The Washington Post covers the story of Alison Hymes, a prominent advocate against forced psychiatric treatment who later became engaged in Virginia’s mental health system herself and was involuntarily committed.
“Hymes was no ordinary patient,” reports the Post. “Before landing at Western, she spent years urging others with mental illness and their families not to let doctors, judges and social workers make decisions for them. She was part of a state task force charged with reforming civil commitment laws at the time of the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre, serving alongside doctors, academics, and law enforcement officials. The daughter of a prominent University of Virginia linguist, Hymes argued vehemently — and unsuccessfully — against loosening the state’s commitment criteria… Anyone who knew Hymes from her days on the state’s commitment task force would not have recognized the timid woman in the hospital waiting room.”
In a letter to the editor, the executive director for the National Alliance on Mental Illness writes that too many people like Hymes do not receive truly “evidence-based care.”
She fought for patients’ rights, then she was put in a hospital against her will (The Washington Post, January 31, 2015)
Letters to the Editor – Where Virginia’s mental health system failed (The Washington Post, February 5, 2015)