Vermont Debates Involuntary Hospitalization


Vermonters who have undergone involuntary hospitalization, and their families, offered varying perspectives to  lawmakers yesterday on the need to change Vermont’s process for handling people’s choice to decline psychiatric treatment.  Christina Schumacher, recently released after involuntarily spending five weeks in a psychiatric unit since the day after learning her husband had killed her son and himself, criticized the process that made her wait to be heard by a judge, who immediately released her.

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Christina Schumacher testifies Thursday at the Vermont Statehouse.

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].


  1. INVOLUNTARY COMMITMENT- An unconstitutional and horrifyingly abused legal process by which– in the absence of any destructive activity, and on nothing more than the word of a single mental health worker people are stripped of civil/human rights and imprisoned in a psychiatric facility, with almost no form of recourse whatsoever. A terrifying and destructive ordeal whose only positive effect is to inspire activism against the fraud and abuse of psychiatry.

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  2. I’m confused by the article, and the laws in her state. According to my medical records, in IL a hospital can involuntarily whack a person out of her mind immediately with a hyponotic drug, ship the person to another county and hospital, to the likes of V R Kuchipudi.

    The patient is then illegally involuntarily committed (illegally, because she is not a resident of that county) with some sort of non-existent “chronic airway obstruction.” And the only seeming medical concern regarding this “airway obstruction,” according to medical records, was to double check that I actually was an organ donor. I’m off that list now.

    After the patient doesn’t die from the “airway obstruction,” it magically turns into “bipolar.” The 135 lb woman is then grabbed by six giant men, terrified of rape, strapped to a table, and immediately injected with 7 different psychotropic drugs. Then the woman is “snowed” (willy billy drugged with various combinations of up to eight different drugs until only the whites of her eyes show by a sick, twisted Indian “doctor,” Humaira Saiyed) for ten days. On the tenth day the nurses medical records say, “no longer needing nurse review” of the drugs I was being given. And I was given a drug which seems, according to my research, to be no longer legal in the US, plus 7 other drugs. I was finally let out after two and a half weeks because my insurance company finally refused to pay for any more of such torture. This happened at Advocate Good Samaritan hospital in Downers Grove, IL. And to this day, the hospital’s patient advocate and lawyer claim such torture of patients is “appropriate medical care.”

    In other states do they have to get court approval for forced medication? We need that law everywhere.

    Mine is a story of how the Illinois doctors cover up their “bad fixes” on broken bones and “Foul ups” with subsequent inappropriately given drugs. It a tale of how absolute power given to doctors results in absolute corruption. The system needs to change.

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    • “In other states do they have to get court approval for forced medication?”

      Not sure, most patients that object to their chemical lobotomy restraints are simply told “if you don’t take these pills we will have you injected” , its the standard every day threat used to force those brain disabling drugs into the bodies of “non compliant” patients (prisoners).

      They will use words like “severe mental illness” to try and paint the picture of some dangerous out of control mental patient to justify this disgusting coercion practice but in reality this is done to anyone who objects to psychiatric brain disabling procedures such as a young person who maybe smokes a little weed and drinks and there yuppy parents read some Web Md kind of crap about “dual diagnosis” and so called bipolar that “explains everything” and decides to start screwing them up with psychiatry and the kid finds themselves inpatient.

      People from all walks of life are assaulted with psychiatry every day but the worst has to be the children who are labelled “ADHD” and fed amphetamines and later when ‘side’ effects make them psychotic psychiatry declares “it must be bipolar, if only we knew” and starts the assault with things like Risperdal and the other brain disabling drugs called “help”.

      This crap has to stop.

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      • Yes someone else, i have also come across the packaging of abuses and criminality into terms such as “appropriate medical care”. After being assaulted by a doctor during referral the assault was called “accepted practice” by our chief psychiatrist. He was fully aware that a loophole for detaining people was being exploited by his staff, but when confronted with the manner in which people were being assaulted, attributed powers to the doctor’s that they do not have under our mental health act, and calls it accepted practice.

        Great way of not calling it what it is, assault. What bothers me more is that the lapdog advocates at our law centre are also aware of this loophole, yet they have done nothing to bring attention to these assaults occurring on a daily basis.

        I have also informed these advocates of the article on this site about the UN report on Australia and what has been said about our mental health acts, something that i would have thought would assist them greatly in their advocacy, and they have been silent on this matter. See the articles by Tina Minkowitz.

        Unfortunately they are afraid of loosing their funding if they do persue any matters that do not suit psychiatrists. The existence of a mental health law centre gives the impression that there is somewhere to go when you have been treated in an unfair or criminal manner. The truth is that this organisation exists to deal with a very few matters, and are not advocating for people with mental illness at all.

        I’m sure they do what they can, but when advocates are afraid of the bullies on the block, are they really doing anything to help those being bullied?

        Once you step into the arena of legal action, those who have committed any abuse against you, now have a whole new set of tools with which to abuse you further. And if my example is anything to go by, they will continue to commit further criminal acts in order to ensure that their original criminality is not exposed. And if you have a mental illness, do you think anyone is going to listen?

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  3. I agree, the childhood bipolar epidemic is so enormous in scope and criminal it still staggers my mind. Every child made sick with ADHD drugs or antidepressants, then MISDIAGNOSED, and rendered senceless with antipsychotics should immediately be taken off the drugs, apologized to, and have proper amends made to them.

    But what does the psychiatric industry do instead? They lie, deny the massive in scope malpractice, then change the DSM5, so misdiagnosing adverse effects of drugs as “lifelong, incurable, genetic mental illnesses” is no longer malpractice. Huh??? Psychiatrists are criminals, plain and simple. They have zero conscience.

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  4. Paychiatrists need to be metaphorically staked in the heart like the vampires that they are. The only way to start staking them is to somehow bring lawsuits against them for malpractice.

    This will be difficult as long as the general public continues thinking that the toxic drugs are the proper treatment. As well as attacking psychiatry we need to begin attacking this clueless attitude held by the public. And, unfortunately, way too many so-called “patients” and former “patients” also buy into this pack of lies and believe that they need the toxic drugs for the rest of their lives.

    We’ve got a very long road ahead of us so we need to get to “staking!”

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