A view point peddled in the “mental health” literature current today states that often people who are thought to need mental health treatment are reluctant to seek mental health treatment because of some “stigma” or other attached to that treatment. This view neglects to consider that many people, regardless of need, who don’t want any mental health treatment whatsoever are being treated by force and entirely against their will and wishes. In fact, before voluntary treatment became as acceptable and popular as it is today, most people who received mental health treatment received that mental health treatment against their will and wishes.
Now any reasonable adult should realize why receiving unwanted medical treatment would be a problem for anybody receiving that unwanted medical treatment. What’s more, any reasonable adult should realize why a person receiving unwanted treatment should be outraged at receiving a bill for that unsought and unwelcome treatment. When the treatment received was also restrictive, harmful, and fundamentally unhelpful, all the more so. There is certainly more than “stigma”, whatever that word could be eluding to, involved in this process of imposing treatment on people who have no desire to be treated whatsoever.
Much of the mental health treatment regime confronting the unwilling participant is directed at convincing the prisoner that he or she is “sick” and, therefore, in need of confinement, and whatever excuse for “treatment” comes with that confinement. The prisoner who doesn’t admit to being “sick” is seen as “sicker” than the prisoner who confesses a “sickness”. Such a prisoner would be considered by staff then further from discharge than the prisoner who confessed to having an “illness”. Given intimidation, the prisoner learns to do what the warders expect of him or her, or the prisoner doesn’t leave his or her prison called a hospital.
I think we have to think long and hard before depriving people of those rights said to belong to them by virtue of their species. The bill of rights to the US constitution, contains legal protections based on natural rights, and the derivation of human rights from those rights thought natural. Deprivation of the rights protected by the bill of rights is the hall mark of a lower class of citizenship than that of the average citizen. It is, in fact, the license for a more bestial type of arrangement. This bestial relationship is not a relationship of equals. It is the relationship of a group of people who have been granted more rights to a group of people who have been granted fewer rights.
Time in a psychiatric institute, following recent violence blamed on people with troubled lives, more and more, is likely to get a person on a criminal background check list. This listing means two things. The person on this list is outlawed from purchasing a firearm legally, and the person’s name will come up as a potential suspect any time a violent crime is committed in his or her area. This list, in itself, is prejudicial and completely uncalled for. People who have done time in psychiatric institutes are, by and large, innocent, not only of violent crime, but of any crime. Criminalizing people in mental institutions is not likely to lessen the violent crime rate one iota. If anything, it might actually raise that violent crime rate substantially.
The way to eliminate so many negative associations connected with mental health treatment is to abolish forced mental health treatment. Force in mental health is the thing that permits the rationalization of all sorts of negative responses to people because of the psychiatric labels that they have received. The only way to abolish forced mental health treatment is to repeal mental health laws. When all mental health treatment is voluntary mental health treatment, prejudicial and discriminatory practices will be reduced correspondingly. Forced treatment is the biggest discriminatory and prejudicial obstacle to compassionate and caring understanding of these, no, not mental patients, but human beings that we presently have. It’s time we owned up to the challenge. End forced mental health treatment, and we also restore to them many of the civil rights that we just took away from them.
Obviously a long and hard civil rights struggle is ahead for people who have experienced the mental health system. This struggle is a struggle to be treated as an equal among equals. No self-serving leadership elite can win that struggle for everybody impacted by oppression within the mental health system. Self-serving leadership elites are exclusive clubs like, to give a parallel example, officers’ clubs. In this sense the mental health system itself must do it’s own part, at least as far as a good part of it is concerned, to self-destruct. If it is to do this, it will need the help of newly emergent leaders rising out of the rank and file at the grassroots level. We know what happens where elites develop. The next thing you know you have an establishment, and an establishment that is most intent on tending it’s own. What amounts to a “mental illness” system actually needs a self-destructive element within it if we are ever to arrive at the goal of maximizing mental health for all.
Filed under: Alternatives, antipsychiatry, Biological Psychiatry, Conflict of Interest, Discrimination, Force, Fraud, Human Rights, Law, Mental Health Care, Oppression, psychiatric survivor, Recovery, State Hospital, Violence | 1 Comment »