Cruel and stupid ‘mental health services’

Anyone, writes Dalrymple, who has had dealings with the mental health services knows that they simultaneously

neglect the raving mad while concentrating desultory and ineffective efforts upon the voluntarily inadequate. Patients rarely see the same mental health worker twice in succession; and anyone who has examined the records of such patients knows that they consist largely of forms filled out by people who believe that form-filling is the work they are paid to do.

The reason mental health workers concentrate on the voluntarily inadequate rather than the lunatics is that

the former are relatively docile and predictable, while the latter may be hostile and both drug-taking and machete-wielding. They are dangerous to deal with, and best avoided, especially by mental health workers, who can rely on the police to deal with them when they become so disturbed that they can be left to their own devices no longer.


by ever larger numbers of functionaries continues undisturbed as displacement activity, in the way that mice wash their paws when confronted with a cat. They are treating not their patients but their own anxieties, at the same time receiving a salary every month.

This, Dalrymple points out, is the model

for government as a whole, which pursues policies that cause problems that then call for further policies to correct them.

The idea that

for every distress there is an equal and opposite form of therapy, whether psychological or pharmacological, is a superstition, compared with which almost any religious belief is highly rational. It is also a very shallow conception of distress, which can often be immeasurably deepened by talking about it.

Britain, Dalrymple concludes, prefers

going from weakness to weakness: It creates more job opportunities for mental health workers.

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