Showing 5 of 5 comments.
Applause!!! (Thank you, no one!)
I am so deeply proud of Will Hall. Normally, I’d write paragraphs in response. But I’m almost speechless now. As someone who has been twice the victim of police physical violence, once due to an error of the police (mistaking me for someone else simply because we shared the same first name) and another time when, after my mother died, a psychiatrist-friend called the police for a “wellness check” on me, I am too emotional now to coherently outline my own work to realize several of Hall’s calls to action. But I couldn’t agree with him more: we don’t need alternative interventions as ADJUNCTS to police responses to community mental health crises. We need a wholly different model. And, as Hall points out, this is only one area of systemic violence and bigotry we need to expunge. Of course, with the recent Supreme Court ruling in favor of qualified immunity, we have an uphill battle on our hands.
Thanks for taking such a brave, bold stand, Will Hall. I wish I could give you a hug.
I’m deeply grateful for the evidence, even if anecdotal, this article presents of mental health’s potential oversteps in authority–and the courts’ complicity. Everyone needs to know the risks of getting involved with the mental health system. Too often, those who have these experiences and share about them are dismissed as “ill” and therefore discountable. Thank you, Dr. Tasch.
I’ve noticed all over the web articles and comments about how devastating isolation of a few weeks has been to everyone from children to elders. I can relate. But many, like the elderly or the chronically ill, suffer ongoing isolation of decades. I’ve read online posts by several of these that were eloquent, humble, and honest. Yet the responses are typically… empty or dismissive. I’ve also over the years read many accounts by people who suffer chronic loneliness because they’re different enough from their communities, despite these people’s diligent work to reach out, remain positive, and be included. Again, the response I read to them, typically, is along the lines that no one is entitled to anyone else’s time or attention. That they should entertain themselves. That we do not need other human beings to be healthy or happy–and that such a need indicates a mental problem or character failure.
So now that so many of us are experiencing some of the horrible effects of ongoing isolation and people are understandably sharing their pain from the lack of connection to others, I wonder if our cultures will become far more understanding of the suffering of millions who endure social isolation and loneliness regularly. I want to be hopeful, but part of me doubts this is what will happen once the worst of the crises are behind us.
I’m not sure if you’re still checking the comments to your article, but after reading through many of the other comments I feel compelled to add a one myself. I’ve published elsewhere about the mental health industry in the US, about the grave historic and persistent abuses of patients, about the fundamental scientific problems with much of psychiatry and psychology, about the threats to confident inference about what works, and about the risks (like the high rates of misdiagnoses and wrong pharmaceutical prescriptions…) mental health patients incur. After researching and writing about these sobering elements of at least the US mental health system for nearly 30 years as a medical school faculty member and research scientist, I’ve lost faith in our system to right itself. There are just too many conflicts of interest, and lobbyists for health care powers hold more and more sway over legislators.
Not that you’re asking for it or need it, but I both support your (and everyone else’s) right to decide the when and how of their/our ending and agree with you that self determination rights are critical to self ownership. Nor should our individual decisions about our own lives–whether we want to die or not–be a matter for anyone else to weigh in on. At least that’s my opinion. The individual is the only person whose opinion matters as each of us is created without consent (of course), no one else is responsible for us, and even if the community did assume responsibility for its members’ wellbeing, it’s infeasible we could guarantee everyone what each of us needs to feel content.
I’ve stopped having this discussion with others. People can slip too easily into a condescending and even threatening tone, couching their judgment in faux concern. Like you, I am certain that when my time comes, I will do what I have reasoned is right for me. I have spent the better part of a decade carefully researching means and their risks. No, I’m not certain how things will go. It’s my hope things will go swiftly and painlessly for me–and for others who might have to deal with my remains. Interestingly, the passing of people like me would be far less messy (on average) if society recognized that we do not belong to the state or to other individuals, so we should be entitled to do with our own ultimate property (ourselves) as we see fit. So long as others aren’t placed in direct harm.
No disrespect meant to any other commenters, but some (many?) of the comments to you appalled me. I’m deeply sorry these are the kinds of responses you’ve gotten. Though I’m not surprised–as I’ve received the same kinds of replies whenever I’ve written openly about my stance on the ultimate personal decision. I refuse to discuss the matter with others now. Their opinions are simply irrelevant and the “help” so many feel entitled to force on me is decidedly unhelpful.
Thanks for your bravery in writing a pro-self-determination article. They’re far, far too rare. I’m deeply sorry you didn’t get far more support. I wish I could make up for some of the unpleasantness thrown your way above. Best to you.