Tag Archives: mental health

Mental health services have become increasingly dominated by psychiatry’s ”medical model”

Mental health services have become increasingly dominated by psychiatry’s ”medical model”, which claims that feeling depressed, anxious or paranoid is primarily caused by genetic predispositions and chemical imbalances.

This has led to alarming rises in chemical solutions to distress. In New Zealand, one in nine adults (and one in five women) is prescribed antidepressants every year.

The public, however, in every country studied, including Australia, believes that mental health problems are caused by issues such as stress, poverty and isolation. The public also prefers talking therapies to drugs and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).

Research suggests the public is right. For example, the single best predictor of just about every mental health problem is poverty, followed by other social factors such as abuse, neglect and early loss of parents in childhood, and – once in adulthood – loneliness and a range of adverse events including losses and defeats of various kinds.

Politics and mental health a poor mix

Imagine a tribunal where the public could challenge clinical decisions by neurosurgeons or cardiologists. It would be ridiculous. But mental health is different. Unlike other medical specialties, it resembles law or politics: fields where subtle variations in the interpretation of a word can alter the entire trajectory of a patient’s treatment.

That’s why the right to appeal clinical decisions by mental health professionals through a tribunal, announced recently by the NSW government, met with public approval. Mental health possesses a built-in capacity for abuse that is greater than in other areas of medicine. A patient’s psychiatric diagnosis has enormous cultural power in many other fields, from the marketing of antidepressant medications, to general practice, disability claims and legal proceedings.

Dozens arrested in Medicare mental health fraud

Federal agents have arrested dozens of suspects charged with bilking Medicare of hundreds of millions of dollars in bogus services for mental health therapy and other types of healthcare.

Agents with Health and Human Services and the FBI have fanned out across three South Florida counties, arresting clinic owners, healthcare employees, patient recruiters and assisted living facility owners who allegedly supplied hundreds of patients to the mental health clinics.

Australia—Deaths in mental health facilities: unexpected, unnatural and violent

THIRTY-SIX people died unexpected, unnatural or violent deaths in Victorian mental health facilities between 2008 and 2010, Coroners Court files reveal.

Data released to The Saturday Age by the Coroner’s Prevention Unit reveals 119 of the 502 coronial inquests held in Victoria between 2008 and 2010 involved people with diagnosed mental illnesses.

Of those 119 mental health coronial cases, almost a third related to the deaths of patients while they were being treated at state-run and private mental health facilities.Other figures from the Department of Health show 975 people under the care of Victoria’s mental health system have died unnatural, unexpected or violent deaths between 2006 and 2010.