TechCrunch’s Sam Vaknin writes that, when it comes to the mental health treatment that is provided by mental health providers, mental health advocates and mental health professionals, they are all in a position of power.
But how can they use their power to help people?
In a new article for Vox, Vaknani writes that a mental health charity called Minds, which is funded by the National Institutes of Mental Health, is a prime example of how this power can be abused.
The article outlines Minds’ “sophisticated” approach to how it trains staff and uses technology to connect patients to mental health services, but also argues that the charity is “over-extended and overwhelmed with its mission.”
Minds’ mission is to train people to “be better human beings” and is therefore focused on “counseling, treating, and advocating for people who need help, rather than those who want to be better.”
Vakninnani points to the charity’s failure to reach its goal of training “40,000 people to become mental health nurses, with a goal to have 50,000 by 2020.”
But, while the charity tries to educate staff, it also “encourages its staff to make money by helping others,” and the “staff are paid $1,000 per month, plus a monthly stipend of $1.30 for the first three months and $1 for every month thereafter.”
Minders “is also responsible for the vast majority of mental health support in the United States, but as Vox reports, it is funded with $5 billion from the National Institute of Mental and Mental Health.”
Vaksnin writes:Minds is also staffed by a number of people who have never served in a mental institution.
It employs many of the same people who worked for mental health institutions, including many who have previously worked at mental hospitals.
Minds is currently staffed by people who were formerly mental health workers, and it is unclear whether or not these people will be returning to the care of a mental hospital in the future.
The charity’s website is littered with testimonials from its staff.
Many of the staff are former or current staff of mental hospitals, and the organization’s mission statement says it is “a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, which means it is not subject to the same federal, state, or local taxes as other charities.”
Vikninnnani also points out that the “primary goal of Minds was to train 50,00 mental health nurse assistants (MHA) by 2020,” and that Minds has “an enrollment of over 3,000 volunteers.”
The article also outlines how Minds uses “sloppy algorithms” to determine who gets trained to become a mental healthcare professional.
According to the article, the charity trains its staff “to think like human experts,” and “to find ways to improve the quality of their own work.”
Mind’s website does not explicitly state how its training process is run, but it does offer a few examples.
For example, when a staff member completes a survey that lists “your career path and career goals,” they are shown “the most current job listings” and are asked to describe how they would like to be treated as a mental medical professional.
In a separate example, the site shows a staff members “excerpt from an interview” where they are asked a series of questions, including “Are you happy being the person that you are today?” and “Do you think you are a good fit for the job?”
It is unclear what the staff members think of the answers they are given.
The staff members also are shown a list of mental illness and mental illness diagnoses.
The site also offers the “careers” of mental healthcare professionals.
Mind says that it is a “workplace-based organization” that “works with employees to find a balance between providing an accessible, supportive environment for employees to meet their mental health needs and to find the best work for them.”
In an email to Vox, a spokesperson for Minds said that the organization “provides the training and supports the mental healthcare needs of the people that we train.”
The spokesperson also said that Mind’s staff “is not a mental care professional,” and did not elaborate on why that is.
Vaknin also writes that Mind “is an example of a charity that seems to be so committed to a singular mission that they don’t really care about helping people in need.”
This is especially troubling because, according to the Mental Health Care Transparency Act, “mental health care should be a human right.”
According to the act, mental illness is a form of disability and that, “people with mental illness have significant challenges that impact their quality of life, their ability to interact with others, and their ability and desire to participate fully in society.”
It is also important to note that, as Vox points out, the act does not specifically say that