How Can We Stop So Great an Injustice?

David Ross, MEd, LPCC
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I don’t normally post items so close together but today NAMI Ohio has successfully convinced a State Senator to sponsor a bill that I believe deprives individuals of their civil liberties, their due process, their dignity and their humanity.

I’ve copied the press release exactly as I’ve received it.  Bob started this website, in part, to fight these very issues.  Of course just because a bill has a sponsor doesn’t mean it will necessarily become law.  I’m just offended that it’s been introduced and a bit ashamed by the lack of push back for those who know better.

“NAMI Ohio

Phone: 614-224-2700 / 800-686-2646   Email: [1][email protected]

Website: [2]http://www.namiohio.org

MayJune 4, 2012

Dear Mental Health Advocates,

For those of you who follow NAMI Ohio’s advocacy efforts, you are probably aware that we have been working for some time on crafting a legislative proposal that would clarify Ohio’s court ordered outpatient treatment statute. We are pleased to inform you that Senator Dave Burke has introduced S.B. 350 at our request to do just that!

Specifically, S.B. 350 would eliminate any question on the part of Ohio’s Probate Court Judges about whether they may court order certain individuals with serious and persistent mental illness into outpatient treatment.

S.B. 350 would give judges clear authority to step in before someone with a serious mental illness who is unaware of his or her need for treatment becomes so ill that hospitalization or incarceration are the only options remaining. Lack of awareness of illness – a neurological syndrome called anosognosia – is believed to be the single largest reason why individuals with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder do not follow through with treatment.   In many cases, such individuals can be persuaded with a court order to follow their treatment plan.  This is commonly referred to as the “black robe effect.”

Court ordered outpatient treatment is not the answer for everyone who meets the criteria, but for some it could mean the difference between life and death. This bill simply removes any question on the part of judges that they have a tool they can use when there is clear and convincing evidence that without treatment, the individual will likely become an imminent threat to themselves or others and end up in the hospital, jail, or worse…dead.

It is important to note that no new programs or services would be required under this bill.  However, it may mean that in some communities those who are the most ill would move to the front of the line if there is a waiting list for services.  It is our expectation, based on the experience of other states and communities who use outpatient treatment, that there will be a savings in institutionalization costs that could be diverted to enhance community mental health services.

To view the bill in its entirety, please click here:

[3]http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/bills.cfm?ID=129_SB_350

Of course, this means our work has just begun.  To get this bill passed, we will need your assistance in getting the word out to legislators that their constituents support S.B. 350.  Please take a moment to contact your State Senator and ask him or her to support S.B. 350 to clarify Ohio’s court ordered outpatient treatment law.  In addition, NAMI Ohio is collecting stories in which court ordered outpatient treatment may have made a difference in someone’s life.  If you have such a story and are willing to share it, we would love to add it to our collection. Please send stories to us at [4][email protected]

NAMI Ohio is grateful to have the support of the Ohio Psychological Association and the Ohio Psychiatric Physicians Association for this bill.  We are also especially appreciative to Senator Burke for his willingness to sponsor this important legislation.  And finally, we are thankful to NAMI Franklin County, and the families and consumers who make up their membership, for bringing the need for this legislation to our attention.

Sincerely,

Your friends at NAMI Ohio

References

1. mailto:[email protected] 2. http://www.namiohio.org/ 3. http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/bills.cfm?ID=129_SB_350 4. mailto:[email protected]

 

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Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.

72 COMMENTS

  1. You can’t stop this community forced drugging law. It will happen.

    The only way it will stop is when broader society confronts the horror happening in all states and all countries in relation to this large scale rape of hundreds of thousands of living people’s brains.

    Many more will have to suffer and die before it becomes accepted widely that this is abhorrent and unmitigated evil.

    A law that gives people no place to run to in Ohio, as sickening and violent as this law is, is only a small cog in the machinery of forced psychiatry as an accepted concept worldwide.

    When the majority have never had their brain raped, don’t expect to find majority sympathy for the plight of those who have, will and are having having their brain raped.

    This is the sad reality, but trust me, it is the reality.

    Well over 90% of people in the world are in favor of laws instituting the wide scale rape of the brains of anybody labeled ‘mentally ill’.

    This is not an issue comparable to being gay in the 1950s, it’s an issue comparable to being a heretic in the 1400s. There will be nowhere to run to, until long after we all die, if ever.

    If you are targeted for forced drugging in the community, your only escape is to go completely off grid. Many lives will be destroyed by this Ohio law, and the people in favor of it are all powerful, and not amenable to any considerations of the lives destroyed.

    Worldwide, supporters of freedom have been asleep at the wheel on forced psychiatry for generations. The battle is now hundreds of years away from being won.

    • I was living in the past when I got into the system. I was under the mistaken impression that psychiatrists still did talk therapy. Wrong! I knew sort of what to expect since my wonderful grandmother, a truly Wise Woman in the ancient sense of the title, was incarcerated in the state hospital numerous times and had her brain raped by ect. Although I was not forcibly medicated while on the unit of the hospital there were numerous peoiple who were. As they were made to stand against the wall in front of the med station after taking their pills, to make sure that they didn’t cheek them etc., I realized how they were singled out and discriminated against and got into trouble because I began standing with them. I was ordered to leave their presence and go to my room, which I refused to do. They even threatened me with calling security and I challenged them to do so since I was doing absolutely nothing wrong, other than not complying with their stupid order. My two and a half months on the unit opened my eyes big time to the plight of people labeled as mentally ill and disabled. Up until that time I was a member of the vast majority that never gave things a second thought. We all have to stand in solidarity or the quacks and snake oil peddlers and the drug companies will take down everyone in America. This is one of the reasons that I sought a job at the very hospital where I was kept.

  2. “to this large scale rape of hundreds of thousands of living people’s brains.”

    Correction: that’s wrong. Millions of brains it should be.

    Worldwide 7 billion people, 3-5 billion adults, 3,000 million, 1% approximately have experienced forced psychiatry, therefore somewhere in the low tens of millions worldwide, between 8 and 25 million living adults, and many more million long since dead, have experienced forced psychiatry at some point in their lives.

    Trouble is, the other 6,988 million people don’t give a (censored).

  3. Missouri put up a bill that judges could send anyone they “thought” had a mental illness to jail for “evaluation” for 6 weeks. You can see a few problems with this, of course. That bill got shut down, though. In Missouri the Corrections Department got money from the state to hire insurance companies to provide mental health care, then does things like charge for 60 minutes of therapy when only 5 minutes were delivered. So adding people to the corrections rolls was highly profitable. My friend Edward Duff brought this out and got that insurance company’s contract canceled.

    Many advocates completely ignore the corrections side of things when they have some of the worst issues going on in mental health care.

  4. Here in the UK a couple of people in the group I helped start, Speak Out Against Psychiatry, are resisting what in the UK are called, Community Treatment Orders (CTO). They were threatened with Depot injections of so called anti-psychotics. They both wrote to their psychiatrists saying they would not turn up for the injections but were willing to take pills. They both got what they wanted from their psychiatrists. Whether, and how they take the pills is up to them and can’t really be checked by the Dr’s. They are also considering appealing the CTO.

    They have the support of the group, have people to phone and talk things over, have lawyers and advocates to support them and are looking into alternative forms of care such as self help groups and private therapists. People from the group have gone to meetings with psychiatrists and other staff with them.

    While this approach is not applicable in most cases, I do think that collecting and publishing stories of how people have resisted compulsory treatment is a useful tactic that might help resist and ultimately change these laws.

    We are also looking into the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which could be interpreted to outlaw this type of law. The UK has signed up to this but acts as if it does not apply to people with mental health diagnosis. We are thinking about how to challenge the government on this. As a first stage we are writing a report to the UN on our experiences of how the UK breaks the terms of the convention by it’s use of degrading and dangerous forced treatment.

    http://www.un.org/disabilities/convention/conventionfull.shtml

    • David,

      I got an email back from NAMI Ohio this morning…
      It seems they think that forced drugging is already a “least restrictive” means.

      Best of luck with the dialogue.

      This is why we MUST get a federal law passed to protecty people in all 50 states.

      And why we MUST act sooner, rather than later.

      Duane

  5. In most comments there seems to be a “rationalization” about how life “should” be? That fair minded human beings should “care” about what happens to those of us unfortunate enough to have been deemed mentally ill.

    Perhaps we have an assumption about consciousness that is not born out by the reality of human functioning, self-preservation rules the day, with most people barely conscious of what internal arousal needs are being “acted out” in a presumption of “normality?”

    Most “normal” people enhance their sense of self by a “not like them” perception, and those considered weak, do their societal duty by full-filling that NEED. Consider the great observational thinking that came out the 1950’s and was rejected in favor of maintaining an “unconscious” status qua?

    “The societal projection process: The family projection process is as vigorous in society as it is in the family. The essential ingredients are anxiety and three people. Two people get together and enhance their functioning at the expense of a third, the “scapegoated” one. Social scientists use the word scapegoat , I prefer the term “projection process,” to indicate a reciprocal process in which the twosome can force the third into submission, or the process is more mutual, or the third can force the other two to treat him as inferior.

    The biggest group of societal scapegoats are the hundreds of thousands of mental patients in institutions. People can be held there against their wishes, or stay voluntarily, or they can force society to keep them there as objects of pity. All society gains something from the benevolent posture to this segment of people. A fair percentage of people are too impaired to ever exist outside the institution where they will remain for life as permanently impaired objects of the projection process.

    The conventional steps in the examination, diagnosis, hospitalization, and treatment of “mental patients” are so fixed as a part of medicine, psychiatry, and all interlocking medical, legal, and social systems that change is difficult. There are other projection processes. Society is creating more ‘patients” of people with dysfunctions whose dysfunctions are a product of the projection process. Alcoholism is a good example. At the very time alcoholism was being understood as the product of family relationships, the concept of ‘alcoholism as a disease” finally came into general acceptance.

    There might be some advantage to treating it as a disease rather than a social offense, but labeling with a diagnosis invokes the ills of the societal projection process, it helps fix the problem in the patient, and it absolves the family and society of their contribution. Other categories of functional dysfunctions are in the process of being called sickness. The total trend is seen as the product of a lower level of self in society. If, and when, society pulls up to a higher level of functioning such issues will be automatically modified to fit the new level of differentation. To debate such a specific issue in society, with the amount of intense emotion in the issue, would result in non-productive polarization and further fixation of current policy and procedures.

    The most vulnerable new groups for objects of the projection process are probably welfare recipients and the poor. These groups fit the best criteria for long term, anxiety relieving projection. They are vulnerable to become the pitiful objects of the benevolent, over sympathetic segment of society that improves its functioning at the expense of the pitiful. Just as the least adequate child in a family can become more impaired when he becomes an object of pity and over sympathetic help from the family, so can the lowest segment of society be chronically impaired by the very attention designed to help. No matter how good the principle behind such programs, it is essentially impossible to implement them without the built-in complications of the projection process.” _Murray Bowen.

    Does this ring any bells, in the current state of societal functioning? Bowen predicted that this unconscious process would come to a head in the middle of this century, when we will have to face up to our “rationalizations” about our individual motivation.

    Until we recognize and accept our own “slight of hand” rationalizations about our deeper motivations, nothing will change. Instinct & the need for self-preservation comes 1st, not the intellect & our so-called reason. When you you accept this, you understand why people want diagnosis and welfare payments?

  6. This was the greatest error of the ADA, the DSM, and the APA: People can not be categorized into these simplistic headings and be expected to be treated as people. We should have learned it when we thought we could classify people’s skills and capabilities by color: WE DID NOT. The first things that needs to be done is to combat the ever present media that stigmatizes mental illness. Every shooting.. every horrific act of violence and the accusation of mental illness is hinted. The numbers of actual violent acts by the mentally ill need to be used to combat this. We also need people who are not affiliated with any of those groups that are successfully living with their mental illness. People who are opening doors. They shouldn’t be famous. They should be people who could live next door to every one. The first step in overcoming this sort of stigmatized thinking is for the general populace to be able to identify with those they stigmatize. We need to make the connections they can’t. I did a research paper following the history of stigma and mental illness. It established crucial points of social decline against decisions that stigmatized or used the mental ill and why. Right now, we are disposable people. That’s what they call prostitutes, escorts, street people, in cases of violence. It’s the reason those cases aren’t investigated and tend to fall through the cracks. We can’t be disposable anymore and that means being seen. That’s a big risk.

    • Betsy,

      Over 80 percent of NAMI National funding comes from drugmakers.

      And what does that have to do with NAMI Ohio?

      Everything.

      The NAMI state groups operate from the same play-book as the national organization… Promoting “proper diagnosis” and “treatment” of the “mentally ill”.

      It all starts at the top.

      Michael Fitzpatrick, Executive Director of NAMI National gets paid 200k per year to push drugs.
      He’s a well-paid prostitute.

      The state NAMI folks may get paid much less.
      They are cheap prostitutes.
      But prostitutes nontheless.

      Duane

    • Betsy Johnson (NAMI Ohio),

      I noticed on your website, Family-to-Family section that NAMI Ohio teaches a course in “Facts and Feelings: Knowing the Difference” –

      http://namiohio.org/mental_health_support/family_support

      I would like to suggest that you and the other officers with NAMI Ohio invite Robert Whitaker to present at this class… So the “biological” “lifelong, incuarable brain disease” myth can be laid to rest in Ohio… and so that you and your staff can really learn the difference between facts and feelings.

      By the way, I have a slogan I constantly use publicly, on the web… It goes like this:

      “Friends don’t let friends join NAMI.”

      Duane

  7. Betsy,

    I just sent you a private email, and was going to keep your name anonymous on the Mad in America site, however because you’ve joined in this conversation, I will re-post my most recent response for Mad in America readers:

    Betsy,

    I choose to assume the best… namely, that your heart is in the right place.
    However, these laws traditionally have led to forced drugging, impeding recovery and causing lifelong disability.

    Why drugs, and not the other methods mentioned?
    Because of financial ties… money.

    Most folks with local NAMI organizations are unaware of the ties between NAMI National and the major pharmaceutical companies. Are you aware that NAMI receives over 80 percent of its budget from the drugmakers? –

    http://www.ahrp.org/cms/content/blogcategory/23/60/

    In other words, in spite of your best intentions, NAMI Ohio is moving in the wrong direction.
    Recovery tends to take place best when people move beyond a “mental illness” management model, and toward one that offers hope for wellness and recovery.

    And these plans are best put-together by the individuals themselves (not mental health professionals) –

    http://www.mentalhealthrecovery.com/

    Starting with the basics…
    The label of “mental illness” is hardly condusive to helping somebody heal, recover, overcome –

    http://www.psychdiagnosis.net/psychiatric_stories.html

    And the psychiatric drugs, particularly, the antipsychotics (neuroleptics) have a track record of impeding recovery for the vast majority; especially when used as a first-line of treatment, for the long-term –

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2011/11/%ef%bb%bftimeline/

    Note: The email was in reference to your comment about Ohio Senate Bill 350 (SB350):

    The services may include, but are not limited to all of the following: (1) Community psychiatric supportive treatment; (2) Assertive community treatment; (3) Medications; (4) Individual or group therapy; (5) Peer support services; (6) Financial services; (7) Housing or supervised living services; (8) Alcohol or substance abuse treatment; (9) any other services prescribed to treat the patient’s mental illness and to either assist the person in living and functioning in the community or to help prevent a relapse or a deterioration of the patient’s current condition.

  8. David Ross,

    What Ohio legisltor acts as the Committee Chair for this proposed bill?

    The reason I ask is that this bill needs to be stopped dead in its tracks… NEVER GET OUT of committee!

    Please post the bill sponsor’s email address, along with the Committee Chair’s email address, so we can inundate their offices with objections, and stop this thing from seeing the light of day!

    Thank you,

    Duane
    http://discoverandrecover.wordpress.com/freedom

  9. David,

    NAMI Ohio made Chuck Grassley’s ‘Top Ten” list (2005-2009) with money received from Pharma:

    California NAMI: $632,000 ($126,400 per year on average)
    – Delaware NAMI: $269,000 ($53,800 per year on average)
    – Florida NAMI: $414,000 ($82,800 per year on average)
    – Indiana NAMI: $356,000 ($71,200 per year on average)
    – Massachusetts NAMI: $308,000 ($61,600 per year on average)
    – Minnesota NAMI: $291,000 ($58,200 per year on average)
    – New York NAMI: $448,000 ($89,600 per year on average)
    – North Carolina NAMI: $250,000 ($50,000 per year on average)
    – Ohio NAMI: $623,000 ($124,600 per year on average)
    – Pennsylvania NAMI: $250,000 ($50,000 per year on average)

    Don’t let NAMI Ohio claim this is a “red herring”!
    It is not.
    This is about expanding marketshare for drug companies, while keeping a broken paradigm of care up-and-running.
    Their bill has nothing to do with care.
    And everything to do with failed “treatment” by force.

    Duane

    • David,

      It’s been a BUSY day, but I’m working on this when I can…

      Normally, I write privately on these bills, but thought this might be a perfect opportunity for fellow blog readers to see how simple this process is… Emails to Committee members can be short-and-sweet, to the point.

      This is an example of one that was sent to a member of the Ohio Judiciary Committee –

      Senator Eklund,

      Re: SB 350

      The proposed senate bill 350 is not good legislation.

      Here’s why:

      Historically, when passed in other states, assistive outpatient
      treatment has led to forced drugging with powerful and dangerous
      antipsychotic drugs – Drugs that impede recovery and cause disability –

      http://discoverandrecover.wordpress.com/warning

      More importantly, is the issue of due process –

      http://discoverandrecover.wordpress.com/freedom

      Please stop this bill from seeing the light of day in Ohio.

      Passionately,

      Duane Sherry, M.S.
      Retired Counselor

      Lastly, NAMI Ohio needs to make its finances public – for all to read, including its percentage of money it receives from Pharma.

      I’m going to write a letter to U.S. Senator Charles Grassley asking that state NAMI offices be required to:

      1) Publicly post their funding sources (as required by NAMI National)

      2) Operate in keeping with IRS regulations for a non-profit, 502 (c3) operation – namely, not get involved in political action. This is the law, and it needs to be upheld. NAMI’s politics are not “advocacy”… they are involved in legislation to increase marketshare for drugmakers, plain-and-simple, and it needs to stop!

      I will post the letter to Grassley, when I have a little time to write it.

      Give ’em hell, David!

      Duane

  10. David,

    I spent some time on the phone today with a woman on U.S. Senator Grassley’s staff, and sent this email to her (to forward to the senator):

    Senator Grassley,

    Thank you for all you’ve done to insist on transparency in the area of federally-funded pharmaceutical research, particularly in the area of psychiatric drugs. Many of us are grateful that the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI National) was called to task, and is now publicly posting their funding sources. –

    http://www.ahrp.org/cms/content/blogcategory/23/60/

    Unfortunately, the state NAMI offices remain silent in regard to their sources of funding, and continue to operate as front-groups for pharmaceutical companies – expanding marketshare, under the guise of “advocacy”.

    These state NAMI offices receive non-profit, 501 (c)(3) status from the federal government. Because of this tax-exempt status, it would seem only reasonable that the federal government provide oversight into their operations, to make certain they are maintaining federal (IRS) guidelines in the following areas:

    1) Making financial information (including funding sources) easily available to the public
    2) Not becoming political arms (or front-groups) for businesses or industries

    Please investigate each of the state NAMI offices, to include NAMI Ohio, an agency that insists it only receives 5 percent of its operating budget from major pharmaceutical companies; while actively lobbying to have more people court-ordered to take psychiatric drugs (Ohio Senate Bill 350).
    These drugs impede recovery and cause disability for the vast majority, particularly when taken for the long-term. –

    http://discoverandrecover.wordpress.com/warning

    NAMI is not “America’s voice on mental illness”…
    It is nothing short of the lobbying partner of the drug companies, and millions of Americans are being injured by their “advocacy”.

    Respectfully,

    Duane Sherry, M.S.
    Retired Counselor

  11. Being a bit of a lay person not fluent in legalese, I am reluctant to write a letter and send it off to the appropriate parties in Ohio. How likely would it be to get a general form letter or a link to a petition on a general activist site such as signon.org, that briefly outlines our concerns and/or our reasons for wanting this bill to be stopped. Such a letter or link could easily be passed through social networking websites (Facebook, Icarus Project) and personal blogs and thereby guarantee a uniform and consistent message from concerned citizens.

  12. After five years of institutionalization (in which I never say a lawyer or a judge until he granted my freedom at ordered my parents out of my life until that time in which I invited them to be part of it. It has been 22 years, and I still wake up thinking I’m still there. That feeling is like the need to stretch but so intense it turns your stomach. Then panic and despair. On other nights, I am paralyzed in my dream reliving the few memories I have until I finally can scream and wake myself up. I would rather die than live like that. Anosognosia is nothing more than an profit diagnosis. I also like the added insinuation that we are so incompetent we can’t even tell we’re incompetent. I like how Torrey notes an inability to understand how someone can be sick and not know when the symptoms are so obvious. Yes, when you make them up at your convenience I”m sure the symptoms become quite striking. I think, in order to strip someone of every aspect of their humanity, you should have to endure it yourself first. I don’t think they would make it a day.
    On a legal note, I would like to know what makes judges equipped to decide the severity of someone’s mental illness?
    And if I was their lawyer, I would demand to see clear and concrete evidence anytime a psychiatrist claims to have neurological proof of mental illness. Further, I think if they want this level of power and control, they should be held to the same standards as a criminal commitment. If I’m going to be treated like a criminal, I’d like to at least have the right they are afforded.
    I find it insulting to my intelligence that at this juncture we’re still pretending that you are motivated by the greater good. Usually, the greater good gets considerably less monetary perks. The best thing for the mentally ill at this juncture would be to rid ourselves of any and all contributions by NAMI, APA, ADA, psychiatrists, and the media. At least that way, I wouldn’t feel like I was actively participating while they further their own monetary and political agendas at my expense. I honestly think we would do less damage representing our own cause, and our complacent passive acceptance of the ADA instead of proper legal guarantees is ridiculous. I don’t want their limited protections of the rights they will allow me as long as they don’t interfere with their campaign contributions. If my complaint is constitutional, I should still be granted constitutional review. It is blatant proof of prejudice that Congress instead decides to create the ADA and hide their findings of long term stigma and prejudice. As to findings of risk and possibility of dangerousness, as heinous and cruel as these shootings have been, they don’t hold a candle to the danger presented by people in power who are willing to sacrifice so many human lives and hopes for monetary gain.

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