Jeffrey Lieberman, MD, President of the APA, has written a guest post, In the Wake of the Navy Yard Shooting: A Way Forward, on EverydayHealth. Everyday Health Inc. is a media company which operates for-profit websites on health and related matters.
It’s been confirmed that the Navy Yard shooter had been taking trazadone, an antidepressant of the serotonin antagonist and reuptake inhibitor (SARI) class, and the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs has indicated that it plans to investigate to what extent the drug might have been a causative factor.
But Dr. Lieberman, as one might expect, is having none of that.
“The mass shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., joins a growing list of violent acts committed by perpetrators who were suffering from or suspected to have a serious mental illness like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. This latest tragedy, like the many before it, reflects the failings of the U.S. mental health care system.”
This raises two issues. Firstly, Aaron Alexis, the Navy Yard shooter, had received trazadone from a VA hospital in Rhode Island on August 23, and again from a VA hospital in Washington DC on August 28. Which means that he – like many mass shooters before him – was already receiving mental health treatment.
Secondly, psychiatrists have been in charge of the mental health system from the beginning, so if there are “failings” in the system, wouldn’t it be reasonable to lay these failings at psychiatry’s door. But don’t hold your breath. Dr. Lieberman is not receptive to the notion that psychiatrists are capable of error. He routinely lays the blame for the woes of the mental health system on politicians, insurance companies, the media, and on any other source he can think of. This time it’s because
“We, as a country, have consistently disregarded the public health need for widespread access to proactive and accessible mental health care services in this country.”
“We have the knowledge, understanding, and tools to provide quality mental health services,”
That’s the psychiatrists – the superheroes,
“but we have lacked the social and political will to see it through.”
That’s you and me – the ignorant, unsophisticated, spineless American public.
And Dr. Lieberman spells out what he means by proactive and accessible mental health care.
“We should engage patients proactively in the school system, workplaces, and through religious organizations or primary care providers to ensure mental health needs are being met.”
I am envisaging a dedicated legion of roving psychiatrists (have prescription pad, will travel) going to schools, workplaces, churches, and doctors’ offices proclaiming: we know you’re hiding mental patients in here, but we’ll find them!
But why didn’t he include preschools and daycare centers? We know that psychiatrists have been prescribing neuroleptics to children as young as 2 years old.
Dr. Lieberman continues:
“Yet another barrier is the stigma associated with mental illness …But by tiptoeing around this need because of fear and misperception, we risk the consequences of untreated mental illness, including such tragedies as at the Navy Yard; Newtown, Connecticut; Aurora, Colorado; and Tucson, Arizona.”.
Nor does Dr. Lieberman seem to have grasped the fact that a great many mass shooters had actually been receiving psychiatric treatment at the time of the murders, including three of the four that he mentions above. (I have found no mention of psycho-pharmaceutical involvement in the Tucson shooting.)
Finally, Dr. Lieberman tells us that:
“…we must remain vigilant by holding the government, insurers, and providers accountable until every person with a mental illness and/or substance use disorder has access to affordable, quality mental health treatment.”
What Dr. Lieberman is doing is using the shooting tragedies in a callous and self-serving manner, to expand the psychiatric net. This kind of expansion has been psychiatry’s primary agenda for the past 40 years, and it is clear that their appetite is insatiable. I think he is also trying to deflect people’s attention from the fact that the Navy shooter was receiving treatment, i.e. change the focus to something else, so people will forget.
Their tentacles are in our nursing homes, our group DD homes, our prisons, our schools, our colleges, our jails, our juvenile detention centers, our social services departments, and our hospitals. Eleven percent of the population is taking psychiatry’s so-called antidepressants, and at least 20% are taking one or more psychoactive drug.
But there is no limit. Psychiatry is tied to pharma, and as long as pharma’s revenues continue to rise, there’s no reason to stop or even slow down.
Every undrugged citizen is money lost.
Psychiatry is not something good that needs some minor corrections. Psychiatry is something fundamentally flawed and rotten. And Dr. Lieberman is their elected leader.