What’s wrong with this forum?

The Schorr Family Award and the Arizona Daily Star are putting on a Forum in Arizona. The Arizona Daily Star has an editorial on this forum, Time has come for complete talk on mental illness.

The forum, “A Delicate Balance: Creating a better, post-January 8 system to protect the public and help the seriously mentally ill,” will be held on the afternoon of Wednesday, April 27 at Centennial Hall on the University of Arizona campus. The Star is partnering with the Schorr Family Award organization on the event in the shared belief that mental illness is a paramount issue in our community that must be addressed openly and honestly. The Schorr family have made it their mission to break the stigma surrounding mental illness by being public advocates.

1. The forum is a response to the shooting in Tucson. Some shrink calls the shooter “a paranoid schizophrenic” and suddenly everybody is exonerating the killer as a kook. The killer is not being held in an institution to determine whether he is fit to stand trial or not. The insanity defense is probably only going to come in as means to save the shooter’s life. I think there are better forums in which to debate the death penalty. This is about the death penalty, and it has absolutely nothing to do with “mental illness”.

2. “Stigma” is a big scam being used to sell psychiatric drugs. The idea is that if people can’t recover from “serious mental illnesses”, the best that can be done for them is to change the way society views such people. This approach ignores the fact that people can and do fully recover from “serious mental illnesses”, and that the real problem is one of discrimination and prejudice. Calling prejudice “stigma” is not so much a way to fight prejudice as it is a way to inure people to the fact that discrimination is occurring.

3. There are absolutely no psychiatric survivors or mental health consumers on the panel. This is a tremendous oversight in the selection process for this forum that happens time and again. We, in the psychiatric survivor and mental health consumer movement, have a slogan, “Nothing about us without us!” This panel should include psychiatric survivors and mental health consumers on it, too, and it just doesn’t do so.

The Arizona Daily Star claims…

The challenges facing people with mental illness aren’t contained in a nice, neat package that affects only the individual or their families. It’s time we face down the stigma and isolation faced by people affected by severe mental illness and come together as a community to build a solution – and the Schorr Family Award forum is a good start.

This forum is not such a good start at all. As long the panel doesn’t include any members of the local psychiatric survivor and mental health consumer community on it, it’s an atrocious start. Who needs you to speak for people with experience in the psychiatric system when they can speak for themselves. This is more than a mere oversight, it is a concrete example of the prejudice mentioned earlier.

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10 Responses

  1. I absolutely AGREE!

  2. Creating a sense of urgency where there really is none in order to ram your changes through is sometimes called the burning platform technique. Or as a former Presidential adviser succinctly put it, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”

    These people can froth at the mouth all they want, but the government simply has no money to bank roll coercive psychiatry. In this next budget Obama is going to cut $2.5 billion dollars for low income heating assistance because we’re becoming so cash-strapped. I highly doubt we’re going to find much money to subsidize the lease payments on a shrink’s Cadillac.

    • We’re going to have this “burning platform” technique used every time there is a multiple murder that can be attributed to a troubled individual. The Treatment Advocacy Center (TAC} has been very adept at using every example of violence it can find to push forward its agenda. The TAC wants involuntary outpatient commitment laws in every state of the union, and probably a few stricter inpatient commitment laws as well. The TAC has been very effective. By its own count 44 states out of 50 now have Assisted Outpatient Treatment or involuntary commitment laws.

      President Obama, to a certain extent anyway, is in bed with the pharmaceutical industry. If the next budget is going to cut money for low income heating assistance, do you really think high income heating is going to be affected? I would imagine these measures are going to have more to do with making life difficult from poor people than they will in limiting the transportation options for shrinks.

      Many of these coercive treatment laws are not being enforced, and in many cases states don’t have the resources to enforce them. That’s not so much the issue. These laws are unconstitutional, and they should be contested on constitutional grounds. When they are not being contested, it’s like saying that infringing on the human rights and civil liberties of American citizens is okay when a shrink says it’s okay. I think we need to send a clear message to our law makers that it is not okay.

  3. From Tony above:
    “but the government simply has no money to bank roll coercive psychiatry”

    And that would be a good thing. Hopefully the same thing is happening in Australia. We had an idiot self aggrandizing shrink that hired a PR group to have himself made Australian of the Year in 2010.

    Now that we’ve had expensive floods the government have an excuse to ignore this idiot’s clamourings that hundreds of thousands of teenagers be diagnosed with Might Go Crazy And Kill Us Or Themselves Disorder and drugged.

    One of these days a politician is going to wake up in the morning having had a dream about the days when people minded their own fucking business.

    • You have a very scary situation in Australia now, Rod, and I sympathize with you. A few big wig shrinks are trying to fabricate a mental health crisis expressly for the purpose of drugging Australian youth. These youths, I imagine, are expected to grow into drugged adults. Although the psychiatric authorities say their measures are preventive, their own research will say otherwise. Often people who enter the system as youngsters stay in that system until death.

      In this country we have a growing disability problem, and I imagine if the Australian authorities induct more people into the psychiatric system there Australia will have the same sort of problem. We’ve got a lot of career mental patients in our mental health/illness system. I see this as a failure of the system to recover the stability of people in that system. The tax payer is footing their bill for this failure. There must be a better way to utilize taxes, such as in getting people out of the mental health/illness system, and into productive life situations. The system is broken, and rather than fixing it, we’re feeding it’s brokeness. Now tell me how that makes sense?

      • I think “induct” is the word. It’s social engineering. They know what they want for the future and since employment (and a future life for people) is lacking they intend to create a class of unemployables.

  4. re”they intend to create a class of unemployables”
    It is crazy. The psychiatrist wants their “patients” to be smart, and then they give/force chemicals that stop higher brain function, where “smart” comes from.
    They want control? They got control.
    Depression is a brain chemical imbalance . Out of the control of the patient.

    Eating too much, enjoying food too much (gluttony) is a brain chemical imbalance. Out of the control of the patient.

    misbehavior (not obeying authority, because there is no consequences to ignoring authority) in children know as ADD is a brain chemical imbalance. Out of the control of the patient.

    Reminds me of the song “in the year 2525 “a hit song from 1969 by the Lincoln, Nebraska duo Zager & Evans .
    Wikipedia In the year 3535, for example, all of a person’s actions, words and thoughts will be preprogrammed into a daily pill.

    • In the US, since the economic melt-down, we’ve had an countrywide unemployment rate of about 9%. 1 % more, and that’s 1 in every 10 persons out of work. This is incredible. A 4 % unemployment rate used to be a cause for concern. Since our recent Republican Presidents were in power, the standard way of dealing with unemployment is to offer tax breaks for big business in the hope that such tax breaks will spur development. Also incredible. Mechanization can eliminate the need for employees. If you’re a CEO, and you develop robotics, you’ve just solved all your employment woes. If robotics are beyond you, all you have to do is move overseas, and utilize the cheap labor market.

      Franklin Roosevelt, with the TVA, and Jimmy Carter, with CETA, at least, had federal jobs programs. I was watching a news show about how 1 out of every 5 people going after a job can expect to be hired, and that leaves 4 out of every 5 potential hirees out in the cold. When does it register that unacceptable is unacceptable? Youths graduating from college today can expect to be unemployed. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we now have flocks of homeless people the way we used have them durring the great depression.

      This obviously isn’t a problem exclusive to people who have been impacted by the mental health/illness system. People who have had their lives disrupted by that system do need some special consideration. I’ve heard so called “mental illness” referred to by a mental health professional as another expression for “misfortune”. What’s the cure to misfortunate experiences? Why, fortunate experiences, of course! If a person is caught in a rut, you help to get them out of that rut. This is where the system fails so miserably so often today. Rather than getting a person out of whatever rut they find themselves in, the system excuses and, in fact, facilitates, presenting itself as mud, a hopeless hum of stuck wheels going nowhere. If we want things to operate in a different fashion then we as a people are going to have to institute policy changes that involve putting ‘people over profits’ rather than vice versa. The Wall Street casino, left unchecked, is going to leave a lot of casualties in its wake.

  5. You completed several good points there. I did a search on the matter and found the majority of people will go along with with your blog.

    • I wasn’t looking for any sort of consensus but, all the same, it’s good to know there are so many sensible people about.

      We know that the mental health system has a long way to go. The composition of public forum discussions, such as the one above, reflect the sorry state this system is in in some places. When you have a more empowering and engaging mental health system, more integrated into the local community, this change is likely to register in the composition of panels of all sorts, board of directors, and even city governing bodies. The idea is to see people who have had experience inside mental health facilities as the pillows of the community they are, or at least, as the pillows of the community they have the potential to become.

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