Human Rights in Mental Health Alert – Please Forward
Calling All Human Rights Activists & Advocates: Support Ann L.!
New York State Citizen to be Forcibly Drugged on Outpatient Basis.
Ann L. says her forced psychiatric drugging makes her “sick and is torture.” But New York State is aggressively pushing for more forced drugging of Ann L. on an outpatient basis in her own community residence.
Ann L. is 50 years old, and says she has been in and out of the psychiatric system since she was 15. Ann says she was locked up for the past seven years in the notorious Pilgrim Psychiatric Center in New York, where she experienced years of forced psychiatric drugging.
Earlier this year Ann L. finally won her freedom.
Ann got out of the institution and has been satisfied living in the community in the Irving Berkowitz Residence in West Brentwood. But now the State of New York is threatening to continue her forced psychiatric drugging while living at home even outside of the institution.
The State of New York is seeking to use “Kendra’s Law” to continue to administer forced psychiatric drugs to Ann L. using Involuntary Outpatient Commitment.
Ann L. (not her real name) states that she fears the forced psychiatric drugging will continue to debilitate her health and put her at risk for diabetes and heart disease.
Two independent nonprofit advocacy groups, MindFreedom and PsychRights, have determined that Ann L.’s situation is a priority. They are working together to support Ann L.’s bid for freedom in both the court room and the court of public opinion.
Stop the forced psychiatric drugging of Ann L.!
* * * ACTION * * * ACTION * * * ACTION * * *
Ann L. asks that you contact New York Governor Paterson. Use this web page:
or use this web link:
Phone: (518) 474-4623. Fax: (518) 486-4170
Your own words & experiences are best. Please be civil but firm:
“I oppose the State of New York continuing the involuntary outpatient psychiatric drugging of Ann L. who is living in the Irving Berkowitz Residence in West Brentwood, New York. Please stop all forced psychiatric drugging in New York State.”
1) Research shows that coercion is bad for a person’s “mental health.”
People subjected to forced psychiatric treatment have been shown to be at increased risk for drug dependence, disabling side-effects of medication, and suicide. Force can result in damage to self-esteem and the motivation toward recovery, as well as inducing or furthering fear and trauma.
2) People recover when they have a real choice among alternatives and volunteer services.
People recover when they are empowered to make their own choices, when they take responsibility for their own lives, and when they are offered hope. Under the conditions of Involuntary Outpatient Commitment this is impossible.
3) People deserve alternatives to psychiatric drugs.
Psychiatric drugging can cause additional mental and emotional problems, and can even kill. More humane and effective alternatives to psychiatric drugs ought to be offered for those who choose them.
4) Psychiatric human rights violations are life-threatening.
Research shows that people in the state mental health system die about 25 years younger than the general public. Remember the public death of Esmin Green who was denied any help while locked for 24 hours in a NY psychiatric emergency room.
Please forward this alert to all appropriate places on and off the Internet.
It just takes a moment to contact additional New York State officials. If you can also phone or write that is helpful, but at least e-mail them. Be civil, be firm, don’t stop!!
Let them all know that forced psychiatric drugging is wrong and must be stopped!
Please contact these New York State officials immediately:
*** Assemblyperson Peter M. Rivera is Chair of the New York State Assembly Standing Committee on Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities.
He is a crucial elected leader focusing on the field of mental health.
Phone: (718) 931-2620
David W. Oaks to be “special presenter” at world
Every few years, the World Psychiatric Association holds a World Congress. The WPA has invited MindFreedom International executive director David W. Oaks to be a “special presenter” at the Congress, which is in September 2008 in Prague.
Here is the title and abstract of the talk planned for the World Congress of the World Psychiatric Association by David W. Oaks, Director of MindFreedom International.
World Congress of Psychiatry
Document ID: WCP4323
MindFreedom International, Eugene, United States
David W. Oaks, firstname.lastname@example.org
Topic: Ethics in psychiatry
Title: AN URGENT NEED FOR DIALOGUE ABOUT A “GLOBAL EMERGENCY” OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN MENTAL HEALTH CARE
Abstract Body: The point of view of individuals who have experienced human rights violations in mental health care, and the organizations that represent us, need to be heard by psychiatric professional organizations. Mediated dialogue must be encouraged between groups representing psychiatric survivors and groups representing mental health professionals.
We are not alone. Dr. Benedetto Saraceno, Director of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Dependence at the World Health Organization (WHO), has stated, “The violation of human rights of … psychiatric services users and the recognition of their role and rights as citizens are a main concern for WHO. WHO thinks that no treatment can be credibly provided in a context which systematically violates human rights. There is a global emergency for the human rights of people suffering from mental health problems. I insist on the word ‘global’ as people tend to believe that these kinds of violations always occur somewhere else when, in fact, they occur everywhere.”
Certain human rights controversies are especially pressing, such as involuntary electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) against the expressed wishes of the subject, and long-term, high-dosage coerced administration of neuroleptic psychiatric drugs.
In a broader sense, though, if a family with a member in severe crisis is primarily offered psychiatric drugs, when non-drug approaches can work, this too is a kind of coercion. I respect an individual’s right to take prescribed psychiatric drugs. However, being offered only one choice is not really a choice at all. Creating more non-drug voluntary alternatives has become a human rights concern.
Here is a link to the bio about David W. Oaks on the World Psychiatric Association web site:
From Recovery from Schizophrenia (Ron Unger):
Posted by Ron Unger on July 15th, 2008
An interview with me on “Madness Radio” can be found at
http://freedom-center.org/madness-radio-cognitive-therapy-ron-unger I talk about why I got interested in psychosis, mainly because of my own experiences as a young man that it seemed to me were understandable yet not likely to be understood by our current mental health system. Then I talk about cognitive therapy for psychosis and why I think it is a helpful and needed addition to the mental health field.
Download episode file directly:
Short Video Clip
Posted by Ron Unger on July 14th, 2008
Hugh Massengil videod part of a seminar I did, and posted it to YouTube. I’m discussing the relationship between cognitive therapy for psychosis and medications, and then talking a little about “what is psychosis” and the continuum between everyday errors and “psychosis.” If you want to check it out, it’s available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFjBnScM2Bk
Posted by Ron Unger on July 5th, 2008
Recently a couple people I know have put their recovery stories on the web. One is my friend Hugh Massengil, who got his story put on an official state website, even though his story suggests mental health treatment is almost completely off track, at least in its standard form. He is on a committee about increasing wellness among those with mental health diagnoses (very important given data that such people typically die 25 years earlier than average, often due to conditions that are aggravated by medication.) His story illustrates that wellness often is a result of successfully breaking away from traditional “treatment.” You can access his story at http://www.oregon.gov/DHS/mentalhealth/wellness/success.shtml
Another is the story of Oryx Cohen, who is one of the leaders at the Freedom Center http://www.freedom-center.org/ You can access Oryx’s story at http://www.familymentalhealthrecovery.org/2008TorontoRecoveryConf/TorontoRecovery08-OCohenCrashCourseWithPsychiatry.doc It’s a great read, going from his attempt to get his car to fly on the freeway (not very successful) to his attempt to get off psychiatric medications and have a good life (much more successful, though not without difficulty and one big slipup.)
Finally, I’d suggest checking out the video at http://bipolarblast.wordpress.com/2008/06/28/acute-psychosis-in-mania-and-schizophrenia/ It’s an overview of the perspective of psychosis as all about reorganizing the mind, as a positive process if the person gets supported in working through it in a good way. The video is well done and worth the time you will take watching it!
Also, check out this link:
Thanks for reading,listening, paying attention.
My prayers go out to you and my wish that everyone you meet will be kind, gentle and wise.