The discrimination which patients suffer at the hands of the media is of a double-edged kind. Whenever a tragedy such as what happened in Newtown, Connecticut occurs, the networks and news outlets fall all over each other portraying, "mental illness," as the culprit behind the tragedy. One would think, (would we not,) that this alone is a sufficiently grievous affront to the dignity of patients? But, no, there’s something else going on too, which you never hear about: the result when some patient who writes, submits a certain account they’ve written to any major publication for publishing. If this patient has written a piece publicizing the existence and history of the mental patients’ Movement and reveals that they, themselves, are a patient who’s participated in this historical event, their manuscript goes nowhere except into the contents of the publisher’s File 13. In other words, the piece never sees the light of day.
The answer to this quandary can be found in the makeup of all social and political Establishments. Longstanding organizations such as the Mental Health Association and the Alliance for the Mentally Ill, constitute the mental health Establishment, and are known for their demonization of the patients’ Movement, with its emphasis on rebellion against mainstream psychiatric treatment.
Now let’s take a look at the media, more often than not a sucker for any Establishment. The press has been only too happy to do the bidding of the mental health Establishment, in this Establishment’s quest to smother the will of so-called, "rebellious," patients. Undoubtedly, Mental Health Association and A.M.I. members are tickled to death with the media’s blackout of public awareness of existence of the psychiatric inmates’ Movement. For their part, media representatives are probably also concerned about not publicizing any perceived reason for people who genuinely need help, to not get it.
One thing which I think is certain is that disgruntled patients, aggrieved at the theft of their substantive lives by the circumstance of having mental problems, as well as by the system designated to, "treat," this sad predicament, are never going to cease protesting and obstructing, as they should not. Stigma exists for a convenient reason, and that is that it is the means by which any control freak who fancies themselves a mental health professional, can interfere in a patient’s life legally. The media’s horrendous treatment of patients is an example of the extent to which stigma permeates every facet of every patient’s life. There’s never going to be peace at the table until patients are free of this stigma, and of the kneejerk temptation everyone has to control a patient’s life.
It has been pointed out to me that the media’s prerogative to be exclusionary, is Constitutionally protected. Accordingly, neither litigation nor legislation can be used to remedy the censorship I am decrying here. But we all know that the U.S. Constitution also guarantees the right of any citizens who may be aggrieved, to make their grievances known. Therefore, I am proposing that we mount a campaign to pressure the media to cease slandering us and censoring us at the very same time, of its own free will.
Are you a patient who writes? I have put together a 30-page documentation of censorship of patients by the print media. These are patients who attempt to publicize the existence of the psychiatric inmates’ Movement and are censored each time, regardless of how refreshing, profound, and libertarian this Movement is.
Are you interested in seeing a copy of this compilation? I’ve paired numerous articles I’ve written over a period of years, with their matching rejection notices, and I will gladly send you a copy if you’d like. I will incur the costs of photocopying and mailing to you. Simply contact me at:
1010 St. Paul Street
Baltimore, MD 21202
Email: [email protected]