One of Wellness Wordworks’s goals is to create dialogue with those in the mental health industry, to help shape how they approach their work.
We’ve Been Exploited Worse in the Past
Mental health providers are not the only people who have exploited our vulnerability. Other forms of abuse include:
(1) suffering physical violence or sexual exploitation by family members or “friends”;
(2) being kicked out of our homes or running away from an abusive family, and suffering violence and exploitation on the street;
(3) ending up in the criminal justice system and being incarcerated, where we are particularly subject to violence and sexual abuse by other inmates;
(4) being identified as genetic defectives and rounded up in forced labor camps, where we were worked to death or exterminated (Nazi Germany).
Forcing people into hospitals. or to take drugs, involves compulsion that can be just as problematic as the abuse I’ve described.
Laws Have Improved the Mental Health Industry
But the laws in this country have changed, making it more difficult for doctors to lock someone away, and subject them to whatever treatments they choose.
These changes have been controversial. More people with emotional difficulties have ended up on the street. But doctors no longer have absolute power over whether someone will permanently lose their freedom just because of a psychiatric diagnosis.
Many mental health professionals are aware of what can happen to emotionally distressed individuals who fail to get appropriate help. and also, the abuses we have been subjected to in the past.
They may be aware of the flaws in the current system, and thus be powerful allies for making changes. They are likely to think of the disease model, and meds. as a more humane solution to severe emotional distress than letting people suffer without help, or incarceration.
There’s room to create more protections for people suffering from extreme emotional distress, and . get diagnosed people more involved in their own treatment decisions.
This approach will result in better outcomes, and a better working environment for both providers and consumers. We don’t need to accuse providers, who are often well-meaning, of human rights violations and crimes that they could not be found guilty of in a court of law.