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On Restricting The Citizenship Rights Of People With ‘Mental Illness’ Labels

Lawmakers, politicians, and some mental health professionals complain that our jails and prisons are  becoming holding cells for people labeled with “mental illness”. They call this detainment criminalization, and they look to jail diversion, mental health courts, and other such  methods to minimize the problem. There is another type of criminalization. This is the matter of adding every patient who has been hospitalized involuntarily, and even some that have been hospitalized voluntarily, onto a national criminal background check system. If that isn’t criminalization, tell me what is? Every time a violent crime is committed the name of anybody in this database is going to come up as a potential suspect.

There is much talk in certain quarters about some “stigma” or other attached to “mental illness”.  This “stigma” is thought to be whatever prevents a person labeled “mentally ill” from receiving the special treatment he or she thinks he or she needs or deserves on account of his or her conjectured “disease”. Countering “stigma” has become any man or woman’s excuse to convalesce for a lifetime. Anti-“stigma” campaigns accompany the biological medical model theory of psychiatry.  The biological medical model theory of psychiatry has a profoundly cynical attitude towards people’s natural ability to recover from the downturns and pitfalls of everyday living. These anti-“stigma” campaigners are fine with fighting the insults and abuses that occur on a mostly surface level, but when it comes to such matters as adding names to a criminal background check database, these campaigners grow curiously silent.

Opposition to “stigma” has essentially become a two faced lie supporting the prejudice and discrimination directed against people who have known imprisonment in this nation’s psychiatric institutions. People recover from the major upsets and defeats they’ve encountered in day to day living and they get on with their lives. There is no “stigma” attached to mental and emotional stability. There is a great deal of prejudice and discrimination directed against those people who have had their lives disrupted by medical model psychiatry. While prejudice and discrimination are real, “stigma” is a ruse.  “Stigma’ is the flip side of the psychiatric label. You don’t have one without the other. All the damage that takes place in the psychiatric system starts with a diagnostic tag. Become more lax about applying the label, and you save a lot of people from the damage that accompanies treatment, including “stigma”.

Mental health treatment has become an excuse for enacting laws violating the constitutional rights of certain citizens of the USA. According to medical model psychiatry these people have defective genes, and thus they must be somewhat less human than the rest of the population with their more capable genes.  This physical defect, in other words, prevents them from ever completely recovering their sanity, and behaving in a reasonable fashion. Given a less than fully capable  human population, our law makers feel obliged to restrict the freedoms of this population in the same way that they once restricted the freedoms of people owned by other people due to the color of their skin. As anybody and everybody is a potential candidate for the loony bin, this assault on the freedom of a minority is a threat to the freedoms that our forefathers were so intent on  preserving and defending for everybody.

When you  deprive people of the rights that our constitution grants them as citizens, you create a subordinate class of less than full citizens. You create a second, third, or even lower, class of citizenry. Doing so, you devalue the human beings who have had their freedoms so restricted to a place beneath that of other human beings who have not had their rights so restricted. If, as the Declaration of Independence states, we are all created equal, and endowed with inalienable rights, this would not be true if some of us were condemned by birth to a more restrictive existence on account of mutated and defective genes.  There is no more evidence that emotional distress and mental disturbances are due to defective genes than there is that racial distinctions are due to defective genes.  While we no longer keep slaves, once held to be a fraction of the value of a human being of European ancestry, we still keep people who have experienced the mental health system down by denying their basic humanity.

Many people who have known the abuses of the mental health system first hand realize the struggle ahead of them to achieve equality of rights will be a hard one. Freedom and equality will never come without  a ferocious struggle to attain them. People in power have a vested interested in keeping other people down. Institutionalization, labeling, drugging, screening, prejudicial legislation and intimidation are ways of keeping some people down and out. Keeping people down and out are the ways some people have of keeping themselves up and in. When people have been reduced to the state that some of these treatments and laws have reduced them to, there is only one direction to go in, and that direction is up. There is also only one way to achieve one’s personal aims and goals in this upward climb, and that is by attaching oneself in solidarity to the aims and aspirations of one’s fellows. So long as there is one person who is devalued as a human being, those aims for each and every one of us cannot be said to have been fully met.

Bringing the war in the classroom home to your doorstep

Did somebody say it’s jungle out there? It isn’t a jungle, it’s a war zone, especially in the public school system. Among the new disorders in the DSM-5, such as adult ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) , you will also find childhood PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) listed.

Just read between the lines on the first paragraph of this ABC News report, Psychiatry ‘Bible’ DSM-5 Will Add PTSD for Preschoolers, and imagine millions, perhaps billions, of shell-shocked kiddies returning home from their school day.

 When the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM-5, is published in May, a small section could alter the lives of millions of children.

Not to be alarmed, despite this potential sharp rise in the number of children labeled ‘off their rocking horses’, mental health professionals tell us they’ve got treatment, and that this treatment can be effective.

Small children develop PTSD at the same rate as adults — one in four — and the number of potential sufferers is vast, said Dr. Judith Cohen, a psychiatry professor at Drexel University’s College of Medicine.

I imagine we could just give children signs on their first day of class, basing children numbers on adult numbers, of course. Numbers, you know, don’t change. 1/4th of the students would receive a sign that read PTSD, and 3/4th of the students would receive signs that read NORMAL. The students with the signs that said PTSD could then automatically be enrolled in a treatment plan.

And yet because existing DSM criteria doesn’t apply to young children, and because of society’s tendency to idealize children as resilient, pre-schoolers aren’t getting the diagnoses they desperately need, [vice chairman of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Tulane University, Dr. Charles] Zeanah [Jr.] said.

Children are idealized as resilient. Oh, that explains it! We don’t have the time to offer classes to parents, teachers, and children in ‘how to be more resilience’ then I guess. Notice, they desperately need diagnoses, too. You think so?

If you will excuse me, I think I’ve had enough of this nonsense, and so I think I’m going to return to my bunker for a little blissful shuteye. The prospect of a nation of shell-shocked children is just a little much for me to face head-on alone at the moment. I’ve got my own patch of green pasture that needs tending.

Advocating For Human Rights and Against Mistreatment

I am not a mental health advocate. I have absolutely no interest in contributing to the current treatment crisis we’ve got going in this country. First, you’ve got the people doing the treatment. They call themselves mental health advocates. Then you’ve got the people they treat. Some of them call themselves mental health advocates, too. This breaks down into two groups of people, professionals or providers and patients or consumers. The providers are the people selling the treatment, and the consumers are the people buying the treatment.

You can’t sell the treatment without someone to sell the treatment to, and so, therefore, the providers must become sellers of the idea of consumption, or need. The mental health provider in essence is a seller of “mental illness”. Thus, if we read mental health advocacy as the advocating of mental health treatment, there is an unstated conflict of interest involved here. Your advocates must also be advocates of “mental illness” in order to have a large stock of people to treat.

If 1 in 5 people in the USA are consumers buying mental health treatment, people described as “mentally ill”, 4 in 5 people in the USA are not consuming mental health treatment. Problem. 1 in 5 is in danger of becoming 2 in 5 which could then become 3 in 5, etc. Then there’s the matter of how much of the population, given this increase, would need to be mental health workers, that is, providers. In that eventuality, given a nation in which the majority of the people within that nation are mental health consumers, perhaps we should add to an M to USA. This would make us the United Medical States of America.

Back to the statistic that presently applies. 4 in 5 people in the nation are not consuming mental health at this time. If we take mental health to mean mental health treatment,  4 in 5 people in this country have no need for mental health. Nobody has turned this statistic around to ask, well, how many people in the 20 % that we’re saying consume mental health treatment don’t really need to consume mental health treatment. This isn’t the kind of question people who advocate for mental health treatment ask. They don’t want fewer people in treatment, they want more. There is only one direction to go in for them, and that direction is upward in so far as numbers are concerned.

Should anyone have any hesitations about seeking treatment, these mental health advocates have this word “stigma” that they throw out with such abandon. Funny thing about “stigma”, the people selling this idea of “stigma” aren’t talking about how much of the treatment they are referring is unwanted treatment. There was a time, not that long ago, when the only mental health treatment people received was forced mental health treatment. So long as there are people being treated against their will and wishes, this lie about “stigma” is only a ruse. People aren’t reluctant to go into treatment because of any “stigma”, people are reluctant go into treatment because treatment always results in prejudice and discrimination.

As I stated, I am not a mental health advocate. I am not a mental health advocate because I am a human rights advocate. I am opposed to forced mental health treatment on principle. Forced mental health treatment doesn’t take place without violating a person’s rights as a citizen and a human being. You can’t force treatment on a person without taking away that person’s liberty. I have nothing against treating people who want to be treated. I simply think all mental health treatment should be voluntary treatment.

This opposition to force means that I believe people should not be imprisoned, tortured, and poisoned in prisons called hospitals in the name of mental health. Doing so doesn’t result in good outcomes as a rule. Not only are the results poor, but you can only do so by violating the basic rights of the individuals being so mistreated. There are other ways of treating human beings. I advocate using some of those other ways.

My Rant Against The Mental Illness Labeling Industry

Fuck psychiatry! I’m sick of system shit. I’m so sick of system shit that I got out of the system. I don’t need to be a shrink, and I don’t need to be a patient. I don’t even need to be a patient shrink, or a shrink patient. I don’t need to be one or another specialist on a continuum in a rich variety of turncoat categories. I’m not overseeing adult children mental patients in one capacity or another. I guess that makes me irresponsible, but that’s not the way I see it. I’d say that makes me responsible. I’ve ousted myself from the 6 % category of people that need supervising, as well as from the glorified adult baby sitter category that does the supervising.

I now exist among the roughly 75 % of population who have no need for the mental health system whatsoever except perhaps in so far as it applies to other people. I will work with a portion of the 6 %, but that is only to dismantle this monstrosity we’ve created. It is a monstrosity that embodies and includes that 6 %. There is no us and them dichotomy here. There is only this monstrosity in the corner of the world that the rest of us do our best to ignore.  If you think about it, it’s not such a big snorting elephant of a monstrosity as some of us might imagine it to be, it’s really just a tiny pink one.

I cringe every time I hear people talk about educating people about “mental illness”. The only people talking about doing this educating are people with a personal stake in mental health treatment. Talking about “mental illness” has become a way of selling “mental illness”. “Mental illness” is not, and never has been, a fact, it’s an idea. The profession never had a real grip on what it was dealing with. The mental health professional has no interest in becoming alarmed at the rate of people labeled “mentally ill”. “Mental illness” labeling is his or her bread and butter. The more people receiving a “seriously mentally ill” label there are, the more secure his or her job status becomes.

This leads us naturally enough to the condemned by biology theory that is so readily adopted by our professionals. It’s a matter of convenience mostly. 6 % of the population have not become good automatons. They aren’t, and they never were, human beings, not fully functioning human beings anyway. Human beings can become good automatons, according to theory, and be content with a mindless 9 to 5 sort of thing. They are broken machines, and it’s the computing function of the machine that is most broken. So we’ve got our warehouses, and our ill equipped repair people, to deal with the matter. Given that the design was poor, they say, don’t blame the repair folk for not being able to fix the automaton.

There is not much point in going there if you’ve managed to get away from it. The people talking about the people who are defectively designed are, of course, not the people defectively designed themselves. No, they are the people who determine which people are defectively designed, and which people are effectively designed; they couldn’t do so, or so goes the theory, if they were defectively designed. Imagine the difficulties involved in becoming disentangled from that illusion. Illusion it is, but it isn’t the only thing going, so excuse me while I eject myself from the entire argument. Significance, as I see it, is sometimes a matter of rejecting insignificance. I feel much better knowing I’m not contributing to the problem, even if not contributing to the problem is not likely to win me any awards.

Gun Ownership Prohibition Bill Introduced In Florida

Tallahassee, we’ve got a problem, and it’s called HB 1355. According to a Herald-Tribune blog post, Florida rep files bill to bar mentally ill from buying guns, State Representative Barbara Watson D-Tallahasse has just introduced a bill to deprive a segment of the citizenry of their constitutionally guaranteed right to own a firearm. There is now this piece of, legislation is not the word I had in mind, to be debated.

Under HB 1355, a person could be prohibited from purchasing a firearm if the examining physician finds the person imminently dangerous to himself or others and files a special certificate that if the person doesn’t agree to voluntary commitment for treatment, an involuntary commitment petition will be filed.

Alright. If that sounds like gun prohibition for a person who has been involuntarily committed. Think again.

At the time the person is diagnosed as dangerous, the person would receive written notice of the certification and agrees to accept voluntary commitment with a full understanding that he or she will be prohibited from purchasing a firearm or applying for a concealed weapons or firearms license or retaining one.

We’re talking about a plea bargain deal of the sort they offer in Virginia, the state with more National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) entrees than any other state in the union. You don’t get a reward for signing into the hospital voluntarily, instead you lose your gun ownership rights.

Were this bill law then, anybody who went into the  hospital after being Baker Acted, that is, hospitalized after a 3 day hold for evaluation purposes, would then be listed in the NICS database.

If the person refused to sign, he or she would be involuntarily hospitalized, in which case he or she can kiss his or her 2nd amendment rights goodbye anyway.

Not a good bill. This bill would prejudice law enforcement against people on the basis of psychiatric history. It would also send their names to the top of the list of suspects anytime a violent crime occurred in their locality.

Repercussions from the Sandy Hook tragedy slight in Florida

It looks like Florida may not suffer as extensively from the fallout over the Newtown Connecticut massacre as some other states. The Palm Beach Post headline,  State May Shrink Mental Health Spending, doesn’t tell the whole story.

Despite a growth in the state’s anticipated revenue for the first time in six years, Gov. Rick Scott’s proposed 2013-2014 budget does not include any increase for mental health services. Neither Scott nor GOP legislative leaders mentioned the issue as a priority on the opening day of the legislative session Tuesday. And lawmakers appear split on the only two proposals in play — mandatory mental health screening of elementary school students and extending the observation period for patients who are involuntarily committed by law enforcement or health officials.

The problem concerns these two pieces of legislation that I hope our legislators will have the common sense and decency to table or vote down. Busting school children for “mental illness” is what mandatory mental health screening is all about and, frankly, if there’s one thing we don’t need, that is it. Labeling children “mentally ill”, and putting them on powerful pharmaceuticals, is not good for their educations, nor is it good for their futures. Extending the Baker Act would be a completely absurd, unnecessary, and as far as humanity goes, a wasteful thing to do.

Thankfully, given our republican controlled legislature, as bad as things are, these representatives are not in hurry to make them worse. Praised be the tightwad when the spending he isn’t spending on is repressive and draconian legislation.

The issue with spending is that it could, if it were used for something else besides busting people for “mental illness”, reduce mental health spending in the state anyway.

More than half of Florida’s mental health spending goes to hospitalization. Other states, on average, spend less than 30 percent on hospitalization, said Florida Council for Community Mental Health President Bob Sharpe.

Hospitalization is very costly. Keeping people out of the state hospital system through building a statewide community mental health care system is one way to potentially save a lot of money.

As for the Baker Act…

DCF estimates that 35,000 out of 110,770 people held under the Baker Act last year had been Baker Acted before. Sharpe points to at least one man who was Baker Acted 100 times in a single year, meaning he was hospitalized nearly the entire year.

It would seem that one person would have a pretty good case for suing the state, if he had any legal rights to stand on at all, which apparently, as a mental patient, he doesn’t.  On the other hand, when the state can Baker Act one person 100 times in the course of a single year, there is certainly no reason to extend the Baker Act. It seems institutions here have that power already.

Policing Mental Health In The Schools

If you want to erase the “stigma” of “mental illness”, stop labeling people nutzoid. All the discrimination and harm that comes of “mental health” treatment has to start somewhere, and that somewhere is with the diagnostic tag.

The sad part is that now children are being labeled “mentally ill” at incredibly young ages, 2 year olds, 3 year olds, 4 year olds, 6 year olds, 8 and 9 year olds. I’ve got news for you people. Psychiatric drugs are no replacement for good parenting practices.

If folks knew this, perhaps they would be less inclined to label their toddler a problem toddler. All 2 year olds, for instance, are a world of trouble, as are all teenagers, and I’d think more than twice about labeling them, too.

I know it’s not bad parents, it’s ‘bad’ children, but all the same. I remember when we used to think of children as innocent, and when we used to put a great deal of emphasis on child rearing. If I remember correctly, there was much less childhood “mental illness” back then as well.

The problem we’ve got now is a big part of the Obama administration solution to violent school massacres.  Primary and secondary school workers, from principals on down to the janitorial staff, are being turned into mental health police. That’s right, the idea is to bust children for “mental illness”.

Well, the only thing we’re likely to get out of making our educationalists mental health cops is an increase in troubled peoples. When troubles are pathologized, hey, that’s a cinch for compounding them. The big tab for Obama care, as a result, is likely to get much much bigger.

Reversing the damage as treatment paradigm

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a disease that didn’t officially exist until 1980, has been astoundingly successful at making drug companies happy. Just look at outcomes. Pasted at the bottom of much of the recent ADHD bad news is something like the following from a USA Today article, Childhood ADHD often can linger into adulthood.

Among those age 27 who had been diagnosed with ADHD as children:

— 37.5% had no ADHD and no psychiatric disorders

— 33.2% had no ADHD and one or more psychiatric disorders

— 23.7% had ADHD and one or more psychiatric disorders

— 5.6% had ADHD and no psychiatric disorders

ADHD is said to affect roughly 9 % of the adolescent male population, and somewhat less for the adolescent female population, in the USA.

Conventional wisdom has gone completely bonkers in finding these statistics a motive for increasing mental health spending. Increased mental health focus and funding will mean an increased ADHD rate, and given that increase, an increase in the diagnostic labels that accompany it.

Mental health treatment IS the problem when that treatment is a matter of encouraging children not to seek the self-reliance and financial independence that comes with adulthood. Mental health treatment essentially represents providing much disincentive to the process of growing up. What do we get out of this treatment? An oxymoron, ‘adult children’.

The recovery rates for people with what are typically thought of as much more serious disorders–schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depressive disorder–parallel the recovery rates for ADHD. They might be a little worse, 10 % or so, but not much.

The reasons for these bad outcomes are two-fold. First, the major form of treatment is with ineffective and often harmful psychiatric drugs. Although these drugs may be effective for the short term, in the long term their effects are disastrously debilitating. Second, you’ve got a dependency system that instead of ushering people back into the real world of everyday life cripples them forever.

We will start with the expression “burden to society” and go from there. The question remains, how does society “unburden” itself of this problem it has produced for itself? Well, one thing is certain, it doesn’t “unburden” itself of the “burden” by making the “burden” an industry. This is essentially what we have today. We have a mental health treatment system that is involved primarily in the manufacture of more and more cases of “mental illness”.

I don’t encourage people to go and seek mental health treatment. I don’t encourage them to do so because in so doing they stand a good chance of losing many of their basic rights as citizens. “Stigma” is not in the hearts and minds of their fellow human beings. “Stigma” is in laws and mental health treatment records that make up the hearts and minds of their fellow human beings. Records that will follow them around to the end of their days.