Human and civil rights and mental illness

I read this and this today. I read this yesterday. I’m feeling rage. I actually read this sort of stuff every day. We (the psychiatrically labeled) are marked for life and people like NAMI, TAC, psychiatrists in general as well as Big Pharma will do everything in their power to keep us marked. If they have it their way the future could hold a “registry” of psychiatric “pre-offenders.” Because that is what we are becoming in the eyes of the public. People who are “potentially” abusive, dangerous and violent and therefore in need of social restraint. Hysteria is all over the land. “Minority Report” is alive and well as seen in the story of the young woman in England (above link and here) and as seen in cases of outpatient commitment happening in our country now. (“Minority Report” is a futuristic movie in which people are arrested before they commit a crime by use of psychics who foretell the future–we are very nearly there when it comes to how the psychiatrized are being treated in this country and others.)

As long as mental illness is considered genetic, biological and incurable in virtually all cases, stigma, prejudice and bigotry is all we have to look forward to. If we are hopeless and incurable as the propaganda has it then the TAC witch hunters will continue to have a field day asserting that we are potentially violent deviants. (Regardless of the fact that we commit fewer violent acts than the public at large and are more often victims of such acts. But the stats are twisted to raise fear and loathing in the public so that we can be controlled with no one to support us because the powers that be buy into the bull.)

We have to wake up. We have to stop letting “adovocacy” groups like NAMI and TAC dictate to America what mental illness is and who we who are labeled are. And we must take responsibility for ourselves and those of us who need our help and start offering viable alternatives that prove to the world that we are not hopeless incurable “sick” people.

Human rights are systematically being violated in the name of psychiatry. I recommend your reading Charlottesville Prejudice Watch regularly if you have any doubt of this fact. We are routinely abused. This aspect of psychiatry is not generally covered on this blog–not because I don’t care, but because the idea was to share one persons journey of hope–but this is a call to those of you who care about our futures and the futures of millions of others who are labeled as psychiatric patients who may not have hope at this time. I don’t think it’s paranoid to say we are not safe in this society at this time. Please do your part in educating yourselves then legislators and people with influence and advocating for the human and civil rights of those of us who are labeled.

*For an intro to TAC see this post from Furious Seasons and the links it leads to–it’s a place to start educating oneself about the hatred that this so-called advocacy organization spews.

Addendum: Just to show how they poison us in the name of treatment see today’s Furious Season’s post as well.

About Monica Cassani

Author/Editor Beyond Meds: Everything Matters

16 Responses

  1. Yes, good point on the biological dogma driving stigma, if only people understood that. But the public “psychoeduction” campaigns say the opposite, and still push SMI as innate with claims that it reduces discrimination. The public doesn’t seem much aware that there’s any debate about this within the mental health community. I guess it’s up to us.
    Great post.


  2. thememoryartist

    therapydoc wrote : “Now what do we do with all of those labeled individuals who like their labels, even seek labels so that they qualify for social security disability?”

    Fabulous question therapydoc.

    The first thing we might do is develop diagnostic procedures that are actually valid and reliable , unlike the DSM which is a mere labeling system based on collections of symptoms which often overlap each other. Labels are being applied somewhat arbitrarily and the resulting treatments are often ineffective and even harmful, sometimes- quite frequently I would propose- producing disability that becomes severe and prolonged if not permanent. This is particularly the case with the rampant prescribing of psychoptropic medications for every psychiatric complaint. The danger of this is inherent in the medical model of mental illness.

    Now as for people who “like their labels”, that is a multifacted issue- but let’s look at one point now. The medical model of mental illness is popular with many of those experiencing psychiatric/psychological difficulties, because it does absolve one from the personal responsibility aspect. People don’t want to feel that they are “to blame” for their problems, which is not in actuality, what a psychosocial perspective would propose- but the idea that the illness/or psychological distress is due to factors such as biology, heredity , etc. and can be ameliorated by medications is very attractive to those who don’t want to undertake therapy. Unfortunately, drug treatment is often the first and only treatment offered to those who seek psychiatric treatment. People don’t want to invest the time and/or money in therapy or they simply don’t have the time or money to invest. There is fear involved too. If the cure comes in a pill they think- why not? But I’m guessing you already know that.

    The fact that many patients do cling to the medical model of mental illness as the result of brain disorder, is being exploited by psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry. Just because people like their labels and prefer to get the drugs very often, doesn’t mean they they should get them. If there were reliable and valid diagnostic criterion for applying the labels that often define treatment options and effective treatment options were available to everyone, people would not be unnecessarily medicated and effectively disabled for the rest of their lives. Looking at all mental illness as an incurable problem (which is what the bio model proposes) has contributed to increasing numbers of individuals who are chronically disabled and in need of social security disability benefits.


  3. therapydoc, “individuals who like their labels”
    what about those that didn’t like their labels?
    can you undo the torture/imprisonment I experianced from psychiatry? I became what was diagnosed, it is a beautiful system. The horror that is.


  4. lia

    i sought help for trauma related depression when i was 15. ten years later, i’m on disability for all the “help” i received. once you’re in the system they lock you down, and if you try to get out you’re told you’re sick and being irrational. it seems to be a never ending cycle.

    thank-you for your post. it’s good to know i’m not the only one who feels this way.


  5. Denise

    Thank you Gianna for speaking out. I have been harassed for years by discriminating family, neighbors and society because of a chronic biological illness, besides being disabled from the toxic psych drugs. most people are harassed for being on disability. ~ D


    gianna wrote:

    I never said people shouldn’t be on disability and I never said that mental distress is a figment of people’s imagination. I said people need alternatives and “mental illness” needs to be interpreted differently.

    I’m on disability because of lack of alternatives. The medications made me sick. People need SSDI and SSI at times. You are cruel.

    I will hopefully be off disability when I come of the toxic drugs that made me sick. However, they may have permanently damaged me too–so I don’t know that I will come off of it. I can assure you I don’t like my label and I don’t think anyone else does either. I also don’t like being on disability. It is painful not having productive outlets and that is true for everyone. We are not lazy people who don’t want to work. People are suffering. They need alternatives not cruel people who would rather have them on the street because there are no alternatives.

    Read “The Necessity of Madness and Unproductivity” by John Breeding and don’t come back here if you’re going to say unfeeling things about people you don’t understand.


  6. Denise

    The biggest obstacle to overcome, in my opinion, is the bias due to societal attitudes and prejudice towards persons with disabling health conditions of any kind. Personally both me and my partner of 20 years have encountered numerous hate crimes over the years, including harassment, intimidation, anonymous hate mail, personal property damage, mail tampering, property theft and property damage to motor vehicles. I report the crimes and nothing is ever done. I am completely discredited. I am irate that I can’t get help. ~ D


  7. My daughter received so many labels by age 18, and so many meds, per mis information, mis diagnoses, that she IS on SSI, medicaid, etc. imagine that by age 18. I’m pretty sure she never had that on her list of dreams, like to own a horse ranch. Thanks for this post.


  8. Mia

    I was diagnosed with BPD 10 years ago (age 18) after a difficult childhood. I’ve had very little help…. I’m just labelled as scum, and have been refused treatment for my eating disorder, OCD, anxiety disorder and sleep disorder, which (despite being diagnosed independently) are all conveniently pushed under the BPD umbrella. This absolves services of all responsibility, whilst allowing them to push blame onto me. Yes, I’m on benefits (british disability), and my god, how I would love to be able to work as an animal behaviourist (I actually have a degree in zoology and was studying for an MSc in behaviour). If I could only access appropriate medical treatment, then this dream could become reality. Two years ago, I complained about my health care (or lack of it), and it still has not been resolved. The lengths NHS trusts will go to to cover up mistakes and discredict patients is phenominal and terrifying… they will even falsify medical records, and unfortunately, once labelled with BPD, this can happen all too easily.


  9. j

    Therapy doc: You fail to realize that the drugs they gave me prevented me from reading and it could have been permanent. the drugs they gave me made me sleep 20 hours a day while the group therapy leader yelled at me to stay awake. The atmosphere in this world towards the mentally labeled is so overbearing that it creates immense disabling fear in the patients to the point of not being able to function, even with the maximum amount of the various 20 different drugs I was on. Therefore I say to all the mentally labeled people who were fired from every job after telling their boss their therapist was demanding to see them every week and had to take off early: GET ALL THE PUBLIC FUNDING YOU ARE ENTITELED TO. If the public wants to accuse every last mentally labeled person of being dangerous and denies them jobs, then they definitely deserve to be on every type of public funding. I know someone who was drugged for 30 years and isn’t even 50 years old yet and they are already in diapers with a heart condition from all the drugs that were pushed on them.
    People like John Nash who escaped the psychiatrist finally got away from the drugs and could work. The psychiatrists and the drug industry like to say they help people finish college and get jobs, but my “treatment team’ thought I was crazier for saying I wanted to finish college and tried to get me to drop out, and verbally abused me. I was even attacked by the hospital staff and didn’t fight back or provoke anyone, and all the lawyers tell me, they can get away with being violent towards mentally labled people, because all they have to say is that the mentally labeled people were the actual dangerous people regardless of their innocence. I strongly encourage every mentally labled person to get all the public benefits they are entitled to, try to get a pell grant to finish college and take their rightful place in society, only thing is they have to keep their labeling a secret.


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