The Murphy Bill rests on 4 core beliefs. All of the provisions or justifications for the bill in one way or another are based on one or more of these beliefs. All of the beliefs rely on and interact with each other. In some ways it is like a four legged stool. Damage to one leg affects the stability of the whole thing.
1. The “seriously mentally ill” are victimized by a system which ignores their needs, often for the personal gain or agenda of those who work in the system especially “mental health advocates”. This is the conspiratorial leg of the theory. If they can make it stick they marginalize anyone who argues against them.
The simplest question is the most obvious. What does that mean? A lot of code words are used and some translation is needed. Normally when Murphy is talking about services for the “seriously mentally ill” he is talking about psychiatric hospitalization. When you hear him talking about the “worried well” and the illusion of recovery and what he calls the travesty of Samhsa he is, in effect, saying that psychiatric beds were stolen from those who really needed them by providers and advocates who have their own agenda and really don’t care about the needs of the most vulnerable people.
The strength of conspiracy theory is that all you need is passion. No evidence or facts required. If people protest they only seem more guilty and Murphy is really good at that.
The weakness of conspiracy theory is the same thing. Anyone who believes anyone is in control of the mental health system believes he can see see better by closing his eyes. The problem with the conspiracy theory of Murphy is that best it is a distortion and a worst a lie. He simply ignores the history, the facts and the many reasons that psychiatric hospitalization has become progressively more and more a less important part of the system. You may or may not agree with it but to say history is not history because you think it shouldn’t be is silly. Despite Murphy’s claims boogeyman are only real in children’s stories and bad movies.
The essence of the conspiracy is it makes those fighting the conspiracy the good guys and makes any the motives of anyone who would criticize them suspect.
2. The “seriously mentally ill” have no insight into their problems and thus for their own good need to be forced to accept the treatment they need by people who know better. This is a fundamental justification for coercion. Anosognosia (the technical name for this) is an article of faith for the Murphy folks. The evidence for all of it is non existent and it has little support other than those who already assume it is true.
3. There is a real limit to how far they can expect to improve. There is no point in false hope and unrealistic claims and all the recovery stuff needs to be strongly tempered. People who have done well are written off. They have to be “worried well.” If they really had serious problems after all they would never be doing well. Again it justifies control and the sanctity of psychiatric judgment .
4. And finally the crown jewel. Serious mental illness makes them dangerous and we must protect ourselves.
I wasn’t really sure of how to present it until I chanced upon the post linked above. It was written by Jeffrey Swanson.
The article linked really speaks for itself.
Swanson basically says that mental illness is at best only minimally predictive of violence. Other variables are much
more important. If the person is male, poor, comes from a disadvantaged community, has a history of victimization, and particularly abuses alcohol and drugs and most particularly has a past history of violence Swanson says they are at high risk to be violent. He minimizes the effects of “mental illness” but did say sometimes it interacts with other factors to at least minimally increase risk.
All the core beliefs of Murphy have serious problems. Understanding them is a key to challenge this disastrous proposal.