Support CRPD Absolute Prohibition of Commitment and Forced Treatment


Mad In America bloggers, and everyone who is interested, you are cordially invited to participate in a Campaign to Support the CRPD Absolute Prohibition of Commitment and Forced Treatment.

The aim is threefold.  1) to demonstrate wide geographical and sectoral support in civil society for the absolute prohibition, 2) to share our knowledge with each other and with the CRPD Committee and other human rights mechanisms, e.g. arguments for the absolute prohibition, harm done by forced psychiatry, lawsuits to enforce a person’s rights under this standard, our visions for an inclusive society, and 3) for participants to deepen their own understanding and awareness by reflecting on the significance of the absolute prohibition and their relationship to it.

Basic Information

The requested action is to write a blog post or contribute artwork, relevant to the purpose of the campaign, i.e. discussing and supporting the absolute prohibition that is promulgated under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).  Posts should be ready for March 29, 2016, the opening day of the 15th session of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which oversees the Convention.

Please do not be deterred by lack of knowledge of the CRPD.  If you believe that it is right to prohibit all commitment and forced treatment, without any exception, and you have something to say about this, you are welcome to contribute.  But I would request you read something about it; enough to satisfy yourself that we are correct in saying that the CRPD in fact contains this absolute prohibition.  I have some links on the Campaign website in the Call to Action that can help with this, and you can also browse my blog posts here for anything that may strike you as a better way in.

In addition, I am planning to hold at least one or two sessions where people who are interested in the Campaign can hear an introduction from me and ask questions and brainstorm.  These will be announced on the Campaign website.

We also have a Facebook event page, and I also post information on Facebook on the page of Center for the Human Rights of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry; also on Twitter as @CHRUSP.

Mad in America will be one of several collaborating websites that accept submissions from guest bloggers to link with this Campaign.  I am hoping to have such sites in every region of the world and in as many languages as needed.  There are so far two accepting contributions in Spanish.

Thank you for your support!

To see all of the Mad in America blogs for this campaign click here.

If you are interested in submitting a blog in support of this initiative at Mad in America, please contact Justin Karter.  For all other blog submissions, please contact Kermit Cole. You can also find their emails here.

If you are interested in linking with the Campaign in some other way, or you have questions or want to discuss anything about the Campaign, please contact me through this site or CHRUSP, or visit the Campaign site.


Editors Note: This blog is part of our growing coverage of promising initiatives that work to change our current drug-centered paradigm of care. You can find our expanding Initiatives section here. If you are aware of any initiatives that you believe should be highlighted on Mad In America, please send us your suggestions.


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. This all sounds idealistic, but the paranoid in me thinks the writer believes that jail or prison is a better place for the disruptive mentally ill than the hospital. Republicans think so, too. If you’re believers that mental illnesses don’t exist and social influences determine imaginary symptoms, does this mean that our lifers are actually gurus. You might indeed say they are, and that the joint is a kind of dojo, but hardly in a positive sense, although I’m sure some variety of zen explanation will prove me misguided.

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    • It is not paranoid thinking to say that the only other option to forced treatment might well be jail. I have been a reader here for over five years while my son struggled with mental illness. I really did not want to see him forced to take drugs that gave him terrible side effects, but what other option does society have when a mentally ill person is harming himself and others?

      We tried to give our son the best support money can buy. But nothing seemed to help. Our son had such extreme rage he would scream at his neighbors and smash his fist through windows and walls. He would call 911 and then scream at the first responders when they arrived. After a few incidents like this we were told that it was either criminal charges or a forced commitment.

      I did not like to see our son locked up in a mental hospital but I really think it is better than jail. He was forced to take vitamin D and anti-psychotic drugs but seemed to be quite well-treated by the staff. I was always against forced treatment but am starting to change my mind. For some mentally ill persons there seems to be no other alternatives.

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      • Glad your son’s doing better. His example demonstrates the futility of an outright prohibition. If we could concentrate on a more realistic goal (e.g. abolishing community treatment orders), we’d have some chance of success. Otherwise, this is a losing proposition.

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      • What neuroleptics was your son on when he started doing these things you claim he did?
        Are you aware that these toxic poisons can cause an increase in aggression and “psychosis” and infact have no actual “antipsychotic” qualities?
        More importantly, what emotional turmoil and problems was he going through in his life at this time? Do you know or care? What kind of home life did your son grow up in? Are you ever “Angry” around your son Nami dearest or are you always the epitome of calmness/loving/ and understanding?
        I’m sure all these questions are irritating you…”Mental illness” after all has nothing to do with people’s experiences..They’re “dopamine imbalances!”
        I’m glad the state punished your son for his irritating behavior that was probably caused by his reaction to a drug that is a living torture to take everyday. Now that he’s on a higher lobotomizing dose he won’t speak or move as much and you can focus on your retirement plan
        Good job NAMI!

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    • The idea that only a spiritual take on the question will resolve it is a dismissive response to a fundamental question of social justice and comprehensive human rights. Positing a choice between prison and forced psychiatry is the liberal left non-answer to the human rights disaster that is forced psychiatry – a collusion between state power, financial power, and medical violence. Survivor knowledge together with allies have created something new in the CRPD – a right to support plus freedom. A right to reasonable accommodation plus equality and dignity in all aspects of life.

      If you are interested in exploring the issue further please see my blogs on this website; I have discussed the question of criminal responsibility and many other issues.

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      • Thanks for your reply Tina. Fortunately my son was taken to a very good hospital where he was not tortured or abused. He was given a choice between accepting treatment and facing criminal charges. So perhaps his is not an actual case of forced psychiatry. I am glad that he chose the psychiatric treatment. Although, I am not a believer in the effectiveness of anti-psychotics since they did not help him before, I do feel that his willingness to try cognitive behavioral therapy is a step in the right direction.

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      • “Support plus freedom” sounds ideal but in the current absence of adequate support, the choice currently often is between jail and hospital. Right now, that’s not a “non answer” but a very reasonable concern that I have yet to see addressed.

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  2. I agree, ending forced commitment, and forced psychiatric drug torture, is a decent place to start. I’ve been meaning to do an anti-psychiatry piece of artwork for a while, and you inspired me, Tina. Thank you.

    My forced treatment tale, especially since my forced treatment doc was eventually arrested by the FBI, points out the financial abuses of the medical community / powers that be, in regards to their desire to maintain forced treatment.

    I’ll try and get it finished by the deadline, made good progress today. Can’t promise it will be beautiful, it won’t be, but neither is forced psychiatric treatment. Hope you might have an interest.

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  3. This is great. Just as great is that MIA is giving a project such as this such high-profile placement on the site. Hopefully a similar MIA-sponsored “Initiatives” piece can be done around Murphy.

    Not sure that Tina wants this to turn into a debate around the specifics of the demands. Just want to say that I believe incarceration and restraint should primarily be used only to protect others in immediately dangerous circumstances. Psychiatric labeling should not be a factor one way or the other. Nor do facilities used for such aforementioned incarceration need to torture and punish their residents.

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    • You’re right; while I can’t control what anyone posts and I will do my best to give a meaningful response to anything that warrants one, I am not intending to debate the demands.

      What you propose sounds like what law enforcement is mandated to do, and if that is the intent then I agree. Police are a horror in the US and almost everywhere, and we need social change on many more axes than just ending discrimination based on psychiatric labels or psychosocial disability/ unusual behavior or appearance/ choose your respectful wording. I believe that many of the survivor-developed alternatives in mental health, such as Intentional Peer Support, together with some of the work being done on Restorative Justice, along with comprehensive overhaul to stop the war mentality of police encountering people of color, holds hope for a better approach to situations where people are endangering others or have harmed others.

      Sarah Knutson also has a post on MIA on this topic, giving an example much publicized in the press of an approach that worked:

      To clarify about the demands of the Campaign. The absolute prohibition of commitment and forced treatment is already established in international law under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Campaign is meant to demonstrate support for this standard and to share knowledge. It is in a sense a friendly campaign to strengthen the work of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and also the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention which has adopted the CRPD standard.

      If there are demands, they might be: for governments to enact laws and policies abolishing forced psychiatry, for judges to act in accordance with the absolute prohibition (as the WGAD and CRPD Committee called on them to do, see materials linked on Campaign website for more detail); for psychiatrists to accept the removal of their delegated state power and become merely treating professionals….

      What you propose, if it is as I understand it, and isn’t intended to actually go after people who haven’t done harm but are just perceived as annoying or alarming by someone else, then it is a good point, and maybe you are going even farther than I thought at first and proposing abolition of prison as a punishment or accountability measure, which it would be very interesting to explore further.

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      • Calling what I said a proposal is probably giving it too much credit, I was mainly trying to express the principle that society has a right to protect itself from dangerous predatory people — by the least forcible or restrictive means possible, but bottom line by whatever means are necessary. However, part of this equation should never be whether or not the person in question has been psychiatrically labeled.

        I was mainly speaking idealistically regarding protection vs. punishment, as likely none of these issues can be resolved within the context of capitalism. But it’s good to at least work towards a vision not predicated on practicality but on what we want to achieve.

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  4. They say one of the most effective ways to attack any business or person or anything is to hit them in the pocketbook.

    Do a search for “how to sue a psychiatric hospital” or how to sue a psychiatrist.

    I didn’t find any good instructions.

    Over at the psych forums website the question comes up often by posters how can I sue these people for the nightmare I endured, they violated me and my rights. The second slap in the face is calling lawyers and getting no help then realization they violated the hell out of you and you have no recourse. They get away with it.

    I think what is needed is detailed yet simple instructions people can find online on how to file a lawsuit without an attorney and a big list of the common violations of patient rights and how to include them in your suit.

    Make it simple, forms with questions and fill in the blanks.

    Win or loose doesn’t matter, its giving the ‘hospital’ the expense of going to court and maybe even getting the victim a chance to tell the court and maybe a jury what happened to them.

    Look at how when there is a police shooting all the scrutiny of the video if there is one. For those of us who have seen it, the assaults, imagine if people assaulted by staff in hospitals got as far as obtaining the hospital surveillance video. Even if it didn’t get to court it could go on YouTube with the hospital name in the title.

    I believe one good instruction manual online on how to use the legal system against these hellholes could easily double or triple what big hospital chains like those sociopaths “Universal Health Services” need to pay their legal departments. If these instructions were really well done I guess its possible their legal costs could go up 10 or even 20 times until the abuses stopped.

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    • No only do I see people looking to sue these hellholes posting on mental health forums, wile inpatient myself I noticed that one of the common reactions to abuses behind locked doors was during or after the abuse the victims stating “I am going to sue this place !”

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  5. Hopefully it will come through. Judges sign off on forced treatment without batting an eye. The judge signed off on this psychiatrist to put me on any melds at his discression. He said he would tell them I was psychotic if I didn’t take something thought was bipolar. He justified living, because he’d said mood stableizers couldn’t be forced on me. He’d claimed I’d given him no other options, and even though anti psychotics were a more indirect way to deal with a mood disorder it would have to do. He said it was okay for doctors to say what they had to to get pairings treatment. The judge just agreed to keep me comimited, and medicated for as long as he decided. He just ended up telling me I had to stay on one antipsychotic before I could be released, unless I agreed to a mood stabilizer. I felt like a prisoner serving time. He didn’t care how this effected me at all.

    I hope all forced treatment, and commitment is illegal. Right, now even the legal system pretty much just listens to psychiatrists. It’s a joke as far as I see. Psychiatry, giving full reign to psychiatry. They don’t seem to have to follow any rules, or guidelines, because they can just make up them up as they go. I’ve had them make so many baseless claims, only to get a response like it’s complicated we are the experts. It’s not like most judges will be checking for accuracy in their claims. It’s not like they are afraid of being reprimanded for flat out lying. A doctor put a flat out lie in my medical report, to avoid admitting he didn’t know what he was talking about. He changed a previous diagnosis. He changed MDD to mood disorder NOS. When I asked I had more than depression. Is complete nonsense even for the DSMs standard. I venture to guess it was so he wouldn’t have to give an opinion, while still implying I had a mood disorder. Especially since he listed my man problems as ADHD inattentive, and intellectual disability. This is based on a previous diagnosis of aspergers, which not only was officially ruled out years later, but made three years after he claimed. I hadn’t wanted to go near another neuropsyc test, but apparently he didn’t need one to come up with another ridiculous label. Would being evaluated count? I don’t believe in the DSM, and think I should have the right to know I won’t just have whatever label they decide to stick me with on record somewhere.

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  6. the system is very bad I am current in forced treatment but even if they let me out of it. I can tell you a story that happens all the time in mental healthcare.

    my wife wanted to buy this huge house I mean giant house

    and i objected

    then we moved into the giant house and could not afford it

    she filed for separation

    then while fighting to get back into the house with her

    she called the police

    and said I was mentally unstable and she was scared

    so i was sitting in my apartment

    reading a book two days later

    and two police officers came to the door

    I answered the two officers started to arrest me

    I turned to ask them why and they said

    we have a detention order here for your arrest

    well in the struggle he pitched my thumb in a pressure point that

    made the thumb go numb

    after they handcuffed me he was explaining to

    the other officer that people like me can be extremely violent

    which is not true at all

    I spent a day in the police sub station

    until the bed was available

    at CPAT for a week or two they drugged me until I didnt want to be awake anymore

    then release me back to my apartment like nothing happened

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  7. Tina I would be very happy to contribute. Originally, it was the use of force that caused me to question mental health “care,” as I saw multiple assaults on human rights while I was an eating disorders patient. Then, my disbelief in the System widened to include diagnosis and drugs.

    My initial reaction was a traumatic reaction to the use of force (water restriction) and after I would not be silent about it, subsequent threats to silence me via drugs and incarceration. Regretfully I have yet to spark the interest of a mainstream journalist, nor has any attorney been willing to take up my case, though a parallel case occurred in the UK that resulted in patient death. Prior to these incidents I had been incarcerated many times (three decades of that) and didn’t have a traumatic reaction. I am thankful that this red herring showed up in my life.

    I would be very very happy to write for this initiative! Please contact me at [email protected]

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