Wednesday, March 20, 2013

An apology diminished

I hate the way that considerations of mental health and psychiatry have made their way into just about everything that Australian government agencies do. In Canberra today a historic apology to those affected by forced adoption has been made, and right in the middle of the speech there was talk about access to mental health services. It wasn't appropriate. The presence or absence of mental health issues and whether or not affected people seek the services or psychiatrists or psychologists is not a measure of what happened, nor are these things a measure of how serious the issue is. I am so fed up with hearing about mental health in discussions and speeches that are about other things. It's like listening to a tedious a religious person who can't help but bring God or Jesus into every discussion.

We live in a secular society, so we no longer have to put up with such nonsense, but what has happened is that psychiatry has replaced religion in the lives of many Australians, so everyone is now compelled to listen to frequent and inappropriate references to mental health issues and therapies seeping into every corner of public and private life. Mental health is the new religion, and we are made to feel obliged to strive for a new kind of perfection of the soul. A state of perfect mental health has replaced moral perfection as the ideal. It is an idea with some merits but I still believe morals are more important than health, even though I'm an atheist and thus don't hold a religious view of morality. I suspect that it might be the amorality of the new religion that is the reason why so many find it personally attractive. We no longer have to deal with old-style moralizing attitudes but the new flock are just as tedious as the Bible-bashers of old, because all religions have zealots, and zealots insert their views into life at every opportunity, regardless of appropriateness. Winston Churchill defined the fanatic as one who ".... can't change his mind and won't change the subject". This is why we have today had to listen to a description of mental health service provision by the government inserted into a historic apology, an annoying and probably in the eyes of some an insulting distraction. Enough already!