Civil Rights Under Seige

If you thought former President George W. Bush, who wanted to screen every man, woman, and child of us for “mental illness” was bad, President Barack O’bama has climbed onto the same band wagon. President Obama essentially wants to turn our entire public education system into a mental health police state.

According to a report in the Bangor Daily News on the subject, White House wants $235 million for mental health programs.

President Barack Obama’s budget proposal will include $235 million in funding for new mental health programs focused on initiatives to help schools detect early warning signs and train thousands of new mental health professionals, an administration official said.

Alright that sounds benign enough, but just keep reading.

The new budget plan will propose $130 million for programs that train teachers and other adults to help recognize the early signs of mental illness in students. That includes $55 million for a new program called Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education), which will give states and local school districts grants to administer such programs, while also collecting data on how well they work.

I’ve got nothing against ‘wellness’ nor ‘resilience’, I just have many reservations about whether that’s what we’re going to get out of these programs or not. On the other hand, training people to recognize signs of “mental illness” can be very questionable, especially when one of those early signs is being under the age of 18.

Another $50 million would go toward training master’s-level mental health specialists, such as psychologists, nurses and counselors, who work in schools. The idea is to expand the mental health workforce to prepare for the demands of millions of Americans who will gain health insurance coverage next year under the Affordable Care Act.

The “mental illness” labeling rate has been skyrocketing for years. Imagine the present “mental illness” labeling rate. Imagine that rate going up even further. It’s got to be extremely difficult to sell insurance plans, treatment options, and anti-“stigma” campaigns, without also selling the “diseases” that go along with them.

The consequences of this “mental illness” selling platform doesn’t concern the President very much as, following the Newton Connecticut tragedy, making scapegoats of people in the mental health system rather than achieving any real gun control legislation is one way for him to give the appearance that he’s doing something about the problem of gunmen in schoolyards. I’m afraid it is going to be causative in so far as increased “mental illness” labeling is concerned, and I’m also afraid that it’s not going to be preventative when it comes to massive acts of violence.

Sooner or later, later apparently, it’s going to come around to acknowledging that these citizens who have had their citizenship rights taken away from them are still citizens. Then comes the revelation, now that we’ve got two unequal castes of citizens, how do we refer to them? Dividing people into sick and well no longer works as what we’ve actually got is a legal distinction rather than a medical one. Sick people get well. Lower class citizens get lower wages, if they get wages at all, substandard living conditions, and the distinction of being deprived of their constitutionally guaranteed rights.

7 Responses

  1. Re: “The idea is to expand the mental health workforce to prepare for the demands of millions of Americans who will gain health insurance coverage next year under the Affordable Care Act.”

    The ‘Affordable Care Act’ (ObamaCare) was promoted by PhRMA (Pharmaceutical Research and Marketing Association), who paid for an intensive ad campaign for ObamaCare.

    So, it should come as no surprise that the Obama administration will now pay-off PhRMA – by assuring more kids are placed on mind-altering drugs.

    Obama has not been an advocate for less drugging or more freedom. In fact, he’s been a nightmare!

    A message to the electorate: Be careful what you ask for next time. (If we survive this time).


    • Very, very good point, Duane. This is something that needs to be looked at long and hard. Universal health insurance, as it has been touted, serves the pharmaceutical industry. What’s more, insurance parity tends to be anything but recovery oriented, that is, in so far as the idea of mental health recovery hasn’t been totally co-opted. Such insurance will do one thing, and that one thing is to expand the mental health system by expanding insurance coverage. This means more people labeled “mentally ill”, and more people labeled “mentally ill” doesn’t sound like a success story for mental health treatment from my stand point at all. It also means more people tagged “chronic”, what historically used to be called “incurable”, and that is about as far from recovering and recovery as you can get. Welfare fraud is not welfare fraud when its given a psychiatrist’s blessing. Uh, I mean diagnosis.

  2. Frank,

    We may not agree on each and every issue, but I must say that I am very grateful for your writing – especially the posts that take on the status quo and point toward a much saner approach.

    And I always appreciate your honesty.


  3. What we are likely to get out of a program like this is not a spike in overall “wellness” and “health” but a spike in diagnoses, pharmaceutical drug sales, and profits for people at the top. My hope is that it also teaches a certain percentage of the population, including young people, better evasion techniques for avoiding unwanted interventions.

    What they propose to do would not be a problem if it were the case that diagnosis and drug treatment regimens were effective at creating health. Yet much evidence suggests that the modern diagnosis and drug treatment regimens introduce TOXICITY and creates problems that were not there before.

    It boils down to the basic philosophical error that the recipe for happiness and health has been bottled, and that it can be distributed or imposed on other people. This, instead of allowing people the liberty to discover and know what works for them.

    The “outsourcing” of a solution to our private emotional lives has to stop. Is it not obvious that this is happening because the material wealth of the world has been plundered, and people are the main resource left? Each person must have the courage to go inward and face the conflicts within themselves, and hold space with them, and teach youth to do the same.

    • Woo, ‘teaching evasion techniques for avoiding unwanted interventions’ means we’ve got a bigger problem than anybody needs, namely ‘unwanted interventions’. I guess this has been the case since the establishment of a public mental asylum system. Its just going to get that much worse now that hospitalization means criminalization, and criminalization means a curtailment of citizenship rights.

      Freedom and responsibility, values implicit in the bill of rights, are under assault when those rights are restricted. As these rights are thought of as human rights to which all are entitled, validated by law, we’ve got a problem when our politicians and their followers want to sever one group of humanity from the rest of our species by way of damaging and prejudicial legislation. When does it end? When people in the mental health treatment world are recognized as human beings again through the restoration of their rights as human beings, and as citizens.

  4. Hey, Mr President, push this through and we’ll support your bills; just thinking ahead.. We can raise the insurance premiums for all those families with kids we “convicted” of having a mental illness.

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