At a recent conference on legal capacity, I was struck by the failure of another invited expert to adhere to the paradigm of supported decision-making as articulated by the CRPD Committee. We still need to work to ensure that this paradigm is well understood and appreciated, despite the progress made in national reforms.
In psychiatric hospitals we have set up the same environment as the Stanford Prison Experiment, but without a professor watching who has the authority to shut it down when things go horribly wrong. As a patient, there wasn’t any protection from the inescapable abuse of limitless power.
For a long time I have been interested in offering a course on CRPD (Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) to pass on my knowledge to other activists and allow more people to take up the frustrating and passionate responsibility of human rights work. Finally I have come up with a plan that is doable.
A Canadian woman is attempting to assert her right to a lawyer in order to fight an involuntary psychiatric hospitalization. While homeless, the patient...
The Lancet Psychiatry published a study last week finding no benefit to locking up patients in mental health hospitals. Data on 145,000 patients found...
The argument that is usually made against involuntary commitment and forced treatment is that these actions, under the authority of a state, violate a person’s basic civil rights. They deprive a person of liberty and personal autonomy, and do so in the absence of a criminal charge. However, there is another argument, one of adjunctive value, that can be made against involuntary commitment and forced treatment. Medical science argues against forced treatment too.
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.
Despite the fact that no one in history, not even the omnipotent American Psychiatric Association -- which produces and profits mightily from the "Bible" of mental disorders -- has come up with a halfway good definition of "mental illness," and despite the fact that the process of creating and applying the labels of mental illness is unscientific, any of those labels can be used to deprive the person so labeled of their human rights. This is terrifying. It ought to terrify those who are so labeled and those who are not, because deprivation of human rights on totally arbitrary grounds is inhumane and immoral.
To create his theory of relativity, Einstein had to see things differently. He used imagination and empathy to come to know a new 'reality' of existence. In this essay, we delve deeply into the nature of human experiences that lead to public concern and discover ourselves in a whole new realm.
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.
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.
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.