"More harm than good..."
To me that is the most important point raised in this thread: the fact that mental health “care” actually has the potential to make things much, much worse for you - all in the name of "treatment".
I’m speaking as someone who greatly benefited from good therapy earlier in life. Those positive experiences allowed me to grow and reach potentials that would not have been possible otherwise.
But all of that growth and potential - ALL of it and more - was completely undone by other harmful “therapeutic” experiences I had more recently in life.
Of course there were other contributing factors, but the poor care I received was absolutely decisive in triggering what has now become a debilitating and literally life-threatening crisis.
To me, much of the problem comes from systematized approach that treats everyone with behavioral struggles as the same: a “diseased” person that requires interventive medical attention.
Terms like “depression” and “mental illness” are used to describe a very wide range of experiences that often do not have a lot in common with each other.
For example, imagine a group of people in the waiting room of a mental health clinic: one is a student having panic attacks during exam period, another has a gambling addiction; one is grieving the loss of their family in a house fire, and another has recurring auditory hallucinations.
Each of these people has very different needs and very different reasons for being there. But all too often they are treated exactly the same, and the approach to their care consists of the events described by LonelyHiker in his original post: a 25 minute “intake” questionnaire followed by a prescription for the latest anti-depressant drug (which is really just the same as the last one but with a different name for patent reasons).
I'm not saying that good care doesn't exist and that some people do not benefit from it. When it works, its great.
But at the same time I believe that the success rate of systematized medical care in treating mood disorders is greatly exaggerated, especially when you look at the long-term. And I believe that far too often it creates or worsens the very symptoms it claims to treat - with potentially catastrophic consequences.
I could say a lot more about this but I’ll leave it there for now. Along with Duck I’d like to thank LonelyHiker for starting this thread and I hope for more discussion to follow.