Mental Illness Cannot Be Ignored and Rick Warren Can Help Change That

Over the weekend, Pastor Rick Warren‘s son Matthew committed suicide. In an email to his congregation, Warren explained what few people outside the church might have known:

But only those closest knew that he struggled from birth with mental illness, dark holes of depression, and even suicidal thoughts. In spite of America’s best doctors, meds, counselors, and prayers for healing, the torture of mental illness never subsided. Today, after a fun evening together with Kay and me, in a momentary wave of despair at his home, he took his life.

My heart sincerely goes out to the family. Differences aside, Matthew’s struggle was one so many people share and we have no idea what life was like for him or his family.

Matthew Warren

One question that may be asked in the wake of this tragedy is how the Warrens will respond to the tragedy: will they do it privately or publicly? They kept their son’s illness relatively private but I hope they respond publicly, in a specific way, and I want to explain why.

Many years ago, I visited a Vineyard church where, after a nearly two-hour sermon, the pastor asked the members of the congregation to raise their hands if their backs were hurting. Many hands went up (including mine… I’d been sitting in the same seat for hours). Then she asked people to raise their hands if their arms were tingling. Again, hands went up (including mine… same reason). The pastor told the Tingling Arms people that God had given them a gift and if they put their arms on the shoulders of the Bad Back people, their pain would go away. I was stunned because at no point did the pastor ever say, “Oh, by the way, go see a doctor about that back pain, too.”

Even more upsetting is how we’ve seen too many children die because their parents prayed for their health to get better instead of taking them to a doctor who could have saved their lives.

We should be grateful that the Warrens did what all good parents should have done: They took their son to professionals. They gave him the prescribed medications. They did everything they could to help him. They didn’t just pray. They didn’t try an exorcism. They didn’t blame some decision made by their son. They didn’t say “Satan did it.” They didn’t dismiss the problem. Sure, they prayed, but they did so much more than that.

Ultimately, it just wasn’t enough. That doesn’t mean the professional help did nothing, even if that’s the conclusion some people will reach. (In his letter, Warren wrote that Matthew had contemplated suicide a decade ago, but lived another ten years before this weekend’s tragedy. I would think the professional help played a role in that.)

It’s hard to overstate the importance of what the Warrens did because it doesn’t always happen this way in the Christian church.

There was an article in the Christian Post about mental illness this past January and the headline asked “Have We Lost Our Faith?” While the article talked about how more churches were taking mental illness seriously, there were also the dissenters:

“Our faith is our connection to God. Once we break that connection, there is no faith,” says Alexis Ritvalski a mother of three from Texas. “Why do Christians feel a need to seek the advice or help of another person, when Christ should be all that we need? We don’t need psychiatrists to fix us or depression medication to relieve us. There is deliverance in the Word of God. There is breakthrough in the Word of God. There is healing in the Word of God. Every situation that we endure, there is a word for us. To seek out these other methods is to not trust God.

In addition, researchers at Baylor University proclaimed in 2011 that church congregations were “blind to mental illness”:

“Families with mental illness stand to benefit from their involvement within a congregation, but our findings suggest that faith communities fail to adequately engage these families because they lack awareness of the issues and understanding of the important ways that they can help,” said study co-author Dr. Diana Garland, dean of Baylor’s School of Social Work. “Mental illness is not only prevalent in church communities, but is accompanied by significant distress that often goes unnoticed. Partnerships between mental health providers and congregations may help to raise awareness in the church community and simultaneously offer assistance to struggling families.”

This is what the Warrens are up against, and it’s what they — perhaps more than anybody else — have the power to change: this idea that seeking medical help for mental disorders is not incompatible with their faith and that it’s simply the right thing to do. God isn’t going to cure mental illness. But prayer plus doctors still equals doctors, and we’d all be better off if more pastors felt that combining prayer with things-that-will-actually-help-people is the better course of action.

In a piece for CNN yesterday, president of LifeWay Research Ed Stetzer said as much to fellow Christians:

We should not be afraid of medicine.

I realize this can be a heated debate. I also recognize that medication must be handled with care – as it should with any condition. But many mental health issues are physiological. Counseling will naturally be a part of treatment. But if we are not afraid to put a cast on a broken bone, then why are we ashamed of a balanced plan to treat mental illness that might include medication to stabilize possible chemical imbalances? Christians get cancer, and they deal with mental illness.

We’ve long seen the value in the medical treatment of cancer. It’s time for Christians to affirm the value of medical treatment for mental illness as well.

I know the Warrens aren’t part of a denomination that does exorcisms or faith-healing, but they are part of a community that routinely thinks Satan is to blame for everything from mental health disorders to homosexuality. And while evangelicals are finally beginning to accept that homosexuality is not a choice, and they’re distancing themselves from reparative therapies and “cures” for gayness, they (as a community) have not yet accepted the fact that mental illness is much more complicated than they ever imagined and that God has nothing to do with it.

Rick and Kay Warren have a unique opportunity to remedy this situation. With their prominence in the evangelical community, they would truly honor their son — and help many other families in the process — by speaking more openly about mental illness and what steps Christians (and the rest of us for that matter) could take to help those who have it.

They’re well aware of the issue, too. Last year, when Kay Warren released her book Choose Joy, she said this about why she wrote it:

One of the reasons I wrote the book is I have a passion for people who are living with depression, and the mental illness that is a taboo subject in the Christian community. And if there are people who read this book and walk away and it saves a life, and I do believe that the message can save the life of some people who are just kind of hanging on by fingernails, it was worth the effort to write.

Rick Warren added after the Newtown massacre: “I don’t think we’re taking care of those struggling with mental illness like we need to in America.”

They understand the issue. And they’ve brought up the issue in the past. But I’d like to see them make it a primary focus in the future.

The Warrens need some time to grieve first, of course, but this is a problem that’s been pushed aside for too long. It’s time for the evangelical world to address the matter directly by admitting that it’s a serious concern that God alone can’t cure, and it would be a lasting tribute to their son if the Warrens took the lead on this.

Just to be clear, I am in no way suggesting that hiding or avoiding conversations about mental illness is something limited to the Christian church. It’s a problem with our society in general. Timothy Dalrymple does a nice job explaining why families, religious and not, often keep these issues to themselves:

Evangelical families — even more than most, in my experience — are wont to keep mental illness private. Parents whose children suffer from mental illness will sometimes keep it private for the sake of their children. That’s entirely understandable. But there are other, less legitimate reasons. Parents may want to maintain the facade of a perfect family in front of the church community. They may feel like confessing the situation is tantamount to admitting defeat, or may fear the pain and the vulnerability. Or, worse, they may think that their child’s struggles are God’s judgment upon the parents, or that, if their family were stronger in its faith, if they had been more loving and wise, then this never would have happened. So they may be ashamed.

There’s more where that came from in his post. And he makes good points. Mental illness isn’t something to be ashamed of; instead, we must strive to understand it, recognize it, and deal with it as best we can.

Even though the rest of this post suggests that the Warrens could make a big difference in the Christian world by talking about this issue, I have no doubt their impact here would go far beyond the church.

(By the way, if you or someone you know is an atheist struggling with mental illness, you can find non-religious help by visiting Secular Therapist Project.)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • 3lemenope

    Easily the best post I’ve read about this. By. Far.

  • slaq

    That is truly terrible. My heart goes out to him and his family.

  • newavocation

    I don’t know it’s bad for the business of religion to appear impotent. It will be interesting to see how Ricky spins this for his next book.

  • Equal Rights for ALL.

    The mans son just died, and the atheists are already trying to make internet points off it and tell him what to do.

  • KeithCollyer

    he isn’t being told what to do, the article expresses a hope, as well as considerable sympathy and it also emphasizes the need for them to be given time to grieve. I don’t see anyone making “internet points” – but maybe that’s because I don’t know what internet points are. But it cannot be denied that this sad circumstance now puts Rick Warren in a unique position to do some real good, and regardless of whether you are a believer or not, if he did, this could only be a good thing

  • Lee Miller

    Since people like Rick Warren are in the business of telling people what to do in all kinds of life situations and tragedies, it seems completely appropriate to me for someone else to suggest what he should do.

  • Thomas J. Lawson

    One thing that bothered me about Warren’s letter was that he mentioned Matthew saying at one point: “I know I’m going to heaven, so why can’t I just go now?”

    That does not help a person with suicidal thoughts. What if he had grown up thinking that we only get one life here on earth and that heaven did not exist? (Not saying that atheists never die by suicide, though.)

    Also, of course Christians avoid mental illness. It ventures into the Heaven Paradox. Is Matthew in heaven suffering from depression? If he’s free of mental illness in heaven, is he still the Matthew that everyone knew and loved? Of course not, his brain, and all the chemistry good and bad, made Matthew who he was. To say that his physical body was ill and that his “soul” was fine, and that his soul is free of mental illness, then which Matthew is in heaven and would anyone in his family recognize him? Lastly, if he is suffering with mental illness in heaven, can it still be called heaven?

  • 3lemenope

    I’m as critical as the next person of people taking ideological advantage of this tragedy, but it’s really, really difficult (and uncharitable) to read Hemant’s post as doing anything like that. He was just pointing out that Warren, in his moment of tragedy, has an opportunity to do a lot of good for people suffering similarly to how his son and family have suffered. How is that “making points off it”? And making a suggestion is not telling someone what to do.

  • Bubba Tarandfeathered

    Christians taking care of the mentally ill, now there is a real oxymoron. I work in this industry and I can tell you the christians that I encounter who have family members with mental illness, well lets put it this way the mentally ill family member often seems more sane. It’s the blind attempting to lead the temporarily blinded. Dear god please make your followers less gullible. Oh wait then they wouldn’t believe in you.

  • TCC

    I will never understand this insistence on religion as mental illness. It demeans people with actual mental illnesses as well as people who are religious because of upbringing, social pressure, etc. The fact that you say that you work in “this industry” (by which I assume you mean mental health) is incredibly disheartening, as you should be in a place to see the difference between mental illness and mere misguided belief.

  • TiltedHorizon

    Rick Warren is a douche bag but my heart still aches for him. He is living my worst nightmare, a personal hell intimately known to parents who outlive their children. Having seen the effects firsthand I know and understand the toll it takes. As one father to another, as a parent to another, I’m sorry for his loss, my heart goes out to him and his family.

  • TCC

    Given what I’ve read from substance dualists, they would probably say that a person is not the totality of their brain chemistry but that brain chemistry affects the way a soul/mind is able to interact with the body. It’s definitely ad hoc reasoning, but it’s not necessarily paradoxical.

  • Drew M.

    Great post, Hemant.

  • CultOfReason

    Christ should be all that we need? We don’t need psychiatrists to fix us or depression medication to relieve us.

    Part of the problem is that people fail to take mental illness as seriously as physical illness. They can believe in an invisible god that allegedly dispenses mercy and judgement, but not an invisible killer like depression that affects all people, religious or not. I will never understand the minds of people who think like this.

  • Stev84

    He struggled “from birth”? Is that just Rick Warren being his usual insane self, or some sort of original sin nonsense?

  • Drew M.

    Translation: “Hemant completely screwed up my bigoted assumptions about how atheists would react, so I’ll just pull a complaint out of my prodigious ass.”

  • Question Everything

    I find it hard to believe that you actually read his post and came away with the impression he was trying to score “internet points”. Please explain why you think he’s trying to score points with what he wrote, rather than trying to show compassion, charity, and a nudge for how all people can work with the topic of mental illness better.

  • tinker

    I was depressed when I was a teenager. So depressed that I attempted suicide at 14. My thoughts at the time were that even if I went to hell it would be better than this. Of course I was Lutheran and born Mormon so I didn’t think that hell was forever. Now that I am an Atheist and am reasonably sure that this is all we get, suicide is not an option. At least not until I feel that I am done, I can see not wanting to prolong an illness from which I couldn’t recover.

    I feel now that religion contributed to my depression. At the time one of the things that I was upset about was that God didn’t talk to me the way he did everybody else. I felt alone and mad that God didn’t make me cool/attractive/athletic. I felt that the only control that I had was to take my own life. Now, while I am not any of those things, my wife thinks that I am attractive and I hang around with people that I think are cool (and at 49 athletic is just a chore). My life has improved without God in it and I feel that by living my life with morality from within I am doing more to improve the world than if I wasn’t here.

  • kevin white

    You know, I’m definitely not a fan of Rick Warren, but losing a child is something i’d never wish on anyone. I hope he and his family can get through this loss, and maybe, just maybe, some good things will be in the future for religious people with mental health issues.

  • qt314

    Or maybe he’s in a place to see the similarities.

  • GloomCookie613

    My heart goes out to the Warren family. Regardless of our differences, no loving parent deserves to lose their child and know that pain. They obviously loved their son and tried to get him help. My heart breaks for them.

  • TCC

    Or maybe he’s not taking a skeptical view of the equating of religion with mental illness. That seems far more likely.

  • Artor

    You’ll notice he said, “often.” Certainly not all religiosity can be equated with mental illness, but yes, often it can. When someone clings to the irrational, even in the face of clear contrary evidence and serious pain & hardship to themselves and their families and loved ones, I think calling that mental illness is as entirely appropriate as is calling paranoid delusions, schizophrenia, suicidal depression, etc.

  • qt314

    How convenient that the person with more authority and experience is actually just “more likely” mistaken since his conclusions conflict with yours.

  • coyotenose

    No and no. It was a normal amount of hyperbole.

  • coyotenose

    The man’s son just died, and the theists are already going to atheist sites in hopes of finding things to crow about, finding nothing, but then lying and claiming they do anyway.

    Because that’s what Jesus wanted his followers to do: fake persecution for attention.

  • Alison

    This is an incredibly measured and compassionate piece. Nicely done.

  • Tommykey69

    That’s real funny Equal Rights, because after every mass shooting in this country, the Religious right talking heads are quick to blame the massacres on a lack of school prayer or declining religious belief in this country while the gun barrels of the shooters have barely cooled.

  • TheG

    Also in “the industry” here. I can tell you that the DSM-IV is definitely (and possibly deliberately) hazy on what constitutes the difference between the symptoms of certain mental illnesses and the experiences/beliefs held by religious folk. Talking to people not in the room vs. praying, irrational beliefs despite evidence to the contrary, hearing voices vs. hearing deities, saying words changes physical reality vs. saying prayer changes physical substance… I’m not sure why more people don’t see the very valid comparison.

    It might just boil down to the problem of individual belief vs. popular belief: If a person believes he has the powers of a god, he is has a mental disorder. But if a billion people believe a person has god-powers, it is a religion. Without getting all metaphysical on everyone, should sanity be up for democratic vote?

  • 3lemenope

    This subthread reminds me of Oliver Sacks’ most recent book, Hallucinations, in which, among other things, he points out that auditory and even visual hallucinations are waaaaaaay more common than people generally think and occur naturally in what are generally thought of as otherwise well-ordered minds, because people are socially discouraged from being honest with their peers, family and colleagues about the experiences due to stigma of mental illness and fear in particular of being thought of as schizophrenic.

  • 3lemenope

    Particularly given that a person compromised by grief is not likely to be paying painstaking attention to diction.

  • 3lemenope

    The authority is being misapplied, akin to trusting the answer of a scientist for an engineering question because they both do tech-y stuff. When you have a hammer, you itch for nails to whack, leading to category errors by applying one’s expertise to a phenomenon not encompassed by the paradigm under which the expertise actually functions.

  • Paul Delaney

    One of the major problems so far as the church goes is that I think many evangelicals are just afraid of their humanity. I think they have serious issues dealing with matters like desire, death and despair. The despair of depression is definitely a reminder of a person’s humanity. I’ve dealt with serious depression and did so while a faithful evangelical and there is no amount of listening to worship music in the minor key and prayer and small group meetings that will vanquish that and if you’re honest about that… it scares them or it just doesn’t register. I don’t envy anyone who is in the position of being in the throes of depression and is in an evangelical environment. I would not be surprised if it’s pretty common but not talked about very much.

    When I did talk to people in my church about it, it was pretty clear to me that it was impossible for them to not think of depression being the consequence of a sin. I immediately was asked questions about pornography and masturbation.

  • Richard Wade

    Matthew Warren shot himself. The elephant stands ignored in the room.

    After a compassionate amount of time for his loved ones to grieve, I would like to know why and how a young man with a life long history of depression and suicidal tendencies had access to a firearm.

  • Adam Patrick

    Was just about to say this

  • TCC

    Fallacious appeal to authority. The right question is to ask is not whether a specific person working in mental health thinks that religion and mental illness can be equated but whether or not that is a conclusion that can be justified by the standards of the discipline itself. If there is evidence to support that claim, I’d love to see it.

  • TCC

    This discussion is happening in such general terms that it is almost useless. If religion is a mental illness, then what analogous condition can we meaningfully compare it to? Does religious thinking (insofar as it can even be generalized, a notion which I am also highly skeptical of) affect individual functioning, social relationships, etc. in a way that is worth distinguishing?

    And the things you mention aren’t things that in and of themselves indicate mental illness, e.g. holding beliefs contrary to evidence, which can be due to mental illness as well as a host of other factors. All of those factors have to be considered in the larger context of cognitive functioning, social interactions, etc. as well, and I think you would be hard-pressed to show that religious people in general show those characteristics in statistically significant ways from non-religious people.

    I mean, if you want to actually deal with this from a skeptical perspective.

  • TCC

    He said that the mentally ill often sound more sane than their religious family members, but that’s not evidence of anything. If the claim was that mental illness can be comorbid with religious thinking, then that might be more reasonable, but I still have yet to see any real reason for making the broad generalizations that have characterized the arguments here.

  • coyotenose

    I believe the standard response is along the lines of “It’s too soon to be making this political, Liberal scum, people are grieving!”

    Because, y’know, reducing death rates is political.

  • coyotenose

    my bad. I forgot to add that no amount of grieving time is enough. It will remain “too soon” until moments before the next event.

  • coyotenose

    Doesn’t everyone experience them, and it’s just a matter of frequency and intensity? How many people have never imagined a loved one calling their name at an odd moment? I can’t remember the name of it, but I have that lovely, LOVELY condition where I hear random, shockingly loud noises when trying to fall asleep.

  • Carmelita Spats

    It’s the cult issue…Check the space where obsessive compulsive disorder, scrupulosity and religion intersect. People who are religious because of social pressure, upbringing, culture, or trying to “fake-it-to-make-it” are not the issue. It’s those of us who obeyed, submitted and sacrificed because we TRULY believed the lies…If you are into mortification of the flesh, penance through sleep deprivation, extended periods of fasting, information control, incessant confession of sins to a “spiritual director”, the blurring of boundaries between your identity and the group, etc, this is not mere “misguided belief”. The religious practices affect your mind and body even if you can bake cookies, go to a PTA meeting and sound coherent. You become a ticking time bomb. Here is some information on the Roman Catholic Opus Dei movement…Think about the connection between cult practices and mental illness…You have to be mentally ill to remain in the cult…Leaving is extremely difficult…It’s not like “switching churches”…

  • CT

    Judging from what you wrote, I can only hope you leave this industry soon. A person working in the mental health industry has no business being there with such loathing, contempt, and disgust for an entire swath of the human population. Especially since you don’t seem interested in helping them, but instead prefer to heap scorn upon them, even in their most dire of circumstances. That goes for religious workers in the industry as well of course, but you’re clearly no better than the worst of the religious types who would say such things about the non-religious (what few I’ve encountered in my professional life who even came close I might add). .

  • TCC

    I’m not even sure that you’re arguing over the same thing that has been mentioned. I would, however, just point out to you that (with the disclaimer that I am not incredibly well-versed in Opus Dei practices and such) saying you have to be mentally ill to remain in that group but then that leaving is extremely difficult suggests to me that mental illness very well may not be the only explanation.

  • 3lemenope

    Pretty much.

    Oh, and the auditory hallucinations you’re talking about there at the end as you settle into sleep are called, I shit you not, Exploding Head Syndrome.

  • allein

    I sometimes get a loud rushing noise as I’m drifting off that lasts a few seconds at most and snaps me awake. (Actually, now as I’m trying to describe it I can’t quite remember; it’s quick and fairly infrequent.) I have tinnitus, so I guess I always just figured it was related to that. Perhaps not.

  • Rwlawoffice

    I was waiting to see when you would respond to this. Thank you for a heartfelt and sincere post.

  • Hemant Mehta

    Oh my god, rwlawoffice just praised something I did! WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?! :)

  • Bubba Tarandfeathered

    you get my point right there, I say there is a fine line between affective disorders and theistic belief.

  • Bubba Tarandfeathered

    I can tell you this much the hypothesis I am proposing, in my doctoral thesis, between the similarities of religious practice and behaviorism’s of patients displaying mood affective disorders, is being widely approved by my professors. Give me another year and then we can argue over who’s da expert.

  • TCC

    I haven’t even fucking claimed to be the expert. I’m saying that the very premise needs some serious work to support. If you claim you’re working on it, fine, but let me know when you have actual facts to back up that claim. In the meantime, I’m not going to just take you at your word, Anonymous-Internet-Person-Who-Claims-to-Be-the-Expert.

  • TCC

    I haven’t even fucking claimed to be the expert. I’m saying that the very premise needs some serious work to support. If you claim you’re working on it, fine, but let me know when you have actual facts to back up that claim. In the meantime, I’m not going to just take you at your word, Anonymous-Internet-Person-Who-Claims-to-Be-the-Expert.

  • wmdkitty

    All the doctors and meds and psychiatrists in the world can’t help a person who refuses to be helped.

  • wmdkitty

    People voting down my post, how about you instead demonstrate how religious thinking is a mental illness?

    Where to start…? Invisible men (who are really all the same guy!) in the sky who have a list of ten things they don’t want you to do, ever, and if you do, you’ll burn for all eternity in hell? That’s not something a mentally healthy person would believe… Ditto for demons, “spiritual warfare”, and transubstantiation. (Do I really have to continue?)

    Last I checked, religious people are, by and large, able to function normally in society, for instance.

    As are the vast majority of people with a diagnosed mental illness, so I’m not sure what your point with that was.

  • wmdkitty

    They weren’t big on germ theory either, IIRC.

  • wmdkitty

    Oh, but we don’t have a gun problem at all! It’s ALL because of teh crazies!


    So. Tired. Of this shit!

  • Bubba Tarandfeathered

    from what I wrote how did you come to the conclusion that I have so much loathing, contempt, and disgust, for such a large swath of the population? Unless you are making an assumption based in an Appeal to Tradition.

    But to clarify what I meant since it seems that everyone commenting after my statement needs clarification.

    I have observed countless times theistic parents and family members in a state of denial that their loved one has a mental illness These states of denial are often coupled with group prayer sessions and flat out denials that the Mental Health Professional i.e Me, can use or is even equipped with the necessary tools to alleviate the person suffering from the mental illness. Countless times I’ve heard the statement, “this is part of god’s plan” or “he is one of god’s special children” while completely dismissing my professional advice and refusing the administration of medication or therapy. If that is not insanity then I need to find a new profession. Every instance of such behavior adds subjective proof to my opinion that there is a fine line between mental illness and religious practice/adherence. Yes I said/wrote “subjective proof.” Yes TCC that is not scientific or objective proof, and therefore you can rightfully dismiss my observations as fallacious.

  • Bubba Tarandfeathered

    It has been said, “the devil takes on many forms, stand fast and beware for he seeks to deceive you”

  • Bubba Tarandfeathered

    UM? Anonymous-person-who-claims-he-will-soon-be-the-expert. Never in any of my posts have I made a claim that I am an expert in psychology or any of the mental health fields, I have asserted that I have numerous years directly working with persons with developmental disabilities and mental health issues. I am a Mental Health Professional that’s my job description. In accordance to the licensing I have acquired from Washington State Health and Human Services Department. Who, by state law, required me to submit a thorough FBI background check and as a requirement of my employer a GHQ-28 test to determine my mental health. (or as I see it to determine whether I am insane enough to handle my job) Never-the-less I am also of student of applied psychology currently working towards completing my doctoral thesis, but none of that makes me an expert in any manner of shape or form.
    I am also a level 90 w/iLvl 490 Alliance Death Knight in WoW, booyaa!!

  • amycas

    Is that an actual condition? I have a problem where I see weird or unsettling things when I’m trying to fall asleep.Sometimes it’s accompanied by auditory hallucinations, and sometimes it’s accompanied by tactile sensations. It’s almost like I’m having a dream before I actually fall asleep.

  • Carissa Snedeker

    Wonderful post. Thank you.

  • TCC

    Like I said, let me know when you have actual facts. In the meantime, I will continue to think this notion to be a crock of shit.

  • TCC

    That’s not something a mentally healthy person would believe

    That begs the question. Try again.

    As are the vast majority of people with a diagnosed mental illness, so I’m not sure what your point with that was.

    Well, it was only one element of mental illness and not a necessary or sufficient condition, but it is often true that people with a mental illness have difficulty functioning normally on their own. Perhaps I should have qualified that by adding “without receiving any form of treatment.”

  • TCC

    Saying that religion can cause people to doubt that others have mental illnesses is a whole different can of worms than saying that religion is itself a mental illness or comparable to one. And seriously, can you not see the line between being insane and being misguided? I think that people who refuse medical treatment of any kind (edit: except under certain extreme circumstances) are nuts, but not in a clinical sense.

  • Y. A. Warren

    The prejudice against mental illness in the health insurance arena has many seeking “magic” cures and pretending the illness doesn’t exist. Why diagnose what we can’t afford to treat? I contend that if medication can treat an illness, it is an organic illness. We need to stop praying and start protesting this archaic health care policy.

    Suicide and The Sacred Spirit
    -from my blog
    It breaks my heart all over again when I hear people discussing what their god will do with the soul of Matthew Warren, who apparently took his own life. Why aren’t people comfortable with what they can’t see? Why do we want charlatans acting as if they know the “mind of God?” There is much that we aren’t wise enough to know. Live with it!

    I have had several members of my family take their own lives, one a beloved uncle, back in the day when my religion refused church burial to these “sinners.” We were told that my uncle would forever burn in hell. What unmitigated arrogant bull dung this was and is! I have had several family members persecuted by church people attempting to exorcise the demons of their mental illness, rather than simply stepping in and holding them until their fears dissipated.

    Here’s what I know. My uncle’s Sacred Spirit never left my soul or my mind’s eye. Those with terrible “demons” nipping at their brains to the point where they couldn’t hear the sound of The Sacred Spirit anymore still shared much of their beautiful souls with me.Their spirits live on in my soul, and presumably in all of the earth that they touched. Some I still see and hear in my most contemplative states.

    I made up my mind as a child of six that if my siblings weren’t going to heaven, I didn’t want to go. I still stand by that belief. While I wait for the fires of hell, all those who ever loved me are parts of my “heaven on earth.”

  • Jhudstone

    I am sure what is helping the mentally ill is the thousands of atheists pouring out their rage and hatred against Rick Warren as he grieves his dead son. Perhaps if Mr. Mehta spent some time advising his own community on opportunities to positively impact others, he would have the moral authority to advice others.

  • allein

    I’m not seeing any rage or hatred against Rick Warren here. I see a few “I don’t like him but my heart goes out to him” sort of comments…but I would hardly call that rage or hatred. Also an argument or two going on in the thread that have nothing to do with Rick Warren. But still no rage.

  • Geoffrey Miller

    “Honor physicians for their services,
    for the Lord created them;
    for their gift of healing comes from the Most High,
    and they are rewarded by the king.
    The skill of physicians makes them distinguished,
    and in the presence of the great they are admired.
    The Lord created medicines out of the earth,
    and the sensible will not despise them.
    Was not water made sweet with a tree
    in order that its power might be known?
    And he gave skill to human beings
    that he might be glorified in his marvelous works.
    By [medicines] the physician heals and takes away pain;
    the pharmacist makes a mixture from them.
    God’s works will never be finished;
    and from him health spreads over all the earth.

    My child, when you are ill, do not delay,
    but pray to the Lord, and he will heal you.
    Give up your faults and direct your hands rightly,
    and cleanse your heart from all sin.
    Offer a sweet-smelling sacrifice, and a memorial portion of choice flour,
    and pour oil on your offering, as much as you can afford.
    Then give the physician his place, for the Lord created him;
    do not let him leave you, for you need him.
    There may come a time when recovery lies in the hands of physicians,
    for they too pray to the Lord
    that he grant them success in diagnosis
    and in healing, for the sake of preserving life.
    He who sins against his Maker,
    will be defiant toward the physician” (Sirach 38:1-15, NRSV).

    I believe things would be so much better if all Christians reincorporated the Apocryphal books of the Old Testament back into their canons. There are several great and beautiful passages on physicians like the one above. I mean, there are already several such verses in Proverbs, but it never hurts to have too many.

  • qt314

    You are as wrong as you are verbose as your analogy is terrible.

  • 3lemenope

    Point out the error.

  • Richard Wade

    Perhaps if you took the time to actually read Mr. Mehta’s post and the atheists’ comments here, you would realize that the hatred and rage are in your own ears and not in our voices. Perhaps if you took the time to actually read the many articles that Hemant writes about having positive impacts on others, you would be more interested in joining our efforts in rather than striking your superior and disapproving pose from the sidelines.

  • Jhudstone

    Check out any non-monitored message board.

  • allein

    So… you’re complaining here about something happening on other sites, which is not happening on this site, as if the person who runs this site has the power to do anything about those other sites? (And as far as I can tell, Hemant doesn’t do much in the way of moderation around here, either.)

  • Aspieguy

    Thank you for this well written post. I am not a fan of Rick Warren, but I am pleased that he and his wife sought all the help they could find for their son. It’s horrible that the leading killer among the mentally ill is suicide.

    The church is absolutely no help. A couple of years ago I finally received an answer to all my difficulties in life: Aspergers syndrome, a form of high functioning autism. Throughout my life I had trouble socializing, couldn’t look people in the eye, and had very narrow interests. I suffered terribly from depression, as well. I know just how bad it can be. I have been called the worst names in Christendom: backslidden, demon possessed, unchristian, unworthy. In church I was never allowed to join the popular people. It got to the point that I didn’t even exist within the church. I was too different. I gave honest answers to questions. I never engaged in the constant small talk. I was rarely interested in the church’s activities. I considered much of what they did as a waste of time. For all that, I was bullied, mistreated and ignored.

    Never look for meaningful help in church or in the bible. It’s not there. I know.

  • Jhudstone

    I am saying that before he tells Rick Warren, whose beliefs he criticizes, how to communicate about his own son’s death, he ought to communicate to his atheist audience how they should react to someone losing a child, since they don’t seem to have the ordinary decency to figure that out:

  • Jhudstone

    He is trying to tell a grieving father how to communicate about an issue his father obviously already cares deeply about. That’s reprehensible.

  • Jhudstone

    Exactly. A father’s grief becomes all about how to advance an agenda. It’s horribly disgusting.

  • wmdkitty

    “Never look for meaningful help in church or in the bible.”

    I was going to make a joke about Bible trivia, but then I remembered atheists tend to know more about that book than the religious.

  • Marvin Joseph Coleman Novoa

    There’s no biological imbalance. When people come to me and they say, ‘I have a biochemical imbalance,’ I say, ‘Show me your lab tests.’ There are no lab tests. So what’s the biochemical imbalance?” —Dr. Ron Leifer, psychiatrist

    “All psychiatrists have in common that when they are caught on camera or on microphone, they cower and admit that there are no such things as chemical imbalances/diseases, or examinations or tests for them. What they do in practice, lying in every instance, abrogating [revoking] the informed consent right of every patient and poisoning them in the name of ‘treatment’ is nothing short of criminal.” —Dr. Fred Baughman Jr., Pediatric Neurologist, Psychiatric disorders are not medical diseases. There are no lab tests, brain scans, X-rays or chemical imbalance tests that can verify any mental disorder is a physical condition. This is not to say that people do not get depressed, or that people can’t experience emotional or mental duress, but psychiatry has repackaged these emotions and behaviors as “disease” in order to sell drugs. This is a brilliant marketing campaign, but it is not science.

    Psychiatrists claim that brain scans now show brain changes that “prove” mental disorders, such as schizophrenia and depression, are brain based. There is no scientific evidence to prove this: it remains what the “fine print” in the studies tell you: “suggests,” “may” and “it is hoped.

    Psychiatrists can’t predict what adverse side effects you might experience because not one of them knows how their drugs work.

    Psychotropic drugs are increasingly being exposed as chemical toxins with the power to kill. Psychiatrists claim their drugs save lives, but according to their own studies, psychotropic drugs can double the risk of suicide. And long-term use has been proven to create a lifetime of physical and mental damage, a fact ignored by psychiatrists.

    The tricyclic antidepressants originally were tested as neuroleptics because
    chemically they are very similar to Thorazine (chlorpromazine). They are, in
    many ways, neuroleptics in disguise. Their side effects stem mainly from
    suppression of the cholinergic nerves of the autonomic nervous system and the
    brain, and when the individual tries to stop taking them, the cholinergic system
    rebounds with great force, making it hard to get off them.

    Nearly all of the antidepressants commonly produce the following side
    effects: various autonomic nervous system signs, such as blurred vision, dry
    mouth, and suppressed function of gut, bladder, and sexual organs, as well as
    low blood pressure on standing, weight gain, sleep disturbances, seizures, and
    impaired cardiac function. They can bring about anxiety, produce or exacerbate
    psychotic symptoms, and cause delirium.

    They frequently produce sedation, lethargy, and a blunting of emotional
    responsiveness, although this often goes unacknowledged by psychiatrists.

    The antidepressants can cause death when only a few doses are taken at once.
    In combination with other depressants of the central nervous system – such as
    alcohol, neuroleptics, lithium, sleeping pills, painkillers, and minor
    tranquilizers – the antidepressants become increasingly dangerous. They suppress
    central nervous system function, thereby impairing respiration, and they cause
    cardiac arrhythmias, leading to heart failure. Caution must be taken in regard
    to their use by the elderly.

    A number of years ago antidepressants replaced sedatives as the prescription
    medications most frequently involved in successful suicide attempts. Obviously,
    there is a built-in danger to giving such lethal drugs to depressed patients who
    have a high and unpredictable suicidal potential

    In helping seriously depressed people, reducing the suicide rate is one of
    the first concerns. Do antidepressants have a beneficial impact on suicide?
    Despite the relative ease of conducting objective studies of suicide rates – the
    criterion of death is an indisputable one – there is no published evidence
    that the antidepressants are helpful in reducing suicide. In the PDR,
    the manufacturers of the various antidepressants warn practitioners not to rely
    on the medications to prevent suicide.

    One study, “Mortality in Depressed Patients Treated with Electroconvulsive
    Therapy and Antidepressants,” by David Avery and George Winokur in the September
    1976 Archives of General Psychiatry, shows an increased suicide
    rate among patients receiving antidepressant therapy.

    Since antidepressants are now the drugs most commonly implicated in
    successful suicides, it would seem far more appropriate to designate them as
    “suicide drugs” rather than antisuicide drugs. Yet psychiatrists persist in
    giving them to depressed patients who are suicidal.
    Dr. Peter Breggin’s new concept of medication spellbinding provides insights into why so many people take psychiatric drugs when the drugs are doing more harm than good. Psychiatric drugs, and all other drugs that affect the mind, spellbind the individual by masking their adverse mental effects from the individual taking the drugs. If the person experiences a mental side effect, such as anger or sadness, he or she is likely to attribute it to something other than drug, perhaps blaming it on a loved one or on their own “mental illness.” Often people taking psychiatric drugs claim to feel better than ever when in reality their mental life and behavior is impaired. In the extreme, medication spellbinding leads otherwise well-functioning and ethical individuals to commit criminal acts, violence or suicide.

    Citizens Commission on Human Rights

  • wmdkitty


  • Marvin Joseph Coleman Novoa

    Psychiatric disorders are not medical diseases. There are no lab tests, brain scans, X-rays or chemical imbalance tests that can verify any mental disorder is a physical condition. This is not to say that people do not get depressed, or that people can’t experience emotional or mental duress, but psychiatry has repackaged these emotions and behaviors as “disease” in order to sell drugs. This is a brilliant marketing campaign, but it is not science. There’s no biological imbalance. When people come to me and they say, ‘I have a biochemical imbalance,’ I say, ‘Show me your lab tests.’ There are no lab tests. So what’s the biochemical imbalance?” —Dr. Ron Leifer, psychiatrist. All psychiatrists have in common that when they are caught on camera or on microphone, they cower and admit that there are no such things as chemical imbalances/diseases, or examinations or tests for them. What they do in practice, lying in every instance, abrogating [revoking] the informed consent right of every patient and poisoning them in the name of ‘treatment’ is nothing short of criminal.” —Dr. Fred Baughman Jr., Pediatric Neurologist, There is no blood or other biological test to ascertain the presence or absence of a mental illness, as there is for most bodily diseases. If such a test were developed…then the condition would cease to be a mental illness and would be classified, instead, as a symptom of a bodily disease.” —Dr. Thomas Szasz, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry, New York University Medical School, Syracuse “I believe, until the public and psychiatry itself see that DSM labels are not only useless as medical ‘diagnoses’ but also have the potential to do great harm—particularly when they are used as means to deny individual freedoms, or as weapons by psychiatrists acting as hired guns for the legal system.” —Dr. Sydney Walker III, psychiatrist“No biochemical, neurological, or genetic markers have been found for Attention Deficit Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Depression, Schizophrenia, anxiety, compulsive alcohol and drug abuse, overeating, gambling or any other so-called mental illness, disease, or disorder.” —Bruce Levine, Ph.D., psychologist and author of Commonsense Rebellion
    Unlike medical diagnoses that convey a probable cause, appropriate treatment and likely prognosis, the disorders listed in DSM-IV are terms arrived at through peer consensus.” —Tana Dineen Ph.D., Canadian psychologist
    I believe, until the public and psychiatry itself see that DSM labels are not only useless as medical ‘diagnoses’ but also have the potential to do great harm—particularly when they are used as means to deny individual freedoms, or as weapons by psychiatrists acting as hired guns for the legal system.” —Dr. Sydney Walker III, psychiatrist No biochemical, neurological, or genetic markers have been found for Attention Deficit Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Depression, Schizophrenia, anxiety, compulsive alcohol and drug abuse, overeating, gambling or any other so-called mental illness, disease, or disorder.” —Bruce Levine, Ph.D., psychologist and author of Commonsense Rebellion Unlike medical diagnoses that convey a probable cause, appropriate treatment and likely prognosis, the disorders listed in DSM-IV are terms arrived at through peer consensus.” —Tana Dineen Ph.D., Canadian psychologist.Psychiatrists claim that brain scans now show brain changes that “prove” mental disorders, such as schizophrenia and depression, are brain based. There is no scientific evidence to prove this: it remains what the “fine print” in the studies tell you: “suggests,” “may” and “it is hoped.”
    It is well established that the drugs used to treat a mental disorder, for example, may induce long-lasting biochemical and even structural changes [including in the brain], which in the past were claimed to be the cause of the disorder, but may actually be an effect of the treatment.” —Dr. Elliot Valenstein, biopsychologist, author, Blaming the Brain,PSYCHIATRIC DRUGS:
    Cure or Quackery?
    by Lawrence Stevens, J.D.

    Contrary to the claim major and minor tranquilizers and
    so-called antidepressants are useful as sleeping pills, their real effect is to
    inhibit or block real sleep. When I sat in on a psychiatry class with a
    medical student friend, the professor told us “Research has shown we do not need
    to sleep, but we do need to dream.” The dream phase of sleep is the critical
    part. Most psychiatric drugs, including those promoted as sleeping medications
    or tranquilizers, inhibit this critical dream-phase of sleep, inducing a state
    that looks like sleep but actually is a dreamless unconscious state – not
    sleep. Sleep, in other words, is an important mental activity that is impaired
    or stopped by most psychiatric drugs. A self-help magazine advises: “Do not
    take sleeping pills unless under doctor’s orders, and then for no more than 10
    consecutive nights. Besides losing their effectiveness and becoming addictive,
    sleep-inducing medications reduce or prevent the dream-stage of sleep necessary
    for mental health” (Going Bonkers? magazine, premiere issue, p. 75).
    In The Brain Book, University of Rhode Island professor Peter Russell,
    Ph.D., says “During sleep, particularly during dreaming periods, proteins and
    other chemicals in the brain used up during the day are replenished” (Plume,
    1979, p. 76). Sleep deprivation experiments on normal people show loss of sleep
    causes hallucinations if continued long enough (Maya Pines, The Brain
    Changers, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1973, p. 105). So what would seem to
    be the consequences of taking drugs that inhibit or block real sleep?


    1. Because psychiatrists frequently cause harm, permanent
    disabilities, death – death of the body-mind-spirit.

    2. Because psychiatrists frequently violate the Hippocratic Oath which orders
    all physicians “First Do No Harm.”

    3. Because psychiatrists patronize and disempower people, especially their

    4. Because psychiatry is not a medical science.

    5. Because psychiatry is quackery, a pseudo-science which lacks independent
    diagnostic tests, testable hypotheses, and cures for “schizophrenia” and all
    other types of alleged “mental illness” or “mental disorder”.

    6. Because psychiatrists can not accurately and reliably predict
    dangerousness, violence, or any other type of human behaviour, yet make such
    claims as “expert witnesses”, and with the media promote the “dangerous mental
    patient” myth/stereotype.

    7. Because psychiatrists have caused a worldwide epidemic of brain damage by
    promoting and prescribing brain-disabling treatments such as the neuroleptics,
    antidepressants, electroconvulsive brainwashing (electroshock), and
    psychosurgery (lobotomy).

    8. Because psychiatrists manufacture hundreds of “mental disorders”
    classified in its bible called “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental
    Disorders” (a modern witch-hunting manual); such “mental disorders” and
    “symptoms” are in fact negative, class-and-culturally-biased moral judgments for
    dissident ways of coping with personal problems and alternative ways of
    perceiving, interpreting or being in the world.

    9. Because psychiatrists, blinded by their medical model bias, fraudulently
    pathologize and label people’s serious life or existential crises as “symptoms”
    of “mental illness” or “mental disorder” such as “schizophrenia”,”bipolar
    affective disorder”, and “personality disorder”.

    10. Because psychiatrists compound this fraud by falsely claiming, without
    scientific proof, that these “mental disorders” are caused by a “biochemical
    imbalance” in the brain, genetic factors or “genetic predispositions”, despite
    the fact that there are no genetic factors in “mental illness”.

    11. Because psychiatrists frequently misinform their patients, families and
    the public by claiming that brain-disabling procedures such as the neurotoxins
    (e.g.,”antipsychotic medication” and “antidepressasnts”), electroconvulsive
    brainwashing (electroconvulsive therapy/”ECT”), psychosurgery (lobotomy) and
    other behaviour modification-mind control procedures are “safe, effective and
    lifesaving”. The exact opposite is tragically true.

    12. Because psychiatrists routinely deceive or lie to patients, prisoners,
    their families, and the public.

    13. Because psychiatrists routinely and willfully violate the medical-ethical
    principle of “informed consent” by misinforming or not informing their patients
    about the numerous toxic, disabling and frequently permanent effects of the
    neuroleptics such as memory loss, tardive dyskinesia, tardive psychosis,
    parkinsonism, dementia (all signs of brain damage), and death.

    14. Because psychiatrists routinely threaten, intimidate or coerce many
    patients – particularly women, children, the elderly, and prisoners – into
    consenting to health-threatening/brain-damaging “treatment” such as the
    antidepressants, neuroleptics, electroconvulsive brainwashing, and hi-risk

    15. Because psychiatrists frequently fail to fully inform psychiatric inmates
    and prisoners about existing safe and humane, non-medical alternatives in the
    community such as survivor-controlled crisis centres, drop-ins, self-help or
    advocacy groups, diet, massage, wholistic medicine, affordable supportive
    housing, and jobs.

    16. Because psychiatrists are sexist in frequently stereotyping women in
    crisis as “hysterical” or “over-emotional”, blaming women whenever they voice
    real complaints and assertively express their feelings and emotions, prescribing
    massive doses of tranquilizers and antidrepressants to disproportionately large
    numbers of women, and in sexually assaulting women in their offices and

    17. Because psychiatrists, particularly white male psychiatrists, are
    homophobic – the American Psychiatric Association (APA) once labelled
    homosexuality as a “mental illness” or “mental disorder” – and have used forced
    electroshock on lesbians, trying to coerce them into adopting a heterosexual
    life style.

    18. Because psychiatrists are ageist in prescribing tranquilizers,
    antidepressants (“medication”) and electroconvulsive brainwashing for
    disproportionately large numbers of elderly people – a form of elder abuse.

    19. Because psychiatrists are racist in disproportionately incarcerating and
    drugging people of African descent, aboringal people, other people of colour and
    labelling them “psychotic” or “schizophrenic”.

    20. Because psychiatrists routinely violate people’s civil rights, human
    rights and constitutional rights such as imprisoning innocent people without
    court trial or public hearing (“involuntary commitment”), and subjecting them to
    cruel and unusual punishments or tortures such as forced drugging,
    electroconvulsive brainwashing, psychosurgery, solitary confinement, “chemical
    restraints”, and 4-point or 5-point restraints.

    21. Because psychiatrists masterminded the mass murder of hundreds of
    thousands of vulnerable people including disabled children, the elderly and
    psychiatric patients during The Holocaust in Nazi Germany, and “selected”
    hundreds of thousands of concentration camp prisoners for death (“T-4
    euthanasia” program) – historical facts still missing in psychiatric textbooks
    and histories.

    22. Because psychiatrists have willingly participated in and administered
    mind-control experiments in the United States and Canada since the early 1950s –
    its chief targets have been poor patients, women, dissidents and prisoners.

    23. Because psychiatry, particularly institutional-biological psychiatry, is
    based on the 3 Fs: Fear, Fraud,and Force.

    24. Because psychiatry is a form of social control or punishment – not

    25. Because psychiatry, particularly institutional-biological psychiatry, is
    fascist – a direct threat to democracy, human rights and life.

  • wmdkitty


  • Marvin Joseph Coleman Novoa

    The constitution says Freedom Of Speech where it is if you cant even post the truth, I am Jewish ,Me & my sister work for CCHR it means Psychiatry Industry Of Death.My eldest sister went on psycho meds against our will & it killed her she had high levels of a Antidepresant called Prozac in her system & we have prove of that.I hope they bring you all down for not respecting the constitution of Freedom Of Speech.If thats the way you want it dont send me messages But if you Dont have God in your life you are already dead. God give & take life not anyone those on psycho meds take their lives & to think that they are going to heaven its wrong if you take your own life if if you are on psycho meds you are going to fry in hell.

  • TCC

    I hope your thesis is more finely-tuned, as “theistic belief” encompasses such a wide range of ideas, practices, and beliefs that it is virtually nonsensical to talk about.

  • wmdkitty

    You’re a fucking idiot. And ableist, to boot.

    Until you’ve had actual, lived experience with mental illness, you need to sit down and STFU.

  • Bubba Tarandfeathered

    I think I just figured myself out. I haven’t totally come out of the closet yet, maybe to some close friends or to a family member but I think I have not identified as being an Atheist professionally and publicly. I still have some small hope that religion has some place for me and that by defending it, I am maintaining that hope. Hey maybe I am an agnostic or an apologist, but either way, every time I tell myself that I can not accept his theory all that I am doing is trying to reassure my failing belief.

  • cannotsay

    Except of course, that so called “mental illness” is basically a scam . It’s very plausible that Matthew Warren was caused by him taking mind altering drugs. SSRIs are known to increase the risk of suicide, especially in young people.

  • wmdkitty

    What a crock of shit.

  • cannotsay

    No shit, reality. In fact, the movement of those who are denouncing the situation is full of atheists, so this has nothing to do with religion.

    Mental illness is a myth. Take depression for instance. It is sold on the canard that it is caused by a deficiency in neurotransmitter serotonin, thus, the treatment of choice are so called serotonin reuptake inhibitiors (aka SSRIs) that increase the concentration of serotonin in the brain synapses. It begs the question, what’s the right level of serotonin in the brain? (Answer from psychiatry, we don’t know). How do you measure the concentration of serotonin in the synapse (Asnwer from psychiatry, we don’t know). Note that in the case of diabetes/level of sugar in blood we do know. So how is that psychiatry makes the fantastic claim that depression is caused by a deficit of serotonin? Answer from psychiatry: people taking SSRIs get better. Other than the preposterous conclusion (it’s like saying that headaches are caused by a deficit of aspirin), the reality is that when all trial data is taken into account, SSRIs are no better than placebos, so basically the “alleged” improvement in depression from SSRIs is largely a placebo effect . The story is the same for other invented disorders. Psychiatry is a scam kept alive by economic interests (psychiatrists and Big Pharma that cash in) and social control interests (governments have a “scientific” way to get rid of the people they don’t like).

    What I truly hope is that Rick Warren, after the time needed to grief, joins the ranks of those of us who are fighting this scam.

  • wmdkitty

    Still a crock of shit.

  • cannotsay

    Actually, where I provided scientific reasoning and data, you only provided cliches about “shit”. People are smart to decide. And as I said, this has nothing to do with religion since many atheists are jumping sides when it comes to the medicalization of the human experience.

    Psychiatry is no better than religion. In fact, it plays the same role today, when it comes to helping governments to get rid of undesirables, as the Inquisition played 200 years ago. The emergence of psychiatry can be historically traced to the sunset of the Inquisition.

  • wmdkitty

    It doesn’t matter how many times you repeat a lie, it will still be a lie.

    BTW, you’re ignoring the millions of people who are alive and well because of psychiatry and meds.

  • cannotsay

    “BTW, you’re ignoring the millions of people who are alive and well because of psychiatry and meds.”

    In fact, the actual number is probably lower than advertised by psychiatry and most likely, the real reason it’s a placebo effect. In 2008 there was an article published by the New England Journal of Medicine that, while not as critical with psychiatry as I have been, dealt with these matters “Selective Publication of Antidepressant Trials and Its Influence on Apparent Efficacy”

    “We found a bias toward the publication of positive results. Not only
    were positive results more likely to be published, but studies that were
    not positive, in our opinion, were often published in a way that
    conveyed a positive outcome. We analyzed these data in terms of the
    proportion of positive studies and in terms of the effect size
    associated with drug treatment. Using both approaches, we found that the
    efficacy of this drug class is less than would be gleaned from an
    examination of the published literature alone. According to the
    published literature, the results of nearly all of the trials of
    antidepressants were positive. In contrast, FDA analysis of the trial
    data showed that roughly half of the trials had positive results. The
    statistical significance of a study’s results was strongly associated
    with whether and how they were reported, and the association was
    independent of sample size. The study outcome also affected the chances
    that the data from a participant would be published. As a result of
    selective reporting, the published literature conveyed an effect size
    nearly one third larger than the effect size derived from the FDA data.”

    Open you eyes my friend. The issue of psychiatry’s scam status has nothing to do with religion.

  • wmdkitty

    Blah blah anti-science propaganda blah blah blah.

    You’re discounting and dismissing the lived experiences of millions, and that’s not cool.

    It’s also not cool to tell someone with a mental illness that it’s “all in your head,” that we “aren’t really sick”, or that we “just need to get over it.” It doesn’t help. At all.

  • Antinomian

    Acolyte of Xenu detected. Prepare the volcanos.

  • ppp

    The problem with your position is that we now have the data to show that the most likely explanation for those “lived experiences” when it comes to the use of psychiatric drugs is a very strong placebo effect. You don’t need “lived experiences” to prove that insulin treats diabetes. You have very accurate lab tests that show cause-effect.

    Again, the article that I cited above was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, which is probably the top (or one of the top) medical journals in the US. In fact one of the leaders in the movement to uncover the scam of pharmacopsychiatry is Marcia Angell, former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine.

    I am not denying that mental issues are real. But people have been dealing with problems of living for a long time. This idea that every problem of living is caused by some “chemical imbalance” in the brain not only is preposterous but in addition there is no scientific evidence whatsoever that it is the case. In fact, all the scientific evidence is says that there is not a single biological marker that has been reliable found to be an indicator of absence or presence of so called “mental illness”. Until that happens, the most scientific sound position is that medical psychiatry is a scam.

  • ppp

    No Scientology here, in fact I have a profound disdain for it. One of the great PR successes of the psychiatric scam has been to identify all criticism of psychiatry, however sound, as a “scientologist thing”. However, that PR scam is also falling apart. The number of prominent scientists and doctors that are unashamedly saying that psychiatry is a scam is growing by the day. In fact, if Rick Warren, after a reasonable time of grieving, were to join the forces that for decades have been denouncing the link of SSRI usage to suicide, we would get closer to a more fairer society.

  • wmdkitty

    Yes, you keep saying that.

    But that doesn’t make your claim any less of a crock of shit.

    Scientology, on the other paw (which is what you’re pushing — their core doctrine includes this preposterous idea that “psychiatry is a scam”) is, in fact, a well-documented thought-control cult.

    What you’re doing here is proselytising, as well — and we’re not buying your nasty putrescent crock of pseudoscientific shit.

    Now, if you’d kindly fuck off…

  • wmdkitty

    You’re a persistent little fuckstain, aren’t you?

    I think it’s time for you to take a trip with the nice men in the white coats…

  • cannotsay

    “Eli Lilly and Co. has settled a long-running wrongful death lawsuit
    filed by the parents of a South Dakota boy who committed suicide on
    Christmas Eve 2004, four weeks after taking the antidepressant Cymbalta.”

    You are getting your atheism get in the way of rational thinking. Recognizing that psychiatry is a scam has nothing to do with atheism.

  • wmdkitty

    You’re fucking delusional.

    Seek help.

  • cannotsay

    Take some antidepressant and commit suicide as a result. The world will be a better place :D.

  • wmdkitty

    Mmh, not happening. I’m on meds that — wait for it — keep me from doing just that!

    Funny how that works…

  • cannotsay

    Mmm, your meds probably are causing you all kinds of physiological damage. If you feel they are working for you is probably because of a strong placebo effect. In fact, studies show that active placebos, which is what antidepressants really are, are more effective than non active placebos (aka, suggar pills). Read . The average person on antipsychotic medication has a lifespan that is 25 years shorter than the average life expectancy. There are better approaches to deal with problems of living than drugging yourself to death.

  • Guest

    Mmh, not happening. I’m on meds that — wait for it — keep me from doing just that!

    Funny how that works…

  • wmdkitty

    You really are fucking delusional. My meds? Those are what are keeping me going. Without ‘em, I’m a sobbing, puking, nervous wreck, much as I was before they were prescribed.

    You need to stop. Now. Because the bullshit you’re pushing actually kills people.

  • cannotsay

    Au contraire! It’s the meds that kill people. Other than the well established link between antidepressants and increase in suicidal thoughts (so much so that since 2004 the FDA has mandated all manufacturers of antidepressants to include a black box warning to that regard), but there is also the well established fact that many of the most famous mass shooters were or had been recently on meds. That would include the Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora and Newtwon ones. In fact, Eli Lilly settled the first lawsuit that linked Prozac to violent behavior out of court to avoid a legal precedent “An internal document purportedly from Eli
    Lilly and Co. made public Monday appears to show that the drug maker had
    data more than 15 years ago showing that patients on its antidepressant
    Prozac were far more likely to attempt suicide and show hostility than
    were patients on other antidepressants and that the company attempted to
    minimize public awareness of the side effects.” “The 1988 document indicated that 3.7 percent of patients attempted
    suicide while on the blockbuster drug, a rate more than 12 times that
    cited for any of four other commonly used antidepressants.”

  • wmdkitty

    There is no causal link between antidepressants and suicide.

    In the early stages of recovery, there is often an increase in energy and motivation while the urge to self-harm remains, this is responsible for the suicides, not the drugs. This is very well documented in the literature.

    The black-box warning label is there because — as happened — some idiot decided that, against all evidence, the drugs were somehow responsible. The drugs didn’t pick up the gun, pick up the knife, pull the trigger. The individuals in question chose their actions, and likely would have done so regardless of medication.

  • cannotsay

    I repeat it since you seem to have a problem with the English language. Eli Lilly’s own data showed ” 3.7 percent of patients attempted suicide while on the blockbuster drug, a rate more than 12 times that cited for any of four other commonly used antidepressants.”. This is not some idiot, is Eli Lilly’s own documents. Now, since Big Pharma has been bribing psychiatrists for longer than we can remember, there is no shortage of spin doctors that publish all kinds of nonsense to support their own. There is no shortage of them “Healthy Skepticism expressed concern that the study, which identified the drug Paxil
    as an effective combatant of depression in children, “seriously
    misrepresented both the effectiveness and the safety” of the drug. The
    authors added that the study’s continued citation was harmful to
    children, since some children committed suicide after being prescribed Paxil.”

    I think you need to do your homework a little better. You have been duped, period.

  • cannotsay

    There is plenty of evidence on the whole Martin Keller / Paxil / Study 329 affair. Here comes a documentary from 2007 by the BBC . This study was listed as evidence of malpractice by the DOJ in its 3 billion dollars settlement with GSK, the manufacturer of Paxil.

  • wmdkitty

    Dude, whatever. Now I’m just laughing at your pathetic ass.

    Seriously, GET THEE TO A PSYCHIATRIST. You got issues.

  • cannotsay

    Actually, by your own admission, YOU ARE THE ONE WITH ISSUES. Second, the drugs you are taking are noting but powerful placebos that have very bad secondary effects. Watch the BBC documentary; you’ll learn the type of dishonesty that regularly happens in the publication of studies that support the (non existent) efficacy of psychiatric drugs. You’ll have your lifespan cut by 25 years, and that is going to be your main issue. From where I stand, I operate by following the scientific method while you have been brainwashed by psychiatrists to believe that studies ghostwritten by Big Pharma, like study 329, are “scientific”. Big Pharma bribes well their people

    “The University will not take action against former Professor of
    Psychiatry and Human Behavior Martin Keller, despite acknowledgment by
    pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline that Keller co-authored a
    fraudulent study advocating adolescent use of the antidepressant Paxil.
    In a record-breaking $3 billion settlement this July, GSK pleaded guilty to selling the misbranded prescription drugs Paxil, Wellbutrin and Avandia. According to the plea agreement, GSK’s promotion of Paxil
    was largely based on Keller’s “false and misleading” article, published
    in 2001 in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent
    “Keller acknowledged in 2006 that over the years, he had received tens of thousands of dollars from GSK and its affiliates.”

    While I listen to science, you listen to the crooks.

  • wmdkitty

    The science doesn’t say what you claim it says, so shut the fuck up.

    ‘Sides, I may have issues, but at least I’m getting appropriate treatment for ‘em.

  • cannotsay

    Actually, the science does say what I claim. The APA’s own statement is that

    “Still, brain science has not advanced to the point where scientists or
    clinicians can point to readily discernible pathologic lesions or
    genetic abnormalities that in and of themselves serve as reliable or
    predictive biomarkers of a given mental disorder or mental disorders as a

    And in the years after the APA made that statement, it has been shown in several areas, depression being the most prominent (Irving Kirsch’s work), that the drugs psychiatry uses to treat its invented disorders are no better than placebos using psychiatry’s own measures of efficacy (in depression that would be improvement on the HRSD scores).

    Why take a toxic placebo, like all SSRIs are, when taking a normal sugar pill would have the same effect?

  • Drew M.

    I upvoted. Credit where it’s due.

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  • Fred

    It amazes me that America accepts the label of “mental illness”. Its a very sad story that this has happened but why doesn’t anyone admit your country is obsessed with psychiatric pills. What do you expect drugging your children right through to your elderly with massive increase in crime. suicides, mass shootings, medical problems of unknown quantities and then you believe multinationals who are into marketing and profiteering. are some how immune. GOD is a GOD of LOVE and JUSTICE. “Mental illness” is man made serving the interests of the few. GROW UP