Wednesday, 14 March 2012

mental health groups behaving paternalistically

It is a concern, and annoying, when mental health organisations behave in the same paternalistic way as the psychiatric system - telling us what to do and what to say - as if it is not a free country or that we have free speech - I am wondering if it is to do with being funded by the government?

And yet the government seems to want people with 'lived experience' to have a say and influence positive change in the psychiatric system - this is a conundrum ...


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  2. In my long experience with this issue (since the late 80s), I think when the system first decided it would be a good idea to involve people who have received mh services in advisory committees, etc., it never occurred to them that we would not all buy into the fundamental premises of the existing system or that we would have ideas that were markedly different from their own. It upset them to have their worldview challenged, and so they started looking for compliant people who accepted the status quo, and labeled the rest of us wild-eyed radicals.

  3. Thanks for commenting Darby. You've got a point.

    As a wild-eyed radical I'm a relatively new kid on the block, mental health activism wise, although have been a community development worker in other settings since the beginning of the 80's.

    It's never been a smooth road, being non-conformist. Of course I think that is why I managed to get out of the psychiatric system relatively unscathed in 1978 and 1984, apart from the usual grabbing and jagging stuff. 2002 was a bit more challenging because of the cocktail of drugs and the pinning of a label on me that still sticks like glue.