The boring life of Jerod Poore, Crazymeds' Chief Citizen Medical Expert.

Why I Hate NAMBLA, er, NAMI



I've had a lot of problems with the National Alliance of people eMbarrassed By a reLative's mentAl illness, or NAMBLA: 

Now they've gone too far.

This time NAMI is actively reinforcing the idea that I am a mass murderer-in-waiting.  That all I need is something to set me off and I'll leave my home that's nestled up against US Forest Service land in a somewhat remote part of northwest Montana, put on a tinfoil hat, make an orgone blaster, and go on a killing spree.

Exactly how are they doing this?  From the AP story on a recent mass murder:

Andrew Engeldinger's parents walked out of the front door of their Richfield home with an executive from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). They read a brief statement about their son; the man police say killed 6 people at a Minneapolis business on Thursday.
"Our hearts go out to the families of the people killed and those who were wounded in this tragedy. Nothing we can say can make up for their loss," Chuck Engeldinger said. The parents also detailed a difficult life.

"Our son struggled for years with mental illness. In the last few years, he no longer had contact with us. This is not an excuse for his actions, but sadly, may be a partial explanation," the father continued to read.

I don't like myself very much for having to use the details of this tragedy so soon in order to make a point, but I am just too pissed off.  And I think NAMI's behavior is making the stigma worse.  The mentally interesting have a hard enough time getting help because of the shame and how we're treated by the members of polite society, adding to the fear factor doesn't help matters.   There were plenty of times when people literally backed away from me when I told them why they hadn't seen me in a long time:  I was so crazy due to bipolar disorder that I qualified for Social Security Disability.  Who is going to seek treatment if they are afraid of being locked up for being a violent criminal?  Does NAMI really think telling everyone that crazy explains mass murder is the way to fight stigma?  Or the way to get people to seek treatment?  Exactly what is it supposed to achieve for the mentally ill?  Or was it all for family members?  Take your pick of family members: victims of the nutjob, other nutjobs, or both.

I never thought NAMI could get worse when it came to the myth of mental illness and violent crime.  It is bad enough that NAMI sucks up to NPR and only bothers to call them out on politically correct speech – their president & CEO saying Juan Williams should have kept his feelings about Muslims between himself and his psychiatrist – while ignoring things like NPR's months-long disinformation campaign of reporting about Major Nidal Hasan's nonexistent mental illness, or repeating the misinformation that all five of the men in China who attacked and killed young children were mentally ill when only one of them was.  To put the second example in perspective, one in five, or 20%, is consistent with the extremely large study done in China that found 17% of the population has the symptoms of a mental illness as defined in the DSM-IV. 

NAMI is spreading fear, not awareness.

And, yes, untreated mental illness often leads to death; but it's the mentally ill who die from it, usually in the form of suicide, or the by any one of the many ways being homeless leads to an early death, or by doing something crazy, or by starving to death in Section 8 housing, or by being murdered.  We are, after all, eleven times more likely to be the victims of violent crime than those who aren't officially crazy.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I believe that most people cannot accept the idea that someone with enough stored up anger can volitionally decide to release that anger on not only those who are causing that anger but also on a bunch of innocent bystanders. Because people want to understand why the perpetrator acted as he did, they search for any easy explanation and "mental illness" is a close and handy explanation especially with regard to the "innocent" victims.

Adam Lanza, the Newtown slayer is a perfect example of this phenomenon. Since his crime was so atrocious, there MUSt be an explanation that involves mental illness; therefore, he had Asperger's syndrome. I have nowhere seen that (a) anyone has produced a diagnosis of this syndrome from a competent professional or that (b) Aasberger's is the type of of mental quirk that would be expected to cause this type of behavior.

I have, however, read accounts that Lanza was angry with his mother because she was planning to separate from him. Some reports indicate that she was planning to commit him to a mental institution for some unspecified mental illness; however, she may have just been telling him that he had to quit leave the nest. I've also read that Ms. Lanza was involved as a volunteer with or at least very admiring of the younger children at Sandy Hook Elementary. Therefore it's possible that Adam Lanza was simply angry at his mother and at what he believed to be the substitute objects of her affection. Someone in a rage can cause great harm and is often said to be "temporarily insane" at the time. Temporary insanity is a legal fiction that explains the "why" of what was done by someone without a history of brain cooties and yet still manages to point out that the person can be stigmatized as mentally ill even if only for a short period.

Prunella

Jerod Poore said...

Prunella,

As I wrote in Guns and Mental Illness - No Easy Answer, "The only proof most people need that someone is crazy is the fact they killed a lot of people." Because to consider the possibility the killer wasn't crazy is just too horrifying, because it means that anyone - their co-workers, neighbors, friends, family members, and even themselves - is just a few drinks and a bad performance review away from being the next person to go out with a bang.