Tag: institutional coercion
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."
What would it look like if national peer-run mental health organizations and other national leaders came out with statements in support of other movements' struggle for freedom from oppression? What would it look like if we were truly unified in solidarity? We would have community-based centers providing intentional support, open 24 hours a day, instead of crowded jail cells holding people in pain. It wouldn't be easy, but we have to do it.
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.
Today, July 1, 2016, the Alaska Supreme Court issued its Opinion in In the Matter of the Hospitalization of Mark V. What strikes me the most about the case is that Mark's expressing the view that a psychiatric drug he was being required to take is poison, that it had side effects related to his sexual performance, and that it was killing him were all cited as proving Mark was delusional. As readers of this site know, these drugs can quite reasonably be characterized as poison, they do cause sexual dysfunction, and they are quite lethal to many many people, shortening lives on average by 25 years for those in the public mental health system, such as Mark.
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!
I realized something after a recent occurrence that made me aware of how close any of us are to psychiatric lockup. What I realized is that I can protect myself now; I have tools that I didn't have at age 18. And that protecting myself doesn't mean obeying the patriarchal prescriptions for how to behave.
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?
I am trying to demonstrate, in a series of installments, how in the 21st century we still often fail to establish effective safeguards for the rights of people who end up in our psychiatric systems. This particular example is taking place in 2016, in Melbourne, and involves over 50 consecutive electro shock ‘treatments’ and multiple, sometimes very lengthy, periods of being tied to a bed. In this third installment, I offer my interactions with another body who is supposed to protect our rights when under the ‘care’ of psychiatrists, the Mental Health Tribunal.
Vermont Governor Shumlin recently suggested a change to state law that would accelerate the process under which a person could be forced to take antipsychotic drugs against her will. The House Human Services Committee reviewed this proposal and I was asked to testify. What follows are my comments.
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.
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.
For those of us who have been labeled by medical model psychiatry, it is frightening to watch the wolf of social prejudice being cloaked in the guise of mental health reform. The reality for many of us is that our lives and well-being have been profoundly affected – not only by the bad science and good marketing of pharmaceutical companies - but also by a wholesale refusal to listen. The result is a mental health system that many of us do not trust to operate in good faith. The Murphy bills add fuel to this fire.
Coercion — the use of physical, legal, chemical, psychological, financial, and other forces to gain compliance — is intrinsic to our society’s employment, schooling, and parenting, but it isn’t to less “civilized” societies. Coercion fuels miserable marriages, unhappy families, and what we today call mental illness. Psychiatrist E. Fuller Torrey, in Schizophrenia and Civilization, states “Schizophrenia appears to be a disease of civilization.” But Torrey is a strong advocate for coercive treatments, including forced medication — even though his own research shows a stronger relationship between severe mental illness and European-American civilization than with hypothesized biochemical agents that have never been found. Still, he has he not considered the toxic effects of coercion.