capitalism and mental health

George Snedeker snedeker at
Sun Jan 14 12:52:32 MST 2001

first capitalism drives people crazy, then it offers treatment at a price.
mental health practice is an industry. it operates for profit.

It  is also important to see the role social class plays in the kinds of
treatment people get. middle to upper class people get private therapy that
they choose. they get to take or to reject medication. poor people get
treated in much more oppressive ways. they are treated in outpatient clinics
where heavy doses of medication is the norm. psychopharmacology is a model
of treatment. it is not just pure science put to work in the name of
progress. there are clear capitalist interests at work in the operation of
drug companies and the way psychiatrists and other mental health workers are
educated. medication can serve as a form of treatment or as a form of
control. many working class adolescents are given drugs like Prozac to
control them. they get little in the way of personal care.

I wonder what form community mental health services would have taken if they
had been funded. no one should  think of going back to locked wards of State
mental hospitals. psychiatry is a power relationship. people like Laing and
Szasz were right about this fact. the problem is to see mental health as
part of the larger fabric of social life.

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