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Atheist Community of Austin
My experience what how religion is introduced in Juvenile Wards

Hey guys.

This was originally going to be a direct email, but I thought since it is merely an event I thought may be interesting to you all I decided to post it here rather than flood the email. I'm sorry if you have automatic updates for this as well I suppose that would defeat the purpose of me posting here rather than there. Below is what I originally intended to send in as an email.

Jeff was speaking in an old episode about a study that was taken over people already institutionalized for depression. It said something to the effect that religious people are less likely to kill themselves when depressed than those without religion. The study then suggested that prompting individuals to get more in touch with their faith would be helpful for them. Well this is my experience of what it is like in the institutions in regards to where religion comes into play.

The psychologists and therapists never mentioned god to me, however religion was introduced largely by those who as far as I'm aware do not require degrees, though I think they may require certification.

About 2 years ago I was severely depressed and was sent to a psychiatric evaluation area for about 11 days. The orderly or whatever you would like to call it was a pretty cool guy, I think I recall his name was Larry. (keep in mind this was an adolescent unit) Well the orderlies who looked after the adolescents during the day between meetings recreation, lunch dinner etc., they liked to give psychological advice to the kids, even though I'm not certain of their qualifications. I doubt he was instructed to, but he gave his story about how he was "selling drugs and living large" and nothing happened to him, but then he decided for no reason that that wasn't the kind of life for him. So he quit and "returned to god." After more preaching about how we should all believe in God and trust him and use him to make our lives better he went around the room asking the other kids what they learned from his story. The kids there at the time he gave this speech to were around 13-16. Without fail every person said they learned they needed to do more to honor god and be with him.

When it came to me he asked what I learned, I could only respond that I can't say I learned anything. He said that had to have been because I wasn't listening, I responded no I was listening, it is because I'm an atheist, which apparently he didn't even know what the word was. I told him and his response was "how are you breathing then?" I responded, my lungs are contracting and expanding. I suppose that is beyond the point really.

Though the crazy things came from all angles, not just religious people, another orderly specifically described how inmates will stomp your teeth out when you go to prison so they can force you to do oral favors without you being able to bite them, and then you get aids, and then "your life is over." If they aren't trying to use hell to scare you into submission then the only alternative is getting raped and infected with aids in prison I guess.

So as far that study, I can't really say much about he validity of the claim, I suppose if I thought suicide meant I would burn in hell for eternity for sure as the catholics do, I wouldn't commit suicide. What I can say is that institutes that exist to provide mental health to people are allowing interesting types of people to "give help" to their patients. I have only been to two institutions (both for depression within the same year) and both of them had people like Larry. They even had one person hired who practiced "reikei hand" or something like this, one who heals with their hands.

I do understand that these events don't necessarily represent all units in America, but they do represent a portion of them. Two points is only a line and not a trend kind of thing I guess.

On another anecdotal note if you encounter more of the NDE people again I've noticed many times the response on the show is always something similar to "and the NDE is always in reference to whatever god you happen to believe in." My great grandmother had a flat line once, and then she was resuscitated. In her own words she"never saw any white lights." So not only do you see what you happen to believe, sometimes you don't even see that. I'm not sure what she believed after that, but she would say things like "if there is a way to cut my head off put it in a box and keep me alive do it."

So keep the good shows coming, I'm surprised you haven't ran out of topics to cover yet. Thank you to all of the hosts and co-hosts as well as all of the behind the scene guys who I only get to see on the website and on the rare occasions like when you receive the new equipment and they panned over to them when the tech guys were playing with their new toys, heh.


Because of your post I read a great deal of material on this subject from everywhere. It's been as interesting as hell. Mental issues and hospitals (what a sh*t pit.) I mean how much sh*t can you pile on anything? I'm not the best person to answer this since I am not very socially sensitive.

I can tell that you are an intelligent person but all people are entitled to decent treatment. I think that you deserve to be listened to. I think you should write to anyone who may have an interest in this subject including people in the government.

One of the interesting things I found out is that psychiatrists suffer the highest rate of mental health problems and high rates of suicide. Perhaps because, as I also found out, that the care that is being given to mental patients in America is as bad as it ever gets.

In my research I found that there are many, many circumstances that might be deemed inhumane, degrading etc. and have nothing to do with treating the client for mental illness that are being allowed to go on.

Also it is important to know that there is an important difference in psychologists (who may or may not hold a medical degree) and psychiatrists who do have medical degrees.

Frankly, I thought some of the things in your post sound like mental torture. Anything that goes on with a patient (that involves raising the stress levels in that patient) should be monitored by a psychiatrist with the right training and equipment.

I read an article written by a psychiatrist who stated that most of the workers in these facilities are not paid well, and are not trained; they do not even have the basic training to work with people. She also said they cover up problems. If people like this are being allowed to " berate" and "bully" you know that they are.

Sounds like the real lunatics are running the asylum. Who Would Jesus Bully? They are bullies and liars, and count on fear and ignorance to further their insanity-like the belief that "faith" cures sick people, not doctors. What you have told us sounds like some kind of sick and twisted Nurse Ratchet goes religious fanatic.

Religious fanatics are a much harder subject to deal with; no doubt they should not be working in any capacity in any job that involves the welfare of humans or animals. To effectively deal with a religious fanatic is difficult since such a person is brainwashed. The only cure for this condition is reverse brainwashing, this is lengthy and a difficult process and often fails. The subject certainly went far over the line between coercion and mental torture during your grilling.

Psychologists have to go about telling a religious fanatic that his beliefs are wrong without attacking blind faith/religion itself? It must be difficult. After all, if you live in America, the religious fanatics rule. It could be one of the most crucial ethical challenges of 21st Century Psychology. Thank you for adding your Sh*t to the pile.

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