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A plea for the protection of the vulnerable...

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posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 01:26 PM
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Good evening ATS.

Since I have been a member here, I have seen something that disturbs me terribly.

Upon many memorable occaisions, I have seen mentally ill members being preyed upon or 'egged on' by other site users.

By it's very nature, ATS will attract folks with alternative view points on the world. Logically, many mentally ill folks will gravitate towards a site on the net that shares and often understands their less orthodox idea of reality.

It is this 'status' of ATS being something of a 'Mecca' for mentally ill folks that brings a certain responsibility to the site. The site must protect its' users and all who frequent its' hallowed halls. Therefore, the site must cater towards protecting mentally ill people who participate around the forums.

Let me make this clear - this is not a dig at ATS. I admire the lengths the staff go to in protecting the users within reasonable lengths. However, having just recently partaken in a thread that shook me to the bone on this very subject, I feel it is necessary to highlight this point.

I am sure the moderators and admin staff will immediately suggest using the report feature freely available within the forum - however I feel this is not enough. Reporting the threads or posts to highlight a person in danger of being taken advantage of is closing the barn door after the horse has bolted. In my view, a moderators 'eyes-only' register of suspected mentally ill folk is necessary for their own protection. I know it sounds Orwellian, and perhaps a little draconian, but I see no other way in which to protect these unfortunate folk.

The latest thread I took part in was this one - Schizophrenic being preyed upon by fundamentalist Christians

In this example we see a self-proclaimed Schizophrenic user, quite innocently asking for help as they believe they or their surroundings have been attacked by demons. If the thread hadn't mentioned mental illness, I would've left it alone. It would've been a person expressing religious beliefs of which they have every right to do so. But because this person admitted their illness I had to intervene.

The 'religious people' in this thread took it upon themselves to 'reinforce' the mentally ill users paranoid delusions that they were subject to demonic attack. Not one of them appeared to suggest seeking clinical care or talking to family & friends, rather they suggested shouting the name of Jebus, and holding ceremonies to keep the demons at bay. It doesn't matter if the person is religious or not, their safety and protection should be a more pressing concern.

My avatar makes my position on religious intervention in this case clear - however, I think that ATS should take a position on this issue, and somehow curtail (non-)religious targeting / potentially damaging behaviour towards vulernable folks in this sort of position.

Does the community of ATS concur? Or not?

Opinions and constructive input please.

Parallex.




posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 01:31 PM
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reply to post by Parallex
 


Read you signature. I'm assuming you're one of the mentally ill you are speaking of. Either that, or you don't have a bank account. I suspect both.



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 01:34 PM
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Originally posted by astrogolf
reply to post by Parallex
 


Read you signature. I'm assuming you're one of the mentally ill you are speaking of. Either that, or you don't have a bank account. I suspect both.


Thankyou for that highly constructive comment - have a nice day!

Parallex.



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 01:47 PM
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One persons paranoid delusion is another persons conspiracy theory.

I dont know what the owners and mods of ATS could do in the spirit of ATS to stop people from "fueling" other peoples delusions (or conspiracies)

It seems to me that any site, any where on the web has the potential to harm the mentally ill, and I dont think ATS is a stand out in that regard. While I do not think ALL Christians are mentally ill, I have met some who clearly are, and i have seen their delusional behavior being encouraged by other Christians who did not appear mentally ill. It can happen anywhere.

Ultimately, I feel that if someone is being abusive, or telling someone to do things that might physically harm or kill them, hit that Alert button pronto. Plead your case with a mod on it. But I dont think there is anything that ATS could do to protect all mentally ill members from their delusions, or people encouraging such. With freedom comes the potential to harm and be harmed, and we cannot and should not stop all free discussion just to protect a few who may be harmed by it.

If someone is really delusional, it is a shame their loved ones arent monitoring them to protect them, but that would be their responsibility, not ATS', imho.



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 01:51 PM
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reply to post by Illusionsaregrander
 


That's a quality post, and great input. Thank you.

On a side note - I'm not trying to suggest that all Christians are bad, nor are they all mentally ill. What I AM trying to say is that vulnerable people - in this case mentally ill people - are at serious risk of being given bad advice or led on a dangeorus path by people with completely wayward or fundamentalist views.

There were people on the thread in question who were openly religious, yet suggested visiting medical / psychologial professionals. KUDOS to these good folk.

Parallex.



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 02:00 PM
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Are you trying to suggest that the members here who have a mental illness cannot speak up for themselves? Or that they are all “crazy”? Or that they need to be on some special moderators list?

You didn’t mean to suggest that did you? There are many different types of mental illness.

I can see how you got frustrated in that thread, but are you a Doctor? I saw you proclaim mental illness on at least one person in that thread. So much for wanting to help that community... The really funny thing is that you only replied to the OP once. Again, so much for wanting to help the mentally ill community.

I really don’t think that is your motive.

Newsflash: To some people your Atheist views are fundamentalist.
Edit to add: I’m not talking about anybody’s Atheist view, I’m talking about yours.

[edit on 19-7-2010 by worlds_away]

[edit on 19-7-2010 by worlds_away]



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 02:02 PM
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I read the back and forth of that thread and it was the religious vs. non-religious fighting for a person that they saw an opportunity to actually see someone in the middle of either argument and ran with it.

If this person is truly sick, imagine what they might go through after reading through that. People started arguing amongst each other, and forgot about the OP. Whether or not this was valid, and mind you I read the post that said if it was in medical conspiracies, then they would have given different advice, well i don't think so. When you use the word G-d, and you use the word Demons, well thats less medical and more at least on the fence of paranormal/religious.

Maybe this thread, will help those who come forward in the future with such posts, and people will alert it faster.

As far as siding on either issue, whether it be the religious route or not, everyone, and I mean everyone gets influence on a site like this. It either opens your mind and you learn something new that you take with you in your mind, or it reaffirms that thoughts that you came here with, by others agreeing with your thoughts.

This "site" is highly respected. But its "members" are just as responsible for what happens here as the mods, and the owner.


Peace to you...



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 02:05 PM
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reply to post by worlds_away
 


Fair enough - if you think I'm trying to denegrate fundies, you'd be right. However, there are lots of open minded and truly individual religious folk on this site who don't apply their religious proselytisation to vulnerable, mentally ill people. That's cultist behaviour.

And I can assure you, I'm not a doctor - hence why I only addressed the OP of that thread the once - I'm not qualified to hand out advice in that regard. The rest of my time in that thread was spent trying to fend off the fundies with their appalling advice and their ulterior motives.

Parallex.



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 02:08 PM
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reply to post by NoRegretsEver
 


Excellent post - thank you.

I see your points, and agree with most of it. You are right, I did get so caught up with trying to fend off the fundies that I may have forgotten the OP and their plight. But again, I'm not qualified to help them.

Parallex.



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 02:10 PM
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Originally posted by Parallex

On a side note - I'm not trying to suggest that all Christians are bad, nor are they all mentally ill. What I AM trying to say is that vulnerable people - in this case mentally ill people - are at serious risk of being given bad advice or led on a dangeorus path by people with completely wayward or fundamentalist views.



What I was trying to suggest is that some of those "fundamentalists" may be mentally ill and delusional themselves.


Clearly not ALL Christians are mentally ill, but I have certainly met my fair share of them who are. And because their delusions center on God, Angels, Demons, etc., and because religion already walks a fine line (because of the nature of spiritual things be they real or not) many of them are never dragged in and evaluated. It is also very controversial to even suggest that someones religious beliefs are bordering on true mental illness.

(Though again, I want to make it CLEAR that I am not saying all religious beliefs are caused by or indicative of mental illness.)

My guess is, (from reading the thread you linked to in this OP) that the OP of that thread was clearly not the only person in that thread suffering from delusional thinking. And some of the worst offenders to that OP seemed to me to be the ones I most suspect may have some undiagnosed issues themselves.



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 02:11 PM
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I hear what you are saying but I don't think you can demand anymore attention be paid etc. Much less expect.

I thought a bit about this and I came up with this. If they are capible of getting onto a computer, finding ATS, joining/logging on and then finding the right thread area then they are probably not that terribly troubled in their minds etc.

They are capable of logical or critical thinking to make it onto here-kwowingly. Once here, you are on your own-NO matter what you think.

You are a good person, I can tell. Good thread.



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 02:12 PM
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reply to post by Parallex
 

I think you bring up some good points and it's wrong to prey upon or try to manipulate people who are obviously mentally ill or vulnerable in other ways such as grief or sudden loss. I too have witnessed evangelicals and Christians take advantage of the mentally ill who in a rather condescending way may try to offer prayer for or correct a mental illness through pressure to convert or ascribe to certain Christian beliefs when it might be better to recommend mental health counseling or even to affirm the validity of whatever "out there" thing they are believing or asserting. I'm a Christian, btw, but I would never try to convert anyone or witness at an inappropriate time or manner...I hope I am doing that at least.

I don't think it is just Christians who would take advantage of this but I understand your concern. I think it's disrespectful to take advantage of a person who is currently not in their right mind. Help them get strong and make their own decisions. It's okay to give feedback saying that you find what they say incomprehensible or disorganized or inaccurate because that could be valuable to them if no one is giving them honest feedback. Most people want some feedback...but not condemnation, judgment or recruitment.

Be careful of the message you yourself are putting out.



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 02:13 PM
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Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander
My guess is, (from reading the thread you linked to in this OP) that the OP of that thread was clearly not the only person in that thread suffering from delusional thinking. And some of the worst offenders to that OP seemed to me to be the ones I most suspect may have some undiagnosed issues themselves.


That's very insightful. Perhaps I hadn't considered that.

What can we do to protect people in this circumstance?

Parallex.

[edit on 19-7-2010 by Parallex]



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 02:14 PM
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Originally posted by Parallex
Good evening ATS.

Since I have been a member here, I have seen something that disturbs me terribly.

Upon many memorable occaisions, I have seen mentally ill members being preyed upon or 'egged on' by other site users.

By it's very nature, ATS will attract folks with alternative view points on the world. Logically, many mentally ill folks will gravitate towards a site on the net that shares and often understands their less orthodox idea of reality.

It is this 'status' of ATS being something of a 'Mecca' for mentally ill folks that brings a certain responsibility to the site. The site must protect its' users and all who frequent its' hallowed halls. Therefore, the site must cater towards protecting mentally ill people who participate around the forums.
Parallex.


So basically, what you are saying is that many of the members are disturbed and need "protecting", and because of the nature of the site, and it's many alternative topics, this somehow equates to a duty of care towards people who in your opinion are somehow "defective" and unable to stick up for themselves, because a mentally ill person apparently lacks the intelligence to do this.

I do NOT concur.

In fact, I finid the whole premise, not only flawed but extremely patronising.

Some of the most inportant figures in history, including acadaemia and art have been affected by mental illness to one extent or another.

Mental illness does not necessarilly interfere with the cognitive process, and has been known to enhance it.

To be blunt, and straight, I find the whole premise not only flawed and extremely patronising, but also biogotted, and this at the same time as you call for others to ridicule those who do not agree with your point of view, as seen in your sig.


[edit on 19/7/2010 by budski]



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 02:16 PM
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"Don't ignore them - ridicule them."

Pot, meet Kettle. You may call him, "Black."



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 02:19 PM
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Originally posted by budski
So basically, what you are saying is that many of the members are disturbed and need "protecting", and because of the nature of the site, and it's many alternative topics, this somehow equates to a duty of care towards people


Up to here you're not far off.


who in your opinion are somehow "defective" and unable to stick up for themselves, because a mentally ill person apparently lacks the intelligence to do this.


You said this, not I. I do NOT believe in the above, and agree with your comment below that intelligence or the lack of does not equate to mental illness.


In fact, I finid the whole premise, not only flawed but extremely patronising.


If you have an axe to grind you would do...


Some of the most inportant figures in history, including acadaemia and art have been affected by mental illness to one extent or another.

Mental illness does not necessarilly interfere with the cognitive process, and has been known to enhance it.


A very insightful and pertinent point. I couldn't agree more.


To be blunt, and straight, I find the whole premise not only flawed and extremely patronising, but also biogotted.


You are free to think this - please note that I disagree with you.

Parallex.



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 02:20 PM
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To the OP: who says that they were "delusions"? How do you know demons aren't real? Just because you don't have believe in it, doesn't mean it isn't real.

Even if we weren't real, these suggestions could help. Perhaps if the poster performed some sort of ritual to banish his "demons" it would act as a comfort or a placebo. The human mind is a powerful thing.



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 02:22 PM
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reply to post by Parallex
 


Unlike yourself, I have no axe to grind - I simply call it as I see it, and what I see is hypocrisy and bigotry, not to mention a patronising attitude of simply incredible proportions.

You needn't bother replying.

This is the first OP I've read in a long time that has left me feeling sickened.

' "Physician" heal thyself'



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 02:23 PM
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Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander
One persons paranoid delusion is another persons conspiracy theory.


And there you go...

The Terms & Conditions reign supreme.
... agreed to by All members who've registered an account here.

ANYone wishing to address a given Post and Not the Poster, in accordance with same, is Fair dinkum.


Individual "attacks" on a given member's character, self, or person Should be alerted to and Will be handled accordingly ... as time allows.

Other than that ... speak one's mind. (?)



posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 02:26 PM
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Originally posted by Parallex


What can we do to protect people in this circumstance?



We cant. When I was younger I worked for a summer at a mental health organization, that tried to get the mentally ill out into the community, teach them skills, and help them not be isolated.

Even in those settings with counselors all over the place, the delusional would often group up and feed each others delusions. It happens. It even happens among people who would NOT meet the criteria of "mentally ill" we tend to group together with people who support our world view.

Nature or God may have created all beings with an equal right to exist, and an equal intrinsic value, but nature or God clearly did not create all beings equal in their capacity to survive. Some people and animals are less apt to make it than others, for whatever reason. As sad as it is, I dont believe we can "save" everyone. I simply dont believe it is possible.

You did the best you could in that thread, as did others, by suggesting the OP see their doctor. Thats all you can do. You cant protect that person completely here, or in their "real" life. Not even their doctor or care team can. You just do what you can, offer whatever advice you see fit, and move on and let nature or God take its course.



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