The Environment and “Mental Health” Oppression

The following are some thoughts about how “mental health” oppression can hold us back from responding to the environmental crisis:

We are in an environmental crisis. It is easy to go numb and not pay attention or, on the other hand, to “panic” and feel like we are all going to die soon—and in either case to be unable to take charge of the situation. Because of “mental health” oppression, most people are stuck in one of the above responses. They don’t get to discharge and take charge.

“Mental health” oppression may be the most silent oppression. We often don’t see how it’s holding us back because almost no one talks about it. The only “mental health” liberation movement in the wide world is tiny, barely funded, and led by “crazy” people who are on the edge of society and not respected. Hardly anyone realizes that this huge oppression exists and affects everyone.

Internalized “mental health” oppression makes people doubt their perceptions, doubt their own thinking, doubt themselves. This sets them up [predisposes them] to be afraid to make changes.

The status quo appears to be what is “normal” and the only way things can be. “Mental health” oppression convinces people that they need to “look good” and “be normal” and therefore accept and support the status quo. This, too, can make them afraid to change things.

Some of the biggest corporations in the world are those that manufacture psychiatric drugs. Psychiatric drugs not only put poisonous substances into the environment, they also shut people down [numb people], which keeps them from taking action for environmental, or any, change.

People of the Global Majority are more affected than white people by the environmental crisis. Racism, too, is considered “normal,” which makes it easier for white people to ignore what is happening to People of the Global Majority and not support their leadership. In fact, to end the environmental crisis the whole society needs to be listening to People of the Global Majority.

We have been made to feel terrified about having new thoughts, standing up for ourselves, being creative, and expressing unpopular viewpoints. We have to recover these things to make the big changes that are needed. We get to step outside of and discharge our terror, embarrassment, and other discomfort as we do these things.

Because the environmental crisis feels so scary and all encompassing, facing and working on it can bring up fears (reinforced by “mental health” oppression) of “losing our minds.” When we are confident that we can’t “lose our minds,” we will be a much stronger force in fighting for the changes we want.

Janet Foner

International Liberation Reference
Person for “Mental Health” Liberation

Reprinted from the RC e-mail discussion list
for leaders of “mental health” liberation

Last modified: 2019-05-02 14:41:35+00