An excellent analysis on PharmaWatch Canada critically explores the past 10 years of strengthening relationships between various public and private bodies to create an expanding “medico-security-industrial complex,” particularly through the use of expanding mental health laws.
The ghost of Adam Lanza has materialized into the allocation of one and a half billion dollars from the Obama administration for the identification of youth ‘at-risk’ for ‘mental illness’. Senator Al Franken of Minnesota, for example, is currently pushing The Mental Health in Schools Act, which would include the training of people who interact with children every day — “from bus drivers to principals” — to detect ‘signs’ of madness for early intervention.
Wrapped in commonsense and benevolence, there is something about psychic policing that smells like terror. As a practice to identify and intervene on threat before it arises, it moves like a mechanism of security and echoes with post-9/11 politics. It reminds me of the 2002 launch of the US New Freedom Commission on Mental Health. In his opening remarks, then-President George W. Bush invoked “soldiers in the armies of compassion” who were committed to “fighting evil” to “make America a welcoming place for people with disabilities”. The Commission went on to recommend TeenScreen – a program of “mental health check-ups” in schools for identifying and intervening on youth ‘at-risk’ for madness.