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WHO: 26% USA Crazy

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  • World View
    Twenty six percent (26%) of US population is afflicted by some form of mental illness WHO: The U.S. has the highest rate of mental disorders among 14 countries
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 6, 2004
      Twenty six percent (26%) of US population is
      afflicted by some form of mental illness

      WHO: The U.S. has the highest rate of mental
      disorders among 14 countries

      David Brooks and Jim Cason
      La Jornada correspondents
      New York and Washington
      June 2, 2004

      The suspicion has now been confirmed: Americans are
      crazier than the rest of the world.

      Twenty-six percent of Americans have some form of
      mental illness, the highest rate among 14 developed
      and underdeveloped nations in the study and more than
      twice the official rate in Mexico, according to the
      World Health Organization (WHO).

      The WHO reported that up to 50% of the population
      with serious mental disorders in the U.S. and a few
      European countries do not receive treatment and up to
      85% with serious mental illnesses in less developed
      countries go without treatment.

      The lowest frequency of general mental disorders
      (severe and others) was found at the Chinese port of
      Shanghai (4.3%) followed by Nigeria (4.7%). The
      highest incidence after the U.S. (26.4%) was recorded
      in the Ukraine (20.5%), France (18.4%), Colombia
      (17.8%) and Lebanon (16.9%).

      The WHO survey, conducted between 2001 and 2003 in 14
      countries (6 less developed and 8 more developed) by
      means of 60,643 interviews in America, Asia, Europe
      and Middle East/Africa, recorded the frequency,
      severity and treatment of mental illnesses. The
      conclusions include a high frequency and volume of
      mental illnesses at a global level, which "despite
      available treatments, remain largely untreated."

      According to the report, the number of work days lost
      due to mental illnesses are close to those caused by
      physical problems with an average of 30 days lost due
      to "serious" mental disorders.

      The published report is preliminary and the first in
      a series of surveys on the topic. Undoubtedly,
      methodology problems that generate unexplainable
      tendencies may exist, but the authors say this is
      only a beginning. A report on the findings can be
      found at the WHO web site:


      The report on the survey, including the statistics
      and methodology was published today in the Journal of
      the American Medical Association, JAMA and can be
      read at its Internet web site:


      First in the World in the Deranged: Insanity in America:

      A large and authoritative study, just published in the Journal of the
      American Medical Association, finds that there is more mental illness
      and insanity, far more, in America than you find in other advanced


      It's always satisfying to have a pet theory supported by new data. A
      large and authoritative study, just published in the Journal of the
      American Medical Association, confirms a favorite hypothesis of mine,
      that there is more mental illness and insanity, far more, in America
      than you find in other advanced societies.

      The study, led by a Harvard Medical School researcher, found evidence
      of mental problems in 26.4% of people in the United States, versus,
      for example, 8.2% of people in Italy. The researchers were concerned
      with matters such as lack of access to treatment and under-treatment,
      but for those concerned about a safe and decent world, I think the
      salient finding is simply America's high percentage. The world is
      being led by a nation where more than one-quarter of the people have
      genuine mental problems.

      The finding is strangely both comforting and disturbing.

      It is comforting because it helps explain why Americans continue
      supporting a man proven wrong every time he opens his mouth, a man
      who has de-stabilized parts of the world in the name of creating
      stability, a man claiming sound business principles who has pitched
      the United States into deficit free-fall, and a man who arouses
      suspicion and fear throughout the world.

      The study is comforting, too, because it helps explain an opposition
      candidate like John Kerry. How can liberals generate excitement over
      this stale, fly-buzzed doughnut of a candidate? I suppose the same
      way they get excited every time Bush's polls dip by something little
      more than statistical noise. Perhaps the same way a man like Michael
      Moore - who makes gobs of money playing to the suspicions and
      prejudices of the paranoid segment of America's great political
      market - could so eagerly embrace a crypto-Nazi like General Wesley
      Clark as "his candidate"?

      The finding is comforting in explaining all those Americans shocked
      and appalled over The New York Times' recent apology for its drum-
      beating, pre-invasion coverage of Iraq's non-existent weapons. Here
      is a newspaper that, more often than not, comes down on the wrong
      side of human rights, always protects Establishment interests, always
      ignores abuses until they can no longer be ignored, and yet it
      somehow retains a reputation in America as guardian of treasured
      values and as the nation's newspaper of record.

      Well, the "record" part is easily explained, since The Times often
      takes one position before an event and another after, adjusting its
      emphasis according to shifts in public opinion or facts discovered by
      someone else. With that kind of coverage, you surely do qualify as
      some kind of paper of record.

      But nothing could be a bigger nonsense than The Times' reputation as
      guardian of values in a free society. Just ask Wen Ho Lee, or Richard
      Jewell, or the woman who accused a Kennedy of rape, or all the people
      who died unnecessarily at the Bay of Pigs. Go back and examine The
      Times at key points in the communist witch hunts or at the outbreak
      of the Korean War. Go back and examine its views and emphasis when
      President Johnson offered his Hitler-like lies about the Gulf of
      Tonkin. Go back and see how often The Times has done any real
      investigative journalism - when it mattered, not in retrospect -
      about subjects as vital as the FBI's huge abuse of power during the
      1960s or the shameful backgrounds of many of the country's leading
      politicians. Just examine the statements of the paper's signature
      columnist, Thomas Friedman, who sounds like Henry Ford condemned to
      bizarre re-incarnation as one the Jews he so hated.

      But the finding also is quite disturbing. America, for many years to
      come, will dominate world affairs. The world will continue to be
      treated as though it were the backyard sandbox of the Bushes,
      Cheneys, Rumsfelds, Liebermans, Kerrys, Albrights and other
      privileged, selfish, and not particularly well-informed American
      Establishment figures.

      I explain American insanity by a gene pool fouled with the heavy
      early migration of Puritans, mentally disturbed fanatics if we accept
      the rather detailed historical record in Europe, plus the immense
      stresses of a society run along strict principles of Social
      Darwinism. An almost unqualified admiration for greed now dominates
      American culture. Yes, Adam Smith's "invisible hand" involved self-
      interest, but go back and read that thoughtful and compassionate
      philosopher and compare what he says to the chimpanzee screams we
      hear from America.

      As to the stresses in American society, I refer not only to the
      struggle of individuals to survive there, but to the fact that the
      whole story of America has been one of unremitting aggression. It is
      the story of "a pounding fist," as Tennessee Williams' Big Daddy
      described himself.

      Had America somehow come to be in Europe, its story would most
      closely parallel that of Germany and its long, belligerent effort to
      dominate the continent. It is only because so much of America's
      aggression has been against what seemed lightly settled places - the
      Ohio Valley, the Great Plains, Canada, Mexico, and Hawaii - that
      people think any differently about it. Other places were not so
      lightly settled, and opposition in places like the Philippines was
      crushed with great bloodshed.

      My criticism of the United States is not concerned with how it wishes
      to order its own society, but about how its activities spill over
      into the rest of the world. Its actions in the world too often
      resemble those of an ugly drunk pushing his way into your living room
      and puking all over the carpet.

      Iraq provides a textbook example. The net effect of the invasion of
      Iraq is a badly de-stabilized country, now full of people who resent
      Americans for their brutality and arrogance, where once there were
      undoubtedly many who dreamily admired America at a distance. Saudi
      Arabia also has been de-stabilized, as many warned Bush that it would
      be before he set his crusaders marching. Many old friends and allies,
      like France or Canada, have been stupidly abused for offering sound
      advice and declining to join the march to hell. Tony Blair's pathetic
      rag of a government hangs by threads after working against the clear
      wishes of the British people, and Blair has found the voice he
      thought he had earned in the councils of war arrogantly dismissed by
      Bush and his fanatics. Israel's state-terror in the West Bank and
      Gaza, cheerily accepted by Bush (and Kerry), has risen to nightmarish
      levels, and if you think that has no connection with all the hatred
      for America in the world, you are either foolish or qualify as part
      of the more than one-quarter of Americans who need professional help.

      Oil prices are high and unstable, as are American deficits.
      International security arrangements, those things so loved by police-
      mentalities but which have never been known to stop real bad guys,
      are becoming stupidly cumbersome and heavy-handed. Yet America still
      supports Bush, no matter what its small tribe of liberals chooses to
      believe. Knowing America's record on small tribes, I suppose it's
      healthy self-interest to pretend enthusiasm for tiny dips in Bush's
      polls and for an alternative as insipid and meaningless as John Kerry.

      While I am glad for the confirmation of my hypothesis, I can't help
      feeling, as with so many studies, this one does little more than
      confirm the painfully obvious.



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