capitalism and mental health

Marta Russell ap888 at
Sun Jan 14 22:31:57 MST 2001

We must be aware that organizations purporting to represent those
with psychiatric disabilities are connected to drug industry
money.  If I remember correctly NAMI is underfunded by Lily --
and they do push the idea of "treatment" being drugs.   I do know
of people who have have horrible reactions to drugs that
psychiatrists have given them, and although the person knows the
drug isn't a drug that works for them they have been coerced into
staying on it (giving it longer to work, etc.) and that has been
very harmful in some instance.  Many psychiatrists haven't a clue
as to what drug or dosage to give (it is not a science but rather
an experimental effort) the person with the psychiatric
disability MUST be free to decline to be forcefully treated.
Physicians will most likely listen to the upper crust patients
feedback and make many adjustments to meds but those persons
going to free clinics do not necessarily get such close

Mental Health Services also makes big mistakes.  Here in Ca, for
instance, two persons with psychiatric disabilities were killed a
couple of years ago by police because mental health officials
told them to pick these persons up and forcefully hospitalize
them.  One was at a restaurant and posed no harm to himself or
anyone else but was accosted by police, there was an escalation
in the confrontaion that resulted in the officer shooting him to
death.  The other case I do not recall as clearly, but Protection
and Advocacy did an investigation and found out that it was not
appropriate for Mental Health services to have ordered the police
to intervene in either case.

One thing for certain,  programs need to be developed with
disabled persons involvement.  The slogan goes, NOTHING ABOUT US
That applies to mentally disabled as well.


George Snedeker wrote:
> 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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