THE LAST TABOO: A SURVIVAL GUIDE TO MENTAL HEALTH IN CANADA THE LAST TABOO: A SURVIVAL GUIDE TO MENTAL HEALTH IN CANADA THE LAST TABOO: A SURVIVAL GUIDE TO MENTAL HEALTH IN CANADA
by Scott Simmie and Julia Nunes (McClelland & Stewart), 339 pages. $34.99 cloth. Rating: N journalists scott simmie and Julia Nunes call their book, The Last Taboo, a road map of choices for the mental health consumer.
It's not a real guide to mental health care in Canada, though, but an advertisement for the psychiatric system, especially branches of the Canadian Mental Health Association, Schizophrenia Society of Canada and Mood Disorders Association of Canada.
The vast majority of references are to mental health professionals, in support of the medical model.
The chapter called Schizo-what? Getting Diagnosed is a brief summary of selected "symptoms" lifted from The Diagnostic And Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), psychiatry's bible of human frailties fraudulently pathologized as diseases. Simmie still believes there are such things as mental disorders, although he admits there's no credible scientific evidence for them.
The meds chapter describes extremely dangerous and addicting antidepressants and neuroleptics as if they are necessary and helpful, except for some side effects, many of which are not specified.
While admitting that the experts don't know how these chemical lobotomies work, the authors claim that "atypical" drugs like Zyprexa (olanzapine) and Clozaril (clozapine) cause fewer side effects than older ones like Thorazine, Haldol and Modecate. This is misleading, since the atypicals -- as revealed in Your Drug May Be Your Problem, by Peter Breggin and David Cohen -- are just as disabling as the older "antipsychotics."
The cozy, self-serving partnership between the multinational drug companies and psychiatry is conspicuously omitted from the discussion, as is any public resistance to electroshock therapy.
At the end of the book, Simmie and Nunes list many social agencies and self-help groups. Only four survivor groups out of approximately 50 in Canada, and only four antipsychiatry books (two by survivors) are listed in the appendix. There is no index.
Most telling, the high hardcover price of $34.99 is something no psychiatric survivor I know can afford.
Don't waste your money. Spend $10 for a copy of What Difference Does It Make? (Wild Flower), Canadian shock survivor Wendy Funk's riveting autobiography (available via wendyf@bc. sympatico.ca.) *