“Nobody Comes to Work to Harm People”

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From Psychiatry Is Driving Me Mad: “Voice any kind of pain, upset, criticism, or account of a negative experience with an NHS mental health professional, and I guarantee no matter where you are, someone will burst through the nearest door, window, or manhole to inform you that ‘nobody comes to work to harm people.’ I’ve never been given an explanation of what this actually means, but having heard and read this phrase so many times, what I have inferred from context is that ‘nobody comes to work to harm people’ means if someone has been harmed by the words, actions, or inactions of an NHS mental health professional, this was definitely not intentional on the part of the professional, and due to this lack of intent, the harm was actually not harmful, and, as such, the person explaining how they have been harmed is being unfair, and should stop talking.

It is one of my least favourite phrases, not only because of how it shuts down the person recounting harmful experiences, but also because it doesn’t really mean anything. It never seems to get broken down any further, rather it just sits in the space which should have been available for people to voice their grievances, and takes up all the oxygen, silencing any further discussion. So, I thought I would write this blog post to try and take it apart, consider what it means, why it may be said, and how it can feel to hear it.”

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MITUK’s mission is to serve as a catalyst for fundamentally re-thinking theory and practice in the field of mental health in the UK, and promoting positive change. We believe that the current diagnostically-based paradigm of care has comprehensively failed, and that the future lies in non-medical alternatives which explicitly acknowledge the causal role of social and relational conflicts, abuses, adversities and injustices.