ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Governmental and General Abuse

Jack Bragen
Friday January 03, 2020 - 05:22:00 PM

When people with psychiatric disabilities seek help from government agencies, the first result is that of informational dissection. The government needs to have all the details. The workers' attitudes and manner, when they are exacting all this data, are sometimes detached and cold. (In all fairness, some government workers are very nice.) 

We are put in the same category as those who commit crimes, those who are addicted to illicit substances, and those who are prone to domestic abuse. In other words, we are considered criminals because we are asking for help with basic needs. 

The above is discernable through the language in the paperwork that we are forced to sign to get various benefits and services. And it is also apparent in the attitudes of some social workers and some mental health professionals. 

Those who work for mental health agencies have ties and mandates that link them to government. Other than criminalizing us, people who work in mental health tend to prejudge. And this is done in a way that produces gross inaccuracies that affect our charts. Since our charts are legal documents, yet another level of being criminalized is produced, one that could affect court cases. 

When mental health agencies prejudge, they seem to assume that a mental health consumer lacks any professional accomplishments. In my twenties, I had a career in electronic repair, which was and is a respectable endeavor. I also have a high I.Q. Mental health workers cannot assimilate the concept that a person with a mental illness could be otherwise intelligent and competent and can have professional-grade skills--such as computer skills, reading comprehension, and the abilities to write and think. When they see evidence of this, it doesn't compute. 

People in the general public have categories in how they perceive and discuss people they meet and/or with whom they do work. One category (of perception) is something that may have cost Mrs. Clinton a Presidency. She was quoted as using the term "deplorables." Trump took full advantage of this mistake and got the vote of many who resented that. 

Our government, ideally, is composed of people in the general public. Government workers are often called, "public servants." When the public has misconceptions, so does the government. In general, it is a good thing that our government is mostly composed of ordinary people. Yet, there are some who despise those they serve, who have high paying positions in government, and who socialize with their own type. 

People are wrongly assessed, wrongly diagnosed, and wrongly assumed to be idiots. Criminal behavior is wrongfully attributed. This is why many mentally ill people, good, often smart individuals who suffer from bad illnesses, are considered garbage and are put in jails and prisons without good reason. Our corrupt, inappropriate government is responsible for this. This is criminal. 

People should look a bit farther than their own affluence. Is their affluence built on the suffering of others? 

Governor Newsom is trying to put an end to for profit prisons in California. This would curtail the inappropriate mass incarceration, a thing that society cannot morally justify. When people are incarcerated for piddling offenses committed due to mental illness, that's wrong. Also, if a suspect is innocent but mentally ill, they will be unable to defend themselves against the mechanisms of the system. They will be unable to make a good case for themselves in court. The Public Defender may not be invested in helping them. If you can't properly articulate that you've done nothing wrong, then what will happen to you? 

Other than mass incarceration of those who should be getting help, our government is guilty of not providing enough help, and of not providing this in some semblance of a friendly and nonthreatening manner. 

The Social Security Administration is partly composed of those who want to help. Yet, there are some who work for them who have authoritarian attitudes, and who obtain joy from being mean toward disabled people. There is also the factor that SSI isn't enough to live on. Republicans in government would like to further reduce entitlements under Social Security. Even the semi-decent Republicans who can think, who've quit because they couldn't tolerate Trump, were not great toward disabled people. 

Our government, whether it is controlled by Republicans, Democrats, or Purple-People-Eaters, needs to have some level of kindness. What little kindness remains is under siege. 


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