Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Comments by fnert77

Showing 40 of 40 comments.

  • Yes.
    Been reflecting on that. I was doing PhD on climate science, didn’t learn all I should & will have to catch up if ever convince uni of need *not* to force any return to work assessment through “medical” gatekeeping.

    But there, the consensus is not an *agreement* but something arising *from* the data that needs to be vigorously prodded & questioned.

    Yes it’s humans & they will tend to get sloppy about theories that become rules of thumb & need to be pulled up – but that’s why scientists are all raised to expect criticism & encourage self doubt

    I’ve never seen anyone try to strong arm another into stating an *agreed* “consensus” before.

    I suppose it relates to the introduction & the proposal does launch into a position that derives from community need & desire (is exercise of human rights to make informed choices) which is not convention – it doesn’t launch from an intro based on a lit review, whether it disputes or agrees W/ other authors conclusions.

    I can see the value in that in an unbiased field. But this wasn’t that, they didn’t say ” could you Segway in with a review of the literature” some other suggestions did but not reviewer 8. That was full on

  • I can see why they freaked out about it.
    If their current position relies on “consensus” – this clearly breaks the “consensus”.
    the disturbing concern is – why do they believe that any position should rely on a “consensus” rather than on evidence, which is bound to be looked at from various different angles with some agreement and some disagreement.
    It could hardly be referring to any genuine “consensus” of independently reached conclusions based on independent evidence, free from undue influence or pressure, if they think it is appropriate to overtly pressure authors to pay tribute to a “consensus” opinion on the benefits of continued antidepressant use.
    How could it be a scientific field of inquiry if there is not a diversity of points of view?

  • Dear Professor Gotche,

    Thankyou very much for your research and efforts to raise awareness about the denial & misinformation being given to the public, as well as the evidence for “antidepressant” risks & low clinical efficacy, especially in children.

    Australia currently has an open Royal Commission into violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disabilities.

    Would you be interested to send them a submission? It would hopefully get a more serious response than the one you received from Minister Hunt.

    Awareness on these issues are very low in Australia and there are key influencers who push very strongly for the “early intervention” model.

    It would be very helpful for the commission to receive expert information regarding the research into risks, harms & low efficacy, especially for children and young people, as well as the an explanation helping the commission to understand how they research used to claim the opposite has been misrepresented.

    Sometimes it gets easy to bamboozle even those who do want to understand, because they don’t have the background to see how data has been manipulated or cherry picked.

    Thanks very much again for your work and highest regards.

  • Dear Professor Gotche,

    Thankyou very much for your research and efforts to raise awareness about the denial & misinformation being given to the public, as well as the evidence for “antidepressant” risks & low clinical efficacy, especially in children.

    Australia currently has an open Royal Commission into violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disabilities.

    Would you be interested to send them a submission? It would hopefully get a more serious consideration than the one you received from Minister Hunt.

    Awareness on these issues are very low in Australia and there are key influencers who push very strongly for the “early intervention” model.

    It would be very helpful for the commission to receive expert information regarding the research into risks, harms & low efficacy, especially for children and young people, as well as the information on why the research used to claim the opposite has been misrepresented.

    Thanks very much again for your work and highest regards.

  • I like your response Sam and definitely hope you come back & write more 🙂
    It’s been so good to see people looking for balance & perspective or returning to a philosophical view of life & what we can never really “know” so may as well live our own way.
    I find the whole diving into misery with a good rest really helpful, it lifts & passes & I feel like I’ve processed stuff& can move on.
    While turning up for “therapy” & “counseling” is just rehashing it over & over. I got to the point where I had to ask myself “what am I doing here, it makes me feel like crap & it’s not exactly a habit I want to build so what’s the point?”
    Everyone’s different though & I guess for some it’s the only opportunity they have to get some empathy which is really sad.

    I’m just glad that as a community we do seem to be slowly waking up from the fog of obsessing over being happy all the time or even never being profoundly miserable, terrified, lost, confused or any of the particularly strange or complicated ways that can turn out.

    It’s getting to the point where people asking the usual irritating questions like “what would you do if someone heard a voice when there was noone there” actually respond to an answer like “I’d listen & try to understand their understanding of it & why is that particular experience more noteworthy or remarkable than any other?” by actually deciding to go away and reflect on that – while not too long ago they would have thrown a strange & difficult to understand tantrum about “normality”

    We do finally seem to be finding our way back to sense, I hope so anyway

  • “They had no current mental health diagnoses, no history of recurring mental health problems, and had been taking antidepressants longer-term than guidelines suggest (longer than nine months).”

    We acknowledge the psychological toll of a belief in the “chemical imbalance” narrative.

    But we don’t think to step back and analyse the narrative of “mental health diagnosis” or “recurring mental health problems”?

    It’s a worry.

    What do we mean when we say “mental health problems” – what do we actually mean?

    I think by now there has been enough discussion for most people to realise we don’t actually mean anything. Other than that a person was sad, worried, stressed, grieving, exhausted, crashed, overwhelmed, abused, oppressed by the state of the world or a host of other things, unlimited in their scope that have been skilfully torn out of their context in life and renamed “mental health problems”.

    Sometimes, we just mean diversity. A person sees a vision or hears a voice and even if they aren’t distressed by it – we scream “serious mental illness”.

    There have been articles & analysis on this ad nauseam by now, analysing the situation every which way including the marketing side of things eg.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1122833/

    It’s only a google search away to find copy written by marketing firms gleefully explaining how every opportunity to “raise awareness” is an opportunity to sell more product – even if no drug or ‘condition’ is specifically named.

    So we know by now that “mental health” and “mental health awareness” were genius use of marketing to sell us sickness. To rival the ‘litterbug’ campaign that sold us garbage, literally.
    https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2006/05/origins-anti-litter-campaigns/

    No that doesn’t mean suffering isn’t real or diverse. Just that we have always had suffering in life – we just used to call it life.

    We’ve always had prejudice in life too – just that we used to call it prejudice – or just be prejudiced (usually more likely). Prejudice has always been an arbitrary, fickle thing that really seems to depend on little more than who has the microphone & gets most heard.

    So with that in mind – why are we spreading the narrative of ‘mental health’ a narrative that was designed, quite deliberately to get us to be prejudiced against ourselves and others so we would purchase drugs and hand all of our decisions over to guilds who controlled the narrative?

    When we know that the narrative gets lodged because we spread it – why would we keep paying tribute to that ritual – when just the act of thinking for a few moments how to phrase what we say could help us bring trouble back into life – and out of the arena of ‘health conditions’

    Is there any good reason why we wouldn’t want to do a thing like that?

  • It’s horrific but it’s true.
    The main problem in this arena seems to be undue pressure & influence.
    The blind faith in reputation.
    That reputation granted, unearned, to medical industry & that includes the power to set the reputation of others.
    Similar things happened for decades with CSA in the church.
    The victims were all seen as “lying”
    The priests were all seen as telling the truth.

    It’s the essence of institutional abuse.
    An unimpeachable reputation on one side & the ability to control the movement &/or reputation of others – who inevitably become victims one way or another.

    But the whole thing is kept in place by prejudice. It has to be. The moment one group of people has absolute power over another group of people & can say whatever they like or do whatever they like, abuse has already occurred. Whether it escalated to SA or violence or not. The act of controlling another’s rights or identity & preventing them being full legal persons is already abuse.

    That’s the abuse UNCRPD (UN convention on rights of persons with Disabilities) was written to solve. Unsurprisingly, the authoritative UN guidelines are being viciously attacked, or simply buried & ignored by vested interests.

    Because they make it clear non-consensual detention, “intervention”, substitute decision making (taking control of others’ decisions) & “incompetence” or “best interests” models are a human rights abuse.

    It means nobody is allowed to subject anyone else to involuntary anything purely because they are different. Everyone who wants support needs to be allowed to access support they choose. They can’t be forced into Psychiatry or its constructs for any reason.

    But if people want Psychiatry, they can choose it. They can even choose to be consensually detained if they wish.

    There’s no end to mechanisms that could allow such things to work in practice. But in countries that have ratified UNCRPD, despite UN pressure to end forced Psychiatry, true rights don’t get into domestic discussion. There’s also plenty of mud in the water with misinterpreting of rights from medicalised or other prejudiced perspectives in international legal literature. UN official guiding documents make them pretty clear. But many are so entrenched in prejuducial views, they seem not to be able to take things in even when they are spelled out explicitly. If they do take them in, they hit the roof, outraged that anyone would dare breach their prejuducial views or entitlement.

    Many people who stand to benefit from UNCRPD don’t know about it or understand it. Status quo is so entrenched, even those who know of & support rights sometimes have a hard time understanding not everyone is the same & can’t just group people together based on how they are perceived by others and subject them to a “paradigm”. Any “paradigm”. Diversity is hard for a lot of people to get their heads around.

    Of course, it would be a lot easier if there were resources & manpower to spread unadulterated education on what the rights are & what they mean. Explain diversity, as opposed to same thing for all. Everyone gets the rights, but how each chooses to exercise them will be very different. Accepting diversity means everyone gets to be themselves. Once people understand it, most want it because it makes room for all of them.

    Only exceptions, of course, those who benefit from oppression. They resist it with everything they have. Nor because they don’t understand it, but because rights are “disruptive technology” to those who gain power & influence by taking them away from others.

    Those are few compared to the number who ultimately benefit from rights. Think there is a lot to gain by a greater understanding of what they are. At the moment rights being distorted & co-opted.

    Better understanding of rights amongst those who genuinely want things to improve/change in the world would go a long way to making it a lot harder to hide, distort or co-opt rights.

    Co-option, distorting or ignoring rights is easy to do when there’s nobody to point out “no that’s not what the rights mean”. Can’t stand up for rights when few know we have them or what they truly are…

    It makes me sad when people talk about “new paradigms”. They are missing the point. There are already many diverse ways to understand life in all its diversity. The problem is there is no respect or access to them because so many are entrenched in the status quo: of doing things to people, “managing them”, so deeply entrenched in the prejudice that the idea everyone should have equal rights seems preposterous to them at first.

    But so it has been with every situation where one group of people thought themselves “superior” to another. Eventually once enough people catch on & stop letting prejudice hold sway. It’s the bigotry that’s shunned. Those who want inequality try to pull out every trick in the book. But there’s not much they can do once it is they who become the minority. That’s why they do everything they can to try & ward people off from “getting ideas above their station”. They know all too well how such ideas spell the end to inequality when they spread far enough & won’t back down.

  • The impacts are not just those of drugs.
    Nonconsensual interventions are torture.
    Torture, strangely enough, has a way of messing with a persons mental integrity.
    It is not just the torture of forcing the drugs. By manipulation or by physical brutality. It is also forcing the ideology and depriving all ability to explore and form one’s own subjective understanding, with support (which means support not control).
    People who have found meaning in their experience of metaphor have done so under conditions of torture and persecution, including hardcore physical violence, solitary confinement, forced paralysis etc. Brutal administration of drugs and detention all with the impetus of having to “confess” to the ideology of “mental illness”.
    “Do you think you are sick” repeated with only way to end the torture to say “yes I think I am sick”.
    This is applied whether the person is trying to articulate they are not sick but exploring inner world metaphorically, or whether person is describing actual events (in the case of two I know: a breakin, family violence and partner stalking) that the psychiatrist decided did not genuinely happen. It is also used politically – those who protest or point out human rights abuses are given the “symptom” of “antipsychiatry” – it is formally written in notes but later denied that it was intended as a “symptom”.
    Political prisoners are taken.

    In my experience, being forced to adopt the ideology of “sickness” prevented me from exploring and resolving my experience *from my own perspective* it took 20 years before I could do that. Having resolved those experiences, I no longer need to enter metaphorical processing, but am still faced with a world where i have to persue a legal career against the grain because my access to other career paths is temporarily curtailed by the structural discrimination.

    To get back to my old career, I have to overcome the entrenched belief that everyone should be forced under a psychiatric lens and excluded from work unless they agree to submit to it – for ‘risk assessments’ going into remote locations, or for resolving disciplinary action. There are two different tracks for those labelled by ‘psychiatry’ and those not. The tracks are joining, but not in a good way – psychiatry is taking over sensible risk assessment.

    So not I have to become a bloody lawyer, instead of a scientist and I am not happy about that.

    There are amazing lawyers who have risen from positions of horrific torture and discrimination to represent large bodies to the UN. The submissions of these torture survivours, is making headway.

    The major impediment to advancing genuine human rights and recognition of exploitation and abuse is also a major instrument of that exploitation and abuse: the doctrine of “medical necessity”. This does not base itself on anything reasonable, any norms of human rights or good sense. It bases itself on nothing more than what are the agreed common actions in a group of persons who are calling themselves “medical professionals”.

    The need to examine the undue influence afforded to that particular profession is paramount in overcoming the unreasonable and unsubstantiated influence it has been granted. It will not come easily, just as with slavery and advancing the rights of women and recognition of the rights and entitlements due to first nations peoples: this is about power and reputation. Those who have power and reputation, are not going to give it up without a fight.

    They will and have attempted to advance on any system that threatens to undermine the power and influence they have achieved – by reputation. Money is a poor point of focus. Reputation is the true power, and reputation has been achieved through corruption – corrupting trust and perception. These are far more powerful things than money.

    Non-consensual psychiatric interventions are formally confirmed torture, despite the obstacles in European courts (mounted on the basis of “medical necessity” doctrine)
    (see paragraphs 31-35, 84 and 89)
    https://www.ohchr.org/documents/hrbodies/hrcouncil/regularsession/session22/a.hrc.22.53_english.pdf

    Beware that people are trying to use rights as a vehicle to undermine rights. It’s already been seen in draft discussions where “right to life” is attempting to abrogate the rights of women with regards to abortion. The “right to life” argument is also used to advance torture in a psychiatric setting based on a false dichotomy that posits force is
    a) successful in preserving life
    b) necessary to preserve life

    There are obvious ways to blow this sophistry out of the water. But it isn’t going to come if people aren’t empowered to organise and get all that buried information about what the reality of force did to so many of us – and how it drove many of our loved ones to the very death it claimed to be preventing, many of us to the brink of it when we weren’t initially there and made it more difficult to manage for those who were.

    If there are some people who genuinely want to be confined or have control taken away from them, they can be facilitated.

    Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, as clarified in General Comment No 1 – is about recognising diversity. It is not about arranging people into groups based on how they are perceived by others and forcing them under the auspices of someone claiming to be a “authority” on others’ minds.

    Everyone is different, everyone needs to be supported in full respect of their autonomy and diversity, with no undue pressure or influence. No medical gatekeeping. No forced medical ideology – including that of the broader “mental health” philosophy.

    “Mental health” is not ‘reality’ but ideology. There is no limit on different ways to understand life and experience in *all* of its diversity.

  • As for peoples comments on disability rights. It’s just the typical ignorance and self importance. Disability is not “medical model” of disability. People do not understand the social model of disability and the medical industry is right into making sure that they don’t.

    Psychosocial disability could be broadly defined as any combination of social and emotional circumstance that an individual finds debilitating, temporarily or long term.

    CRPD General Comment Number One explicitly makes it clear that medical gatekeeping, substituted decision making, locking support or access to “best interests” models and all force is out. The UN has repeatedly told Australia and other states that they have to *stop* forcing people to be “diagnosed” to get access to support particularly for psychosocial disability.

    Steve and all those others should sit down and start reading UN documentation and stop mouthing off in ignorance and prejudice from their own entrenched medical view of disability.

    There are advances happening, in institutions that actually give a crap, increasingly people can get adjustments based on Statutory Declarations in recognition that we *do not* need another person to tell us when our work was disrupted. We only need to provide assurance we can be held to to make sure we are telling the truth. CRPD General Comment No 1 explicitly states (why did it even need to?) that no person can know the mind of another. There is no reason why the opinion of a registered health practitioner should be seen as any more trustworthy than the opinion of a person themselves. A statutory declaration means that the person is swearing by their own circumstances and how they have affected them. The person themselves will be liable if they made it up to extort the system. The involvement of a physician is completely ridiculous. How could they possibly know another’s mind?

  • Love this article. Breath of fresh air.
    But there are a few socio-political background issues worth pointing out.

    Individuals seeking ‘miracle cures’ and documentation for permanent disability are not operating in a vacuum.
    We live in a world where ‘mental health’ ideology is blasted through every medium – from formal education to the media to everyday conversation. It is a saturation of ideology that rivals that criticised about the propaganda of Chinese officials, or the fictional universes of “Nineteen Eighty-Four” or “Brave New World”.

    From the appendix of “Nineteen Eighty-Four”:
    “The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of IngSoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible. It was intended that when Newspeak had been adopted once and for all and Oldspeak forgotten, a heretical thought – that is, a thought diverging from the principles of IngSoc – should be literally unthinkable, at least insofar as thought is dependent on words.”

    Many people have no longer any ability to conceptualise life outside the ideology of “mental health” – the language of “Psychspeak” has been invading the population along very similar lines, making it literally impossible for many to have thoughts diverging from the principles of “mental health”.

    This has made its way in to law, policy, practice and culture in such a way that nobody is able to get access to any ongoing support of any kind *without proving permanent disability*. It has made its way into workplace law, the court system, and virtually every mind. To the point where even the owner of this blog does not seem to be able to describe life without referring to and furthering the broader ideology of “mental health”.

    How many people seeking documentation for permanent disability had no other choice? Were faced with having to “prove” permanent disability or get no space to heal, and no access to social supports? (In Australia, funding for almost all social support was ripped from the community – the only way to access it is to get assessed as permanently disabled under a medical model and get access to the National Disability Insurance Scheme.)

    I have had many arguments with the National Information Service of the Australian Human Rights Commission, in trying to point out that by being forced into a medicalised model and not allowed to attend work unless I agree to do a “risk assessment” with a psychiatrist is discriminatory. They don’t think it is. Psychiatry has gained ownership of anyone attempting to ask not to be treated differently and less favourably on the basis of a *perceived* “mental impairment”. Speaking with trained information officers on discrimination law which is supposed to *prevent* different and less favourable treatment on the basis of a perceived (or actual) impairment in thinking or emotion and trying to point out it has nothing to do with the medical profession – since nobody knows the mind or capabilities of another, least of all a *physician* is like negotiating a minefield of doublethink. They can not see clearly.

    The old adage of “don’t judge what we can do by what you think we can’t” which was the slogan for discrimination reform – reform to *provide equal opportunity* – the opportunity to ask for a few minor, reasonable adjustments and then prove what you can do – has been replaced by an absurd notion that a physician is capable of determining another’s capabilities. This is nonsense even physically – how could a physician have predicted what Stephen Hawking was able to achieve? Or the blind or one legged persons who climbed everest? How could even another physicist or mountain climber have predicted these things? They could not – non-discrimination is supposed to overcome prejudice.

    But thanks to the huge political and economic profits afforded by the medical industry moving from being a profession of tradespeople offering a particular approach to solving various problems, that persons can take or leave, to being seen as priests of all knowledge – seeking influence, successfully establishing themselves as “authorities”, they have entrenched themselves in a social position that is advancing prejudice – with them as the priests at the helm of this new religion.

    Without taking in the wider social context, it is easy to blame individuals seeking these things in terms of support. That is not fair. The exploitation lies with the guilds that advanced these ideologies and eroded the ability to think outside of them – and with the wider community that has colluded with this and allowed it to get to this point. Even some of those who speak out in opposition are often not aware of human rights or, when questioned, do not believe in equality – it is alarming how many people when questioned will say that they believe some people simply don’t deserve to be “equal”.

  • Frank: lol I kind of love your reasoning.
    But I would say that at this stage in development (or any stage) “mental health” is an ideology – by which I mean a religion without gods. Like IngSoc was an ideology. All encompassing, indoctrinated, enforced.Or a religion or cult or whatever.

    In Australia the 5 tier stepped care model called everyone something. In the entire population. If a person went through a relationship breakup, (given as an actual example) or any other upheaval, they were labelled “at risk of developing mental illness”. This was estimated to be 43% of the population. Everyone else was ranked mild, moderate or severe “mental illness”. Or “in good mental health”. A minority of the population.

    So what is “good mental health”? It is apparently not experiencing anything remotely distressing and not being remotely distressed or emotionally affected by anything.

    If it is not a religion, or ideology to consider that to be “good mental health” or indeed to go around categorising or labelling any experience in life as good or bad, healthy or unhealthy, in some kind of linear, quasi-objective sense I will eat my hat.

    Mental health is a religion/ideology/cult whatever you call it. That if you ask me I would personally say is utterly off its rocker.

    Life is complex and infinitely diverse and I do not want to experience a life without nuance or emotions. Personally I think that is “unhealthy”.

    It’s stark raving nuts and out of touch with reality. But that’s because that’s a pejorative. When I was processing in a way so as to sort out my inner reality, I was not nuts, I was processing my own inner reality, that was more important to me at that time than the usual conventions of interpreting things in line with some kind of common & agreed interpretation. I needed to sort things out that I had blocked for a long time and walking around in an interactive projection of my subconscious was a good way to do it. Nothing “nuts about it”.
    Maybe if someone could explain *why* they think it’s “healthy” to never be distressed and “unhealthy” to have any distress or nuance in their lives, and I could understand why they thought that way, it wouldn’t seem so nuts and I could respect it as their ideology or religion or whatever.

    But since the general community isn’t willing to understand my experience, without me doing a hell of a lot of soul searching until I can explain what it meant and why I did it in a way that hopefully leads to them accepting it. Buggered if I’m not going to make them work just as hard.

  • Which is what our fearless “consumer groups” are doing. Here too, I wonder how many have the ability to recognise that this issue is not about “mental health” and that the very idea of “mental health” is an ideology people need to be free not to live under?

    People seem to think it’s all about “changing the way we look at mental health”. Can anyone even remember we didn’t used to have “mental health” imposed on us as a lens through which we all had to see the world?

    It wasn’t even that long ago.

  • There wouldn’t be any need to even do that if the system of structural discrimination ended.

    There actually *is* a lot of work that needs to be done that it’s vital gets done by people who have understand first person experience of these issues.

    But it’s not working for “the system” but how to end structural discrimination.

    So that people don’t see others as “ex mental patients” and all the imagery that entails.

    Of course, for the few that get paid gigs in it they have to do it all themselves, set up an NGO and get grants for it.

    Then it’s run on a shoestring.

  • I don’t know what the discord or iirc is about sorry don’t know those things

    doesn’t sound so insane at all denial is a pretty everyday thing, most things turn out to be involving input from various different areas in the brain that adapt in various ways as we learn and do various things

    but it’s about as meaningful to me as a physiological system in the brain that processes mathematics or the finer points of cutting hair.

    It’s interesting enough from a nerdy point of view, but not helpful to me – personally – in making sense of the weird or otherwise things people do in life like denial. But everyone’s different with what they find helpful in making sense of things…

    It’s also true though that people hide things from others that they are well aware of themselves – because they believe they will be discredited or lose something they are deeply attached to (like power and status) if they don’t

    so it can be hard to tell which is going on sometimes 🙁

  • sorry – I don’t think it should be “abolished” purely because that would be an abuse of the human rights of those who do actually choose it and find it helpful.

    I do believe that it should be constrained to a guild of persons providing a particular form of CRPD compliant support (ie free from undue influence or pressure – including completely honest that what it is offering is an *ideology* not ‘fact’) and that it should not be a power exerting undue influence politically and economically in terms of constraining the available information, marketing in ways that amount to undue influence or pressure, putting pressure on governments to abrogate and abuse human rights etc.

    It’s one thing for someone to believe in horoscopes and choose to consult an astrologer about their own life, it’s entirely another for astrologers to be able to set government policy and force everyone to be limited by their horoscope or believe it is a ‘fact’ – if you like

    whether or not there need to be other constraints put on psychiatry to safeguard the human rights of its clients and others I don’t yet know, it’s hard enough to even talk about rights because they are constantly manouvering to get the conversation buried.

  • boans – it wouldn’t let me reply to your comment – too many indent’s I guess so I hope you get this.

    with regards to blue knot foundation, they are far from perfect but they *are* aware of labelling being a serious issue and have actually been one of the few registered charities getting abreast of the fact that nonconsensual labelling is abuse and other issues of institutional abuse in psychiatric settings/contexts though full disclosure some can be very annoying with regards to “trauma” ideology

    also calling the counselling service they tell you that it will be recorded but you can ask for recording to be turned off.

    With regards to the site and the general handling not being disability friendly or considering issues of safety in reporting – YUP

    Some examples of this have been noted here
    https://www.sbs.com.au/news/the-feed/this-advocate-redesigned-the-disability-royal-commission-website-so-people-with-a-disability-can-actually-use-it

    This is exactly why I am freaking out about our organising bodies not being set up properly to actually advocate for us on these issues – this is an example of how things can go when people have got decent representation, it’s far from perfect but imagine the difference if *all* the representative bodies got their acts together?

    It *is* important for these stories to be heard but also important for them to be heard safely – maybe worth asking someone like sam (in the article) if there are specific issues what you’re concerned about wanting to report but want to do so safely and don’t feel safe with the hotline? – her twitter is in the article.

    BTW the hotline and the counselling services aren’t the same thing. The hotline is something different. I’ve called the temporary hotline before the new official one was set up.

    It is important to be able to report safely but really hoping these issues won’t stop you being able to report

  • If they can get their act together decent organising bodies may even be able to play a useful role in getting the legal and advocacy support to understand some of the more nuanced issues around what perceived or actual psychosocial disability is – and that it is *not* something that should be forced through the lens of “mental illness”. I don’t know what the state of legal advice is currently, but it is worth pointing out that the current bias in the legal profession is one way in which the terms of reference can be reduced in scope in practice – despite the spirit in which they were negotiated or the broad terms of their scope on paper.

    Sorry for the long rant, but this is serious stuff and I’m understandably concerned that our organising bodies have been operating in ways that are not set up to capitalise on the full scope of opportunity that RCViolence – or any accompanying discussion in he wider community – provides.

    Current gathering and discussion opportunities don’t include an online forum for open discussion amongst members of psychosocial organising bodies, and that would probably be the place I would put these comments if one existed….(that was purely for open discussion among members about any or all issues – not something that guided discussion into a particular agenda or ‘vision’ promoted by various persons employed or active within the organisation…)

  • Incidentally the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse and Exploitation (RCViolence) specifically includes psychosocial disability *and* the UNCRPD and ample scope in the terms of reference for reporting *all* violence, abuse and exploitation – including that carried out in a psychiatric context, and permitted under current domestic laws. It is also not restricted to an institutional setting – and can include anything that the reporter would like to gain recognition for the consideration that what they are reporting is indeed: violence, abuse or exploitation. Framed within the terms of reference in any manner they think most fitting. There is supposed to be legal or other support available for those seeking to draft reports.

    Thankfully, these have not been farmed out to psychosocial disability bodies to my knowledge – but these bodies need to form an integral part of getting the word out that people *can* report the whole of their experience (in institutions and the wider community) to the commission – irrespective of current domestic law. And they need to be able to communicate that persons to not have to identify themselves as “mentally ill” or even having a “psychosocial disability” to have experienced abuse on psychosocial disability grounds – there is always an implication of “perceived or actual” in these situations, and UNCRPD inherently includes the right for persons to be respected in their full autonomy and diversity. Is it possible for our current organising structures to manage such a task without co-option or undue influence?

    https://www.dss.gov.au/disability-and-carers/disability-royal-commission-support-services

    This commission and it’s terms of reference were achieved in part via the input of persons with experience of psychosocial disability who joined or formed *general disability* organising bodies and then negotiated for over 10 years to bring the RC Violence into existence.

    Compare that to what we saw in The Victorian “royal commission” into ‘Mental Health’…

    I suggest reaching out to some of these people….. I’ll leave it up to you to find out who they are. The ‘hermetic seal’ on psychosocial organising bodies who don’t see themselves as a part of the disability rights movement has not led to anything good IME. It’s a lot like the boundaries between various branches of academia – talent, energy and what I genuinely believe is a desire for full human rights implementation (at least in some quarters) is going to waste.

  • I don’t know that it’s wise to view the need to implement international human rights for persons in the perceived or actual psychosocial disability space as being separate from ‘other movements’.

    Especially given that the existence of UNCRPD and recognition in the international torture space has largely been driven by *joining* the disability movement.

    I’m also concerned at terms like ‘our movement’ – whose movement? not mine, surely – it kicks me out to the sidelines along with everyone else who doesn’t want to collude with abuses or perceive themselves as neither ‘mad’ nor ‘mentally ill’ and/or expect to advocate for their international human rights obligations to be met in all domestic law, policy and practice – irrespective of whether or not this is currently popular with the government or other stakeholders.

    Co-option and refusal to answer criticism is not restricted to forces acting from inside psychiatric or other professional circles in my experience. The unilateral decisions made by ‘leaders’ in bodies that are supposed to provide a means for *all* persons affected to represent themselves without compromise are an appalling breach of human rights in themselves – as well as an obstacle to any meaningful action to get them.

    We’ve begun the Royal commission in to Violence abuse and exploitation of people with Disabilities in Australia – and at this point our ‘representative bodies’ are not even set up to understand rights or their implementation themselves- how can we expect them to do anything other than make unreasonable compromises in the ‘advice’ they provide on reporting to the commission – if indeed they provide any means for understanding the scope of the commission at all? Or get the word out that this *includes* all forms of discrimination and torture against persons in a psychiatric or psychosocial disability context?

    I can’t put it mildly – it needs to be said – what we currently have in the guise of organising bodies are essentially political parties that have failed as badly as (and in a similar fashion to) the Democrat’s promise to “keep the bastards honest”.

    We need real organising bodies that don’t ally themselves to ideology like “mental illness” or co-opt the opportunity to speak for their own biased agendas and indirect tactics of courting and playing games with economic stakeholders.

    There is space for economic stakeholders to speak – but only if they are willing to constrain this to an offer of rights-compliant support, that may be rejected or accepted – and to discuss what this means on reasonable grounds – not to co-opt the voices of first-person representation and the means to organise stakeholders to exert meaningful influence over laws that affect their own lives (and to do so in a way that does not prevent others from accessing their full and unadulterated human rights).

    It is not possible to follow an implementation plan for UNCRPD – that breaches UNCRPD rights itself. That is effectively trying to enter an abusive relationship, hoping that manipulation and concession on both sides will balance the equation out nicely.

    To know how to implement rights surely starts with understanding what they are and how to operate in a way that doesn’t breach them?

    I suggest we start there – and begin by contacting those organisations who can provide some rights information, including implementation guidance, and making sure they too haven’t been co-opted and distorted in their approach.

  • I agree about not shortchanging tactics.
    But I do want to highlight that some have taken to aligning themselves with academics that expect them to pay “a price”.
    I’d also like to point out that many of those active in many circles have come to equate the word “strategy” with the tacit assumption of ‘strategy of appeasement’
    I don’t think it’s unreasonable to point out that not making unreasonable concessions to aggressive powers is *not* short changing oneself in the tactics department – but that following a strategy of appeasement *IS*.

  • I don’t know easy ways to reach the people – except by the irritating process of forming or joining an official organising body, and I wouldn’t call these ‘easy’.

    Starting online groups used to be relatively easy but Google’s ‘medic update’ makes that difficult to navigate, and I can’t see how they are really much use without an organising presence to at least associate with..

    The difficulty in accessing open communication and discussion from diverse perspectives (free from undue influence or pressure) and providing or finding a space for others to do so also is a major, major obstacle at this point.

    As are the means to roll out unadulterated but accessible education on international human rights…

  • Sadly true. They also balk at any overtures to discuss some of the more subtle issues of indoctrination that they are unwittingly spreading in the hope of ‘overcoming stigma’ – unless these are painstakingly crafted so as they can’t be perceived as criticism. That’s a near impossible task IME – if anyone has any tips for how to deal with persons who do unpaid (or sometimes paid) advertising of the very dogma that keeps them trapped in discrimination and being owned – desperately hoping it will free them from this same problem, I would love to sit at your feet and learn. But not unquestioningly…. :-/

  • If what you meant by your original comment was on the order of

    “Any mention of international human rights law and international inquiries into torture in a psychiatric context or a range of other important reasoning and evidence that highlight the need for increased regulation of ECT and of psychiatry in general were notably absent from both the peer reviewed article and the blog. However, Mad Voices provides only a summary of the commentary submitted to Australasian Psychiatry and the full commentary remains, as yet, unpublished.”

    (quoting myself in work I’m preparing for submission in a university assignment)

    then I agree with you and apologise, but sadly that wasn’t the way your original comment came across to me 🙁 mia culpa.

  • Very well said I_e_cox

    Academia needs to be accessible to everyone – there is a need for what is stated in academia to be made clear – and to enter into in discussion and criticism from outside academia itself, that feeds back to academia on an equal basis. Not being part of a particular discipline of inquiry does not in any way limit a person’s ability to understand or have insight into the topic that discipline is enquiring into.

    On the contrary, the norms and common methodological practices of particular disciplines can provide lenses of distortion that wise teachers in science try to train their students to recognise. I remember many of mine insisting that ecology students needed to get familiar with “muddy boots ecology” – spending time in the natural world to get a sense of how it works NOT reifying the constructs invented by ecologists. (I won’t comment on the irony of the absence of First Nations perspectives from that course – oops too late)

    It’s also important to recognise that academia does *not* necessarily mean data – the use of data, as well as other unchecked and unrecognised assumptions, can distort and occlude the genuine issues under enquiry. This can not be stated enough.

  • well said – on all fronts.

    I don’t know that I agree with any certainty about the theory re: trauma and CEO’s being the only possible perspective on what drives their behaviour (since this would be making psychology into something even more objective than a ‘hard science’) but I do like it.

    These are the kind of working beliefs that I recall people used to hold lightly about others in order to functionally negotiate the world – knowing they were ultimately just opinions and being OK with that.

    Now we have stereotypes about those in powerless positions being made “real” and systematically taught to people through official training programs, while those in powerful positions go notably un-examined.

    The old adage of “if you’re rich – you’re eccentric, if you’re poor, you’re insane” is alive and well and codified into a very boring ideology of lists and names for what is essentially nothing more than formally entrenched stereotyping.

    Incidentally, on many fronts the opportunity to change education to being a rights-based understanding of diversity and everyone owning their own perspective is *there* but the access to communication and organising among stakeholders who need their rights met with regards to perceived or actual psychosocial disability has been co-opted by groups who don’t get these principles themselves, and see complicity with the status quo as the only way.

    It’s a major frustration…

  • Anti-vaxx may genuinely have started among wealthy persons with influence and a strange inscrutable agenda I don’t purport to understand (but would hazard a wild guess it had more to do with Libertarianism than Scientology).

    Nowadays it’s a shrug with a taxi-driver as the radio blares some nonsense about the terrifying threat from resistance to widespread vaccination against measles – in common knowledge that we all grew up in times when measles was a regular and expected childhood disease that produced it’s own immunity and needed to be managed from a public health perspective – but not necessarily through vaccination.

    The taxi driver shrugs at the blaring BBC voice stating the “dangerous spread of anti-vaccination movement” and says simply “it’s because people can tell they aren’t being honest”.

    Branches of science that genuinely strive to be scientific, acknowledge the genuine uncertainty of knowledge sought under a sceientific philosophy have come under fire too. Climate scientists cringe when journalists use words like “unequivocal” and “proof” and strive to use phrases like “the best evidence available to date strongly indicates”. The focus is on attempting to break down the reasoning behind findings and conclusions into terms that allow laypersons to follow and engage with them. Not to bang a metaphorical fist on the table and shout about “expertise” and “authority” or creating wild conspiracy theories and screaming names at everyone who tries to raise a different view.

    There clearly is collusion to misrepresent science in that field – but leaders in science recognised that the solution to this was to make information and reasonable discourse accessible, not to shout at all those expressing distrust. It was not their fault that information was not being made accessible to layperson understanding. Climate scientists have worked to try and make it so, so discussion can be widened and based on points of reason. Sadly this hasn’t yet stopped devotees making the distinction about tribalism and authority – but it does at least hold the seeds to making such things unnecessary in the public discourse of scientific thought…

  • The hope is that it comes to mind in the wider community as well.

    No point knowing where the pearls and the swine are from within the confines of a subculture still treated by most as an underclass – while the swines swill wine from great heights and proffer whatever nonsense comes to mind to a doe-eyed and desperate audience of people in a position to make real decisions that affect the lives on entire populations….

    Make no mistake – when they go unchallenged, swines are generally those best positioned to become trusted advisors in a crisis. They know tricks and are not afraid to use them.

    Here’s a neat historical lesson on the power of swinesmanship in times of crisis within a “managed democracy”.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnFlraLkk9M

  • Most haven’t been given any other choice.

    Most have been systematically deprived of any language or concept of their experience other than that presented by the dominant narratives of ‘mental health’ – and also deprived of the means to explore from first-hand experience to evolve subjective language and understanding of their lives.

    Those with limited access to such things are still trapped in a world that is as ‘hermetically sealed’ as that of psychiatry itself. A world where complicity is not seen as a pitfall to avoid – but a “necessity” for survival and being heard. That is the only means by which the overt and obvious opportunities for advancement or participation have been provided.

    Those who didn’t follow this ‘mainstream’ work without the fanfare – where it’s quieter and easier to get things done. This, however is an arena well within the sights of and frequently exploited by all those vested interests who know how the (currently unbalanced) democratic process works.

    While the ‘consumer’ movement and the voices proclaiming themselves as ‘mad’ seem distracted by the overwhelming obstacles apparent in a rudimentary view of what drives social change – those who know how to talk to decision makers and others without being seen as ‘mad’ have merrily exploited every possible avenue to extend their ownership of whomever they point the finger at – particularly easy when those under your power have no means to represent their own perspective convincingly and believably in a way that evokes dignity and respect (without paying tribute to some ‘higher power’ who ‘knows’ more about one’s own inner process of thinking and learning than one is able to comprehend oneself).

    Being completely pragmatic: how can a person or group who don’t understand their own experience be expected to be trusted in an equal transaction? This is not a rhetorical question but a genuine obstacle to overcome in negotiation of what should be ‘risk assessment’ in policy and law. I don’t like it – and I’m acutely aware that most (if not all) people in society don’t genuinely understand their own experiences. But those who claim they have a master who does, need to be aware of the fact that they have made themselves the chattels of that master. While those who have not done so – have not.

    This takes place in a society where such tributes have become more widespread – even rampant.

    Sadness and torment were once normal parts of life – not too long ago the mainstream media response to learning about growing prescriptions of ‘Prozac’ was to immediately worry that a pill to negate sadness or misery would prevent the necessary processes of understanding what was wrong and addressing the situation.

    Even ‘madness’ – that vague and nebulous term applied to all experiences that defied the comprehension of the speaker who applied it – was routinely explored in philosophy art and literature (indeed even some branches of psychiatry), both from a perspective of the deep personal meanings it conveyed where no direct words could be spoken (famously in Shakespeare’s character Ophelia, for example) and from that of the political pressures and distortions that dominated mainstream epistemology (famously by Michael Foucault, for example).

    All this has been replaced by a system of pat, pedagogical “training” and “information” that would make the Leading forces of George Orwell’s Ingsoc proud. The methods, whether deliberate or incidental, have been almost identical to those offering control over language, and hence over thought, to the ambitious leaders in the world of Nineteen Eighty-Four.

    I have no problem with anyone using any word to explore or describe their own experience – provided they employ a clear and obvious disclaimer that this *is* their own ideological point of view and don’t behave in a manner that breaches the very norms the human rights convention they purport to stand up for outlines: That each person needs to be respected in their subjective understanding of their own life and experience, set their own identity and agenda and the purpose of discussion is to figure out how to implement a means of making that become an accessible human right in the real, everyday world.

    I share the reservations expressed by many here that announcing oneself as “mad” or “mentally ill” are equally unlikely to pave the way to a respected and equal seat at the table – these are both terms that are incensing and nonsensical to me in understanding what has occurred in my own life. But part of the rights won in UNCRPD are those of taking risks and making mistakes on an equal basis with others.

    So long as “madness” and “mental illness” are reduced to interesting, or even quizzical, philosophical or ideological belief systems that some people choose to apply to themselves – not ‘facts’ given the power to dictate ‘risk assessments’ for the full and unreserved participation in every aspect of life. I have no trouble with them. But sadly I have found few belonging to either philosophy have even attempted recognising the need to struggle with representing their own philosophy or ideology as nothing but their chosen school of thought – not a dogma to be forcibly applied to others or conflated unquestioningly with the “reality” of life.

    I’m also acutely aware I may frequently fall into such a trap myself.

    In short: the increasing inability to separate group ideology from raw subjective experience of reality and the possibility of forming one’s own unique and personal understanding is making a fool out of almost everyone, young and old irrespective of their position in society.

    Thanks for your patience with my long rants. This is a topic that has been ignored for so long I don’t see a way to break that seal in only a few words most of the time. The context has been removed from the conversation.

  • Most haven’t been given any other choice.

    Most have been systematically deprived of any language or concept of their experience other than that presented by the dominant narratives of ‘mental health’ – and also deprived of the means to explore from first-hand experience to evolve subjective language and understanding of their lives.

    Those with limited access to such things are still trapped in a world that is as ‘hermetically sealed’ as that of psychiatry itself. A world where complicity is not seen as a pitfall to avoid – but a “necessity” for survival and being heard. That is the only means by which the overt and obvious opportunities for advancement or participation have been provided. Those who didn’t follow this ‘mainstream’ work without the fanfare – where it’s quieter and easier to get things done. This, however is an arena well within the sites and frequently exploited by all those vested interests who know how the (currently unbalanced) democratic process works. While the ‘consumer’ movement and the voices proclaiming themselves as ‘mad’ are distracted by the overwhelming obstacles in a rudimentary view of what drives social change – those who know how to talk to decision makers without being seen as ‘mad’ have merrily exploited every possible avenue to extend their ownership of whomever they point the finger at – particularly easy when those under your power have no means to represent their own perspective convincingly and believably in a way that evokes dignity and respect (without paying tribute to some ‘higher power’ who ‘knows’ more about one’s own inner process of thinking and learning than one is able to comprehend oneself).

    Being completely pragmatic: how can a person or group who doesn’t understand their own experience be expected to be trusted in an equal transaction? I don’t like it – and I’m acutely aware that most (if not all) people in society don’t genuinely understand their own experiences. But those who claim they have a master who does, need to be aware of the fact that they have made themselves the chattels of that master. While those who have not done so – have not.

    This takes place in a society where such tributes are becoming more widespread.

    Sadness and torment were once normal parts of life – not too long ago the mainstream media response to learning about growing prescriptions of ‘Prozac’ was to immediately worry that a pill to negate sadness or misery would prevent the necessary processes of understanding what was wrong and addressing the situation.

    Even ‘madness’ – that vague and nebulous term applied to all experiences that defied the comprehension of the speaker who applied it – was routinely explored in philosophy art and literature (indeed even some branches of psychiatry), both from a perspective of the deep personal meanings it conveyed where no direct words could be spoken (famously in Shakespeare’s character Ophelia, for example) and from that of the political pressures and distortions that dominated mainstream epistemology (famously by Michael Foucault, for example).

    All this has been replaced by a system of pat-pedagogical “training” and “information” that would make the Leading forces of George Orwell’s Ingsoc proud. The methods, whether deliberate or incidental, have been almost identical to those offering control over language, and hence over thought, to the ambitious leaders in the world of Nineteen Eighty-Four.

    I have no problem with anyone using any word to explore or describe their own experience – provided they employ a clear and obvious disclaimer that this *is* their own ideological point of view and don’t behave in a manner that breaches the very norms the human rights they purport to stand up for outlines: That each person needs to be respected in their subjective understanding of their own life and experience, set their own identity and agenda and the purpose of discussion is to figure out how to implement a means of making that become an accessible human right in the real, everyday world.

    I share the reservations expressed by many here that announcing oneself as “mad” or “mentally ill” are equally unlikely to pave the way to a respected and equal seat at the table – and that these are both terms that are incensing and nonsensical to me in understanding what has occurred in my own life.

    But part of the rights won in UNCRPD are those of taking risks and making mistakes on an equal basis with others. So long as “madness” and “mental illness” are reduced to interesting, or even quizzical, philosophical or ideological belief systems that some people choose to apply to themselves – not ‘facts’ given the power to dictate ‘risk assessments’ for the full and unreserved participation in every aspect of life. I have no trouble with them. But sadly I have found few belonging to either philosophy have even attempted with the need to struggle with representing their own philosophy or ideology as nothing but their chosen school of thought – not a dogma to be forcibly applied to others or conflated unquestioningly with the “reality” of life.

    In short: its making a fool out of everyone, young and old irrespective of their position in society.

    Thanks for your patience with my long rants. This is a topic that has been ignored for so long I don’t see a way to break that seal in only a few words most of the time. The context has been removed from the conversation.

  • I agree it’s not realistic to expect them to listen. But when was it ever a reasonable expectation that those with desire for and possession of complete power over others would listen?

    The process of offering an opportunity, in good faith, in a clear and academic fashion for psychiatry’s principle *peer-reviewed* journal – highly respected in mainstream circles – including the media and the general public – to engage in the necessary process of academic criticism is extremely important.

    Sadly, not because there is any expectation they will actually engage in good faith in the reflection such criticism is supposed to promote in healthy academia – but because the fact that they refuse to. In this case also important is that the shocking manner of refusal and the clear issues of danger and harm in refusing to include first person critique that the methodology by which they outline the purpose of, and assess “success” of their procedures is fundamentally flawed need to be brought into awareness of the general academic community, and the wider community.

    Entering into an evidenced, transparent attempt at good-faith resolution is obviously something that one would prefer leads to good-faith participation on the part of the person or organisation approached. However, in the real world when addressing entrenched injustice, there is always a need for a ‘plan B’ in recognition that persons may not engage in good faith and there will be a need to reflect on this problem in a wider context.

    This experience is among tools of legal stakeholdership and full legal personhood that many who move in privileged circles are accustomed to learning and applying. They should not be a privilege – as a healthy and genuine democratic process needs to involve means to resolve problems in ways that facilitate the needs of *all* stakeholders fairly and equitably. Available means or participating in society and discourse need to ensure a ‘stake’ is granted on a reasonable and equitable basis. For example: a reasonable ‘stake’ for psychiatry might be to *offer*, with honesty and integrity, a particular type of support to persons who choose to take it or leave it in an informed manner. It is not a reasonable ‘stake’ for psychiatry to be granted the means to control or distort information, present polemic or ideological beliefs as “The Truth” and childishly bully or repress all those who attempt to offer a very different point of view. It is, of course not reasonable for psychiatry to force its ideological beliefs violently or otherwise on persons seeking to decide what support or frameworks of understanding they might choose for negotiating difficult situations in life. This is among the reasons why forced psychiatric ‘interventions’ have been found to meet criteria for torture under international human rights law (1).

    Persons who have been deprived of the means to be full legal actors in society are done so by a number of different means. The UN Convention of Rights of Persons with Disabilities (‘UNCRPD’) has been written to overcome some of these (2). However, implementation of the convention faces many of the same obstacles the convention itself was written to overcome. Unfamiliarity with strategies that are used successfully by those who do achieve the means to act as stakeholders in legal and organisational reform are in some ways the “low hanging fruit” for groups and individuals seeking a way to claim their fair and equitable ‘stake’ in the process of reform. In short: persons consigned to low socioeconomic status, and other conditions tow which experience of being a full legal actor is denied (3) never learn – by experience or by education – the means by which those who do have such experience (and connection) exert their ‘pull’ on society. Learning “how it is done”, without compromising integrity, might be more accessible than expecting integrity to spontaneously blossom among those who currently enjoy full legal personhood as a privilege – when it needs to be a fundamental human right.

    (1) For further discussion of torture see eg. https://www.academia.edu/27634155/A_response_to_the_report_by_Juan_E._M%C3%A9ndez_Special_Rapporteur_on_Torture_dealing_with_torture_in_the_context_of_healthcare_as_it_pertains_to_nonconsensual_psychiatric_interventions

    (2) For a discussion of the legal norms UNCRPD introduces into ratifying countries and some of the obstacles facing implementation of the convention see eg.
    https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2037452

    (3) for a discussion of the problematic nature of legal capacity from as it affects persons with perceived or actual psychosocial disability, and others see eg.
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/272260968_Legal_Capacity_from_a_Psychosocial_Disability_Perspective_A_Discussion_Paper

    All three of the references above are written by Tina Minkowitz – an international human rights lawyer and psychiatric survivour who represented the World Network of Users and Survivours of Psychiatry (‘WNUSP’) (http://www.wnusp.net/) at the United Nations and was a principle drafter of the UNCRPD.

    The three academic sites linked above: Researchgate, Academia and SSRN abstracts are means by which academic thought and discussion can be shared in a wider context from the barriers imposed by access to publication in peer reviewed journals. Some sites also have AI that generates suggested papers which can be very useful in gaining the knowledge and the language that has long been an impediment to balanced participation in knowledge, discussion and ultimately – social change.

    Academia isn’t supposed to exist to dominate thought, but to explore it – collaboratively. As in many periods throughout history – education being the jealously guarded privilege of a few is a major obstacle in achieving a just and equitable society where diversity is embraced. But this is ultimately self-defeating. Systems of ‘knowledge’ based on power unbalance a system that responds to reality, no matter how hard vested interests try to control or distort the public’s perception. Breaking the segregation of marginalised perspectives is an important part of restoring sense and reason to a society of interdependence. It’s good for everyone – while a society based on forces of addiction to power and control is ultimately bad for everyone.

    I think that’s my nerdy way of reinterpreting the famous statement “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it tends towards justice”. It’s also been reflected in my experience of attempting to find ways to make that arc a damn sight shorter.

    Underneath all the hype, it’s not power or money but effective action that drives the outcome of any historical process – it’s wise to learn as much as possible about how things work – and how to bring about change that makes justice, equity and meaningful democracy change from an ideal of compromise and competitive ‘voting’ to one of discussion and facilitation of representing *everyone’s* subjective needs.

    Learning about obstacles and how to overcome them does not need to involve complicity, nor avoid the frank acknowledgement that dealing with unreasonable or dishonest actors will always be something that needs to be overcome.

  • Academia has influence
    It’s not about getting “their approval”.
    That’s fundamentally missing the point.

    Academia influences “the masses” a lot more than it rightly should.

    “The masses” now can not access information on Google for example so well as they could before the “medic update”.

    “The masses” are swayed by “expertise” and might scream ‘antiscience!’, ‘anisychiatry!’ or “Scientology conspiracy!” without any sense of irony when led by unchallenged academic voices.

    Academics from other disciplines may swoop in and declare their “discovery” that paranoia occurs in the “general population” as well as those with “mental disorder” – again avoiding the opportunity to see the cracks in the logic of this unchallenged construct. Publishing in science’s most reputable journal, they may then influence “the masses” further in a new ideology that keeps them “normal” and less fortunate community members “disordered” no matter how obvious it ought to become that all those inscrutable things we used to call ‘madness’ are an entirely normal & understandable part of the general weirdness of being human.

    Unchallenged academics make things up with impunity. If you want to see how that affects “the masses” – look around.

  • I think the point in writing to Australsian Psychiatry was to highlight all of that.
    We know it, sure but the public doesn’t.
    There’s a difference between knowing how messed up these people are being and letting them get away with it.
    I really applaud the authors for doing what they did.
    It was bold and necessary.
    I’d like to find out how it goes from here.
    There is a big shift in things – it’s pushing in to wider society the realisation that things are not right, on a great many levels.
    It’s important to realise the “world order” we’ve become accustomed to seeing as so fixed and unchangeable in this arena and in others is collapsing.
    Psychiatry is under fire. It’s being questioned in ways it hasn’t faced since Rosenhan.
    It’s doing it’s best to try and obsfucate, sweet talk and/or bully, distort or otherwise unduly influence it’s way out of international law – but the bottom line is – a higher authority than psychiatry has made it abundantly clear its stranglehold on life has got to go.

    Our governments may or may not give a fig, but countries are not their governments. Our country is slowly finding it’s feet and blinking in the sunlight – however falteringly. It’s dawning on at least some that the work of democracy is more than convincing incumbent governements or voting in elections. We are trying to come to terms with the fact we have to figure out how to avoid totalitarianism (not just in this arena – overall). The old battle between ‘left and right’ has dissipated and people are trying to negotiate a way through to working out how to be a people.

    In this circle of oppression we have got issues with representation and organisation and I think there’s a need to admit that the ‘consumer’ movement was a failure in many senses – in retrospect the idea of sitting on panels with our abusers and trying to change them was … a terrible one.
    It’s left a lot of people even more entrenched than before in this system & some even justifying it.
    But on the other hand, there is more energy than ever to speak about abuse.
    And end it.
    This past year has been important in Australia because most people hid, for a long time, it was too terrifying to try and speak to the general public when persecuting muslims and just about everyone else was the main order of business.

    There has been a big shift. I don’t think those ensconced in consumer work have quite grasped it yet in general.
    But there is nothing I can fault in this move – it’s calling out the abusers, plainly and clearly. It’s direct, straightforward and honest and I’d like to see where it ends up.
    I credit the authors – big time, what they did took serious guts and I hope it works out with a heartfelt apology. If not, I’d love to see what the results are either way because it is valuable information on the state of play.

  • I’ve been vaguely thinking about starting a new organising body – specifically for implementation of international human rights law, no affiliation with the “mental health system”
    But unsure of whether it is wise to start a psycho-social only body for a range of different reasons, the risk of co-option among them.
    But you aren’t alone, and it’s really good to hear that other people have been feeling this way.
    I’m fed up with the co-option. I’m fed up with those who are part of it not being able to see it.
    We aren’t having any conversations about all the many different things that are needed to be done to implement human rights – and far from facilitating everyone’s voice the consumer/user movement is just funnelling everyone’s energy into the same system of oppression that we’re supposed to be completely doing away with.

    Thanks for speaking up. If you’re interested in doing something with rights implementation outside of the services sector particularly (there’s no limit on what needs to be done). Please let me know. Be good to connect with others.

  • Steve, I think you fundamentally missed the point.
    And it frightens me.
    The article is about how human beings who have been treated as property (for over 300 years)
    and who have finally worked and achieve a binding international human rights agreement and a strong and mounting pressure to implement those rights are being abused for speaking – about their own experience.

    To you this might be “an exciting industry”

    To us, its a hideous system of oppression.

    You need to try and put yourself into the shoes of being a person without legal rights.

    Can you even imagine what that is like?

    You need to try and put yourself in the shoes of a person who everyone with a shingle thinks they can call themselves an “expert” on

    Can you imagine what that is like?

    Most people I speak to, who don’t have any direct first hand experience with oppression – can not.

    Those I speak to who have been oppressed in other ways seem to understand and relate to almost everything I”m saying – and then suddenly use the term “mental illness” to describe people behaving in ways they don’t like (such as being manipulative, grabbing power etc).

    There is nothing quite like this oppression that I can think of except perhaps what has been done to indigenous peoples – which is even more extreme.

    Everything you are – your very thoughts and feelings – is controlled, is appropriated. That isn’t even a fraction of it – but for a start, maybe reflect on that.

    If you can’t read that article, and understand what it says – you have fundamentally missed the entire point.

    There are more corrupt industries in this world than anyone can poke a stick at and most of them have some kind of fundamental messed up torture of human beings at their heart. But there are some that are supported by a wider society, not just implicitly but in the very way they look at the world and others in it.

    If you want to hear about the actions of the people doing the bad stuff, and aren’t remotely interested in the fact that the people having it done to are being treated like cattle and would like everyone to please take their hands off so they can get on with the business of enjoying the rights that everyone else takes for granted.

    Well – what can I say it’s a lot like watching “roots” and reflecting “I would have liked to hear more about the economic forces and the corrupt games the slavers were playing with each other”.

    Do you not understand that underneath all the fun and games – there are large group of human beings struggling to get out from under oppression and *own their own experience*?

    I am perturbed.

    I’d also like to point out that although it may (or may not) have changed recently – this blog is also one in which the first person voices of those it purports to be all about have been denigrated and under represented in the past.

    Not only that there has been abuse and gas-lighting on this very site. This is a problem that goes much deeper than the corruption of industries, it is deeply related to a fundamental segregation of human beings.

    The issue was about voices being missing from sight – missing from academia, missing from the “general population” – even the fact that there is use of such a term.

    This is an issue that can not be stressed enough and really will only be overcome when people stopped being spoken about, and start being represented, by themselves, in their own words.

  • Rachael, I think the mainstream need to understand what our reality has been.

    If they don’t have an axe to grind in keeping the MI system intact, understanding why is important and difficult.

    But it shouldn’t stop us being able to speak out freely.

    We don’t have an “axe to grind” we’re trying to get free from violence, abuse and exploitation.

    The “MI” system is a system of abuse – even those people who don’t know they have been lied to, have still been lied to.

    There is a need to dismantle the “MI” system in order to facilitate human rights. What this means and how it is done is something that needs to take each persons choices (free from undue pressure and influence) and facilitate them.

    But it’s not about “fixing the mental health system”, “restoring the mental health system” or even “forming a new mental health system”. The way this has been fundamentally misunderstood (and misrepresented) is terrifying.

    Sometimes “consumer” voices are the absolute worst. There is a sense of “democracy” that is envisioned as a compromise. That is not what rights are about. It is not what a healthy democracy is about either.

    My concerns about this article are comments such as:
    “We need to see this same level of debate and commitment about authentic inclusion of consumer/survivor voices. And for its benefit, the mental health system needs us. Together, we need epistemic justice.”

    In this statement, human rights are fundamentally undermined.

    The “mental health system” needs to end. I don’t just mean the system that currently purports to provide support to persons in distress – but the entire system of quasi-objectively defining what is “normal” and what is not and indoctrinating an entire society to believe this.

    That a person would find their own experience – whatever it is and whatever causes it – so distressing they themselves choose to construe it as an illness is their fundamental human right. That another person should experience severe distress and/or behave in ways others find fundamentally incomprehensible and not construe it as an “illness” or “disorder” is equally their fundamental human right.

    Under international law, each person is entitled to full legal personhood. That is huge. It is difficult. Because the “mental health system” – not just the hospitals, the doctors offices, and the mental health acts – but everything, the education in the media, the common pervasive culture, the education in schools, the way that vested interests lobby and control information, they way they influence the courts, the way that they invade every home, every family and every life with an ideology falsely represented as “fact” – and a system of discrimination so complete that it is no less effective than (or materially different from) apartheid.

    This is the system that has to go – the narrative has to be introduced to clarify the fact, and it is a fact, that “mental illness” is an ideology – that underlying experience is very real but that it is entirely different for every person. That there is no such thing as “normal” or “abnormal” experience, except in ideology – all human experience has always existed and there is no reason why certain persons perceived by others as “incomprehensible”, who behave in ways that are not liked or understood, or even who are experiencing severe distress – should be seen to be objectively “mentally ill” and somehow set apart in any regard from the “general population”.

    To overcome this 300 year old (possibly older) prejudice is very difficult. At its heart there is a need to understand criminal responsibility, and responsibility in general. There is more attached to the notion of “mental disorder” or being “mentally ill” than the system of seeing a medical or allied health practitioner and getting a “diagnosis”. It is intricately tied to notions of responsibility, trustworthiness, predictability, believability and honesty. It is also tied to notions of “capacity”. By a complex network of prejudices and beliefs many different persons are being in a “different category” with regards to almost every legal and cultural practice in our society.

    There are very complex things to understand here, and they are not even being explored. They have been looked into very deeply in the legal literature written by such amazing people as Tina Minkowitz – and others who have looked deeply. But they are entirely absent from discussion in domestic circles – at least in the mainstream of psychosocial disability communities. Physical disability have made advancements. The Autistic community have made advancement too. But in psychosocial disability the “mad movement” allies itself with oppressors, ignores the law or the issues facing us in the overall social system – and complains that it has made less headway than other groups.

    In recent years this has escalated. Our peak organising bodies have occupied themselves with “consumer consulting” and “co-design” proudly becoming an intrinsic and legitimising part of the very system they sought to stop. While they have been busy doing this, the ideology of ‘mental health’ and ‘mental disorder’ has infiltrated every single aspect of life. Once, you could use a largely unknown thing to negotiate rights for yourself under domestic law that would make participation possible even when distressed – speaking for yourself you could negotiate fair “reasonable adjustments” required, at least in relatively equitable workplaces or places of education.

    Since “awareness raising”, “public education” and “anti-stigma” campaigns – the “mental health system” has expanded. Some workplaces now screen people for any signs of distress, and at least one university called on all its staff and students to watch and report on anyone they thought was experiencing “mental health issues”.

    Our representative bodies have colluded with and unwittingly presided over this advancement of the very thing we thought they were against – there is now no escape. And the only way out is to change things.

    The problem is that our representatives have not caught up. They are as determined as ever to work with oppressors and cement our fate. They have no idea what they say. And it is becoming downright dangerous.

    One of the biggest issues is “pleasing everyone” – there is no understanding that the idea behind discussions on how to implement rights is exactly the way to “please everyone”. Everyone does need to overcome the hurdle of understanding what rights mean: that everyone sets their own identity and goal and gets the right to be a full legal person with full rights and responsibilities.

    This means a different thing to every person. So the hard part is getting people to first understand that we are all different not just “consumers/survivours with diverse perspectives” but fundamentally different human beings, united only by the fact that we have come into circumstances in which we were deprived of the rights of being full legal persons.

    We have different philosophies, different outlooks and different goals, the idea of human rights is to consolidate them all. Not to make a decision for another person. So a statement such as “the mental health system needs us” is terrifying. The implication is that the aim is to preserve “the mental health system” the very thing that needs to be dismantled.

    Those who are happy with the way things are need to be facilitated to be able to live their lives in such a way as if things didn’t change, while it fundamentally changes. That sounds like a paradox, but it really isn’t.

    We can’t have any of these conversations if people keep being possessed with the “mental health system” and what they think the obstacles are in the way of it’s dismantling. Those obstacles will present themselves soon enough. Our “representatives” have no right to paternalistically decide that we wont embark on the very endeavour they claim to be all about: getting our international human rights out of the UN and into our lives.

    It is not acceptable to be exploited by anyone. Not those who think its “for our own good”. Whether they have been oppressed or not. When they start abrogating rights, they are unwittingly or otherwise passing on the oppression. Not ending it.

    These are hard things to say. But I feel they must be said. And will need to keep being said until they are heard and responded to. Not made to go away.