Re: Greyhound Therapy: shape up or get out of town FW

Graeme Bacque (
Thu, 21 May 1998 02:56:33 -0400

At 02:08 AM 5/21/98 -0500, you wrote:
>In  1955,  in the USA, the population in state hospitals stood at
>559,000.   By  1984,  the  number  of  patients  had  dwindled to
>119,000.  This was in part due to Reagan-era budget  cuts.   Many
>of  the deinstitutionalized became part of the skyrocketing group
>of homeless persons, estimated to number as high as 3 million.

The gross flaw with the process of deinstitutionalization is that people
who had been forced into an artificial, total dependency on an institution
suddenly found themselves thrust into an uncaring world, without resources
being in place to assist with the transition. Psychiatric inmates are as
entitled to liberty as anyone else. The necessary resourcess of housing,
income maintenance, and (user-defined) personal supports need to be put in
place - not more bleak, dingy psychiatric prisons. Contrary to the popular
myth, homelessness isn't caused by 'mental illness' - but being homeless
can and will create or exacerbate emotional problems.

>Nowadays,  admission  to  state   hospitals   is  based  more  on
>availability of beds than on  need.   So,  for  example,  someone
>"merely"  contemplating suicide is denied admittance.  It is even
>common for  those  who  have  actually  attempted  suicide  to be
>refused  admittance.   In  better  times,  the  state   hospitals
>provided  sanctuary:   you  could  be  allowed in for a month and
>thereby gain some time to  "cool down."  Unfortunately, now, with
>the percentage of "mentally ill" greatly increased, it has become
>increasingly difficult for them to get care.

It is the degree of oppression, abuse, poverty, etc. which has increased -
is it any wonder that there is a greater manifestation of emotional/mental
pain-fear-uncertainty in the lives of so many? If you listen to these idiot
shrinks they'd have everyone believing that we literally have an epidemic
of 'mental illness' - this belief of course being totally divorced from the
context of social issues. More psychiatric/pharmaceutical propoganda. 

As far as 'being allowed in' for 'a month or so' to cool off... the
question is, what about being allowed *out* again? It used to be that those
going in for a month were extrordinarily lucky to regain their freedom so
quickly. Nowadays we have 'outpatient committal' where shrinks or the
courts can force someone to submit to drugging in the community. The only
thing changing is that peoples' homes (even where someone is living on the
street) are being turned into mental institutions. 

As far as I'm concerned, most of the time 'care' and 'abuse' are synonymous
when viewed in this context. Frankly I'd rather be on the streets again.

>We have all sorts of  political  talk  about  "getting  tough  on
>crime,"  so  that  murderers are "well taken care of"; there's no
>"shortage" of money for  dealing  with  =them=.  Yet each year in
>the United States many more are killed at their own hand than  by
>homicide.   (Why  aren't the politicians screaming about =that=?)
>"Somehow," there "is" a  shortage  of  money to help divert those
>bent on self-destruction away from their horrendous act.

How about those who are driven to despair (and self-destruction) by
psychiatric intervention? I've had dozens of articles come my way recently
regarding such abuses, which can easily cause someone to wish to abandon
life. When someone is hurting, how does it improve their outlook on life to
be wrestled bodily into a 'hospital', force-injected with powerful drugs,
have the clothes ripped from their body, then be tied to a bed for many
hours in a tiny locked room without access to food, water, a toilet - or
caring human contact? (I just described the typical involuntary committment
scenario here - its happened to me.) If someone already feels suicidal I'd
think this kind of treatment would make them more eager than ever to finish
the act.

>So where's the conspiracy?   The  conspiracy  is  this:   if  the
>"economy  is  good" and times are truly "wonderful," then why has
>the suicide rate skyrocketed in the past 25 or so years?  And all
>the while  "there  are  many  steps  that  might  help reduce the
>suicide  rate...  tackling  such  social  ills  as  unemployment,
>divorce, homelessness, unwanted children, neglect of the elderly,
>inadequate  medical  and  social  services,  violence,  loss   of
>spiritual  values,  and the threat of nuclear war.  In short, one
>might reduce the suicide  rate  by  giving people more reasons to
>stay alive." [1]
>As shown by Emile Durkheim, suicides do not occur  in  a  vacuum.
>Suicide,  says  Durkheim, are explicable only by the state of the
>society  in  which  they  occur.   And  since  suicide  rates  in
>"modern," western, industrialized nations  are far higher than in
>"backward," third-world countries, the question is:   Are  things
>really so "wonderful" as "they" keep telling us? [2]


>In  medieval  times, the "irksome madmen" were put aboard a "ship
>of fools."  In our "modern"  USA,  the "irksome madmen" are given
>"Greyhound Therapy":  a ticket is purchased and they are put on a
>bus, bound for a distant city.  There, they arrive  --  homeless,
>friendless, and alone.

This should certainly never be forced on someone... but personally I think
I'd prefer this to any psychiatric intervention. At least Greyhound travel
doesn't cause brain damage and you retain your freedom. 
APA - No Way!! Toronto, June 3, 1998