Forbes Calls for “Re-institutionalizing” the Mentally Ill

509731930_81f7fe995a_bWill that avoid mass shootings like Sandy Hook—or just put people on the very drugs that can make them homicidal?

In the January 21 issue of Forbes magazine, Steve Forbes says that hundreds of thousands of people lead tortured, miserable lives and need supervised care. His solution is to repopulate public mental hospitals and wards instead of emptying them, as we have done.

The problem, of course, is that mainstream treatment usually means a battery of antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs and these drugs can make people suicidal and homicidal—the very problem we as a society are trying to prevent.

It’s no secret that the medical psychiatric and the pharmaceutical industry are riddled with conflicts of interest—at the expense of the patients themselves. Nearly 70% of the taskforce members who have been busy creating the DSM-5 (the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, essentially the Bible of clinicians, researchers, psychiatric drug regulation agencies, health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and policy-makers) reported financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies, up from 57% for the DSM-IV. In the DSM-5, the definition of depression has been expanded to include bereavement—a change that could give drug companies a potential $10 billion increase in antidepressant sales. SSRI antidepressants (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are known to be addictive and hard to get off of, so using them to alleviate normal human suffering is not a good idea. They are also among the most frequently prescribed drugs for children with autism—even though there is no evidence that these drugs help in the least.

As we reported previously, SSRIs as treatment for depression can create either suicidal thoughts or outbursts of irrational violence against others; this side effect is seen both when taking the drug and when withdrawing from it. Granted, this is association and not necessarily causation—but it raises enough red flags that one must proceed cautiously:

  • Steven Kazmierczak, who shot five people and wounded twenty-one others, was taking a cocktail of three different prescribed psychiatric drugs, including Prozac and Xanax.
  • Jeff Weise, who shot and killed his grandparents before going to his school and killing seven students and a teacher, wounding seven others, then killing himself, was on Prozac.
  • Jason Hoffman, who was taking the antidepressants Celexa and Effexor, opened fire on his classmates, wounding three students and two teachers.
  • Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed twelve students and a teacher and wounded twenty-six others before killing themselves. Harris was on the antidepressant Luvox.
  • Kip Kinkel, who murdered his parents, then at school killed two and wounded twenty-five, had just gone off Prozac.
  • Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook shooter, was “on medication.” ABC News said he had “mental illness” and a “personality disorder”—the very conditions that would lead one to be treated with psychiatric drugs.

Steve Forbes writes, “No one would assert that more proactive treatment of people with extremely serious mental ailments would prevent all mass killings. But the growth in the number of such massacres since the 1960s, when the deinstitutionalizing movement got under way, makes clear that these horrific occurrences could be sharply reduced.” We would point out that the first major mass shooting wasn’t until 1966, and the shooter, Charles Whitman, had never been institutionalized, much less deinstitutionalized. SSRIs were developed in the 1970s, and in the 1980s began replacing the older tricyclic antidepressants we told you about last week. The number of mass shootings started increasing dramatically as with the popularity of SSRI drugs increased. Since 1982, there have been at least 62 mass shootings across the country; 25 of them have occurred since 2006, and seven of them took place in 2012.

We are not arguing that violent or seriously ill people should not be confined to mental hospitals—merely that to blame the whole problem on deinstitutionalization is to ignore the fact that the drugs that are supposed to be helping these young people may in fact be responsible for their violent outbreaks. Institutionalization will make it easier to force these drugs on people and giving them in hospitals doesn’t make them any safer.

SSRIs, tricyclics like amitriptyline, and other antidepressants are now firmly established as being linked to the danger of suicide: FDA has a black box warning for young people (though of course it should be for all people). FDA said they were looking into SSRIs and the risk of violence to others after we petitioned them for a black box warning about it, but the agency still hasn’t issued a final decision. Nor is it likely to, because admitting this would ravage sales and hurt the bottom lines of the drug companies.

Forbes has had a history of hostility toward natural therapies. The magazine often promotes a mainstream medical view and has been openly suspicious of supplements—likely because of their ties to drug companies.

However, there may be hope for Forbes yet. In the past two years the magazine has lauded, interviewed, and discussed in numerous articles fitness guru and entrepreneur Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Chef and The 4-Hour Body, who recommends a number of supplements. This is likely the first time supplements have been treated with anything but contempt at Forbes. Perhaps they are finally becoming aware of all the exciting new science around supplements.

As any integrative physician can tell you, nutritional deficiencies and imbalances can cause depression. Dr. Jonathan Wright suggests an amino acid supplement program to boost levels of mood-regulating neurotransmitters in the brain without the side effects of prescription drugs. One can get a blood test that assesses fasting levels of essential amino acids; if levels are low, it is important to use blend of all eight essential amino acids.

However, it’s important to look for the cause of low amino acid levels. Quite often it’s because of low stomach acid (hypchlorhydria); if this is the case, patients can benefit from supplemental acid and other supplements.

Dr. Mark Hyman has stated that “Depression is not a Prozac deficiency,” noting that it is often caused by biological imbalances resulting from nutritional deficiencies and exposure to environmental pollutants—and not necessarily chemical imbalances. Besides taking supplements like St. John’s Wort, tryptophan (but not with St John’s Wort), SAMe, vitamin D, DHEA, B vitamins such as niacin, B-12 and folate, and adrenal gland boosters, other treatments for depression include a change in diet, getting enough sleep, getting enough exercise, getting enough light, and finding a useful purpose for your life bigger than yourself.

Many people have found relief through homeopathy or acupuncture (often accompanied by a custom Chinese herbal formula). For more severe depression, one might consider hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). In Dr. Paul G. Harch’s study of veterans with depression after traumatic brain injury, 93% of them saw improvement after HBOT.

Anxiety is greatly relieved by L-theanine and especially by the more bioavailable forms of GABA (this is important because not all of them work). Even psychotic conditions can benefit from natural approaches but require supervision by a skilled integrative physician.

We must get away from mainstream medicine’s insistence on treating depression and other mental illnesses with drugs that have dangerous side effects for the patient and for society. Confinement in mental hospitals may hurt rather than help the problem without understanding this fundamental point.



  1. While it can be argued that this article has it’s own bias, it is on the right side of the equation as far as I’m concerned. Science has for years been in bed with the pharmaceutical industry even in the universities. Where do you think the science departments get their monies? These drugs are powerful and while some may be beneficial there is little being done to actually treat rather than medicate symptoms in the mental health field.

  2. Since primary care physicians , employed by health insurance plans, would never send me to an INTEGRATIVE PHYSICIAN, what chance do I have? I am taking mega minerals and mega aminos at bedtime, and it’s good. I have had to go online and do research myself. And then, there’s the challenge of determining if the product is bio available. How would we ever locate a doctor who knows about supplements?

    1. Doctors don’t get trained about supplements, they don’t know any more than you do. Read my blog on HUB pages: Why Don’t Doctor’s do Heavy Metal Detoxing?… and other related questions. Also my blog about Natural Treatments for Anxiety and Depression. They are low thyroid symptoms and the cure is iodine fulfillment (the main ingredient in thyroid hormone) and yeast cleansing/leaky gut healing. The leaky gut is causing inflammation to the thyroid.
      This is what holistic or natural health practitioners do. They need to get their act together and create specialty fields in natural health the same way the pharmaceuticals to. Lately these GAPS (gut and psychology syndrome) clinics are doing that, teaching people how to cleanse and change their diet to avoid yeast overgrowth.
      To compete with the pharmaceuticals, naturals have to be more aggressive, like they are. Also, congress has given them a mandatory market. If the market were supply and demand we would be getting REAL health care right now, not Rockefeller health care.

    2. Check out the website and find Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s book Gut and Pyscology Syndrom (GAPS) It helps with combating all types of mental illness in a helathy natural manner. It very educational. Hope this helps.

  3. My opinion,in past,people who are totally incapable of caring for themselves need supervised care. For correct medicine to get them rebalanced,for daily food,sleep,everything an American
    citizen needs daily. Mental illness,majority of time,is treatable. People will return to normal mental
    state if receiving supervised treatment. I also believe Governor Brown broke legislated law!
    NEVER built or provided necessary housing,etc. I guess our taxes were more important to pay consultants,legislators,bidding corporations,etc. The mentally ill, who were unable to care for themselves,were just thrown out on streets. Their former balanced personhood,was destroyed.
    In my family,I have a person who was diagnosed as szhizophrenic(spelling?). It is miracle he is
    still alive! The mental,physical,verbal abuse,etc.,was devastating due to Gov. Brown’s illegal actions! Noone EVER investigated the law. It stated that housing,etc.,would be built,provided for mentally ill! NEVER HAPPENED!!!!!! They were quickly forgotten about! In my opinion,Brown’s behavior was cruel and unusual treatment!
    Not until a few years ago,Californians voted to provide some personal care! The stealing of our tax dollars by Democrats,Liberals,for inane projects,cut personal services. California has had balanced budgets sometimes in the past. What makes it impossibl!e for these numbskulls to do it!? We put them in office,( I never voted for ANY Democrat,Liberal)! Majority of voters have been Democrats. Now people who voted for free services,are having a few freebees cut back! Maybe people who are able to work,will be FORCED to work! At ANY available job! Just like ALL UNEMPLOYED are doing! There are a few people with common sense(usually Conservatives,Repubs),who have tried for years! Their attempts are drowned out by Liberals
    you elected! One- half of people on welfare,etc.,are ILLEGAL ALIENS! What is wrong with this picture!? They are majority of people who are SUCKING California dry! Research for yourself.

  4. I always agree with Alliance for Natural Health but I absolutely disagree with their position on this. I believe that Forbes is on the right track here. The deinstitutionalization movement was not a good decision on the part of the states. I heard a lady call in on Pierce Morgan crying about how mentally unstable and dangerous her son is and there isn’t an institution around (anymore) to take him…

    1. SEE MY COMMENT ABOVE….if you think re-institutionalization is such a good thing…Pierce Morgan…???…Why do you believe all the propaganda they feed you…???…

  5. I was on staff at a 3000 bed mental hospital complex in the ’60’s. Do we need to go back to that? Hell, yes. Do we need commitment without permission of patient? Hell, yes….The out-of-touch legislators who decided that the mentally ill had the judgment to realize they needed treatment erred badly. They erred badly in deciding that a patient no longer receiving medication had to be released from care. And worst of all, anyone who thinks it’s the “right” of a mentally ill person to cope with the illness, medication needs, housing and clothing and food and warmth and everything else needs and to protect himself from bullies and predators rather than being remanded to a hospital where he’s cared for just doesn’t understand mental illness. It’s hard to see way down here from up high on ivory towers……..How cruel we are.

    1. My God. My God. I almost don’t know what to say in response…Most of the problems of the so-called “mentally ill” are made WORSE by the rampant over-drugging of folks…
      If those “3,000 bed” INSTITUTIONS were run more like apartments & hotels, yes, maybe…and if DRUGS/”meds” were reasonably and minimally used, yeah, maybe…..
      BUT, the de-institutionalization, and the gross over-medicating, is exactly how we got where we are today…
      The LIE of “psychiatry” has done more harm than good

      1. Yes I agree we over drug, and it is true they need a place to stay at times for protection and supervison. The method we are using now is really not helping the patient be cured, only drugged.

  6. Thank you for this accurate article and continuing to expose the dangerous effects of psychotropic drugs. You should also look into the ‘cocktails’ the VA is giving returning soldiers causing suicides and death.
    I am surprised Mr. Forbes would take this position when he is Libertarian and from that position would support natural remedies.

  7. I read the article recently published about Forbes and “Re-Institutionalizing the Mentally Ill” and agree with your findings that over-medicating our young adults and society in general in not the ideal situation for people, but there are a lot of people out there in society that are mentally depressed or angry or deranged that should not be walking on the streets. Since the 1970’s and 1980’s when horrific neglect and abuse of patients living in these wards went public, they were shut down and now people don’t have many options of where to go or what to do or where to live. I believe that we need half-way houses where mentally ill or depressed people could find a safe haven with therapeutics to help them and make them feel that they are a necessary part of society, but they need places such as this. Parents sometimes are at their wits end with adolescents and don’t know what to do with them and don’t know where to look for help. They feel like they are prisoners in their own homes from these adolescent or adult children. Something needs to be done to get these people out of being able to walk around and shoot other people.

  8. Encountering the mental health system may violate people enough to move them to violence. In hosptials I have been denied food and waterfor prolonged period while strapped to a bed. After three days of this, I nearly died from dehydration. I lost twelve pounds in nine days due to this treatment. I was denied access to a shower for nine days, then staff mocked me and encouraged other patients to mock me because I smelled. I was kept in solitary confinement with no bed and inadequate clothing and blankets in a “quiet room” for four days straight. It was very cold in this room and a bright light was left on constantly making sleep impossible. There was no toilet in this room and staff ignored my reauests to use the bathroom so I had to go on the floor, the same floor I had to sit on and try to sleep on. The mess was not adequately cleaned up nor done in a timely manner. I have been hit, had my hair pulled, hands and feet painfully twisted while in restraints, been sexually molested, scalded in a shower and a bath in which staff tried to force me to stay in the scalding water despite protests.
    A psychiatrist confided to me that he had had three wives, and did not find divorcing them expensive becuase of the way he handled them. I called his current wife to warn her that she may be in danger because this doctor was making proposals to me. The next day, this doctor gave me multiple injections of haldol as he stood over me and said “bye bye Amy.”
    Doctors ignored the akathesia I experienced, misdiagnosed me, and ignored my report of having a severe stabbing pain followed by migraine headache prior to sleep and eating difficulties. I think I was deliberately traumatized so they could force drug me and create a new client, when my original problem was an aneurism. A court agreed that my disease was iatrogenic, but I was never compensated for any of this since not one law firm seemed to want to consider representing a mentally ill person. A public defender was once paid as my representative even though he was vacationing in Mexico at the time.
    The abuse and violation in the system just went on and on. A hospital social worker tried to manipulate me into signing up for social security, probably so that the hospital could make more money off of me.
    I never had manic symptoms until I tried to get off their drugs. I have been off pharma psych drugs for about ten years with no hospital stays. I credit vitamins, antioxidants, essential oils and flower…

  9. We didn’t turn anyone loose we just transferred them systematically from mental institutions to Prisons

  10. It is absolutely true that the whole question about mental health/dis-ease needs a very, very urgent overhaul. If the current system was working we would not see the tragic events that happen on a daily basis because of severe emotional distress.
    There ARE (non medical, non diagnostic) humane systems that work WONDERFULLY, but they are not supported because the current system has become another religion. To question it is taboo. In Finland – the Kerapodus mental hospital, the psych wards are empty and they have a very low rate of severe mental disease. Their Open Dialogue Approach is institutionalized and comes since the 1980’s.
    I speak from experience right now with our own son in need of intensive help. Unfortunately the only help for someone in severe emotional distress is that of hopeless, helpless life-long diagnosis and damaging mind-altering medicine in a system so big that it leaves one paralyzed.
    Millions of people suffer in silence and in fear with no-where to go but to face the biggest lie in our human history ever. We have become a psychotic society. I am absolutely not surprised to see the rise in shootings and killings and suicides. People have NOWHERE to go! Most certainly not in my own country. The only place for a person in need of intensive care (this typically is a person who does not have private medical cover, and or who is so distressed that he/she is not willing/able to recognize the severity of his/her situation) in my country South Africa is State Hospital that has adopted the fraud-based medical model. WHEN ON EARTH WILL WE STOP AND SEE AND LISTEN? How many more killings and suicides? When is enough enough? We are not who we are as it is told to us by psychiatrists. They must be the only profession who gets away with unfounded diagnosis and treatment whilst people suffer in unimaginable ways.
    Award-winning Investigative Journalist Robert Whitaker’s book Anatomy of an Epidemic is beginning to change the thinking of some professionals, but this is early days.
    I agree 100% with the final remark:
    “Confinement in mental hospitals may hurt rather than help the problem without understanding this fundamental point.” We are on the receiving end of this treatment right now and now-where to go. The chance that we may loose a loved one only depends on our relentless spirit to make it through no matter what it takes.Our salvation will not be with the help of those who sell themselves as experts on…

    1. So true there is nowhere to go for true hope and proper healing. There is a website called that can help using supplements. My son in his state of mind does not want to take sipplements so I use food as his medicine, I also found a book called Gut and Psycology Syndrom by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride (GAPS) which helps. but still he needs so much more help, testing, blood test, counseling, etc. and he has no proper health care except for the medicare/cal system which is horrifically terrible and the doctors do not have a clue what to do ( except place him on pysco drugs as they are tought in school). Most parents find themself alone in this situation as I am. All I can do is keep researching and trying new things in hope it does him well. Of course I pray for his healling too. As we are Magnificantly and Wonderfully made (God gave us an immune system which I believe if we do the right things, (sleep, eat, pray, excersise, live right, no toxins in our bodies, etc.) can help heal our bodies back to normal. ( Which can take years.)
      When the news reports go out to the public about a gun shooting that has occured, the problem they protray is the person had mental problems, but they do not say the person was on a certain psyco drug, which is the real problem, and the public doestn’t realize we are creating our own problems with administering these mind altering drugs, just its the fact he got a gun, then guns are the problem and get the focus and not that our mental system and how mental illness is treated is broken.
      Now the state is building new prison hospitals that are mental institutions that control these people with very hard and dangerous drugs, just to control them, and not really looking for a cure or to find out the reason a person is having mental problems. WHEN AND WHAT ARE WE AS A SOCIETY GOING TO DO?

  11. I think this article should be reprinted and sent to the news outlets, it is very well written with notes and people who are more into true healing , then pushing drugs.
    YOu notice that not one word is mentioned about actual healing theses illnesses. Even has reference to schizophrenia as a nutrient deficiency.
    Guess who has tried to suppress the following method of proven healing in mental and other illnesses?
    For anyone who needs it , or you can include this into an aritcle , there IS healing help for many so called mental ‘illness’ with this proven method,, (put anything into the search bar here, start with PTSD, ),, etc
    I would love to see someone find the research done at the University of California I think at Davis, when it was independantly a research center , and in the late 1989-93 PROVED that the antidepressants INCREASED the brain chemicals thought to CAUSE depression and anxiety in many people. It is the drug that CAUSES this,. The drug companies have buried ( if it stil exists to dig up) this research and Davis may be bought out by them now, IDK. But it was proven, because teens and others were going off the deep end with rage, etc, and killing people and themselves back then, and parents sued. They were the ones that took twenty years to get the labels on the meds. the ridiculousness of that is that at 18 , this alledgely suddenly stops happening to ‘adults’. The drug companies and highly paid attorneys did that, because they can blame an adult for their own actions easier than teens and children. It stil lhappens in adult brains as well. but they then blame them for having a mental illness and not reaching out for help. It happens so fast in some adults, they can’t do that,they don’t even know what is going on. NOW they have suppressed those research and say it is underlying bi polar disorder, (for which the person needs more of their meds), or personality disorder.
    The drug pushers have a way to blame the person for everything and the money to back it up.
    eg If I give a tree a fertilizer that is wrongly made or isn’t compatible with life, and the tree dies, no one says the tree killed itself .
    This whole game they have going on in medicine has to be stopped. Can’t blame us, can’t prove anything, blame the person and give them more drugs. Millions of people die each year, teens and anyone under 50 think drugs of…

  12. I forgot to ask, who at Forbes, and the wealthiest , own big Phamaceuticals or profit off them?
    That is how the pharmaceuticals took over medicine to begin with, the families that owned them, and made their forutnes that way.
    Rhetorical question.

  13. BTW, the new DSM 5 coming out in May pathologizes bereavement now, and suggests treatment with , you guessed it, antidepressants.
    It has a whole new group of ‘pathology’ to drug, including internet addictions.

  14. I never “suffered” from “mental illness”, until AFTER I was taken to a psychiatrist, and put on psych drugs as an older teenager… The so-called “medical model” of psychiatry, is a LIE, whose sole purpose is to justify the gross over-prescribing of psych drugs…Part of that scheme was de-institutionalization… The idea was throw out the “crazies”, put them on drugs, and build up a
    “community mental health center” complex, to both push the drugs, and provide even MORE employment for college-educated folks… Cost to the tax-payer has skyrocketed, massive amounts of unnecessary drugs have been dispensed, and people’s lives have been ruined…
    More money, more drugs, more harm…THAT is the current model for psychiatry…
    I have been psychiatry and drug-free for almost 2 decades now…
    Overall, I’m more whole, healthy, and happy than ever…
    Gee, you quak shrinks, what happened to my “mental illness”…

  15. How do you determine mental illness? WHO determines mental illness and at what point (minimum/maximum) is mental illness a factor? We depend upon the so-called ‘experts’ to diagnose what they call, “Actual mental illness”.. Who are they associated with? Who distributes their paychecks? Yes, I’m pessimistic when it comes to institutionalization, where one expert (accurately) diagnosis this (illness?) then within a certain period of time, after several experts continued testing, ONE finds them cured and they release them only to discover their mistake later.. Who pays them? I think if someone no longer wants to deal with life and they do not want to go out alone, mentally ill or not they will follow through.. We call these people mental cases for the simple fact that we can’t comprehend their true motives. You’ll never control insane acts, no matter how many ‘loonies’ you lock-up because these acts aren’t exclusively committed by the insane.

  16. I CURED my son of autism, tourettes and anxiety with: Candida Yeast Cleansing and heavy metal detoxing with iodine therapy. Here’s the basics about health:
    1. All symptoms and diseases are caused by protein deficiency or inflammation and they all start in the digestive tract. (Number one problem is candida yeast overgrowth because we eat too much sugar and high fructose corn syrup and we don’t get live organisms, beneficial bacteria, in our foods.)
    2. All symptoms and diseases can be linked to a mineral deficiency. Example: iodine was fear mongered in the 1960s and remove from bread supplementation which started mercury toxicity and lots of other problems.
    You’ll never hear this from a doctor (including his neurologist who got fired but I still have to pay $700 monthly for mandatory HMO).

    1. He was in supervised controlled enviornment! Open state memtal hospitals again where even the food intake is controlled keep out controlled and illegal substances

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