The Mental Health Deception

2023-09-13 11:36:00 +0700 by Mark Smith

When I was young we simply never spoke about mental health. There were normal people, and there were a very small amount of people that had mental disorders, and those people usually got locked away in mental asylums. That’s just how it was pretty much. It’s horrible to think that it was like that, but it was. In some places it might still be like this.

We’ve progressed a long way from those days. People realise that mental health is something that can affect everyone. Folks that used to bully others, calling them crazies and mental, are now understanding that the way they treated people before wasn’t very nice. They have seen friends or family members be affected by these issues, or indeed have experienced something similar themselves.

In part this is because the modern world is ever more complicated and this is reflected in the stress experienced by the average person. In the modern world people have more mental health issues.

We are due another step forward in how we view such conditions, and it’s around the realisation that the notion of mental health issues is still very antiquated way of looking at it. The problem is that it is implicit in the term that the fault is the person with the mental health issues. That somehow they have brought this condition on themselves by the way they lived their life. That’s the unspoken piece, the unspoken belief that’s never said. It’s something ‘they’ have.

If you spend a little bit of time thinking about it, this notion is absurd. There are a very very small amount of people that perhaps have a physical abnormality in the brain, but the vaste majority do not, yet there are many many people with mental health issues.

The fact is that by definition these people that have no physical disability and have mental health issues, have these issues because of the people they interact with. It must be the case that these interactions are causing the so called mental health issues. In short we must realise that mental health issues are really issues of the group bullying individuals. The environment creates the mental health issues not the individual.

Even if they have substance abuse problems, why do they have these problems in the first place?

Mental health issues is really a failure of the group.

It’s likely that it’s a system level problem where to the total information processing capacity of the system is being reached, and for whatever reason these folks always find themselves as the pressure cooker release valve. It’s not a coincidence. One day we will look back at our primitive understanding of group dynamics and realise that groups can turn into a mob and they might not even realise they are doing it, though they also might. Ultimately it doesn’t matter though. What matters is noticing it is happening and course correcting collectively in a way that de-escalates and moves the unhealthy dynamics to a safer configuration.

In the present day, "mental health issues" is a euphemism for someone that the group systematically and relentlessly bullies. We need to evolve this understanding into a more truthful and effective model.

This post was originally published as a note, but I decided to put it out as a blog post. Notes tend to be more off the cuff, perhaps less well thought out.

Personal note: I wasn't particularly happy with the title. Specifically I feel like the word 'deception' might not convey the right message. I'm not saying there's some big conspiracy, it's more like a sort of emergent group deception. Anyway rather than get too hung up on writting the perfect piece, I just want to get it out there, it's the general idea of the piece that's important.

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