Exposing the “Mental Health Crisis”

In sociology, mental health has long been viewed as a “social construction” like gender, race, etc. It is absolutely true in this case. Autism is new a “spectrum” that can be as wide as the mental health community wishes it to be. Homosexuality and transgenderism used to be afflictions that no longer appear in the DSM-V (the psychologists’ Bible for mental illnesses).

The United States of America is the most medicated society in the history of mankind. Do we really have a mental health crisis in which growing numbers of citizens are suffering from a mental illness, or are doctors and therapists merely prescribe more medication? I have always believed that the latter is the most likely answer, but my recent experiences have served to solidify that opinion.

I have been working as a mental health counselor in a local middle school for a few weeks now. It is a personally rewarding job, as helping kids overcome their social problems is an extremely important job. However, the unholy alliance of the education system, mental health industry, and government healthcare in the pockets of a private business has created an incredibly dangerous and destructive environment for our children.

My employer requires a minimum number of billable hours known as “productivity.” These hours are billed to Medicaid. The company needs to bill Medicaid so they can cover costs (payroll, rent, keeping the lights on, etc.) of doing business. I have to provide an average of 5 hours of productivity every day. I also need to have enough students on my caseload to meet those productivity standards. I share my caseload with a therapist who also has their own productivity numbers to meet.

Thus, a school therapist is incentivized to diagnose “enough” kids in the school to meet the productivity standards in order to bill Medicaid enough money to pay all of us.

The real consequence of this policy is an uptick in mental health diagnoses. I have already met with a number of students who have behavioral problems, not mental health problems. Most of them are on the “spectrum” – basically any kid who has trouble making friends ends up here. Several have been diagnosed with ADHD – any kid who has a hard time paying attention to boring teachers in classes that they don’t care about.

I have sat in public school classrooms. My clients are supposed to sit and exhibit ideal behavior while a half-dozen students who have not been diagnosed are acting like wild animals. My kids have “mental health” problems, but these other kids do not.

Many of my clients do not take prescribed medication because they say, “it makes me feel weird” or “I don’t feel like myself.” I completely understand this. In college, I read a paper about “the medicated self” which argues that those on anti-depressants are unsure which “self” is their true self.

Imagine being told that your “self” is not complete unless you are taking medication that basically turns you into a different person. This medicated “self” is the “good self”, while your natural existence is viewed as incomplete.

So we now have a group of students who are “mentally ill”, while other students who exhibit the same behavior are “mentally healthy.” One group is told that they need drugs to be complete, while the other is told they are whole. One group is diagnosed with “mental illnesses” whose definitions change over time, often due to social pressure from social justice lobbyists. One group needs to be diagnosed as mentally ill in order to keep therapists and CPSTs employed. One group is told they are incomplete, and we wonder why they grow up into adults who continue to exhibit mental health problems.

This does not even address the potential damage that a psychotropic drug can have when introduced to an otherwise healthy brain. Most people who are diagnosed have not had any sort of brain scan. An “expert” who sits in an office determines the brain chemistry of a client after a conversation or two – not an MRI or C/T scan, but a chat determines that neurons and synapses are not working properly –  and prescribes drugs to these individuals.

This is the reality of America’s “mental health crisis.” We are creating mental illness by redefining what makes someone ill and introducing brain chemistry altering drugs into potentially healthy brains.

**This is not to say that there are not legitimate cases of mental illness. I am merely saying that they are far less prevalent than we are led to believe.**

Many of our schools are filled with mental health workers who are incentivized to diagnose a certain number of students as mentally ill in order to fulfill arbitrary “productivity” standards.

It is my experience that the overwhelming similarity between clients is the lack of a two-parent household. Some poor kid who experiences abuse or abandonment in the home acts out at school to get attention to show that he has power somewhere. These kids do not have broken brains, they are victims of broken homes.

We must fix families. We must worry more about making these kids whole rather than meeting “productivity”. We must allow teachers and schools to deal with kids in a more effective way than slapping them with a mental health diagnosis that excuses bad behavior and will follow them for the rest of their lives.

We must stop telling our kids that they are not whole.

I would gladly sacrifice my job for the greater good. The “mental health crisis” needs to be discussed. We must shine a light on the dark corners of the mental health industry before it all gets worse.

If you are a mental health worker, do you agree or disagree? Where am I wrong? Where am I right? I would love to hear from you by either commenting on this post or you can email me at scornedchaos@hotmail.com.

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If I was President (Education Policy)

Our education system here in America has become atrocious. Our children are growing into ignorant adults. Not only do they lack basic math, science, and English skills, but they are falling short on social skills and critical thinking. Classrooms have abandoned learning for test taking. There are many reasons for this, and I would like to address the ways that I would change things if I was given the opportunity.

  1. Eliminate the U.S. Department of Education.

The US DoE was created in 1979. Since its inception, education in America has remained stagnant. No matter how much money our politicians promise for our schools, average student test scores have remained stagnant. The federal government has almost quadrupled investment from about 13 to over 50 billion dollars over the past thirty-five years. However, the average reading score has remained virtually unchanged. From 2009-2013, the US fell from 25th to 31st in math and 20th to 24th in science, and from 11th to 21st in reading among the 31 Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) nations; and are well below the average in all three categories. Yes, part of the slippage has occurred as more and more nations have become industrialized. However, there is no excuse for the highest spending nation on Earth to have an education system ranked 17th. Why are we still willing to pump tens of billions in taxpayer money to a monolithic organization with such a horrendous track record, when we get similar or even better results from private schools, privately run charter schools, and 30-37th percentile increases from homeschool? The federal government has proven inept in so many areas, and has zero constitutional authority to oversee American education. Moreover, whenever the feds introduce a new program intended to help our students—such as No Child Left Behind and Common Core, our international ranking drops. Stop the madness!

  1. Remove teacher’s unions.

Teacher’s unions, like most unions, have become obsolete and are impeding advancement. Privately run charter schools outperform public schools not only in academics, but in actual organization. They hire and fire teachers based on merit rather than seniority, and they do not have to jump through years worth of expensive (upwards of $250,000) bureaucratic red tape in order to do so.

These unions not only protect bad teachers, but use union dues to influence federal politics. They are near the top political donors for the Democrat party and other organizations that push increased education spending. In 2013-14, the National Education Association alone spent over $24 million. The average contribution to members of the Congress ranged from $7,500 in the Senate to $13,000 in the House for Democrats and $0 for Republicans. Spending millions on lobbying for increases of their own pockets simply perpetuates the issue, and yields no tangible positive results for our children.

  1. Abolish the socialist construction of our schools.

As red-blooded American patriots, we have a history of fighting for individualism and personal responsibility. Why then has our education system done the exact opposite? Every student in our schools must sit in the same classes and obtain the same standard test scores in every agreed upon subjects until the age of 18. Only then are they able to focus on the subject that truly interests them in higher education. Most universities still require one-size-fits-all pre-requisites for students. Why a Psychology major must prove proficient in College Algebra in order to be a better therapist is beyond my understanding. The only purpose, from my estimation, is to charge students another year of tuition in order to line the pockets of the powers that be.

  1. My radical solution.

I would keep the well-rounded education received by elementary students, but middle and high schools should be radically changed. I believe that students who show an aptitude toward a certain field should be free to specialize sooner. If a student is awful at math, but talented in the arts, s/he should be able to pursue and develop that talent. When you force students to fit the same mold, many get frustrated and give up. This, in my opinion, is another factor that plays into our declining educational ranks. Students who may become engineers become apathetic about education because of being forced to take classes that disinterests them.

I like the university system far more (with the exception of mandatory pre-requisites that I would love to see disappear). As a matter of fact, the pre-req system may be better suited to high school so that our kids can still remain somewhat well-rounded while really being able to focus on specialization.

Furthermore, we can change the ways in which our failing public schools operate. We could take the schools in most districts, especially inner-cities that have the worst education, and turn them into specialty schools. Offer parents the choice of whether to send their child to a math based, art based, engineering based, etc. school. Each school would offer other classes, but would really focus on their particular field of interest.

The benefits of this model include student satisfaction, parental choice, and the need to eliminate additional unwarranted college years. We could produce competent workers ready to boost the economy at a younger age, and could reduce the number of Universities that also waste their federal funding. It would have the effect of essentially attaining the equivalent of a Bachelor’s degree by the end of high school. Companies could hire high school educated students with the confidence of competence. For those who truly wish to continue to college, the option would remain available to them.

Remember that keeping our citizens out of the economy until age 30 does no one any good. Not only are our 20 year olds not spending their hard earned money on consumer goods that push our economy, but they do not put income tax back into the federal budget that keep our institutions running. Imagine an economy that is not overburdened with a failing federal education system, wasting time and money on disinterested students, and are keeping so many potential tax-paying citizens on the sidelines during their most labor-intensive years.