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Terrorism - Playing the Mental Health Card

I guess I can only describe the “expert” comments of Paul Buchanan and the subsequent posting by Mike Hosking on Facebook as appalling, discriminatory, stigmatising and demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of Mental Illness.

I would invite Mr Buchanan and Mr Hosking to any Psychological First Aid courses, developed by people with the lived experience to enable them to gain knowledge, understanding and tolerance.

They, along with others, would learn what is normal behaviour and what is abnormal.

They would also learn the difference between ‘Mad and Bad’.

They would also learn the impact of such acts on each and every individual involved will be different and in fact normal given what they have been involved with.

I hear little in the way of acknowledging the impact on the Police Officers that actually took the life of another person, no matter what the circumstances. Both groups may develop a form of Mental illness known as PTSD.

The reality:

A strongly held belief is not a mental illness.

For centuries, humans with strongly held beliefs have initiated processes that cause harm to other humans.

Is not the person who drives a motor vehicle while drunk also a terrorist? Their belief that the can drive, and have the right to drive while drunk is all that matters. The fact that their actions can kill or cause serious harm any less a terrorist act?

Is the person who believes that being powerful and bullying others than can lead to serious harm or even suicide any less than a terrorist act?

I make my point in that these behaviours cannot be dismissed or promoted as Mental Illness.

The many thousands of New Zealanders who live daily with a mental illness are not criminals, they /we are living day to day, managing the impacts that the illness creates.

Here are some facts ( I know, never let the facts get in the way of strongly held beliefs)

5.3% (The Lancet- public health) of people with a diagnosed (before/after) mental illness cause violent harm to another person. In fact , a person with a mental illness is more likely to victims of violent attacks.

A bullying person is 2 to 9 times more likely to take their own life as a result of being bullied (CCD.org). The research on the actual numbers is difficult to gather as agencies such WorkSafe NZ and Coroners will not/do not investigate all the aspects related to a death of this type.

40% of Fatal Road crashes alcohol/drugs were a factor. Or in other words average of 160 people are killed by who believe they can drive drunk. (NZ MoT)

As I said, let’s not let the facts get in the way of a “good story”.

Mike Hosking and others in similar roles, have key roles, and opportunities to dispel myths, paranoia and mi information.

Perpetuating, for political or ratings gain, stigma and discrimination regarding mental illness does absolutely nothing to reduce the devastating effects that people (individuals/family/Whanau).

It provides little in the way of hope for people, who live with the experience of mental illness, being accepted as having a rightful place in humanity.

In the next couple of days since posting this commentary,

2 people will die as a result of an alcohol impaired driver .

Each day, 2 people will take their own life. 60% will not have a diagnosed mental illness . (NZ Coroners reports)

These deaths are not the act of a terrorist, depending on your beliefs, but their actions cause distress and harm to those directly affected by their actions.

New Zealand is, In the main, a place of tolerance towards others who have passionately held beliefs.

This tolerance is in danger from the ill-informed who have to lay blame on someone or something to explain tragedies that occur by the hand of others.

To the “experts” who define that different beliefs “must be a mental illness” , therefore people can/should be locked away is in its own way a terrorist act.


Is removing people from society who don’t follow a certain a belief, labelling them, “they must have a mental illness and will cause harm” , should/can be removed (placed in a secure mental health facility), a form of terrorism?

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