Epic Fail: The Legislation of Involuntary Mental Health Treatment

Faith Rhyne
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Last week, Rep. Tim Murphy (PA) introduced the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2013 to Congress and almost simultaneously mental health and disability rights advocates voiced their opposition to the proposed legislation with a statement from the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law.

The bill, as many people who follow what’s happening in mental health law know, calls for the enactment of assisted (involuntary) outpatient commitment laws at the Federal level and is purportedly crafted to ensure the safety of those deemed “severely mentally ill” by giving families, courts and mental health providers increased authority to commit individuals to outpatient treatment. This may involve supervisory case management and compulsory treatment with whatever psychiatric drugs may be prescribed, while also granting family members or guardians the legal right to access an individual’s medical records.

This legislation, were it to pass, would divert funds from recovery-oriented community mental health programs and would expand funding for psychiatric drug treatment, while also undermining existing legislation relating to patients’ rights.

The Families in Mental Health Crisis bill presents itself as being written with worst case scenarios in mind — such as individuals being unable to care for themselves and prone to actions that may lead them to incarceration. In many ways the legislation carries the theme and intent of E. Fuller Torrey’s Treatment Advocacy Center, which is noted on Representative Murphy’s website as being a leading supporter of the bill. “Treatment advocates” communicate that those with “severe mental illness” have needs that can only be met through medical treatments, and that the need for long-term treatment is non-negotiable to the extent that force will be used to deliver treatment as deemed necessary.

It is true that there are some people who do have extreme difficulties in their experiences, and who may be more likely to struggle persistently for a number of reasons — ranging from compound trauma, substance use, abusive psychosocial realities, poverty and other societal oppressions, to all manner of other individual and external factors that impact one’s capacity to be well in ways that are acceptably functional and in alignment with the norms of safety in this culture.

However, people who carry the diagnoses of bipolar disorder, depression, and schizophrenia (all diagnoses which include specifications for a propensity toward states that are clinically identified as psychosis) are not universally likely to be severely and persistently prone to extreme and unpredictable states that impair their ability to reasonably take care themselves. This fact is evidenced by the multitudes of people with these diagnoses who do fine and well within their lives, as well as respected research indicating that people can and do recover – to some degree or another – if given the opportunity to do so.

There are complexities within all of this, such as; what defines “functional,” and who defines “fine and well,” not to mention the quagmire of complex politics that surround the word “recover.”

Nonetheless, while this legislation presents itself as being “not about most people” with psychiatric diagnoses, it actually does concern the vast majority, as the criteria for patients who would be eligible for mandatory outpatient commitment are not limited to individuals with a history of violence and incarceration; it includes those with a record of non-medical hospitalizations, and those who are unable to take care of their basic needs.

Here are the criteria for “eligible patients,” as stated in the proposed legislation:

ELIGIBLE PATIENT

The term ‘‘eligible patient’’ means an adult, mentally ill person who, as determined by the court —

(A) has a history of violence, incarceration, or medically unnecessary hospitalizations;

(B) without supervision and treatment, may be a danger to self or others in the community;

(C) is substantially unlikely to voluntarily participate in treatment;

(D) may be unable, for reasons other than indigence, to provide for any of his or her basic needs, such as food, clothing, shelter, health, or safety;

(E) has a history of mental illness or condition that is likely to substantially deteriorate if the patient is not provided with timely treatment; or

(F) due to mental illness, lacks capacity to fully understand or lacks judgment to make informed decisions regarding his or her need for treatment, care, or supervision.

It seems to me that a fair amount of this may be subjective and cautionary. Who is to say that the state that one appears to be in is the state they are in or that the states that people may inhabit for some span of their lives – sometimes only fleetingly – are the states they are doomed to exist within indefinitely or that past behavior predicts future behavior?

It’s all very problematic.

While most people do not have histories of incarceration, many people have histories of “violence” (depending on how it is defined and reported), and many people with psychiatric labels have experienced medically unnecessary hospitalizations* at times when they were not able to care for or had any interest in caring for their basic needs.

A lot of people have thrown objects or said terrible things in states of panic and anger. Some people have had periods of time during which they were so immersed in an isolated and difficult state that they ceased to uphold the functions of daily living.

Experiences such as this lead many people to receive the diagnoses they carry – the labels that determine them to be “severely mentally ill.” However, many people do not persist in these states so severely and unavoidably as the cautionary voices of the treatment advocacy movement would have one to believe.

People can and do recover. Whether this means not experiencing struggle to the extent that one once experienced, or learning ways to live with struggle differently, or to give challenging experiences new meaning and to find new ways of responding to difficult thoughts, feelings, and circumstances – people do recover.

Yes, it is important to find ways to meet the needs of those whose struggles are most profound and, absolutely, families and caregivers must be supported in their efforts to support people who are in crisis. Yes, it is crucial that we as a society understand and seek to prevent acts of violence – including abuse within families, bullying in schools, rape, police brutality, hate crimes, war games and all the other myriad other harms that shape American culture.

Is legislation that mandates outpatient treatment for those identified as having a “severe mental illness” going to meet those needs?

I’d say no.

In fact, I’d predict an epic fail, an utter disaster that may lead to innumerous losses of life and a potential for unspeakably tragic consequences.

The criticisms of the therapeutic efficacy of force and coercion in mental health treatment are significant. While some people identify forced treatment as being helpful to them during times of crisis, many feel that their experiences of forced treatment have been dehumanizing, deeply traumatic, and ultimately harmful, leading to further difficulties and significantly impairing wellness. The mechanics of force are inherently violent, so much so that the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture has identified common practices in forced treatment – such as restraints – to be torture.

Most people understand the simple maxim that violence leads to violence, that harm leads to harm. How is it then that one would expect to reduce the risk of violence by exerting violence?

While treatment advocates perpetuate the belief that mental health stigma discourages people from seeking support when they are struggling, it is plausible to surmise that many people may opt to avoid seeking mental health treatment because they find the expected treatment to be unappealing and, perhaps, because they fear that they will “get locked up.”

When a system of care uses force, it ceases to be a system of care and becomes a system of authority . . . and most people generally make an effort to avoid getting involved with such systems.

Further, the lasting images of the effects of long-term forced treatment in institutionalized settings and with neuroleptic drugs paint a rather grim picture of what a life as an involuntary mental patient might involve — a lack of choice, a loss of rights and a life sentence of “coping with” and “living with” an endless string of days that exist in the limited haze of erased futures.

The promotion of associations of violence with diagnoses of mental illness in media and rhetoric further contributes to a culture where it would not make much sense to pursue involvement in the mental health system, if such involvement meant that your name may end up in a database and that your every word, movement, and expression might be seen as potential symptoms.

The knowledge that the treatment one may receive has the capacity to make one impotent, diabetic, perpetually sedated and with muscles that twitch and seize, is not a particularly strong incentive to seek the sort of treatment that this legislation would prescribe.

While this legislation seeks to establish the authority of the courts and of families in securing the treatment of those who are not “compliant” – the effect that this may have is that individuals who are struggling may increasingly avoid being identified as having a “mental illness,” which means that they may not reach out for support when they begin to struggle and that they will not talk with anyone. Ultimately, this may increase the risk of crisis in that these dynamics of fear may themselves feed crisis states by isolating the individual, damaging relationships, and leaving one to try to cope on their own, which sometimes works out but sometimes leads to disastrous circumstances.

While families may be supported in having expanded authority over their loved one’s treatment, it is not clear as to whether or not this is actually supportive of families. How much heartbreak has been created in scenarios in which families are led to believe that there is no hope for their loved one, that the person they care for is an imminent danger, that there is no hope?

When family members become involved in forced and coercive treatment, important life relationships are wounded. The effects of being “the sick one” within a family system can be devastating to one’s self-esteem and identity. These phenomena may contribute to one’s experience of struggle, as – to be frank – it can be incredibly damaging to our most basic sense of humanity to live in such scenarios between self and other.

So, what is to be done?

There are a number of practices and modalities that have been shown to support individuals with severe difficulties in recovering to the extent that they are able to establish a self-reported quality of life and happiness and to contribute meaningfully to their communities in some way or another. These practices – such as Open Dialogue, peer support, and the creation of opportunities for individuals to engage in reflective self-determination in understanding one’s own difficulties and learning how to respond to those difficulties in ways that support the life goals one has set – all rely upon the ethos of compassion, acceptance, individual agency, and hope.

While legislation that mandates outpatient treatment for those who struggle most significantly claims to be compassionate – as it purports to seek to secure care for “those who most need it” – the degree to which forced treatment can truly be compassionate is questionable, and involuntary treatment is inherently unaccepting and violates the right to individual agency while clearly flying in the face of hope in its certainty that the only option for some people is indefinite supervised treatment.

As a person who would – unfortunately – meet some of the criteria for “eligible patient” under this legislation, as well as a person who works to support those with complex and persistent struggles, I have to say that the proposal put forth by Representative Murphy and encouraged by treatment advocates is an absolute affront to human rights, human potential, and the dignity of people who struggle within their human experience.

 * * * * *

*I find it interesting that the term “medically unnecessary hospitalizations” is being used in this legislation to, presumably, refer to psychiatric hospitalizations.

Are they finally admitting that psychiatry is not “medical”?

I certainly agree, but do find it curious that they would use such wording, particularly when making such an effort to promote the idea that struggles which can be characterized as “mental illnesses” are “medical” conditions.

It seems to me like a bit of a conflict in messaging, though such things are to be expected when one is not entirely sure about what it is they are saying and whether or not it is real.

In speaking about “mental health,” that’s a fairly common phenomenon . . . because we do not, after the billions in research and innumerable social and medical experiments that have been conducted, really have any idea what we are talking about when we talk about mental health.

It’s called a breakdown of shared meaning . . . and it is core to the reasons that people struggle.

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53 COMMENTS

  1. The Sixth Amendment spells out the right to a “speedy and public trial.” An accused person is entitled to confront the witnesses against him and demand to know the nature of the charges. In addition, the government cannot keep someone in jail for unspecified offenses. We also have the right to be tried by a jury of our peers and be represented by an attorney. This means that our guilt or innocence in criminal proceedings is decided by our fellow citizens, not simply by panels of judges or unaccountable politicians.

    Americans still possess the right to a speedy and public trial by jury. In recent years, however, the government has demonstrated its willingness to ignore important constitutional safeguards found in the Sixth Amendment.

    Due Process of Law

    A fundamental, constitutional guarantee that all legal proceedings will be fair and that one will be given notice of the proceedings and an opportunity to be heard before the government acts to take away one’s life, liberty, or property. Also, a constitutional guarantee that a law shall not be unreasonable, Arbitrary, or capricious.

    The constitutional guarantee of due process of law, found in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, prohibits all levels of government from arbitrarily or unfairly depriving individuals of their basic constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property.

    • I refuse contact with and treatment by any psychiatrist, psychologist or other mental health practitioner as these practices, according to my philosophic and/or religious convictions, do not adequately or properly diagnose and such diagnoses can constitute a false accusation about my behavior and/or beliefs and practices, and are stigmatizing and therefore a threat to one’s reputation and physical and mental well-being. Any of their treatments, given against my expressed wish, are an intrusion upon and thus an assault on my body and constitute, in my view, criminal assault. Any involuntary hospitalization or commitment is a violation of my right to liberty and would therefore constitute a false imprisonment by all those advocating and authorizing such action, against my consent and wishes. If in the future, I am accused of a crime, then I direct that I be subject to due process accorded to the criminally accused and not subjected to psychiatric or psychological assessment, processing, profile, confinement or treatments.

  2. All this legislation of involuntary mental health treatment ripped right out of George Orwell’s 1984 novel, where a citizen who held the wrong expression on his face during a government propaganda announcement was arrested as a suspected enemy of the state.

    I guess most people who read about these mental health laws think it will never happen to them, all I say is HELL YA it can happen to you rather easily.

    Pills for Your Ills
    A satirical view of our prescription drug culture by David Antonuccio
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UnJ4H8JLmM

    The first step is taking one of those “medications”.

    The Physicians’ Desk Reference lists the following adverse reactions (side effects) to antidepressants among a host of other physical and neuropsychiatric effects. None of these adverse reactions (side effects) is listed as Rare. They are all listed as either Frequent or as Infrequent:

    Manic Reaction (Mania, e.g., Kleptomania, Pyromania, Dipsomania, Nymphomania) Hypomania (e.g., poor judgment, over spending, impulsivity, etc.)

    Abnormal Thinking
    Hallucinations
    Personality Disorder
    Amnesia
    Agitation
    Psychosis
    Abnormal Dreams

    Emotional Lability (Or Instability)
    Alcohol Abuse and/or Craving
    Hostility
    Paranoid Reactions
    Confusion
    Delusions
    Sleep Disorders
    Akathisia (Severe Inner Restlessness)
    Discontinuation (Withdrawal) Syndrome
    Impulsivity

    Step 2. Goto or get taken to the hospital for “help”.

    • Step 3. Tell them at the hospital that you don’t want to take anymore pills. Good luck with that.

      People have no idea how fast and/or insidiously these “medications” can CREATE a persons “history of mental illness” and MAKE them “eligible patients”.

  3. Here’s “Lawtown” Lawrence, Massachusetts.

    http://youtu.be/cCfCIchmv_I

    I lived in foster care in Lawrence for 4 years. After I left foster care and got an apartment in one of the WORST places in Lawrence (the state let me! They actually APPROVED my apartment), the kids in the neighborhood decided they didn’t want me there. So they broke into my apartment, repeatedly, and wiped me out of everything, repeatedly, until they finally SET THE BUILDING ON FIRE.!

    lol

    You think it’s a good idea for the almighty government to head on over to Lawrence, Massachusetts and put all these pyromaniacs on house arrest and psychiatric lock down, force drug ’em? Deem THE ENTIRE CITY mentally ill?

    Those people weren’t “mentally ill” for breaking into my apartment. They weren’t “mentally ill” for setting the building on fire. They’re just Hellions (and Hellion is a number).

    I want a serious response. I’m throwing an entire CITY in the face of the federal government and I’m asking you:

    ARE THEY ALL GENETICALLY MENTALLY ILL, and in desperate need of your remedies?

    • Dumbing down describes the deliberate diminishment of the intellectual level of the content of schooling and education, of literature and cinema, and of news and culture.

      The video you posted is a perfect example of the deliberate dumbing down of America program in action.

      A perfect example of how well the dumb down program is working is how people who live in areas with bad roads and potholes thinking its a good idea to spend thousands to replace there vehicles stock rims and tires with those aftermarket rims and low profile tires that are easy damaged by the smallest road imperfections.

      Whats next, adding lead weights to airplanes ?

  4. Psychiatry itself is an epic fail. Psychiatry refuses to acknowlege it hurts so many people !

    The psychiatric industry may use:

    Simple denial: deny the reality of the unpleasant fact altogether.
    Minimisation: admit the fact but deny its seriousness (a combination of denial and rationalization)
    Projection: admit both the fact and seriousness but deny responsibility by blaming it on something else.

  5. It’s a bill that advocates for and supports all the “medically unnecessary” hospitalizations of well insured patients who are hospitalized, defamed, then tortured, merely because it’s profitable for doctors like V R Kuchipudi, and hospitals like Sacred Heart, to unnecessarily hospitalize people.

    http://www.justice.gov/usao/iln/pr/chicago/2013/pr0416_01a.pdf

    I agree, unusual choice of words.

    And in as much as I’m disappointed with my former Indian doctors. And I don’t agree with societies having “caste systems,” like India does. At least the caste system in India has the wisdom to realize doctors should not be at the top. And it has the wisdom to realize the businessmen (corporations) should not be at the top. India’s caste system has the wisdom to realize that the spiritually enlightened should be at the top.

    And those going through spiritual awakenings are the people that the greedy corporate doctors are unnecessarily hospitalizing, defaming, and torturing. Hummm, we’re doing it the wrong way in this country.

  6. It continues to disappoint that so much emphasis is placed on assisted outpatient treatment (a/k/a involuntary outpatient treatment) when individuals who actively seek treatment so often fail to receive that care which makes a difference. For too long the assumption has been that the mental health system works and that the vast majority of those receiving treatment receive the services they need and achieve favorable clinical and functional outcomes. This is magical thinking when it lacks empirical support.

    I fear the mental health system will never cease to confuse process (treatment) with performance (outcomes). Units of service or the number of individuals served might be fine for fast food restaurants but not for a mental health system which represents services and outcomes reflecting wellness and recovery. The burgeoning population of individuals on disability by virtue of mental illnesses is telling.

  7. I hope our movement fights this with better tactics than just talking to one another and saying how bad it is. This failure to try to communicate with the general public has made us politically powerless. If we don’t change our methods soon, worse laws than this one are going to be passed.

    • How about buses , faxes and scores of protestors ?

      Future Convention Dates

      Aug. 7-10, 2014 in Washington, D.C.
      Aug. 6-9, 2015 in Toronto, Ontario

      2014 Convention Facilities

      Walter E. Washington Convention Center
      Grand Hyatt Washington Hotel
      Renaissance Washington D.C. Hotel
      Washington Marriott Marquis Hotel

      http://www.apa.org/convention/

      On December 18, 2003, The New York Times exposed that NAMI had bused scores of protestors to a hearing in Frankfort, Kentucky, took out full page ads in Kentucky newspapers, and sent angry faxes to state officials, all to protest a state panel proposal to exclude the antipsychotic drug Zyprexa from Medicaid’s list of preferred medications. According to the article, “What the advocacy groups did not say at the time was that the buses, ads and faxes were all paid for by the manufacturer of the antipsychotic drug Zyprexa, Eli Lilly.

  8. Totally agree Ted. The question is how?

    Can’t say started a facebook page but is that the answer?

    I honestly don’t know and am interested in hearing your opinion. I know you have discussed this previously but my memory impaired brain would appreciate a repeat.

    AA

    • You’d be surprised about the power of social media and the internet to affect lawmakers, especially Republican lawmakers that are still feeling the pain of having been portrayed as not up to date with technology and opposing many constituencies like women or minorities.

      As a conservative, the way I am approaching this at the National Review forums is the following,

      1- This bill is a gratuitous invasion of privacy because of the reasons that Faith has outlined and the APA estimates that 50% of Americans will be eligible for a DSM label during their lifetimes.

      2- The Republican Party is about to add another “anti” to the list of epithets the mainstream media associates with it: “anti consumers of mental health services”.

      Not everybody in the Republican Party backs the abuses that Tim Murphy supports. It’s only the fraction that sees scapegoating on the so called “mentally ill” an easy answer to the bumper sticker “take away people’s guns” from the left. When you engage people, they realize that this is probably an abuse.

      Please call your representative http://ymlp.com/zDOfoN . I called mine; their office had no clue that this was in the works. For everybody, this is the Facebook page of my effort https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stop-The-Helping-Families-In-Mental-Health-Crisis-Act/207148819469033 .

  9. Faith,

    You nailed it!

    What many people living peacefully under the Connor v Donaldson standard don’t realize is how pernicious the following two points are,

    “(E) has a history of mental illness or condition that is likely to substantially deteriorate if the patient is not provided with timely treatment; or

    (F) due to mental illness, lacks capacity to fully understand or lacks judgment to make informed decisions regarding his or her need for treatment, care, or supervision.”

    Simply put, in practice, they will mean “whenever a psychiatrist thinks you need to be involuntarily drugged”. To give you a very specific example, in my own case, several of the reasons that were provided why I should be civilly committed were,

    1- The guy’s life is severely limited as shown by his unwillingness to go to gay/red/crime districts for fear of HIV (in each case, it was to avoid high concentration of gay males, prostitutes and IV drug users). This is not a joke. One of the European psychiatrists that I saw suggested as “therapy” that I should have protected sex with prostitutes, in my face!

    2- The guy doesn’t realize he has a problem (the infamous “lack of insight” that F) endorses).

    3- As a result of 1- (and similar things) and 2-, there is no alternative but to civilly commit the guy to put him on treatment.

    The section that asks states to change their civil commitment laws to include something called “grave disability” defines “grave disability” along similar lines.

    If this bill were to become law, psychiatric abuse will be several orders of magnitude bigger than it is today in the US, even if some case were to made it to the SCOTUS for violating the Connor v Donaldson standard. The reason, as the NSA metadata collection shows, is that judges are in general reluctant to strike down laws that they find unconstitutional in which one of the sides is a government entity unless the SCOTUS itself does it, which could take years. And that assuming that the SCOTUS reaffirms Connor v Donaldson. One of the hidden agenda items of the law is probably to force the SCOTUS to review Connor v Donaldson to side with Torrey.

    None of this will happen if you call your representative now, so please, do it: http://ymlp.com/zDOfoN .

  10. I know this will sound like a cranky response, because it is. But it really isn’t directed at you or anyone in particular. Before 1985, when the “Alternatives” conference was set up by the NIMH (later SAMHSA) our movement was out on the streets, demonstrating at oppressive “hospitals”, or doing things like putting a ban on shock treatment on the ballot and getting national recognition after winning that vote. Once we stopped doing that, things went backwards. Outpatient commitment was adopted in about 44 states. Even more important, our people are almost completely shut out from the media. To the extent that our version of issues ever appears, it is given by sympathetic mental health professionals like Peter Breggin or Bruce Levine. This is not to criticize them at all, as they are fine, sincere allies, but (1)even they hardly get to say anything, and (2) the image then becomes that people with psychiatric labels are so inferior and damaged that we are unable to speak for ourselves or be taken seriously.

    All other movements for liberation in the last half century, women, black people, gays, everyone but us, have made great progress. We have gone backwards.

    I just can’t understand how people can believe that they are doing something meaningful when they go to a conference or write an article and just tell other people in the movement, “Isn’t it awful?” We already know how awful it is. Maybe it might even be a good thing if the Murphy bill passes.(I doubt very much that it will, however.) Then people might be shocked into action.

  11. @Ted- I don’t know- I have actually seen improved awareness via the media. The recent story in overprescription of drugs for ADHD in the NYTimes is one case in point. There have been numerous other stories critical of over prescription and serious side effects and long term health implications of psych drugs. We have also seen a very large rift in the psychiatric community itself over the DSM5- though some of the rift can appear like window dressing. Whitaker got invited to speak at NAMI. One of the MIA writers has been elected as Board president of NAMI and someone who is a former senior attorney (Mary Giliberti) at Bazelon has been named the new executive director at NAMI. I see positive steps such as Will Hall speaking to the APA.

    Yes the Torrey/Jaffe faction are as strong as ever, but I think they, and the whole institution of psychiatry, feel increasingly threatened.

    As studies continue to point out severe problems with psychiatric drugs, I think there will be a sea change eventually.

    So I don’t see it as dark as you do. I don’t feel the movement has gone backwards. I think millions of people are seeing that something has to seriously change. Perhaps I am too pollyanna- but I do see positive steps forward.

      • I agree, AA.

        I wonder what public hearings are scheduled for this bill, and whether the politicians will truly listen to our concerns.

        The items listed for an “eligible patient” are far too subjective. And the verbage seems to imply that one one of these items needs to be present (A-F are connected with “or” not and”).

        For instance:

        (C) is substantially unlikely to voluntarily participate in treatment

        This is frightening. The political process in this country is out of control. And vulnerable groups have become targets.

        Duane

    • @Jonathan

      No offense, but I think you’re a little young to remember what our movement was originally like when Judi Chamberlain and Ted and others like them were leading the fight for our civil and human rights. I agree with Ted that things seem to have gone backward in many respects and that now most of what we do is talk with one another about how bad things are getting. We’re not doing very much at this point in time.

      I know that this irritates some people when I state it, but it reminds me very much of how far too many German Jews waited until it was too late to escape Germany and the clutches of Hitler and his SS. They simply couldn’t believe that a country where they’d lived for over five generations would turn on them like it did, so they waited and wrung their hands and they ended up in the concentration camps and the gas chambers and the ovens.

      And it must once again be pointed out that Hitler was not the originator of the gas chambers and the ovens. He simply took them over from German psychiatry which gassed psychiatric patients for years, with the blessing and approval of the German government. We were labeled as “useless eaters” and were murderd with impunity. And here is one more little tidbit to gnaw on and think about. The German psychiatric program of “euthanasia” practiced against the so-called “mentally ill” was approved of by many here in the United States. The keynote speaker at the American Psychiatric Association’s yearly meeting in 1941 supported this kind of mass destruction of the “mentally ill” here in this country. He stated this very clearly in his keynote address. An anonmymous editorial in this group’s publication also supported such mass murder. Only one psychiatrist spoke out against this and his reasoning dealt with who we’d get to collect our garbage and do all the other menial taks if we killed of the mentally defective in our country. Some of us were considered to be valuable at least as manual labor!

      History tends to repeat itself because we fail to pay close enough attention to it. We keep saying and thinking that things like this aren’t possible in our country but…………….

      • Hi Stephen,

        As a person who is Jewish, I feel comparing this situation to the plight of the German Jews waiting to long is quite appropriate in my opinion.

        Not sure how helpful this is but I just emailed someone at the Bazelon Center to see what they are doing to actively oppose this bill. If anyone has any other good ideas, I am definitely open to them.

        • Just received email from Jennifer Mathis, with Bazelon Center, who said everyone should contact their congressman so that no one co-sponsors this bill. People in Eddie Bernice Johnson’s district near Dallas particularly need to do this since she is the only Democrat co-sponsoring the bill.

          Ms. Mathis doesn’t think the bill has any chance of support but it is important to make sure that no momentum starts building that could change this situation.

          Talking points to use which may have already been mentioned but that I am repeating so people don’t have to look back for the information:

          Oppose the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (H.R. 3717)

           The bill eliminates critical legal advocacy on behalf of individuals with psychiatric disabilities

          The bill would eviscerate the primary system of legal advocacy for individuals with psychiatric disabilities, leaving them without means to enforce their legal protections from discrimination in key areas of life such as education, employment, housing, health care, community living, voting, and family rights. The “protection and advocacy” program for people with psychiatric disabilities has been a leading driver of improvements in mental health service systems for the last several decades.

          The bill cuts funding for the protection and advocacy program by 85%, prevents the program from engaging in systemic advocacy on behalf of people with psychiatric disabilities, and prevents the program from conducting advocacy on any issues except for abuse and neglect.

           The bill reduces privacy protections for individuals with psychiatric disabilities

          The bill would strip away privacy protections under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act from individuals with psychiatric disabilities and provide them with lesser privacy safeguards than everyone else. It would give broad latitude to family members and service providers to override the wishes of individuals with psychiatric disabilities to keep information about their mental health treatment confidential. Ironically, it is people with psychiatric disabilities who are often most in need of privacy protections due to widespread prejudices and stereotypes.

           The bill redirects federal money from innovative programs to involuntary outpatient commitment, which is expensive and ineffective

          The bill would prohibit states from receiving federal mental health block grant funds that are used to support innovative services unless they are using involuntary, court-ordered outpatient commitment, an ineffective and costly approach that runs counter to recovery, independence and choice. It would also significantly reduce funding for important and innovative community-based services in favor of involuntary treatment.

           The bill would increase needless institutionalization

          The bill would fundamentally change the Medicaid program by allowing states to obtain federal Medicaid reimbursement for inpatient psychiatric hospital services for non-elderly adults. These services have been the responsibility of states since the beginning of the Medicaid program almost fifty years ago. The exclusion of federal funds for these services has been an important means of promoting community integration. Federal reimbursement for these services would result in large numbers of individuals with psychiatric disabilities being served needlessly in hospitals, driving mental health systems backward.

  12. (E) has a history of mental illness or condition that is likely to substantially deteriorate if the patient is not provided with timely treatment

    Let me get this straight…
    Timely “treatment” prevents deterioration?

    How do they pull this stuff off with a straight face

    I’m glad I’ve got my boots on.
    The b.s. is getting deep…

    Duane

  13. Here’s an interesting conversation on YouTube which makes me think, UP THE AOT!

    Makes me want to stand tall and proud with government and psychiatry and say, “go get ’em, boys!” (HLFY).

    10 hours ago

    The other half is all ‘up in arms’ now about this alleged ‘knock out’ game that’s being reported as becoming some sort of ‘trend’ and is being specifically tagged as something minorities are participating in. I first heard about it on COMEDY CENTRAL of all places. Is this some sort of ‘false flag’ reporting to incite racial separation and fear in order to hurry along some sort of revolution/civil war to make it easier to declare martial law or is it stuff that has always been happening but some new ‘label’ stuck on it?

    I’ve spent the past 4 years trying to create an environment of cooperation toward common goals of sustainable living and most of my neighbors (and even the gang members) would agree that it seems to be working, but this new ‘distrust’ of specific races being propagated by the media is likely to thrust everything back, ESPECIALLY if the youths begin to see they are being universally targeted all over again. All it takes is for people to begin LOOKING at these kids with contempt and suspicion everywhere they go before they feel like they might as well start doing things that warant it.

    NO FEAR! And especially no ‘pre-judgement’ of others please! Exhibiting lack of fear does NOT mean exhibiting equal or greater ferocity.
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    8 hours ago

    Namaste sir !!!
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    7 hours ago

    I guess I’m just trying to open a dialog about this because it seems to open up yet another ‘gate’ for justifying a police state. Our media constantly pulls in profit ‘hand over fist’ from FLOODING the airwaves with glorification of MMA, boxing, and ‘fake’ wrestling and turning all the various characters into ‘heroes’ for kids to emulate, but if cops see them ‘role playing’ out in the streets now, they must be playing this new ‘knock out’ game and are about to just go around attacking innocent bystanders. Not to say it doesn’t happen, on the contrary, I just don’t think it WOULD have became some ‘game’ if the media hadn’t labelled it as one.

    You see a whole bunch of GLORIFYING of these kinds of acts in other programming that highlights “viral videos” of people purposely harming others for FUN and encouraged to laugh and comment and perpetuate the popularity so that MORE people create similar videos in a quest for ‘internet stardom’, which trickles UP into virtually FREE footage that more FAKE wealth is created from while at the same time being used as EVIDENCE for proving we all need to be PROTECTED from each other.

    It’s okay to simulate it on an X-box in a ‘controlled environment’ but kids out doing anything PHYSICAL and particularly honing up on their fighting skills suddenly becomes some “Homeland Security” issue? =/?

    I smell false-flag all over this so-called ‘news story’, personally.
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    7 hours ago

    I’m afraid I’m not up to date as I don’t watch tv much an more.
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    5 hours ago

    YT search “knockout game”… I guess it’s real to some extent, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that the media picked it up and ran to extremes with it, but like I said, I just first heard about via the Daily Show yesterday and it’s somehow made it’s way to other sources pretty quickly.
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    4 hours ago

    I should mention that I thought it was an odd topic to be using for a comedy sketch and I’m not a big Jon Stewart fan to begin with, but his take was the usual sarcastic response that the cops weren’t doing their job and that it took a blatant example of horrendous violence to get them to understand what ‘assault’ actually looks like and how millions will now be spent in special training of how to recognize someone (black in particular apparently) who is more likely to sucker punch strangers regardless of the victim’s age or sex.

    And now that I watch more YT stuff about it, it seems that this is being RECOGNIZED by folks in the black communities as specifically being racially motivated assaults on WHITE people by their simply bored and frustrated kids, and not actually the media spinning it this way… this is sad =(

    Unless the folks that are posting videos have been paid to spin it this way but I highly doubt it, they sound legitimately concerned and looking for help in raising awareness for the good of perceptions everywhere of ALL black people in general. Problem is, I’ve seen so many instances of white kids adopting this ‘gangsta’ style as a sign of their own ‘rebellious nature’ and a way of standing out as tough in the typical ‘macho’ competitive spirit that society seems to enjoy taking part in and encouraging ‘healthy males’ to participate in. Not that this behavior is somehow ‘inherent’ to black folks, it was most definitely created out of CIRCUMSTANCES. A rebellious youth will find an example of the very ‘worst’ that society is currently deeming as ‘most scary’ and apt to piss off their parents. It won’t be long before the little blond “Justins” and “Jacobs” of suburbia begin thinking this is a “cool” game too, but of course, it will now always be blamed as having it’s beginnings as a ‘black on white thing’.

    Sorry, this is hitting me harder lately because I’ve just begun to try to ‘integrate’ myself into my neighborhood instead of locking myself inside or escaping every summer to rural environments, then again, I was escaping from “the straight life” to a gay campground for like 22 years to be with ‘my own kind’ than I was escaping from my ‘hood’ particularly. So I guess I do understand a bit of the prejudice involved with being a minority, but at least mine isn’t immediately recognizable. In fact, I think it has been our neighborhood KNOWING that we’re a gay couple that has eased the (ongoing) integration to a greater extent than if we were some wholesome white bread family proudly displaying their ‘income superiority’ and standing out practically INVITING people’s acts of jealousy.

    Could just be we’re SLOBS too though (imagine that, untidy gay men!), and I suppose the dreads and beard and tattoos aren’t so ‘typical cracka’ neither =p~

    Dunno, I was just beginning to enjoy the new comfort zone, one I just had not experienced since my childhood, and to think I would need to start looking over my shoulder all over again is not the type of prospect I even wanted to entertain for appraoching a new year. Sounds like I will need to “leviitate” above the haze (or immerse myself in a different kind!) 0}:^D>
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    SOCIETY IS SICK

    If martial law, police state, AOT is the method of response for a sick society, maybe that’s okay.

      • From the site,

        “The Helping Families In Mental Health Crisis Act fixes the nation’s broken mental health system by focusing programs and resources on psychiatric care for patients & families most in need of services.”

        Two things:

        1. acknowledgement of “the nation’s broken mental health system” = broken or illegitimate.

        2. “Mental Health Crisis Act fixes” = how retarded can you be?

        Retarded, by definition, means stunted growth.

        Do people not yet realize that “fixing” and “fix it” in the “fix me workshop” is total deception? C’mon, GROW. Evolve. You get to a certain point in wisdom when you know something. There is no “fix it”, silly cakes.

        Sir Murphy gon’ fix me! LOL what a hoot!

        http://youtu.be/pY9b6jgbNyc

        Then they say this:

        “More than 11 million Americans have severe schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression yet millions are going without treatment and families struggle to find care for loved ones.”

        Care or do you mean custodians, managers and handlers?

        http://youtu.be/ueefmoV1DYc
        (the lyrics are so… correct)

        “focusing programs and resources on psychiatric care for patients & families most in need of services”

        I never needed psychiatry. I needed to be cared ABOUT. I needed to be respected. I needed to be HONORED. I needed to be understood and validated. I needed HEALTH care. I needed NUTRITION. I needed an education. I needed to be TREATED

        like a human being.

        Instead, I was treated like an asset, a science experiment, as if I was stupid, became some form of institutionalized and, in the worst of “psychiatric care”, AND IN THE NAME OF, I was damn-near charged, convicted, judged and condemned. You treated me SO BADLY, in addition to NOT treating me the way I DESERVED to be treated, that in effect, you’ve destroyed me. Those who’d “celebrate” any such thing ought to BOWTHEIRHEADSINSHAME.

        psychiatric care = coloring books and crayons at 32 years old. I COULD SPIT FIRE.!

        • Eloquent and well stated. It’s poetry and should be put into a play. We need to write a play for Broadway that would end up knocking the socks off the people in the audiences. What you write here is the real stuff that needs to be smacked into the faces of the public. I remember that play that toured the country about the supposed “bipolar” woman, wife, and mother. We could write a much better, stronger statement for people to hear and watch.

  14. I am very concerned that the Addiction and Mental Health Treatment is becoming an extension of over-reaching government control. The courts are the biggest referral sources for treatment programs, 30% of the prisoners is star and federal prisons have serious mental illness and are suffering unspeakable horror in prisons that can’t meet their needs. Drug dealers plead out as addicts to avoid prison. While addicts get incarcerated for drug war crimes. Even local police departments have SWAT Teams and serving drug warrants has become a SWAT call up in many communities.
    The following has more information:
    – I Want George Orwell To Be Wrong: http://wp.me/p11fHz-cd
    – Mental Illness Hits 20% of US Population: http://wp.me/p11fHz-e3