“Attacks on Hoffman Report From Military Psychologists Obfuscate Detainee Abuse”

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Steven Reisner and Stephen Soldz, writing for Counter Punch, take on those who have criticized the Hoffman Report, which found that the APA had actively colluded in the US Torture program. “They have not credibly refuted these core findings of Hoffman’s seven-month investigation, nor have they even attempted to do so.”

From Phrenology to Brain Scans: How Shaky Neuroscience has Influenced Courts

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In “When Phrenology Was Used in Court,” Geoffrey S. Holtzman writes for Slate about the spurious use of brain science in legal cases. In the 1800’s the “science of phrenology” promised to reveal criminal psychological traits by measuring the skull and today defense teams still employ neurogenetic explanations for their client’s violent behavior.

Support CRPD Absolute Prohibition of Commitment and Forced Treatment

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Mad In America bloggers, and everyone who is interested, you are cordially invited to participate in a Campaign to Support the CRPD Absolute Prohibition of Commitment and Forced Treatment. The requested action is to write a blog post or contribute artwork, relevant to the purpose of the campaign, i.e. discussing and supporting the absolute prohibition that is promulgated under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).  Posts should be ready for March 29, 2016, the opening day of the 15th session of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Psych Rights Wins Legal Battle in Alaska

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On Friday, Psych Rights won a legal fight in Alaska Supreme Court reversing an order for an involuntary psychiatric evaluation. Opinion →

Danger Ahead if HR 2646 (the “Murphy Bill”) Passes!

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Dear Reader, I am reaching out to you in the hope that you will get this message in time to act! Even if you only have time to read the first two sentences of this blog, please click here for instructions on how you can win the hearts and minds of our federal legislators and help them understand why HR 2646 – proposed by Rep. Tim Murphy and called the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act – is a bad bill

The CHRUSP Call to Action, and Its Significance

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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.

Humanizing Mental Healthcare by Reducing Coercive Practices

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A review of the literature demonstrates that coercive practices lack empirical support and violate human rights.

Refugees and Immigrants Experience Increased Medical Coercion

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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.

Measuring How Mental Health Professionals See Service Users’ Rights

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A new scale has been developed and validated to examine beliefs held by mental health professionals towards service users’ rights.

Escape from British Columbia

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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...

The Psychology of Torture

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“An ordinary person becomes a torturer with surprising ease. The hard part comes when it’s time to be human again,” neuroscientist Shane O’Mara writes...

Mental Health Crisis Assistance an Alternative to Police Response

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"There's a growing awareness that alternatives to law enforcement are needed, that alternatives to emergency medical services are needed. There's a lot of people...

Stories from the Psych Ward: Why Drugs Aren’t the Cure

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In this piece for Elephant Journal, one man tells his story of being locked up and forcibly drugged in the psych ward, and how he...

Physical Restraint in Mental Health Units is Traumatising Women

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From The Guardian: Recent research shows that one in five women and girls are physically restrained in mental health settings in England. There were nearly...

Appealing to our Elected Representatives

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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?

Lancet Study Questions Safety of Locked Psychiatric Wards

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A new study published in Lancet Psychiatry challenges the common practice of locking psychiatric wards to prevent patients from attempting suicide or leaving against...

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.

Shocking Rise of NHS Abuse of Mental Health Patients

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From The Sun: Reports of abuse against NHS mental health patients hit a record high last year. In 2016, almost 200 cases related to the...

The Rise of Solitary

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From Dissent Magazine: In her recently published book 23/7: Pelican Bay Prison and the Rise of Long-Term Solitary Confinement, scholar and advocate Keramet Reiter discusses the...

Nuanced History of Asylums Shows Context Matters

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A bottom-up approach to understanding the history of asylums allows us to learn from past successes and failures in the mental health system.

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.

“People with Psychiatric Disabilities: Our Modern-Day Scapegoats”

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For the North Carolina Law Review, Katie Rose Guest Pryal writes, that “ a psychiatric diagnosis, or involuntary civil commitment to a psychiatric ward—which is...

“We Need REAL Change in Mental Health Policy, Not the Illusion of Reform”

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David Shern, from Johns Hopkins University, writes that the latest mental health “Murphy bill” in Congress is “an expansion of the approaches that got us into our current difficulties.” “Early intervention and prevention, assessable and patient-focused services with a rehabilitation orientation and increased funding for the community supports needed for successful recovery are the tickets to system improvement.”

Bill Could Make Drug Use Criteria for Involuntary Commitment

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From U.S. News & World Report: New Hampshire legislators are debating a bill that would make opioid use criteria for involuntary commitment to a psychiatric...

When Psychologists Deny Guantanamo Torture

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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.”