Sunday, February 20, 2011 | Categories: Episodes
On Cross Country Checkup: mental illness
It used to be the condition nobody would talk about. Five years ago a Senate report ...the first-ever national study of mental health and addiction, said Canada badly needed a strategy to deal with mental illness.
What has changed since then? Is support for mental health improving?
With guest host Andrew Nichols.
I think it would be interesting to see how "grassroots" type initiatives are helping to diminish what we know is "stigma" in terms of mental health. As in any worthwhile movement it starts with those who have experience or from those most affected. So with a different spin I would love to hear what others are doing about this.
My event called Mayday for Mental Health has been successful in getting the word out. A one day planned event in Brantford which involves many agencies, speakers, entertainers and community members who share their stories with the attendees to send the message "its ok to talk about it", because not talking is not working!
We all have a part in caring for our communities and beyond, right?
Unfortunately, the Mental Health Commission of Canada is not helping improve understanding for serious mental illness. Rather than to talk about mental illness (a disease) they talk about mental health issues and mental health problems like it is a mild and passing condition. They also mention about one in five (people suffer from mental illness) which is impressive but it tends to diminish the serious mentally ill who comprise three percent of the population. That group gets the short end of the stick. Talking about problems and issues rather than illnesses is like referring to cancer as an issue or a problem. And not all cancers are the same. We do not lump benign skin cancer with a very high survival rate in with cancers like pancreatic with a low survival so why lump schizophrenia in with a mild depression?
I believe that ongoing support for child victims and survivors of abuse, as well as increased abuse prevention education for children would help alleviate the trauma and suffering that is associated with antisocial behaviors and mental health disorders.
Also, given Canada's ombudsman for prisons 2009 report, I think it would be fiscally and socially prudent to provide and support mental health initiatives and treatments for those incarcerated before Canadians finance new facilities seeing as how "ten to 12 per cent of offenders entering the federal prison system have a significant mental health problem".
One issue which might keep people with mental health issues from seeking help is insurance. Insurance discrimination adds to the stigma and hurts those who need help.
My son was denied any benefits by the insurance company at his wife's place of employment because he had at one time received antidepressants from his doctor for depression. Anyone aware of this policy, might hesitate to share concerns with their doctor thereby denying themselves assistance.
I have empathy for these people, however I have seen three young children killed at the hands of someone with a mental illness. So yes there is a real fear attached to this problem. Personally I feel that this is an area that is not valued enough to have more research done to make a difference.
Chilliwack, British Columbia
We need new advisory groups putting in ideas that are relevant. We can build prisons but not families.
If one calls building more prisons headway we are doing fantastically well. Really Harper and crew needs to give their collective heads a shake.
I am very familiar with the topic, as I have been diagnosed with bipolar illness. I am on two of the subcommittees of the commission, and have been involved with lobbying for a national plan for mental healthcare since the mid-1990s as one of the founders of the Mood Disorders Society of Canada.
My concerns: While there is much that is right and successful about the commission, there are large areas where there is much internal concern. For example, there is a sharp debate as to where the resources should go. At this time, most of the limited resources are spent on furthering the already strong scientific knowledge around these illnesses. In other words, we are continuing to 'reinvent the wheel'.
There is a strong mood among many within the commission family that the voice and concerns of the patient and the family members are simply not being dealt with seriously enough. As well, First Nations issues are a concern. Many of that committee's members have quit.
So, all is not entirely well within the commission and there remains a great deal to be done. That being said, there is a real spirit of good will among the members and participants. But much needs to be done.
I have been struggling with depression and anxiety and numerous other mental health issues for over 6 years now. Getting any help is difficult. I am one of the lucky ones; I live in a mental health agency supported apartment building. Everyone here struggles with mental health issues. We are very lucky to be living here and have easy contact with support at almost any time.
I was a fully functioning member of society before I got sick. I was raising 3 great kids by myself, I was either at school, or college, or University, working full time, or volunteering, or raising my children. Then I got sick and my 2 boys went to live with family and my daughter stayed with me. I haven't been able to work for 5 years now. The anxiety to leave my home is just too overwhelming.
I have applied four times to receive Ontario Disability Support and am waiting for my fourth denial. The last time I was basically denied because I can read, write, use a computer and leave my home with the assistance of a support worker, my nine year old daughter or my dog. To make it through a normal day at home I take nine different medications, not including the ones that I take because the meds have added so much weight to my body. I spend days sleeping because of my meds. I think this is ridiculous. People with mental health disorders are having to fight harder for what they need because the Ontario Disability forms do not cover mental health issues.
I think that a lot needs to be done to help people with mental health issues. A lot of us want or wish our lives could be the way they were before we got sick. Fighting for what we need is making our fight more difficult. Mental Health is not something people want to have happen to them or something they can just snap out of. Something needs to be done. We are losing Psychiatrists, and funding for therapists has been diminished to a few sessions before we are sent on our way, trying to find someone else to take us as clients and basically start back where we were with the previous therapist.
The government really needs to start listening to the quieter voices who are too afraid to speak for themselves or just don't have the ability too.
Thank you for presenting this topic. I am a senior with a son who suffers from Schizophrenia. He has run the gamut of eviction , homeless, nuisance in the community, until the police said I had to go to court and get him committed (and that is one horror story). He is now on long term injections and finally in a stable living situation however he is becoming physically ill from the medication -- as a result he is needing more and more of my time (the rest of the family have written him off) and I am exhausted and I am on the verge of needing help myself -- but it is a three month wait list to see someone myself! So no, progress with mental health from my point of view!
Take the blame off of the police. No amount of training will prevent the police from getting blamed. The police team up with the mobile mental health nurses - these crisis units are cost-effective. New police are graduating each year - impossible to keep on top of their populations they serve. The Police should stick to solving crimes. The front page editors and the police lawyers won't like my comment but the taxpayers will.
Iris Mary Kairow
I work in the ER department of a local hospital. In hearing the title of your show this afternoon I wondered how long it would be before someone spoke disparagingly of the ER treatment of psychiatric patients. I think it was your first speaker who did just that, predictably, without benefit of fact. Subsequent callers were equally disparaging of the ER, one guest spoke about how her family member was sedated while in the ER for instance. Psychiatric conditions are like any other chronic illnesses that flare up on occasion. These conditions are best managed by a psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse, the specialists in that field, who appear in our ER rarely and certainly never on a weekend at 3AM. In the ER we treat acute, emergent conditions on a priority basis. Psychiatric patients are given the same consideration as everyone else triaged at the same level of acuity. I suggest that if psychiatric professionals want better treatment of their patient population in the ER then they should make an effort to attend their patients there. They might be surprised to see the level of care and compassion afforded this segment of the patient population with the limited resources medical resources currently available.
Victoria, British Columbia
I spent six weeks in a mental health ward in 2002. I now speak professionally about Mental Health.
In my opinion we need a Minister of Mental Health in every province.
Mental Health issues are costing Canada in many ways; broken families, addictions, psychologically unsafe workplaces. Dollarwise $50 billion per year.
The problem is too vast to be solved as part of a Health Minister's portfolio. A Minister of Mental Health devoting full time and efforts to solutions would allow for quicker implementations of already existing proposed solutions.
Thanks for keeping the issue high on the national agenda.
My 20 year old daughter has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, ADD and learning disabilities. The help for the mentally ill in our small Northwestern Ontario city is grossly inadequate, especially for children In spite of heroic efforts by some mental health workers, the waits are far too long and there are simply not enough professionals available for the great number of people in need, particularly those with multiple diagnoses. We sought help for our daughter in early elementary school but received no real help until she was in her mid teens, having psychotic episodes, drug and alcohol problems. I believe earlier treatment may have minimized the trauma she suffered. By her mid-teens she understood the stigma of mental illness and was (and still is) reluctant to accept the help she needs. Her mental illness is a burden but the shame and isolation she feels because of it is a greater burden. I believe the shame lies with our government for failing to de-stigmatize mental illness and to offer respectful treatment equally to all who require such help.
The problem for many families who have a member who suffers from mental health issues is finding the balance between being supportive and enabling the family members antisocial and destructive behavior. This dilemma can cause further stress and division within families coping with a family member who suffers from mental illness.
The system is doing a much better job of speaking out and working toward breaking down stigma and misunderstanding but there is still a long way to go. There is little to no support for those who are not well enough to cope on their own but not ill enough to be in the current system of care. There is care and help when you reach the crisis mode of mental illness but mental illness is an illness that needs ongoing "check in systems." Members of my family have gone through mental illness crises, have recovered enough to not need hospitalization or immediate psych. care and have done well for a year or so. When they identified they were heading toward another crisis and asked for preventive help they were placed on three to six month waiting lists because they were not acute enough. The result was the cost to their own health, their work and family was much greater than would have been if the help had been there.
Here's a question: Which declaration causes you distress coming from a friend or family member?
"I have a mental health problem. I have (insert mental illness)"
I assert that statement two is the least attractive option because statement one is very much more understood and accepted. People don't want you to impinge on their sunny view of life. If you can't smile due to depression, they demand that you do. They don't understand that some of us do not have a choice on the matter. Our brains are built the way theirs are and nothing really changes that. Until our general ability to deal with mental health issues changes, I can't see us making much progress in their understanding.
Thank Goodness for the CMHA clubhouses. These are an improvement in the mental health field and they give people a place to go where they are understood. I don't know how new the idea of these facilities is, but this was a good one. You never know when you will need access to the services through these centers.
Prince Edward Island
My mother was killed by a mentally ill individual. This person deliberately caused a Greyhound Bus to rollover on December 23, 2000. My mother was a passenger and died as a result of her injuries six weeks later. The person responsible was tried for murder and found not criminally responsible due to mental defect. He was placed in hospital and then released onto the streets a couple of months later. July 30, 2008 there is a decapitation on a bus near Portage la Prairie Manitoba.
The politicians are chairing committees and flapping their gums and the mentally ill continue to be turned out on the streets. The vast majority of homeless have some degree of mental defect and receive no care, little or no medication and often as has been stated by previous callers end up in jail. Problem solved? I think not.
I have to congratulate Andrew Nichols for being so patient and understanding. I too had a very severe bought with depression and navigating the healthcare system was a nightmare. I live in Calgary and we still equate mental illness with Leprosy. In fact most people think that having a mental illness is contagious and they avoid anyone with it in case they catch it.
In Calgary we are just opening a new hospital and we are really over budget, so guess what? They are not opening the mental health beds because they don't have enough money. The services in Calgary leave a lot to be desired. When a person has an exacerbation and they become very ill they could be ill for as long as 6 months. This person will need rehabilitation to get them back to where they were before they became ill. If a person breaks their leg they get rehabilitation yet there is nothing for someone who needs rehabilitation after a mental illness. Homecare is available for anyone except the mentally ill. The rehabilitation is often left up to the family member to cope with.
There should be drop in centers that provide art therapy, Yoga and counseling all in the one area so that anyone needing help can go there on a drop in basis. Nothing like this exists in Calgary. If a person is depressed they can get some group therapy once a week if they are lucky and then what do they do with themselves for the rest of the time. They need somewhere to go that is therapeutic so that they can get better faster.
I believe in Canada we have a very long way to go. We should look at countries like Australia, new Zealand and Sweden to see how the mentally ill are treated in a very progressive way.
I am familiar with mental illness. My sister had schizophrenia and was treated well in a open mental hospital in the middle of an accepting community, not in Canada.
Now , when there is a meeting to discuss the proposed new mental health care facility in our community Gibsons, British Columbia , I feel a lot of negativity, fear and discrimination coming from many community members.
The schizophrenia and Mental Health commission needs to do a lot more to reverse the stigma and wrong information that circulates . More financial support is needed for treatment and education, the police, and public in general needs to be more understanding, jail is no place for a mentally ill person.
I know about the isolation that a mentally ill person suffers. Our society needs to give this illness
the same compassion and funding as we give to other illnesses.
Connie Van Swieten
Gibsons, British Columbia
I don't see much in the way of success. Yesterday at a mental health unit in a Vancouver hospital here I went to visit my son, I met a young woman on the ward. It was her birthday. No one visited. No one gave her a gift. Around 5:30 she shoved a supper tray off the stack of trays . The contents spewed across the floor. In a few minutes four people in uniforms came in putting on rubber gloves and headed towards her. These patients are in this ward with a blank room and an open shared space to watch TV, eat and get on each other's nerves. My son has now been there two weeks and longs for some greenery and fresh air. He has not been outdoors at all. None of the professionals have contacted me, the mother, or a close friend to interview us although we know the history. I see almost no occupational therapy happening. No music therapy. No art therapy. They are medicated, fed and monitored for confrontations. What good is this?
I beg to strongly differ from Michael Kirby and your host on Cross Country Checkup. This is a very rich country, if our federal and provincial governments would simply reverse their fixation on ever increasing tax cuts, and make our tax system truly progressive, with the wealthier amongst us and the corporations paying their fair share, we'd be able to not only do a really good job of responding to mental health concerns, but also would be able to implement Senate recommendations to end poverty in Canada. The benefits to our whole society and the common good would be enormous. Maybe we'd even regain some respect from the rest of the world.
Castlegar, British Columbia
Yes, Canada is making progress on treatment for people living with a mental illness. The problem is that the progress isn't happening across the country, and we're not learning from other successes.
My own experience is a good example of what is working well. Almost three years ago, over about two months' time I went from a full-time job, and full, productive life to not being able to leave the house on my own. I was lucky enough to have a doctor at a community health centre, where a psychiatrist comes in weekly to consult with the doctors and meet with patients. Because of that, I saw a psychiatrist within two weeks of needing to see one, was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, and prescribed medication. My doctor also referred me to a free meditation program at a local hospital and, the psychiatrist referred me to a therapist who specialized in anxiety.
This type of holistic treatment shouldn't be the exception for mental health care in this country; it should be the norm in every community. And, there's no excuse for this not to be the case. All that's missing is political will. We wouldn't stand for a six month waiting period to see a cancer specialist, yet that's the average waiting time to see a psychiatrist in most parts of the country.
Canada is not doing very well at treating mental illness. We are neglecting people.
So many of our homeless people are on the streets because of cutbacks and cancellation of mental health programs . I have heard of caring mental health care professionals who were so frustrated with the system they were trying to work within and the chipping away and outright cancellation of programs that they quit to work at something entirely different, like selling real estate.
I am a long time Albertan and lived in Norway for a few years. Health, education and welfare are paramount in Norway, while military spending is way down at the bottom of the priority list. Homelessness is illegal in Norway. You can go camping, but if you are sleeping on the streets, the Norwegian police will pick you up, not to arrest you, but to help you.
The homeless in Norway are assessed - perhaps you're a teenage runaway from a hellish home life, a drug addict or you are mentally ill. Once you are assessed, there is help for you.
The quality of life in Norway is fabulous. Norway allows people to rent out up to half of the square footage of their home tax-free. It provides housing and saves on the cost of infrastructure caused by suburban sprawl.
I came home to Canada after living in the States and Norway and saw so much deterioration in health care, education and the welfare of our fellow citizens. Alberta has shut down hospitals while the population has exploded. Do you know Fort McMurray does not have a nursing home?
We seem to have the funds to buy into the military industrial complex of the United States with the purchase of Lockheed Martin jets that are designed, according to airplane mechanics, to break down like an old set of Christmas lights if one thing goes wrong. The maintenance costs will be a nightmare but we cancel programs to help people with mental illness.
Our federal and provincial budgets are upside down compared to Norway's. I am enraged the powers that be find the loonies for jets designed to cost a fortune to maintain and the Vancouver Olympics while we have so many needy people in a country so rich.
Norway's government's books are wide open. It seems to make a difference. They have a surplus of funds.
So, we need to do better and it starts with the bottom line and getting our priorities straight.
Thank you for your program, Rex.
Victoria, British Columbia
I applaud CBC for profiling the complexity of the issues surrounding Mental Health in Canada. As an educator and parent, I am all too familiar with the challenges of navigating a system that is fraught with frustrating roadblocks. In addition, it is discouraging to have children in grades primary and grade 1, with obvious disorders, wait years before they see a mental health professional. Frequently, medication is an issue and parents naturally put food over pills. We need to create more connections between schools and mental health care providers. Our teachers are often the front line workers in dealing with mental health problems.
On a positive note, how fortunate we are to have people like Dr. Kutcher and Sen. Kirby working on our behalf. Fortunately, I also see our current provincial government as one willing to listen respectfully to our concerns. We need to continue to raise our voices together so we are heard loud and clearly. I couldn't agree more with Dr. Kutcher in his comment that we need to get beyond the priority list and on the funding list.
Lily De Young
Are we doing enough? There is little doubt that we are making some progress, and programs such as this and the recent series on the Current are helping to promote the awareness of the issues. Yet these efforts are weighed against the recent 22 Minutes Christmas Special in which Mrs. Enid discussed the efficacy of keeping over-excited, exuberant youngsters in line by having them visit the local psychiatric ward on Christmas afternoon, even recommended checking out and dusting off, as described by her, the old shock treatment equipment. According to her the kids were well-behaved the rest of the day. Psychiatric wards and ECT are lifelines to thousands of Canadians in need and their families every day of the year, While I applaud our attempts and efforts to decrease the stigma and discrimination in the mental health field, it is shameful that our public broadcasting system can resort to such depths to cadge a few laughs.
Halifax, Nova Scotia
We need more people to stand up and celebrate their unusual brains! We also need more programs in the schools to help students (and teachers) make sense of behaviors and to normalize the experience of brain dysfunction. It might go a long way to prevent serious illness.
P.S. Also humor is a great way to get people talking! Check out Stand Up for Mental Health.
The dreadfully lacking mental-health system is resulting in thousands of unnecessary suicides. Many of the dead have sought help and received none.
Hi, This week a young friend asked on facebook, "What is the root cause of depression?" and some of the responses he received from his group of friends - in their early thirties, raising young families, good kids - made me realize that there is still a great deal of work to do in educating people on mental illness. Some of the reasons given were: lack of perspective; a lazy or stubborn resistance to a healthy change that needs to be made; lack of coping skills; some people decide to wallow in their depression which is easier than actually dealing with it; spiritual imbalance in the heart rather than a chemical imbalance in the brain. Where have we failed these young people to the point where they have such a lack of compassion for anyone who suffers from something they obviously don't understand?
In my experience, there isn't adequate support for families to affect any change for family members with the certain kinds of mental illness. One of the symptom is denial on the part of the one suffering that there a problem exists in the first place. The family can't even be told of the particular mental illness because of privacy laws, which binds our hands even further to advocate for our family members, not only the one suffering from mental illness, but now also the caregiver, who feels absolutely at the mercy of the mental illness.
I have come up against being given the run around time and again. As a family we are at a loss as to what to do, and have resigned ourselves to having to resort to the criminal justice system to get any help whatsoever because of abusive behavior. Those who are left in a position to care for those with mental illness end up in a position where they require help themselves because they are desperate and exhausted.
Vancouver, British Columbia
There is another aspect to mental "illness" or health. It is the grey area (pun intended) of an injury to the brain that straddles the physical aspect of damage and the personality, and the mental changes, that can occur because of it. Both cause invisible mental changes and as such are often confused with each other and dealt with in the same ineffective way. I have had a brain injury for 28 years in a rural community where there was no support for traumas of these kinds The only available group I could share my stories with was the Schizophrenic Support Group, in a close-by town but they soon, understandably, told me that I didn't fit their mental health model. So, then I was left to deal with changes for which I had no understanding or explanation and I didn't fit mental health criterion or, as I had no physical problems, acute emergency medical intervention. . There is an inexcusable gap for people who are brain injured and or have mental health issues in rural areas when they are past childhood, not actively disruptive but not eligible for any of the senior's considerations for housing or medical assistance.
Dear Cross Country Check up,
Thank you very much for taking the time to talk about this very important issue. I am writing to specifically highlight the ways in which lack of resources for people with disabilities who have mental health issues can compound to create more problems needing more resources.
I am writing specifically about Nova Scotia and the present government's moratorium on the building of small options homes for people with developmental disabilities, according to a CBC Radio Nova Scotia report- the present waitlist for housing for people with developmental disabilities is 600 people long. As highlighted previously on the show this puts the onus of the families of people with disabilities, who learn how to advocate for their family member's within the system- if their family member is unable to advocate for themselves. There are countless hardworking people working within the system to meet the needs of people with disabilities, however the lack of resources in an overburdened system means that people with developmental disabilities can easily fall through the cracks or alternately be poorly supported leading to situations which are prone for abuse as evidenced recently by an incident at the Braemore Home in North Sydney in which a young autistic man was locked in a room for 15 days- staff indicated a lack of training and resources in relation to autism. The lack of support and resources for people with developmental disabilities and those who support them can often lead to these compound problems and by supporting the development of more small options homes with more reasonable staff rations in addition to support for staff in terms of being mindful of the prevalence of burn out which can also lead to situations of risk of increased vulnerability or even abuse. Access to psychologists and psychiatrists for people with developmental disabilities in Nova Scotia is also very limited.
What I've just written is hardly new- it's fairly well established. However - if instead of a model of responding to the crisis with short term solutions we as a society were able to move towards really supporting people with developmental disabilities in terms of a more holistic picture that understood each person with developmental disabilities as the individual people they are with gifts and talents and things that they alone bring to this world and saw the creation of more resources for people with developmental disabilities as an investment in reducing mental health strain on people with developmental disabilities, their families and those who support them. This model would mean really walking the walk of deinstitutionalization and integration and support of both independent living and community based models- but more importantly would help people to actualize their goals, dreams and desires as people who we don't see enough of in the world. Ultimately it would enable people with developmental disabilities to be see as people first.
I finished this just as the show ended. Needless to say- I enjoyed it immensely,
Thank you kindly,
Halifax, Nova Scotia
My mother was severely mentally ill. Of all my siblings I was the one to first present with bi polar disorder. I have a masters degree, an MBA, a happy son and a happy marriage. What I don't have is a job. I foolishly told my employer of my condition (I was new to the condition and foolishly thought the world had come a long way in understanding and accepting mental illness. I was wrong.) The worst part of being dismissed because you have told your boss you are bi polar, is the betrayal. I am under the care of great medical professionals. One would never know when they met me I was challenged. And after this past experience, I will never, ever be telling anyone about my challenge. The worst part, I am like everyone else, I more than function, I am smart and accomplished, engaging and I am labeled and the word is out which makes me somewhat unemployable. My former employer, when dismissing me, has never contacted my again, and would not give me a reference.
I commend you for providing this show. As a former Case Manager at a Provincial Home Care Program (CCAC in Ontario) and a Psych Nurse, I would like to suggest that everyone contact their MP and request that all Canadians should have equal access to Comprehensive Home Care Services which would also include providing Mental Health Services in the home. Therefore ,National Standards are necessary and do not exist at this time. The National Health Accords are now under review since the current ones end in 2014.
It is crucial that all Canadians contact their MP's now to let them know that they care about these services and demand that all Canadians have equal access.
St John's, Newfoundland
First, I would like to say that many of us who suffer from mental illness are first victimized by those closest to us as there is a perception that we should be in charge of our actions, our substance abuse etc. That is, we put ourselves in this position and we should get ourselves out. However, it is our mental illness that frequently leads to the substance abuse and the unpredictable behavior in the first place.
Manic depression can manifest itself in particularly creative and high achievement. Therefore giving the impression that the person suffering could not possibly be ill. Herein lays the dichotomy. When the person has exhausted their high energy periods of severe depression and substance abuse can follow. Often with little sympathy because of the success they achieved beforehand. There may be a perception that mental illness cannot exist in parallel with intelligence, i.e. how can someone so smart be so destructive.
Thankfully, I have had the opportunity to have a wonderful family doctor who recognized telltale signs of mental illness. Severe change in weight, rapid and incoherent speech, substance abuse and asked one of the most important questions: Are your family and friends commenting on your moods and behavior? My family doctor recognized that I was suffering from a mild form of manic depression and was able to prescribe drugs and suggest lifestyle changes that were very helpful to me.
I am still struggling but with ongoing consultation and support from my immediate family I do believe I will recover or at least be able to live with my illness. However, many others in the same position as me have not found the help they needed and have found themselves in the deep abyss of depression, unemployment, loneliness and even homelessness.
Thank you for exposing this often ignored reality in our society today.
Dear Cross Country Checkup,
The problem with the topic today that it is so wild and woolly and consequently, no clarity and no analysis will or can be offered.
Few points that need to be made:
1) The definition of "mental illness" is too vague and broad, and seems today to encompass any discomfort or unhappiness a person might have -- and god knows we have many reasons to be unhappy about in this society!
2) "Mental illness" is a dangerous diagnosis as it is actually not only a vacuous label, but a dangerous one which stays with you through life with very serious social and medical consequences.
3) "Mental health" industry is drug company, Big Pharma, driven, as the only "treatment" currently offered consists of drugs and more drugs, never mind their well-documented dangerous and incapacitating side effects. Big Pharma through the psychiatric profession is pushing for more and more people, including more and more children, to be labeled as "mentally ill" and "treated" via their drugs. Three-year olds with temper tantrums can now easily be labeled as "bi-polar" and thousands of Canadian children, once they are facilely labeled as ADH (cause they can't sit still at school!), get the Ritalin-treatment that can have huge negative consequences on their overall health and their self-image.
4) "Mental health" can easily become a social control concept, and I believe that we have now reached the zenith of that ideology, where everything becomes "mental illness" and people end up being forced to accept psychiatric labels for sadness, stress, unhappiness, worry and other completely human emotions and experiences that no psychiatric drug can help you with. There are other methods for people to regain their equilibrium but they certainly don't fit into the medical model that currently rules and is the only "treatment" provider for distressed people.