Tuesday, April 7, 2020

“Committed: Stories about Stays in Psychiatric Hospitals”

-Longreads has posted links to online stories about being committed to psychiatric hospitals.

“Cop Stalks Woman, Has Her Committed When She Rejects Him”

-AlterNet reports on a lawsuit that accuses a police officer of abusing his mental health law powers.

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.

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.

Assessing the Cost of Psychiatric Drugs to the Elderly and Disabled Citizens of the...

ProPublica is well known for creating interesting data bases that allow anyone hooked up to a computer to see by name whether a physician is accepting Big Pharma payments — from dinners to speaking engagements to consulting services. What may be lesser known is that occasionally ProPublica will publish other data that when carefully mined can reveal even more about the use of psychiatric drugs especially when there is a public funding source available.

Coercion in Care

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.

Psychologists “Devised” and Played “Central Role” in CIA Torture Program

Professional psychologists designed most of the main techniques and strategies and played ongoing, active, central roles in the CIA's torture of people it was...

Michael Brown and the ‘Peer’ Movement

I’ve been arguing against calling this movement that I’m a part of a ‘peer’ movement for a long time. What has happened with Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri has helped me to crystallize that point. If we do not see what happens to some of us in the psychiatric system as connected to what happens to others because they are black or because they are transgender or because they love someone else of the same expressed gender (or because they live in poverty, etc. etc.), then I’m not sure any of us really, fully understands what it is we are trying to accomplish at all.

Forced Psychiatric Treatment of People Who aren’t Disordered: The Chinese Have a Word for...

An article in the journal Psychiatry, Psychology and Law reviews the development of China's new mental health legislation. The process took a significant turn,...

Outpatient Committal: “Politics and Psychiatry in a Culture of Fear”

Psychiatrists' use of community treatment orders (or outpatient committal) in the UK is already ten times more frequent than was originally envisioned, writes Manchester...

Authorities Ignoring Deaths, Forced Electroshock in Irish Mental Health System

An internal government investigation found that authorities did not investigate 50% of deaths that occurred inside mental health services in Ireland, reports the Irish...

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...

When Is Psychiatric Treatment Like Child Abuse?

In what ways can psychiatric treatments, and the relationships between psychiatrists and patients, be appropriately characterized as "abusive"? On his blog, MIA Foreign Correspondent...

Angry Caller to Help Line Tracked, Incarcerated in Psychiatric Hospital & Billed

John Albers was completely surprised when police came to his home at midnight and insisted on taking him to a psychiatric hospital, where he...

“Don’t Coerce the Mentally Ill into Treatment”

Republican Tim Murphy should be lauded for bringing attention to important issues through his proposed legislation, but he "has it wrong when it comes...

Pierce v. Pemiscot Hospital: Federal Judge Takes a Psychiatric Inmate’s Rights Seriously

On June 13, 2014, United States District Court Judge Carol E. Jackson issued a Memorandum and Order decision holding that a former psychiatric inmate was allowed to bring federal civil rights claims under 42 U.S.C. §1983 against hospital personnel when the hospital continued to hold her against her will after authorization had expired. In her Memorandum and Order decision, Judge Jackson took Ms. Pierce's rights seriously and, reading through it, one gets a sense that the court was offended by the cavalier attitude of hospital personnel towards their patients' rights. It is clear that if the Court's ruling is upheld, it can result in dramatic improvement in the way people are treated in Missouri psychiatric hospitals.

“Therapeutic” Boot Camps for Teens Still Out of Control

The Atlantic investigates the brutal "training" and "therapy" regimes and chronic abuses still going on at psychological and physical boot camps for "troubled teens"...

Who Is Isaiah Rider???

Our children are not safe. Not because of terrorists, but because it is becoming dangerous to advocate for their medical care without fear of losing them. A new charge, "Medical Child Abuse,” is now used by hospitals to remove inconvenient parents from the role of advocating for their children.

The Law’s Flaw

Tom Burns, M.D., Psychiatrist and Professor of Social Psychiatry at Oxford, recently said of Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) that “compulsion added to otherwise decent care makes no difference.” This was no easy conclusion for Burns, who for twenty years “argued ardently” for Community Treatment Orders (CTO’s), which are described as the British version of California’s newly passed AOT laws. "I worked for more than 20 years to get the CTO law passed," he said. "I thought such laws were going to make a difference, but they don't."

DRC Will Challenge California’s Outpatient Committal Laws in Court

Disability Rights California will challenge Los Angeles’ Assisted Outpatient Treatment program in court this fall, DRC attorney Pamela Cohen announced Friday. According to Cohen, California’s AB-1241 or “Laura’s Law” diverts funding from community mental health services and towards police, administrators and courts, doesn’t reach the people it purports to be trying to help, and violates people’s civil rights. “This is an illegal program,” said Cohen.

Forced Treatment Ineffective: Advocacy Essential

Most Americans would agree that we have problem with mental health in this country, but what many do not know when they consider that people who are in distress are not getting the help they need is that hospitals in this country are not giving people a choice when they are in the most need. This is based on laws that currently exist in 45 US States, which allow individuals to be petitioned into an inpatient psychiatric unit against their will if they are deemed to be a “danger to themselves or others.” I have worked for 3.5 years as a Peer Support Specialist within my local public mental health system, where I see this happen to the individuals I serve, on a regular basis. I myself have been forced.

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.

Controversy Over Popular Game: “Psychiatric Ward — Enter if you dare, escape if you...

The Toronto Transit Commission has removed billboards for a popular escape game after The Toronto Star reported on four complaints about its mental health-themed...

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...

AARP Wins Class Action Against Over-drugging of Seniors

A California nursing home has settled with AARP in an unprecedented class-action lawsuit against the facility for using inappropriate kinds and amounts of psychiatric...

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