MIA Survey: Ex-patients Tell of Force, Trauma and Sexual Abuse in America’s Mental Hospitals

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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.
Berlin Manifesto launch

Berlin Manifesto for Humane Psychiatry Released

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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.

Risk of Suicide After Hospitalization Even Higher Than Previously Estimated

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New analysis of post-discharge suicide rates finds estimates 6 times higher than recent studies.

Violence Caused by Antidepressants: An Update after Munich  

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The media is now reporting details about the 18-year-old who shot and killed nine and wounded many others before killing himself on July 22 in Munich. My clinical and forensic experience leads to a distinction among people who murder under the influence of psychiatric drugs. Those who kill only one or two people, or close family members, often have little or no history of mental disturbance and violent tendencies. The drug itself seems like the sole cause of the violent outburst. On the other hand, most of those who commit mass violence while taking psychiatric drugs often have a long history of mental disturbance and sometimes violence. For these people, the mental health system seems to have provoked increasing violence without recognizing the danger.

“Prisons Without Bars” – Forced Institutionalization of People with Disabilities

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In the wake of deinstitutionalization, we no longer have the vast asylum system we once did. Instead, something more insidious has taken root — for-profit institutions that call themselves neurorehabilitation centers, group homes, and other official-sounding names.
involuntary commitment

What It’s Like to Be Involuntarily Committed

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Ten years after being fired for taking a mental health leave after the Virginia Tech massacre, I was diagnosed as "schizophrenic" and involuntarily committed to a hospital. Now I have a job and a life, but I'm still forced to take drugs and report to a social worker.
hospital is sick

When the Hospital is Sick

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At my job as an inpatient mental health counselor, I had to confront the reality of a hospitalization system with serious and devastating flaws. I felt immensely powerless and understood how my coworkers could end up so negligent, numb, and at times abusive. And I understood how patients could become violent or self-injurious after years in these dismal hospitals.

Study Finds Improved Functioning for ‘Schizophrenia’ Without Antipsychotics

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Long-term treatment with antipsychotic drugs is currently considered the standard treatment for patients diagnosed with ‘schizophrenia.’ A new study challenges this practice, however. The...

United Nations Report Calls for Revolution in Mental Health Care

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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.”

Committed: The Battle Over Involuntary Psychiatric Care

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Dinah Miller and Annette Hanson are psychiatrists who blog at Shrink Rap. On one topic we agree — the subject of involuntary care is the most contentious and troubling topic for psychiatry. To their credit, they have directed an enormous amount of attention to this subject in their latest book.

Forced Psychiatry is Torture

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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.

Coercion in Care

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To this day I do not know how I found my way back. I think it might’ve had something to do with willpower, as I was NOT going to lose myself. I was NOT going to end up like those people who were living indefinitely in the hospital—those “chronic schizophrenics”, as they say. I was going to find my way back, back to myself.
decision in Norway

Forced Drugging with Antipsychotics is Against the Law: Decision in Norway

In all countries, we need to work for ensuring that forced medication for psychiatric patients is forbidden by law. Virtually all countries, apart from the US, have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which prohibits forced drugging, but not a single country has done anything.
UN

UN to USA: Forced Treatment is Prohibited

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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.

Psychiatric Diagnosis Can Lead to Epistemic Injustice, Researchers Claim

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A discussion of the role of epistemic injustice in the experiences of patients diagnosed with psychiatric disorders.

Dehumanization Linked to Poorer Mental and Physical Health

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A new review finds that dehumanizing language, including self-dehumanization, is connected to anxiety, depression, and disordered eating.

Feral Psychiatry: The Case of Garth Daniels

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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.

Abolishing Forced Treatment in Psychiatry is an Ethical Imperative

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Forced treatment in psychiatry cannot be defended, neither on ethical, legal or scientific grounds. It has never been shown that forced treatment does more good than harm, and it is highly likely that the opposite is true. We need to abolish our laws about this, in accordance with the United Na­tions Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which virtually all countries have ratified.

Electroshocking Veterans and Their Fetuses

I have long been concerned with the way society responds to people who come back from war. Veterans are routinely funneled into psychiatry’s grasp. Over the decades, some people who fought in wars have shared with me their experiences of being psychiatrized upon return from war. Sometimes these experiences included veterans being stripped of their second amendment rights, and a host of other constitutional, civil, and human rights violations as they began to be forced into complying with psychiatric regimens, and on several occasions this included veterans being subjected to electroshock.
UeckermĂźnde Germany institution

Inhumane Medicine in Germany: A Dark Chapter Continued

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Although I left UeckermĂźnde without the ability to speak, heavily traumatized and barely able to move, I managed to reclaim life after more than a decade. Today I am one of the few witnesses who survived the Hell of UeckermĂźnde, who can tell the story of my companions and raise awareness of the injustice committed against us as well as demand answers.

Madness in Civilisation: A Cultural History of Insanity

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Until recently the history of psychiatry was a neglected backwater whose murky depths were explored largely by psychiatrist. The impression conveyed by books such as Tuke’s Chapters in the History of the Insane in the British Isles, Macalpine and Hunter's Three Hundred Years of Psychiatry: 1535 - 1860, Berrios and Freemen's 150 Years of British Psychiatry 1841 - 1991, or Fuller Torrey and Miller's The Invisible Plague, is one that sees psychiatry and modern systems of mental health care as the inevitable outcome of progress through scientific thought, a (white European male-led) narrative from darkness and ignorance to enlightenment and knowledge.

Involuntary Hospitalization More Likely With Psychosis Diagnoses and Few Resources

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New study links involuntary hospitalization with psychotic diagnosis, previous involuntary hospitalization, and economic deprivation.

“If You Wanted to Kill Yourself, You Would Have Done It”

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From The Independent: The notion of choice is increasingly being used to discourage suicidal people from seeking help. Many people's suicidal thoughts and actions are...

Criticism of Coercion and Forced Treatment in Psychiatry

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A recent editorial, published in BMJ, argues there is an increase in coercive measures in psychiatry that are damaging to individuals diagnosed with mental illness.
ACT Assertive Community Treatment

Reflections on a Decade of Assertive Community Treatment

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Sometimes I am crazy and sometimes I need help, but that help must not be forced upon me. I need to direct my own care; I need to be listened to. ACT is a method of social control that has more to do with saving money than assisting those in need. Money is saved by turning patients' homes into hospitals.