June 16, 2015
Dear Chairman Upton, and Members of the Committee:
You held a public hearing today, concerning H.R. 2646, the “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act”. My concerns with that bill center on two facts which cannot be honestly disputed: 1) mental health treatment is only effective in inverse ratio to the amount of coercion it must employ; and 2) it is the flagrant, unreasonable medicalization of human problems in thinking, feeling or behaving that has dramatically increased stigma and disability.
In short, psychiatric drugs and shock work poorly for any purpose of improving human behavior or the human condition; and forced drugs and shock work so poorly that they are a horrific human rights abuse. Despite persistent blind faith or “hopium” from such quarters as the National Institute on Mental Health, the verdicts of real science admit no future prospect for peace and happiness from psychiatric fine-tuning of individuals’ brains.
Perhaps one clear, ironic sign of utter desperation among proponents of continued psychiatric coercion and ascendant legal authority was a statement by Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, in his testimony before the Committee today….
Dr. Lieberman makes a habit of glorious prognostications about advances in “brain science”. But the truth, which his peers at the APA and NIMH are consistently admitting these days, is that after a century of fully funded research, neither schizophrenia nor any other psychiatric “diagnosis” is any better understood or validated than it was in the days of Benjamin Rush! Medical science has nothing to do with psychiatry, and it quite possibly never will.
Dr. Lieberman simply must scapegoat someone or something, to divert public attention from the truth. Enter, “stigma” caused by a bogeyman, the “Anti-Psychiatry Movement” or the Church of Scientology.
I have been a full-time practicing attorney working exclusively in the mental health field for almost fourteen years. I spend all of my professional time with mental patients (often violent psychotics) and their service providers, including many very well-intended and competent psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, therapists, criminal court judges and state hospital administrators.
I am also a life-long Scientologist, as are my wife of forty years and our three adult children. If such a thing as “a virulent Anti-Psychiatry Movement” exists, and if as Dr. Lieberman suggests, such a movement can be blamed for the stigma of mental illness, then you may call me before your committee, because I should surely have to answer for that personally!
Jeffrey Lieberman’s assessment of the situation is disingenuous or flat-out mistaken. And I beg your pardon, I have never been motivated in my work by financial designs. I know many Scientologists. They don’t pay me, or have any prospect of financial gain from opposition to psychiatry. Quite the opposite, I assure you. Publicly questioning such a social orthodoxy as the medical mental health model (however destructive and pernicious it may eventually be seen to be in the judgment of history) brings only expense, inconvenience and knee-jerk reproach from one’s own community.
Please consider the details of H.R. 2646 very carefully with a skeptical eye. Listen to the perspectives of some people who are not so wedded to the current, rotten psychiatric establishment, people who do not deviously offer up mythical scapegoats and excuses for a hundred years of failure.
And please try not to buy into Lieberman’s slander against my religion.
Yours very truly,
S. Randolph Kretchmar