Sci-fi happening soon at a mental health center near you

A friend of mine whom I know through an Icarus oriented group in my home town wrote to our group email yesterday. What she shared should scare everyone. I’ve heard of what she reports being the wave of the future but hadn’t heard of anyone actually encountering it yet.

I hope she will keep us apprised on her experience. For now I’m simply going to paraphrase her email as she did not want me to cut and paste it. I really wanted the lazy way out on this one….really not feeling so good, so please forgive if it’s not well written.

North Carolina mental health infrastructure is falling apart and because we are in the mountains far away from most civilization we apparently have a shortage of psychiatrists. This young woman has been going to a Public Mental Health Center for a couple of years I believe. They have just announced drastic changes.

  • All psychiatrists are being laid off.
  • Hundreds of patients will be transferred to a group of new psychiatrists.
  • Next month the consumers will have  a 45 minute intake with a new psychiatrist. Then they will see a psychiatrist once a month for 12 minutes. It may or may not be the same person.
  • These meetings will not happen in person. These “consumers” will be having their appointments over WEBCAM. The psychiatrists will be approximately 700 miles away near the coast.

They will be prescribing powerful, dangerous medications over webcam.

She asks some good questions about privacy. Will these sessions be recorded and where will such recording be kept? Of course that’s pretty secondary to HOW THE FUCK can this be appropriate in any situation?? Which is the real gist of her email.

In a system where we are already deeply and systematically dehumanized actions such as these continue to denigrate our self-worth.

My friend plans to participate in the sham once, so that she can then give feedback and write letters about the experience. I hope she will share her experience with me so that I can share it with all of you.

Please share your thoughts and let me know if you’ve heard of this in any of your communities.

12 thoughts on “Sci-fi happening soon at a mental health center near you

Add yours

  1. Hi,
    Gianna in the post you write”we are already deeply and systematically dehumanized”.Being forcibly drugged constitutes torture finds a group at the UN when looking at whether psychiatric “treatment” fits the definition of torture.Experts seem to agree on this.I and many others have been victims in peace time to torture and bear the scars.This new very cursory system your friend describes in NC doesn’t sit well with me at all.thanks for your vigil on these very important issues.



  2. I read this post, yesterday. I went back to my Danish blog, watched the Soteria-vid, that I’d posted there, Monday. Watched it again and again – I love that vid. “We ought to have a whole bunch of Soteria Houses…” And what have we got, 36 years after those words were said? 12 minutes, once a month, on a web cam. The very opposite of Soteria. Congrats to the mental health system for succeeding in eventually failing its clients completely! – And I don’t care that this is happening in NC, USA, while I live in Denmark. Where people still get 12 minutes, once a month, irl. It pisses me off (sorry), anyway. This should just not be. Nowhere on this planet.

  3. We have something called telemedicine in our program. Consumers and the doctor both see each other and talk, over a television screen. This doesn’t happen every time a consumer sees a doctor, but it does sometime. The doctors aren’t hundreds of miles away, but just in a different county. All things said and done, I’m proud of what we do here overall. We serve the seven smallest counties (population wise) in Georgia and we are in a part of Georgia known as the “povery area” of the state. This part of Georgia has unusually high rates of certain diseases. Heart discease, stroke, and diabetes, go through the roof here. And another county in this part of the state (not a county that we serve though) has the highest rate of schizophrenia in the world, and one of the counties close to it has either the highest rate of heart disease in the world, or in Georgia. But, I love this part of the state, and the people who live here.

  4. Gianna,

    You write: “frankly I wouldn’t mind seeing it completely disintegrate and have something new and humane rise in it’s place…it will not be reformed there is not reform for our current psychiatric system…we need a complete paradigm shift….”

    I don’t agree that we need reform of our current psychiatric system, I believe it needs to be dismantled completely with compassion and support for the victims, er patients.

    While the future for NC “mental health” patients looks bleak, because, as your friend writes, session maybe video taped, perhaps it’s a step in the right direction, perhaps people will think twice before going to a “mental health” professional in this way, and actually, perhaps if sessions are video taped, the “mental health” professionals will finally get busted as “patients” really will be able to prove what happens in psychotherapy and med check visits.

    Nonetheless, it’s likely that the “patients” will suffer and purported chemical imbalances in the brain blamed when the real problem is the entire mental health industry. Sort of like how the people kicked out of deinstitutions, deinstitutionalized, after having been imprisoned, tortured and deprived, were considered mentally ill when they, having no money or job skills, were held responsible for their own poverty because they were “mentally ill.” The problems in psych hospitals back then weren’t that people were provided beds to sleep in, it’s that they were locked in, tortured, drugged…the solution would have been to unlock the doors and make treatment voluntary.

  5. Ruth,
    this woman is anything but a victim and she knows she has options and she is an activist….

    that is why she says and I repeat that she is going to go to the first intake appt so she can experience it first hand and slam it in letters to the authorities…and then find a human being to work with…she is not putting up with it.

    she has good info…she was given the info from her care provider who is making the changes.

    she is not hysterical. she knows exactly what she is doing.

    our NC community care is so completely out of control and so many people have already been totally screwed, your example of things going nice and neatly in Philly is not possible at this point.

    There is no comparison…things have been systematically falling apart in NC for about 8 years and it just keeps getting worse and people are perpetually left without care….

    frankly I wouldn’t mind seeing it completely disintegrate and have something new and humane rise in it’s place…it will not be reformed there is not reform for our current psychiatric system…we need a complete paradigm shift…

    I post this just to underscore how things get worse and worse.

    Soterias and alternative care available everywhere….that’s what I want to see…

    no more toxic, soul killing drugs forced on people made to believe it’s the only way….

  6. It’s clear that the woman who contacted you about the drastic changes in the NC mental health system is very frightened. I do indeed feel for her & know that your blog, Gianna, is a great comfort to her.

    I am very fortunate up here in suburban Philly b/c though I’d been under psychiatric care for 20 years, most of it was excellent care as it is for most people in my bipolar & depression support group.

    I would ask the young lady to try to calm down if at all possible. The unknown future can be dreadfully scary when we don’t know the whole story. She should seek true information from truthful sources – possibly the insurance companies – altho it may be impossible to know what’s gonna happen at this early juncture.

    When I worked as a therapist in an agency in 2000, the agency went bankrupt. They had 1600 patients in addition to psychiatrists and therapists. All of us were “let go” – not fired. We were then free to go to other agencies which absorbed each & every one of the 1600 patients. The transition took place very smoothly b/c of planning ahead & hosting meetings to apprise patients of the change. No one panicked b/c it was so well-planned.

    Possibly you can do the same in your NC community. The woman who wrote in should become an advocate. She should turn around her perceived ‘victimization’ into advocacy with other patients who are willing to fight for their rights to good psychiatric care.

    I do believe this would work. It should be done with a positive, friendly and hopeful attitude, a mature attitude that will convince the powers-that-be that you are wonderful people to work with so you can then enter into a new partnership with them.

    A pipe dream? Well, look at what Obama accomplished. He’s on third base waiting to come home. You can do it too in the Tar Heel State.

    Ruth Z Deming, MGPGP

Leave a Reply

Powered by

Up ↑