January 4, 2015 at 6:40 pm #51969kumininexileParticipant
A Silent Dilemna: Censorship Of Mental Patients By the Media
Philip A. Kumin
The discrimination which patients suffer at the hands of the media is of a double-edged kind. Whenever a tragedy such as what happened in Newtown, Connecticut occurs, the networks and news outlets fall all over each other portraying, “mental illness,” as the culprit behind the tragedy. One would think, (would we not,) that this alone is a sufficiently grievous affront to the dignity of patients? But, no, there’s something else going on too, which you never hear about: the result when some patient who writes, submits a certain account they’ve written to any major publication for publishing. If this patient has written a piece publicizing the existence and history of the mental patients’ Movement and reveals that they, themselves, are a patient who’s participated in this historical event, their manuscript goes nowhere except into the contents of the publisher’s File 13. In other words, the piece never sees the light of day.
The answer to this quandary can be found in the makeup of all social and political Establishments. Longstanding organizations such as the Mental Health Association and the Alliance for the Mentally Ill, constitute the mental health Establishment, and are known for their demonization of the patients’ Movement, with its emphasis on rebellion against mainstream psychiatric treatment.
Now let’s take a look at the media, more often than not a sucker for any Establishment. The press has been only too happy to do the bidding of the mental health Establishment, in this Establishment’s quest to smother the will of so-called, “rebellious,” patients. Undoubtedly, Mental Health Association and A.M.I. members are tickled to death with the media’s blackout of public awareness of existence of the psychiatric inmates’ Movement. For their part, media representatives are probably also concerned about not publicizing any perceived reason for people who genuinely need help, to not get it.
One thing which I think is certain is that disgruntled patients, aggrieved at the theft of their substantive lives by the circumstance of having mental problems, as well as by the system designated to, “treat,” this sad predicament, are never going to cease protesting and obstructing, as they should not. Stigma exists for a convenient reason, and that is that it is the means by which any control freak who fancies themselves a mental health professional, can interfere in a patient’s life legally. The media’s horrendous treatment of patients is an example of the extent to which stigma permeates every facet of every patient’s life. There’s never going to be peace at the table until patients are free of this stigma, and of the kneejerk temptation everyone has to control a patient’s life.
It has been pointed out to me that the media?s prerogative to be exclusionary, is Constitutionally protected. Accordingly, neither litigation nor legislation can be used to remedy the censorship I am decrying here. But we all know that the U.S. Constitution also guarantees the right of any citizens who may be aggrieved, to make their grievances known. Therefore, I am proposing that we mount a campaign to pressure the media to cease slandering us and censoring us at the very same time, of its own free will.
Are you a patient who writes? I have put together a 30-page documentation of censorship of patients by the print media. These are patients who attempt to publicize the existence of the psychiatric inmates’ Movement and are censored each time, regardless of how refreshing, profound, and libertarian this Movement is.
Are you interested in seeing a copy of this compilation? I’ve paired numerous articles I’ve written over a period of years, with their matching rejection notices, and I will gladly send you a copy if you’d like. I will incur the costs of photocopying and mailing to you. Simply contact me at:
1010 St. Paul Street
Baltimore, MD 21202
Email: [email protected]April 18, 2015 at 2:30 am #58233MadOmOLandlyParticipant
Very true.September 11, 2015 at 5:29 pm #65215kumininexileParticipant
To view the actual 30 pages of documentation, go to madnessnetworknews.com. Click on ebooks, then A Silent Dilemma. Scroll down.September 12, 2015 at 12:16 am #65223Don KarpParticipant
I was a member of Mental Patient’s Liberation Project back in the ’70’s when I suffered through 10 years in and out of mental hospitals carrying the label paranoid schizophrenia. Although no longer in existence, this group was not a part of what you call the mental health establishment. We incorporated some activist shrinks into our activities, but we were truly part of the Movement.
In terms of your problems with media recognition, I looked at your manuscript. It goes back at least 20 years.
Now, with the internet, social media, and self-publication, this problem no longer exists.
In fact, I self-published my memoir: The Bumpy Road: A Memoir of Culture Clash, Including Woodstock, Mental Hospitals and Living In Mexico.
You can find it on Amazon by doing a search for my name.
–Don KarpSeptember 14, 2015 at 8:23 pm #65332September 14, 2015 at 8:36 pm #65335October 15, 2015 at 11:02 am #67745Sandra VillarrealParticipant
http://mentalillnesspolicy.org/ (This is unedited, and copied exactly as it appears, unless in blue font. The highlights are also mine which may not show here.) Given the tragic recent mass shootings, again, in Oregon, why is America still prosecuting Schizophrenics to the Public in this light? I was horrified to see this portrayal of schizophrenic’s on this Mental Illness Policy website. I personally don’t know any diagnosed schizophrenics, but what I do know is that this information is so far from inaccurate it’s not even funny. Look at the date 1993! This is the information they’re using to educate the Public NOW!!! Am I somehow misreading or misunderstanding this ?? Please tell me if I am….
(This is heading to this extensive website for all to see:)
Learn why seriously mentally ill people receive such poor care and the policies that can improve care; save money;
and keep public and patients safer. Read “Uncivil Liberties” first… then left hand column and work your way across.
Far from respecting civil liberties, legal obstacles to treating the mentally ill limit or destroy the liberty of the person
By Herschel Hardin
Herschel Hardin is an author and consultant. He was a member of the board of directors of the Civil Liberties Association from 1965 to 1974, and has been involved in the defense of liberty and free speech through his work with Amnesty International. One of his children has schizophrenia.
The public is growing increasingly confused by how we treat the mentally ill. More and more, the mentally ill are showing up in the streets, badly in need of help. Incidents of illness-driven violence are being reported regularly, incidents which common sense tells us could easily be avoided. And this is just the visible tip of the greater tragedy – of many more sufferers deteriorating in the shadows and often, committing suicide.
People asked in perplexed astonishment: ” Why don’t we provide the treatment, when the need is so obvious?” Yet every such cry of anguish is met with the rejoinder that unrequested intervention is an infringement of civil liberties. This stops everything.
Civil Liberties, after all, are a fundamental part of our democratic society. The rhetoric and lobbying results in legislative obstacles to timely and adequate treatment, and the psychiatric community is cowed by the anti-treatment climate produced. Here is the Kafkaesque irony: Far from respecting civil liberties, legal obstacles to treatment limit or destroy the liberty of the person. The best example concerns schizophrenia.
The most chronic and disabling of the major mental illnesses, schizophrenia involves a chemical imbalance in the brain, alleviated in most cases by medication. Symptoms can include confusion; inability to concentrate, to think abstractly, or to plan; thought disorder to the point of raving babble; delusions and hallucinations; and variations such as paranoia. Untreated, the disease is ravaging. Its victims cannot work or care for themselves. They may think they are other people – usually historical or cultural characters such as Jesus Christ or John Lennon – or otherwise lose their sense of identity. They find it hard or impossible to live with others, and they may become hostile and threatening. They can end up living in the most degraded, shocking circumstances, voiding in their own clothes, living in rooms overrun by rodents – or in the streets. They often deteriorate physically, losing weight and suffering corresponding malnutrition, rotting teeth and skin sores. They become particularly vulnerable to injury and abuse.
Tormented by voices, or in the grip of paranoia, they may commit suicide or violence upon others. Becoming suddenly threatening, or bearing a weapon because of delusionally perceived need for self-protection, the innocent schizophrenic may be shot down by police. Depression from the illness, without adequate stability — often as the result of premature release — is also a factor in suicides. Such victims are prisoners of their illness. Their personalities are subsumed by their distorted thoughts. They cannot think for themselves and cannot exercise any meaningful liberty. The remedy is treatment — most essentially, medication. In most cases, this means involuntary treatment because people in the throes of their illness have little or no insight into their own condition. If you think you are Jesus Christ or an avenging angel, you are not likely to agree that you need to go to the hospital.
Anti-treatment advocates insist that involuntary committal should be limited to cases of imminent physical danger — instances where a person is going to do bodily harm to himself or to somebody else. But the establishment of such “dangerousness” usually comes too late — a psychotic break or loss of control, leading to violence, happens suddenly. And all the while, the victim suffers the ravages of the illness itself, the degradation of life, the tragic loss of individual potential.
The anti-treatment advocates say: “If that’s how people want to live (babbling on a street corner, in rags), or if they wish to take their own lives, they should be allowed to exercise their free will. To interfere — with involuntary commital — is to deny them their civil liberties.” Whether or not anti-treatment advocates actually voice such opinions, they seem content to sacrifice a few lives here and there to uphold an abstract doctrine. Their intent, if noble, has a chilly, Stalinist justification — the odd tragedy along the way is warranted to ensure the greater good. The notion that this doctrine is misapplied escapes them. They merely deny the nature of the illness. Health (Official) Elizabeth Cull appears to have fallen into the trap of this juxtaposition. She has talked about balancing the need for treatment and civil liberties, as if they were opposites. It is with such a misconceptualization that anti-treatment lobbyists promote legislation loaded with administative and judicial obstacles to involuntary committal.
The result, will be a certain number of illness-caused suicides every year, just as surely as if those people were lined up annually in front of a firing squad. Add to that the broader ravages of the illness, and keep in mind the manic depressives who also have a high suicide rate. A doubly ironic downstream effect: the inappropriate use of criminal prosectuion against the mentally ill, and the attendant cruelty of commital to jails and prisons rather than hospitals. Corrections officials once estimated that almost one third of adult offenders and close to half of the young offenders in the correction system have a diagnosable mental disorder.
Clinical evidence has now indicated that allowing schizophrenia to progress to a psychotic break lowers the possible level of future recovery, and subsequent psychotic breaks lower that level further – in other words, the cost of withholding treatment is permanent damage. Meanwhile, bureaucratic road-blocks, such as time consuming judicial hearings, are passed off under the cloak of “due process” – as if the illness were a crime with which one is being charged and hospitalization for treatment is punishment. Such cumbersome restraints ignore the existing adequate safeguards – the requirement for two independent assessments and a review panel to check against over-long stays. How can such degradation and death — so much inhumanity — be justified in the name of civil liberties? It cannot. The opposition to involuntary committal and treatment betrays profound misunderstanding of the principle of civil liberties. Medication can free victims from their illness — free them from the Bastille of their psychosis — and restore their dignity, their free will and the meaningful exercise of their liberties.
(THE ENTIRE LEFT HAND CORNER OF INFORMATION IS DEDICATED TO THIS)
The Vancouver Sun July 22, 1993
Reprinted with permission. Copyright 1993 The Vancouver Sun. All rights reserved.
People with serious mental illness account for a disproportionate share of suicides, homelessness, violence, and incarceration.
• 18% of population over 18 (43 million) has ‘any’ mental illness.
• 4% of population over 18 (10 million) have ‘serious’ mental illness (SMI). This site focuses on serious mental illness.
• 2 million mentally ill go untreated
• One-third of homeless are mentally ill (200,000)
• 16% of incarcerated (300,000) have mental illness
• 1,000 homicides a year are committed by mentally ill
• 10-17% of seriously mentally ill kill themselves
• $15 billion is spent incarcerating mentally ill
• Random acts of violence by minority are tarring the majority.
Five Policies that Save Money, Improve Care, and Keep Public and Patients Safer
• 5 POINT PLAN FOR OBAMA TO REDUCE VIOLENCE BY PERSONS WITH MENTAL ILLNESS
• Spend smarter: Spend on mental “illness” not mental “health”. (Video of untreated schizophrenia)
• Use Assisted Outpatient Treatment (court ordered outpatient treatment) for those with a history of violence dangerousness or multiple rehospitalizations due to noncompliance.
• Reform involuntary commitment laws so they prevent violence, rather than require it.
• Reform Medicaid law to preserve psychiatric hospitals (eliminate the IMD Exclusion)
• People found Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity and unfit to stand trial should receive mandated treatment
Are people with mental illness more violent?
If you are talking about the 40-50% of Americans who may have a “diagnosable mental disorder” during their lifetime (18% annually), then ‘no’, the mentally ill are not more violent than others.
If you are talking about the 4% of Americans with the most serious mental illnesses that affect daily functioning–primarily schizophrenia and treatment-resistant bipolar disorder, then ‘no’, the mentally ill are not more violent than others.
If you are talking about the subset of the 4% group who go off treatment that has previously prevented them from being psychotic, hospitalized, or violent, then ‘yes’ the mentally ill are more violent than others. This higher than normal rate of violence increases even more when these groups abuse substances. When people ask, “Are the mentally ill more violent”, they are usually asking about this group, the most seriously mentally ill who are not in treatment.
What can make people with serious mental illness become violent?
Short video: Consumers with untreated schizophrenia interviewed
Violence is almost always associated with going off treatment and becoming delusional or psychotic. There are many reasons people with serious mental illness go off treatment. Some reasons are not unique to mental illness while others are. (They have this right as the withdrawal symptoms from ALL psychiatric drugs can, and usually do, induce psychosis that continually goes unrecognized by doctors, psychiatrists, and mental healthcare workers.)
The ability to regulate behavior is compromised because the brain is the organ affected.
Anosognosia: Up to 50% of people with schizophrenia and many with bipolar lack insight: they are so sick they don’t know they are sick (anosognosia).
Costs/Side Effects: Some refuse treatment because of costs, side effects, lack of support, etc.
Civil Liberties: A misunderstanding of civil liberties, the nature of mental illness, combined with misinformation leads us to protect the right of the psychotic to ‘die with their rights on’ rather than mandating violence preventing treatments that can restore free will.
Reaction to hallucinations and delusions. When people with serious mental illness act out, they are often doing so as a logical reaction to their delusions, hallucinations, and paranoia. If you think someone is the Devil and trying to kill you, you will try to hurt them first.
Misplaced Funding: Most money spent goes to improving mental ‘health’ not treating mental “illness”. People with serious mental illness are usually sent to the end of the line, rather than the front. The ability to get services is inversely related to need, therefore people with serious mental illness find it difficult to get services. Mental health providers often discriminate against highly symptomatic people with serious mental illnesses.
Almost everyone has issues with involuntary commitment and involuntary treatment. This site rather than saying “it’s a difficult issue” and dropping it, attempts to study the science and law to come up with policies that balance the right of patients to have freedom, their right to receive treatment, the public’s right to safety, and sound fiscal policy. And while not advocating mass institutionalization, we recognize that the dearth of hospital beds has caused mass incarceration.
Please Read Uncivil Liberties
(Knowing full well how not only suicidal I became, but, extremely homicidal for 5 months following ‘cold turkey’ withdrawals from Effexor & Trazodone, and the Mood Stablizer Lithium, and I’ve never been ‘labeled’ schizophrenic in my life. I had never been this disturbed, distressed, or psychotic before in my life unless you take into account the world of pure mental torture and psychosis I experienced during a Klonopin ‘cold turkey’ withdrawal only I did not become homicidal during this at all, I was too emotionally and mentally impaired. However, if there had been a gun in my house during this horrific withdrawal I most certainly would have used it to kill myself. In fact, I prayed for one every second of every minute of every day for a many, many weeks. It still haunts me years later…)March 28, 2016 at 7:44 pm #74584RachelEParticipant
I am having some rather violent thoughts right now…directed at the lying creep who wrote that nonsense. “Stop the stigma!” Yeah, right.March 29, 2016 at 5:23 pm #74657Sandra VillarrealParticipant
RachelE, are you referring to the propaganda that mentalillnesspolicy.org put on the Front page of their website? If so, I was so shocked when I came across it that I almost fell out of my chair. First, I couldn’t believe that they were using information from 1993 to educate the public in 2015-16. And secondly, I was stunned at their description of schizophrenics and let’s not forget “They will need to take their psychiatric drugs to treat it.” Let’s not forget that according to them drugs is the only fix when in reality I actually developed every schizophrenic symptom going through my K-pin withdrawal so yes, although I’ve never, ever been schizophrenic in my life I have experienced what it’s like to become schizophrenic and it was all drug-induced.
Maybe we should petition this website to remove this garbage from their front page.
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