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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
MIA's Peter Simons interviews David Cohen, PhD, on his path to researching mental health, coercive practices, and discontinuation from psychiatric drugs.
New analysis of post-discharge suicide rates finds estimates 6 times higher than recent studies.
Psychological abuse and childhood neglect are strongly associated with depression in adulthood, according to a meta-analysis of childhood trauma and depression published in this month’s issue of the Journal of Affective Disorders. “The findings clearly highlight the potential impact of the more ‘silent’ types of childhood maltreatment (other than physical and sexual abuse) on the development of depression,” the researchers conclude.
From Atlas Obscura: In the 1930s, hundreds of people with mental disabilities committed to the now abandoned DeJarnette Sanitarium were forcibly sterilized and experimented on by the...
People, in general, are afraid when other people act with hostility. This is a natural human instinct, of course. However, meeting people in crisis by returning fear and violence will often backfire. Finding a way to connect can instead be healing for everyone involved.
A new review finds that dehumanizing language, including self-dehumanization, is connected to anxiety, depression, and disordered eating.
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.
Recently, Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, identified the “NIMH’s Top 10 Research Advances of 2011.” He wrote: “This has been a year of exciting discoveries and scientific progress . . . Here are 10 breakthroughs and events of 2011 that are changing the landscape of mental health research.”
The experience with the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention's visit to the US is a watershed for our work against forced psychiatry. Step by step, global and national advocacy support each other as part of a worldwide movement to abolish forced psychiatry using the UN human rights framework.
One-third of adults with an intellectual or developmental disability are dispensed antipsychotics, despite having no existing psychiatric diagnosis.
Justina Pelletier, who lived with her parents in Connecticut, had been diagnosed with mitochondrial disease, a rare and debilitating illness, and had been receiving treatment for this from Mark Korson, MD, Chief of Metabolism Services at Tufts Medical Center in Boston. In February of last year, Justina's parents took her to Boston Children's Hospital with flu-like symptoms. Dr. Korson had recommended an admission to Boston Children's so that Justina could be seen by Alex Flores, MD, a gastrointestinal specialist who had recently transferred from Tufts to BCH. But instead, Justina's care was taken over by the psychiatry department.
On May 14 and 15, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights held a meeting on human rights in mental health. The event represented tensions in the United Nations between the promotion of mental health and the promotion of the human rights of people with psychosocial disabilities under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
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.
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.
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.
I was contacted on one occasion to conduct an assessment and consult with a family in regards to their son who was in his...
Children have moments of looking at themselves apart from the established structure. This becomes more pronounced in the teen years. This can become a...