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.
New analysis of post-discharge suicide rates finds estimates 6 times higher than recent studies.
A review of the literature demonstrates that coercive practices lack empirical support and violate human rights.
Rob Wipond reports on a constitutional challenge in British Columbia against a key component of the province’s Mental Health Act. “This case isn’t arguing...
A bottom-up approach to understanding the history of asylums allows us to learn from past successes and failures in the mental health system.
Dr. Dainius Pūras argues that the status quo in mental health treatment is no longer acceptable and demands political action to promote human rights.
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.
This is the final of four installments about the bizarre, ongoing conduct of psychiatrists at Upton House, an Eastern Health psychiatric facility in Melbourne, and the collusion with their conduct by all relevant agencies. This last installment will document the failure, so far, of the State and Federal Governments to intervene in even this most extreme and blatant example of abuse of power by psychiatry. If I, as a Professor of Clinical Psychology with 40 years clinical and research experience in this field, can be so easily dismissed/ignored by the relevant systems in Victoria, what chance do the average users of mental health services and their families have of being heard in this State?
In this piece for La Otra Psiquiatría, Fernando Colina describes his vision for a compassionate, non-pathologizing mental health system. Below is the full translation of his...
A discussion of the role of epistemic injustice in the experiences of patients diagnosed with psychiatric disorders.
For psychiatric ‘help’ to happen by force is a paradox and makes absolutely no sense. It can destroy people's personality and self-confidence. It can lead, in the long run, to physical and psychological disability. My dear daughter Luise got caught in this ‘helping system’ by mistake, but she didn't make it out alive. I'm sad to say I later discovered that the way Luise was treated was more the rule than the exception.
Various instruments of the United Nations have commented on forced treatment, or involuntary confinement, or both (for details, see Burstow, 2015a), and a number of truly critical additions to international law have materialized. Arguably, the most significant of these is the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. What makes it so significant? For one thing, it is because this landmark convention puts forward nothing less than a total ban on both involuntary treatment and the involuntary confinement of people who have broken no laws.
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.”
It is time to create an entirely voluntary psychiatric system. International conscience is clear. The singling out of people with psychosocial disabilities is not worthy of a free society. There are better, safer ways to address legitimate public needs.
BPS releases report encouraging behavioral interventions for people with dementia, rather than antipsychotics
Psychologist Roy Eidelson comments on the Society for Military Psychology’s criticism of the Hoffman report, which exposed the collusion between the APA and the CIA’s torture program. He writes, “the leaders of APA’s military psychology division have offered a very dark vision for the profession of psychology – a vision that we must reject, both individually and institutionally.”
Writing for the Campaign for Real Change in Mental Health Policy, psychiatrist Coni Kalinowski implores others not to support the Murphy Bill “or any other legislation that encourages the use of involuntary outpatient commitment for psychiatric treatment.” “For 9 years, I trained and worked in Wisconsin where involuntary outpatient commitment has been used to force people into treatment for over 30 years, and I can tell you first hand, it does far more harm than good to individuals, it is very expensive, and it does not address the public health and safety issues that people hope it will.”
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.
The results of the cross-sectional study show that U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) owned hospitals perform worst on most measures.
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.
From The Independent: Recently, psychiatric patients used the hashtag #AbusedByServices to tweet about their experiences being re-traumatized by mental health services. The hashtag reflects the...
In an effort to reduce coercion, researchers isolate associated factors including age, relationship status, location, and diagnosis.
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.
Three phase III clinical trials assessing the efficacy of Lundbeck’s investigational drug idalopirdine for Alzheimer’s disease have failed
I do not wish to discuss an individual patient. I wish to discuss the conduct of the psychiatrists at Upton House, Dr Katz in particular, who have been responsible for the administering of over 50 ECTs consecutively to a patient, and have reportedly repeatedly restrained this patient to a bed, on one occasion for approximately 60 consecutive days.