Tuesday, September 2, 2008

America still shows little tolerance for the Mentally Ill

America still shows little tolerance for the Mentally Ill

Not that this news should come as all that surprising since we are blasted with images of the mentally ill being dangerous each and everyday through the news and other sources. ( fact: those with mental illness are no more or less dangerous than any other segment of the population)
Of course we as a society have created the Special Olympics for the developmentally disabled and spend incredible resources to assure they receive adequate care. The building of a wheel chair ramps and handicapped parking spaces are not just common place, but wound into the very fabric of our society. We have special buzzing crossing sounds at cross walks for the blind, along with braille on just about everything you can imagine. The list goes on and on, accept when it comes to mental illness or disorders.
We even have become much more tolerate and inclusive of alternative life style populations and like others. Government in their always infinite wisdom, created special laws through our Federal Governmental bodies called the ADA ( Americans with Disabilities Act ).
But somehow those with mental illness are still to this day seen as the demons of our society by a staggering percentage of our population. And in all truth when it come to the ADA, it's just a piece of paper! In real life it has no teeth or enforcement behind it when it comes to the mentally ill ( in fact those with mental health issues have by far the lowest percentage of success in discrimination legal action concerning their disability ). Mental Health and the so called care they receive, continues to be the evil step child of bad science and a unjust stigma that never goes away.
There is still as a society this over riding opinion in our general population that want and even demand mentally ill people be drugged into submission and a drooling stupor; and be kept as far out of sight as possible. Even if this means placing them in inhumane institutions and hospitals where they will receive little or no real treatment.
Living with bipolar and working in the mental health field has opened my eyes to this cold hard reality. With the Medical Model now in place, and the Billions of dollars Big Pharma makes off the misery of those suffering; I can see little change in the near future either in care or public opinion.
I hate having to write these words here; since it gives me such a heavy heart and sense of hopelessness, but the truth is just what it is! No matter how hard you try, you can't escape from it's grasp.
When will it all change? I have no answers at this point in life's journey to throw out much hope or a life line for anyone out there reading this.
It just is, what it is! Ignorance can change in a generation or in a thousand years, there is just no predicting how this horrific stain on humanity will play out this time around.


Ana said...

Not only in America.
It's worldwide. I've left a post with a text about human rights in URUGUAY... {laughing} that talks about the lack of advocates and the sensibility on human right in US and the world.
I believe you've got mail!

Ana said...

You have not left an e-mail address.
Occupation: Homeless :o)???
Too hard work! Can't you find something easier?
Anyway, if you want to start the revolution Rio de Janeiro is waiting for you.

Clueless said...

I agree with most of your article. I followed you over here because I liked your comment on Bradley's blog. I think that you might find some of my blog interesting. I write a lot about my process of dealing with major depression, borderline personality and PTSD. My blog is for my own healing, but it also is to educate people regarding mental illness and breakdown the stigma one person at a time. I have made some headway.

I am sorry that you are homeless and that is a whole story in itself that I could rant about how ADA does not address mental illness in the same way even though they are supposed to do so.

Until my depression sidelined from working, I had been working with developmentally disabled adults for 18 years in a variety of jobs. I usually had the ones who also had a psychiatric (lots of paranoid schizophrenia) diagnoses, drug/alcohol history and/or medically fragile. I loved my work, but now I am happy that I actually did a load of laundry yesterday.

Anyway, sorry I blubbered on about myself. Oh, I was wondering why the DSM is on your sidebar as something to watch?

Do you have an email address?

Stephany said...

This is a great article, and I want to address clueless' question about the DSM. It's under scrutiny as it is being written to cover more dx's in a broadbase style: ie more people can end up being wrongly diagnosed and put on psych meds as a result.

Wrong dx can happen when the DSM-V starts to place everyday, typical life situations as reason for medicating.

This is not to discount mental illness as my opinion, it definitely exists(some ppl don't think it does) it is to ensure that innocent ppl do not fall prey to pharma and its victims and from a book(manual)DSM -5 written by ppl with some conflicts of interest (pharma money).

The pharmaceutical industry has a hand in the creation of the new DSM for a reason: they want their medications mass marketed.

The drug companies are fast-tracking antipsychotics for depression, anxiety, social anxiety, speaking in public, MDD, etc, when these drugs are black box warning with diabetes and created for schizophrenia/psychosis and already have less than efficacious results.

I speak from experience after a decade of watching my 20 year old (beginning at age 11)be over-medicated based on a wrong dx, as well as having an Ivy league doctor tell me "the new DSM will be a broadbased dx manual, and the terms we use now will be obsolete in 5 years.The reason I give SZ dx is for services in the community".

The reason America has no tolerance of mentally ill ppl is because ppl do not care. They stay in the safety net of ignorance, and being non -informed about ppl with mental illness.

I spend every day with my daughter who has a schizophrenic dx, and her housemates who are all mentally ill (44 of them)and they are the most delightful part of my day.

When she is home and happens to go on a walk to clear her mind, wearing a headset to drown out voices, the neighbors react negatively.

They warmed up to her when I told them she is autistic. (she is)I left out SZ part, and they accepted her.(after asking me what was wrong with her and "we see her walking") (walking is a crime?)

Discrimination is alive and well, and as Stan's previous articles show, he is facing homelessness due to being terminated (fired) from his job as a psych tech, and he is bipolar.

Society is unfair and cruel to the people who need care and love the most.

Clueless said...

Stephany, thank you for addressing my question and I understand many of the issues that you spoke of regarding your daughter. What I don't understand is why Pharma is involved in development of DSM-V which is due out in 2012? It would seem a conflict of interest and the psychiatrists or even just practicing pharmacists could more than adequately cover the DSM information. (Sarcastically, or maybe the insurance companies out to write it as they seem to dictate to the physicians which medications are suitable by having no information regarding the patient.)

Best of luck to you Stephany.

susan said...

Hi Stan,

I really liked this piece and I really like the comments you have been leaving that I saw on the blogosphere.

Keep writing, it's good for the soul. I;ll keep reading if you keep writing.

Oh I will add you later today to my blogroll. right now I am knee deep in this project for Suicide prevention week.

And yes, I have been homeless, I lived in my car for several months. You are really in my thoughts and prayers, Stan.

susan said...

Clueless, regarding your comments on the DSM V, It's being lead this time by
Peter Kupher I am not surprised about Big Pharma there. A lot of the docs on the board complain it takes time away from their practices and want to be compensated.

Nothing the DSM does anymore surprises me. They have a lay panel for that book- patients = and one of them is my ex. I wrote to Kupher earlier this year- snail mail- and told him to please consider PD for this committee. He is a gifted writer and knows his stuff about meds and mental health. I told him he was more qualified then the ex. (The ex is a schumck. Ask Stephany!)

I never heard back, and PD never got a letter from them.

I do know that I was told personally by the ex that the new DSM, will have five types of bipolar, and that unipolar will be going out the window into a subset of bipolar.

Goodwin and Jamieson hinted at this as well last year when they updated their book.

I cannot help but wonder if they are added 2 more types of bipolar to add to all the mis diagnosis and over diagnosis of bipolar.

Take care clueless. I will get to your blog this weekend. I look forward to reading it. They say one of the hurricanes will be hitting this area, and I need things to read while it happens outside.

Ana said...

Where are you after all?
Reading Stephany's comment made me remember that you said that by the end of September if you didn't have your job back you would not have money to pay the rent.
How are you?
Don't disappear. Try updating us.
Yours truly,

Ana said...


Clueless said...

Stan, where ever you are, thank you for adding me to your blogroll.

Pink Floyd said...

I couldn't agree more! Mental Health is one of the remaining things it is ok to discriminate people with.

Stephany said...

Stan's computer crashed and hopefully will be back up and running in a few days.

Take care everyone,

Stephany said...


When youre computer is fixed you can add this award to your side bar.

Stephany :)

Radagast said...

LOL. Of course the mentally ill (ie, those who have had the balls to admit that they feel like shit), are pariahs. Everybody feels so fucking worthless, they need somebody to be officially acknowledged as the lowest of the low, in order that they can be sure to avoid that status. And the best way to prove that one is not the dregs of society is to be damn sure to treat that demographic as less than one is.

The most vulnerable in society, then, are those that are most demonized. But what you have to remember is this: the people who are demonizing are doing the selfsame thing to themselves - those little parts of them that are vulnerable are hidden away and crushed; denied. The people who created this system are as fucked as the very people they're trying to oppress.


Ana said...

Thank you for the information that Stan's computer has crashed.

Ana said...

Stan's computer is working again but he has no time to blog because he will have to pack and live somewhere else.

susan said...

Thank you for the update Ana.

Please keep us in touch with what is happening with Stan should he not be able to blog.

Stan, take good care .

Stephany said...

You know fun-gi's can blog anywhere.

kim said...


i'm new to your blog and would comment further but my mind is a bit foggy right now. just wanted to say i'm thinking of you and looking forward to reading more of your blog.

we have many things in common, mostly our views on the mental illness stigma, etc but i see you were once an actor and i've been in the film biz for eleven years...although on the opposite side of the camera!

my best to you...

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