Forced Psychiatry Is Expanding – At Society’s Peril

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From The Globe and Mail: “A researcher, scholar and gifted philosopher-poet, Erin Soros has garnered two National Magazine Awards, a CBC Literary Award, and a Simon Fraser University residency.

She also has a history of serious trauma.

This May, Ms. Soros won a Writers’ Union of Canada award for her account of seeking mental-health help in 2022, and then getting detained in a Vancouver psychiatric hospital, where she was threatened, stripped, tied down with four-point restraints, and forcibly tranquillized. She described this involuntary ‘care’ as unnecessary, brutal, traumatizing, and like ‘institutionalized rape.’

During the research for my book, I interviewed hundreds of ordinary, intelligent people like Ms. Soros who have experienced forced psychiatric treatment — overstretched single parents, struggling university students, war refugees, sexual assault victims, and those who’d recently lost spouses or jobs — and many of them shared similar stories and perspectives. After being committed by apparently well-intentioned, risk-averse or overprotective psychiatric professionals, declining psychotropic drugs became evidence of ‘lack of insight’ into their ‘need for treatment’; security guards, restraints and forced drugging often followed. I also found mental-health law powers being increasingly used in social or institutional management: Staff in schools, foster and group homes, workplaces and government agencies, housing, long-term care facilities, and mental-health hotlines often get disruptive, distressed or protesting people forcibly taken to psychiatric hospitals.

When politicians, pundits and others call for expanding involuntary commitment, is this what they are picturing?”

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9 COMMENTS

  1. I will recommend anyone supporting Mad in America to open that link to the full article and read all the comments of those people concerned for their safety. Those belong to the group that should be talked and debated with for any change in politics.

    They are living in a world full of success stories of medicines and the dangerous violent deeds of those who do not take them and the reliable doctors that can be trusted. As a group they have a strong belief that whether someone is a danger for themselves and for others can be objectively perceived using mental health diagnostics. They talk about diagnoses as existing facts.

    Among their shared family stories of mental illness there are no environmental or social factors causing the behavior considered as ill and there is no behavior considered as ill by some group, but accurate science proven illnesses that state unquestionable factuals.

    They do not count the number of those who are hurt by psychiatry for in their world there are severe mental illnesses like mania and psychosis that do not go away without medication. Those severe and damaging mental health conditions require forced medication and a secured environment to prevent killings. They have also heard of antipsychiatry. They as reasonable people know that they know reality extremely well.

    That minor link visit can be an educational field trip out of comfort zone.

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    • Hi, Janne,

      I looked at some of the top (“most respected”) comments on the full article…I had to quit after reading 5 or so comments. I start to get scared reading one after another mini-manifesto from a seriously angry person saying “there’s not *enough* forced treatment!”

      Many of them seem to be linking the most recent violent crime (or most violent recent crime) to prove they’re right.

      The tone and position taken in the majority of these comments reminds me of the New York Times comment section. Every time I’ve tried to add my two cents to the New York Times comments, which I used to do whenever there was an article about psych drugs, forced treatment, etc, I’m either ignored or attacked.

      I don’t know what the answer is. They won’t listen to people who’ve been labeled with mental illness/force treated. They seem to only want to hear from “top psychiatrists” or others who claim to “know what it is like from direct experience to have a mentally ill person in the family”. It’s like their entire education was provided by NAMI and Pfizer commercials.

      Knowing that my neighbors and people I encounter when I dare step outside probably agree that “there needs to be more forced treatment bEcAUsE mental health”, I just want to stay in my apartment for the duration.

      I agree, this is a cohort that need to be engaged with and, hopefully, educated, but I think they are going to be extremely resistant to changing their positions, and they won’t definitely listen to psych survivors. I think, for these people, it’s beside the point that people are often abused in force treatment situations and most often come out in worse shape/more destabilized. It’s actually terrifying how their only concern is being able to get someone off the street and wash their hands of it.

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    • Janne,
      Most mental health professionals and family members of distressed people disregard (or are ignorant of) the reality of the “Identified Patient”, i.e. the scapegoat role they unknowingly assign to distressed people. It’s the unhealthy dynamic that drives a lot of relationships and societies. And psychiatry (and even psychology) make a career out of blaming the patient because instead of engaging in self-reflection.

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  2. There was a very recent shooting situation in downtown Auckland. The gunman, it was revealed a day later had had mental health issues ( and was with the dept of corrections being monitored by ankle bracelet at home for violence against women charges)
    My thoughts on this are that anyone no matter how violent, seemingly, is given special favour if they accept medication. They have priviledges and benefits of freedom. he had the freedom to not be in prison, to be monitored yet allowed out to his place of work, where the shootings happened.
    He strangled a woman and injured her neck. I think (?) she survived.
    People are asking “Why was he allowed to come and go so freely?”
    My answer is – Compliant with Medication.
    That is the ticket to freedom, priviledges and lenience.
    Punishment is reserved for non-compliant patients. Suspicion falls on those non-compliant with medication and the monitoring is stricter with force medication etc.
    Rights, human rights, are more likely to apply to patients who are compliant with psych medication.
    I think he must have been on psych medication and willingly so, in order to go freely enough to work with just an ankle bracelet to monitor and little else.
    I notice that although people are aware he had a mental health background, that the question of was he medicated at the time doesn’t show up.
    Like Birdsong said (above) Psychiatric drugs- forced or not- can cause psychosis and violent behaviour.
    I sometimes feel like there is too much unreality around, that the truth becomes almost impossible to believe. Maybe I’ve been in psychiatry as a non-compliant for too long.

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    • And we can see exactly how helpful the psych drugs were in preventing further violence!

      I agree with you, people should be judged on the danger and disrespect of their behavior, not some label affixed to them or some lenience based on “compliance with medication” or whatever else. We can see that compliance and safety don’t necessarily bear any relationship to each other.

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