Tag: Assisted Outpatient Treatment
Anyone detained and then formally committed under Wisconsin’s civil mental health laws can initially be held and forcibly drugged for six long months. Yet, for years, not a single person has been able to appeal the six-month commitments in court.
The proponents of compulsory outpatient treatment claim that it leads to better outcomes for the recipients, and protects society from violent acts by the "seriously mentally ill." Those claims are belied by history, science, and a critical review of the relevant research.
Even after working for decades for human rights in mental health, I have been surprised about how involuntary outpatient ideology is taking over. SAMHSA plans to spend as much as $54 million of US taxpayer money for 17 programs across the country to spread this coercive approach.
This appointee criticizes our social change movement, especially our dedication to empowering peer support and our concerns about psychiatric drugs and labeling. It is important for everyone who supports human rights to speak up and oppose this approach. Please phone your Senators to block this confirmation.
Dinah Miller and Annette Hanson are psychiatrists who blog at Shrink Rap. On one topic we agree — the subject of involuntary care is the most contentious and troubling topic for psychiatry. To their credit, they have directed an enormous amount of attention to this subject in their latest book.
Without doubt, Extended Leave profoundly curtails one's freedoms and rights, and the threshold for what is deemed “unacceptable” behaviour is invariably lowered. My only crime was being offensive towards an ACT team member. It seems that the goal I am now reduced to fighting for is merely the right to be rude in my own home.
There is indeed a crisis in the mental health business. The crisis derives from psychiatry's spurious and self-serving premise that all significant problems of thinking, feeling, and/or behaving are brain illnesses that are correctable by psychiatric drugs.
The Boston Globe paints a picture (in the vivid way that they so love to do) that pins the system’s decline primarily on budgetary issues, but there is more than one way for a system to be ‘broken.’ In fact, where the Globe goes most wrong in their latest piece, ‘Community Care,’ is in their failure to adequately recognize that the system has always been broken in one way or another in this country.
Organized psychiatry, committed irrevocably and wholeheartedly to drug pushing and to their corrupt and corrupting relationship with pharma, simply will not countenance the fact that their primary product is fundamentally flawed and destructive. So they hire a PR company; they fund and lobby politicians; they parrot slogans; and they encourage one another to ever-increasing heights of self-congratulation. But they will not commission a definitive study to clarify and assess the scale of this problem once and for all. And the reason for this inaction is because they know that it would be bad for business. It would "cause a lot of people to stop taking their medications."
The National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery is calling upon all people of like minds, who care about individuals who need mental health services, to ACT. It is urgent. Please call your representative in the House of Representatives to vigorously oppose HR 2646 on Tuesday, July 5, 2016. And, call your Senator to insist that the Senate reject any amendments or changes to mental health legislation from the House by Friday, July 8, 2016. For more information about this Call to Action, please click here.
As you read this, people with lived experience all around the country are mobilizing to educate our federal legislators about why the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (H.R. 2646) should be defeated. Education is the key. As executive director of the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery, I am issuing a call to action. We need to ramp up our efforts before this backward piece of legislation becomes law. We need to get in touch with our legislators and their staffs, contact the media, make some noise! We need to exercise the proverbial strength in numbers. And we need all of this now!
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.”
In our nation's history, in the face of fear, we have often risen to achieve noble goals. Other times we have behaved tragically — for instance, interning and seizing property from Japanese Americans during World War II. Certainly, there were spies among us then. Only in hindsight did we recognize that our treatment of the larger group — who were not — was gravely mistaken. We are on the verge of witnessing such an event in our own time.
As I write this, the New York Times is asking readers to respond to the question “What should be done to prevent mass shootings?” The more responses the New York Times receives from people who understand that the answer is gun control — not misguided legislation that would only harm those it purports to help — the more they will take notice. Please write!
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.
I felt a chill go through my body when I read that the FDA has agreed to review for possible approval in early 2016 a new form of the drug Abilify that contains a microchip sensor capable of sending a message that indicates the exact time a tablet dissolves in the stomach. The message is recorded by a skin patch - along with data such as the person’s body angle and activity patterns - and, according to a press release from Proteus Digital Health, the developer of the device, “this information is recorded and relayed to patients on a mobile phone or other Bluetooth-enabled device, and only with their consent, to their physician and/or their caregivers.”
I’ve come to realize that the very good intentions of Congressman Murphy to fix an obviously not-working mental health prevention, intervention, and treatment “system” has caused him to be swarmed by a flock of flatterers flogging fraudulent “facts.” Thus, at the behest of my colleague, I wrote a letter to Congressman Murphy, who is obviously a leader for issues of mental health. My letter was delivered to him personally, and I share much of it here. The more I thought about the pickle the Congressman is in—surrounded by people either flattering him or yelling at him—the more compassion I have for him as a human trying thread his way through the siren songs.
Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut released a new ‘Murphy Bill’ this past week. It’s called the ‘Mental Health Reform Act of 2015,’ though it has yet to be assigned an official number. While many words appear in its more than 100 pages, it’s worth noting that the term ‘evidence’ (most often paired with ‘based’ to form the familiar and supposedly scientific phrase, ‘evidence-based’) appears 27 times. Never to be outdone, the almost 200-page House version (‘Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis,’ H.R. 2646) from Representative Tim Murphy uses the same word 38 times. This makes sense. Why wouldn’t anyone want anything to do with… well… just about anything…
Only five states remain in which Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) laws have not yet gone into effect -- Massachusetts, Maryland, New Mexico, Connecticut and Tennessee -- and the pressure to start these programs in CO and NM is now very heavy. This article will address the push towards forced treatment for vulnerable populations who are at a high risk of being re-traumatized by these laws. It will also attempt to put a human face on the issues of stigma, labeling and the downward spiral that distressed individuals can get locked into when positive rather than punitive pathways are not made available to them.
“And so what we should be thinking about is our responsibility to care for and shield them from harm and give them the...
This article is about coercion in its various forms – that which is direct, unequivocal, almost thuggish, and that which is more subtle, usually masked as well-meaning, referred to by David Oaks as “velvet gloved.” The Tolstoy quote above, which was sent to me by a friend and colleague, Diana Gonzalez, aptly sums this up. This article is also about the upcoming struggle over New York’s involuntary outpatient commitment law, Kendra’s Law, and which of the principal stakeholders of New York’s public mental health system -- professionals, providers, family members, bureaucrats and politicians, peer/survivors and their advocates – will line up for, and which against.