity of a spooky mental person (I still had to pay, but kept my gallstones). That’s the medical treatment awaiting us after the psychiatrist damage our bodies: Mocking, bias tears, or more violence.

      The “professionals” condone, excuse and perpetuate worse behavior than any of their diagnosed. Then they debate the nuances of their cruelty while their harmed suffer and die from iatrogenic disability and closed door institutions. Their dsm labels (insults) are medical DARVO, which fit the soft science’s soft excuses for legalizing widescale scapegoating. As one of the scapegoats, I earned my point of view: I oppose sadistic cruelty for profit. I oppose state-sanctioned violence and medical cover-ups. I deserve to live

      that shouldn’t put me at odds with an industry promising mental health, but here we are!

      I may even go so far as to say that I earned my criticism more than one the pros featured here

      To the author: I think you should dig a bit deeper to truly know why people criticize the mental health system. Ask those who survived the violence and not the professional violators. Only when a medically-coded b*tch like me or any of my fellow mad persons are granted an audience will we have genuine understanding and hopefully, some change.

  6. Needed: guidelines for journalists and newsrooms.

    The media loves repeating the suicide hotline numbers at the bottom of mental health articles. The critical mental health pros here could come up with a similar word stamp.

    Topics to include:

    The labels should come with a disclaimer: something like there is no scientific test for bipolar.
    All medical professionals named should undergo rigorous sunshine law disclosure and review.
    All medical journals and universities should be treated in the same way.
    Something must be said about “chemical imbalance” and drugs which are most likely to work only as a placebo.

    Example draft (that no one would publish at the end of any article at this point):

    “There is not consensus among mental health professionals or patients regarding bio medical and socially centered approaches to mental health care. DSM labels are based on bias not scientific test. Chemical imbalance does not describe mental health. The major drugs are tranquillizers. There are no drugs that affect depression. Present psychiatric drugs are known to work by placebo effect. This field is still developing. Sunshine laws require that all doctors, medical journals and universities reveal all payments from pharmaceutical companies.”

    And there is an additional problem (many likely) not addressed here. The people who take the drugs and wear the labels do make life directly worse for those who don’t. There is great tension there. And it should be up to the profession to address it, since the profession created this rift.

  7. Hi, L e Cox. You are right that Charlotte didn’t speak to all critics of psychiatry, or even to representatives of all critical groups. Specifically, she didn’t speak to survivor groups. The interviews took place in a UK context, where certain people, including those mentioned (not just academics – most of us are, or were originally, clinicians) are regularly positioned as being part of some kind of cohesive, sinister and ideologically-motivated movement, designated by others (not by us) as ‘anti psychiatry’, ‘Szaszians’, ‘Criticals’ and so on. Recently the alleged affiliations of this group have become even more bizarre – not just false, but libellous. So this is a response from the UK, where the backlash seems particularly intense and social media allegations run wild. Some of it may apply more widely. You are right that psychiatric practice can be, and is, critiqued from many other angles too.

      • Though I am no expert, there is almost certainly a political dynamic to this situation. That is, the “old guard” are probably protecting their monopoly while the newer younger practitioners are trying to carve out a space for themselves.

        But I should point out that the field of human psychology (which psychiatry tries to dominate) holds the key to some very important and ancient human problems. If an entire population could figure out how to free itself from addictions, fixations on past traumatic events, and the fear of being found out for one’s past transgressions, a whole new civilization could arise on Earth which would be freer, more creative, and potentially much stronger than any that exist today. Those who wish to preserve the level of slavery and dependence on authority that exists on Earth today don’t want that to happen. And yet psychology, out of any scientific study, COULD cause that to happen.

      • It’s kind of a weird reversal to me when those who are in charge want their charges to be empathetic, curious, and respectful. Isn’t it a basic of “mental health” treatment that the clients shouldn’t have to take care of the clinicians? How about psychiatrists start by being empathetic, curious, and respectful toward their clients who are criticizing them? Maybe that mutual respect could be created on the impetus of the professionals instead of expecting the clients to set the tone?

        • I was pondering the use of the corrupt practice of “verballing” earlier. It has been called “noble corruption” by those who would like it to continue being part of our public officers means of corrupting our court system. Technically it is just corruption and nothing more. The adding of an adjective merely ‘softens’ what should be seen as a practice worthy of imprisonment.

          Then I realised how the use of the term “psychiatric abuse” works. By drawing the abuse into the institution, it makes the abuse somehow different, and allows the enablers to conceal and obfuscate the abuse.

          During the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, we didn’t hear Counsel Assisting speak about ‘religious child rapists’, or ‘Catholic child rapists’, we heard about the “character flaws” of individuals which were not seen as worthy of being reported to police. How one could look at the ‘repairs’ done to the anus of an 8 year old boy by a doctor and NOT think of these types of injuries as being ‘reportable offences’ eludes me, but, that’s what happened….. for nearly 40 years.

          I guess the point being that it is when the offences are being concealed by the ‘institution’ that perpetrators will find ways of making their abuse (and it is simply abuse and NOT religious abuse, or psychiatric abuse) appear to be part of an institution. They join Church groups to gain access to children for example.

          So I find in my situation I was subjected to human rights abuses and criminal conduct, but the perpetrators have done the smart thing and dressed it up as being ‘psychiatric abuse’ and received all the protections afforded by that ‘repackaging’. Does it change anything if one rapes a child as a Priest as opposed to being a layperson? It certainly used to. Does it change anything if you abuse someone as a ‘mental health professional’?

          I think the analogy is a valid one. In both situations it is the ‘institution’ which is responding to the allegations, and providing protection once the perpetrators have created the illusion that it is the ‘institution’ which is at fault….. and the knee jerk reaction is there for all to see. The State was quite open with me that their response to me complaining about their colleagues abuses would be to “fucking destroy” me.

          And with the ability to “edit” legal narrative and make citizens into “Outpatients” post hoc to conceal their offending, and use of arbitrary detentions and torture (and worse)…. the sky really is the limit.

          I must say that the psychiatrists I have dealt with have been honorable people (save one who had motive to do me harm. That is, the concealment of criminal conduct). But the people who did the document “editing” to conceal the facts from my legal representatives, and those who forged the letter of response from the Chief Psychiatrist……absolutely vicious abusers who are using the resources of police in their misconduct (I assume the ‘favors’ are being returned via breaches of ‘confidentiality’)

          I got the same feeling when hearing the testimony of the mother whose son had been abused by a Priest for years, and when he committed suicide by hanging himself on his bedroom door, the local Church authorities went straight to her home to ensure he hadn’t left a suicide note detailing the abuse by their colleague. Once satisfied there was no evidence, they left the mother in her own grief for others to deal with.

          I guess in a way I have been throwing my compliant against the ‘psychiatric abuse’ wall, when what was done was NOT ‘psychiatric abuse’ at all. It has simply been made to APPEAR to be psychiatric abuse to use the protections afforded by the ‘institution’ and their enablers.

          There were no ‘religious child rapes’ in as much as there is no ‘psychiatric abuses’……. they are just abuses.

          And I am assuming that at some point there will be a reckoning. Those who have been enablers and have silenced the abuses of others may be held up in public for their evil deeds. Perhaps their “character flaws” can be drugged and electrocuted from them? In a ‘medicinal’ kind of way of course, once they are made “Outpatients” with a little “editing” of documents.

          Such a shame that the ‘institution’ continues to provide the protections it does, despite being aware of how it is being done. The proof of the harms here at MiA for all to see….. if only they would look. I know, it takes time…. which is cold comfort to the growing list of victims of this ‘psychiatric abuse’.

      • I also find Stevie’s approach quite weird. As Steve said, psychiatrists are the ones who are in charge. They are even able to take away people’s freedom and force them to take psychiatric drugs. I feel that psychiatric survivors are much too often expected to be “nice” towards psychiatrists and other mental health professionals, even if there is a staggering power imbalance between the survivor and the professional.

        There is no such thing as being “too critical” towards psychiatrists. As Steve pointed out, many (most?) psychiatrists don’t show enough empathy and respect to their patients.

        Many psychiatrists don’t seem to care about the impact of psychiatric “treatment” on people’s lives and health. I am not saying that all psychiatrists are callous, but even those who have good intentions can ruin people’s lives.

      • Like when the doctor said, “You have borderline personality disorder? That’s why the ECT didn’t work”? Or the other “Dr” who said “at some point you’re just going to need a complete personality makeover”. Or the other”Dr” who called me”malicious “? I could easily go on.

        How about all the doctors who call patients non-compliant, lacking awareness, having poor judgment and whatever other criticisms they can come up with to put in the patient’s medical record to make sure the patient will never have a voice or credibility and never be able to defend themselves in a medical situation even if it’s life or death? That kind of critical?

        The doctors who forced drugs. “I’ve seen you off abilify. I’m prescribing 15 mg.”. What? From a person who’s not spent more than an hour and a half with me my entire life.

      • If one does not like criminal behavior, it is going to work to be empathetic with, curious about, and respectful of criminals?

        That actually does work with people who felt forced into crime and regret their actions. But it doesn’t work with psychopaths. When psychopaths obtain control of some organization the only way to deal with them is to get them kicked out. How exactly that is best accomplished is a matter for discussion.

  8. Hey! Anybody got links to studies about the incidence of bipolar diagnosis in women versus men? Sexism in bipolar diagnoses? Needed for Michigan Department of Civil Rights. Last chance to legally save my life from criminal psychiatry in Michigan in 2013.

    This study could use review, I’m sure, and largely assumes sexist assumptions:

    Has Bipolar Disorder become a predominantly female gender related condition? Analysis of recently published large sample studies
    Bernardo Dell’Osso, Rita Cafaro & Terence A. Ketter
    International Journal of Bipolar Disorders volume 9, Article number: 3 (2021)

    https://journalbipolardisorders.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s40345-020-00207-z

      • Thank you!

        When, ever, will the sexism in psychiatry be addressed and debunked? The differences noted between men and women and so called bi polar especially overtime are pure bias. Based in religion, politics, history.

        As psychiatry has known bi polar is bs over the course of the 2000s, popular purveyors of bunk have claimed the incidence of bipolar is roughly equally between the sexes (based on made up wishful thinking data that I’m sure exists nowhere) though allegedly bi polar looks different in men and women, which is bs on top of bs on top of bs. The larger problem is sexism is the society that affects psychiatric bias, society, people and families, not any behavioral disease in the female.

        So depressing. We are still living in bible stories.

        I need to prove that some crazy retaliation I endured in 2019 from the Catholic hospital and local police for speaking out about criminal psychiatry that occurred in 2013 (actual violations of the weak legal code) violated my state protected civil rights as a female.

        Sexism is everywhere like air but its difficult to prove that the retaliation happened because I am big mouth female who won’t shut up about what was done to me (who can’t and shouldn’t shut up).

        I hope finally that someone will agree there is no argument that the Catholic Church is sexist. That seems to me a good basis for an argument of sexist psychiatric mistreatment and sexist retaliation from people who elevate men over women and cops whose union supported proud pussy grabbing Trump.

        I need this to work and it probably won’t.

  9. I am wondering why Charlotte seems to be implying that all psychiatric survivors are “service-users”. She seems to treat these two terms as interchangeable and she does not seem to realize that there are psychiatric survivors who are not involved with the psychiatric system, or who are involved with it only out of sheer economic necessity.

    Charlotte reassures her readers that those who criticize psychiatry don’t think that psychiatric drugs are “evil”. Well, e.g. neuroleptics are literally toxic to the brain and many critics of psychiatry openly talk about it. And one thing is obvious: forced psychiatric drugging is evil, though plenty of people continue to find it acceptable.

    I also find it interesting that Charlotte has talked only to “clinicians, academics, writers, scientists, and journalists” – to people who have successful careers and who are probably middle-class.

    People harmed by psychiatry are very often poor. People who have experienced forcible psychiatric treatment are much more likely to be poor than affluent. Successful middle-class people are rather unlikely to be forced to stay in a public psychiatric ward with complete strangers while in the midst of acute distress. The most oppressed people know the most about the damage and humiliation caused by psychiatry.

    • Johanna says, “I also find it interesting that Charlotte has talked only to “clinicians, academics, writers, scientists and journalists” – to people who have successful careers and who are probably middle class.”

      I found it more than interesting. I found it disheartening and more than a little disturbing.

      Johanna further states, “The most oppressed people know the most about the damage and humiliation caused by psychiatry.”

      And therefore have the most to say, imo. I wonder if Charlotte knows this, or perhaps she harbors an unconscious bias against those with the most hardships, as can sometimes be the case with those fortunate enough to have fewer hardships.

      • Birdsong, good to hear that you have similar thoughts on this subject. I used the word “interesting”, but I could have used the words you used. And I, too, think that Charlotte, like so many other people, may be unconsciously or consciously biased against psychiatric survivors who are not successful middle-class people.

        • Glad I saw your comment Joanna! I spoke of the same thing. I was surviving institutionalization while they got all their degrees and money. I still know a bit more about life after being a SMI patient. I have no patience for survivor spaces that prioritize the least affected. We lose the point when the powerful people of the system get all the power here too.

        • Glad I saw your comment Joanna! I spoke of the same thing. I was surviving institutionalization while they got all their degrees and money. I still know a bit more about life after being a SMI patient.

          We lose the point when the powerful people of the system get all the power in survivor spaces

          • Anotherone, i agree…people who endured the most harm from the system should have their voices and experiences prioritized in survivor spaces, especially since they get silenced and insulted almost everywhere else.
            As a n example, about a month ago i made a comment on a YouTube thread where so many people were saying ignorant things about psychiatry, like, oh, thank god its not like it used to be, and “they dont do ECT anymore” or “they still do ECT but it doesn’t cause memory loss anymore”. I wrote “they still do ect and it still causes memory loss. I had it 15 years ago and am still disabled” (of course it wasnt just the ECT but all the harm that came before and after) and someone replied, “I don’t believe you. I think if you’re on disability youre gaming the system.” I’m so sick and tired of it.

          • Anotherone, thank you. I really appreciate the comments you have left in this discussion, including the one where you mention the despicable behaviour of this urgent care doctor.

            As to “survivor spaces that prioritize the least affected”, I was perplexed when I found out that even unemployed people have to pay 50$ (or 25$ in the case of low-income countries, mainly African countries) to join the International Society for Psychological and Social Approaches to Psychosis. Membership in such organizations should be free for unemployed and other poor people with experience of psychosis.

          • KateL, it is disgusting that someone has dismissed your voice and experiences in this way and even claimed that you are “gaming the system”! Some very mean-spirited people leave online comments under the cover of anonymity…

  10. Oh.

    And I think it is fair at this point, though likely controversial and what some call inflammatory: staff who earn paychecks where illegal and involuntary detentions take place should rightfully be compared to Nazi concentration camp guards.

    Staff who repeatedly described me as “disheveled” as reason for detaining me and stripping my human rights after I was abducted from home without a shower, no toothbrush, no care products, no clothes, deserve to be held fully accountable. This is one slight example.

    The end result is not the same, the means aren’t as bad, but they exist comparably on a continuum of history.

  11. I don’t think being a critic has to be so complicated, or controversial, and certainly not contentious. It’s just learning to think for yourself, to not automatically accept what someone says, no matter who says it, especially some “expert”. It’s called having your own opinion. But that can be a problem for some people, especially those who call themselves mainstream psychiatrists, you know, those pesky, hopelessly anal retentive “professionals” who invariably resort to engaging in tightly controlled, diagnostically measured temper tantrums. Just picture them furiously fumbling through their precious DSMs whenever their “patients” dare to have the temerity to voice their own opinions. Which just goes to show that psychiatrists are the very definition of control freaks. But psychiatrists aren’t the only ones; there’s lots of diagnostically demented fruitcakes running around, frantically waving one or another essentially meaningless degree, political persuasion, or any other ideological narrative that suits their purposes, breathlessly proclaiming to have “the answer” to everyone’s problems. But therein lies the problem, and it’s a stubborn one at that, because it’s rooted in the bullshit called psychiatry, and by association, that cesspool some fondly refer to as the “mental health system”. Such believers are fruitcakes, (to say the least, imo), as it has become quite a conundrum for too many people. But most psychiatrists don’t see any problems, (and certainly not in themselves!) because most, as I previously stated, are hopelessly (but happily!) anal retentive in maintaining their psychiatric, and therefore narrow minded, attitudes. To use a crude analogy: most mental health professionals, and psychiatrists in particular, have sticks up their “clinical” asses. But no matter what people decide to call themselves, whether “critic” this, or “anti” that, or, lo and behold, nothing at all, it’s best to avoid those wedded to such a suffocatingly perverse system. Simply put, mainstream psychiatry and its assorted minions are troublemakers who use diagnoses and drugs to do their dirty work, “work” that does little more than confound us all, and ends up actually poisoning way too many, which is why websites like this have come to exist. Because after all, who wants their private pains used to fuel some “expert’s” inflated ego, or worse yet, used as some psychiatrist’s hapless lab rat. Unfortunately, “patients” are used to satisfy these and other selfish ends, namely, their big egos and big pockets to match. So it pays to be skeptical of those with reputations to protect and egos to coddle, egos so big they can’t see beyond themselves, that, more often than not, belong to none other than the “clinical” professionals, researchers, academics, and, believe it or not, even some writers and journalists, most of whom would do well to more than occasionally eat a fair amount of humble pie.

  12. Most people, when given half a chance, (which is something most psychiatrists, as well as other therapists, rarely allow people to do), are more than capable of using their own (surprise! surprise!) critical thinking. But by gosh, golly and gee whiz…isn’t it amazing when even MORE problems arise AFTER people start seeing mainstream psychiatrists, (or, can you guess?) even a somewhat less toxic therapist. But the facts are, when people are faced with, and then summarily bulldozed by, mainstream psychiatry, it’s miserable myriad of myths, means and methods result in adding even MORE misery to people’s original problems. And then having to come to grips with the bullshit that is psychiatry is a challenge unlike any other, and something most people wish they’d somehow found a way to avoid. These are some obvious facts seemingly unbeknownst to the author. Maybe she should have spent more time with those who don’t have a vested interest in promoting some variation of mainstream psychiatry’s party line of diagnose, drugs, or some such piddly-doo idea of “psychotherapy”.

  13. I copied and pasted some of the comments under a New York Times article

    https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/27/health/teens-psychiatric-drugs.html?smid=url-share

    I think they are a good snapshot of what we’re up against. Most of the comments of this ill got many many upvotes:

    I have zero patience for articles like this that have no problems badmouthing psychiatric medications, which seems to be de rigeur these days, and no answer at all to the question, “Well, if therapy isn’t available, what would you suggest?”

    As a psychiatrist reading this article, I am troubled by the amount of inaccurate and misleading information. It is irresponsible to write, let alone publish, a poorly researched, negatively biased article on a topic that can have such dangerous consequences. I sure hope no one abruptly stopped their medications after reading this article.

    It is clear that this article was not written by a physician. It can take years and multiple medication trials to find the right medication regimen. Off label prescribing is often appropriate and life-saving. Most kids with ADHD have co-morbid illnesses and many need multiple medications.

    It is unfortunate that the class of medications including Abilify/Risperdal/etc are called “atypical anti-psychotics.” While these medications are used to treat psychosis, they also have FDA indications for multiple other childhood disorders. These medications do have potentially serious side effects – that said, the article is misleading and does not provide a nuanced/accurate description of the risks and enormous potential benefits of these medications

    As someone who works in the mental health field, this article contains many generalizations and simplifications about conditions that can be very complex. Many times medications are disbursed in response to some very risky and life threatening behaviors, not as a first salvo

    As a psychiatrist reading this, a few things really stand out to me in the case of polypharmacy with this girl. If Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) was really sought out for her, that would strongly suggest a provider thought she had borderline personality disorder or very significant Cluster b personality traits. Patients with Borderline PD classically/inevitably end up on polypharmacy regimens because of their many, many mood symptoms and extreme fluctuations of mood symptoms and emotional lability and frequent suicidality. Sometimes the regimens work, and sometimes they’re not helping at all and more meds are taken off and added in desperate attempts to stabilize the patient. Whenever many years of varying med therapy don’t help, you should always consider whether a personality disorder is at play and cut down on med lists. One more thing I’ll note: the meds listed
    And their doses are all well within the realm of therapeutic indications for a patient with severe and treatment resistant depression who also has mood swings/severe irritability. Should a patient be on many at once?…some patients actually do require it. For children, there should be more discernment, and my feeling is that a personality disorder (which is treated primarily by talk-therapy and not meds) was at play with this girl.

    • What I’ve learned: there is nothing like a righteous pro psychiatry NYTimes’ liberal commenter to set off my fear that things will never get better. Elite America run amok. I dropped the NYTimes.

      Liberals aren’t necessarily good people.

      Liberals used psychiatry to destroy my liberal life.

    • “give children more antipsychotics! 10 ANTIPSYCHOTICS ARE PERFECT. THE KID’S just a bad person!! cluster b is for bad people. the problem isn’t the drugs, it’s the young girl”- a medical professional.

      really wild ride. like a roller coaster that extended to hell. This psych doctor blamed a child to avoid extending a tiny sliver of compassion. True, this is what we’re up against. On a related note: i was given a BPD diagnosis at 14.

      When I speak on that aspect of my experience, the professionals never fail to inform me that never happens. They sometimes kindly suggest that I may have made it up with my manipulation spooky mental brain. We see that this doctor endorses diagnosing kids with cluster b disorders so it does happen and it must not be rare.

      God spare us from whatever they come up with next

      • Weird how many people report things that “never happen!” Anyone who says something “never happens” is obviously either deluded or intentionally covering up. Humans are capable of all sorts of heinous behavior, and it’s naïve at best to imagine that nothing of this sort happens just because people belong to a particular profession. Reminds me of when a colleague who contacted a suburban school to offer a talk on sexual abuse, and the principal said, “We don’t have that sort of problem here.” RIIIIGHT.

        • “If the Party could thrust its hand into the past and say of this or that event, “it never happened”—that, surely, was more terrifying than mere torture and death.“ Orwell 1984.

          I think back to the psychologist who actually helped me get to a point where I was capable of walking into a Police Station with the proof of the crimes I have alleged here on the pages of MiA.

          Police had me ‘flagged’ for an automatic mental health referral due to my truth not matching with the “edited” version of their reality. And so they called the psychologist to do an arbitrary detention and have me ‘snowed’ for turning up in their station with proof of police/mental health services misconduct.

          The attempt to have me unlawfully ‘referred’ for “hallucinating” failed as the psychologist had been over the documents I had in detail with me, and so he ‘informed’ police that it was not an “hallucination” to be claiming you had been drugged without your knowledge, when you had the documented proof.

          Thus that avenue of cover up by police was closed.

          They claimed I could be arrested for having the documents (my own medical records obtained lawfully via FOI application. Doing you a favor by not arresting you for a crime that doesn’t exist) and when that failed, they claimed I could be arrested for the ‘verballed’ threat made by the author of the documents (the Community Nurse). I demonstrated to the Officer how the threat had gone from a ‘threat to harm’ (statement by my wife about a historic matter. “communicated matter”) to a ‘threat to kill’ (verballed statement by the Community Nurse about an “observed matter”) and that I was more than happy to present my evidence to the Courts should he choose to charge me.

          Given this officer didn’t want to even put his hands on the documents (due to the ‘flag’ on the system) he was hardly going to charge me for the contents of those documents. So I was not charged, and walked away with an ‘Incident Report Number’. Being able to deny ever being in possession of the documents critical in the concealment of the offences for both the criminals and their enablers.

          On returning to the psychologist we laughed about the stupidity of police trying to have me referred for “hallucinating”….. that is, until the police wanted to know “who else has the documents?”. They could hardly ask me, as it was me they were committing offences against…. and so chose to use the psychologist as their ‘confidential informant’ to put the questions they wanted answered to me. This along with stealing my laptop to find out who I had been communicating with and about what……. showing the desperation to conceal the truth. And all the while others were watching. Ever seen a Vampire having Holy Water thrown over them? lol

          The psychologist was obviously concerned about conspiring with corrupt police, especially given he also knew who else I had been discussing these matters with…. and that I had ‘eyes’ on the proceedings.

          So when I raised the interactions with the police when they had tried to have me ‘referred’ for a ‘snow job’ rather than take the proof of the offending, he became afraid for his family and said “it never happened”. It’s a gut wrenching feeling to look into the eyes of someone you trusted who is prepared to openly and knowingly lie to your face….. but I get it, they threatened his family. Mine had already been “fucking destroyed”, and that is maintained by those uttering with known fraudulent documents to this very day.

          See the problem here was that police and mental health were trying to claim that the clinic psychologist who had unlawfully released my medical records form the Private Clinic was protected by ‘public interest immunity’ ….. when they knew all along that she wasn’t….. though with some “editing” and a little accident arranged for the E.D. it was never going to be an issue…. and the medical records of ALL the clients at the Private Clinic could then be compromised. Police quite happy to ‘assist’ their ‘confidential informant’ by retrieving the documents I had to ‘assist’ the Law Centre’ and the hospital in their conspiring to pervert the course of justice, by forging a letter from the Chief Psychiatrist, and denying access to effective legal representation.

          Sometimes Steve, the people claiming “it never happened” are being subjected to some serious threats and intimidation to provide ‘information’ to the police (“who else has got the documents?”). I still feel sorry for that beige cardigan wearing psychologist (who had a PhD) who wasn’t really prepared to stand by the ‘oath’ he had taken, and instead was prepared to ‘assist’ corrupt police in concealing acts of State sanctioned torture and arbitrary detentions.

          He would have to be careful, he might find his Birth Certificate being “edited” and that he is now one of the ‘Cohens’ (the method used by the National Socialists in Germany?)

          Quite a score for someone though, having access to the Private Clinic medical records via a ‘confidential informant’, especially given I sat next to Members of Parliament in the waiting room. Or is this a fundamental breach of the trust and confidence that the ‘clients’ placed in the Private Clinic to meet the standards set out in the Federal Privacy Act of not finding means to justify the release of such information provided in trust and confidence? That is, incapacitate the person whose records you want to release with date rape drugs and have police detain them because you lie and tell them they are your “Outpatient”?

          The ‘diagnosis’ I was given served a purpose, and a good one from what I can gather. I was compensated for the damage that had been done by my employment. Though the clinic psychologist (with a Masters degree) has been taking those ‘diagnoses’ and weaponing them against people who can be ‘plucked’ when ripe for wealth extraction it would seem.

          It was kind of amazing that the Senior Medical Officer who wrote the prescription for the date rape drugs making them my “Regular Medications” also managed to match the ‘Billing Codes’ from the Private Clinic in his “Provisional Diagnosis” in a matter of three minutes and with two questions (‘Lives with his wife’, and ‘has a degree in psychology’. It took the Private Clinic psychiatrist a little longer that that. Was he overcharging me for something that can be done in three minutes? lol. Or is the “Provisional Diagnosis” proof of the breach of my medical records held at the Private Clinic?).

          Public interest immunity, or public interest disclosure to allow the ‘clients’ the ability to protect themselves against ‘reputational damage’? It would be interesting to know what has been done by those with a duty to act, because as it stands all they seem to have done is obstruct justice. I suppose when you hate the truth, and have zero respect for the law….. what ya gunna do huh?

          The government motto….. “Keep on Editing” (thinking of Keep on Truckin)

        • If that suburban school has a ton of BPD kids whom they pass of to the troubled teen industry, then they do have that problem but they have their solution.

          The neoliberal utopian hubs of suburbia dislike reality, hence the use of mental health system tools against the too real.

          • The city and suburbs are different sides of the same coin. The city used taxes and the criminal justice system while suburbs outsourced it the private sector and called it healthcare.

    • Great song support. However, I see things as a bit more complicated.

      The center does not hold still.

      I hold extreme views about the Catholic Church, like people who believe in virgin birth and symbolic spiritual cannibalism (eating flesh, drinking blood) should be seen as quite possibly disturbed or at least unthinking in modern times. But most of the world’s press seems to think that the Pope deserves coverage as a world leader, even as he practices extreme duplicity (saying he wants to root out sex abuse the same month he denies new sex abuse claims in Canada).

  14. I agree with other comments here that state that the survivor perspective is missing from this article. Survivors are used to having their voices erased, ignored, shouted down, but to see it on this website is disheartening.
    “As it is, people who enter services are very rarely offered any choice of language, perspective, or culturally sensitive understanding. In this system it may be risky or even be punished (for example telling them they “lack insight”) to hold legitimate but alternative views.”. The most prominent example of this punishment is the borderline diagnosis.
    I don’t see any reason to kowtow to people who use “you want to ban ECT ” as an insult. It should be banned.

      • Insurance definitely leads to “higher levels of care” (harm). The ECT happened when I had what everyone called “great insurance” through my employer. I was working full time at an ivy league university. Within two years of the ECT and the borderline diagnosis, I was on SSDI and medicare. Been that way ever since. Who would have thought that having “great insurance” could be so catastrophic.

        • True KateL,

          I had a friend who was released from the two hundred dollar hand shakers the day his insurance ran out. Sent home dribbling from the mouth with a bottle of anti psychotics, incapable of caring for himself. His sister threw the drugs away and he got better within a few weeks (though the long term effects seemed to stay with him)

          He cancelled all of his health insurances and was never taken captive again.

    • Also, the worst punishments happen in ways that the patient will most likely block out and never speak of. I have fuzzy memories of being held in a room at Yale that was somewhere in the bowels of YNHH. My brain still won’t fill me in on the details.

        • It can make it difficult to remember your name if you happen across a doctor whose motive may not be entirely ethical. Though I suppose with no ‘Chop Square’ like Jeddah, what else are you going to do with someone who has a propensity for violence towards others, and who has shown little possibility of rehabilitation? Or who is complaining about your criminal conduct and who can be picked up by police (who will provide a window of opportunity by refusing documented proof of offending) if you tell them that the person is your “Outpatient”?

          But then there is; an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind…… or the one eyed man King?

        • Could they target it to erase the memory of their doctors misdiagnosing me? I had a doctor at SIU ordered a celiac test Inwas unaware of (perfectly justified with consent) without realizing one my dreams is to open a bakery and buy gluten by the pound. There was zero chance of me having celiac other than a false positive. I joked a false positive might result in me being so upset I try to east a bag of gluten powder. She interpreted my joke as a threat of self harm and slandered me by entering it in my chart. After another doctor (3 weeks out of med school) to over I told him her not listening made it FEEL LIKE he was upset with me for getting blood on hand after punching me. He said I was delusional and accusing him of punching me despite never being in the same room. Now because they wouldn’t listen I have panic attacks triggered by anything healthcare related.

    • You have to wonder who’s out of touch with reality in this scenario. The “street psychiatrist” appears well intentioned but “antipsychotics”, conservatorships and “reuniting” homeless people with their families” (there’s a reason they’re estranged, if family even exists.) are not solutions.

      • (there’s a reason they’re estranged, if family even exists.), yes very true.

        And he talked about this 51yo woman talking about Lynard Skynard and Elvis Presley.

        Well, lots of people talk like that. People on the street have no social armor, so they need to invent protection.

        We have one park which draws the most out of it homeless. Mostly I think it is street drugs. But the prescription psych meds are just as bad.

        Its just the long term effects of having an identity which has been shattered. I think the family is the usual cause. The remedy is political consciousness and political action. The psychiatric system does not help at all.

        The authorities have for long tried to keep the homeless drugged, and especially the women. It makes it easer when the authorities have to deal with them. But this does not make it right.

        Joshua

        • I agree, Joshua. And that’s a good point: in a dangerous environment,, being “out of touch with reality” can be a strong protective factor. Also, when we take a quick survey of the people in charge (CEOs, politicians, psychiatrists), the large majority are motivated by delusions of one sort of another.
          It would be interesting to know what percentage of people living on the street were treated for mental illness in the past– especially those with a history of complying with the drugs they were proscribed, and those who were subjected to ECT. My gut tells me it’s probably a fair percentage.

          • KateL, I agree with you and I am glad that you mention it – I think that at least some of the homeless people were treated for mental illness and have experienced brain damage because of psychiatric treatment. I believe that the cognitive dysfunctions of many patients described in psychiatric textbooks and articles are usually or at least very frequently an effect of psychiatric medications and ECT.

          • Yes, people need to erect defenses to toxic environments, as you will often find in families in the industrial age middle-class.

            We need to dismantle the entire Mental Health and Autism / Aspergers system.

            And we need to put an end to this Los Angeles County Street Psychiatry Operation.

            Joshua

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