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.

7 Responses

  1. Good points.

    I think that it is best to call for “civil rights” rather than “human rights” however.

    Human rights are enforced internationally by the UN.
    Good luck with that.
    The UN cannot stop the slaughter in Syria at the moment.
    And cannot stop honor killings and other horrific acts either.

    Civil rights here in the U.S. are protected by the constitution.
    They are not nebulous.
    They can easily be found.
    A person can seek redress through the courts for violation of these rights.

    We ought to start here.
    We have a sound constitution.
    We can serve as an example for the rest of the world.
    The UN can take up the matter – after its been successfully done here.



    • It’s a struggle for legal rights, true, but human rights includes rights that haven’t been acknowledged by the legislative process yet. Also, where people’s basic humanity is being ignored, it’s important to point out that you’re dealing with human beings.

      If civil rights are protected by the US constitution, civil rights are also violated by federal and state law. It wasn’t by accident that the Nazi’s prepared for their “final solution” to the Jews on people deemed “useless eaters”, on people in mental institutions. The idea of scapegoating this group of people is as old as the hills.

      Problem. The US wants stipulations to a UN document that says these things don’t happen in our country. They do happen in our country. This is US exceptional-ism at its worst, and it’s an out and out lie. We aren’t better than the rest of the world, and we definitely aren’t any better than the rest of the world at acknowledging our shortcomings.

      Dealing with such problems neither begins nor ends with the USA. These problems occur everywhere, and they must be dealt with whenever and wherever they occur. Our country isn’t the shining and superior example that it would like to present itself as. It’s time to acknowledge reality. It’s time for us to accept, just like the Eastern Europeans we are so fond of trashing, the rule of international law.

      The U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, CRPD, actually outlaws forced mental health treatment. The US, in the eyes of some of its politicians anyway, wants to pretend that it has this Convention covered by the legal system we’ve got at home. Let me ask you, has the US really outlawed forced mental health treatment at home? I don’t think so. This makes international law that much more progressive than law in the USA.

      • Unfortunately, the fact that the UN “outlaws” forced treatment does not mean all that much.

        If a person’s “human rights” (or “disability rights”) are violated, where do they go to seek redress?

        Is this “law” going to be enforced?
        Is it even enforceable.

        Re: Constitution
        We have the *best* protection of civil rights than any country on earth. Which is *why* this needs to happen here *first*.

        Neither of believe the U.S. has addressed this issue adequately.
        I believe we *can* and we *must*.


      • I would question whether we do in fact have the best protection of civil rights of any country on earth.

        The USA is neither the most progressive, nor the only, nation on earth.

        Given the Patriot Act, and other recent developments, our civil rights are under assault and dwindling in this country.

        Sometimes, in order to get a clearer and a better perspective on the issues, a person needs to look beyond the narrow and emotional nationalism he or she was raised on.

    • Hi Duane, it is true that laws are in place to protect civil liberties in the the US but these are consistently disrespected by law enforcement agencies. There is no redress for the average citizen subjected to violation of their rights due to the enormous cost of taking on the authorities. It is true that the US would be in a position to show an example and to extend that example but the desire to do so has to exist within the hearts and minds of those in control.

  2. Who said anything about being the “most progressive?”
    I thought we were talking about civil rights.

    These are not given top priority in the “progressive” platform – which seeks to take away individual freedom – with more laws, higher taxes, less freedom.


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