The individual, family and society: Who and what exactly is mentally ill?

Parents who feel comfortable calling their children mentally ill while refusing to take a look at family dynamics are problematic and complicate the healing process for those labeled ill. We need to know that we are part of a web of life and our situation has not happened in a vacuum. We are not defective. We are sensitive. See: Consider the possibility that sensitive folks are not mentally ill

This isn’t about blaming anyone…it’s about recognizing the human condition…we are all connected. Open Dialogue is one therapeutic system that looks at how we are intertwined with family and community, bringing everyone into the therapeutic process.

The concept of the  “identified patient” (that John Bradshaw popularized – that’s where I first learned about it) is critically important…the family unit is always a significant part of emotional wellbeing. If there is one “mentally ill” person in the family, most of the time that means the whole family is involved in a dynamic of stress and denial.

We can expand this into our society and, really, we must — our entire society is comfortable “othering” those with “mental illness” yet, our society is sick too.

Our society is in deep denial of this reality, as well, as we catapult towards global collapses of all kinds. We might even say that everyone is mentally ill in our very troubled and desperately teetering society.

I will end with my favorite and very often quoted line from Krishnamurti:

“It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” 

Let us all look to ourselves and then with love heal one another that we might save ourselves and our planet.


The Mental (Illness) system and thoughts on alternatives: a collection

I can’t call the current system of care a “mental health system” when it’s so clearly one that generates, encourages and sustains mental illness. And so I’ve often referred to it as a mental illness system. Here I’m underscoring that as it’s important that we make big changes if we want to help not only the most vulnerable people in our society, but also society itself. We create one another. None of this happens in a vacuum.

Below is a list of posts from Beyond Meds that look at the system from many different perspectives. It will become one of the main drop-down navigation menu tabs at the top of the page. It will replace the Professional/Patient Divide tab and will be called Mental Illness System. The contents of it will include those posts that were included in the Professional/Patient Divide Tab.

This post will be updated as appropriate. Check the drop-down navigation menus often for updates and additional access to the archives. I’m always working on them.

New: History in the system and my vision for mental health on Nonduality Talk— Beyond Meds (audio)

The below are pieces written specifically about the divide between the professionals in the system and those who are subject to their care and/or abuse.

Other significant pieces:

Having well-being in general is simply about learning to live well. It really doesn’t need to called therapy or need medical intervention most of the time. What a concept! Here is a collection of self-empowering ways to view our health and well-being from a holistic standpoint. This list does not begin to be exhaustive. There are as many ways to wellness as there are human beings. The below list of links all include additional collections of links on the topic they cover.

People are recovering and thriving in spite of what psychiatry tells them everyday. Sadly many of us had to disengage ourselves from a system of “care” that harmed us gravely in order to do it. Non-compliance saves people everyday. This needs to change. It’s dangerous and tragic both.

If you would like to know more about coming off meds as safely as possible start here:


For a multitude of ideas about how to create a life filled with safe alternatives to psychiatric drugs visit the drop-down menus at the top of this page. 

Support Beyond Meds. Enter Amazon via a link from this blog and do the shopping you’d be doing anyway. No need to purchase the book the link takes you to or make a donation with PayPal. Thank you!

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