Class Action Lawsuit Alleges that Surveillance of Mental Health Records is Unconstitutional

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A federal class action lawsuit argues that New York State’s collection and sharing of confidential information gathered from mental health service providers about their patients is unconstitutional, reports Courthouse News Service. The state has been building a database of information about anyone that a mental health professional believes could potentially be a danger to themselves or others, which apparently now includes 60,000 people.

“Lead plaintiff Donald Montgomery claims the state created a reporting system, as part of the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act (Safe Act), that forces health professionals to transmit mental health patients’ confidential information to a database shared by various government agencies, including law enforcement,” recounts Courthouse News. Montgomery reportedly states in the claim that he is a Navy veteran and retired police officer who was once admitted to a psychiatric hospital for 48 hours for sleep deprivation. He has had his right to own weapons revoked.

According to Courthouse News, Montgomery’s claim explains that New York’s “Mental Hygiene Law” compels health professionals to report patients’ data to the state “if they feel the patients’ actions are likely to result in serious harm to self or others.” The personal health information transmitted is then shared “by numerous agencies, including, but not limited to law enforcement and non-state agencies and offices… Neither the state nor the treatment providers notify patients about the information sharing.”

Patient Says NY Info-Sharing is Unconstitutional (Courthouse News Service, December 22, 2014)

6 COMMENTS

  1. New York’s “Mental Hygiene Law” is a form of social eugenics. People on the list are deemed to be too worthless to need to protect themselves. Imagine the psychiatric distress this list will create when hackers publish it online for all to see. The best predictor of violent behaviour is past behaviour, not what some subjective individual projects onto a person hardly know to them. This ultra creepy database should be a lesson to those who consider consulting psychiatry that their status in society will take a huge hit if they put themselves on law enforcement radar by going to a psychiatrist. Innocent people will be accused of crimes as a result of it.

  2. I thought we, as a society, had learned that “Mental Hygiene Laws” were based upon fraudulent science back during WWII. Why does the psychiatric industry continue doing the same thing over and over again, and expect a different result?

    And since some within the mainstream medical community believe that anyone who was subjected to easily recognized iatrogenesis (such as a “bad fix” on a broken bone) is a “danger to self or others” (since that person may have a potentially viable malpractice suit, which could be financially damaging to a paranoid and incompetent doctor). But, this is not actually proof the person is a “danger to self or” anyone other than the incompetent doctor (financially), therefore the doctor does not actually have a valid reason for psychiatrically defaming, tranquilizing, poisoning, and torturing the person. But this unethical form of defamation of patients is happening.

    I hope these unjust laws, based upon scientifically invalid “mental illnesses,” are seen as the fraud they truly are. They are unconstitutional.