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In America, there are 22,000 suicides each year. Yet, even with this appalling 'Lack of Care" British Psychiatry is based on American models.

Yet curing of mental distress was ongoing in Britain before America was invented. (The USA, that is). The old Bethlehem Hospital on average kept its clients in Hospital for one year. Contrary to the popular belief of our times, most people who suffered mental breakdowns in the 17th century were not chained up for life. In fact the 2nd Bethlehem Hospital was a well-appointed institution, with adequate funding. Its fame spread as far as Europe, where people, were pretty amazed at the kindness showed to the mentally distressed in historic England.

In America, health care is mostly linked to medical insurance. State institutions are for the needy. But, if cure was possible for mental illness before the advent of wholesale pharmaceuticals, we must ask whether the American chemical model of distress is totally correct.

Chemical upset can be just as much the RESULT of stress as the CAUSE of stress. In other words, the environment, living conditions, family relationships (eg dictatorial parents) can be just as much to blame.

Also, miss-applied medication (American Model) can be a cause of mental illness, or can aggravate an existing condition.

Research should be made into HOW high cure rates were made long ago, before the mass construction of the County Asylums. In those dreadful institutions it was a case of ABANDON ALL HOPE, YE WHO ENTER HERE.

The New Labour administration is talking of building new hospitals, and expanding "secure" bed numbers. But we all know what this means. A mentalist Health Department rebuilding the Asylum archipelago.

Stephen Owen 22/03/99