In a MIA survey of people who had been patients in mental hospitals, nearly 500 respondents told of an experience that was often traumatic, and frequently characterized by a violation of their legal rights, forced treatment with drugs, and physical or sexual abuse. Only 17% said they were “satisfied” with the “quality of the psychiatric treatment” they received.
Recent press coverage of top star Britney Spears, who remains under a personal and professional guardianship, reflects conventional attitudes about “mental illness” that are both stigmatizing and encourage legislation that promotes forced treatment.
Sometimes I get so sick of the lies of biological psychiatry that I must speak out. At these moments I find silence to be a kind of emotional death: a death of my spirit, a death of my critical faculties, a death of my courage. I speak out because I am alive and I wish to align with life.
On World Mental Health Day, UN expert Dainius Pūras calls for a shift away from medical solutions toward a rights-based approach to make life “more liveable.” He calls for states to address societal determinants of mental health, promoting autonomy and resilience.
New analysis of post-discharge suicide rates finds estimates 6 times higher than recent studies.
I am a survivor of forced psychiatry, and I bring this perspective with me as a human rights lawyer. People with disabilities have a right to be as we are and not to have our bodies and minds made over to suit other people. We alone have the right to decide whether a medical treatment will support who we are or detract from who we are, and that is why free and informed consent is the essential requirement.
In a new report, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to health, Dr. Dainius Pūras, calls for a move away from the biomedical model and “excessive use of psychotropic medicines.”
After 25 years of chronic emergency, 22 mental hospitalizations, a stint at a “community mental health center,” 13 years in a "board & care," repeated withdrawals from addictions to legal drugs, and a 12-year marriage, I plan to live every last breath out as a survivor, an advocate, and an artist.
MIA's Peter Simons interviews David Cohen, PhD, on his path to researching mental health, coercive practices, and discontinuation from psychiatric drugs.
I am a psychiatrist who believes that involuntary treatment is rarely effective in the long run but I am also a psychiatrist who sometimes forces people into hospitals against their will.
The case of this young girl, virtually kidnapped by Harvard psychiatrists who had her parents' custody rights taken away, has become a well-reported scandal. Ordinary people are seeing that the power of psychiatry, which has no place in a democratic society, can be used against regular folks. It isn't just a danger to the crazed psychotic killers that people with psychiatric labels are portrayed to be. This is a critical moment for our movement, and we should not ignore it.
Researchers examine psychiatrist-client interactions and find that clients are often left with few opportunities to make explicit requests to change their medication regimen.
Changing the mental health and psychosocial support system in Germany requires public debate about the ways our society should help and support people in mental crisis and with chronic mental health problems. We believe the driving force behind all help and support should be humanitarianism and respect for inalienable human rights.
Both Michel Foucault and Thomas Szasz dated the beginnings of a distinct Western institutional response to madness to the late 1500s-early 1600s. But while for Foucault it started in France with the creation of the public “hôpital général” for the poor insane, for Szasz it began in England with the appearance of for-profit madhouses where upper class families shut away inconvenient relatives. Regardless of their different ideas on the beginnings of anything resembling a mental health system, both authors agree that it was characterized by the coercive incarceration of a specially labeled group.
Garth Daniels, a 39-year-old Melbourne man, has been shackled for 110 days and forced to undergo ECT 94 times at three times a week against his will. Last year, his family asked me to provide a second opinion on Garth’s case. As predicted, my recommendations against continued ECT were quickly dismissed by the hospital. There are critically important issues at stake in this case.
While I have lived just a few miles away from the Capitol for the last fifteen years, I have been unsure about getting involved in legislative advocacy. I’ve been intimidated by the complexity of the legislative process, and more inclined to leave it up to others who I perceive as having more experience than me. And honestly, I haven’t felt very hopeful about effecting change. My cynicism had turned to “learned helplessness.” And then along came a mental health bill so destructive, so regressive, that I had to step out of my uncomfortable comfort zone.
A CVS pharmacy recently sent me a standardized form by fax with a dire warning about one of my patients. The form was called “MEDICATION NONADHERENCE THERAPY ADVISORY” and it said: “A review of your patient’s retail and mail prescription history indicates that the patient has not obtained his or her first refill.”
From The New York Times: Although the official diagnosis of Asperger's disorder has recently been dropped from the DSM, it is still included in the...
Outpatient commitment laws, passed by a number of states, permit forced commitment to treatment of those whom a psychiatrist, psychologist, or mental health official deems in need of treatment. The majority of this “treatment,” while not specifically written in the law, results in coercive tactics to pressure agreement to take pharmaceutical preparations of limited-to-no effectiveness but - as shown in early research - with massive effects on cognitive functions and subsequent decision-making ability, not to mention a long-term or lifelong diminished quality of life and ability to function as a productive member of society.
Again and again I am told the ‘severely mentally ill’ are impaired and incapable, not quite human. I am told the “high utilizers” and “frequent flyers” burden services because they are different than the rest of us. And when I finally do meet the people carrying that terrible, stigmatizing label of schizophrenia, what do I find? I find – a human being. A human who responds to the same listening and curiosity that I, or anyone, responds to. I find a human who is above all terrified, absolutely terrified, by some horrible trauma we may not see or understand.
A new review finds that dehumanizing language, including self-dehumanization, is connected to anxiety, depression, and disordered eating.
The FDA approved the prescribing and sale of a new hi-tech compliance-monitoring “antipsychotic” drug this week. A new chapter in human darkness has descended — one that is applauded by the alliance of control addicts that made it happen.
This week a commentary, written by members of the University of Pennsylvania Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy and titled “Improving Long-term Psychiatric Care: Bring Back the Asylum” was published in JAMA Online. The authors recommend a return to asylum care, albeit not as a replacement for but as an addition to improved community services and only for those who have “severe and treatment-resistant psychotic disorders, who are too unstable or unsafe for community based treatment.” The authors seem to accept the notion of transinstitutionalization (TI) which suggests that people who in another generation would have lived in state hospitals are now incarcerated in jails and prisons. While I do not agree, I do find there is a need for a safe place for people to stay while they work through their crisis.
Every culture has its share of individuals who break down in bewilderment. People who hallucinate, behave beyond norms, seek to die, think in strange ways.
European citizens from 27 different countries will soon go to the polls to elect their representatives in the European Parliament for the next five years. As an advocacy organisation, we see those elections as an opportunity to call on current and future European leaders and policymakers to bring mental health to the heart of European policies.