Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry Dr. Thomas Szasz’s brainchild, the Living Will, is a document which provides for people of sound mind to reject the imposition of psychiatric treatment should their rights be compromised at any time in their future.
While not legally tested in every country, in 1999 it served to protect the rights of one woman. Soon after a bitter fight with her mother, the young woman suffering from pneumonia, received a knock on her door. An attorney and police officer then forcibly removed her to a nearby psychiatric hospital. Once admitted, she phoned CCHR for help, explaining that she had signed the Living Will a year earlier. CCHR faxed the signed copy of the Will to the hospital authorities and the attorney. The woman was immediately released.
Letter of Protection from Psychiatric Incarceration and/or Treatment
Should you be in a position where you may be subject to unwanted psychiatric hospitalization and/or mental or medical treatment,Â you may want to have copies of thisÂ signed and notarized declaration available. People who are of sound mind can signÂ this declaration (sometimes also called an Advance Directive) stating that they do not wish to be incarcerated and/or treated in any psychiatric facility or undergo any enforced psychiatric treatment.
What Circumstances Might TriggerÂ the Need for a Living Will?
Speculation has been occurring about forced vaccination in response to the possibility of a flu epidemic. It may not be farfetched to imagine psychiatricÂ involuntary commitment as a means of enforcement or quarantine.
WhileÂ CCHR is not involved in the forced vaccination issue, we see it as an opportunity to remind you about the Living Will as a valid response to the general possibility of involuntary commitment or other enforced psychiatric treatment. Every 1Â¼ minutes, someone in the U.S. becomes theÂ next victim of involuntary incarceration (also called Civil Commitment)Â in a psychiatric hospital.
Laws vary by state, but generally Emergency DetentionÂ is used most often to deprive people of liberty in order to subject them to treatment. Under most state laws it has to be determined that persons are a danger to themselves or others or are â€œgravely disabled.â€ Under some laws, however, if you are found walking down the street intoxicated, or if you get into a violent altercation with your neighbor, either would be sufficient cause to be picked up and carted off to a psychiatric hold. Emergency Detention is the fastest and easiest method of commitment;Â it circumvents the judicial process and deprives the person of nearly all rights. Find out more about Involuntary Commitment from here.