With a seemingly altruistic agenda, the fact is the campaign to end the “stigma” of mental illness is one driven and funded by those who benefit from more and more people being labeled mentally ill—pharma, psychiatry and pharmaceutical front groups such as NAMI and CHADD to name but a few. For example, take NAMI’s campaign to stop the “stigma” and “end discrimination” against the mentally ill—the “Founding Sponsors” were Abbott Labs, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly, Janssen, Pfizer, Novartis, SmithKline Beecham and Wyeth-Ayerst Labs.
So next time you see an ad promoting “stop the stigma” see it for what it is, a pharmaceutical marketing campaign. Below are the facts about how pharma not only partnered with, but created patient’s rights groups for the “mentally ill,” and extensive information on the right hand side bar about each one, including some of the kingpins of pharmaceutically funded groups, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) — A U.S. Senate investigation revealed that in just two years alone (2006-2008) Pharma funded NAMI to the tune of $23 million, representing about three-quarters of its donations. Another such group is Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder (CHADD) – In 2009, the total pharmaceutical donation support of CHADD was 26.6%
CREATING THE PERFECT MARKETING/LOBBYING MACHINE: MENTAL HEALTH “ADVOCACY GROUPS” FUNDED BY PHARMA
The majority of the public may or may not be familiar with these so-called mental health advocacy organizations, such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) or the myriad of bipolar, depression or ADHD “support groups” that are inundating the internet.
But they need to be.
ARE THESE SO-CALLED MENTAL HEALTH ADVOCACY GROUPS FOR PATIENT’S RIGHTS OR PHARMA’S RIGHTS? YOU DECIDE
These are groups operating under the guise of advocates for the “mentally ill,” which in reality are heavily funded pharmaceutical front groups – lobbying and working on state and federal laws which effect the entire nation — from our elderly in nursing homes to our military, pregnant women, nursing mothers and school children. Presenting themselves as patient advocacy groups is highly disingenuous not only to their membership, many of which may have a sincere desire to help a loved one or a family member with mental problems, but to legislators, the press and the American public — for they have consistently lobbied for legislation that benefits the mental health and pharmaceutical industries which fund them, and not patients they claim to represent.
Certainly any organization claiming to be for the rights of patients diagnosed mentally ill would have as their primary goal, full informed consent in the field of mental health – including full and complete disclosure of all drug risks, the right to refuse treatment, the right to know that psychiatric diagnoses are not medical conditions (evident by the fact there is not one confirmatory medical/scientific test). Above all such groups would provide patients with an abundance of information on non-harmful, non- drug, medical solutions and options considering the dangerous and well documented risks of psychiatric drugs by international drug regulatory agencies.
These groups do not.
A patients rights group for the mentally ill would never endorse something as absurd and obviously dangerous as giving electroshock to pregnant women, nor condone schools being able to require children to take a psychiatric drug as a condition of attending school.
Furthermore, they would never be opposed to the FDA actually doing its job and finally issuing long overdue warnings that antidepressants can cause children to commit suicide, or issue warnings that ADHD drugs have serious and even deadly side effects. Yet these are just some of the actions condoned and promoted by these so-called patients rights groups.
To put it simply, these groups are not what they appear to be. Yet their influence over legislation, lobbying, drug regulation (or lack thereof), and public relations campaigns is substantial and effects the entire nation. For they claim to be the voice of the “mentally ill.” But are they? Or are they the result of a brilliant marketing/lobbying campaign designed to benefit the Psycho/Pharmaceutical industry that funds them.
THE UNHOLY ALLIANCE—HOW IT ALL STARTED:
In the late 1970s and 1980s, prominent American Psychiatric Association (APA) psychiatrists, directors and researchers with the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) were in need of more government funding, and devised a plan to create a “growth of consumer and advocacy organizations” with the intention of getting these groups to help lobby Congress for increased funding for psychiatric research. Several groups emerged first on the scene during that period: The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA), National Depression & Manic Depressive Association (NDMDA), now called Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, (DBSA) and National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD).
In an incestuous relationship, many of these groups were formed by the directors or researchers from NIMH-the very organization that needed mental health advocacy groups to make demands on Congress for increased funding. All of them had board or advisory board members with financial ties to Pharma and the majority of them were heavily funded by Pharma. So this was a brilliant marketing/lobbying strategy – Set up patients rights groups to lobby for the funding needed for psychiatry and big Pharma while claiming to be “advocates” for the mentally ill.
Perhaps this explains why these groups which claims to be patients’ “rights” groups would so vehemently oppose such vital mental health reforms as:
- Black box warnings to highlight how antidepressants can cause suicide in children and young adults.
- ADHD drug warnings that the psychostimulants being given to millions of children should carry warnings that the drugs could cause heart attacks and strokes.
- A federal law prohibiting school personnel from forcing parents to give their children mind-altering psychiatric drugs as a requirement for their inherent right to education.
- Better informed consent rights.
- Banning the use of ECT on pregnant women, and instead endorse its use.
Rather, these groups—while raking in millions of Pharma dollars each year . . .
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