Robert Whitaker and Lisa Cosgrove (2015) hold a conversation (2015:156-159) concerning how the public has been duped into believing in psychiatry, and how the social understanding of psychiatry is based on fraud; “without genuine informed consent” (2015:158). If society is making decisions in “an environment riddled with misinformation (the chemical imbalance story), or a lack of information (the failure to disclose poor long-term results, for instance)” (2015:158), then as a society, we must reconsider those decisions about the reach of psychiatry, with the elimination of corrupting forces in the environment.
If we accept Whitaker and Cosgrove’s assessment that informed consent for a person to participate in psychiatry is not informed consent because of the fraud that Americans are subjected to by organized psychiatry, then the consensus for laws that support forced psychiatry have also not been garnered with informed consent. If the average person is offering support to psychiatry via their legislators, because they are operating under the fraud organized psychiatry has perpetrated on the people, then that support is illegitimate. Whitaker and Cosgrove (2015) address competing issues of the guild and the industry as mechanisms of institutional corruption.
This institutional corruption is what allows for forced psychiatry. If the public supports psychiatry acting with state-power in limiting the freedoms of individuals psychiatry identifies as requiring such actions, then the decision of the public to support forced state-sponsored organized psychiatry must be retaken as it has been made under the guise of fraud. A decision about stripping basic human, constitutional, and civil rights in such a way ought only be made once a mass educational campaign about how the people of the world have been defrauded by the biomedical industry of organized psychiatry, aimed at the voters and lawmakers, has been successfully made.
The economic privilege of the psychiatric guild and industries has made technology wildly accessible to those in power. The digital world has sped the process of supposed ‘educational’ campaigns promoted by (p)harmaceutical industries and their supposed non-profit fronts, who act with state power given by he legislators, who in turn are funded via the lobbies, and if the lawmakers abide, kept in power by the industries. The digital world also, however, via social networking platforms and other technology-based communications, has never been more accessible to the average person, who can reach civil society in a way that was simply not possible a decade ago.
One of the ways in which I now see the situation of people who identify as psychiatric survivors uses a framework of legal definitions. I am paraphrasing here, but legally defined, deadly force is any action that causes death or serious bodily injury (i.e. a psychiatric takedown; an injection). A deadly weapon is any substance, (i.e. drug) or device (i.e. mechanical restraint, electroshock device, etc.) that is known to cause death or serious bodily injury. By way of example, since we know that substances such as drugs, or devices such as mechanical restraints and electroshock machines, are known to cause death and serious bodily injury, they can be seen as deadly weapons. Therefore, those who have survived restraints, drugs, electroshock, etc., or people who identify as psychiatric survivors are also people who are survivors of deadly force, with deadly weapons.
Historically, over the centuries, the (d)evolution of the public psychiatric service delivery system has been put in the spotlight for its various forms of institutional corruption (poor/almshouse; asylum; hospital; psychiatric center; mental health center; behavioral health center). In short, each incarnation of this system has momentarily been stopped in its tracks, in part, by those incarcerated by it, who were successful in breaking free from its clutches, and calling the public’s attention to its abuses and torture. Despite the efforts of those subjected to the abuses of this monstrous system that simply changes its name when the public is made aware of what it has been doing over time, unfortunately, with each new iteration, the system comes back stronger. The system becomes more pervasive in society. The individual more greatly suffers, while misinformation fuels the support of the institution.
The propaganda campaign Congressman Tim Murphy has launched against people who have psychiatric histories has support, largely, because people believe that psychiatry has something valuable to offer and therefore discount the mandatory losses of freedom that come along with his ideas as real violations. However, the bill is full of mechanisms that will translate into human rights violations and limitations of personal freedoms.
Among other things to be addressed at length in future posts, Murphy’s proposed law strips privacy rights away from adult Americans at their parent’s say-so and makes legal ways for parents to take over the ‘mental health care’ of their adult children, and have adults forced into complying with psychiatry under threat of (re)institutionalization. Murphy’s bill increases good will toward institutions while also increasing discrimination against those who have been psychiatrically assigned by further instituting involuntary outpatient commitment programming (forced drugging, housing, living arrangements; therapy group attendance, etc.).
Under the heading “Racial Disparities in AOT: Are They Real?” Swartz, et al. (2009) explain:
An April 2005 report on statewide demographic data from the New York Lawyers for the Public Interest found that African Americans were over represented in the AOT Program. Whether this over-representation is discriminatory rests, in part, on whether AOT is generally seen as beneficial or detrimental to recipients and whether AOT is viewed as a positive mechanism to reduce involuntary hospitalization and improve access to community treatment for an under-served population, or as a program that merely subjects an already-disadvantaged group to a further loss of civil liberties. (p. vii; 53)
As long as the State supports forced psychiatry, society will discriminate against those who are psychiatrically assigned, in all realms of experience, if not individually, institutionally. This is where the greatest result of the fraud is seen. The researchers (Swartz, et. al, 2009: vii; 53) who were brought in to rule out institutional racism in the involuntary outpatient commitment law say that whether one sees involuntary outpatient commitment as discriminatory or beneficial is determined by the way one views psychiatry. The clear case Whitaker and Cosgrove (2015) lay out for institutional corruption in psychiatry and its resulting social injury must require us as a society to rethink these types of laws that cramp if not eliminate autonomy of individuals at the discretion of psychiatry.
These are all issues near and dear to the Mental Patients Liberation Movement, and because of the imbalance of power, in the past, with whom has had access to society via economics and privilege, there was a monolingual fraudulent message given to the public, that psychiatry is ‘good’. Due to increasing availability to technologies, the previously muted messages of survivors, our allies, and those who are willing to report the truth are gaining louder voices.
A public defrauded by psychiatry created public support of forced psychiatry. Those who advocate for Congressman Tim Murphy’s bill, ‘Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act’, can illustrate such support. Perhaps, for at least some, this support has been given under false pretenses. If an educational campaign was made, to firmly have the public understand the ways in which people have been deceived by organized psychiatry, would the population still support the notion of state-sponsored forced psychiatry and willingly pay for it with tax dollars?
I will continue in my next blog further considering the implications of Psychiatry Under the Influence: Institutional Corruption, Social Injury, and Prescriptions for Reform (Whitaker and Cosgrove, 2015) and a defrauded public’s consensus to support forced psychiatry.
For now, I will leave off by imploring readers to acknowledge that both a human rights framework and the perspective of survivors of psychiatry must be incorporated into this larger conversation.