(image by Phil Borges)
Having worked in the mental health field for 30 years, the issue of mental health is a personal issue in more ways than one. Upon retirement after those 30 years, I contemplated what I had learned. What I came to realize was that the sickness of the culture, which included the mental health system, mirrored the sickness of many of the people I worked with. I especially say this in regards to teenagers who were behaving in so-called anti-social ways, i.e., engaging in criminal behaviors, assaulting people, rape, etc. In seeing the bought and sold likes of our President Obama, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Corporate cheerleaders such as Mitt Romney, I often thought, "geeze, these kids aren't acting much different from the mainstream corporations and politicians. If they were on the other side of the poverty line, they would probably be CEO's, Congressmen, Presidents or Supreme Court Justices."
My work pertained to primarily two populations, those diagnosed with mental illness (e.g., schizophrenia, bi-polar, personality disorders and depression) and adolescents who were at-risk for out-of-home placement due to criminal behaviors.
In working with adolescents, I reflected upon the "criminal" behaviors as simply modeling the behavior of the dominant culture; i.e., politicians and corporations. The difference between the two was pretty much socioeconomic. The lower socioeconomic kids who didn't have a shot at college or thumbed their noses at the corporate education system wound up in detention and ultimately jail. Meanwhile the more financially secure became CEO's, corporate managers, major stockholders and politicians (inclusive of justices).
There was a movie, Corporation, that was put out several years ago. The makers of this movie analyzed the behavior of corporations in relationship to the then DSMIV (Diagnostic and Statistics Manual) of the Psychiatric Association. The conclusion was that the corporations fit the diagnostic category of sociopathic disorder (The movie's site is at: http://thecorporation.com).
The criteria for this disorder are:
" failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviours as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest;
" deceitfulness, as indicated by repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure;
" Impulsivity or failure to plan ahead;
" Irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults;
" Reckless disregard for safety of self or others;
" Consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honour financial obligations;
" Lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another;
In lieu of this definition, consider the personality whose behavior created this:
Alberta Tar Sands
(image by Toronto Star)