Forced Treatment Ineffective: Advocacy Essential


Most Americans would agree that we have problem with mental health in this country, but what many do not know when they consider that people who are in distress are not getting the help they need is that hospitals in this country are not giving people a choice when they are in the most need. This is based on laws that currently exist in 45 US States, which allow individuals to be petitioned into an inpatient psychiatric unit against their will if they are deemed to be a “danger to themselves or others.” I have worked for 3.5 years as a Peer Support Specialist within my local public mental health system, where I see this happen to the individuals I serve, on a regular basis. I myself have been forced.

Here’s where my own story ties into the issue I want to discuss, in regard to the essential need for advocacy within our system to support individuals who end up in these situations, and in regard to their prospects to recover and lead a meaningful life. If I did not have the support of my family, friends and doctors in this during my experiences with force, I would not be where I am today; working full time and living a fulfilling life.  Many who meet me for the first time would have no idea that I have suffered from these types of circumstances, nor that I have mental health and neurological challenges.

The work I have done as a Peer Specialist is in a Case Management program providing services to young adults ages 18-26. In this job, I share my personal story and offer support to individuals who are living in poverty, having been hospitalized for mental health treatment, in many cases against their will.  Some were or have also been incarcerated, have very little family or natural supports and often have lost all hope. These are people with dreams, just like you and me, and sometimes it is as simple as having a place to call home, or knowing where their next meal will come from.

In my work, I visit with people in Jail, attend court with them, see them in the hospital, attend Doctor’s appointments, support them in navigating systems, obtaining income, finding employment, going to school, and I often talk to them when they are in extreme duress. When I first learned about forced treatment laws and encountered individuals who were referred to our program from the hospital after being petitioned against their will, or being involved in circumstances where they were not “complying” with treatment and navigating the legal process when a person is “in violation” of their treatment order, I was shocked and unsure what to do. Is this fair? Should people be committed to the hospital against their will and picked up by the police if they are refusing to participate in the services we are offering? I voiced my concerns and spent much time with individuals who were under these circumstances, out of the hospital, over-medicated, oftentimes homeless, family having abandoned them and simply wanting to have the ability to take control over their lives.

What I have emphasized in my work to advocate both amongst my colleagues and with the individuals I serve, is that even under these circumstances people must be given a choice. I see on a regular basis that hospital ERs use petitions as a standard protocol if a person comes in in an extreme mental state, and if it seems they may not agree to treatment.  A petition is a lot easier than taking the time to talk with the person and help them to come to a decision, which may end up being an agreement to treatment. Petitions also reduce liability for a hospital if someone refuses treatment, and then goes on to hurt themselves or others. So, if the hospital social worker and ER Physician are concerned about this, a petition protects them, even while suddenly involving the individual in a civil court process while in an extreme mental state.

I push hard in my job to assure that we can speak with the individuals we serve when they are brought into the ER, instead of finding out later that they were petitioned, or being asked to do one ourselves. Petitioning people against their will can potentially ruin their relationships with the people who are supposed to be helping them, who are now placed in a power position. This follows upon ER clinicians taking authority over them, and inpatient psychiatric clinicians doing the same.

The social services system, in addition to the courts, are the 3rd party associated with the enforcers. I can easily be seen as that since I work with the clinician who could have the person committed again within a 60-day window or any time before or after that if they are on a continuing order. I’m not going to lie, I have helped in this process when it was clear to me that as a non-clinician I had no authority. But when I knew the person, had heard their story and they had a chance to know a bit of mine, I used my best judgement and self-confidence to take all measures possible to assure that when it came to actually receiving the treatment, they would not be forced and would know their rights. Not an easy thing to do, and often quite painful for me, along with the Clinicians with whom I am on the team.

When you think about these laws and the complications that forced treatment can cause for someone to feel they have no choices and thus resist treatment or only participate because they are afraid of being taken back to the hospital, it’s clear that this is inhumane. Proponents of the laws say that this is the only way to get these people to receive treatment and otherwise prevent them from being a danger to themselves or others. What I am interested in given the current climate and that these laws are already in effect is how we can put systems in place to prevent abuse or misuse of the laws, and assure that individuals are given choices even when they are required to participate in treatment. This is what helped me and I have seen help others.

How can we make this happen? First, we must work with hospitals and other institutions that are often the first point of contact or are most often utilizing forced treatment as a measure of preventing individuals in a mental health crisis from being a danger to themselves or others. Many say that hospital ERs or law enforcement do not have the time to sit with someone whom they don’t have a relationship with, and who is in an extreme mental state, to help them understand what is going on and allow them to make a decision for themselves. I can say from experience that I have seen many people who have almost completely lost touch with reality, and it is not easy to have these kinds of conversations. Those who are best to do this are people who have been there; Peer Support Specialists who already work on Mobile Crisis Response teams alongside mental health clinicians. I strongly believe that this needs to be a standard for all emergency mental health services. Each individual who is in a mental health crisis where hospitalization may be considered needs to have contact with a Peer Specialist. When it comes down to it; involving courts, police, increased hospitalizations and lots more paperwork is costly. Some may say it prevents the cost of others being hurt and criminal proceedings taking place, but I would argue that people are being criminalized through civil laws for something that is not their fault.

In addition, these Peers who have contact with individuals like I do in my position can support them in understanding what is going on with them, how they can advocate for themselves in the treatment process, in learning that recovery is possible. When someone is forced, feels trapped, and fears what control the mental health system has over them, they need to know that they have a voice and that they are not alone. If they don’t want to take medications because they feel drugs are ineffective, or they want to work with their doctor to clearly identify what their diagnosis is and how it can be reasonably treated, they should be given that choice. I feel that in most cases we try to take that approach. No clinician likes to have to file paperwork which would lead to someone being picked up by the police and brought to the hospital and I don’t like to watch it happen. What we can do, while continuing to fight any further implementation or increased powers within these laws, is to assure that resources are dedicated to providing opportunities for individuals to choose, to be supported and to move on to independent lives free of any treatment mandates. Many have done it and put this part of their past behind them; meanwhile we must work hard to prevent any force from ever having to be used. It must be a last resort, with recovery and dignity at the forefront.

Finally, I leave you with an example as to how you can make an impact right away. Psychiatric Advance Directives are a tool to prevent force if they are utilized correctly. I was trained on them as a Part of my Peer Specialist Certification and when I noticed soon into starting my job, that some of the folks we served that had extreme life circumstances were a part of this revolving door between hospitals and jail, I spoke up. Soon I became the one to explain and/or complete a psychiatric advance directive with the individuals we served, as we were required to inform them of this right upon the beginning of services. (By the way, they also do have to sign an agreement for service, so this is an opportunity to explain their rights if they are under court order.) There are many gaps even within Advanced Directives, as, for instance, when the screening clinician does not know they have one and they do not ask then the appointed advocate would not be called. Thus that’s where the community providers must have the protocols in place to be truly person-first. It is possible; I have done it in the small way I am able, and we can do more even if the rights of individuals with mental health histories continue to be in jeopardy.


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.


Mad in America has made some changes to the commenting process. You no longer need to login or create an account on our site to comment. The only information needed is your name, email and comment text. Comments made with an account prior to this change will remain visible on the site.


  1. That’s got to be a tough line to walk at times Scott.

    One of my biggest problems was a delusional belief that I actually had rights. Kidnapping, assault, I thought were crimes. But there you go, they soon cured me of those delusions. Without drugs I might add.

    I have been having relapses since though. I keep reading the laws and sure enough it sounds like these things are crimes if they are done without meeting the standards set out in the Mental Health Act. Or does not cleaning your house properly, or having an argument with your in laws meet those standards? They do where I live.

    Glad to hear your trying to hold the lines on some of these atrocious abuses.

    Report comment

    • “One of my biggest problems was a delusional belief that I actually had rights. Kidnapping, assault, I thought were crimes.” Wow, boans, I shared your “delusion.” I’m completely shocked it is legal in the US for six giant men to come into a woman’s bedroom at night, then five of these men drag her out of her own bed, while the sixth one is telling the other five that what they are doing is illegal, since I was neither a danger to myself nor anyone else.

      Except, apparently, any time a patient has suffered from an easily recognized medical mistake, such as a “bad fix” on a broken bone or a “Foul up” with one of the “wonder drugs,” the doctors consider that person a potential financial “danger,” because she could possibly choose to sue either the doctors or, I suppose, even possibly the drug company.

      How do we end the problem of forced psychiatric treatment of patients, that results not from a person actually being ill (a sleep walking / talking issue is not actually a “chronic airway obstruction” nor “bipolar”), but medical greed and paranoia of malpractice suits?

      Doctors should not have a legal right to defame people with fictitious diseases and force people onto chemical lobotomy drugs, and massive drug cocktails, merely to prevent potential legitimate (albeit, in my case, non-existant) malpractice suits, but they are.

      My health insurance company was charged $30,000 for a medically unnecessary “snowing” by V R Kuchipudi, he’s now been arrested for having lots of patients medically unnecessarily shipped to him:

      And I know with 100% certainty, that doctors are breaking the HIPPA laws, too. The culture within the medical industry is not ethically driven, and therefore the right to force medicate people should be taken away from the doctors. The doctors are not ethical enough to deserve the right to force medicate other human beings.

      Report comment

  2. You express yourself very well and I found your article compelling. However, I feel that advocates who completely denounce all involuntary treatment are cherry picking because some people can respond and be supported to a place of accepting treatment or working towards their own recovery. Those situations make for nice stories. But what about the young man who shot and killed so many other young people in California recently? He refused to take his meds. Might those people still be alive today if he had accepted that he had a mental illness rather than projected all his anger out onto others? Could medication have helped him think clearly enough to get through the worst time without acting out and killing people? I just read a story yesterday about a 28 year old man who had ridden a bicycle from Maine to Florida in order to propose to his fiance. Unfortunately he encountered a man who was in a mental health crisis when he stopped at McDonalds to charge his phone. The man in crisis had been brought to the attention of police the evening before because he claimed that the people at the restaurant were trying to kill him. He apparently did not meet the criteria for involuntary treatment, because he was back the next night where he encountered the bicyclist and stabbed him to death. I wish he had been in a hospital. You can also look at Jared Laughner, Adam Lanza and so many others who either weren’t offered, or refused any treatment for their illness. I get very uncomfortable with much that I am reading here in MIA. I strongly believe in peer support and I believe that people can recover, either completely or to varying degrees. But I fear that this complete rejection of psychiatric care, including involuntary care, goes too far in the other direction. I see an attitude that, surprisingly enough, reminds me of the bad old days before mental illness was determined to be a biological condition. Then, the idea was that people could get better if they only wanted to. They needed to pull themselves up by the bootstraps and do any number of things that were thought to be restorative. Those who did not make the efforts others thought necessary were just considered lazy malingerers who wanted to be sick. The recognition of mental illness as a disease freed people of that stigma. Perhaps the medicalization has gone too far, or is simply now at a point where it needs to grow beyond it’s limited form to include peer support and recovery. But having worked with some people with very severe mental health problems over many years, I absolutely think that people who don’t even know they are sick, and who potentially pose a threat to the community or to themselves, must be prevented from hurting anyone. Since life long hospitalization is a terrible option, any help people can get from medication, even temporarily, is a great thing and a medical advancement. I am disturbed by what seems to me to be an “alternative medicine” attitude, rejecting science based medicine for something that really can’t be qualified or quantified.

    Report comment

    • Vegwellian wrote “must be prevented from hurting anyone”.
      The disease they have is “anger” according to you.

      Medication is for genuine disease, legal drugs are to change someone from being angry to being calm.
      If you look at any violent crime the source is anger.

      Only a psychiatrist can judge when a person anger has made them too irrational to keep their freedom.

      Then do you drug them for the rest of their life for their anger?

      You should read up on “Free will”.

      Report comment

    • ,,,Could medication have helped him think clearly enough to get through the worst time without acting out and killing people

      No, it could not else it would have. People won’t willingly use drugs that make them feel like they want to die.Neuroleptics fog attention, not focus it. Rage is a product of neuroleptic induced damage to the central nervous system .Rabies makes its victims angry for the very same reason…central nervous system damage.

      Report comment

    • Hi Vegwellian
      Just as you are uncomfortable which what you read here, many of us with lived, personal experience are VERY uncomfortable indeed with psych meds and forced treatment.

      I am of advancing years, a mother who has raised children, cared for others’ children in crisis, worked on a crisis hotline which encouraged psych callers to continue with their meds and who has always abhorred violence, and with no history of psychiatric issues or violence.

      However, after having a stress breakdown and being placed on psych meds, for the first time in my life I experienced almost uncontrollable murderous rage. Fortunately, and possibly because of my age, life experience and gender, I didn’t act on those rages. However, I can see that psych meds could push many people completely beyond their normal behaviours, just as some street drugs can, to commit the sorts of crimes you list above. It is then the person’s “mental Illness” that gets the blame and not the psych drugs, and people call for more drugging, and more such crimes are committed.

      I was involuntarily treated, and the psychiatrists would not listen to my feedback on the effects the drugs were having. Plus, the act of being involuntarily confined and drugged is a basic assault on the individual, and as such, also causes anger…I doubt that any healthy “normal” person would react with anything BUT anger/rage to being locked up and drugged, especially with meds specifically designed to act directly on brain functioning – it is TORTURE, and the Unite Nations recognises it as such.

      I have been off psych meds for a while now, and have not experienced any more of that most hideous rage. It disturbs me to know I have the capacity to feel like that, even if it was only created through drugging.

      I am sure your research will lead you to the evidence of many highly qualified doctors and scientists who have shown that “mental illness” is not a biological condition, but rather an invention of drug companies with a profit motive.

      Most people here do not reject psych care but seek a model that helps people grow, learn and thrive, rather than a model that leads to the atrocious outcomes you list.

      The current model of involuntary commitment and forced drugging simply can’t do that as it is first and foremost a violent assault on human beings. It is NOT based on evidence of efficacy or safety of the drugs, although they may have short term uses in some circumstances.

      If you read MIA over an extended period, you’ll see a whole range of views and opinions about how things can change for the better – some include meds, some don’t, some include involuntary treatment, many don’t. If there were one “perfect” solution, there’d be no need for such sites or for any further developments in care. This site exists because, as you note by your examples, current treatments are not working.

      Report comment

      • Re: I doubt that any healthy “normal” person would react with anything BUT anger/rage to being locked up and drugged, especially with meds specifically designed to act directly on brain functioning – it is TORTURE

        I didn’t react well to the “take these pills or else” injection threats, as angry as I was I calmly as I could made it clear that if they needle raped me there was going to be street justice outside the “hospital” some day and to count on it. You wont see me coming , think about that before you assault me.

        I told them I screwed up with alcohol and went to the hospital voluntarily to get back on the wagon where I did well without those drugs that harmed me in the past. Why was is so important to crush my resistance to taking those drugs with threats of assault with a needle ? Not drugs for alcohol detoxification but others including Haldol , Trileptal and 600mg seroqel in one swallow, 25 mg seroquel alone knocks me out . I was in danger.

        Why was I threatened and treated like that ?
        Why did I have to be pushed into issuing my own nasty threats in self defense ? I don’t normally act that way.

        I went to the fucking hospital for help, not to be threatened with violence and needle rapes !!!! WTF is WRONG with these people ?

        Do they tell the cancer patient take this chemo or we will assault you and give it to you anyway ?

        And the dosage of drugs they were trying to coerce me to take was frightening, voluntarily putting them in my mouth without resistance would have been proof I WAS suicidal and didn’t care about my health and life.

        Psychiatry is just effed up, FUBAR. No wonder more people in 3rd world countries get better wile these “1st world” barbarians making billions of dollars only create MORE sick people.

        I would be in a sick zombie daze myself right now if I listened to them.

        Report comment

        • Amen.
          Their “treatment” made me suicidal and made me aggressive and gave me a major case of PTSD. I think every psychiatrists who uses forced treatment deserves any violence coming from his/her patients and should never be allowed to use it as a justification for calling them mentally ill and dangerous.

          I’m normally a pacifist but for the people who involuntarily treated me I’d make an exception.

          Report comment

    • If you simply read the material this site is representing (Anatomy of an Epidemic, the book), you would see that there’s more evidence that the problems with ALL of the people you list as needing treatment to prevent violence correlates highly with the fact that they were ever forced on medications, or put on highly addictive medications which are the pharmaceuticals which to the HIGHEST degree correlate with causing violence.

      These “medications” correlate with more relapses, with causing violence, with more disability, with loss of life, with severe addictions; and ALSO with people not getting the kind of help that has been shown to correlate with recovery ( a recovery which basically doesn’t exist when medicated) and yet you repeat the same doctrines that correlate with the spike in violent crimes from people diagnosed as mentally ill. And that spike correlates EXACTLY with when mental illness was seen as something biological and treated with the “medications” you condone. Before that the level of violence occuring now simply DIDN’T exist. ALL of the time mental illness has been seen as coming from a chemical imbalance there hasn’t been ANY conclusive evidence that these diseases are biological, the treatment has spiked the occurrence of the disease, those treated with medications have far less or no recovery in comparison to those who aren’t treated with medications; and there is conclusive proof that the medications cause chemical imbalance while there is no conclusive that the disease they treat does. And the chemical imbalance the medications cause DOES correlate with causing mental illness.

      And that IS what’s going on, whether you keep on repeating the same propaganda or not. Keep on treating or force treating people in such a manner and this will only cause more mental illness, and more violence; the cause correlating with the treatment, rather than the treatment correlating with a decline or with recovery. No matter HOW MUCH profit the drug companies make.

      You say:
      “I see an attitude that, surprisingly enough, reminds me of the bad old days before mental illness was determined to be a biological condition. Then, the idea was that people could get better if they only wanted to. They needed to pull themselves up by the bootstraps and do any number of things that were thought to be restorative. Those who did not make the efforts others thought necessary were just considered lazy malingerers who wanted to be sick. The recognition of mental illness as a disease freed people of that stigma.”

      To tell people they have a chemical imbalance when this hasn’t been proven scientifically, and then promote the idea of this being against stigma, still doesn’t make your statement true, that they have a chemical imbalance, not matter how attractive it would be. There’s also not more recovery since the advent of the biological model, as you imply. And you’re creating stigma in itself, anyone who would say they don’t have a chemical imbalance (and can site the fact that there’s isn’t real scientific proof of a chemical imbalance) is stigmatized: anyone who would say that instead of a chemical imbalance they have an emotional wound, and that they need the help which correlates with recovery rather than disability, that they don’t want to suffer loss of life, that they don’t want to be made addictive to medications that cause a chemical imbalance rather than treating a proven, that they don’t want to be forced on medications which correlate with causing violence and more mental illness that’s also blamed on the disease rather than the treatment, these are all stigmatized and suppressed.

      To create more disability, and chemical imbalance which wasn’t there before treatment and blame it on an alleged disease which hasn’t been proven to be caused by a chemical imbalance, and then say it’s stigma to say what hasn’t been proven to exist hasn’t been proven to exist, this is truly corrupt. And to say that this is showing compassion for those suffering is even more corrupt.

      And it’s people’s choice if they want to take these medications, and believe it makes them feel better; but that should be done with free choice. That means the truth be told about whether there’s evidence based proof that the alleged disease is coming from a chemical imbalance, and that all the methods not forcing medications and which do correlate with recovery (healing homes of Finland, Open Dialogue, The Soteria Project, simple psychotherapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and many others) that these are presented as part of free choice, when it is said treatment is needed or should be sought.

      Report comment

    • 1) Mental illness has not been determined to be a biological condition. There is no single mental illness where a definitive biological cause has ever been identified. Even the head of the NIMH, Tom Insel, acknowledges this fact. Show me any science that convincingly proves this claim and I will be very surprised. It doesn’t exist.

      2) You fall victim to the assumption that the California shooter would likely not have been violent if he were taking medication. This association (between medication usage and community violence reduction) has never been established. In actual point of fact, the young man appeared to have many of the characteristics of a domestic abuser, including a sense of personal entitlement and a very downgrading view of women as sexual objects who were supposed to respond to his commands and were targets for punishment if they did not comply. While some domestic abusers have “mental illnesses,” most do not, it has been long established that there is no direct correlation between mental illness and domestic abuse – they are two separate issues that simply occur together sometimes. And there is no medical treatment for domestic abuse – it is a behavioral choice that people make, whether mentally ill or not, and whether medicated or not. The vast majority of “mentally ill” people do not make that choice.

      3) You mention Laughner and Lanza as examples. Laughner may not have been taking psych drugs, but he was abusing other substances, including psychedelics, and his behavior reportedly changed after starting them. The link between mental illness and violence is very weak to nonexistent after controlling for substance abuse. Laughner is more likely to have been violent as a result of his substance abuse issues. As for Lanza, nobody knows if he was using psych drugs or not, though there are reports from relatives that he was. His medical records were apparently not released, according to Sheila Matthews of AbleChild, because officials were worried the info might encourage people not to take their prescribed psych drugs. So I think there is a likelihood he was on them when he attacked. Of course, there are many stories of those who were on psych drugs when going on killing rampages, including Kip Kinkel, the Red Lake, MN killer, and of course, Erik Harris of Columbine fame. More stories are available on

      The idea that these violent incidents occur due to lack of appropriate treatment, or that drug treatment can prevent them, is a fantasy supported by the media but not by any kind of scientific information.

      4) I don’t know where you came by the narrative that people who didn’t make themselves better were lazy malingerers, but I grew up in the 60s, and started mental health work in the 80s, and I seldom if ever heard that kind of talk. The thinking of the time was that mental health issues were primarily caused by early childhood abuse or neglect, including emotional abuse and neglect, usually in the family system. While our understanding of abuse and neglect has expanded and we’ve come to recognize that other traumatic events can have an equally important role, it is only recently that the mental health world has begun to come back around to realizing that we (then proponents of the trauma model) were essentially correct all along. Even the best genetic prediction models to date (and these are pretty strained sometimes) can only find predictions in the range of 1-3% for a specific mental health issue, or maybe up to 10% for a range of issues combined. (This disappointing lack of correlation with genetics is apparent in physical illnesses as well.) Whereas trauma predicts mental health problems at something closer to an 85% rate. (And according to the ACE study, which you really must read, physical health issues are also much more highly associated with trauma than with genetics.) Don’t know about you, but I don’t think that the trauma model “rejects science-based medicine” – it seems to me that those arguing for the genetic/biological cause model are the ones rejecting science “for something that can’t really be qualified or quantified.”

      Long answer, but I was really struck by the number of assumptions and mythological statements your post contained, and I wanted to present the actual data that I am aware of that refutes those claims. I am a scientist by training and am a big supporter of empirical testing of all of our hypotheses. Unfortunately, the psychiatric profession as a whole does not appear to share my passion for objectivity. You sounded like you might be more inclined to be influenced by actual facts. I hope that what I’ve shared is taken in that spirit, and not as a criticism. Many if not most mental health folks would repeat the same “facts” as you shared, and unfortunately, Goebbels was correct in saying that if you repeat a falsehood frequently enough, it becomes true. I and most of the people here are trying to undo some of those falsehoods by presenting some factual information that the psychiatric leaders choose to ignore.

      —– Steve

      Report comment

    • Several things here:

      – “But what about the young man who shot and killed so many other young people in California recently?”
      You mean Elliot Rodger? I’ve heard pieces of his “expose” and there are no pills in the world that could have “helped him” (unless he was drugged into unconsciousness). He was not delusional or psychotic. He had real life problems and he decided to turn his understandable frustration and anger into violence. In fact many of the reasons he gave for it were very rational, even if immoral. It really drives me mad to see people claim that everyone who lashes out and commits violent crimes does it because he/she is mentally ill. they even tried to stuck that label over Brevik – another similar case. Why can’t you accept that some people consider their lives so shitty they want to end them or get “revenge” on others for not being as miserable as them? It’s hardly a nice notion but the way to deal with it (if there is any and there may not be, at least not in every case) is not through meds. Meds don’t find you a GF or get you respect from others or friends or anything else you need not to hate your life and everyone and everything on earth.
      When it comes to other shooters many of them were on meds and it didn’t help. In fact some meds are linked to increased violence and risk of suicide.

      – “people who don’t even know they are sick” Don’t know they’re sick or don’t agree with this interpretation of what is happening with them? Or just refusing treatment? These are not the same things but they’re notoriously used as equal. Btw, show me evidence that forced treatment actually works.

      – “rejecting science based medicine for something that really can’t be qualified or quantified” Please… I suggest you actually browse through MIA of countless examples of peer reviewed studies taht support claims made by bloggers and commentators.

      Report comment

  3. The Advanced Directive discussion is, in my opinion, the most important piece of this work. The Mobile Crisis Response is a first entry point for this for many people. I wonder how more people can be encouraged to write these.

    Report comment

  4. When someone is forced, feels trapped, and fears what control the mental health system has over them, they need to know that they have a voice and that they are not alone…

    I new friend of mine just got “baker acted” or 5150ed, I was with her earlier that day and she was bugging out a bit at the drug alcohol treatment center from not sleeping and had drifted into that dreaming wile awake world expressing ideas not based on reality so much.

    I wasn’t there but the police came and handcuffed her for the hospital ride and she expressed her feelings of betrayal “I trusted you people…” and has lived the hospital thing enough times to know the booking process comes next and the place I think they brought her is “a smoke free facility” so cigarette confiscation and smoking withdrawal is added to the standard psychiatric nightmare.

    This woman was also a victim of “Invega Consta” and I did tell her about human rights and the right to ones own body and what goes in it and about 1-877-mad-pride. Invega Consta, the work of affluent NAMI parents no doubt.

    Here it is, I know she feels forced, feels trapped, and fears/hates the control the mental health system has over but there is no way for me to even contact her and ask how is going due to the cell phone confiscation inflicted on psychiatric inpatient prisoners and “privacy laws” that keep friends and concerned people from being able to contact inpatient prisoners.

    And me having to listen to having to listen to people say well its sad but she really needed the help.
    “Help” ?? Handcuffs and a cop car , the likely inpatient strip search “booking” process, cigarette confiscation and surely the agitation that any smoker feels getting cut off from smoking feels getting “treated”. “Help” ? who the hell ever emerges from the inpatient nightmare grateful for the “help” ? Please stop calling it that.

    That’s it, nothing I can do. I am really good at online activism for human rights in mental health linking, posting, keywords and page rank … but there is nothing I can do to even contact this woman and tell her hang in there and don’t take any abuse from your “helpers”. Hope she remembers 1-877-mad-pride if having a hard time.

    Report comment

    • I agree, the psychiatric industry should not be disallowing visitors and confiscating cell phones. Why is this legal? My husband couldn’t even find out what hospital I’d been shipped to for almost a week when I was force treated. Once he finally did, my friends came to visit me, and were turned away. If inpatient “treatment” / “snowing” really is “help,”‘why all the secrecy?

      Report comment

      • In the ‘hospital’ I tried to use the phone it didn’t work because it was a “long distance” call. A long distance call ? I haven’t heard anyone say “long distance” to describe a telephone phone call in 15 years !!

        This was a Universal Health Services faculty , In 2010, UHS reached an agreement to acquire Psychiatric Solutions, Inc., one of the nation’s largest behavioral health operators. As a result of the acquisition, completed in November, UHS’ annual revenue exceeded $7 billion dollars.

        7 billion dollars revenue and these greedy abusive bastards won’t let their psychiatric prisoners call outside the area code !

        More on UHS

        Report comment

      • Other patients don’t have their cell phones taken from them while in the hospital. And they’re allowed visitors. It is discrimination to take cell phones away from some patients, and not others. And it’s discrimination to disallow visitors to those in hospitals, merely because they’re stigmatized as “mentally ill.” These human rights violations should be addressed. Although all of psychiatry’s human rights violations should be addressed. It sucks when violent psychiatrists rule the land. It was bad in Nazi Germany, and now it’s bad in the US.

        Report comment

        • Our Act specifically states that a patient should have the right to make telephone calls “in reasonable privacy”. After I got my documents I was surprised to see that my telephone calls to lawyers, and advocates and others had been recorded by the nurse.

          Reasonable privacy? I guess if I was abusing people I’d be wanting to know who they were complaining to, and what they were saying as well. Make it so much easier to cover you A$$.

          Report comment

    • That is so sick. In a normal hospital you have a right to contact whoever you want and have them visit you. And when you’re say unconscious there is at least the closest family who have this right.
      Psychiatry is the sickest kind of abuse on par with torture (well, it’s actually the same).

      Report comment

  5. I’m no celebrity but I can profess how psychiatry helped me become a lifelong warrior against everything they stand for, do ,have done ,or plan to do. Do I believe they are worse then bubonic plague. Absolutely so. The main thing thats over due is the overthrowal of their reign of terror.

    Report comment

    • Me too and agree,

      I survived forced psychiatry, an unconstitutional and horrifyingly abused 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 to be experimented on with drugs against there will, with 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.

      Report comment

  6. Forced psychiatry is not just ineffective, it’s wrong. It’s also a violation of a human being’s right to liberty and security of person. I have a few problems with saying that state sanctioned abduction, assault, torture, and imprisonment are ineffective treatments for “mental conditions”. I don’t think they are very effective treatments for physical ill health either.

    I know the authorities say they are locking up people who are “a danger to oneself or others”, but in actual fact this is just the excuse for locking people up. People are locked up because they are unwanted, and because somebody finds them a nuisance.

    Peer support for psychiatric oppression? Really? There are so many reasons one might have to object to the whole Peer Support Specialist business, especially if it is just a matter of the mental health system training lap dogs. If the system needs to co-opt people, let it co-opt other people. I don’t need a certificate in order to be supportive. Thank you.

    Report comment

  7. Good article! I am interested to know that there are 5 states without civil commitment laws. Apparently, these states have not been overrun with rampant, crazed, homicidal maniacs who need to be forcibly medicated. I’d be very, very interested in reading some comparison data on suicide, homicide and other serious outcome measures between the states with no civil commitment laws and those that have them. I’m going to bet that there is no difference whatsoever.

    — Steve

    Report comment

  8. In other words we’re in damage control mode… So sad…

    “Psychiatric Advance Directives are a tool to prevent force if they are utilized correctly. ”
    That is true but it also is true that most people get traumatised the worst at a first contact with psychiatry and they usually have not expected that thus have no advanced directives in place. anther problem is that in the time between you being admitted and the time someone figures out you have a directive you’ve already been victimised.

    The only real answer is to abolish forced psychiatry once and for all (don’t get me wrong, I appreciate every effort to minimise the damage to people in the current system but the ultimate goal has to be to get rid of this human right abuse once and for all). There are not realistic measures short of total establishment which can prevent abuse – the whole idea of using doctors discretion and “trusting them to make the right decisions” and laughable patient advocacy with zero accountability has proven it’s unrealistic to protect people from mistreatment when force is allowed.

    Report comment