Abolition Is Not Reform, Abolition is Emancipation

There are those who like to call the mental health system “broken”. There are usually two reasons for doing so. One is that a person would like to see more money pumped into the mental health system. The other is that they are encountering people they don’t want to encounter, and they feel that if the system worked, the sight of these people would not be disturbing them so.

I don’t call the mental health system “broken”. The mental health system is actually a “mental illness” system and, if anything, it “works” altogether too well. We’ve got a saying, “Children should be seen and not heard.” This saying leads up to a further, but unexpressed, saying, “Adult children should neither be seen nor heard.” What do we do with our adult children? There’s the loony bin. You figure it out.

If “mental illness”, as the late Thomas Szasz claimed, is a metaphor. “Mental health” is a metaphor as well. Bodies get physical diseases. Minds just get fuzzy, half-baked ideas, and illogical thoughts. The pursuit of folly though is not a disease any more than the pursuit of wisdom is a cure. We are free to chose either pursuit, or neither, as we wish. Of course, despite the fact that no disease has been found to explain aberrant behaviors, that doesn’t prevent people from speculating about “disease” as a cause.

If you’re going to call the mental health system “broken”, the first question one has to ask is what is the purpose of the mental health system. For example, is the mental health system there to “heal sick” people, to “fix broken brains”? If so, it has always done an absolutely lousy job not “healing” and not “fixing” them. I submit that the real purpose of the mental health system is to keep people with psychiatric labels out of other people’s hair. This, the system, considering the shots it has taken due to scandals arising from institutionalization, does sufficiently enough.

What is a mental hospital? Is it a place for “healing sick” people, or is it a place for punishing people who behave “badly”? While the nurses station found on most psych wards suggests the former, the locked doors found in nearly all of them says it is the latter. All you have to do is to consult the dictionary to get the idea that something is awry here. A mental hospital is a peculiar hospital, to say the least, but it is a particular prison. The distinction between the two depends upon whether you think it does a better job “healing the sick”, or punishing the misbehaving.

I echo Dr. Szasz in calling for the abolition of forced mental health treatment. The system, as meat grinder, as a destroyer of men and women, isn’t broken in the slightest. It does it’s job of breaking spirits, of swallowing up bodies, and of spitting out bones exquisitely well. I think, if they really and truly cared about their clients, more mental health professionals would be taking the same position. This destroying of people, by going straight at their potentials, and watching them fizzle, is a thing that should not be tolerated. Difference should be expected and encouraged, not suppressed.

This accent on perceiving a “broken” system is a call for reform, and this reform usually means one of two things. Either people think it is too hard to get people treatment, or people think the treatment they receive too harsh. I am against reform as reform is always piece-meal, and there’s no end to it. Reform always, and of necessity, leads to further reform. I support the abolition of forced mental health treatment. Prejudice and discrimination, so-called “stigma”, comes of force. End forced mental health treatment, and you will also be ending so many things that are wrong with the mental health system today. There is no reason, no good reason anyway, in my opinion, for persevering in the present farce of pretending otherwise.

Living My Life Without ‘Mental Illness’

I don’t have a “mental illness”. I don’t have multiple “mental illnesses”. I don’t see a doctor who says I have any “mental illness”. If I did see such a doctor, it would still be my big secret. I think there are some things you should never discuss with a member of the psychiatric profession, and that is just one of those things. If I felt I had a “mental illness”, or if I wanted a “mental illness”, as some people seem to do, the situation would be different. Psychiatrists dispense “mental illness” labels, and the pills used to treat such labels, as if they were candy. Doing so, I would imagine, fits the psychiatrist job description as it is defined today pretty much to a tee.

The literature these days seems to suggest that there is a “stigma” against seeking treatment for a “mental” condition. What this literature seldom goes into is that much of the treatment going on today, as it was yesterday, is unsought and unwanted. It is coercive treatment given by way of court order to a person who somebody found annoying, and who doesn’t want that mental health treatment imposed on him or her. Unfortunately there aren’t so many people saying that we should end forced treatment so that the only people in treatment are those who want to have such treatment. This leaves the person who disagrees with forced treatment with a limited number of choices. Released from confinement he or she can either join the chorus of people crying for more and more treatment reputedly to end “stigma”, he or she can vanish into a quiet but unmolested and ignoble obscurity, or he or she can speak out on behalf of all those who are treated against their will and wishes.

The first path was always out of the question for me on account of the fact that I could never be so dishonest. I know there is much incentive, after forced and life disrupting psychiatric interventions, for choosing the second path, but I have chosen the third, and I would imagine more arduous path. Why? I think the value of one brave soul surpasses that of a thousand cowardly souls when it comes right down to it. A number of us feel that that violence that the state uses on people deemed to be of unsound mind is quite literally torture. This torture amounts to cruel and unusual punishment in a circumstance where no crime has been committed. Persuading the victim of this torture that torture is treatment, and that treatment is a necessary “good”, gives the torturer quite an edge over his detractors I would say. It cannot, for instance, as in this case, be said that oppression takes place without the acquiescence of the oppressed. I, for my part, aim to acquiesce as little as possible.

When I was first introduced to psychiatric treatment I was wary of psychiatric drugs not because they were dangerous but because they made me feel miserable. Learning, as I have learned, that these drugs do damage to people, and that the misery I felt was indicative of their destructive nature, I have not become any less wary of their usage. I have in fact become an advocate for non-compliance to treatment plans because of the damage wreaked by these drugs. This is only the beginning though when it comes to my complaints about conventional psychiatry. Some of us, and I include myself in that category, have better things to do with our lives than waste our days in mental health limbo. Some of us had rather be leading a purposeful existence. When it comes to this purposeful existence, we don’t need a psychiatrist telling us just what that purpose should be. We can figure these things out for ourselves.

Imagine a psychiatric label. Imagine a pair of scissors. With a couple of snips from the scissors imagine the psychiatric label divorced from the human whose neck it hung around. Imagine this psychiatric label lying by its lonesome. Imagine freedom. I don’t have to imagine that freedom any more because that freedom is mine. The label had no magic hold over me, and it wasn’t attached by super(crazy)glue. It was only a matter of words in a text on some mental health professional’s bookshelf. I have my own words. I can put the dictionary to work for my own ends, too. I don’t need to be debilitated by language. I don’t need to be removed from any meaningful dialogue and social context. I don’t need to be exiled from the community at large. I am not logically challenged, nor am I communication dysfunctional. I don’t have a “major” or a “minor mental illness”. I don’t know about you, but me, hey, I’m Okay.

Eradicating ‘Stigma’, The New Sales Pitch For ‘Mental Illness’

It takes some stretching to put it in something resembling transactional analysis terms, but I think will give it a whirl. “I’m not Okay, but now that we have anti-stigma campaigns, it’s Okay not to be Okay.”

I guess I’m old fashioned. I still prefer Okay over not Okay.

Now we’ve got this problem of dissent and the mental health orthodoxy that didn’t exist 2 or 3 decades ago. You get the kind of thinking that runs if you don’t believe what we are saying to be true, you “stigmatize” the “mentally ill”, or more properly put, people with “mental illnesses”.

There is no “stigma” attached to mental health. There is a “stigma” attached to “mental illness”. Is there any “stigma” attached to recovering from a “mental illness”?

“Stigma”, once a brand or a tattoo, now refers to a more metaphoric or symbolic mark of disgrace. We have a problem in that, given this definition; use of the word itself is “stigmatizing”, or prejudicial. You can’t wash off disgrace any more than you can wash off the mark of Cain. When it is a matter of perception, maybe another word would be preferable.

Both words, “stigma” and recovery, are words that some people in the mad peoples movement claim have been co-opted by people who are in opposition to their wishes, aims, and rights. In the case of both words there is much legitimate truth to this accusation.

Recovery is now being used by pharmaceutical companies to sell pharmaceuticals. Pharmaceuticals are one of the reasons why some people in treatment don’t recover. Recovery is now used by mental health professionals who feel most people who have been labeled with “serious mental illness” labels are incapable of recovering. Some of this recovery rhetoric has even degenerated into being applied to custodial care by another name. Custodial care, in some of these cases, has merely been transferred from a hospital setting to a community setting.

The idea is that there are all these “mentally ill” people out there who are not getting treatment they need because of “stigma”. The question here becomes who determines need, and where do we draw the line. The thing that is seldom being pointed out is that there are a lot of people who are being treated by force and against their wishes. Do we need more people in mental health treatment who don’t want to be treated? If so, you or your neighbor could be next. Is it not “stigmatizing” to force treatment on people who don’t want, for whatever reason, to be treated?

I see a big danger in using “stigma” to sell “mental illness”. I think this is precisely what is going on today. The numbers of people being fed, clothed, and sheltered by the taxpayers due to a “mental illness” label is increasing by leaps and bounds. Sooner or later, given the kind of growth that is taking place in the field, this burden is going to become too great for the state to carry. Once that point is reached, it will have become too late not to do something about the problem.

Recovery takes place where people leave the mental health system. They leave the mental health system precisely because they have recovered their mental health. Where people don’t leave the mental health system, the mental health system could be said to be ‘broken’. The idea is to get more people leaving the mental health system, and fewer people entering it. When you get fewer people entering the mental health system, you are being preventative. When you get more people entering the mental health system, you are being causative. I’d say it’s time to take a good long hard and honest look at what we’re doing.

5/5/12 Philadelphia

Connecticut college student and monitor of the event, Caitlin Belforti, speaking at the Friends Center in Philadelphia.

New York activist Daniel Hazen speaking.

Aki Imai is from Ohio. He launched the Our Life After Labels submission-based blog.

Joe Rogers, a Philly local, is the director of the National Mental Health Self-help Clearinghouse.

Signs of the times.

John Judge read a statement of support from Paula J. Caplan who was unable to attend.

Long time San Francisco activist and retired attorney Ted Chabasinski.

The backdrop for the mornings events.

Godly Mathew once spent one hundred consecutive days protesting against psychiatric abuse outside Philadelphia’s Friends Hospital.

Down with psychiatric labels. Up with human beings.

Ted’s banner.

Inside the Friends Center events get underway.

Outside of the Friends Center where the rally took place.

Inside again.

The march to the Convention Center minutes away.

Director of the Anchorage Alaska based Center for Psychiatric Rights lawyer Jim Gottstein.

The demonstration outside of the Convention Center.

Pedestrians crossing the street.

Protesters outside of the Convention Center.

Demonstrators and pedestrians.

The Icarus Project well represented.

The shrinks label bible, in revision, and its discontents.

What’s that? Psychopharmacomania?

David Oaks, director of MindFreedom International, at the microphone beside Philadelphia native Susan Rogers.

Amid other not so spontaneous eruptions of Mad Pride!

ON HUMANITY: Addressing The Problem Of Forced Drugging

Jack Bragen is a nutcase who writes a mental health column for The Berkeley Daily Planet. He’s on his meds, and he has no problem with that fact. I, who am not on any psychiatric drugs whatsoever, on the other hand, do have a problem with him promoting forced mental health treatment. His latest article does just that. It bears the thoroughly biased heading, ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Addressing the Problem of Non-compliance Among People with Schizophrenia.

Nobody has ever proven the existence of any “mental illness”, therefore, why force drugs on people for the sake of a theory. People are convicted of schizophrenia without a trial by a jury of their peers. Legitimate medicine doesn’t sentence people to a drug taking regimen. Real “sicknesses” are not some kind of misbehavior requiring the intervention of law enforcement. Psychiatry, blurring the distinction between law and medicine, sometimes does sentence people to take drugs, so called chemical restraints, for this alleged schizophrenia.

The first change I would suggest is to somewhat extend the criteria for a 51 or 5250. An additional criterion that can be added would be to “50” a person if unable to provide for his or her basic needs [such as going to the store and buying a loaf of bread] due to a mental illness. Such a criteria would be less offensive than the one Laura’s Law provides which says they are subject to forced treatment if refusing medication due to the lack of judgment caused by their illness [not in those exact words]. The problem I have with the Laura’s Law criteria is that the patient is presumed incompetent based on making the choice to refuse treatment. The fact that I take medication to an extent by choice and not because a law is mandating it makes a huge difference to me, to my quality of life, and to my attitude toward treatment practitioners.

His first change seems like no change. In fact I think it would be covered under ‘gravely disabled’, a part of the current law that law enforcement officers are fain to enforce. My point, you don’t make laws because you think they won’t be enforced. The change is redundant, and if it wasn’t redundant, why would authorities be any more inclined to enforce it than they are under the current law which includes something of the sort.

The second change that I would introduce is to create a 5350, which would mandate treatment for two or three months, a long enough time period for someone to get over his or her delusional system and come to the realization of needing treatment, but not such a long time that it resembles a six-month jail sentence. At the end of the 5350 time period, if someone is still unable to provide for basic needs, conservatorship could be considered. The 5350 could be used if someone has a track record of noncompliance and resultant relapse, and if currently unfit to survive in society.

3 months is the mental health equivalent of 90 days in jail. The thing is, after doing your 90 days, if we’re talking jail, you’re home free. The state isn’t likely to confiscate your property, nor is the state likely to appoint a warder to keep you under perpetual house arrest. The problem with sentencing people for non-compliance is that if you suspect further non-compliance in the future, technically, you could hold a person for life. All you’d have to do, not having trials in such instances, is to keep recommitting them to successive sentences once their initial sentence had been served. This “conservatorship”, too; what is that, if a man or woman have done their time, except adding insult to injury!?

When making the change in the law that I propose, there ought to be additional requirements that mental health treatment facilities provide humane treatment and quality of care. If we are to be forced into treatment by a governmental mandate, it becomes the responsibility of that government to make that treatment humane, free of malpractice, and respectful of basic human dignity.

Geez, Mr Bragen! Where have you been the last few years? It’s not like there aren’t requirements of the sort you would be asking for. It’s just…who’s going to enforce them? Why mental health authorities, of course. If records show enough unexplained cadavers turning up here and there, well, you call in the feds. The point I am trying to make is that when you make treatment free of liberty, brutality, malpractice (called something else of course), and indignity are going to be the natural consequence. We’re still waiting for our countries’ representatives to recognise those rights put forth in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights drafted by the United Nations.

I’ve got a better idea. Let’s stop treating people in crisis as if they were criminals. Let’s repeal mental health law entirely, including in this repeal 5150, 5250, Laura’s Law, and what have you. Let’s close those decaying relics of moral management and the old asylum system down completely, and let’s put our money into prevention, community care, and social reintegration instead. Of course, reason is not going to prevail anytime soon. Our mad law makers, in collusion with drug companies, and the revisers of the DSM, will not rest content until they’ve gotten “help” for most of the people on this planet. Resigning ourselves to having the future hospital without walls replace the hospital with walls is not going to mean an improvement in any way shape or form.

Investing In Mental Health Rather Than In “Mental Illness”

Reading about what we call “mental illness” from conventional sources is very boring, and no wonder, it’s all the same old tired clichés repeated over and over again. You can talk about one size not fitting all until you‘re blue in the face, but when it comes down to it, we’ve got one size, and we’re trying to make it fit everybody. This size is the prevailing theory and the baggage it, not troubled lives themselves, represents. If you can throw the textbook out the window, then a lot of those troubles, not lives, are going to go with it.

A lot of things have changed in mental health services in the last thirty years or so. Things have gotten much worse. Thirty years ago non-recovery wasn’t the forgone conclusion that it is today. Thirty years ago treatment teams weren’t hounding people deemed in need of intensive care everywhere they went trying to make sure they stayed on their harmful psychiatric drugs. Thirty years ago nobody was ordered into forced treatment outside of a state hospital. Thirty years ago people in mental health treatment were only dying 10 to 15 years younger on average than the rest of the society, now they’re dying at an age 25 years younger. Thirty years ago doctors were less likely to give people powerful drugs for purposes that had not been approved by the FDA. Thirty years ago fewer people labeled “mentally ill” doubled as career mental health workers.

The disability field is a mixed bag, truly. Now I have issues with people labeled “mentally ill” who become “stake holders” in their area’s mental health system. I’m not a “stake holder”. I was involuntarily committed on numerous occasions, I want absolutely no part in a system based upon the deprivation of personal freedoms. Many of the people in the community mental health system got there through the state hospital psychiatric imprisonment system. I’m not one to invest in the deprivation of personal liberties, especially where I am the person being deprived of liberty. I am not an advocate for the kind of dependence that comes of crippling and life disrupting mistreatment. I’d like to see resilience and self-reliance become more of the rule in the mental health care world than they are today.

Becoming a turn-coat and traitor was never my chief aim in life. I’d rather cling to my loyalties. One of those loyalties is to the psychiatrically oppressed and mistreated. I don’t want to have a stake in oppression and mistreatment. I had rather have a stake in the liberation of people from psychiatric oppression and mistreatment. This is where our psychiatric survivor movement began, and it’s where I remain. I’m an advocate for working outside of the system; I’m not an advocate of, and for, working within the system.

I’m not against sitting at the table. I know a university hospital emergency room that sees 2500 people a year for psychiatric issues. Many of these people end up on the psych unit of this university hospital. Some of those people in turn end up being sent to the state hospital for imprisonment mistreatment. If this locality had a crisis respite center, a number of the people presently being sent to the state hospital wouldn’t have to go there because we’d have an operational and preventative alternative to that hospital. There are only a few of these crisis respite centers in the entire country right now. They save reputations, they save lives, and they save money. We should have them everywhere.

A Word On International Psychiatric Oppression Day (IPOD)

Yesterday, October the 10th, was International Psychiatric Oppression Day. I didn’t post yesterday because I felt silence more befitting for such a day of mourning. I know the thought police and their associates have a different expression for this day. They call it World Mental Illness Awareness Day or World Mental Health Day. Whatever you call it, that doesn’t prevent it from being an International Psychiatric Oppression Day.

The thought police and their goons conduct annual mental health screenings on this occasion. The purpose of these screenings is to find more people to whom they can attach “mental illness” labels. These screenings, in effect, serve as a recruitment grounds for patients in the mental health system. These patients are referred to as consumers as they consume mental health services (i.e. take pills). They keep the billion dollar drug industry booming, and they are the life and blood of the current epidemic in psychiatric disability that keeps Social Security dishing out those checks.

The thought police claim that there is a “stigma” attached to receiving psychiatric treatment, and that this is why it is so important for them to conduct these screenings. When people deemed in need of treatment are fain to come forward of their own free will, it helps to have detection devices like mental health screening tests to smoke them out. It must be remembered that although people under the law have the freedom to receive psychiatric treatment, they don’t have any freedom to refuse such treatment. Mental health screening tests are just one more way for psychiatrists to find the people to whom labels might be attached. This procedure supplements the pay that walks into their offices voluntarily.

The USA is the epicenter of the current worldwide epidemic in psychiatric disability. Big pharma must sell drugs, but in order to sell these drugs big pharma must also sell “mental illness” labels (i.e. mental health services). The drugs that big pharma sells have been shown to be a contributing factor in the extremely high mortality rates people in psychiatric treatment are known to have. The drug companies must make up for these losses by expanding their markets. One way of expanding these markets is by screening the population as a whole for mental health.

There are 300 + psychiatric labels in the DSM IV, the field guide and bible of psychiatric disabilities. The DSM is growing with every new label a revision committee elects into its “disease” pantheon. Thankfully, most of these labels are relatively trivial, and might escape detection by a mental health screening test. A minority of people are, at this time, being treated for “mental illness” labels. This situation is subject to change. The World Health Organization, for example, predicts that by the year 2020 depression will be the leading cause of disability in the world. Any imaginative soothsayer ought to be able to predict a time in the future when the majority of the people on earth will have psychiatric labels attached to them.

An antonym for oppression is liberation. We have a day to celebrate psychiatric liberation, too, and that day is July 14th. Bastille Day in France is Mad Pride Day around the world. 2 madmen were among the 7 people liberated from the Bastille when it was stormed in 1789. We know people can liberate themselves from their labels, and we celebrate this fact on that day. Sometimes we call this liberation recovery. We call this liberation recovery because much of the thing people are recovering from is oppression. Internalized oppression, and learned helplessness, come of psychiatric labeling and institutionalization. What you don’t hear so much about is the fact that there is a way out of this pathos of iniquity. Ability and facility come of breaking the chains of such oppression and labeling. This facility starts with the dawning awareness that “sickness”, the label, isn’t everything.

Partners In Crime And Oppression

Question: When do you know you’re saying the wrong thing?

Answer: You know you must be saying the wrong thing when you’re a mental patient, and E. Fuller Torrey agrees with you.

You can get the whole thoroughly disgusting slanted story at KPHO.com, Mental Health Patient Relates To Loughner.

Does this numbskull have any idea who E. Fuller Torrey is? Just in case you were wondering, I will give you a clue. Three words, folks, the Treatment Advocacy Center. E. Fuller Torrey was a founding member of, and he directs, the Treatment Advocacy Center. The Treatment Advocacy Center advocates for what it calls Assisted Outpatient Treatment. Assisted Outpatient Treatment is a fancy and misleading way of saying Involuntary Outpatient Commitment. Involuntary Outpatient Commitment, in the vast majority of cases, means forced drugging. When E. Fuller Torrey isn’t advocating for AOT, he’s advocating for other forms of forced and restrictive “care”. He also collects and studies, through his connection with the Stanley Medical Research Center, the brains of people who have had experience in mental health treatment in the hopes of finding the source of what is referred to in shrink-speak as schizophrenia.

You can count me among those people opposed to the Treatment Advocacy Center, and the violations in human rights, and the curtailments of civil liberties, that it proposes and promotes.

Five More Years Of Kendra’s Law Probable

Five more years of the infamous Kendra’s Law in New York State it appears likely are on the horizon. Kendra’s Law is an involuntary outpatient commitment law some New York legislators are intent on extending. This law would have certain people under court order to follow mental health treatment plans. Almost without exception these treatment plans involve the taking of potentially brain damaging psychiatric drugs. The story behind the legislative battle over this law can be found at legislativegazette.com, Extension of Kendra’s Law Likely.

As the controversial Kendra’s Law sunsets this June, opponents and proponents of the law alike seem on the brink of a compromise –– extending the law for an additional five years rather than making it permanent now or allowing it to expire altogether.

The situation could be worse. Some people want to make the law permanent.

“I thought it should be extended indefinitely and no more sunset, but at this point I think it’s going to be extended,” [Aileen] Gunther predicted.

That a clinical label should divide citizens from their constitutionally guaranteed rights, in the interests of protecting public safety, is the concern here. ‘Mental illness’ labels, after all, don’t automatically eject people so labeled from the human species. You have to remember that people who have been labeled ‘mentally ill’, whom we would be protecting the general public from, are also members of that same public.

Economics, and the current budgetary crisis, are in part behind the reluctance to make Kendra’s law a permanent part of New York politics.

“Considering the state’s current budget crisis, this is not the time to expand services — and it is also not the time to introduce costly and unproven improvements to a law that is working,” Mental Health Commissioner Michael F. Hogan said.

Medical treatment should never be a punishment imposed by a court of law. Convicting people of the possibility of commiting a crime at some time in the future, suspending the presumption of innocense, constitutes an infringement of these same people’s right to due process.

Hopefully legislators in New York will begin to see the threat to American democracy that such legislation represents for what it actually is, and cease to vote to extend this unconstitutional law at some point in the future.

Australia Makes A Mistake

The Australian named Australian of the year for the year 2010 is psychiatrist Patrick McGorry, a sad choice if I’ve ever seen one but, of course, this is hardly the first time a poor choice has been made in the name of blind nationalism.

Why is McGorry a bad choice? Okay, let me go over a few reasons.

ON LINE opinion has an article on the subject, McGorry’s ‘early intervention’ in mental health: a prescription for disaster, from which I quote:

McGorry claims that it is possible to identify people who are at risk of developing a psychotic disorder (e.g. schizophrenia) before they actually develop sufficient symptoms to warrant a diagnosis. He calls the early symptoms – including unusual beliefs, lack of initiative, and social withdrawal – the “prodromal” phase of these disorders. The early intervention that he then calls for is medical intervention that typically includes antipsychotic medications.

The upcoming DSM V may have a ‘psychosis risk syndrome’ in it. Same sort of thing, but bad as it is, this kind of pre-possible-psychosis label would provide just another opportunity for psychiatrists to put people on drugs that have proven harmful.

We are experiencing an epidemic of iatrogenic disease in the mental health field at present; we don’t need to expand this epidemic. Treating people for the possibility of psychosis in the future is going to mean more people with a physician caused disease. There can be no doubt about that.

In the Not Only Department, predicting psychosis is a very dubious field at best right now.

Under McGorry’s proposed reform, large numbers of “false positives” – young Australians – would be caught by the wide early intervention net and exposed to serious risks from drugs that have not been proven to be effective.

Mental health screening is notorious for its high false positive rate. The popular Teen Screen program, for instance, has a 84% false positive rate. This means that these mental health tests used to catch people with ‘mental illness’ are much more likely to find a mentally healthy person ‘mentally ill’ than they are to find a ‘mentally ill’ person ‘mentally ill’. If these tests are so unreliable, how reliable can the sort of fortune telling conducted by a psychiatrist actually be?

Of course, it helps to have the game fixed from the beginning.

Further doubts must be raised about McGorry’s agenda when you see the substantial funding his organisation (Orygen Youth Health) receives from the pharmaceutical industry and also from the US Stanley Foundation, which is notorious for its particularly aggressive approach to the detention and mandatory treatment of people labelled with psychiatric disorders. Some details of this funding are available on the Orygen website (under Major Grants and Other Funding). However, McGorry, who has personally received funding from many manufacturers of antipsychotics, frequently reports no conflicts of interest, particularly in his many recent Medical Journal of Australia articles, including a supplement on early intervention that repeatedly advocates the use of antipsychotics. In the US, several of these antipsychotic manufacturers have been charged with illegal promotion practices.

The people in the US Stanley Foundation are the same people behind the Treatment Advocacy Center. The Treatment Advocacy Center is an organization that actively lobbies for, and promotes, more forced outpatient commitment. This generally means forced drugging.

You can’t forcibly drug a person without taking the right to liberty away from that person. When you take a person’s right to liberty away, assuming that this person is a citizen of the country taking that right away, usually this can only be done in violation of the laws of the land enacted to protect the rights of its citizenry, all of its citizenry.

A number of prominent psychiatrists in the USA have come under investigation by a Senate Committee headed by Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa. These psychiatrists are being investigated for having lied about the amount of money they have received from pharmaceutical companies. Revelation of the amount of these payments, when it is substantial, is required by law. Receiving money from a pharmaceutical company, engaged in the greedy business of trying to sell a drug, on the part of a psychiatrist whose primary concern should be the health of his or her patients, represents an obvious conflict of interest.

Physical ailments developed from such drugging are among the iatrogenic diseases I previously mentioned. These physical ills include a neurological disease–Tardive Dyskinesia, heart disease, organ failure, and other life threatening health conditions. These iatrogenic diseases are one of the reasons why studies have shown people in mental health treatment die on average 25 years earlier than the general population. We don’t need people developing any such lame excuses to injure other human beings. Australia would do better to relieve Dr. McGorry of his license to practice medicine than it would to select him Australian of the year for damaging its young people.