“There is now unequivocal evidence of the failures of a system that relies too heavily on the biomedical model of mental health services, including the front-line and excessive use of psychotropic medicines, and yet these models persist.” – Dr. Dainius Pūras, psychiatrist and former United Nations Special Rapporteur
The U.S. ranks at the bottom of 196 nations in drug use and mental health disability and death. CCHR, the international mental health industry watchdog, calls for a review of billions spent on mental health programs.
By CCHR International
The Mental Health Industry Watchdog
March 6, 2023
The Citizens Commission on Human Rights International is asking U.S. legislators to conduct a financial and clinical audit of the nation’s $280 billion in appropriations spent on mental health services, which has also lost $20 billion to fraud. The U.S. ranks at the bottom of 196 nations in drug use and mental health death and disability according to the World Health Organization. CCHR says that decades of broken promises to improve mental health and the billions of dollars lost to mental healthcare fraud has prompted a new report on psychiatric fraud for policymakers.
CCHR wants legislators to review the promises made in the mental health industry, the appropriations expended on these promises and the dismal outcomes before channeling more funds into unworkable programs. The organization has documented some of the promises made since WWII to improve mental health across many sectors of society and their poor results.
In 1963, psychiatrists promised President John F. Kennedy that they could deliver “prevention” and cures for mental health problems in the U.S. Massive funding went into community mental health and to improving delinquency, criminal rehabilitation, drug abuse, and more.
U.S. psychiatrists told Congress that mental health services needed to be “fully integrated” into the social environment to improve it. However, the authors of the book Madness in Government, commissioned by the American Psychiatric Association, admitted that the promises made were not delivered.
The U.S. mental health budget went from $3.2 billion in 1969 to $80 billion in 1999 and $280 billion today. In 1997, psychotropic drug sales in the U.S. were $9 billion. Today, the U.S. spends $26 billion a year on these drugs—a 189% increase. In comparison, between 1999 and 2022, the U.S. population increased by only 21%.
Yet today, the one federal program, the “American Rescue Plan,” aimed at providing relief to Americans and salvaging the economy, says mental health is still in “crisis” and to help turn this around, $1.75 billion was invested in the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant program alone. Medicaid also plans to spend $7.5 billion toward expanding community behavioral health services over the next 10 fiscal years. This is the program that President Kennedy was told would help the then mental health “crisis.”
CCHR quotes a leading UK child psychiatrist who says: “Most people who attend standard community mental health services, it seems, experience either no lasting improvement or deteriorate.” Further, “The promise that psychiatric diagnoses will ultimately be shown to be like any other medical diagnoses keeps failing to deliver.”
Unlike in medicine, there are no physical tests such as x-rays and blood work to confirm a psychiatric diagnosis, which is based on opinions that certain behaviors are mental disorders. This has meant that psychotropic drugs are prescribed not to “treat” or “cure,” but to alter or quell unwanted emotions and behaviors.
In a 1967 meeting held in Puerto Rico, funded by a grant from the National Institute for Mental Health to discuss Psychotropic Drugs in the Year 2000, psychiatrists said chemical substances would be developed by the 21st century that would enable “human phenomena” to be “started, stopped, or eliminated” and would “affect the entire society.”
CCHR says that effect has resulted in over 70 million Americans now taking prescription psychotropic drugs, so powerful that they are called “mind-altering.” There are at least 180 psychiatric drugs on the market, not factoring in all generic versions. Many of them have unrelenting physically damaging and potentially fatal side effects. As a service to consumers and their families, CCHR produced an online psychiatric drugs side effects searchable database so that adverse effects can be easily accessed.
In 2021, Dr. Dainius Pūras, a psychiatrist and former United Nations Special Rapporteur, reported: “There is now unequivocal evidence of the failures of a system that relies too heavily on the biomedical model of mental health services, including the front-line and excessive use of psychotropic medicines, and yet these models persist.”
Thomas Insel, former director of the National Institute for Mental Health admitted that over the last three decades, even as the government invested billions of dollars in mental health, outcomes have deteriorated.
CCHR stresses the need for accountability for taxpayer appropriations, which includes improved, not declining rates of mental ill-health. It says there needs to be a greater clampdown on fraudulent schemes and consumer fraud committed in the name of mental health care. The mental health system needs to be overhauled and its fraud and abuse eliminated.
 Psychotropic Drugs In The Year 2000 Use by Normal Humans (Springfield, Illinois, Charles C. Thomas Publisher, 1971), p. xx
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