Do Your Part To Combat Stigma

Oh, no! Imagine a 71% increase in the mental illness rate! Well, that’s exactly what we’d get if these misinformation brochures on the stigma of mental health conditions had anything to do with it.

According to an article on the subject, New leaflets to shoot down mental health misconceptions, in the Malta Independent:

“Stigma is a real problem for people who have a mental illness. Stigma based on stereotypes is a negative judgment based on a personal trait, in this case, having a mental health condition. It used to be a common perception that having a mental illness was due to some kind of personal weakness. We now know that mental health disorders have a biological basis and can be treated like any other health condition. Unfortunately only 29 per cent of sufferers seek help,” said Mr [Mario] Galea.

Excuse me, Mr. Galea, but we do not now know that mental health disorders have a biological basis. This is all purely theoretical speculation, there is absolutely no evidense to support these suppositions, and they are not a matter to be taken seriously. That is, they are not meant to be taken seriously by people who are not desparate to spend their time in the bug house.

Mr Galea pointed out that one per cent of the population suffers from schizophrenia. One of every six men and one of every four women suffers from depression. In Malta, 33,000 people fall victim to depression yearly and studies show that eight per cent of the population suffer from some sort of mental health condition at some point in their lives. A suicide is committed every nine minutes in Europe, adding up to 54,000 suicides in 2009. The EU estimates that mental health problems will become the second most common health problem after cardiovascular diseases in a few years’ time.

If you can envision the pharmaceutical company executives rustling maps, looking for new markets to break into, behind the scenes…Ahha! I think you’ve got it.

Yeah, and if only 29% of these people have been nabbed, do you really want to raise the figure 71%? If mental health problems do become the second most common health problem in a few years time, we will know who to blame.

Thanks to improvements in mental health services 12,000 patients are receiving treatment in the community without having to be hospitalised.

Of course, deinstitutionalization didn’t have anything to do with this switch to treatment in the community. Just think what our mental hospitals would look like given an increase of almost thrice the number of patients they presently hold? In some places today there is a reinstitutionalizing reaction to deinstitutionalization taking place. Just consider what happens when, after reinstitutionalizing, we deinstitutionalize again, and dump all of these freshly recruited newly sprung looney birds in your front yard.

Don’t listen to all that pro-stigma nonsense, people, go in and get help for the condition you must be suffering from today. There are 297 of ‘em listed in the DSM IV, and there will be even more in the DSM V, set to be published in 2013. If you don’t have this or that disorder, we’ll find something for you to have. Uncle Looney Bin wants you!

9 Responses

  1. I’ve been running this “stigma issue” garbage in some part of my mind full time for months and can pretty much debunk it but it takes thousands of words and I’m branded narcissistic and psychotic before I can finish.

    So I continue to process it to compact it and make more compelling. If done correctly a cohesive argument debunking “stigma” will expose many or all of the lies upon which coercive psychiatry reclines alongside a jug of wine and a bowl of grapes.

    The word “stigma” has become jargon by stealth and is possibly the most maliciously layered and laden term in use.

    • I’ve dealt with the subject of “stigma” before. The “stigma” argument is used by mental health professionals and brown nose “consumers” to ask for money from people, primarily the federal government. The “stigma” argument is an underdiagnosis argument. It ignores the fact that the rate of mental illness has been on the incline for a long long time.”Consumers” are often suckered into this argument by their friendless state and isolation. Situations brought on by the disruption of civil commitment and institutionalization. The argument runs like this, if we claim that there are more people out there that need treatment, that aren’t receiving it, because of “stigma”, we will be more apt to get the funding we are after. Its a ploy I would think works all too often.

      • You said, ”Consumers” are often suckered into this argument by their friendless state and isolation.

        Exactly right. Isn’t that the most terrible and damning thing. I had the most terrible conversation recently with a person who has themself accepted a psych diagnosis and works at a food mall as a cleaner. She and her co workers taunt a woman who is anorexic and purges herself in the toilets after eating. The cleaner says that the woman “needs help” and pretends that her taunting is justified. She does this in part to create a group, a mob, in which she can be a “leader”. Sick bitch. Hang on… not sick, just plain mean. How did she get mean? Nature or nurture? And so we go round again until we realize that the terms of debate have themselves been foisted upon us.

        I have more sympathy for individuals such as Albert Speers than for any of the psychtroopers. He articulated his dilemmas and conceded his humanity along with it’s inherant apparent weaknesses.

        Human weaknesses are actually real and do not in any way lend themselves to medicalization. But knowing that they are real enables us. It also needs to be understood that human weaknesses have only been able to be defined given what we might imagine things could be if they were better. Dawkins understands this. It is that we can imagine a better place. Then we can imagine a better world than physics is able to provide. Even Scott Peck understands this. When we truly understand that life is difficult our problems are over. Krishnamurti understands this.

        Would you like to see a world where cars collided, people went through windscreens at 100 mph or were incinerated and lived? Do you remember the story “The Monkey’s Paw” or “In The Imagicon”?

      • Can’t stop myself what with being narcissistic and all.


        That people make unreasonable demands upon physics is the root of all evil.

  2. Apologies in advance if I’m misusing this space. Your blog entry pointed to others, one of which sparked an idea I’ve had for some time. You might be interested and have the resources to explore the idea.

    War veterans in your country often have a diagnosis of PTSD. Does that mean that PTSD diagnoses are displacing diagnoses of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder that might otherwise have been made in a civilian population? Do you see where I’m going with this?

    It could be that a psychiatrist, military or not, might be reluctant to diagnose veteran with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder since the soldier can quite easily point to experiences in war as being the cause of his psychosis. And a soldier is more likely than a civilian to slap a psychiatrist who invalidates his experiences.

    The general public are more likely to “understand” the “obvious triggers” that a soldier might experience than the “triggers” that “trigger” the “susceptible genetically vulnerable civilian schizophrenic”.

    But that would mean that the military psychiatrist would diagnose PTSD and stop there.

    This could even suggest that people who enlist or are conscripted into military service are somehow less susceptible to “major mental illness” than civilians.

    See the problem I’m having. I’m feeling as though I have to put quotes around every word I type.

    • Curious, but a phenomenon of cross fertilization is taking place in the mental health field in some quarters these days. People who were calling themselves schizophrenic or bipolar or depressed before, are now calling themselves post-traumatic stress disorder sufferers.

      Living can, in fact, in many family situations resemble those that take place on the battlefield in war time. Schools and businesses can create brutal bullying (predatory and victimizing) scenarios as well.

      Children are caught possessing firearms. Gangs are having gunfights on the streets, and innocent bystanders are getting shot. The lines between peacetime and wartime might not be as wide as once thought after all.

      Shock shell then has taken on a broader meaning.

      The thing about PTSD is that, well, PTSD victims generally keep having the same negative flash backs over and over again. The problem here then is one of getting over it. Should a vet, or what the beep ever, manage to put their misfortunes of war behind themselves, so much the better.

      Often this involves a bigger should than you’d think it would.

      As far as what I’m writing here is concerned, so much of mental illness being bunk, imagine quotes where they’ve been dropped.

  3. Pissed again. “Pissed” means drunk in Australian.

    This is a generic, or general lament that I make.

    To engage with the psychtroopers is to enter their cesspool. One has to gingerly wade into the pool from the shallows, take a breath of sanity and dive. It’s not pleasant or easy work.

    You need to come up for air but may be out of your depth, so for some time you have to tread cess, try to take some oxygen from the miasma of the pool and dive again..

    It requires courage. Sometimes it requires respite to maintain courage.

    I would love to be blizzarded into a log cabin with you. Well stocked in the W.C. Fieldsian sense.

  4. In the instance of the psych labeled woman and her co-worker who taunt the thin woman with her purges, isn’t this a little like black on black violence? We have a person baring a psychiatric label bullying another person who has been so labeled by psychiatry. Its classic really, instead of directing their combined energies against the oppressor, here you have two victims of oppression entering into their own lobsided and scapegoating relationships by mimicing the actions of the oppressor. The true culprit here, the oppressor, gets off scot free while these two continue their pettying bickering, much to the amusement of that oppressor.

    The “nature versus nurture” debate is a trap that I’d rather not fall into at this or any other time. It has been manufactured by people who favor “nature” in this debate in order to “eliminate” people who favor “nurture”. Nurture is a part of nature. [Note: he dropped the quotation marks.] Social darwinists, laissez-faire economists, and apologists for the human condition use this debate to bully their opponents into submission, or a lower rung on the animal kingdom/food chain. On top of that tendency, there is a large misogynist element to the debate. Who, after all, is going to be doing the “nurturing”? Nature is seen as a crap shoot with the winners getting the good genes and the losers getting the bad ones. I tend to think that nature is improved where there’s a brain behind the crap shooting. What I’m saying is that results can be planned. We can help nature along, too. Life, in other words, is more than the turn of a roulette wheel. Nature should not be used as just another excuse for rich nations to further expand the gap between themselves and poor dependent countries.

    Mind you, I’m not knocking anything you say, Rod. I think we’re fundamentally in agreement. I’m just throwing another two cents of my own into the ring.

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