The mental health system is not about mental health; the mental health system is actually a “mental illness” system. Its sole concern is the detaining, the containing, the treatment, and the management of people designated as being of ‘unsound mind’. So-called mentally healthy people have little need of it. The mental health system, promoted and sustained by the mental health movement, actually constitutes a mental illness industry. The system, that is, manufactures, and en masse, “mental illness”.
The numbers of people said to be suffering from one mental ailment or another have been on the rise, not for decades, but for centuries. In the 19th century the great asylum building boom fueled this increase, and in the 21st century, social welfare laws in combo with the community mental health system, the hospital without walls, the mental health ghetto, are fueling this epidemic. It is one thing to say that a person is sick when they exhibit a great deal of odd behavior, it is quite another thing to say that a person is sick merely because that person is anxious. The mental health system, in both cases, claims sickness is at work. The mental health system, in both cases again, has no evidence of actual sickness.
The mental illness industry is a social control mechanism used by the state to keep people in line. On top of the law, you have this quasi-legal, quasi-medical, apparatus for insuring social order and stability. It is a medical system for people without diseases, and a police system for people who have broken no written laws. Written is key here. Mental health law is a loophole written into law of the law. Diseases are physical, if they are not physical, they are not diseases. That is what science is about, what can be apprehended and measured by the senses.
Standard psychiatric practice, something that began with the mere imprisonment of deemed errant individuals, has evolved to include, almost to the exclusion of other practices, patient injury. Shock treatment is equivalent to head trauma. The drugs that replaced the lobotomy actually achieve the same result chemically. Doctors use every deception available to seduce their patients into believing that harm is actually help, and that healing is somehow enhanced by further injury. On the social and economic levels, the injury is also dramatic, and as spin would have it, assistance.
What used to be a civil rights movement, what has been called a patients rights movement, has of late, bought out by the federal government, been absorbed into the mental health movement. This movement for patient liberation, in effect, has in an effort to increase its numbers, and to enter the mainstream of political involvement, taken a 180 degree turn and become a movement for enslavement rather than a movement for liberation. Only by a reassessment, and a return to our initial values, can this wrong turn be corrected.
There are two strains to this movement actually, that of radical abolitionism and that of moderate reformism. The radical abolitionists would outlaw coercive psychiatry. The moderate reformists would legislate reform against the worst abuses of coercive psychiatry, without outlawing it, into perpetuity. The radical abolitionist faction of late it seems has been overshadowed by the collaborationist efforts of the moderate reformists. It has long been time to reassert the call for abolition, and to revive this rupture, between the collaborators with psychiatric oppression, and its resistance fighters.
“Mental illness” labeling is at epidemic proportions. “Mental illness” labeling and drugging is at epidemic proportions because the mental illness industry is expanding. Many former and present mental patients, or, if you prefer, mental health service consumer/users, are actively aiding the mental illness industry in its expansionism. Expansion of this industry is not good as it means more people labeled and drugged. Contraction of the mental illness industry means fewer people labeled “mentally ill” and so drugged. You don’t quell an epidemic by expanding it. Read the literature (i.e. propaganda) sometimes. It’s ass backwards.