Next week should be interesting, perhaps revolutionary, for those of us who care about human rights, disability and mental health. I heard from leaders at the National Council for Independent Living (NCIL) that the US Senate HELP Committee will be quizzing Dr. Ellie McCance-Katz, the psychiatrist appointed by President Trump to a powerful new mental health position in the federal government.
This new job is commonly now known as “Mental Health Czar” — if you are new to this little-known controversy, see my blog from a few weeks ago.
9 Questions that Should Be Asked that Haven’t Been
Technically, Dr. McCance-Katz is being recommended by Pres. Trump to be Assistant Secretary for the huge US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA). Mental health agencies are mainly asking about her positions regarding “recovery” and “peers,” important topics for sure, but here are some tougher questions:
- Do you support or oppose SAMHSA Involuntary Outpatient Commitment (IOC), such as court-ordered coerced psychiatric drugging? (Yes, in the last few years, some of your US taxpayer millions have gone to support court-ordered psychiatric procedures, mainly to enforce involuntary drugging. This has been done for decades by laws changing quietly on the state level. Now your US federal government has thrown its weight behind this atrocity.)
- If you do support this, then about how many more million Americans do you feel should get court-ordered drugging? (Fanatics for IOC, which they call Assisted Treatment to hide what it really does, are a bit shy about the number of Americans they would like to see involuntarily drugged.)
- Do you endorse the current use of federal money for IOC? (Let us hear about how many millions have already been spent by federal agencies to promote IOC. Easy enough to find out. How many more millions are planned for, how many more millions would Dr. McCance-Katz want?)
- Do you admit that court-ordered involuntary electroshock on an outpatient basis can be done? (Find this incredible? Very occasionally, on the state level, IOC has reached the bizarre extreme of court-ordered involuntary outpatient electroshock, where the subject has to report regularly to a local hospital for another forced outpatient electroshock or face re-institutionalization. For more proof, use your web search engine for these phrases: ray sandford electroshock, elizabeth ellis electroshock. An attorney confirmed federal support for IOC could conceivably mean more forced outpatient electroshock. Even one more American forced shock is wrong. Outpatient forced shock is horrible. So is inpatient forced shock, which has gone on continuously in the USA and most countries for decades, including now!)
- What is the long-term impact of psychiatric drugs?
- Did you know that neuroleptic psychiatric drugs, commonly called antipsychotics, are often used during IOC?
- Did you know that infants and children in the USA and globally are given off-label neuroleptics?
- Did you know that these drugs are well known to cause brain damage, such as tardive dyskinesia (easily viewed on Youtube) or an actual lobotomy effect, shrinking the frontal lobes?
- Why aren’t non-drug alternatives offered to Americans, including the millions of vets?
And many other questions!
You may suggest more questions here in the comment section. My last blog about this topic led to a flurry of predictable controversy about Hillary vs. Trump vs. whoever. But this is far deeper than who is in the White House. Whether it is Vice Pres. Pence or Barack Obama, the signer of the 21st Century Cures Act (one of his last acts as President), can we discuss that later?
Whether you are Republican, Democrat, Libertarian (which has had a plank for years against government-forced psychiatry, of course), a Berniecrat, Green, whatever, okay. For more than 40 years I have worked for human rights and mental health. I have seen Americans and people from other countries of all political stripes speak up. For example, we psychiatric survivors warned about the undue power of the drug industry to SAMHSA, in 2010.
Come on, especially we who are survivors of psychiatric coercion! Let us have a revolution. Certainly no one can stop us from speaking up with the truth!
Mad with the truth!
Speak out against this violation, speak out for freedom!
NCIL is holding their annual conference during this same week that the US Senate should be asking tough questions. NCIL’s theme is Revolution.
The last time I was able to attend this great conference, I heard one of the last speeches from my late, departed friend Justin Dart, Jr., known as the father of the ADA. Justin called for revolution, and both he and his amazing widow have known that psychiatric survivors tend to have the fire in our bellies for freedom, love, and revolution!
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.