Anyone detained and then formally committed under Wisconsin’s civil mental health laws can initially be held and forcibly drugged for six long months. Yet, for years, not a single person has been able to appeal the six-month commitments in court.

What’s the reason for this stunning abrogation of one of the few and arguably most important rights that ordinary, law-abiding, civilly committed mental health patients have? According to an internal review done for the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, between 2018 and 2020 Wisconsin courts apparently never got around to holding those appeals.

The report didn’t explain the reasons in detail, nor say for how many years it’s been going on, but it acknowledged that the problem was rarely or never the fault of the patients. Rather, it appeared related to the fact that, at that time, Wisconsin was paying public defenders a meager $40 an hour, the lowest rate in the nation, and so it sometimes takes months for a public defender to be found and appointed. Next, it usually takes months more for obtaining transcripts, for the state’s attorney to respond, to get a court date, and so forth. Consequently, when the court date for the appeal of the commitment finally arrives, more than six months will have already gone by, and the case will be declared “moot” and summarily thrown out. Every single time.

Elizabeth Rich

However, as Wisconsin attorney Elizabeth Rich told Mad in America, this didn’t mean that patients would be freed at any time during this process, when it was impossible to appeal an initial commitment order. At the end of the six months, many patients would be put on new recommitment orders—and would have to launch a whole new appeal from square one.

This is just one of many systemic assaults on psychiatric patients’ rights in Wisconsin that Rich has been fighting against—and in some cases successfully changing. It’s a fight that Rich has made her own, in large part inspired by the death of her son, Andrew.

Carers Demoralized and Disinterested

Elizabeth Rich cannot forget the night in 2017 that Andrew’s journey—and her own—into Wisconsin’s civil commitment system began. “I was visiting friends in North Carolina, and I got a call from police in the middle of the night,” Rich recounted. “I was just beside myself with worry for my son.”

Freelance journalist Michael Simonson previously wrote in depth about Andrew Rich’s story for Mad in America, in which a questionable wellness-check call to 911 by a stranger and dubious police reporting ultimately led to Andrew getting forcibly drugged with antipsychotics for two-and-a-half years. It was a traumatizing experience that eventually resulted in the twenty-nine-year-old killing himself.

Andrew Rich

Andrew’s slow demise over those years coincided with his mother Elizabeth’s gradual awakening.

With a background in business and corporate law, Elizabeth Rich knew little about Wisconsin’s mental health system when her son was first committed. During the initial days and weeks after Andrew’s arrest by police and detention in hospital, she assumed everything would work out for the best. “I just totally trusted in the system to do the right thing for him to get help,” she said.

However, as the weeks turned into months and years, Rich became increasingly concerned about the myriad of disturbing things she was observing in the hospital, in the psychiatric professionals, in the courts, and in Andrew’s condition. “There was this whole world that I didn’t know anything about,” Rich said.

The Winnebago Mental Health Institute where Andrew was initially detained was aging and run-down, and staff were frequently double-shifting. “Everybody seemed tired and overworked and annoyed.”

Sometimes patients were screaming, fighting back as they were muscled by security guards into four-point restraints on gurneys and had their pants pulled down to be forcibly injected. Andrew repeatedly complained to his mother—and to hospital staff—about what he viewed as the “inhumane” uses of seclusion and chemical and physical restraints against him and other patients. (Later, after a patient died, an investigation was launched that found the hospital guilty of 48 violations of state law.)

The antipsychotic medications appeared to “chemically lobotomize” Andrew, Rich said, sapping any joy from his life. “I saw how miserable it was for him, and how it really didn’t seem like it was doing anything helpful.”

At the same time, she was appalled by the court hearings for Andrew’s successive recommitments to Assisted Outpatient Treatment—forced drugging at home.

Right away, she saw the same mix of disinterest and demoralization as she’d seen in the hospital. “Everybody’s kind of worn out. The judges, lawyers on both sides … Everybody’s just kind of going through the motions. The hearings were clearly just a rubber stamp. Everybody knew what the outcome was going to be before anyone walked in the room.”

She saw no meaningful cross-examinations, no challenging of evidence—nothing that was common in ordinary courtrooms. At each recommitment hearing, a psychiatrist who saw Andrew for barely a few minutes every few months would simply re-describe the events that had led to Andrew’s original hospitalization in 2017—a story which, by this time, Rich believed had been extensively falsified by police, as Andrew had long asserted. (All police camera recordings of the apprehension disappeared.) Yet, this return to the story of his first hospitalization was enough to get Andrew repeatedly recommitted.

Elizabeth Rich at the NARPA conference, 2019

“As an attorney, what concerned me was, the hearings seemed very unjust,” said Rich. “I saw a lot of civil liberties issues. I saw systemic constitutional deficiency both in the way the system was set up, and in the way it was operating.”

Rich started studying mental health law and, even before Andrew’s death, decided to dedicate herself to representing people at civil commitment hearings. Since then, Rich has founded a nonprofit, Andrew’s V.O.I.C.E: Victory Over Involuntary Commitment Excesses, and represented about 80 clients in commitment cases. She has continued to be troubled by the routine civil rights abuses she witnesses on a daily basis, which she regularly challenges.

Questionable Experts

Many public defenders work hard for their clients facing civil commitment, Rich said. However, many others—perhaps, she suspects, in part due to biases and prejudices about “the mentally ill”—encourage their own clients to forgo juries or even hearings altogether, persuading them that they cannot possibly win and that fighting for their rights will only backfire.

As for the psychiatrists, who serve as “experts” in the hearing, they routinely downplay adverse effects of the drugs they’re prescribing, while most judges give “excessive deference to medical opinions,” Rich said.

Some judges even express impatience when a commitment hearing goes on for more than half an hour. “If all you need is a doctor’s opinion, then there’s no point in having a hearing,” Rich said. To help challenge physician opinions, Rich has begun regularly bringing in print-outs of the official US Food and Drug Administration-approved drug labels that list common adverse effects.

Meanwhile, in Rich’s opinion, the evidence used to justify commitments is rarely anywhere near legally sufficient, and is often steeped in bigotry against people labeled with mental disorders. “It’s very common for the doctors to testify in a demeaning and belittling way about the people who are the subject of the commitment.”

In one case, a psychiatrist remarked with scorn that Rich’s client claimed to have “a genius-level IQ,” as if this proved the man was delusional and grandiose. On cross-examination, Rich pointed out that her client had an engineering degree. “You don’t have any evidence that he doesn’t have an IQ in that range, do you?” she asked.

Another client of Rich’s was a fifty-year-old Catholic, celibate woman—yet she was described by the psychiatrist as perilously “hypersexual.” Rich searched through the medical records for the original source of this characterization and found that a case worker had once noted that the woman had had two lovers simultaneously—while in college in her twenties. “The stuff that passes for proof in these cases is just ridiculous,” Rich said.

Who or What Isn’t Dangerous

One of the most egregious and frequent abuses Rich sees is the watering down of what qualifies as “dangerous” behavior that makes a person committable.

Decades ago, the US Supreme Court established that a person must be currently or very imminently physically dangerous in order to be committed and forcibly treated under mental health laws. Under Wisconsin law today, there are five listed, specific definitions of “dangerousness,” such as immediate threats of serious bodily harm, extremely poor self-care, or severely impaired judgment.

However, for years psychiatrists in Wisconsin have often described people as potentially dangerous, without specifying any of the five criteria or providing specific evidence relevant to these criteria. Many recommitments have been based on what Rich called the same “circular logic” that entrapped Andrew—psychiatrists vaguely argue that, if forced treatment were withdrawn, the person would likely become dangerous and committable in the future.

In such situations, Rich explained, it’s virtually impossible to defend anyone against forced treatment. How can a public defender investigate claims and defend a client without knowing specifics of the accusation and the evidence against the person?

When she has pressed psychiatrists, their rationales often seem extremely weak. In one case, she learned that her overly anxious client had simply turned off the water to the group home. “Right now, I’m doing a brief for a client who was wrapping up a package,” Rich said. “She says her dad was mocking her, and so she threw a half a roll of tape at him. Does that truly place him in reasonable fear of substantial bodily injury?”

Wisconsin public defender Jeremy Newman recently challenged a case where his client was recommitted for a year primarily because he’d quit his job and sought disability benefits. In 2020, the Wisconsin Supreme Court agreed with Newman, concluding that it was not sufficient simply to state that the man would likely become dangerous to himself in the future “if treatment were withdrawn.” Instead, the majority stated, Wisconsin civil commitment courts “are to make specific factual findings” related to the state’s statutory, listed dangerousness criteria.

“A lot of cases started getting dismissed,” Rich said. However, she’s seen the tide starting to turn again, in appeals where judges have decided that not specifying any statutory dangerousness criterion is simply a “harmless error” of no real import when people seem “obviously” dangerously crazy.

“I’m so opposed to that [line of argument],” Rich said. “I have a case on appeal where I’m raising it.” Her client had parked his car and, in temperatures only slightly above freezing, was inspired to spiritually “cleanse” himself by undressing and walking through downtown. He walked several blocks before police apprehended him. While this was obviously unusual behavior and possibly a “public indecency” misdemeanor, Rich said it falls far short of the “mentally ill and dangerous” standard.

“We have this narrow corridor of ‘normal,’ and we want everyone to be inside that and, if they’re not, then we want to fix them, and the only tool in the toolbox is forced medication. But there’s nothing dangerous about being naked. The evidence is clear he was not shivering, he did not have frostbite. He’s not hurting anybody, he’s not hurting himself. That’s not dangerous under any Wisconsin legal standard.”

Recognizing People’s Rights

Rich also recently represented one of the many civilly committed people whose appeal date in court arrived so late that his case was declared “moot” and thrown out. In February of 2022, Rich challenged that declaration before the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and won. In June, the Court held that the man’s appeal was not moot because certain consequences of the commitment persisted beyond the six-month period. The Court pointed to his possible lifetime ban from owning guns and his potentially having to subsequently repay to the state the financial costs of his own involuntary hospitalization.

The Court dismissed other concerns she’d raised, such as the long-lasting trauma and stigma of having been forcibly hospitalized. Nevertheless, Rich said she felt like she’d achieved “a great victory.” Although the Wisconsin Supreme Court did not actually mandate that appeals must happen more expeditiously, Rich has noticed a general uptick in how quickly people’s appeals are handled. “They’re cranking decisions out in just six or eight weeks. So they are addressing it.”

To some, all of this might seem like a lot of effort for relatively small wins against such draconian laws and practices. But alongside honoring the life and death of her son, Rich said she’s hoping that her work—and the work of other concerned Wisconsin attorneys with whom she’s been liaising—will have impacts in other ways as well.

One goal, she said, is to continue to educate and remind all lawyers and judges of their true legal and ethical responsibilities in civil commitment cases—to help raise the overall standards of professional practice.

Additionally, she has seen a lot of psychiatric patients, like Andrew, “just give up”—practically and emotionally—in the face of the unchecked powers of mental health authorities. “I want to empower the clients whom I think often feel unheard and unseen. I want to tell them: ‘You have a voice. You have rights. And there are people who care.’”

Through her own cases, blogging, and outreach to journalists and others, Rich hopes to educate the broader public about these many disturbing, yet common, aspects of civil commitment practices in Wisconsin and around the country. “I want to raise awareness among the general public that this world is out there because I think a lot of people don’t know. Are we okay with it?”

Elaborating on this last question, Rich described a recent jury selection process. She was interviewing about twenty potential jury candidates for a commitment hearing, many of whom were politically conservative. Rich asked the group, “How many of you think that it’s okay for the government to require people to be vaccinated against Covid-19?”

No one raised their hand.

Rich continued, “How many of you think it’s okay for the government to require people with cancer to have chemotherapy instead of alternative treatments?” No one raised their hand.

Rich then asked, “How many of you think it’s okay for the government to force someone diagnosed with mental illness to take psychotropic medications?” Again, none of the potential jury members raised their hand.

“I think people don’t know,” Rich concluded. “I think more people than not would be amazed to learn that we strap people down in four-point restraints and pull their pants down and stick a shot in them. I think people would be surprised by that.”

 

Editor’s Note: This piece has been updated to reflect that Wisconsin’s pay rate for public defenders has since been increased.

23 COMMENTS

  1. “I think people don’t know … that we strap people down in four-point restraints and pull their pants down and stick a shot in them.” Chemical rape.

    I think you’re right, most people don’t know how violent, criminal, and evil the psychiatrists are. But the judges should be aware of this … what’s their excuse?

    Rob, your upcoming book sounds like it may help to awaken the public. And thanks for pointing out the psych workers use of the abusive guardianship contracts. Those things should most definitely be made illegal.

    “For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.” Let’s continue to shed light on the evils of psychiatry, and all DSM “bible” believers, who behave in evil and abusive manners.

    • You are right. We need to shine a light on these abuses. The current policy is to “protect” the individuals subjected to involuntary commitments by not disclosing any information about their forced incarceration in institutions, or their legal proceedings. I could not access Andrew’s information as his next-of-kin; but I was able to obtain the records that he kept.

      • “For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.”

        Beautiful.

        I have noticed that the people who talk about ‘confidentiality’ seem to be the ones who obtain a benefit from that ‘confidentiality’. No cameras in the Locked Wards because of ‘confidentiality’, though nothing to do with the vicious beatings patients are subjected to and which would be captured. Unlike Police who have to find means of deleting such videos. See for example the knee drops to an aboriginal mans head fracturing his skull because he ‘passively’ resisted arrest by being unconscious.

        Consider the lawyers (Shine Lawyers) who claimed that the documents I provided them showed that I have been ‘spiked’ with date rape drugs, and that Police were told a lie that I was an “Outpatient” to use them to cause an ‘acute stress reaction’, but that my doctor had authorised that covert administration of a drug I have never been prescribed, and would never take willingly. I asked them to name the doctor they claimed had authorised these human rights abuses, and they said they couldn’t tell me who my doctor was for reasons of confidentiality.

        And I guess if I can’t know who my doctor is, or what drugs can be put into my food or drink because someone would like me to be stupefied/ intoxicated without my consent…… or that I can be made an “Outpatient” by a Community Nurse because someone called him and asked him to subject me to an interrogation about my decision to leave an abusive relationship…….

        The recent discussion about a National Integrity Commission to be held in secret is a good example of such ‘confidentiality’ Both ‘Parties’ supporting the “exceptional circumstances” clause for the public hearing of public sector corruption cases. Claiming that to have public hearings may mean ‘reputational damage’ to the people being investigated. It also means that the corrupt can conceal their own corruption…… one Member of Parliament stating that the ‘best disinfectant for corruption is the light of day’. Of course they would never agree to such public scrutiny, they simply want the advantages of the State who have had Corruption watchdogs that have allowed the concealment of corrupt links between public officers and organised criminals for years. The case of an aboriginal man who was tortured by police with electricity and the video of that torture concealed as not being in the public interest just one example of many.

        When you can ensure that the media can not publish anything because it is ‘being investigated’ by the corruption watchdog, it is the first port of call for the corrupt to ensure that the matters are concealed from the light. Star Chambers as they have been described.

        Andrews Mom writes;
        “The current policy is to “protect” the individuals subjected to involuntary commitments by not disclosing any information about their forced incarceration in institutions, or their legal proceedings. I could not access Andrew’s information as his next-of-kin; but I was able to obtain the records that he kept.”

        In my State there is the ability for a legal representative to examine unredacted documents (to protect human rights) on provision of a ‘confidentiality agreement’. The hospital then identifies the areas they are not to disclose to their client, and the reason for that non disclosure. In my instance that meant concealing a number of criminal offences, which I don’t think they wanted to put into writing……. so they “edited” the documents and told my ‘legal representatives’ to throw me under a bus. For this they received an increase in State government funding, and a shot at the title of Chief Psychiatrist (to enable to concealment of human rights abuses in future matters no doubt). A quid pro quo for the concealment of arbitrary detentions and torture, the Chief psychiatrist not needing to be a psychiatrist…. the role could be filled by a human rights lawyer…..hint hint Minister.

        My wife wasn’t even my next of kin but she was having meetings with the FOI Officer (who was threatening her) to ensure that I could be made into a ‘patient’ post hoc and that they could then conceal their conspiring to pervert the course of justice over the ‘spiking’ of me with date rape drugs. My medical records being shared with everyone but me, and not a soul questioning the ethics of all this, never mind the legality……. why bother when you simply “edit” your legal narrative? My wife not even my next of kin but acting as my ‘guardian’ despite the ‘redacted’ parts of the documents showing she was no such thing. They preferred that she was so she could commit offences against me in our home, and it could be called ‘healthcare’…. or gaslighting without the power.

        She did ‘turn’ on them though once she and others realised how they were making ‘alternative arrangements’ for my ‘healthcare’ with the side effect of stopping my ticker. Someone didn’t have the stomach for it.

        Of course such abuses would never happen because “they wouldn’t do that” I am told….. despite what I (and others who have been threatened and intimidated) witnessed. But the idea of being allowed access to effective legal representation is a joke in such a Therapeutic State (with Morality Policing). We have gone way beyond any Police State, with chemical and electrical solutions to our ever growing problems.

        https://thewest.com.au/news/australia/call-for-inquiry-after-mentally-ill-mum-left-to-die-in-nsw-mental-health-hospital-corridor-ng-b88474251z

        In Iran they protest such deaths by the Morality Police. In Australia they feign shock that such things are happening, and appropriate more money to do more of the same. Not much noise made about this womans death…. or the hundreds of others that seem to go unnoticed. In fact, an attempt to make a complaint about human rights abuses to the Minister is met with the response of “get treated” (veiled threats. Complaints about the levels of sexual abuse in hospitals explained away with “You can’t listen to them, they’re mental patients” [see Hansards]).

        There is more chance of something being done if it were an animal. The penalties for abusing an animal twice what they are for a ‘mental patient’, and the laws relating to animal abuse have actually been prosecuted…. unlike the laws relating to abuse of a mental patient, which have NEVER been successfully prosecuted. Documents no doubt “edited” post hoc.

  2. I spoke to Elizabeth a couple of times about a case a few years ago. It was plain as day that she’s wonderful person who is struggling against systemic injustice, a kind that she, like many of her peers, would have presumed unreal, until she discovered reality the hard way. It’s that disconnect that is really insidious about all these things. It’s so obscure and absurd in the degree and scale of the problems, that it’s almost as if the absurdity itself is a problem, that it’s hard to get it taken seriously. Frankly, I think this is probably a dynamic present even within our systems, where people simply are in very deep and don’t want to entertain the notion that we’ve been digging a hole in the wrong direction for a long time…

    The insular groups of people she struggles against have little insight into and little other than contempt for those that suffer under them. And there is a parallel for everyone else, from judges to other lawyers to families and other staff themselves, in that they have very little understanding of the law – its history or letter – and a great deal of contempt for the entire process. To institutional clinicians, rights, laws, medical validity, science, health and the rest are essentially immoral, anti-them constructions. People want to assume that, behind the veil of mysticism, there is competence, well-intent, and adherence to principle and law with due diligence conducted. In reality, it’s an abusive, exploitative farce. She needs help though, mostly in trying to build a legal network both within and outside of Wisconsin. Whittaker can talk about class action suits that are unlikely to succeed in the present environment all he wants, but his commentary on the necessity of legal levers is on point. It’s clear nothing is going to change until people are held accountable, and that means first recognizing the problems that Elizabeth is struggling against. In order to hold a treating clinician or evaluator accountable, the wrongs and violations of law – against the recipient – first have to be taken seriously.

    • I admire Attorney Rich for her endeavors here, especially in light of the loss of her son. I, too, lost my only son to psychiatry/Big Pharma (killed by Eli Lilly’s Zyprexa, he died of profound hyperglycemia). After battling for many years, I finally cut back my involvement due to exhaustion and delayed/complicated grief. Many of my cohorts (other parents who lost children in similar ways) have also tossed in the towel, or have died. Such battles can take a severe toll, and I wish Rich the best in maintaining her energy and zeal.

    • George, thank you for the kind words. I agree, I need help building a legal network in Wisconsin and beyond. I do think class action suits are something we should consider. I don’t have experience with that, but would love to support and learn from those who do. You are correct that hitting them in the wallet may be the best way to effect meaningful change. In Wisconsin, there has been some discussion of a class action to contest the involuntary drugging of people that has caused numerous deleterious side effects. It’s something I would like to pursue.

  3. I don’t even know what to say, reading all of this and the two linked articles one after the other. In fact, I want to scream out, after the story after story after story going on, and incident after incident, and one coercive covert predatory trap after the other… at WHAT point does it boil down to: Do NOT put someone in a position that the “mental health system” is in charge of bettering their life! And all the other redundancies of assumption, process and “how things go.” The whole mental health system has become ANOTHER consumption, only this is forced on people, that in a consumer oriented society. It goes along with how you can’t have Christmas without sugar and more junk food, you can’t have a church get together without coffee and cookies, you can’t have a sorority without drinking alcohol, you can’t be a cool teenager without doing drugs, and then you get anti-depressants to help social shyness, grieving, any change in life that makes you feel ill at ease (what the cookies, alcohol, cigarettes, street drugs and social conformity didn’t work!? Going to the mall didn’t either!? Church!? Sports!? Joining a Sorority or Fraternity? A Street Gang? A Political GANG?)…..

    I clearly don’t know where to go with this because it’s SIMPLY not true, that the mental health system is some easy way to get that needed extra something to make the way clear towards “happiness,” like the rest of addictions that ARE NOT acknowledged as such, instead made out to be a loss when you don’t indulge in grabbing for it, taking the ride to see what’s on the shelf, to do SOMETHING even before you’re non attached to consumerism enough to know what you are getting into….. You’re getting into the realm of EXTREME resentments to anyone not wanting to stay in the box. It isn’t just consumerism anymore, it’s ENFORCED consumerism.

    Andrew was absolutely right when he said regarding the psychiatrist he was forced to endure: “He clearly did not like him. Andrew would get so frustrated at the sessions, because he said nothing that comes out of my mouth can be right. If he would relate an accomplishment at work, he was narcissistic. If he would talk about something he was writing that he thought was particularly insightful, he was exhibiting grandiose thinking. Nothing was right. If he said, ‘I can’t do anything right,’ then he is clinically depressed. He said every word that comes out turns against me.”

    Eleanor Longdon, when talking to a psychiatrist, and had to leave the “session” to go to take her position at a radio station, which she DID have, found the psychiatrist put down that she’s delusional, as if the radio station she had been working for the whole time didn’t exist, and that he had some magical ability to know whether it did or not, WITHOUT any ability to, having completely not investigated. And I have found that ANY supposed objective evaluation of those in power to make diagnosis in such a manner, be it social or “professional” is PEPPERED with such nonsense. Which I don’t know how to even express encountering such without insulting pepper, which is a valid spice.

    And for all anyone knows it was and/or is Knoedler that shows signs of a chemical imbalance he’s in denial about. I think anti-depressants and other psychiatric “medications,” like ADHD medications, which an incredible amount of psychiatrists are on, that they will facilitate such behavior. It was too much a sign of coherent thinking would Knoedler see the drugs aren’t working, have gone and investigated what’s really going on, was he cogent enough to take note!? But heh, a does of disabling agent called a “medication” will alleviate yourself from such sad, stress inducing, traumatizing realizations, that you’ve been taught wrong, you’re brainwashed, and instead of being human you’re part of a machinery of ideology that’s mental rather than reality based. Regardless of chemical agents, it’s Knoedler and the others that show signs of being a danger to others. Neither do I see getting rewards for being brainwashed, no matter the salary or image or feeling of power that goes with it, as being a sign of sanity. Certainly not a lack of danger to the self, if you really want to be human, and are interested in discovering that in others.

    I’ve had the same thing with a social worker, who THANK GOD I wasn’t forced to see, but was teaching a yoga class at a parks and recreational facility. If I couldn’t get to class, although I had tried, her not seeing me there was her “objective” evaluation that I didn’t show up because I had resentments against her (it couldn’t be because the bike rack on the bus was full and I had tried to go there but couldn’t; apparently my resentments telepathically made sure two other people filled up the bike rack of the bus before it got to where I’d have to fit my bike on it),I must have been harboring dangerous feelings regarding a disagreement, and just me not showing up was sign I had a possibly violent resentment of who knows what. I supposedly also was dangerously in love with her (if I actually watched her do the poses, I was gawking at her, anything and everything I did was misrepresented), I couldn’t expect decent responses from her or I supposedly was in love with her, I also couldn’t have a private emotional response that had nothing to do with her or it was about her, although I’m gay, and found her quite repulsively pretentious. I just wanted to learn yoga. If I showed up to class another whole array of fabricated untruths I won’t go into. The total disconnect with reality and what they think is going on with another they have diagnosed, or whose diagnosis they believe in is immense!

    It’s baffling how completely brainwashed these people are, and then you have the whole disconnect regarding that it’s a chemical imbalance, while the science says the chemical imbalance is from the disabling drugs. In Andrew’s case, it seems that he simply had a need for a discharge of needed disinhibition because of prior drug use, disabling substances the same as psychiatric drugs, legal or street……

    This “psychotic” episode if left alone might have taught him that. But instead come all of the lies, the untruths, the covert fabrications of people unable to see they are responding like brainwashed android or robots. This holy delusion of a chemical imbalance that has to be treated enforced by people who take on the same brainwashed behavior as those sacrificing goats, or virgins or their first born sons to appease a God or Gods, only now its psychiatric patients sacrificed to the ideology of eradicating something that doesn’t exist, but is believed to. And which “God” is this that needs or would be appeased by such behavior!?

    This is highly disturbing to think that some poor kid would loose his life like this. My grief goes out to his mother…… He’s not the only one. And he’s right, you can totally, if you’re sane, question whether ANYONE belongs in such places, and they might mostly just be creative, sensitive people……

    • Yes, Nijinsky, what Andrew and you have been subjected to buy these “mental health professionals” is so sad and maddening. As Boans said above, there is actually more accountability and consequences for people who abuse animals than for people who abuse humans under the guise of “treatment”!

  4. Thank you Elizabeth Rich! Can you please pass on my note to thank her? I’ve learned a lot about the inner workings of mental health institutions, especially Chicago Read in Chicago, Ill. Almost all The staff seem apathetic and jaded and there is no therapy taking place. It’s worse than One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

  5. I’m glad Washington is not like Wisconsin (not). I’m a nudist and also like to stretch my physical comfort zones. I’ll go nude in as cold temperature as I can stand for as long as I can stand, just because I want to find out what I can withstand. I can see myself walking nude in public at near freezing temperatures… what is “near” anyway?. Think about various polar bear clubs that require their members to swim in extremely cold water in the middle of the winter.
    Being a nudist puts me out of the norm. Walking or riding a bike nude in public is out of the norm (although LEGAL in Seattle), and the two conditions together is “extra” weird. However, I am about as sane as anyone I’ll ever meet.
    The point is, many many people do “weird” things while retaining full “normality”.

  6. Early in my career as a clinical psychologist treating acute hospitalized schizophrenics I was an advocate of Thorazine, an early antipsychotic medication, which seemed to stabilize patients and reduce hallucinations and delusional ideation. We psychologists at the time referred to the drug as ego glue in stabilizing the psychotic patient. Before we knew it, however, these drugs without any intervening evidence came to be considered mandatory for the patient’s lifetime! In my reading of the pertinent drug literature on both antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs the longer patients are on these drugs the worse the outcome. Some psychiatrists might tell us this holds for only those patients with the most severe disorders but I prefer another explanation. I know both classes of drugs are said to restore and normalize brain functions but I believe a better case can be made that these drugs significantly impair brain functions, which makes it difficult for the patient to focus on distressing personal and on adverse life situation factors that gave rise to the adverse symptoms and behaviors.
    I have a possible solution to find the answer to whether or not these drugs compare the brain. I am the inventor of the Ruthven Impairment Assessment (RIA), which is a brief, online, computer performance measure of normal or impaired cognition. Once there is a diagnosis of hospitalized patients with depression or acute schizophrenia give the patient a few days of humane treatment and respite care and then test the patients cognitively before the patient is prescribed medication. We have, then, a cognitive baseline before medication but these patients would only show the cognitive brain impairing effects of their mental disorders or diseases as psychiatrists prefer. Re-test these patients cognitively with the RIA throughout the patient’s drug treatment. One asset of the RIA is that there is little or no practice effects with serial testing. Since the RIA came out in 2017 in Applied Neuropsychology I have taken the RIA about 20 or more times and fortunately I have been fairly cognitively stable. If psychiatrists are right these two groups of drug treated patients should show substantially improved cognition and if I am right both groups would show significant cognitive decline. My reading of the literature and some clinical research use with the RIA I would say some psychiatric drugs initially in the early stages show reversible brain impairment (when the drug is tapered) but I suspect with long term use structural brain damage is the unfortunate outcome. In the above “experiment” each patient becomes his or her own control.

    • I am sure the Big Cheese of psychiatry are well aware that these drugs impair normal functioning in the brain. The problem is, they are not there to find the best solutions for their patients, but to assure their continued dominance and high incomes. So no amount of studies and proof will change their minds. Their intentions are not the same as yours and mine.

    • “Once there is a diagnosis of hospitalized patients with depression or acute schizophrenia give the patient a few days of humane treatment and respite care and then test the patients cognitively before the patient is prescribed medication.”

      The ‘diagnosis’ where I live is done over the telephone by a Community Nurse, and the “outpatient” is ‘sedated’ covertly, and then has a chemical cocktail administered once Police drop them off for the ‘treatment’.

      The idea of a few days of human treatment? You’d be lucky to wake up in a month with the amounts of chemicals being administered as ‘chemical restraints’ where I live (no National Standard as to what constitutes a chemical restraint means they go BIG. Especially when they can “edit” legal narratives should anything go wrong). It usually takes about 4 weeks for the ‘patient’ to be capable of shuffling to the smoking cage, whilst dribbling from the mouth…. and you want them to access a computer and do an online test? They won’t even allow you access to a pen to write a complaint form out without two guards lol.

      The ‘diagnosis’ is done after they have begun the ‘dribble therapy’, which then becomes the justification for the ‘dribble therapy’. The only real chance you have is if your insurance runs out, and the $200 hand shakers want the bed. So they send you home with a slanderous label and a bottle of pills to be administered to you by your ‘carers’ (unless of course they figure out what is actually causing the problems such as the dribbling ie the drugs)

      This was used quite effectively by Graham Young….. more ‘medicine’ mother?

  7. I have been considering the unlawful release of my personal medical records from the Private Clinic to the Public Hospital in the light of the arguments over the potential breach of personal data from a large telephone company.

    The hospital wanting me to be a ‘patient’ (as defined in the Mental Health Act, and which I was clearly NOT*) to justify their unlawful conduct, and prepared to commit acts of fraud and utter with known fraudulent documents to conceal the truth……. thinking they had to keep the ‘source’ of their ‘information’ a secret (the ‘confidential informant’ defense exploited so well by corrupt public officers). Never considering for a moment that it may be that the Private Clinic psychologist might be lying about my status. Clever to have the State do your torture and kidnappings for you right?

    I think the release of personal medical records unlawfully is in the public interest in as much as the Lawyer X situation justified the public being informed of the use of lawyers as paid police informants. See the arguments presented re the protection of ‘confidential informants’ put forward at the Lawyer X hearings.

    In respect of the telephone company , they have had to contact all of their customers (about 8 million) and warn them of the potential for damage to them as a result of the release of their personal information (drivers license numbers, passport information etc). There are arguments about the sophistication of the ‘hack’ and who is to be held accountable for the release (ie did the phone company do enough to protect the data given the standards set out in the Federal Privacy Act).

    And yet my medical records can be unlawfully released from a Private Clinic (documented proof available, and known about by my wife and ‘others’ at the time) and this is KNOWN to be occurring, and yet none of the other ‘clients’ are contacted and warned of the potential for ‘reputational damage’ which may occur as a result of the breach of their personal medical records? Records, which in some cases were reports prepared for the courts……… and were subject to some stringent conditions.

    In fact, the extreme methods employed to conceal these potential breaches beggars belief.

    It would be interesting to examine the way this breach of peoples personal medical records was handled by ‘authorities’ given the potential for damage to the clients of the Private Clinic. Cover it up and hope for the best was the strategy from what I can see in that instance. Slander and viciously attack the victim of the offences, and ensure that no one else is informed.

    Though I don’t suppose the telephone company has the power to make anyone they like into an “Outpatient” by telephone, have police pick them up, and then have them ‘treated’ in the Emergency Dept for speaking the truth.

    Do the ‘clients’ of the Private Clinic have a right to know that personal medical records have potentially been released unlawfully from a clinic they have attended? And if so, did that occur?

    Ignore it and it will all go away. It is always easy to find justifications for ignoring the truth. It is much more difficult to do your duty when everything is against you, pushing you to do otherwise. Double standards?

    * it may be that Andrews Mom may also find this information of use regarding the original detention of her son. Mental Health Services in my State creating the appearance of ‘Police referrals” to conceal their arbitrary detention and torture of citizens, and then concealing the documented facts should anyone make application for the proof of the misconduct. The Community Nurse calling police and requesting assistance with his “Outpatient”, knowing this was an offence (offences in fact), but also aware that such arbitrary detentions and torture are being enabled by the State via document “editing”.

    In my instance, police were ‘blind’ to the fact I was NOT an “Outpatient” and then forced me into an ‘interrogation’ with an Authorised Mental Health Practitioner, who fabricated the “reasonable grounds” on his statutory declarations. I was then passed over to Police for transport to his hospital (despite the fact I should have been taken in an ambulance due to being ‘spiked’ with date rape drugs) thus creating the appearance that the Community Nurse had received a request from police for an ‘assessment’ (ie it looks like a Police referral to his colleagues at the hospital [except the Senior Medical Officer who is ready with a ‘chemical kosh’ after conspiring with the Private Clinic psychologist])

    Commonly referred to as a ‘man in the middle’ confidence trick, the victims are highly unlikely to ever resume normal living again, and most likely to take their own lives.

    I’d be interested in more information regarding the original detention of Andrew.

    • The FOI Officer identifies the offending by the Community Nurse, Senior Medical Officer and Clinic psychologist and my estranged wife, and redacts the proof of the ‘spiking’ and the ‘confidential informant’ who released my medial records that made them believe I was a ‘patient’ of the Private Clinic.

      The hospital has dealt with me …… AS IF…… I were an “Outpatient” to overcome the protections provided by the law, and have police force me into an interrogation conducted whilst I had been stupefied with date rape drugs without my knowledge. The documents show this.

      The Police were used to cause an “acute stress reaction” in someone who has been ‘spiked’ with date rape drugs? Consider Article 1 of the Convention against the use of Torture. The two DO NOTS of ‘acute stress reaction? DO NOT force the person to talk…. check. DO NOT prescribe benzodiazepines…. check. Did it really happen if it is done covertly? Not when a doctor can write a fraudulent prescription for them after the fact…. torture concealed, phew. Administer the drugs and a doctor will sort the documents out later…. which is great when you consider the Euthanasia Laws we have passed. Hmmmm a body, now what documents do we need for the lawyers to stop asking questions?

      The FOI Officer then has a meeting with my wife when I make application for the documents (and the Law Centre also makes an application for unredacted documents which they have a right to examine).

      The FOI Officer, my wife and the Private clinic psychologist are trying desperately to have me obtain a referral to the Clinic psychologist to make me into a ‘patient’ post hoc……. and they fail. The FOI Officer has no justification for denying me access to my medical records, and in fact is knowingly conspiring to pervert the course of justice.

      What is interesting is that the FOI Officer has the victims make appeals to higher authorities which are never handed on….. she just pretends that the appeals have been ‘officially’ dealt with, and rejected…… while they attempt to find ‘alternative methods’ of dealing with their problem of being criminals.

      In my instance this involved ‘redacting’ the documents and laying it all at my wife feet, thus causing major problems in our marriage (My wife tells me she was threatened by the FOI Officer at one meeting they had to plan out a means to lawfully deny me access to my medical records, and to ensure she had an ‘ear to the ground’ with the Law Centre).

      What can be seen though is that the redactions clearly demonstrate how the Community Nurse has used police to create a false belief that he was requested to do an ‘assessment’ by Police (ie that it was a lawful ‘police referral’ under the MHA). It was the Community Nurse who called police and requested assistance with his “Outpatient” (receipt number XXXXX) contained in the documents, and redacted to conceal the offending by the Community Nurse. ie lay it all at the feet of police, who will no doubt use their unaccountability to conceal any misconduct by the Community Nurse in exchange for ……. well, lets face it, he is torturing people, and then having them ‘snowed’ for complaining.

      Interesting why the FOI Officer released the redacted documents showing the ‘spiking’ by my wife (after discussion with the Clinic psychologist the night before in their ‘planning session’) and that I had been made an “Outpatient” before the Community Nurse even left the hospital (the Forms he had completed were “Outpatient Case Notes” and I was certainly NOT an “Outpatient” of the Ariel Castro Memorial Hospital), but then wanted the documents back because the Law Centre lawyers had also made application for the unredacted documents….. woops, wasn’t expecting that……. the ‘confidential informant’ who had unlawfully released my medical records from the Private Clinic to be exposed?

      I had already been provided with that information in the redacted documents. My wife informing the hospital that I had been seeing a psychologist called XXX at the University. This was false, as I had never seen her at the University, but she was directing the hospital to her at her day job where she could be contacted to unlawfully release the medical records of someone now in custody, and stupefied without their knowledge with date rape drugs. The Billing Codes released to the Senior Medical Officer and documented in his three minute assessment of me as a “Provisional Diagnosis” (there’s your proof of the Privacy breach).

      I guess the Private Clinic psychologist was probably getting pretty nervous with all this going on, and my wife informing her of my every move to obtain the documented proof of these matters. Luckily a window of opportunity was created by Police refusing to take the documented proof of the crimes, and they could arrange to have my increasingly frustrated behaviour (as a result of months of gaslighting by these co conspirators) ‘treated’ with an unintentional negative outcome at the E.D.

      Rudely interrupted, and after which my wife had police assistance in retrieving the redacted documents the FOI Officer had released to me to cause family problems. That is before they sent out the fraudulent set to the Law Centre who were still waiting for the unredacted documents they had requested, and which they had a right to examine. The crimes removed and the legal narrative now has me as a ‘patient’ of the Ariel Castro Memorial for more than ten years and my ‘paranoid delusions’ about being ‘spiked’ should warn anyone choosing to speak to me to exercise caution. Amazing how the truth can be made into a ‘symptom’ with some “editing” huh? Oh, and the wife neater stuff, the Community Nurse needed to fabricate a ‘risk’ on his Forms…. this is one he seems to find particularly effective for the FOI Officer to utter with should any problems occur down the track. Such slander highly effective in denying access to legal representation etc.

      I won’t go into the “elegant method” used by having the lawyers at the Law Centre act as informants for the State to ensure that I didn’t still have the documented proof of the misconduct. Needless to say the forging of a response by the Chief Psychiatrist to the letter of complaint they drafted for their ‘client’ an absolute disgrace to the legal profession. They did of course need to check whether I still had the documents of concern to the State before doing such a vile deed…….. and unfortunately for them, I wasn’t aware they had been provided with a fraudulent set of documents called “edited”, and assumed they had examined the factual set, so had no need for the redacted documents I was still in possession of.

      “All clear”? Forge a letter of response from the Chief Psychiatrist and throw him under a bus for us………. nice new offices and cars 🙂 That is, until the Chief psychiatrist saw the letter and the redacted documents I had……… “Holy Shit” as one article here reads. lol

  8. Thank you for this excellent article, Rich and Elizabeth, and even more, thank you for the work you are doing in Wisconsin, Elizabeth. There is such a crying need for and such a dearth of knowledgeable, ethical, compassionate lawyers, doctors and mental health agency personnel to combat the draconian abuses and violations of human and civil rights of people who fall into the hands of the Gulag Psychipelago.

    Seeing this article, Elizabeth, I was reminded of our phone conversation a while ago. I left no stones unturned, but eventually realized there was really no legal recourse for how are daughter was destroyed following a kangaroo court process that allowed the hospital to involuntarily brain shock her and force her onto a clearly contraindicated antipsychotic medication that caused terrible, torturous side effects. I am truly heartened to hear that you are making some headway on such things in Wisconsin, even though it may seem incremental in terms of what is needed.

    I will requote what has been repeated above:

    “For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.”

    Reading this article made my blood boil once again, but I am very glad for your work. Thank you for shining the light into these dark places. I hope that I can live up to a similar calling, which is the best tribute I can think of for my own daughter.

  9. Thank you to MAD in America and the subject for your work.

    I had to stop reading the home state top press, the Detroit Free Press, because of their abysmal coverage of mental health care. And refusal to cover my story, involving the state’s largest community college setting me up with criminal psychiatry.

    The horror is still just as strong. Psychological abuse for a year, accused of being school shooter material based on nothing, except retaliation, hack shrinks, removal from the classroom as tenured teacher, non payment, no due process, declassroomed but not fired, and then the big finish: suicide swatting–all because I was bullied by other unions teachers over the creation of the teaching schedule (greedy little prima donna piglets), but would not shut up about it. I was sexist police abducted, as one can count on, especially in 2013, then not evaluated in the small midwestern Catholic emergency room or the psych ward, but kept for week, human trafficked. I was not suicidal but psychiatry does not ask questions other than how many days can we bill her insurance? Then, leaving the realm of any other story I have heard, Bill Schuette, the former AG who wanted to be governor, retaliated (all documented), with the state police, to silence me. I have served a month in jail for fighting for my human and civil rights against criminal psychiatry, which means I will be poor and very vulnerable until I am dead.

    Thanks a bunch, criminal psychiatry.

    All about the money. Power. Ego. If you can kill the bitch, go ahead (what Sid Salkow said in film school). An extreme but true story. Still have not read anything like it even on these pages.

    Freep ignored my story–until they stole it. And left me to rot.

    There is no doubt success in this country is based on whoredom, no doubt in my mind. Bob Dylan said you gotta serve someone. Yeah, your own interests.

    For ten years I have been telling the Freep about the lack of oversight of patients rights in Michigan.

    https://www.freep.com/in-depth/news/local/2022/09/09/built-conflict-hurts-michigans-most-vulnerable-advocates-say/9461250002/?fbclid=IwAR3rPRRrpzmczqBnFqG_muG0Vm2oA3C5s45iB06PfK-U39rIhb3dDd0R7Tc

    I only found this story because MAD linked to a related podcast.

  10. Bravo Rob Wipond and Elizabeth Rich for all your dedication and initiatives to expose these inhumanities and grave injustices. So very sorry for the loss of your son Elizabeth. The inhumanity dealt to vulnerable people who psychiatry labels ‘mentally ill’ is utterly chilling. Sadly most people aren’t aware until it happens to them or a loved one. Your work is so important to make more awareness and push back in every way possible.

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