Monday, September 29, 2008

Government promotes Severe Mental Illness amongst most deprived sections of the population

What is that people do not understand about mental health?

Mental health is like physical health
There are a number of basic requirements (like oxygen, food and water)

These are:
1) A good environment
2) Good physical health
3) Good relationships, healthy emotions and a supportive group of people
4) Positive experiences in life supported by healthy thinking (think of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy - otherwise known as good advice from your grandmother)
5) The opportunity to be yourself

Yes it is that simple. Most of us can cope with one or two out of place, but when three or more are out of balance, the trouble starts.

Two articles in the Guardian - Both describe how people are deprived of the essential vitamins of good mental health

1)Rentergirl: Where family values mean nothing

2) A mindless oversight: Titan jails could have a devastating effect on the already precarious mental health of many prisoners. These are Institutions housing 2,500 individuals -

Environment - fail

Physical health - fail - no sunlight, poor food, poor healthcare

Emotion and Social group - fail - no purpose and no joint activities

Positive experiences of life - fail - no constructive learning, bullying and harassment rife

Opportunity to be yourself - In an institution, with 2,500 other people?

Where are we going?
Just about everyone living in either of the above institutions will develop severe mental health problems. End of story.

Is this a plot to allow the government to medicate its way out of social difficulties? Is Soma (the stuff from George Orwell's 1984- just in case :-) the solution?? Anaesthetise the less able and less willing amongst the population so that only the good workers are left??

When will people wake up and realise that this is going on today. This is the Assault on Reason Al Gore describes. This is not reasonable. We do not need double blind controlled trials to establish that depriving people of the essentials vitamins of mental health destroys their mental health.

Copyright (c) Dr. Liz Miller


Deb Acle said...

Thank you again, Liz, great post. You detail the astoundingly obvious which very few service providers want to take on board (maybe because they'll lose their jobs/salaries/power if they implement these very simple and sustainable fixes. There's a lot of money to be made in maintaining the status quo, let's be honest...).

:-) 'Grandma's advice' = wise counsel indeed.

But it does sort of lead to cognitive dissonance (and yet more mental ill-health) in a culture where honesty-is-the-best-policy, expecting to do-as-you-would-be-done-by and have others treat you with the same respect, counting your blessings, looking before you leap etc etc are not now held as shared virtues.

I wonder where most people would really place themselves on Maslow's pyramid? Would make a telling survey I suspect.

Deb Acle said...

Common sense undermined - Gramsci has a lot to answer for.

Meanwhile, 'Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.' (Thoreau) Plus ca change eh?

Dr. Liz Miller said...

Yes - people do seem to have lost confidence in the power of common sense!

To date democracy has failed to achieve its promise of self actualisation for all - most of us have to get work in the morning.

Democracy only works with an informed electorate, mental health is the basis of being informed. If you can't think beyond surviving the day, you can hardly make a reasoned decision about how the government should respond to the credit crunch.

peter a. said...

It might be more sensible to allege that society merely professes to care: that its leaders are constrained by an uncomprehending public, rather than intentionally leading us all astray.

Years ago, before this internet thing, society had reached a different balance. A just balance or not, the internet has just made another route where we can mock it; but will it alter it? I don't think it's true that the status quo is broken merely by exposure. People can know they live under tyranny but mysteriously accept it. Accepting authority over oneself, whether a council governing your profession or a government of your country, is a subtler submission.

There is so much hypocrisy. It would be wrong to accept this world as it is. My own perception is that joining any group is such a surrender of independence, that you'll never alter the nature of what you've joined: it will alter you.