Mental Health and Corruption
In a recent case, a young man in Netherlands has been tied to the wall in a mental hospital for days as a result of voices telling him to physically attack people. Resulting from this has been discussion about practices in mental health system. Perhaps it is time to address a deeper problem with the system.
The mental health system, by its own design, lends to potentials for corrupt and abusive behavior on the part of the mental health staff. The definition of patients as psychotic and mentally ill, and the definition of the staff as expert, allows the staff to get away with any amount of abuses against the patients. Nobody would believe a mental patient; everyone would believe a professional. Which means that, if the professional wants to be corrupt, the professional can be extremely corrupt.
In one Western country, I've known a young man who was committed involuntarily in a country hospital, where he was administered 11 electro-convulsive treatments and raped in showers. In the same country I've known of a woman who got hosed down with ice cold shower and locked in a padded room because she informed the staff that she had been raped. In another country I am familiar with a woman who got tied down for days, her defecating on herself and everything, basically because the staff wanted to do that to her.
The nature of the setting - where one group always gets believed and another always gets disbelieved - creates a system that is incentivized toward corrupt practices. Even many people who do not start out being corrupt become so the longer they work in the system. And the only way to check for this potential is to scrutinize the system and its practicioners - to create on the power that they wield external checks and balances that they cannot escape or subvert - and thus end these abuses of power from without.
The founders of America applied the mechanism of checks and balances on official organs of power, having been taught by history that governments when left to their own devices have nothing to keep them from becoming tyrannical. But not all power is official; and power that is unelected, unofficial, unchecked and unbalanced can and does get away with abuses that would be unthinkable on the part of elected officials in democratic countries. Thus, old-boy networks, churches, communities, families, small towns and similar entities can and do perpetrate corrupt and tyrannical abuses against both those born in these entities and those who come to these entities, because unlike with federal government there are no checks and balances upon the power that they wield.
In much the same way, there is potential for unchecked corruption in the family court system, which is protected by secrecy from either media scrutiny or public debate. And it is a potential of which many courts avail. The nature of the setting - silenced and gagged - is such as to create a vast possibility for abuses of power; and it is a possibility that has affectuated in corrupt proceedings in many cases. In any setting in which there is an imposed silence, as in any setting in which there is unchecked power, corruption is liable to take place. And it does.
Are all mental health professionals (or all families, all towns, all communities, all family courts) corrupt? Absolutely not. But given the nature of the mental health setting, a professional who wants to be corrupt can be so - exceptionally. With the professional believed no matter what he does, and the patient disbelieved no matter what is done to him, corruption goes unchecked. What happened to this person is nothing compared to what has happened to many others. And most of these others did not pose an immediate threat to anyone else.