Saturday, April 4, 2020

“Former Navy Pilot Sues U.S. Government Over Bipolar Diagnosis”

A former Navy pilot claims that a VA doctor misdiagnosed him with a mental disorder that prevented him from flying and ended his career. William Royster was told in 2004 that he was bipolar, that it was a permanent condition, and that he could no longer work in any capacity, according to the Navy Times. A different psychiatrist, however, later told Royster that he never met the criteria for diagnosis.

“Former U.S. Detainees Sue Psychologists Responsible For CIA Torture Program”

On Tuesday morning, the ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of three former detainees against the psychologists who collaborated with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to oversee the torture program. According to the Intercept, psychologists James Mitchell and John “Bruce” Jessen and their employees collected over $85 million dollars for designing and implementing techniques, based off of the work of Martin Seligman, that combatted torture-resistance techniques by creating a state of “learned helplessness.” There is, however, no evidence that these techniques gleaned any useful intelligence.

On the Link Between Psychiatric Drugs and Violence

One of psychiatry's most obvious vulnerabilities is the fact that various so-called antidepressant drugs induce homicidal and suicidal feelings and actions in some people, especially late adolescents and young adults. This fact is not in dispute, but psychiatry routinely downplays the risk, and insists that the benefits of these drugs outweigh any risks of actual violence that might exist.

University Owes Mistreated Psychiatric Subjects an Apology

The University of Minnesota recently announced that it is ending the controversial practice of recruiting study participants from patients involuntarily being held in their psychiatric unit. In a commentary for Minnesota’s Star Tribune, bioethicist and MIA contributor Carl Elliot reports that the university has still not apologized to the patient who spoke out against this practice. Instead, “the university has done its best to discredit him.”

University of Minnesota Ends Recruiting of Research Subjects on Involuntarily Holds

The University of Minnesota announced a change to its research ethics policies this month after coming under criticism “following the recruitment of a schizophrenia...

Murphy’s Mental Health Bill a Threat to Civil Liberties

In an Op-ed for the Times Union, Madeleine Ringwald explains how the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act “would severely disable protection and advocacy organizations from protecting the civil, legal and human rights of people in mental health services.” “Whether you examine it through a scientific, civil rights or bottom-line lens, Murphy's bill should appall you,” she writes. “Any legislation that bolsters institutionalization at the cost of community-based services seeks not to help those with mental health needs, but help society find ways to hide, suppress and silence them.”

“The Life of a Professional Guinea Pig”

In the Atlantic, Cari Romm describes “what it is like to earn a living as a research subject in clinical trials.” “Phase 1 trials are almost always where the money is,” she writes, but they are “also the least regulated” and “companies aren’t legally required to register a trial with Clinicaltrials.gov.” “It seems to me like if you were considering signing up for one of these things, you would at least want to know the data that’s out there about [safety],” said Carl Elliott, an author for MIA and expert on the ethics of human subject research.

Lieberman Claims Mass Shooters are Untreated Mentally Ill in the ‘Times

Jeffrey Lieberman, past-president of the American Psychiatric Association, authored an Op-Ed in last Friday’s New York Times, calling for improved mental health screenings in schools and emergency rooms in the wake of the murder of Virginia journalists Alison Park and Adam Ward. In support of forced treatment mechanisms, Lieberman claims: “Almost every mentally ill perpetrator of mass violence had been symptomatic and untreated for lengthy periods of time before their crime, because they (or their families) did not seek treatment or they refused it.”

Regarding Representative Tim Murphy’s Helping Families In Mental Health Crisis Act

Representative Murphy has released the second version of the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (H.R. 2646). Few can argue that the mental health system and the current approach towards helping individuals and families in crisis are abysmal. H.R. 2646 is an effort to create increased service provisions and to enhance interventions that many professionals, family members and service users alike believe to be effective. When people are desperate and suffering they do not wish to be told "Sorry, there's nothing we can do." And so, it is understandable and even laudable that so many support the proposals laid out in H.R. 2646. But the bill is based on distorted and faulty logic that misrepresents the research and evidence base. This is highly disconcerting. And so a collective of mental health professionals, mental health advocates, and persons with lived experience came together to produce the following documents in response to H.R. 2646.

With the Public Defrauded, the Illegitimacy of Forced Psychiatry Crystallizes

If we accept Robert Whitaker and Lisa Cosgrove’s assessment that informed consent for a person to participate in psychiatry is not informed consent because of the fraud that Americans are subjected to by organized psychiatry, then the consensus for laws that support forced psychiatry have also not been garnered with informed consent. If the average person is offering support to psychiatry via their legislators, because they are operating under the fraud organized psychiatry has perpetrated on the people, then that support is illegitimate.

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.

A Declaration of Interdependence for the Era of the Murphy Bill

How we think about health, happiness, and self-fulfillment, how they are linked with flawed systems of government has been assigned to the domain of social scientists. The most influential of those are the psychiatrists who have been given the government-mandated power to diagnose, incarcerate and forcibly drug those who are perceived to have a form of mental illness. I believe that such power is arbitrary, unjust and frequently harmful.

What Do the OCTET Outpatient Committal Trials Really Tell Us?

-Two commentaries in The Lancet Psychiatry debate what the OCTET trials have shown about community treatment orders.

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.

An Open Letter to Colin Powell

Dear Colin Powell: You shared that your wife was diagnosed by a psychiatrist as having a ‘chemical imbalance.’ You said she was, as a result, put on psychotropics and found success after doing so. I’m not going to attempt to take that away from her, but whereas so many issues encompass shades of gray, the chemical imbalance theory does not. The chemical imbalance theory is not just unproven; It is debunked. But you need not take my word for it.

Madness in Civilisation: A Cultural History of Insanity

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.

“How was Your Stay in a Psychiatric Hospital?”

-"I'm sorry this blog post turned out to be so polarizing," writes Shrink Rap psychiatrist Dinah Miller. "No one has ever called me 'evil' before."

“Are There Ways To Lessen The Violation That People Feel After Psychiatric Hospitalizations?”

-Psychiatrist Dinah Miller asks her readers if giving patients pizza or cake when they're discharged would help alleviate their traumatization from forced treatment.

“This Microchip Will Deliver Drugs in Your Body by Remote Control”

-Motherboard reports on an implantable chip that can hold hundreds of doses of drugs and be activated by remote control.

Assisted Outpatient Treatment in Orange County is So Far All Voluntary

-Four months into the implementation of "Laura's Law" for Assisted Outpatient Treatment, everyone offered extra services has chosen to use them voluntarily.

Does Forced Treatment Save Taxpayers “Gobs of Money”?

-Time magazine reports on a study about Assisted Outpatient Treatment, without disclosing that the study was developed for prominent promoters of AOT.

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.

“She fought for patients’ rights, then she was put in a hospital against her...

-A prominent advocate against forced psychiatric treatment was recently involuntarily committed.

Involuntary Mental Health Treatment Will Not Fix Anything

Kathleen Flaherty argues that it is understandable why some people think involuntary outpatient commitment will improve Connecticut's mental health system, but the belief is misguided.

Reflecting Back on a Campaign to Stop Forced Outpatient ECT

One of the most amazing activist campaigns I have been involved in during my 40 years of protest for human rights in the mental health system, was the effort to stop the involuntary electroshock of Ray Sandford of Minnesota. Ray reached MindFreedom in the Fall of 2008, and an international human rights campaign began for him.

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