Saturday, November 16, 2019

Bring Back the Asylum?

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.

Letter to the Mother of a “Schizophrenic”: We Must Do Better Than Forced Treatment...

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.

The Social Life of Opioids

From Scientific American: Increasing prescription rates of opioid painkillers are often blamed for America's current opioid crisis. However, a growing body of research suggests that...

Tampa Council Proposes ban on Conversion Therapy for Minors

From the Tampa Bay Times: The Tampa City Council recently moved to ban mental health professionals from providing gay conversion therapy to minors, proposing penalties of...

Representative Tim Murphy Resigns From Congress

From The Washington Post: Representative Tim Murphy, who has worked to decrease the civil rights of those labeled mentally ill, has announced that he will...

The History of Brainwashing is a Red Flag for Technotherapy

From Aeon: In the 1950s, psychiatrist Donald Ewen Cameron developed a treatment called psychic driving, which involved removing distressing memories and pathological behaviors through an...

Using Participatory Action in Bioethics Research

Participatory action approaches in bioethics research used to decrease coercion and seclusion in psychiatric treatment.

Study Privileges the Voices of Persons Hospitalized Against Their Will

How people are treated after being hospitalized can either help them to overcome the traumatic effects of coercion or make them worse.

An Anti-Violence Mental Health Plan

It seems almost every week now that we hear of a mass murder/shooting in the media. By now the pattern is too familiar to be as frightening as it once was. The response has also become reflexive: Guns should be made less available, especially to people with mental illnesses, and potentially dangerous people should be treated for their mental illnesses − involuntarily if necessary − so they can live safely in our community. Yet, nothing much changes, outraging the next set of victim’s families and communities.

“Psychotropic Drug Prescriptions Increase at State Prisons”

Thirty-three percent of all inmates in New Mexico are taking at least one psychotropic drug. The rate is up from 25% in 2013, according to a report by The Santa Fe New Mexican. While the prescription rate at the federal level is 10%, 30% of male inmates and 70% of female inmates in New Mexico are prescribed psychotropic drugs.

Hopeless But Not Broken: From George Carlin to Protest Music

From CounterPunch: Although people are often pathologized and shamed for feeling hopeless, hopelessness is sometimes a natural reaction to an oppressive political climate. George Carlin...

Psych Ward Ramblings

In this piece for Medium, activist and survivor Louisa J. Harvey describes the experience of being locked in a psychiatric institution on an involuntary hold. "This is not...

New Zealand Man Died After Being Restrained in Japan

From The Guardian: Kelly Savage, a 27-year-old New Zealand man working abroad as an English teacher in Japan, was admitted to a Japanese psychiatric hospital...

Refugees and Immigrants Experience Increased Medical Coercion

Refugees and first-generation immigrants of African descent are at greater risk of experiencing medical coercion when compared to immigrants of other visible minority communities in Canada.

DeJarnette Sanitarium

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...

Psychiatric Survivors Left Out Of UK Smoking Ban Debate

As the UK debates whether to ban smoking inside and outside of mental health hospitals, the BMJ has solicited opinion pieces on the debate for an upcoming issue. However, psychiatric survivors have come forward alleging that the BMJ refused to print their pieces unless they removed descriptions of forced treatment and coercive care.

‘Breastaurants’ Are Hurting Employees’ Mental Health

From HuffPost Canada: New research suggests that working at restaurants that sell sexual objectification of female staff, such as Hooters, can have a negative impact...

“Saving Congressman Murphy from Fraudulent Information”

Dennis Embry, a clinical psychologist and government consultant on mental health, shares a letter he sent to congressman Murphy warning him about how he may have been misled concerning his mental health bill. “I am specifically writing you about erroneous, false information you’ve been given about the National Registry of Evidence Base Programs and Practices. That erroneous information is likely to cause serious problems, which have been withheld from you.”

Investigative Reporting on Florida’s Mental Hospitals Wins Pulitzer Prize

A team of reporters and data specialists from the Tampa Bay Times and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune spent more than a year investigating Florida’s largest...

Inappropriate Use of Antipsychotics on Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

One-third of adults with an intellectual or developmental disability are dispensed antipsychotics, despite having no existing psychiatric diagnosis.

Crazy Talk: The Dangerous Rhetoric of Mental Illness

In this piece for Eidolon, Jessica Wright discusses the ways that labeling people as "crazy" and "mentally ill" has served to justify oppression throughout history....

Father Munchausen, I Presume!

I’ve had some criticism of the recent Doctor Munchausen posts. They’re not fair on doctors. Many people have told me of lives saved by good doctors. It’s not fair to tar these good doctors with the brush of a few Dr Munchausens here and there. So there’s bad doctoring and good doctoring and great doctoring. What would great doctoring mean?

“New ‘Smart’ Drugs Tell Doctor You’re Not Taking Them”

The Washington Examiner reports that the manufacturer of the antipsychotic Abilify is seeking FDA approval for new digitized pills that would alert doctors if patients fail to take their drugs on schedule.

The Other Big Drug Problem: Older People Taking Too Many Pills

From The Washington Post: In addition to the opioid crisis, America has one other prescription drug epidemic — older Americans are taking far too many unnecessary...

“Mental Health Bill Caters to Big Pharma and Would Expand Coercive Treatments”

Oryx Cohen at TruthOut explains why the "Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (HR 2646) - commonly known as the 'Murphy Bill' - appears to cater more closely to the desires of pharmaceutical companies than to the actual needs of people in psychological distress, perhaps because of Murphy's connections to key lobbyists." "If the Murphy Bill is passed, psychiatric hospitals and pharmaceutical companies will reap huge financial benefits as a result of increased hospitalization and forced treatment."

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