Sunday, September 20, 2020

Do We Need More Hospital Beds?

In an article published by the Treatment Advocacy Center, The Shortage of Public Hospital Beds for Mentally Ill Persons, the authors (D. J. Jaffe and E. Fuller Torrey) present the idea that we have far too few hospital beds in this country, and because of that there has been a dramatic shift towards the diversion of people labeled with mental illness into prisons and homelessness. Their answer to this issue is that we should radically increase the amount of hospital beds and we should also dramatically increase our reliance on outpatient treatment in the form of mandated involuntary medication programs. As many people know here, the TAC has been highly influential politically and the authors of this paper have been instrumental in getting laws passed that mandate the outpatient use of psychiatric drugs for people who have been civilly committed.

Mad Pride: Making a Truce With the Voices in Your Head

In this piece for Vice, Tess McClure describes New Zealand's Mad Pride movement, a movement that seeks to destigmatize, normalize, and celebrate experiences of voice-hearing...

The Murphy Bill: People are Afraid

Recently, the Murphy Bill in the United States Congress has resurfaced as a tangible threat to the civil liberties of individuals labelled "seriously mentally ill." As many others might relate, my reaction was one of rage, sadness, and utter bafflement. Yet, here we are. Having defeated the bill once, it is back like herpes. After my frustration and anger dissipated a bit, I pondered this and was hit with a "duh" moment. Politics is not about facts; politics is about power, money, and playing on the emotions of society.

Why Aren’t Providers Screaming About the Mental Health Act?

In this piece for Tales from the Madhouse, Gary Sidley critiques the Mental Health Act as a form of legal discrimination against people deemed "mentally...

Don’t Reframe a Housing Crisis as a Mental Health Crisis

"It is unacceptable for this municipality to create a housing crisis and then reframe it as a mental health crisis," writes the Vancouver Area...
escape from AOT birdcage

Escaping from AOT: Letter to the Judge

To the judge presiding over my upcoming AOT hearing: I would like a better way to take care of my own health care than the choices currently being imposed on me by community mental health centers, which involve forcibly injecting me with a drug that I do not want and making me take a daily pill that I do not want to take. There is no reason that anyone should make my own health care choices for me.

The Need to Address Suicide in Prisons

Rates of suicide in prison are significantly higher than in the general population.

“Medicating a Prophet”

In the New York Times Sunday Review, Irene Hurford, a psychiatrist, reflects on the ethics of forced treatment for psychosis. “As doctors,” she writes,...

Ten Simple Things We Can Do Immediately to Reduce Suicide

In this piece for Unthinkable, Dr. Jacob Z. Hess describes ten ways we can all help to reduce suicide, including promoting self-determination and choice in...

“Would Washington’s FDA Fix Cure the Patients or the Drug Industry?”

Legislation is being advanced that would speed up the FDA’s approval process for new drugs and medical devices, according to a report by the Pacific Standard. Pharmaceutical and medical device companies have been lobbying heavily to reduce regulations and are winning over bipartisan support by attaching these measures to increased mental health funding.

Compulsory Treatment Laws in Germany’s Psychiatric Wards

The science magazine RUBIN provides an update on patients’ rights to refuse treatment in Germany's psychiatric wards. “In psychiatric wards in Germany, patients used to be medicated indiscriminately against their will if doctors considered it necessary. It was only after a Federal Constitution Court ruling a few years ago that patient autonomy has been strengthened.”
UN

UN to USA: Forced Treatment is Prohibited

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.

APA: Do Not Take a “See No Evil” Approach to Torture

From Psychology Today: The American Psychological Association has previously taken a number of steps to take responsibility for its involvement in torture and make amends to...

Abolishing Forced Treatment in Psychiatry is an Ethical Imperative

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.

US Congressman, 64, Admits to an Affair with ‘Close Friend’

From Daily Mail: U.S. Representative Tim Murphy, who proposed the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, which includes provisions to expand coercive treatment, has...

ECT for Agitation and Aggression in Dementia

The International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry published an article titled Safety and utility of acute electroconvulsive therapy for agitation and aggression in dementia,  which concludes "Electroconvulsive therapy may be a safe treatment option to reduce symptoms of agitation and aggression in patients with dementia whose behaviors are refractory to medication management." But the participants were not a random selection of people taking the drugs in question. Rather, they were individuals selected because of aggressive behavior, most of whom had been taking some or all of these drugs on admission. So it is a distinct possibility that the aggression was a drug effect for many, or even most, of the study participants.

May 2nd – Day of Remembrance and Resistance

On May 2nd, 2017, the International Association Against Psychiatric Assault (IAAPA) staged a demonstration in Berlin to commemorate the psychiatric mass murders in Nazi...

“Murphy Bill” Continues to Exclude Voices of Millions with Mental Health Conditions as It...

On November 4, the Health Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce (E&C) Committee marked up an amended version of the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2015 (H.R. 2646), introduced by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) and Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX). However, the bill still does not reflect the voices or meet the needs of millions of Americans with lived experience of mental health conditions because the E&C Health Subcommittee failed to incorporate our recommendations.

“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.”

Forced Psychiatry is Torture

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.

Advocate for Outpatient Committal Recants

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Tom Burns recants. Burns is described as a psychiatrist who was long one of the strongest...

Study Examines the Difficulty of Withdrawing from Antidepressant Drugs

Correcting unnecessary long-term antidepressant use is difficult and met with apprehension by providers and service-users.

I’m Reinventing Mental Health Care by Putting Patients in Charge

In this piece for The Guardian, Joy Hibbins describes how her experiences of powerlessness as a mental health service user led her to start Suicide...

The Curious Case of over 50 Consecutive ECTs in Melbourne

Over the past few weeks I have been witness to, and increasingly involved in trying to stop one of the most extreme examples of psychiatric brutality I have encountered in my 40 years in this field. And I have encountered quite a few. I suggest you sit down before watching and reading. This is not your usual, run-of-the-mill psychiatric abuse story.

Call for Submissions: Smash Paternalism Anthology

A new anthology is seeking essays, short stories, poetry, and visual art on the topic of paternalism, i.e. abuses or human rights violations that are...

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