The Mental Health Industry Speaks Volumes About Our Society’s Priorities


“The treatment of mental disorders with drugs is not the same sort of activity as the use of drugs in medicine. Psychiatric drugs do not target underlying disease or symptom-producing mechanisms; they create an altered state of mental functioning that is superimposed on underlying feelings and behaviours. The ethical implications of the two situations are different.” —Joanna Moncrieff  

Since the middle of the twentieth century, the development and widespread prescription of psychiatric drugs has changed the landscape of psychiatry. While the locus of emotional or psychological distress continues to be found within the individual, instead of prescribing a course of psychotherapy, the doctor prescribes a drug with the goal of correcting what is commonly understood to be a chemical imbalance.

Though there have long been questions raised about the veracity of this widely held belief, until very recently, the official line has remained unchanged. Recently, however, scientists at the University College London, led by Joanna Moncrieff, conducted a major review of scientific studies related to depression in which they found “no clear evidence” that depression is caused by an imbalance in brain chemistry. Data from the study shows that scientists studying serotonin levels in test subjects “did not discover any difference between people diagnosed with depression and healthy people.”

A spokesman for the Royal College of Psychiatrists insisted that “antidepressants are an effective… treatment for depression”, and does not recommend that anyone should stop taking their medications “based on this review.” Since one of the issues with antidepressants is the lack of functional guidelines for cessation of the drug, it’s important that the publication of the report’s findings doesn’t result in millions of people spontaneously quitting their medication, but while the Royal College’s statement may act to avert that particular outcome, it fails to address the fact that earlier studies have shown their statement about the effectiveness of antidepressants in treating depression to be untrue.

In his 2021 book Sedated: How Modern Capitalism Created our Mental Health Crisis, James Davies identifies “an array of harms caused by the very professions that purport to help us.” These problems are the predictable outcome of the mass marketing of prescription drugs beginning after the second world war, and the “new style of capitalism” introduced during the 1980s by conservative governments in the UK and the US.

Illustration of a man in a suit with a weight chained to his leg. He is reaching for graphs and dartboards against a blue background.Given the complex nature of psychology and the importance to its subjects of finding successful strategies for managing emotional and psychological distress, it’s difficult to overstate the need for a thorough examination of the intellectual structure upon which treatments are based. It’s both disappointing and alarming, then, to learn that the “aspect of psychology most likely to touch the lives of the ‘ordinary person’ is less a unified discipline than a motley of competing factions trying to demarcate its own domain, patent its own procedures, and prevent intruders from entering its territory”, as David Smail writes. Nor is the field of psychology interested in revealing the uneven power relations that necessitate such jockeying for position while at the same time underpinning much of the psychological distress that people experience through the course of their lives.

Locating the origin of personal distress “inside” the individual takes the spotlight off of the impossibility of living a life of principled integrity under a capitalist system, while at the same time legitimizing a whole host of modalities aimed at “fixing” the “patient.” Smail writes:

Psychology’s rendering as internal to the individual constructs such as motive and will, desire and insight, its isolation of the person from a social world and its “therapeutic” emphasis on his or her own responsibility for personal shortcomings, all serve to provide us with a kind of sanitized technology of conduct which turns totally blind eyes to the crushing and rapacious machinations of power which envelop us as soon as we emerge from the womb.

Pathologizing distress depoliticises and obscures its origins, Smail argues, and places the onus of finding ways to deal with oppression and isolation onto the individual.

To better understand why the mental health field is the single exception to the “astonishing” rate of progress in the medical community over the past 40 years, Davies explores the neoliberal policies of Britain’s former conservative prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, and looks at the relationship between the economy and “those institutions responsible for understanding and managing suffering.”

First, he outlines Thatcher’s belief that in order for the state to create a vibrant economy, it must start by instilling in people a strong sense of personal responsibility. “From now on,” Davies writes, “regulated capitalism would be superseded by a new economic order: a new capitalism, a neo-liberalism, increasing the role of market forces and encouraging the kinds of personal qualities—competitiveness, self-reliance, entrepreneurialism and productivity—esteemed by the Thatcher elite.”

Second, Davies identifies a four-step process by which the economy shapes the institutions tasked with addressing individual distress:

  1. Conceptualise human suffering in ways that protect the current economy from criticism.
  2. Redefine individual well-being in terms consistent with goals of the economy.
  3. Medicalise behaviours and emotions that might negatively impact the economy.
  4. Turn suffering into a vibrant market opportunity for more consumption.

Smail’s observations about the benefits to the economy of locating the origins of distress in the individual reflect the political climate of the West that came to the fore during Thatcher’s reign. She firmly believed that “self-reliance, independence and self-responsibility” in individuals could first be fostered by economic reform and eventually become the motor that keeps the economy ticking profitably along. “Economic reform would be the surgical procedure,” Davies explains, “and moral and economic health the national reward.”

Expressions of suffering under this new economic arrangement were defined as manifestations of “selfish entitlement” to be cured by the satisfaction of a hard day’s graft, or as proof of a psychological deficiency, the root of which could be found in the individual who suffered. Since suffering is widespread and antidepressants are the cheapest and the most accessible treatment option available, their use has become pervasive, functioning much in the same way that, according to Marx’s observations, organised religion functions. By blunting negative emotional responses to exploitation and alienation, pathologized distress and antidepressant use disrupt the natural push for social reform that such suffering would normally provoke, leaving the exploitative economic system intact and its victims disarmed.

Smail is not the first critic of what he calls “the incipient moralism of so-called ‘psychotherapeutic’ approaches, which, however subtly, manage to ‘blame the victim.’” It’s not reasonable, he suggests, to expect professionals whose identity and livelihood depend on the individual model of suffering to reliably champion the view that, actually, capitalism is the real culprit, and they are its enablers. Unfortunately, Smail concludes, “we are looking not so much at a breakthrough in enlightened understanding of distress as at the success of an empire.”

Davies agrees. In chapter two of Sedated, Davies takes on “the new culture of proliferating debt and drugs” that characterised the neoliberal governments of Thatcher in the UK and Reagan in the US during the 1980s. Debt and drugs are both commodities, he explains, and both of them are personal band-aids employed to disguise underlying problems, like the ones revealed in a 2007 paper published in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease.

The study, conducted by Martin Harrow, was the most comprehensive review of long-term psychiatric drug use conducted until that point. The results were both unexpected and, it seems, unwelcome. “While all the patients started out with the same diagnosis, the patients who improved most were not those who had remained on their medication over the years, but those who had stopped earlier on,” Davies recalls. In fact, no matter how one looked at the results of the study, it was clear that “the longer people remained on the drugs, the worse their outcomes on every measure.”

Robert Whitaker, an American journalist and author who published Mad in America, a critical history of psychiatric treatments, in 2002, was one of the few to take notice of Harrow’s study. Whitaker’s own research had revealed how often treatments that at one time were celebrated as breakthroughs in psychiatry, ended up proving very harmful to patients, and he wondered if psychiatric drugs would go the way of lobotomies and insulin comas now that they had been shown over the long-term to be not only ineffective, but harmful.

Davies quotes Whitaker: “Harrow’s paper appeared to confirm not just something I’d hypothesised in Mad in America, but what so many patients had told me since: that during their long-term treatment their conditions got worse, not better.” Whitaker’s continued research following the publication of Harrow’s 2007 report uncovered what he called a “bemusing” state of affairs: every country assessed as part of his research had experienced a meteoric rise in mental health disability since the 1980s that coincided with a huge rise in the number of psychiatric drugs being prescribed.

To ensure that his observations were not just correlation, Whitaker gathered together all studies undertaken since the 1950s on the effects of long-term drug regimens on people who had been diagnosed with a mental disorder. These studies confirmed that, on average, people who continue to take psychiatric medications do much worse over the long term than those who stop the drugs.

While it seems like the recent announcement from the University College London disproving the chemical imbalance theory of mental illness should mark a profound change in the prescription and use of psychiatric medications, statements like the one made by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in response to the report suggest that the report’s revelations may have fallen on willfully deaf ears.

As evidenced by the Harrow study, Mad in America, Whitaker’s second book Anatomy of an Epidemic, and multiple other studies published in the 2010s, information about the harmful effects of antidepressants has long been available to the medical community, but prescriptions for psychiatric drugs, in concert with mental health disability claims, just keep rising. So, why don’t governments intervene?

In Sedated, Davies concludes that “since the 1980s, successive governments and big business have worked to promote a new vision of mental health that puts at its centre a new kind of person: resilient, optimistic, individualistic and above all, economically productive—the kind of person the new economy needs and wants.” The kind of person who falls easily in line with the four-step process Davies identified by which the economy shapes our institutions.

As anyone familiar with the fable about the Pied Piper of Hamelin can tell you, who pays the piper calls the tune. Because pharmaceutical companies are the ones financing the clinical trials, they’re also the ones deciding which trials are undertaken, and ultimately, which drugs are produced. With that level of control, companies like Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson can dictate the narrative around illness in such a way that it corresponds with the sale of their products.

On the 3rd of July, 2022, a Twitter account with the handle @atomicaceso tweeted: “I went to the doctor this week and part of my intake was the phq-9, a depression scale invented by Pfizer to sell more antidepressants. This is one example of why it is so hard for me to take the medical field seriously. It felt like a Black Mirror episode.” @atomicaceso includes a link in her tweet to a Pfizer press release from 2010 containing the following announcement:

As part of its commitment to improving the quality of patient care, Pfizer today announced that it will make available assessment scales used by physicians and others in the healthcare community to support the evaluation and diagnosis of patients suffering from certain mental disorders. For the first time, these users can directly access and download the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ) and the General Anxiety Disorder questionnaire (GAD-7) without copyright restriction and at no charge, providing unprecedented access to these valuable and widely used tools for evaluating certain mental disorders.

The statement dovetails perfectly with other aggressive marketing tactics employed by pharmaceutical companies, including their association with and promotion of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the fifth volume of which was published in May 2013. Shortly after publication, the DSM-5 appeared at the top of the bestseller list by virtue of the fact that key players in the pharmaceutical industry were buying up all the copies they could get at $88 each and handing them out free to clinicians. Davies writes that according to a professor from the Department of Psychology at New York University, “as almost any kind of suffering is caught by the DSM, disseminating it is just good business [because] it drives up diagnosis rates and prescriptions.”

Considering that the DSM-5 approved the definitions of 370 mental disorders—compared to 106 in the early 1970s—Davies was curious about how this enormous expansion had come about. Amid growing international criticism of the famous guide, Davies undertook extensive research into its history. What he uncovered is that “by progressively lowering the bar for what constitutes a psychiatric disorder” and then reclassifying “everyday painful human experiences” as pathologies, the DSM—“without any real biological justification”—had rebranded most of human suffering as symptoms of psychiatric illness, in spite of the fact that “there are simply no discovered biological abnormalities for which to test.” Davies writes that the disorders listed in the DSM-5 are not based on verifiable scientific data, then, but rather on the consensus opinion of a select group of DSM psychiatrists, almost all of whom have ties to the pharmaceutical industry. In the event that they can’t come to an agreement among themselves, the decision goes to a vote.

In an article posted on Mad in America following the announcement from the Royal College of London, Robert Whitaker says that he initially wondered if he should bother to report on the study’s findings, given that “Mad in America readers know well that the low-serotonin theory had long ago been debunked.”

The mainstream media, on the other hand, were all over the announcement, Whitaker writes, hyping Moncrieff et al’s study “as a “landmark” finding [and] a “game changer” … [that has] shaken up accepted wisdom about antidepressants.” Still, given the humdrum responses of psychiatrists on both sides of the pond, it seems clear that many have long known the truth, but have carried on prescribing antidepressants with a disinterested shrug.

Whitaker’s article makes a case for starting a class action lawsuit on behalf of the many thousands who have suffered long-term iatrogenic harm from psychiatric medications taken as prescribed. Considering the extent of the damage that has been done to some individuals and the diminished quality of life that they lead as a result, I suspect that there will be a great deal of support for such a suit now that the cat is out of the bag, so to speak.

Certainly, the attention attracted by a large class action lawsuit against pharmaceutical giants like Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson would help to shine a light on the rapacious greed fueling the aggressive marketing tactics employed by the pharmaceutical industry as a whole, and financial compensation for those affected could mitigate at least some part of the harm done. But the question remains: what can be done at the level of service to relieve the suffering that brings people to their doctors in the first place?

In 2016, in response to patient protests and opposition to mainstream psychiatry, the health ministry in Norway ordered “medication free” treatment options to be introduced into psychiatric hospitals in four regional health authorities. Patient groups with meticulous evidence—garnered primarily from Robert Whitaker’s work—lobbied the government and caught the attention of the health minister, Bent Høies.

Davies cites Høies: “For me it was the clearly expressed need from the patients that triggered my decision. Medication free treatment is an important step in changing and modernising mental health services.” Patient advocacy groups were inspired by increasing numbers of patient-led movements that were helping even severely distressed people without medical intervention.

For example, the Open Dialogue initiative, operating in Lapland since the 1990s, was “achieving at the very least comparable levels of recovery by way of offering community and interpersonal support with a clear emphasis on reducing medication early on,” Davies writes. By allowing grassroots concerns to shape public policy, Norwegian politicians have opened the door to finding genuine and long-lasting resolutions to emotional and psychological distress that don’t involve drugs. Given the scope of the problem and the sheer volume of people seeking relief, it’s impossible to understate the importance of Moncrieff et al’s study having caught the attention of the mainstream media. An educated public has a much better chance of advocating from the grassroots for safe and effective treatments in the face of a pharmaceutical industry more interested in profits than people.


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


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  1. An interesting corollary to this is that psych treatments that are effective (and there really are some!) are fought tooth and nail by Big Time Psychiatry under the guise of preventing you from degenerating into an incurable lunatic and social parasite.

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      • Which, no doubt, is why the unethical psychologists and psychiatrists fraudulently defame their clients to their husband and family, with lies of “lifelong, incurable, genetic disorders.” So those unethical “marriage counselors” can destroy the marriages of those they purport to “help.”

        Thank you, Kimberly, for pointing out that psychiatry and psychology have decided to turn themselves into the employment – or as my medical records incorrectly state, the “unemployment” – police.

        No doubt, psychiatry’s and psychology’s ignorance of the fact that artists need to build up a portfolio, prior to trying to market their work, is called “unemployed,” by the psychologists and psychiatrists. And they assume all stay at home moms, active volunteers, and portfolio building artists are “unemployed,” and “w/o work, content, and talent” – prior to ever looking at their work.

        And then when the “mental health” workers did finally look at the artist’s work, they described it as “work of smart female,” “insightful,” “too truthful,” and call her “a Chicago Chagall.” And then they try to steal from the ethical, truth tellings artists, with bogus “art manager contracts” – which are actually a ‘take a percentage of gross,’ thievery, combined with a conservatorship contract.

        Stop attacking the artists!

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      • I take medication for depression and ADHD. I’ve seen an improvement in my life since I’ve started taking the medication and I can see the difference when I stop taking the medication.

        Yes, it was surprising to hear the news about the role of chemical imbalances. But this underscores what’s always stated in the commercials about doctors not being sure about why things work.
        I don’t doubt that there are profit motives behind the sale of medication because that’s the way the world works. They don’t have to charge as much as they do, but within the system, there are people who deserve to get paid for the work they do.

        I don’t expect that anyone will decide to engage me or others like me. It’s a blow to the fragile egos who make themselves feel better at the expense of people like myself. Yet and still you carry on as though we are comrades.

        I would like to see changes in how we manage mental health. I’d like to see changes in how money is distributed in society. But to have a conversation about people who are affected without engaging the affected people is as arrogant, ignorant and selfish as the parties you claim are our enemies.

        Engage those affected. Engage those who can say that the release of this information doesn’t affect their ability to get through the day. And, if you claim that we’re on the same side (if it’s owners vs labor, we’re on the same side) craft a narrative around that.

        And rather than sit around talking trash about The System, craft a strategy for change.

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        • This community consists of a huge majority of “affected people,” Tmason. They just weren’t affected in the same way as you were. I find it disappointing to see how easily you seem to dismiss other “affected people’s” experiences while wanting others to value yours. It is not “at your expense” that people share their stories, even if you find these stories confusing or contradictory to your own experience. It is for their own benefit. If you want to be respected, you need to start with respecting the fact that not everyone experiences the “system” the same way you do. If you’re not interested in that kind of discussion, where each person is entitled to share their own story and experiences and no one is entitled to invalidate them for doing so, then I think you may have come to the wrong place.

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          • I agree, Steve. I generally don’t engage with someone who begins a “dialogue” with insults.

            I also hope that people who benefit from psych drugs have the professional support they need when suddenly those drugs are not available. Saw this news item recently:

            “WASHINGTON, Dec 12 (Reuters) – A crackdown by U.S. drug wholesalers in response to the opioid crisis is preventing some pharmacists from dispensing a combination of stimulants and sedatives routinely prescribed by psychiatrists to help patients manage conditions like anxiety and ADHD.”

            I’ve had to cold turkey off a number of these drugs (klonopin, Adderall, Cymbalta, Lyrica and more) and never had support even when the withdrawals were physically dangerous. I wouldn’t wish that experience on anyone.

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          • Well, since until recently the industry has DENIED that there are any withdrawal effects, they certainly wouldn’t bother HELPING you deal with the effects they are trying to pretend don’t exist!

            It is criminal to let someone deal with that kind of crap without support, especially if you’re the one who created the dependency in the first place. But unfortunately, the industry appears to have no sense of shame.

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          • That’s not where I’m coming from. I fully understand and respect the fact that we’re individuals and have experiences accordingly.

            I feel that the article is doing just what you’re accusing me of. It appears to say that because they don’t see evidence that depression as a chemical imbalance, Big Pharma is full of shit and we’ve all been conned.

            The fact is that, short of the placebo effect, the medication is either going to work. If it works, it’s not going to stop because of this announcement, but, I feel like that’s the implication.

            I GET that there’s a profit motive involved and that the message is built around that motive.

            I GET that there’ a possibilty that people are not going to receive the treatment they need because the provider may be more concerned with the company than the patient.

            I GET that the the mental health field is not constructed in a manner that is user friendly, especially when it comes to a crisis.

            I GET that doctors don’t always use a holistic approach by emphasizing the need for a therapist to better your health and encouraging things, like exercise, that would provide natural support.

            If you felt that I indicated that I wasn’t concerned about others, I apologize for giving that perception. Again, however, I come away from this essay with the impression that none of this means anything because the science, to date, doesn’t support their theory, that none of this is worth anything.

            Managing mental health is not easy. You take something for six weeks and don’t feel a difference. The doctor increases the dosage, rinse and repeat until something happens or you restart the process. You don’t always know what you should be looking for regarding improvement and side effects. It’s a PAIN IN THE FUCKING ASS. This is compounded when you can’t afford to do every follow up, extending the provess. It’s also compounded by a lack of commuinication. Did the pych tell you about titration? Did they tell you what to look for? Do you know know how to communicate your expericence? I’m not being condecending because these are things I had to learn the hard way.

            It’s beautiful to have the luxury of time. I had the luxury of time to interview my current doctor and thereapist. But I didn’t always have that luxry. When I worked with someone because that’s who my insurance covers or any number of other variables, I didn’t always get a good match. I’ve been fortunate in that I haven;t had any nightmares but I know that they exist and I know that those clients aren’t gertrting the help they need and some of them walk away from the system, which is not good.

            It’s also quite possible that those who are benefitting can help those who aren’t. It’s one thing for your doctor to tell you to exercise and get a therapist. It’ quite another to have somone give you a practical understanding of theraputic work or have someone that can help you establish an exercise routine that works for you,

            Finally, they tell you in the commercials that they don’t know how it works.Even if they did, it would still be pasta at the wall until they know what works and can link a patient to a medicaton via screening.

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        • Hi Tmason,
          Personally I have had nothing but trouble with medications. By the time the dosage is high enough to suppress the symptoms they render me incapable of working so in effect I become a “zombie”.
          I have come across quite few people like you who have said that psychiatric medication has helped them. My understanding is that about 20% of people who use medication find that it works reasonably well with minimum side affects. By contrast a common statement about various forms of therapy is that it works “at least as well” as medication. That still leaves a lot of people struggling with nothing much to help them.
          I believe that each of us has a right to choose whatever we find works best for us.
          The only proviso to this is that I believe we also have the right to be provided with honest and accurate information. This obviously is often not the case.
          I am particularly troubled by the number of young people on high doses of ap meds that I come across who have been given no information and haven’t a clue about possible long term affects.

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          • I have read some real deep shit about the interactions that some have had with psychiatrists and psychologists. It’s really fucked up that, in a moment of crisis (not 911 level), you have to deal with waiting for a call back or waiting weeks for an appointment or figuring out

            There are going to be special concerns around children as their minds are still developing and there’s the question of what narrative the child is getting from having to be on medication.

            Way too many people lean way to heavily on their providers. I think that I made reference to this in my comment.

            I think that it, theoretically, be nice to a place that people can go to and vet their interactions with mental health providers. Specifically, it would be a matter of having someone post a question about a conversation with their doctor to get an idea as to whether there’s information the doctor didn’t share, maliciously or not. You could also use such an area to get patient experience with a regimen or modality, alternatives, etc. One major concern I would have is that could get real messy, real fast.

            Still, something needs to be done. Health care providers are people. They’re not going to know about everything that happens and even the most benevolent provider is going to forget or overlook something.

            It’s always important for people to be active in their health care in general. Mental health care is especially difficult to manage. Mental health care is a lot more reliant on trust than medical care. I don’t have to like my doctor to tell them that my back hurts. Being honest about symptoms and reactions to mental health drugs is a lot more difficult. It takes nothing for someone to minimize their symptoms because they don’t feel as though the provider is listening. This is compounded by insurance issues, the availability of other providers, doing another intake, etc

            Based on my experience, I often wonder how many of the people who say that medications didn’t work for them worked with someone who they were comfortable with. Someone who provides a set of expectations for the medication. Someone who is willing to try something new with the patient. My last psychiatrist was big on not “over medicating” . For me, that translated to an aversion to trying drugs that I said didn’t work for me twenty years ago. I would tell the doctor it was twenty years ago and I don’t really remember what the experience was and that I’m willing to try it again. No dice

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        • Hi Tmason,
          You said “And rather than sit around talking trash about The System, craft a strategy for change.”

          I and I expect many others are probably trying to figure how to do just that. It is by no means an easy task. The more I go into this the harder and more complex it seems to become.

          My observation is that even with those who experience significant mental health problems there is significant dissent. The end result, at least in the country and state that I live in (Victoria, Australia), is that there seems to be a lot of people running around in circles talking about reform but achieving nothing.

          A Royal Commission report into mental health in Victoria was released in 2021. The chairman of the Commission Penny Armytage said the system largely operated in crisis mode, had “catastrophically failed” to live up to expectations and was “woefully unprepared” for current and future challenges. “Despite the goodwill and hard work of many people, Victoria’s mental health system has deteriorated for a multitude of reasons over the course of many years,”

          A recent survey suggested that the system has gotten worse since the release of this report.

          The little mental health activist group that I am involved in have more or less chosen the World Health Organisation (WHO) Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2030 as our “manifesto”.

          Another document that we think is worth looking at is the WHO world mental health report 2022.

          The WHO is considered by many to be a left wing organisation and in many ways it is. They typically advocate radical reforms that are unpopular with conservative interests. For example they acknowledge that social issues like poverty, housing and racial discrimination play a significant role in mental health. For me personally, this document is a fair and reasonable statement of reform objectives but I imagine that many people would dismiss it as a load of “trash”.

          At this stage, it looks to me like all that any of us can do who are troubled and affected by existing mental health systems is to bite off a small chunk of the problem that we believe we can handle and run with it.

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          • Tim, I just finished reading the W.H.O. “Mental Health Report”, or whatever, – the Executive Summary…..
            I was correct.
            It’s 100% PURE PSYCHOBABBLE, GOBBLEDYGOOK, GARBAGE, and some very well-written BULLSHIT…..
            WHO exists to serve the needs of the Global Ruling Elites & Global Banksters ONLY, at the EXPENSE, both financial/monetary, and happiness-life, of the people of planet Earth…..PROOF, again, is the Covid1984 Plandemic-Scamdemic.
            This is madinamerica, we have higher educational standards here….

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          • Tim, It was the W.H.O., under the Ethiopian-warlord-CCP puppet Gabresias(sp?), along with Gates, GAVI, WEF, etc., who created the global Covid1984 Plandemic-Scamdemic…..
            But I have not read the WHO “mental health” report.
            Unless it condemns the pharmaceutical epidemic, & psychiatric genocide, it’s crap & garbage….

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        • I hope your positive experience with the medications con and that you recover and are able to eventually stop the medications.

          The unfortunate reality is that you have probably already experienced irreversible changes to your body of which you are completely unaware. If you are lucky you will live your life without experiencing any harm from those changes. Unfortunately if you are like me you will not be so lucky. As you age the irreversible damage from the drugs will lurk in the background like a curious observer on a comment section. Lurking it will remain until someday, maybe tomorrow maybe decades from now, the damage will rear it’s head and wreak havoc on what quality of life you still have left.

          Many of us here had great experiences on psychiatric drugs… until we didn’t. Sometimes the harm is sudden, usually it is gradual. When the harm does become apparent it will be to late. The doctor who prescribed the drugs without informing you of the longterm harm will be long gone. The pharmaceutical company that plead guilty to criminal charges for hiding the side effects will point to their big tobacco lawyers and laugh at your claim of harm.

          I encourage you to explore the information on Mad in America. You may have had a different experience with medications but there are probably other problems in the mental health system you empathize with. It may be the change in voice after a doctor or nurse finds out you take antidepressants or someone brushing you off your complaints by saying you’re ‘off you meds’. Taking action to help others is a great way to improve mental health. I encourage you to share with us how you the medications improved you quality of life so we can benefit from your experiences.

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          • I don’t expect to ever go off meds. In the times that I’ve run out of scripts early in, I’ve seen regression and I can’t afford regression.
            I understand that not everything works for everybody. I’ve run through antidepressants and am now looking into Ketamine therapy.

            There’s only so much that the industry as a whole and the individual providers can do. I really think that we need to find a way to pull together and exchange ideas. I know of people who have said that they stopped taking a medication because they didn’t like how they felt. I wasn’t close enough to that patient to engage them, but questions come up.

            Did your psych set expectations for this medication? Did they tell you what to expect? Did they tell you how long it would take? Did they lay out a possibility of future therapies? Heck, did they offer you more than one option, if available? Did you tell the doctor what was going on? Did the doctor listen to your concerns? Did they talk to you about therapy or exercise or socialization?

            Given some of what I hear about psychiatrists, I’d have to believe that there’s a population turned off by the medical experience because their expectations weren’t managed. And, yes, it would be great if the doctor could answer all of the questions I have right now and answer questions I hadn’t thought about, the world doesn’t work like that.

            They’re human. They have egos. They have agendas. They may not be the best listeners. They may not think to tell you something until their in the bathroom at 2AM. The two of you aren’t compatible and that affected what you said to them and how you heard their response. Maybe you were out of it during the visit and didn’t catch even.

            We have a responsibility to be active in our care. I think that the frustration behind what’s not happening certainly compromises progress. I think that we can reduce that frustration by having the support of others on the same cruise.

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          • I cannot fathom being off medication. I started the medication years after a suicide attempt and immediately after I went AWOL at work. In my natural state, we wouldn’t be having this exchange. I’d be unemployed and homeless. Yes, I’m in therapy but that’s not a cure all and I’m working through anxieties about exercise..

            I am purely curious. How do people decide to go off their meds? Are they financially independent or securely dependent from financial point? What kind of support system is in place to ensure a relative level of comfort? What am I doing wrong?

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          • Many people do better when they STOP taking their psychiatric drugs. Not everyone benefits, in fact, the latest solid review of decades of data suggest that perhaps 30% of users have a substantial improvement on psych drugs. You just happen to be one of those who benefited, and more power to you. It doesn’t mean that these people will deteriorate if they go off the drugs. Many have had no benefit or have been harmed by the drugs, and are pleased to get back to a more “normal” state, even if it is not optimum.

            You are not doing anything wrong at all. You believe based on your experience that the antidepressants are essential for your survival. Not everyone believes or experiences that.

            If you were made psychotic by your antidepressants, your feelings about them might be very different. If you were essentially arrested for saying you were suicidal, handcuffed, taken in a police car to the hospital, “evaluated” by a person who didn’t seem to care, locked in a ward with a lot of other people who are struggling and possibly acting out in a frightening fashion, given drugs you did not choose to take without any semblance of informed consent, and told when released that you HAD to take these drugs or you’d be hospitalized again against your will, your feelings about antidepressants might be very different.

            There is nothing wrong with taking psychiatric drugs. There is also nothing wrong with NOT taking psychiatric drugs. Each person has to decide for him/herself, and we should not criticize them for making their decisions on their own best data. We SHOULD criticize the psychiatric industry for being dishonest with their patients, though, because they owe folks an honest rendition of what they do and don’t know, including that chemical imbalances are NOT implicated in depression and that only 30% of people taking antidepressants experience significant relief, as well as the common side effect and withdrawal effects of the drugs they are prescribing.

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    • “psych treatments that are effective (and there really are some!)”

      for instance?

      in my experience, benzos used for a night or two can be helpful to prevent or cut short a “psychotic episode” involving or caused by lack of sleep.

      do you agree? are there other examples?

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        • Bradford,
          In what I understand: Benzos can be highly addictive. After initially having desired effects, Benzos may cease to deliver those perceived benefits. And, these days responsible prescribers try to steer clear of providing Benzos to patients, for these very reasons.

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          • Hayden, you don’t know squat about me. Click on my name, and review the HUNDREDS of comments I’ve written here. I was on the benzo clonazepam over 20 years. I began a long, slow taper off it, the day I went on it. I have been in 2 State loony bins, and did 6 months in a STATE PRISON FORENSIC UNIT. Also over a dozen shorter stays in the local hospital psych ward, or euphemism “mental health unit”…. I survived a HELL you probably have no clue about, kid. Today, I’m over 25 years drug & psychiatry FREE…..
            Gee, dude, what happened to my alleged, supposed “mental illness”?…. Yes, I’m an asshole….but at least I don’t spout pseudoscience drug racket psychiatric crap….I actually CARE about the GENOCIDE of psychiatey….

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          • Bradford is correct in describing Benzos as “intoxicants”. They are one of four drugs listed in our Criminal Code. Benzos, Rohypnol, GHB, and Ketamine. Putting such drugs into a persons food or drink without their knowledge is an offence. There is the defense that if you thought the person would not mind that you did this then you are not guilty. So why would you continue to conceal the administration of the drug for 6 weeks if you thought the victim wouldn’t mind? (there is a way of fabricating this defense with lies, especially if you have a corrupt police officer on hand who is aware of how to make it that ‘the bitch was asking for it’. Depends who the perpetrator and the victim are as to whether this will be possible. Skin colour and economic status determining factors).

            I’d take issue with your “desired effects” Hayden Hall, that is determined by perspective. These may be the desired effects of your local Nite Club rapist, but not the desired effects for their victims. In fact I can imagine a number of scenarios where the weaponsing of these drugs by ‘mental health professionals’ would be possible. Especially when they have a doctor prepared to forge prescriptions post hoc for the unlawful administration of such drugs.

            Imagine police being able to administer such drugs, subjecting the detainee to hours of interrogation, and then dropping them off at a ‘hospital’ to have the paperwork sorted out? In fact, I know it’s happening, and have the documented proof right here in front of me.

            Though perhaps you are speaking about the administration of Benzos to ‘patients’ in the therapeutic relationship? In which case we have very different situations, as in my State the Chief Psychiatrist has made EVERYONE onto an “Outpatient” who can be ‘spiked’ before interrogations, and a doctor you have never met can approve the ‘spiking’ post hoc. Drugs you have never been prescribed and would never under any circumstances take, can be made your “Regular Medications” with a little bit of fraud….. and having the documents proving it is “insufficient evidence”…. mainly because Police will arrest you (and then refer you to the criminals) for having your medical records.


            Know the difference.

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        • In what I have seen and understood, people can become quite addicted to benzos.

          I once listened to a guy recount a horror story of his experience with one of the benzos. At first, the drug had worked very well for him. Then, it brought no benefit. Getting off of his benzo, however, was extremely hard for this fellow. Much as he wanted to be off of the drug, I don’t think he had been successful up until that point.

          It was awful. Total nightmare, brought on by a clueless application of the ‘medical model’ in treating emotional/psychological/mental distress.

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      • Steve says, “There is nothing wrong with taking psychiatric drugs….and we should not criticize them for making their decisions their own best data. We SHOULD criticize the psychiatric industry for being dishonest with their patients…”

        My feelings exactly. And I think it’s despicable that psychiatry has operated on claims that are not factual:

        1. Psychiatric disorders are biological (when they clearly are not)
        2. Psychiatric drugs correct a chemical imbalance (when there’s no evidence proving these do)
        3. People need psychiatric drugs “the rest of their lives” (when they have no way of predicting the future)
        4. That “psychotherapy” is better than talking with someone who is not a “professional”, (which is something they have no way of knowing)

        And since all these claims have proven to be either false or based merely on subjective opinion, it seems reasonable to conclude that the mental health industry is based on fraudulent and misleading claims and assumptions.

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        • Here’s how I see “psychiatric reform”:

          Psychiatry owning the fact that psychiatric drugs are numbing agents, NOT “medications” –

          Psychiatry owning the fact that these numbing agents DO NOT correct a “chemical imbalance” –

          Psychiatry owning the fact that these numbing agents cause serious iatrogenic harm –

          Psychiatry owning the fact that these numbing agents are drastically overprescribed –

          Psychiatry ACTIVELY disowning the entire DSM –

          But alas, it’s only in my dreams….

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          • ‘Iatrogenic harm’ is a term everyone should familiarize themselves with. For me it was all the medical treatments from age 10 when they decided my stomach pain was psychological to age 44 when a colonoscopy finally identified a physical cause that explains both the pain and depression. The PTSD from gaslighting is iatrogenic, the parkinsonism from zyprexa is iatogenic, and the list goes on.

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          • Try this, Birdsong:
            1.The American Psychiatric Association announces NO NEW MEMBERSHIPS, effective immediately….
            Over years of time, the APA simply ceases to exista s it’s members get old and DIE OFF….
            (I knew you’d like that last part, Birdsong!….)….
            2.NO DSM 6, or even vi….The ENTIRE DSM can be simply replaced with a single diagnostic/billing code, that indicates the person IS ELIGIBLE for whatever “services” they freely choose, & that’s all….
            3.Psychiatrists are allowed to practice pretty much as they do now, but they surrender all prescribing of pharmaceuticals.
            4…..wake up from nightmare….

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  2. Thank you Ms McLean for writing this outstanding article and thank you MIA for publishing it. It expertly summarizes a complicated and severely problematic set of circumstances that few people are aware of, or if they are, chose to ignore. And many of these are the psych professionals people turn to for help.

    And though the question “So, why don’t governments intervene?” is easy to ask, the answer is not, as the pharmaceutical industry long ago bought off (i.e. “lobbied”) the legislators. And this is why “An educated public has a much better chance as advocating from the grassroots for safe and effective treatments in the face of a pharmaceutical industry more interested in profits than people.”

    I say it’s the only chance.

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  3. I think this article ‘dovetails’ quite well with The Shock Doctrine of Naomi Klein.

    The details of some of the more ‘elegant’ uses of psychiatry in situations of sensory deprivation etc, and the analogy of the need to SHOCK economies back into life (as a psychiatrist does with his/her ‘patients’ and ECTs) when they stagnate for whatever reason……… hyperinflation, labour shortages, mass immigration, etc…….

    Well worth the time to take a look at Ms Kleins work, though some of the ‘treatments’ are not for those with weak stomachs….. and would be called torture if done by people other than those we consider ‘allies’.

    “Klein argues that neoliberal free market policies (as advocated by the economist Milton Friedman) have risen to prominence in some developed countries because of a deliberate strategy of “shock therapy”. This centers on the exploitation of national crises (disasters or upheavals) to establish controversial and questionable policies, while citizens are too distracted (emotionally and physically) to engage and develop an adequate response, and resist effectively. The book advances the idea that some man-made events, such as the Iraq War, were undertaken with the intention of pushing through such unpopular policies in their wake.”


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    • I have also thought of Naomi Klein’s “The Shock Doctrine” in connection with our modalities for navigating people’s experiences of mental, emotional, psychological — &, yes, sometimes, brain distress.

      When families are worried about a loved one’s mental state, at least in my state the reasoning may be, “you can’t do anything for them unless they become dangerous, at which point you can institute a psychiatric incarceration that will result in (allegedly) appropriate medical treatment.”

      Something is very, very wrong with this picture!!

      In dark imagination, I am positing the following: Contemporary western psychiatry waits expectantly for distressed people to become mentally incompetent, on the theory that once the mind stops functioning, then they can address what they think is wrong with the brain.

      So, yes: “The Chicago Boys” whom Naomi Klein referenced wanted economies to be in crisis so that people would accept their dire prescriptions. Similarly, our contemporary psychiatry wants individuals to be in crisis so that psychiatrists can have their pharmaceutical (and sometimes ECT) way with them.

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      • Glad you can see the link Hayden Hall.

        “When families are worried about a loved one’s mental state, at least in my state the reasoning may be, “you can’t do anything for them unless they become dangerous, at which point you can institute a psychiatric incarceration that will result in (allegedly) appropriate medical treatment.””

        In my State this involves paying a psychologist $200 for the information about how to have the ‘target’ referred…… ‘drop’ them by ‘spiking’ their drink with benzos (date rape drugs. Later to become their “regular medications” via a fraudulent prescription written post hoc to conceal the offence) and then plant a knife on them when police have been unlawfully procured (Help help mental patient with a knife…. well, they will be a mental patient once they have been kidnapped and tortured into a ‘confession’ of their ‘illness’). The ‘good faith’ defense will suffice when the victim of the offending complains, and if it doesn’t there’s always the ‘treatment’. I note that it is unlawful to lie to Police and tell them that a citizen is an “Outpatient” of a hospital to arbitrarily detain and torture but ……. there never seems to be sufficient evidence…. even when police find they haven’t retrieved the documents showing the crimes, and thus their conspiring to pervert the course of justice with the law breakers at the hospital……. only one outcome possible when the State is violating human rights and subjecting citizens to torture….. and it doesn’t comply with any rule of law I have seen in action.

        You write;

        “In dark imagination, I am positing the following: Contemporary western psychiatry waits expectantly for distressed people to become mentally incompetent, on the theory that once the mind stops functioning, then they can address what they think is wrong with the brain.”

        In my instance they didn’t actually wait…. once the recognised I have a legitimate complaint regarding human rights abuses, they viciously attacked me and my family…….. claiming that the results of their viciousness was the illness they needed to intervene because of……..a bit like our Chief Psychiatrist not recognizing ANY environmental factors and claiming that if citizens become sick because of being tortured, they are by definition mentally ill and require forced treatment till they stop complaining about their treatment. It’s an interesting letter that was actually forged by the Mental Health Law Centre once they were of the belief that the “edited” legal narrative was the only one available to the public (which was a false assumption and caused all sorts of problems when the real set looked like turning up in court…. so for pointing this out to a Member of Parliament I am now denied access to a lawyer).

        So your posit is actually the wrong way around in some instances….. they viciously attack certain individuals to cause the illness they wish to treat with known brain damaging drugs and electricity…… works a treat for public service whistleblowers I am told.

        It’s a great place to lay a ‘trap’ if you recognise why someone is attempting to have someone attend an Emergency Dept to be ‘referred for treatment’ (for trying to access the protection of the law, and make a complaint about arbitrary detention and torture for example). Such ‘unintended negative outcomings’ by the State not really in line with the claim they are abiding by the Conventions and Charters they have ratified to allow them to violate the trust of those who elect them. “They will take their oaths as a cover”…. and a lawyers license relies on them doing what they are told by the State should they be confronted with proof of acts of State sanctioned torture. Nice to your face, while they wait to stab you in the back by conspiring to pervert.

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      • Psychiatrists don’t have to wait for people to be “in crisis” to have their “pharmaceutical way” with them. All most people need to do is show up at a primary provider’s office and say they’re “anxious” or “depressed” in order to get a prescription for any number of powerful psych drugs. And some people are getting powerful psychiatric drugs from online “mental health” start ups. And it’s this dangerously lax approach to handing out powerful psychotropic substances that’s causing so much needless and often permanent iatrogenic harm, which is something most psychiatrists and primary providers know little about. And most of the time when people bring this to their attention they either are NOT believed or DON’T receive the support and suggestions they need for handling the problems created by psych drugs that most people didn’t need in the first place.

        And yes, there is indeed “something very, very wrong with this picture”, and what’s wrong is this: we now live in a culture inundated by a much too powerful pharmaceutical industry that’s primarily motivated by profits and is given unlimited access to any and all media outlets in the United States.

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  4. Ms McLean writes, “…the role of market forces (encourages) the kinds of personal qualities—competitiveness, self-reliance, entrepreneurialism and productivity…” and considers “Expressions of suffering…as proof of a psychological deficiency…(and by)…blunting negative emotional reactions to exploitation and alienation, pathologized distress and antidepressant use disrupt the natural push for social reform that such suffering would normally provoke, leaving the exploitative system intact and its victims unarmed.”

    Valuing external achievements more than internal ones creates needless alienation and suffering. And the only cure is an awareness of the situation and a personal commitment to deeper values.

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  5. I have read on MIA numerous times statements like these, “Of course stimulants work. If I take a stimulant, I focus better. Everybody does. Top students now take stimulants to improve their performance academically. No one questions that stimulants improve concentration.”
    I haven’t seen an objection to their point of view. Usually, I read pronouncements that go something like this: “See. That proves ADHD isn’t a real or medical issue.”
    I’d like to see evidence that they do what they say. I’d like to see the results of scientific, objective studies that reveal the causes for improved concentration. IOW, what changes take place within the brain that support their contentions that stimulants improve concentration? Where is the objective proof?

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    • Judith Rappoport et al proved this back in the late 1970s. She and her colleagues gave stimulants in therapeutic dosages to teens who were not diagnosed with “ADHD”. They measured things like movement levels and activity levels and ability to concentrate. All were improved in a similar manner to those who were diagnosed with “ADHD” (or whatever they called it back then – hyperkinetic reaction of early childhood or MBD or the equivalent). She called the “paradoxical effect” a myth which was “an artifact of observation,” meaning that people noticed that the “ADHD” kid concentrated better because they were LOOKING for that, but did not notice the same effect in non-diagnosed people because they weren’t looking for that result.

      Note that Rapoport has been a supporter of stimulant treatment for “ADHD” for her entire career. This study has been considered conclusive (in 1978) and the idea of the “paradoxical effect” was dropped afterwards by researchers, though the popular myth of the “paradoxical effect” survives in some communities to this day.

      More recent scientific commentary on the subject:

      The idea that “ADHD” kids react differently to stimulants has long since been discredited.

      As to WHY they increase concentration, we’d have to get into talking about the role of dopamine in concentration, an area where I have not studied extensively at all. But it is VERY clear that all kids (and by extension adults) taking stimulants will react in a very similar manner.

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  6. The following states what I’ve always suspected about the financially-driven contrivance called “psychotherapy”:

    “It’s not reasonable, (Smail) suggests, to expect professionals whose identity and livelihood depend on the individual model of suffering to reliably champion the view that, actually, capitalism is the real culprit, and they are enablers.”

    Listening for money debases human relationships.

    So what’s it really all about in most “therapy”? THE THERAPIST’S AGENDA —

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    • Becoming a psychotherapist is a way to make a living.

      And, the costs of psychotherapy for an uninsured client/patient are prohibitive.

      It bears noting, though, that in the spectrum of work that are deemed “professions,” psychotherapy –and even psychiatry– are not well paid.

      Psychiatrists who become shills for the pharmaceutical industry get paid bonuses for saying the magic words: “This drug works.”

      There are financial incentives for pushing pills: Psychiatrists get more remuneration in less time.

      Plus, they don’t have to deal with folks like Birdsong, who may get sent to them, but don’t want to give any helping professionals the time of day.

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      • When someone will listen very carefully, will exercise disciplines that teach them not to look down at the speaker whom most people might look down on, and will pay attention with a focus that, many times, a friend or relative cannot provide, that may be something a speaker can place monetary value on.

        My hunch: Some of the push to diagnose absolutely everything (as, a person is supposedly ill just in showing up at a therapist’s office) may be from wanting to get insurers to pay for appointments. As we know, private pay for psychotherapy is prohibitively expensive, so as to be quite unthinkable for many if not most people.

        Plus, even when anyone can afford private pay, taking cost off of the table is one less worry on their minds: as, who really wants to be thinking of cost per minute during a professional appointment?

        Nonprofessional ‘lay people’ can do wonderfully at many things, and their skills may be underutilized. Sometimes, in limited circumstances it can make sense to look for someone with professional skills, in whatever field of endeavor.

        You can represent yourself in a court of law. In so doing so, you may reduce your chances for a preferred outcome; but, going “pro se” is your right. Lawyers will say, some one who represents themselves “pro se” has a fool for a client; medical doctors may say similar things about people who practice medicine on themselves.

        Although, in a perfect world, there might be no paying jobs, in the world we live in people have to earn money to pay the rent and put food on the table. In contracting with a qualified professional to provide their skills in service, you are helping them to eat, and live.

        And some of these people work very, very hard. Some of them provide benefit in what they do.

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        • Hayden Hall says, “In contracting with a qualified professional to provide their skills in service, you are helping them to eat, and live”.

          Qualified to what??? Permanently saddle people with unfounded and discriminatory “diagnoses” and push dangerous drugs??? Or lead people down a self-serving path of cognitive dissonance???

          Psychiatry is not medicine. It is drug pushing. And psychotherapy is emotional prostitution.

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          • Hayden Hall says, “Birdsong thinks professionalism of any kind is disgusting.”

            Please note: Birdsong does not think, nor has ever said, “professionalism of any kind is disgusting”, and does not appreciate being so blatantly misrepresented.

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          • Birdsong,
            you appear to have had some very bad personal experiences with mental health practitioners and are very angry about it. I can certainly relate to you in this regard.
            If you said that there were many incompetent psychiatrist/psychologist/therapists I would agree with you.
            If you said that some psychiatrist/psychologist/therapists do more harm than good I would agree with you.
            If you said that some and perhaps many people found the costs of psychiatrist/psychologist/therapists beyond their means I would agree with you.
            But your claims that all psychiatrist/psychologist/therapists are incompetent, harmful, hustlers, in my experience, lacks credibility.
            Some of us with serious long term mental health issues are working hard to try and rectify some of the very real world, wide problems with mental health services. It might be more helpful if you were to try to share some of your own actual bad experiences.

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          • Birdsong wrote, “relationships based on money and labeling are disgusting ”

            Any kind of professional who requires some kind of remuneration in exchange for a focussed application of their skills might be said to engage in “relationships based on money.”

            It is in that sense that I inferred Birdsong thinks all people who work in a professional capacity are “disgusting.”

            Birdsong has clarified that this is not what Birdsong thinks. I am grateful for this clarification.

            Signing off now.

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          • Hayden Hall says, “In contracting with a qualified professional to provide their skills in service, you are helping them to eat, and live”.

            And when that contract has ended, should you refuse to renew that contract, you will be slandered (medical records unlawfully released), ‘spiked’ and snatched from your bed by police and tortured until you no longer have the right to refuse the ‘services’ they wish to force you to pay for. The fraudulent Forms produced then simply uttered with by ‘authorities’ while the hospital resolves the issue with their “Outpatient”….. there’s been a terrible accident (and you can’t prove otherwise as long as we keep our mouths shut. Which is not really a problem in a State where cover ups are knee jerk reactions to human rights abuses and criminality by public officers. The Coroner becomes a rubber stamp for their ‘resolutions’ and ‘cost savings’ for the public that elected them)

            Your lack of insight into their position on their eating and living requires the use of force….. well at least until the bank account they have made enquiries about has been emptied….. then you can be thrown to the dogs at the public hospital to savage (now that you are exhibiting the symptoms of an ‘illness’ as a result of the human rights abuses and vicious gaslighting)…….. you’re not much good to them without insurance or savings.

            Such crimes are easily “edited” out of existence by a State providing a zero accountability model to a ‘service’ which has a history of doing the dirty work of fascists (in the nicest sense of the term that is. Socialise risk and cost, privatise wealth and profits. The State (hospital) bearing the cost of the Private (clinic) removal of wealth. Hence the need for ‘cheap’ solutions to public mental health ‘issues’).

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  7. Hi Kimberly,
    Your findings and reporting echo my own discoveries over the last 12 months. I live in Australia in the state of Victoria. At the end of last year the state mental health authorities forced their way into my home and tried amongst other things to coerce me into agreeing to being injected with Long Term Injectable(LTI) anti-psychotic medication. This is despite that fact that they are strongly contra-indicated for someone of my age with an existing heart condition.

    I was blindsided by what to my mind was a totally unjustified assault. When I started doing some investigation as well as lodging official complaints I discovered that virtually anybody in this state with a so called psychotic illness who comes into contact with the state mental health authorities is subject to this sort of treatment. Anyone who doesn’t comply is subject to a court order and failure to obey can end you up in jail. Judging by the number of Involuntary Treatment Orders (ITO’s) being issued, they must be running a virtual production line.

    Australia in general and the state of Victoria in particular appear to be amongst the worst places in the world for compulsory psychiatric treatment using medication. The reasons, as pointed out in the article appear to be a combination of economics and convenience. Forced medication, delivered through LTI’s seem to be the cheapest and easiest way of keeping so called “crazy, dangerous people” off the streets.

    It is interesting how these sorts of actions are justified by the completely unsubstantiated claim that people who experience psychosis are violent and a danger to themselves and the public.
    As one commenter mentioned, a much better informed public may have a much better chance of advocating from the grassroots for safe and effective treatments

    I am now involved in trying to help organise a class action against the Victorian state government.

    I have been managing my psychosis using therapeutic methods and have been completely medication free for about 10 months.

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    • Hi Tim Wilson,

      Good news bad news.

      “When I started doing some investigation as well as lodging official complaints [oh, the querulous part of your illness?] I discovered that virtually anybody in this state with a so called psychotic illness who comes into contact with the state mental health authorities is subject to this sort of treatment. Anyone who doesn’t comply is subject to a court order and failure to obey can end you up in jail. Judging by the number of Involuntary Treatment Orders (ITO’s) being issued, they must be running a virtual production line.”

      I feel sure that you would be aware that the 80 or so people who the law was changed to stop “falling through the cracks” has blown out to a much bigger number of people on CTOs (and thus having their human rights violated)? See your Parliamentary Hansards for the debate surrounding CTO’s.

      And in my State the Mental Health Law Centre ‘advocates’ are nothing of the sort. They will provide you with ‘assistance’ until you have ‘played you hand’ and they will then provide material assistance to the State to conceal any unlawful wrongdoing via the “editing” of legal narrative. They will even play a game of ‘lets pretend’ with you, drafting complaints which they then forge responses to from the Chief Psychiatrist. Not like the person protecting our human rights is going to do anything about others using his name to do cover ups? They’re part of a ‘team’ with a common goal……… ensure that the laws which protect the community don’t work by doubling down on criminal misconduct……..

      Sure it sounds insane, and the defense of “they wouldn’t do that” seems to be enough when peoples families are being threatened by police….. well, until the two sets of legal narratives are alongside one another in front of a Member of Parliament and he can see the way the matters have been covered up (at which point I was told he had to work with Police…. who in this instance were clearly the criminals)…….. and this paranoid delusion about a doctor being interrupted trying to murder you in an Emergency dept? “Might be best I don’t know about that” the police tell me…….. especially when they need to check and find nothing ( a pre determined outcome of “insufficient evidence” because they provided material support to the criminals with their ‘cover up’)

      “I am now involved in trying to help organise a class action against the Victorian state government.”

      Expect any evidence you collect to be taken from your custody, and for such things as police stealing your laptop to find out “who else has seen the documents” to be your ‘illness’ talking….. because it couldn’t possibly be that they ever did anything wrong. Honorable, ethical people they are definitely not….. they will knife you in the back as soon as it’s convenient. My foolishness’ of sharing my findings soon to be returned to sender by a Judas not worthy of the trust I placed in him.

      You’ve got Buckleys Mate as they say in the land where they value a rule of law. Every time you stand up, they’re going to beat your head in with the ‘chemical kosh’. See this video of the Victorian Police method of dealing with anyone whop tries to make a complaint regarding human right s abuse…….

      “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face— forever. ” Orwell.

      Now imagine that the ‘patient’ in the video doesn’t even need to be a ‘patient’……. all that needs to occur is for a psychologist (with a Masters degree) needs to tell ‘Mental Health Services” that the person police should go and get (because they have been ‘spiked’ with date rape drugs and had a knife planted on them) is a patient’. The hospital will then change the status of the citizen to one of “Outpatient” to use police as a kidnapping service……. and the victim will be dribbling in a cell within the hour….. police none the wiser that they ahve just tortured and kidnapped a person….. and not really giving a fuk to be honest. In fact, as you suggest, their ‘quotas’ are a cause for boasting……. given the benefits they can obtain by having a ‘doctor’ ask the questions they would like answered, and electricity and forced drugging’s administered until they are.

      I was good to go and have my property returned during divorce proceedings so I could leave this vile shithole…. and then I presented the documented proof to a divorce lawyer….. who needed to change her underwear fairly quickly (no doubt she had heard whispers of people being ‘snuffed’ for convenience by the State [that sort of thing never escapes the attention of the beneficiaries of the ‘outcomings’], but to actually meet one who still had the documents????? And was still breathing? Though the ‘authorities’ did think the proof had been retrieved by Police and their co conspirators). Now I can’t even be allowed to speak to a legal representative because the criminals won’t allow it….. no wonder the Federal Govt wants an “integrity Commission”. The States are using ‘them’ to conceal their corruption for them, whilst claiming they are doing the very opposite.

      Example, The Minister might be called to Court over a wrongful dismissal of a ‘whistleblower’ (speedy processing of COVID passes for friends and family)? The Attorney General ensures that can not occur by referring the ‘matter’ to the Corruption watchdog…. with a pre determined outcome….. nothing to see here, and your right to your day in court is now denied…. for the next 100 years or so.,. because he can’t speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help him Psychiatrist.

      Dieu et mon Droit has become No God, no rights……. loophole in the Mental Health Act i’m afraid you weren’t informed about by your elected representative.

      The release of my confidential medical records from a Private Clinic (a Federal Offence) to the hospital concerned also worthy of consideration in regards the criminal offending by these people whose conspiracy has now been exposed…..

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  8. Priorities are subject to change, so there might come a time when (most) psychiatrists will be seen for what they are: drug pushing, money-grabbing quacks, and (most) psychotherapists will be seen as mind-bending, money-grabbing soul suckers.

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    • To Tim Wilson:

      Claims vs opinions: a claim is generally an argument about something debatable, and may it be an argument about facts or the interpretation of facts. An opinion does not need to be backed up with facts –

      You say that my claims “lack credibility”. Please be advised that my claims and opinions are from facts and knowledge gained from my own LIVED EXPERIENCE which is NOT DEBATABLE, and makes them THE MOST CREDIBLE CLAIMS OUT THERE —

      And if you’re still curious about my lived experience with “the mental health system”, may I suggest you take the time to peruse some of my earlier posts.

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      • Tim Wilson says, “But your claims that all psychiatrist/psychologist/therapists are incompetent, harmful, hustlers, in my experience, lacks credibility.”

        May I remind you that your experience does NOT outweigh the credibility of my experience, nor does my experience outweigh the credibility of yours. Furthermore, I do NOT question the credibility of anyone’s experience with the mental health system as I’ve had more than enough experience TO TAKE THEM AT THEIR WORD — and I would appreciate being shown the same courtesy.

        And FYI: it’s my opinion that the ENTIRE “mental health” system is based on a dangerously incompetent and dangerously harmful hustler culture that produces and protects dangerously incompetent and dangerously harmful hustlers/practitioners. And tragically, any exceptions are exceedingly rare, which is the reason for this website.

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    • I am in no way trying to invalidate your opinion or your experience. As I said, it appears that you have had some quite bad personal experiences in this regard.
      What I said was that in my own experience the idea that all psychiatrist/psychologist/therapists are incompetent, harmful, hustlers, lacks credibility. I have had good experiences with one psychiatrist, a couple of psychologists and a couple of alternative therapists. Only the psychiatrist was free. He was paid for by the state. The others were reasonably expensive but I felt that I got reasonable value for my money.
      I also of course have encountered a number of the other kind who I would regard as incompetent or harmful or overpriced but not necessarily all three of these things at the same time.
      I hope this clarifies what I was trying to say.

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  9. Coercive health care is an oxymoron.

    Genuine health care involves collaborative relationships between providers and recipients of care.

    Trust is a key element of any true collaboration between people.

    Trust is not engendered, fostered, or encouraged with the use of force.

    Absent trustful relationships between providers and recipients of care, communication as to what works and doesn’t work in treatment is grossly impaired.

    Coercion is normative in delivery of mental health care to people in our society who experience mental disturbances. This coercion runs contrary to aims of improving modalities of care so as to achieve best outcomes from treatment.


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  10. Hayden Hall says, “Any kind of professional who requires some kind of renumeration in exchange for a focused application of their skills might be said to exchange in “relationships based on money.”

    Obviously. But the title of this article is as follows: “The Mental Health Industry Speaks Volumes About Our Society’s Priorities”. Furthermore, MIA isn’t about “any kind of professional(s)”. It is specifically about the current “mental health system” and our society’s role in perpetuating a broken system. And this is EXACTLY what my comments address, as in the one I posted previously:

    Birdsong: “The following states what I’ve always suspected about the financially-driven contrivance called “psychotherapy”:

    Author:“It’s not reasonable, (Smail suggests) to expect professionals whose identity and livelihood depend on the individual model of suffering to reliably champion the view that, actually, capitalism is the real culprit.”

    And although I stated, “Relationships based on money and labeling are disgusting” please note that I included “LABELING”, i.e. “diagnosing”, a discriminatory practice used ONLY by the “mental health” industry, which is something that unfortunately people ARE EXPECTED TO PAY FOR ———

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    • If one bothers to read this current article closely, one would learn the four-step process from James Davies book “Sedated: How Modern Capitalism Created Our Mental Health Crisis” and hopefully understand how this process shapes our society’s current healthcare and economic policies and by extension our personal healthcare decisions:

      1. Conceptualize human suffering in ways that protect the current economic system from criticism
      2. Redefine individual well-being in terms consistent with the goals of our economy
      3. Medicalize behaviors and emotions that might negatively impact the economy
      4. Turn suffering on a vibrant market opportunity for more consumption

      And it’s a process purposely put in motion primarily by the so-called “professional”/ruling class.

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  11. People out there in the western world opine strongly that coercive treatment of mental health conditions is necessary in certain situations.

    I say, OK.

    OK, but.

    Maybe we should not term those emergency measures as human health care.

    They might, at best, be something like veterinary treatment, that is administered to an animal whether the animal likes it or not.

    We should strive to clarify, in how we consider these matters, that coercive mental health care is sub-optimal, always.


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    • I agree that “treatment” and involuntary detention need to be seen as COMPLETELY separate issues. It does not follow that because Person A is having a hard time managing in society without worrying or annoying people, that person needs “treatment” forced on them, or needs “treatment” at all. It makes sense that society might need to protect its members from someone who is out of control of his/her behavior, but as soon as a person is arrested (and let’s be honest and call a spade a spade, that’s almost always what happens, they are arrested and handcuffed and put into a police car), it stops being “treatment.”

      I don’t see why there can’t be “calming centers” where people go to be away from chaos so they can regain their perspective without having to label that person as “mentally ill” or force drugs on them. Maybe there can be things on offer if people want them, but literally forcing pills down a person’s throat can’t really be seen as therapeutic, IMHO.

      I also think Miranda rights are appropriate before every “mental health” detention evaluation, including the right to not answer and the right to legal representation.

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      • “I also think Miranda rights are appropriate before every “mental health” detention evaluation, including the right to not answer and the right to legal representation.”

        Gawd, we’ve only just got to the point where we have ‘mental health professionals’ in Police stations to violate human rights, and now you want to introduce human rights? Cops hand the victim …. i mean the ‘patient’ over to mental health to have them drugged and answer questions they have the right to refuse if asked by Police. My request to speak to my lawyer before answering any questions met with a hand on a pistol. Refusal to answer means your next ECT treatment is tomorrow. Working a treat here in Australia.

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        • Hi boans,
          You are lucky that they just met your request to speak to a lawyer with a hand on a pistol and not a bullet in the gut which would of course have been fired in self defence because you were just about to attack them with the nearest sharp object.

          I am also an Australian from Melbourne. I learned a long time ago after nearly being beaten to death that when police and mental health people are involved you just go limp and say nothing or as little as possible and submit to absolutely anything they say or do to you. That is if you want to survive.

          Australia has probably the worst record of any country in the world for involuntary mental health treatment which these days is mostly Long Term Injectable (LTI) anti-psychotics. Here are the figures state by state.
          Vic 5521
          NSW 3377
          Qld 2822
          SA 847
          WA 972
          NT 129
          Tas 154
          Total 13, 822

          These are old figures from 2010/2011. My understanding is that attempts by academics to get more recent figures has been unsuccessful but it is believed that these figures have increased.
          Given the number of people in Australia diagnosed with psychotic mental illnesses it appears that at least in Victoria, every person who comes in contact with the state mental health system is required to agree to LTI’s either by cohesion (voluntarily?) or by force. (Community Treatment Orders)

          If you don’t mind me asking, what state do you live in?

          Edwina Light etc Involuntary psychiatric treatment in the community: general practitioners and the implementation of community treatment orders. The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners Vol 44 No 7 July 2015

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          • Hi Tim Wilson,

            “You are lucky that they just met your request to speak to a lawyer with a hand on a pistol and not a bullet in the gut which would of course have been fired in self defence because you were just about to attack them with the nearest sharp object.”

            Yes, the two people who conspired to arrange for me to be tortured and kidnapped actually spoke about the potential of me being shot by police as a direct result of their ‘plan’ to plant a weapon on me for them to find. I think that after doing their due diligence they found risking my life to enact their plot was worth the risk….. and police could always “edit” the “bang, bang, put down the knife” to be “put down the knife, bang, bang”. Not that the use of ‘throw downs’ is a common occurrence when I live, it’s almost mandatory lol.

            “you just go limp and say nothing or as little as possible and submit to absolutely anything they say or do to you. That is if you want to survive.”

            Your brave enough to ‘passively resist’ arrest? There was a man given some ‘treatment’ in the Broome Sally port where an Officer dropped his knee onto his head a few times and cracked his skull, and when he went limp (passively resisted) they threw him onto the floor in the charge room, no concerns if he was still breathing.

            “Australia has probably the worst record of any country in the world for involuntary mental health treatment which these days is mostly Long Term Injectable (LTI) anti-psychotics”

            A good reason to leave the place when governments start using ‘treatments’ the way the USSR did for ‘political purposes’. I live in hope that the denial of my right to ‘competent’ (that is someone not arranging ‘accidents’ and forge and uttering) legal representation will end and I can retrieve my property and go live somewhere the State isn’t allowing the slaughter of citizens to enable the concealment of misconduct. At present the matter is being ‘obstructed’ (though I’m sure that it’s all lawful, and if it isn’t it will be with some “editing”.)

            I know that in my instance it was quite easy to arbitrarily detain me (tell police I was an “Outpatient” and they simply do their ‘duty’ and deliver you to the locked ward on fraudulent Forms), and then I was within an inch of being “chemically restrained” (with doses that would lay an elephant out for a week) for being “querulous” and “breathing threats of litigation”. The revelation of the torture was something that emerged as matters progressed….. during the conspiring between the conspirators, and the hospital administration after examining the legal narrative of my ‘detention’ (oh how they wanted me to be a “patient”, and tried exploiting my trust to sign documents to enable them to conceal their offending)

            Think that’s bad, well, the way the State is concealing their human rights abuses is possibly much more of a worry, though not often you would hear about it. The victims tend to end up being long term ‘patients’ with a very poor prognosis. You can’t lock someone up for being the victim of State sanctioned torture, but you sure as hell can incarcerate them and force drug them as a result of their behavioural response to the torture… see the letter from the Chief Psychiatrist (the forged one from the Mental Health Law Centre)…… environmental factors matter zero, behavioral response is all….. ergo, torture = mental patient and no right to access protection of the law……. and the International community turns their backs. Nothing the National Socialist’s didn’t manage to achieve for a while….. this being a slow drip rather than an exponential disposal.

            The State using victims legal representatives to obtain information as to what they require to conceal the offending, and slander the victim totally unexpected.

            The forging of letters from authorities by the Mental Health Law Centre an attempt to pervert the course of justice (mandatory prison) …… but they were doing it in conjunction with the State who were concealing acts of torture and arbitrary detentions so ……. they receive protection for their crimes. And other victims are none the wiser about the little ‘deal’ the State has going with these corrupt lawyers……. and we wonder why the Courts produce so little ‘justice’?

            You would be aware of why the Federal government wants an “Integrity Commission”? Jealousy of the States who conceal their misconduct by referring matters to the ‘integrity watchdogs’. See for example the way IBAC dealt with the case of Corrina Horvath…. zero accountability and obstruction of justice for years. In fact, was there ever any justice for Ms Horvath?

            The major problem for me is that now, as a result of exposing the original offences (long list), AND the conspiracy to pervert etc by the Law Centre lawyers with the hospital administration, I can not be allowed access to legal representation, because the criminals would be exposed in court and ………that’s the last place police (and the State) want that to occur. The system might actually do what it was claimed it would do, and that doesn’t suit these criminals or their ‘handlers’. They have deliberately broken the justice system with a claim that they were doing it for good. ‘spying on the confessional’ meant the child raping priests knew where they couldn’t speak the truth, ……. and with no confession, they went on raping children for years.

            I mean, come on, what would you expect a lawyer to do if their client had been arbitrarily detained and tortured? Work with the State to ensure that it never sees the light of day, and any criminal conduct will be obstructed because that’s just the way it works. Quid pro quo. New Beemers for everyone. And anyone calls and asks, slander their now ‘ex client’ because they ‘dropped’ them at the point they were instructed to…. that is when they thought the documents demonstrating the forged letter had been retrieved…… all clear? Yep, won’t that ‘poison pen’ letter cause him some psychological trauma, and lets see if were good enough to push him to suicide…. like the others.

            I realised today after a chance meeting with an ex “Official Visitor” that someone I was interviewed by was actually a Police Officer (paranoid, I know. And they didn’t want their ‘dabs’ on any of it, due to the filth that was being smeared on others….. might get the shit on themselves). Funny how quickly the questions went to the Law Centre and the Principle…..and how quickly after they were all sacked. Absolute dog act throwing people who are that vulnerable under the bus to conceal the misconduct of public officers in the ‘mental health system’….. and it really does explain a lot of the ‘complaints’ I have heard on this and other sites. Think the death of your child will be dealt with fairly? Think again, the documents will be “edited” to ensure the preferred outcome, and it ain’t yours.

            And I thought the thing with the cancer causing agent and the child care centre cover up was atrocious? At least they didn’t try and kill the kids to keep it quiet, just had someone labelled ‘mentally ill’ in case they spoke out of school. A ‘label’ which was then unlawfully released from the Private Clinic during a conspiracy to torture and kidnap….. paranoid, I know. Technically it should have all worked well, except me not wanting the compensation I had received to be used on having my head smashed in with electricity once I had been Shang Hai-ed from the Private Clinic, and into the psychologist Shock Doc husbands ‘care’.

            I guess the figures you provide above would be best shown with the populations of the States? These numbers would appear small to those in the U.S.

            I know in my State the Minister for Health has been dismantling any means of accessing information about the prescribing patterns of doctors. One doctor prescribing ADHD drugs to more that 2000 ‘patients’ in a calendar year? Lets not talk about it, lets make sure the public doesn’t get access to the information is the strategy. See the PsychWatch website.

            I watched a movie last night about the Washington Post (called The Post) and a fellow called Dan Elsberg (whistleblower). He was fortunate to have people who believed in truth being the property of the community, unlike the Judas I met who provided assistance to the State to conceal the truth for their benefit (arbitrary detentions and torture and the ‘unintended negative outcomes’ not possible if the public is aware of how and who is doing it). Still, the idea of journalists with integrity kind of died with that aussie guy being fought over at present right? Releasing ‘tactical information’ or some such claim? It looked like the systematic slaughter of civilians in the video I saw….. but power trumps truth. Just ask the people on this site.

            Your question is answered if you look close enough 🙂

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      • I agree with Steve that “Miranda rights are appropriate before every ‘mental health’ detention evaluation, including the right to not answer and the right to legal representation.”

        Many years ago, when subject to civil commitment I said I would not speak to anyone at the hospital before I could speak with an attorney. “It’s Saturday. Here’s a phone book” was the response I got.

        While under medication, I forgot all about this. During a reprieve from medication load, I was advised to request the hospital record of my mental health incarceration. It brought back to me what I had forgotten.

        In subsequently looking into the mental health law of my state (which was made easier by there being public county law libraries — that still exist in some form), I read that when there was a move to affirm that psychiatrically disturbed people have rights, initially people had de facto Miranda rights in a civil commitment situation. However, I gathered that hospitals found this to be cumbersome, and it was taken out of the law.

        No one should minimize the clout of institutions that provide in-patient care. Those of us who in any way quarrel with what those institutions do and fail to do may appear, to the world at large, as ingrates — in the supposition that we’re such nogoodniks we must be grateful if anyone will do anything with us, for us.

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  12. Hayden Hall says, “When someone will listen very carefully, will exercise disciplines that teach them not to look down at the speaker whom most people might look down on, and will pay attention with a focus that, many times, a friend or relative cannot provide, that may be something a speaker can place monetary value on.”

    Anyone who doesn’t naturally know how to listen respectfully and expects to be paid for doing so is no one I care to talk with.

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      • Birdsong,

        you are 100% correct. It is a disgusting paradigm. The jobs are not comparable.

        Even if they were compared, the fact remains that therapists do not need to prove results. If I seek a professional for a haircut, I expect to pay to receive a haircut by someone who is licensed, whose shop complies with safety regulations. No comparable expectations exist with the mental health hustlers.

        I cannot add anything else to your comments but just wanted to show solidarity with your point of view.

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        • My favorite is “Treatment resistant depression.” Not, “We failed” or “we don’t know what we’re doing,” but “Your depression RESISTED my efforts to treat it!” What would we do if we had a plumber come by and we paid him $200 dollars and he said we had a “repair resistant toilet?” We’d fire him and get a new plumber! What kind of professional blames his/her client for his/her failures?

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          • “repair resistant toilet” waaahahahahha I just fell off my chair laughing. I was thinking that maybe we could get some plumbers to change careers and become psychiatrists……. then I realised, they couldn’t take the drop in wages.

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          • Steve, yep!

            It evens works with my example.:

            “You have non-haircut compliant disorder, so I cannot treat you/ cut your hair but can insult you and ensure you will never have access to a salon. That will be $1000 and God have mercy on your soul, you non compliant”

            they can always pathologize and criminalize anyone they target too.

            Thanks to everyone for speaking truth to power and for holding space here for our psych-survivor reality.

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          • ‘I’ve got this glue, it will hold the toilet together until you flush. Then the water will make it break again…….. I can leave you a tube, but you will need another ‘prescription’ for more should you require it. Here’s my card, call my receptionist, and make an appointment’ 🙂 ‘Were just around the corner from a ‘breakthrough’ in toilet technologies. You’ll just have to hold on……’ I’ve seen this crap somewhere before…. literally lol

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          • “I can come back weekly and charge another $200 for weekly “treatments” that will keep your entire bathroom from collapsing into your basement.”

            And should you refuse, I will send a bulldozer around to have a little ‘accident’ and then have in injunction placed on the property, and deny you access to your own home 🙂 Care to make an appointment now?

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    • I would add that there is no real way to TRAIN someone to listen respectfully in all cases. There are “techniques” that can be taught to a person who is really open to experiencing how others feel, think and behave and their motivations for doing so. But there is no way to guarantee that any individual is capable of or interested in having that experience, and if they are not, no amount of training can get them there. So someone having a degree in psychology or counseling is no guarantee that this person is any better than a random person on the street at listening and caring about another person. And research reflects this, as I recall. But for some reason, I can’t find the study that applies on the internet – it is drowned out by dozens and dozens of articles on “why therapy is different than friendship” and the like.

      What people need is a non-judgmental listener who will support them in figuring out their own path. What they are offered is often VERY different from that, unfortunately.

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    • I don’t think it’s fair to say everyone thinks anything in particular. There are plenty of people here who are still involved in the psych system, voluntarily or not, and who use psych drugs, voluntarily or not, and some who have found therapy helpful, while some have not. Some give credence to mental health labels from the DSM, some (perhaps most) do not, but no one is required to disbelieve in them or to believe anything in particular. There are people who post here who are supportive of the current mental health system and who report research findings in support of the status quo paradigm.

      I think what most people have in common at MIA is that they have either been harmed or seen people harmed by the “mental health” system as it is. I doubt that ANYONE would question that the phenomena listed in the DSM as “mental health disorders” occur and exist and are troublesome or even extremely distressing to many people who experience them. From my own point of view, I think the question to be posed is, just because a set of phenomena happen and can be identified as happening, does that lead to the conclusion that the person experiencing them is medically ILL, or requires medical intervention? Does it automatically imply, as many doctors claim, that one’s brain is malfunctioning, and even further, that there is nothing that YOU as an agent in the world can do about such phenomena?

      The second, and extremely closely related, question is this: Are psychiatrists, psychologists, the news media, entertainment media, the internet, telling us a true story of what science really says about these phenomena? For instance, if schizophrenia is a purely biological phenomenon, why is it so much more common among immigrants and urban populations? Why do sufferers in third world countries have so much better recovery rates if the don’t use our “state of the art” drugs to manage their condition? Why is it that people in countries that accept “hearing voices” as a culturally appropriate phenomenon tend to have “nicer” voices compared to those in cultures where hearing voices is shamed and looked on as a “disease?”

      Also, the history of pharmaceutical research is rife with manipulation of results and downright dishonesty. This is not confined to the psychiatric field, but it seems to be far, far worse when dealing with phenomena that can not be objectively distinguished from “normal” situations. We’ve been told that antipsychotics were responsible for “emptying out the psych wards,” only to find that it was a policy decision having nothing to do with antipsychotics, and that people diagnosed with “schizophrenia” are much less likely to recover today in the age of pharmaceuticals than they were in 1955. We’re told that Prozac and other SSRIs have a very mild side-effect profile, only to find out that they can cause some people to become suicidal or homicidal, and can have devastating withdrawal effects that were swept under the rug for decades. We hear that “depression” is caused by low serotonin, only to find out that this theory was debunked back in 1985 or so, and psychiatrists now tell us that “no competent psychiatrist has believed this for decades.” There is a fundamental DISHONESTY about the system and how it “works.” A skepticism about the intentions of the system may be the thing most of us here have in common.

      I appreciate your asking that question. I take it to indicate you are concerned with understanding the community you are entering.

      You are welcome here to have your own views and share them, as long as you are respectful about it. Others may disagree with you, as long as they are respectful about it.

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    • I would say that we are at an exciting crossroads in mental illness. A lot recent research is indicating many mental health conditions are actually symptoms of other conditions like gastrointestinal disorders, metabolic problems, or a whole host of other things that are finally looking beyond the current paradigm that has failed so many.

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  13. I cannot say the article we are more and less responding to grabs me at present.

    It makes complete sense to me to say, a society or culture that’s tightly focused on people making money from what they do is not going to be mentally and emotionally healthy.

    There are deep waters to swim in, here, plenty to explore beyond a discussion of this article.

    If we were to say, people may ONLY support each other’s inner health out of generosity and kindness, period, my experience has been, this can lead to difficulties, too: as, if I or someone am/is very distressed, there can be legitimate concerns about overburdening others who have their own matters to attend to.

    It could be said, money and labeling go together too much in a system that focuses too much on finding reasons to pay people for doing things — as though what people do does not matter unless the system puts a price tag on it.

    For sure, TLC that is delivered without expecting something in return is what I’ve found most deeply helpful.

    And a question can be, can we affirm the value of what is not monetized. Can we support delivery of TLC so that people who give this can live.

    Anyway, I’ll exit the discussion now.

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    • There is a fundamental difference between psychological shallowness and a depressed person, psychosis and so on. Depression is not a personal fault, because psyche is not theology. Psyche is not personal. Normal people are extremely psychopatic, only depression gives you a vision of reality, not happiness. Happiness is psychologically empty. So, this is injustice. In psyche there is a hierarchy, in monism/marxism there is only spiritual escape or money. This is barbaric system. This is injustice and materialism. This is the worse cult of ego, this is satanism.

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  14. Kimberly:

    As you describe being a student at Simon Frazier, who is financing the experience? (At the individual level, campus, university, city, British Columbia, Canada through the form of what financial instruments? For the interest rates in markets that have to be reconciled and cleared everyday historically through England. But now a different network. So, at what point, do we begin to charge interest for our incredible understandings, experiences for discerning the verb in realities? How to truth and know the truths that unlock the burdens, to be free and healthier?

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  15. This blog entry was well written. Sadly I cannot say the same for many of the comments which resemble a one-sided shouting match more than a civil discussion (my apologies to the thoughtful, considerate posters — I do appreciate you.)

    One of the reasons I have struggled with mental health is I am very sensitive. So I became a regular visitor at Mad In America years ago because it helped me make sense of things and it gave me hope for a better future. But lately the vibe in the comments sections have become as triggering as this site was comforting and uplifting. IMO this dark turn does not do anyone or “the cause” of reforming mental healthcare any good, and I find myself drifting away.
    I hope this is merely a phase that will soon pass as others realize their loud voices affect others’ ability to feel safe expressing their own voices, otherwise I must retreat to my own again to try to make sense of a world that resists making sense.

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    • Hi Nikhto,
      I agree in principle with what you are saying.
      What you refer to as a “one-sided shouting match” is, in my online mental health experience, often referred to as venting. Venting is typically emotional and often quite irrational. There seems to be mixed opinions as to the longer term value of venting but many feel that it at least allows people to express pent up emotions.
      I think it can be useful for people to learn the difference between venting and reasoned discussion but unfortunately many are not able to do this and instead tend to rationalise or justify their emotional outburst. Since many here, myself included have a history of mental health problems, it is not surprising that this rationalised venting occurs from time to time.
      On some other forums that I am familiar with, there are separate areas used for venting and discussion etc and people are encouraged to use the correct areas. This seems to work quite well, with a minimum amount of involvement from moderators. It also possibly helps people to develop better awareness and self regulation which in turn, many of us believe, leads to better mental health.
      In my experience, online spaces like this one which use a “one space fits all” approach inevitably suffer from the sort of problems experienced here where people are attempting to communicate on all sorts of different levels in a single space or context.
      It is being increasingly recognized that community is a very big part of mental wellness and online spaces are inevitably going to be part of future community spaces. I think we still have quite a bit to learn about how to best organise and manage these spaces.

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      • Tim Wilson, thank you for your thoughtful reply.

        I understand venting. A portion of my original comment is venting.

        Psychiatry, psychiatric medications and the failures of the mental healthcare system in general absolutely destroyed a young life that was full of talent and promise until the fateful day that I walked into a psychiatrist’s office.

        So I truly understand the need to vent.

        I don’t expect everyone to be singing Kumbaya together. But what is especially hard for me to read is the othering, the fingerpointing and shaming of differing viewpoints, the “you’re either with us or against us” type of rhetoric, and the regimented either/or, black and white perspectives that would probably turn off any new visitor to the comments section who is not already familiar with MIA and its mission.

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          • Nikhto:

            It’s surprising you have to say “damaged by incompetent professionals and treatments” when the way psychiatric systems are designed to help people, are for many, damaging by default even with their “best practices”. Actually, those professionals are “competent professionals” for following what their system and psychiatric curriculum tells them to follow. Nothing incompetent about them.

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          • @registeredforthissite: I say they are incompetent even by their own standards.
            Example 1: They diagnosed me with “disorder A” (according to the DSM), and give me a certain class of medications that are known to be harmful to people who have “disorder B”, which they had failed to definitively rule out.

            Example 2: “Psychiatrist 1” first diagnosed me with “disorder A” and medicated me with “med cocktail A”. But a few years down the road, “Psychiatrist 2” gave me a completely different diagnosis and a completely different med cocktail, and so on.

            Example 3: It is known by a few of them who have received extra training, that great harm can be done if they misdiagnose and inappropriately medicate a certain category of people who present psychological traits that may appear to be symptoms of disorder, but in fact are not.

            So, if none of them can agree on anything and are not careful, knowledgeable or open to learning how to properly treat certain vulnerable people, that is incompetence by any measure, including their own.

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        • Hi Kate,
          A quite common practice on many MH forums is for people to mark any distressing comment with a trigger warning, typically something like “TW//”. On some forums this actually blacks out the content and you have to re-enable it if you want to read it.
          As I previously pointed out, many, including myself, believe these sorts of practices help develop self awareness which is considered an important life skill these days for good mental health.
          As Nikhto pointed out, people participating in a supportive MH environment need to learn how to be considerate towards others who may be participating or looking at becoming involved in the group and could be easily put off or triggered by aggressive behaviour or “shouting”. With this community, perhaps a simple “//Venting” warning as well as a trigger warning for potentially distressing content might suffice. Then as you say Kate, people simple chose whether or not they want to read it.

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          • Just to add to that: if this was a comments section on a website about politics or art or comic books for example, then you would be going into the comments section fully aware that you will be swamped with differing viewpoints, some of which would be aggressively proposed or defended.

            But this website is chiefly by, about and for those who suffer/ed from mental illnesses and especially those who have been damaged by incompetent professionals and improper treatments.

            I for one am triggered by rigid viewpoints because an inflexible point of view was precisely why I was misdiagnosed, mistreated and mis-medicated by mental healthcare professionals in the first place.

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          • I would have appreciated a “trigger warning” before this:

            “Venting is typically emotional and often quite irrational.”

            I found this sentence to be extremely “othering” and vaguely misogynistic.

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    • If people are expressing their own sets of ‘facts’ that are not part of a shareable reality, in a manner so as to presume that others should accept those supposed ‘facts’ on their say so, it is okay for others to call them on this .

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      • To Hayden Hall,

        People’s “set of ’facts’” are gained from their own lived experience, which is indeed part of a “shareable reality”. And it’s a reality shared here on MIA with painful regularity.

        And your presuming that people think others “should accept those supposed ‘facts’ on their say so” is extremely presumptuous, imo.

        Some concluding assertions: No one is obligated to write comments that others “would agree with”. And there is nothing “gentle” about deliberately misquoting or questioning the credibility of someone’s lived experience. But it is extremely insulting, imo.

        And here’s a bit of unasked for, but “gentle”, advice: It’s usually a good idea to follow one’s own advice, and to remember the following quote: “The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.”

        P.S. All realities are shareable, but not all realities are relatable. And this is not an opinion. This is a fact.

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        • Posting as moderator:

          It seems I made an error in approving the initial comment in this thread. Now I’m feeling like having to allow each person respond to the last person’s assertions, but it has become increasingly non-productive as time has gone by.

          At this point, I’m going to ask folks to swallow up whatever hurt feelings and misunderstandings and move on to other posts. I’m no longer going to publish the back-and-forth discussion about who said what. It’s clear there are some disagreements, and that’s OK, but let’s move away from the subtle personal slights that have started to emerge in this conversation.


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  16. Asserting that psychiatric diagnoses and treatments are harmful is not asserting a rigid viewpoint. It is asserting a reality. And the fact that people have different viewpoints and different ways of expressing their viewpoints is also a reality.

    But expecting or demanding that other’s viewpoints be expressed in ways one always finds acceptable is not only unrealistic, it is inflexible, and is the reason I also was misdiagnosed, mistreated and mis-medicated by mental healthcare providers in the first place.

    I for one am flexible enough to listen and learn from those whose viewpoints differ from mine, whether in tone or content. However, I make no apologies for strongly disagreeing or expressing strong viewpoints, or reserving the right to defend myself when my credibility is questioned or am being misquoted when expressing my viewpoints.

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

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    • Kimberley McLean can be said to have mashed together some different source material as though it all adds up to a single statement that she summarizes in her blogpost. A close reading of her blogpost and the sources she cites would, however, indicate that that is not the case. The statement is her own.

      As she wraps up her blog post, McLean notes “the sheer volume of people seeking relief” from mental/emotional/psychological distress. She notes “the scope of the problem”, suggesting the scope is large.

      McLean opines that there is too much use of pharmaceuticals in addressing mental/emotional/psychological distress. She does not, however, suggest doing away with what might be termed, ‘the Mental Health System,’ altogether. Instead, she advocates “for safe and effective treatments” for what is widely called ‘mental illness.’

      The Open Dialog approach that McLean touts departs from predominant practice, but still exists within the Mental Health System, and is unlikely to continue without support from within that System.

      A concluding assertion, from me personally: Fragile people may not benefit from throwing bricks at each other’s glass houses. People with emotional/mental/psychological distress do not benefit from making others into enemies. It is much better for us to follow Fred Rogers’ advice, and to seek out and find ‘the helpers.’ Helpers come in various guises and disguises.

      To say again: Fragile people do not need adversaries. Instead, we need allies who will hear our just complaints, and affirm whatever in us is sane and sound.

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      • So-called “fragile people”, and especially them, need affirming “allies” who will affirm EVERYTHING about such “fragile people”, including if not especially that which you would label “insane” & “unsound”…..
        You write like somebody who hasn’t been pill-raped, needle-raped, hog tied, held in seclusion or isolation, physically assaulted, insulted, etc., as most of us here at MiA have, in the genocidal “mental health system”…..
        Psychiatry is a pseudoscience, a drug racket, & social control mechanism. It’s 21st Century Phrenology, with potent neuro-toxins. Psychiatry has done, and continues to do, far more harm than good. Especially to “fragile people”. The so-called “mental health system”, seen correctly & accurately, is in fact a system of genocide-for-profit….
        What you are experiencing right now, Hayden, is known as “cognitive dissonance”….
        PhRMA-manufactured delusions are being replaced with McLean’s well-written & well-researched truths….you’ll be ok….

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  18. I would have appreciated a “trigger warning” before this: “Fragile people do not need adversaries.”

    I found this sentence to be extremely “othering”.

    I would have appreciated a “trigger warning” before this: “It is much better for us….to seek out and find ‘the helpers’.

    I found this sentence to be extremely patronizing.

    A concluding assertion, from me personally: People in general don’t like being lectured to, nor do people in general appreciate unasked for advice, especially from those who don’t follow their own.

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  19. Thank you, Kimberley, for this well-researched and clearly written article. I believe this is an extremely helpful and informative distillation of the major issues we (people who would like to see reform of the mental health system/as people who have experienced harm in this system) are contending with.

    I’m confused by some of the comments that call the article incoherent or make other criticisms. I’m beginning to wonder if this is a “shoot the messenger” situation?

    I found the main points (listed below, as I understand them) of the article to be very well-stated, and irrefutable.

    * Late stage capitalism, from the time of Thatcher/Reagan forward, places a low priority on the actual emotional health of the populace. Instead, it values efficiency, productivity, materialism.
    * Any kind of mental dis-ease, in this environment, gets blamed on the individual and not on their place in society/their environment or their history. Psychiatry corroborates this idea (that the suffering individual is pathological in some way) by saying a mentally suffering person has “a chemical imbalance” and by giving them a DSM diagnosis (or two diagnoses, or eight).
    * Drug companies profit off of this theory and have reaped huge financial rewards maintaining this claim about chemical imbalances and selling a slew of drugs that “correct” the imbalances, despite the fact that these theories have been proven wrong
    by many studies and the fact that people who take the drugs long term do measurably much worse than those who don’t (and even those who take the drugs short term often do very poorly). The skyrocketing rise in number of people receiving “mental health treatment” correlates with an equivalent rise in psychiatric disability — a pretty clear indicator that something is very wrong.
    * The person receiving “mental health treatment” is going to benefit the economy one way or another, the way this system is set up. Those who can’t be productive at a job will still be consumers of “medications” and “treatments”, allowing the mental health system to remain a thriving, recession-proof industry.
    * Many people, including many patients, have expressed a desire for non-medication, non-pathologizing mental health care that takes into account the person’s humanity, background, environment, social supports, physical health, opportunities, culture, etc. To the extent that these kinds of non-pathologizing treatments have been offered, they have shown good results. Alas, there’s no money in it.

    This is some of what I got from the article, anyway, though the author said it better. I have tried to be coherent.

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