Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Astroturfing and the $500,000 Referral Marketing Bonus
Astroturfing - refers to political, advertising or public relations campaigns that are designed to mask the sponsors of the message to give the appearance of coming from a disinterested, grassroots participant. 
Referral marketing - is a method of promoting products or services to new customers through referrals, usually word of mouth. Such referrals often happen spontaneously but businesses can influence this through appropriate strategies. 
The New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key, is running a competition folks, the focus of which is being centered around youth mental health.
Okay, I say competition, in actual fact the NZ government have $500,000 to allocate to non-government organisations interested in developing and coordinating the implementation of a comprehensive strategy to improve quality of, and access to, information about youth mental health.
That's quite a carrot to dangle!
Information for applicants also sees the carrot [really a turnip] being dangled.
Purpose of the fund
The purpose of this fund is to improve the quality of and access to youth mental health information.
It aims to ensure that parents, families and friends of young people will be able to recognise mental health issues and easily access the right information and support that leads to the young person getting the help they need.
That's right, a mental illness can now, it appears, be recognised... diagnosed by parents, families and friends of young people.
Who needs a 15 minute slot with a general practitioner to be told one has a mental disorder when parents, families and friends can tell you that your brain has a chemical imbalance?
Diagnosed - to recognize (as a disease) by signs and symptoms 
Recognised - to know someone or something because you have seen, heard or experienced them before. Example - Doctors are trained to recognize the symptoms of different diseases. 
The application for funding form continues with...
The target audience is parents, families and friends of young people aged 12–19 years with mild to moderate mental health issues. While the focus is on supporting young people with mild to moderate mental health problems, situations can quickly escalate to become more serious and/or
Those that seek advice and support on behalf of a young person with mental health issues are extremely diverse. They include parents and caregivers, siblings and cousins, grandparents, aunts/uncles and extended family. Friends can be young people or adults and include mentors and other informal helpers such as sports coaches, acquaintances, and even bystanders.
Gadzooks! The carrot [turnip] has been dangled here, friends now become "mentors and other informal helpers such as sports coaches, acquaintances, and even bystanders."
So, let's just abolish medical training.
For a "disease" that cannot be captured by any known medical device, any known set of blood tests, x-rays or scans, we see, time and time again, doctor's prescribing medications.
Now, it would appear, the NZ government are widening the mental diagnosis net by suggesting that the following can diagnose a disorder that may or may not exist and then give the person they have diagnosed help.
To avoid confusion here, the initiative isn't targeting young people, it's targeting young people's families, friends, sports coaches and...um...bystanders.
The more people who tell you that you may have an illness, the more chance you have of actually believing that you do indeed have an illness.
I have some major concerns as to why the youth of today listen to certain music genres, my concerns, however, are just because I don't particularly like some of the music that some of the youth of today listen to. Neither of us are right, it's a personal choice.
It's a personal choice if I choose not to talk to anyone because, well, because I just don't feel like dealing with any interaction with other people on any given day. A bystander or maybe a friend or family member may see that as depression or a brain dysfunction. My brain has become imbalanced and chemicals have dropped.
The dangling of carrots [turnips] exercise by the New Zealand government further adds in the application pack:
The strategy and implementation plan will meet the key objectives and purpose of the fund by:
• establishing and promoting a main entry point for parents, families and friends seeking information and support of behalf of a young person with mental health issues
• raising awareness about what is normal adolescent behaviour and what isn’t and the relative significance/ severity of behaviours/ symptoms
• providing information to help parents, families and friends overcome their own preconceptions around the stigma of mental health, and reassure them that they are doing the right thing in seeking help
Bullet point 2, raising awareness about what is normal adolescent behaviour and what isn’t and the relative significance/ severity of behaviours/ symptoms, is a real beauty, isn't it?
So, what is 'normal' adolescent behaviour and what isn't?
Well, one only has to go back in time. What was normal in our teen years, isn't normal today.
When I was a kid I roamed the streets a lot, always seeking adventure. A bunch of friends and I would often do things we shouldn't have done. Knocking someone's door then running off [knock door and run] or setting fire to a newspaper sheet with dog mess inside then leaving it on a door step before ringing a bell for someone to answer [Shit Stepper] - The object of that game was for the person [who answered the door] to stamp on the burning paper... thus treading on the dog mess and bringing it into the house.
Was that normal?
Okay, I don't think I was an adolescent when we did the knock door and run and shit stepper routines, maybe I was slightly younger.
My teenage years saw me mature somewhat. I was introduced to AC/DC at an early age. Their raucous foot-stomping music saw me adorn an air guitar. Quite often I'd form a circle with other air guitarists, each of us pretending to play Gibson SG's when none of us actually knew the notes we were hitting.
Was that normal?
My mother, who had witnessed my headbangin' routine via various wedding functions, thought it was abnormal. "Your brain will fall out of your head if you carry on doing that", she would say. Mom was wrong. My brain is still intact.
Interesting point, do headbangers upset the balance of serotonin and dopamine?
Whoops, better not give those nutty white-coated gents at the DSM any ideas.
What was normal behaviour for a child and adolescent in my youth isn't, it seems, normal today.
I once, along with accomplices, stole a barrel of beer. We managed to crawl under a gate, unlock it then roll a barrel of beer [Bitter] to a local park where it was hid in the bushes. A huge plastic tube was used to suck the beer out [straw fashion]
Was that normal?
If not, then myself, Ian, Mick, Gobber and Hugz all had some sort of disorder that went, God forbid, untreated.
Later in life I was prescribed Seroxat, known as Paxil in the States and Aropax down under. Work and marriage related problems became a mental disorder when 20 or 30 years previous they were just seen as, well, work and marriage problems. They were normal in the 1970's yet, miraculously, mental disorders in the 1990's and 2000's.
There's a pattern here, doncha think?
Anyway, if you have expertise in the field of being able to spot what is and what isn't normal adolescent behaviour then you may be in line for a cash windfall... courtesy of the New Zealand government.
It's called the 'Parents, Families and Friends Fund', the evaluation criteria of which can be downloaded HERE.
It's just another way of filtering kids through a system that, despite years of trying to eradicate illnesses that aren't there, just does not work.
This government led initiative is nothing more than an astroturfing exercise with a huge amount of carrots [turnips] being awarded to the best way/idea to help filter kids through the mental health system.
If kids are not mad, abnormal and delusional then don't drug them.
If they are mad, abnormal and delusional then, chances are, they've already been drugged.
I'm off to play the air guitar, may be a Gibson SG, may be a Gretsch... so label me.