But it's more than obvious that surveillance of private citizens is still on the rise and "mental health" is becoming a more and more prominent means for the governments of the world to invade privacy.
Even though pregnant women have a right to their emotional privacy, governments want to require them to divulge their emotional tendencies to doctors who will then be required to "treat" them.
Policy makers are calling for greater mental health surveillance of pregnant women on the heels of recent research out of the UK and Australia that suggests some women are susceptible to postpartum depression.
What is mental health surveillance?
According to the Center for Disease Control, mental health surveillance is:
The ongoing, systematic collection, analysis, interpretation, and dissemination of data about a health-related event for use in public health action to reduce morbidity and mortality and to improve health. (emphasis added)
No details are given regarding the nature of systematic collection or dissemination of data and public health actions. How are these terms to be defined? What happens if women refuse to share the details of their private emotional life?
Of course, you could argue that increased surveillance is a good thing
After all, who wants women to suffer through postpartum depression alone? Aren't doctors the guardians of our health? Shouldn't the government study the vulnerabilities of its people and take action to protect them? Postpartum depression is a real and very serious condition. Some women have been known to tragically commit suicide as a result of overwhelming depression after giving birth. Why take that risk?
We take the risk because that's what freedom entails. Women are free to share their emotional concerns with their doctor or whomever else they choose. They are free to seek help. They are free to suffer in silence. Free to live. And free to stop living and invite tragedy into the lives of their loved ones.
Speaking to your doctor, counselor, midwife, nutritionist, coach, family member or friend is a choice. Reporting the details of your emotional life to government authorities should also be a choice.
When you believe in freedom, you accept the risks of these choices.
If you are depressed, you are free to seek any kind of help you choose. You can go to your doctor and get on a pill. You can dive deep into your psyche and figure out the emotional roots of your problem. You can explore your negative psychological attachments. You can consult a nutritionist or naturopathic practitioner. You exercise your way out of depression. All these options and more are available to you, or any combination of a thousand things you might do to improve your condition.
But nobody can effectively force you to seek help. Unless you exercise your power of choice to get the road the emotional health, no road will be effective.
Beyond the invasion of privacy, requiring pregnant mothers to reveal these details to their doctors is just plain ineffective.
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