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Tuesday, August 1, 2017
"Mental Health, Inc."
Award winning investigative journalist Art Levine just published his book exposing the corruption of Big Pharma in Mental Health Inc.
The detailed analysis of Big Pharma and its role in treating military veterans and other Americans was outlined in the text. Levine tied in scandals at Tomah VAMedical Center and other locations and collaborated closely with me on the sections covering VA for the past year.
Levine hit hard on corruption, oversight failures and how failed reforms put vulnerable citizens at risk. At a glance at the title, one might expect Levine was only writing a book focusing on VA fraud, waste and abuse.
Instead, the text uses analysis of VA to highlight one of many examples where the federal government failed to keep citizens safe.
According to the Amazon excerpt:
The mental health system in America is hardly the front-burner issue it should be, despite lip service about reform after each new tragic mass killing. Yet every American should care deeply about fixing a system a presidential commission reported was in “shambles.” By some measures, 20 percent of Americans have some sort of mental health condition, including the most vulnerable among us―veterans, children, the elderly, prisoners, the homeless.
With Mental Health, Inc., award-winning investigative journalist Art Levine delivers a Shock Doctrine-style exposé of the failures of our out of control, profit-driven mental health system, with a special emphasis on dangerous residential treatment facilities and the failures of the pharmaceutical industry, including the overdrugging of children with antipsychotics and the disastrous maltreatment of veterans with PTSD by the scandal-wracked VA.
Levine did a solid job analyzing the problem of Big Pharma in our country where veterans and Americans are exploited for profit at all costs. He was kind enough to forward me a copy that included a comment from me on this book cover:
Mental Health, Inc. is a hard hitting text exposing hard-to-swallow realities within the underbelly of the mental health industry and its relationship with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Disabled veterans have long been the tip of the spear for risky, off-label drug treatments within the industry. Levine unearths uncomfortable truths in the system that explain why.
Citing the multibillion-dollar budget cuts after the 2008 recession, increasingly overloaded community clinics, the dangers of drug-based outpatient Medicaid programs, and the impending repeal of the Affordable Care Act, Washington Monthly contributing editor Levine presents a foreboding look at the status of contemporary mental health care in the United States.
The author delivers the statistics in a harrowing introductory chapter that spotlights the dangers lurking in the “low quality and sometimes deadly care” that is becoming the standard for those seeking treatment.
Levine reinforces his pleas for reform with profiles and true stories of everyone from young children to military vets with PTSD to nursing home communities, all left at the mercy of mental illness by a health care system rampant with weak regulatory oversight, maltreatment, and reckless off-label drug prescriptions.
With scores of victims remaining oversedated and often neglected by an inferior, “out-of-control, profit-driven” network, the decades of appeals for reform Levine cites duly reflect just how “little has fundamentally changed in how we treat people with serious mental illness.”
The author also expertly probes the Veterans Administration’s “secret history” of deadly wait times and scandalous incompetence, the dangerous marketing schemes surrounding the bipolar medication Seroquel, and the Los Angeles County women’s jail, where 20 percent of inmates suffer from some form of “serious” mental illness.
Counterbalancing his own dystopian view, Levine introduces us to the advocates hard at work improving and enhancing the industry and thereby restoring the lives of those affected by its shortcomings.
Amid a surfeit of drug company scandals, lawsuits, and blatant wrongdoings, Levine’s compelling exposée brings the contemporary state of mental health care into stark focus. But it also fairly offers redemption and hope in the form of modern-day heroes armed with proactive recovery programs and alternative therapies.
An urgent, balanced, eye-opening plea for mental health care reform.