Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

On The Preventable Death of A Child – The Human Tragedy of “Alternative Medicine”

By Marvin Ross

It is a terrible tragedy and the focus of worldwide attention. Ezekiel Stephan was a 19 month old toddler whose parents are presently being tried in Lethbridge Alberta for failing to provide the necessities of life for him. Ezekiel was treated by his parents with various alternative products for what they thought was a cold and croup until he stopped breathing. He was airlifted to Calgary’s Children’s Hospital where he arrived brain dead and soon died of what was diagnosed as bacterial meningitis.

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on the preventable death of a child - the even bigger human tragedy of " traditional medicine " in a mental health system thats currently out of control . put on ant psychotic medication at 2 dead by age 4 :expressionless:

Dear johnsmom, I hope you are well.

If you look at their material and work, the anti-psychiatry movement is for people who have been dx’d with MI who are very high functioning. The leaders of this movement are not doctors and do not present treatment models or safe situations for people who are deep in psychosis or depression or mania. They blame anti-psychotics for homelessness and people being jailed, however, the vast majority of people with mental illness who become homeless or go to jail are not in treatment and do not take meds, have never taken meds.

“The fact is you’re talking to a healthy person who thinks they are sick,” says one protestor. “Face your problems head on like a man,” is another quote. If these quotations do not convey prejudice and misunderstanding against people with serious mental illness who need services and supports (whether or not they take medicine), then I don’t know what does.

Serious mental illness, whatever its etiology, sometimes disables people. Medications help some individuals with SMI, not all. Even with effective medication, some remain disabled. This movement does not provide any support for people with serious mental illness; it leaves them homeless and in prison. Millions continue to suffer without social supports. The anti-psychiatry movement does not even propose supports for people who are debilitated or disabled by these illnesses.

I agree with the criticisms of a broken mental health care system (a person waiting 24 hours in an ER), but think what would happen to people with absolutely nowhere to turn during crisis, no ERs or hospitals, nothing. Where would they go? What would they do? They would wind up arrested and put in jail (A person with SMI who is arrested typically spends five times longer in jail than an average person arrested for the exact same crime.) or maybe on the streets or possibly among the ten to fifteen percent of people who die of SMI.

We need a true mental health care system. I am 100% for the rights of people with mental illness; that is why I wrote what I did – why force people into non-existent treatment? I still think it’s better than nothing. If you look at the statistics and the stories on this site, you will find that there are people whose symptoms compromise their well-being and safety, who have nowhere to go, and are certainly not telling doctors or anyone else they are “sick.” Please think about what really happens in the US when someone has a serious mental illness and no social supports or treatments. Because it happens every single second and none of the anti-psychiatry propaganda accounts for this. Millions of people with untreated mental illness still have it and suffer every day. Less than fifty percent of people with SMI receive treatment, yet those who are untreated/ unsupported do not recover as the anti-psychiatry movement suggests they will.

The anti-psychiatry movement NEVER offers a model or any actual support for people deeply in need of either immediate/ crisis or long-term help. Getting a suicidal person into the hospital against their will is better than letting them die of mental illness, in my opinion.

If you look at the nations that use models like Open Dialogue and other social supports for people with psychosis, you will discover that their national rates of involuntary hospitalization are much higher than the rates in the USA. These nations actually attempt to treat serious mental illness. Once the commitment to treatment/ support happens here, many alternative models will come into being. Ways of supporting individuals who choose not to take medication will be developed and put into place. We need real supports/ real treatment, not further destruction of an already broken system.


First of all Happy Mothers Day ! :tulip:

I think as a mother i became an activist for him on day 1 i remember arguing with the nurse that my child needed to be with me when it was the policy of the hospital to keep the babies in the nursery unless they were being nursed by mom and only … i ended up just walking down to the nursery in my hospital booties and explaining to the nurse in the nursery that i was there to get my baby who was at that moment crying and i was going to take him to my room , normally a very shy and compliant person and then all of a sudden that changed and i wasnt that person anymore , and i did get him and they did let me take him with me but i doubt if i was the only mother who has ever done that and made some sort of demand against their hospital policy . I just see now a lot of things that are really wrong and it happens to be in a system that my son is in

The people in this movement have not always been high functioning and the only reason they have become high functioning sz now is because there actually are alternative models of recovery out there but most people havent heard of them because these proven effective alternatives are not being promoted … the drug companies just want you to believe there is 1 solution to " help " your child we as parents need to stop drinking their cool aid , question this incarceration or life on the street narrative and educate ourselves on all the resources out there not just the one thats being promoted by this broken and corrupt system that currently exists .

yes i completely agree getting a suicidal or homicidal person immediate help until they are stable is obviously important but it needs to be temporary involuntary incarceration until the person is no longer an immediate danger to themselves or others not to force them into long term treatment because this long term treatment is very different that what we are being led to believe that it is and i think when you find out whats really happening you will be more angry than youve ever been in your life and those momma bear claws will be sharper than ever but at this time you just dont know about it yet .

because of the corruption that exists and until people with mental illness are treated with dignity and respect and kindness in long term institutions they absolutely should not be forced against their will to stay in these places the reality right now is that most of these places are nothing more than prisons or warehouses for the mentally ill where they are drugged for the sole purpose to keep them sedated to make them more manageable for their handlers .

Thats the reality of institutions today not 50 years ago - forced drugging long term and forced incarceration long term is actually worse than a person being on the streets ( but its not an either - or choice anyways thats just what families currently are being led to believe )

but regardless of what side you are on with this or whether you believe whats currently being promoted is the best thing for your child knowledge is power right ? and doing independent investigations and questioning what we are being taught can possibly change things i think we can agree that there needs to be change

If conditions ever improve in these long term facilities i might have a different opinion about forced incarceration for the mentally ill but even after conditions change the decision to commit an individual should be done not by the courts but by a family member or friend who has no ulterior motives and is genuinely most concerned with that persons well being and nothing else and then only as a very last resort . But until conditions improve in these places i cannot support forced incarceration and forced drugging long term for people who have done absolutely nothing wrong even people in prison have more rights and if forced incarceration can be avoided obviously it should be .

at the very least the decision to involuntarily incarcerate an individual should not be decided by doctors or the government or a judge but by a person who can demonstrate that they genuinely are motivated only by what is in that persons best interest and nothing else such as a family member or close friend or independent representative from a non profit organization .

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Happy Mother’s Day!


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If you watch these two industries (the alternative medicine or anti-psychiatry groups on one side and the pharma companies on the other) you’ll see lots of bad behavior on both sides - over sold claims and hidden negative results. Of course - the pharma are the worst (simply because they have the resources to do more), an example that comes to mind is the Zyprexa $1.4 Billion settlement for excessive claims and hiding data relating to weight gain and diabetes impact.

So its understandable people are skeptical. The morality of the sales people and the groups in these companies doing this type of activity is obviously reprehensible and has hurt many of our members. But I also know that like in any company, there are good people doing good research to help people.

Despite the overblown claims and hiding of negative data (not releasing studies that don’t show positive results) I think most independent medical professionals and researchers in this field would say that the medications do (generally) have a significantly positive impact and help people with psychosis / schizophrenia.

My message would be to be skeptical of all claims and look for third party independent randomized controlled trials before getting too interested in anything.


Yes, thank you.

I am 100% for anything that works for anyone with mental illness and 100% opposed to anything that makes our lives worse or hurts us. I don’t care where help comes from; if it works, if it helps, I vote yes.

All big corporations take advantage of human need. Big Pharma is part of Big USA and Big Capitalism/ Worldwide Corporate Oligarchy with tons of way overpriced drugs whose bad side effects show up on withheld or misrepresented studies. This practice is not limited to psychiatric medications. There’s also problems with Big Soda, Big Tobacco, Big Auto, Big Insurance, Big Oil, Big Airlines, Big Bank, Huge Defense Industry, etc etc. You name it, they’re messing with us, I agree.

The anti-psychiatry movement – and yay for everyone who recovers fully – well, I will leave it alone after this and agree to disagree, but they are already influencing public policy to bash larger and larger cracks in the underfunded, totally broken mental health care system for human beings to fall through. The statistics about homelessness, imprisonment in jail with resultant criminal record, and suicide are not a narrative. They are facts. Statistics are actual people. I don’t know if there are no homeless people where you live who are wandering around hungry, dirty, and talking to their voices, but the feeling is like watching someone have a heart attack and walking right by. It physically hurts not to be able to help.

There is a shortage of psychiatrists as well as a huge shortage of psychiatric beds, which would not be the case if either were actually profiting that greatly. Most new hospitals are built without psychiatric wards, which could have as many beds as they wanted if they are part of a regular hospital, because these wards make relatively no money. Sorry, anti-psychiatry is just so anti-fact that I shouldn’t even argue against it.

Again, I am really glad that people recover and hope no one is ever harmed by any system or medication or human ever again.

And I am for everyone here on the forum and everywhere. This is just a strong opinion I hold after reading a huge amount of their books and articles while I desperately sought a way to keep my family member with psychosis safe and healthy. All people on the forums are way more important to me than any of my opinions. We have more in common than we have differences and I hope my strong opinion can be forgotten for the sake of all of us uniting and supporting each other.


Yes - ultimately all I think most of us care about if something actually works - and that we understand (as best the supplier knows) the short and long term side effects of the given treatment.

Always Be skeptical from whatever the source.


[quote=“johnsmom, post:4, topic:1821”] the decision to
commit an individual should be done not by the courts but by a family member or friend who has no ulterior motives

The naive lack of logic in that must be clear to everyone. Nobody is more likely to have ulterior motives than a family member, which is precisely why the courts are involved. Not to put too fine a point on it, if you get murdered at all, it is most likely to be by a family member. So giving families the say-so on who gets committed is a ludicrous idea. Certainly families can and should be involved in treatment. But the medical professionals know that family members often display symptoms/behaviors associated with the MI too. There is, after all, a hereditary element to most SMI and MI comes in degrees.

There are plenty of places on the Internet for the ‘anti-psychiatry’ mob. This is not one of them.

A while back on these boards I remember we had quite an interesting discussion of the blatant narcissism of the battling ‘mother Bears’ who use their offspring’s suffering as a way of gaining social approval, and publicity, writing books about their ‘battles’ etc, etc.

It seems to me that this is particularly pernicious in the case of people whose children have SMI and join the anti-psychiatry ‘movement’. I would say it looks very much like a particularly intractable from of Munchhausens by Proxy.

I mean the parent depicts herself (usually these are women) as heroic, battling with her heart bleeding and claws unsheathed, while thoroughly exploiting her poor child’s tendency to paranoia and conspiracy theories, aggravating their illness and condemning them to a life of psychosis, suicidal ideation and delusion.

It is really perfect for someone with Munchausen’s by Proxy, isn’t it? A whole lifetime of heroics at her child’s expense and if the child finally commits suicide, she will be the broken-hearted, grieving mother, forever able to pull the sympathy strings.

God, how much I loathe and despise such ‘mummy Bears’.

(Why didn’t you simply breast feed your son, btw?That would actually have been good for him and not required any drama in the hospital?)

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good point hatty just because someone is a mother doesnt automatically make them a good mother and some mothers can be abusive but psychiatrists and judges should not make this call either as long as people are making a profit off of people being institutionalized , judges and other people in the mental illness maintenance industry can be motivated by money and not by what is in that persons best interest . as long as there is a financial incentive for institutionalizing people , which of course there is right now … the decision to do this - if society is going to allow it at all - has to be made by someone who is divorced from any financial or emotional self benefit in making that decision - and that is someone who exists outside of the mental illness for profit industry . That would be a non profit .

I know that my motivations are non profit motivations but i do see your point and thats true there are mothers who are abusive or mentally ill . most people who abuse children via msbp do not have sz or a family connection to sz as far as i am aware of there is no connection between sz and msbp unless you have proof of that connection that you forgot to mention so to say that family members of someone who has sz are more likely to have msbp and more likely to be child abusers than the average person … just because there is a family history of mental illness doesnt mean there is a greater risk of parents within these families having msbp so unless there is proof of this connection that you can give i think that should be dismissed as an unfounded stereotype . so while its true that sz can be inherited msbp isnt a physical condition that has shown to be inherited but even if it was a physical condition you should have actual proof that there is a connection between msbp and sz right ?

But like i said even before we have the conversation about an independent non profit who could make such a huge decision for another person is making the institution humane and a place that actually helps and improves their quality of life and happiness but without close supervision from some type of independent non profit organization that cares only about the patients quality of life these places should not care for any people at all if there is not supervision of the staff by outsiders who care about humane treatment of the residents.

Yes, I suppose we are very, very lucky in the UK. We have one of those. It’s called the “National Health Service” and that also means that almost every single hospital in the UK is associated with a university medical department, which receives research funding from the government mainly. It’s a great system.

It means psychiatrists have absolutely zero need to keep their patients disabled because their supply of patients will never dry up. If they succeed in treating people with sz, there are people with OCD, PTSD, Asperger’s, autism. You name it. Should the treatment of serious mental illness ever lead to a shortage of patients, they can move onto Alzheimer’s, depression, personality disorders, anxiety disorders, etc, etc.

Also, in the UK not every Tom, Dick or Harry who works in a university gets to call themselves “professor”. You only get promoted to “professor” after you have made “a significant contribution to the field”. So you have to do research, which has to be peer reviewed, and you need to be successful in treating patients. So there is considerable drive to find better treatments and cures in our system.

Of course, the world knows that the US system is not run by medics and scientists but by insurance companies. You have the highest expenditure on health care with the worst outcomes.

Personally, I think the stats show that your problem in the US is insurance companies, not psychiatrists.


I think the big problem is they incentive scheme in the US healthcare system. Instead of getting paid to keep someone well, the system (hospitals, doctors, pharma, etc.) all get paid “fee for service” - which is an incentive to provide as much service as possible. This is why there are many personal bankruptcies in the US from medical bills.

There are changes in the latest healthcare bill to try to move the incentive to keeping people well - which is a good development.


I think the insurance companies have an interest in keeping people well if anyone has a financial interest in making and/or keeping people disabled and dependent on drugs for as long as possible are the drug companies but yes i agree we have major problems in the US but i dont think its driven by insurance companies , not that insurance companies dont create different problems for people but maintaining disability that will cost them $ isnt one of them

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Private insurance here does NOT pay for the majority of wrap-around services needed by people with SMI. No case management, no CBRS, no rehab for work or school, no psych assessments or neuropsych testing. Just some select meds and a limited amount of counseling.

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Yes but insurance companies are like casinos. The house always wins. If they have to pay out a lot, they raise the premiums so the customers overall are always on the losing side. With a state-run institution you have a different problem - a lot of waste and inertia and top-heavy management. But in the event the public is convinced of the need for services, the voter has a more direct influence.

In fact, in my opinion, France has the best healthcare system. It is a mix of private and public and allows the patient much more choice of doctor, hospital etc. But you effectively take your contributions to the state system and use them as co-pay in a private hospital. In the UK, you either go private (and pay everything effectively again because you are always paying for the public system through tax) or you go public (and wait six months for a 15 minute appointment if you are a diabetic like me).

However, I have to give the NHS credit. They have the Early Intervention Service for people with psychosis and they have been quite extraordinarily excellent for my son. And it hasn’t cost us a penny. Far from it, they have also helped him claim Disability, got him public housing (high standard, extremely cheap), a grant for furnishings, careers advice, etc. And of course he has a psychiatric nurse, a psychiatrist and a support worker.
The point is that Early Intervention works. It is cheaper for the state than imprisoning people with mental illness, to put it bluntly.
Insurance companies produce nothing, zero, zilch. Drug companies can be unethical and aggressive in their sales tactics but scientists ( not drug companies, please not) produce something and also produce evidence when drugs DONT work. As long as we fund university departments, drug companies can be held in check. But insurance companies?


Yes, they only do the fast stuff where they can make a quick buck. They don’t have to take the Hippocratic oath before they start selling policies.

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