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No, Glenn Close--The Stigma is On People Who Won't Let Pharma Call Them Mentally Ill

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Do you overeat? Did your boyfriend just break up with you? Does no one return your emails? Do you fall asleep at night and wake up in the morning? If so, you may be suffering from mental illness! A highly stigmatized, life-long condition that only a pharmaceutical drug can fix! But luckily there are advocacy groups like Glenn Close's Bring Change to Mind and the Pharma-funded front groups, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to help you.

"Stigma" is the best thing that ever happened to Pharma. It has aggregated and co-opted patients into lobbying groups for high-priced, psychiatric drugs that they often stay on for decades or life. While the groups say they fight the "stigma" of mental illness, they actually spend their time fighting lawmakers and insurers, at the behest of Pharma, for payment of high-priced drugs. "When insurers balk at reimbursing patients for new prescription medications," says the Los Angeles Times, these groups "typically swing into action, rallying sufferers to appear before public and consumer panels [and] contact lawmakers."

The patient front groups include the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, which gets half its funding from Pharma according to the Los Angeles Times and NAMI, which received $23 million in just two years from Pharma, according to the Wall Street Journal. In the 1990's, Eli Lilly was NAMI's biggest donor, reported Mother Jones. A woman I interviewed who wants to remain anonymous for medical privacy says she was told by the Chicago NAMI they could not help her with a borderline condition because there was no "drug" for it. So much for helping patients.

In 2014, NAMI was successful in defeating a White House proposal to limit Medicare coverage of Wellbutrin, Paxil, Prozac, Abilify, Seroquel and other expensive drug classes. "The proposal undermines a key protection for some of the sickest, most vulnerable Medicare beneficiaries," said Andrew Sperling, a tear-jerking NAMI lobbyist using the image of elderly victims to give Pharma billions of our taxpayer dollars.

Now comes a high-budget "PSA" campaign from Glenn Close's Bring Change to Mind fighting the "stigma" of eating disorders, anxiety and other "mental illnesses." If Close's high budget, slick commercials selling the idea that everyone, everywhere is "mentally ill" and a candidate for Pharma drugs are public service announcements why deny Exxon and Monsanto PSAs?

Despite the efforts of NAMI, AFSP and Glenn Close's group all of which have brought the use of antidepressants to an all time high, the suicide rate in the United States is rising. Why could that be? Suicide has risen to 38,000 a year, says USA Today, after falling in the 1990s despite almost a quarter of the population in some age groups taking antidepressants and use of some psychiatric drugs growing by 700 percent in the military. Shouldn't suicides be going down?

The truth is the Wall Street pleasing drugs which many people stay on for decades, or life, are often ineffectual and sometimes cause the very problems they are supposed to alleviate like suicide.

No, Glenn Close, stigma doesn't "suck"----convincing perfectly normal people they are "mentally ill" to enrich Pharma sucks.

(Article changed on December 18, 2017 at 20:44)

(Article changed on December 18, 2017 at 20:47)

(Article changed on December 18, 2017 at 20:50)

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Martha Rosenberg is an award-winning investigative public health reporter who covers the food, drug and gun industries. Her first book, Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health, is distributed by (more...)

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