Veterans Treatment Courts

Veterans Treatment Courts

One of the bills passed by the Missouri legislature this session, and awaiting signature by Governor Nixon, is Senate Bill 118, an act authorizing Missouri circuit courts to establish Veterans Treatment Courts, which would “provide an alternative for the judicial system to dispose of cases which stem from substance abuse or mental illness of military veterans or current military personnel.”

We have many serious concerns about this bill, which we would like to share with you. The bill is only three printed pages, and is mostly vague about how these courts would be implemented.

This has a similarity to existing Drug Treatment Courts, which currently cost $6,190 per case. The Fiscal Note accompanying this bill states that if a circuit court decides to create a veterans treatment court, they will be able to do so utilizing existing resources, and would make referrals for substance abuse or mental health treatment to existing Federal level programs or community-based treatment programs; therefore they assume the proposal would not create any additional funding concerns. As with other government bureaucracies, we have doubts about the veracity in practice of “no additional funding needed.”

Mental health courts are facilities established to deal with arrests for misdemeanors or non-violent felonies. Rather than allowing the guilty parties to take responsibility for their crimes, they are diverted to a psychiatric treatment center on the premise that they suffer from “mental illness” which will respond positively to antipsychotic drugs and that psychiatric treatment will stop the criminal behavior. There is no evidence that supports this false premise. It is another form of coercive “community mental health treatment.”

In a review of 20 mental health courts, the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law found that these courts “may function as a coercive agent – in many ways similar to the controversial intervention, outpatient commitment – compelling an individual to participate in treatment under threat of court sanctions. However, the services available to the individual may be only those offered by a system that has already failed to help. Too many public mental health systems offer little more than medication.”

“A veterans treatment court shall combine judicial supervision, drug testing, and substance abuse and mental health treatment to participants who have served or are currently serving the United States armed forces, including members of the reserves, national guard, or state guard.”

First of all, this is degrading to veterans, assuming they are mental cases needing psychiatric treatment, and labeling them for life.

“Any statement made by a participant as part of participation in the veterans treatment court program, or any report made by the staff of the program, shall not be admissible as evidence against the participant in any criminal, juvenile, or civil proceeding.”

This totally removes individual responsibility and accountability for their criminal actions from the participating veterans.

Any circuit court, or combination of circuit courts, can establish their own conditions and rules for these veterans treatment courts. This inconsistency could lead not only to redundant and costly efforts, but also to discrimination as a result of differing implementations between courts.

All records and reports relevant to a veteran’s treatment program must be treated as closed records, “not to be disclosed to any person outside of the veterans treatment court.” This would make it difficult if not impossible for a veteran harmed by such a treatment program to have any legal recourse for damages.

As we already have a criminal probation system in place, we can only assume that this bill is a shameless attempt by the psychiatric industry to troll for more patients from the ranks of troubled veterans.

If you share these feelings about Governor Nixon signing this bill into law, now is the time to contact him with your concerns and suggest that he veto it.

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Federal Government Hiring More Fraudiatric Help For Veterans

President Obama signed an executive order on Friday, August 31, directing the Veterans Administration to hire 1,600 new mental health professionals, as reported by NPR.

Salient quotes from the executive order:

“Since September 11, 2001, more than two million service members have deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. Long deployments and intense combat conditions require optimal support for the emotional and mental health needs of our service members and their families. The need for mental health services will only increase in the coming years as the Nation deals with the effects of more than a decade of conflict.”

“Department of Veterans Affairs shall ensure that any veteran identifying him or herself as being in crisis connects with a mental health professional or trained mental health worker within 24 hours.”

“The Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense shall jointly develop and implement a national suicide prevention campaign focused on connecting veterans and service members to mental health services.”

“The lack of full understanding of the underlying mechanisms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), other mental health conditions, and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) has hampered progress in prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. In order to improve the coordination of agency research into these conditions and reduce the number of affected men and women through better prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, the Departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs, Health and Human Services, and Education, in coordination with the Office of Science and Technology Policy, shall establish a National Research Action Plan within 8 months of the date of this order.”

“Within 180 days of the date of this order, in those service areas where the Department of Veterans Affairs has faced challenges in hiring and placing mental health service providers and continues to have unfilled vacancies or long wait times, the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Health and Human Services shall establish pilot projects whereby the Department of Veterans Affairs contracts or develops formal arrangements with community based providers, such as community mental health clinics, community health centers, substance abuse treatment facilities, and rural health clinics.”

“The Departments of Defense and Health and Human Services shall engage in a comprehensive longitudinal mental health study with an emphasis on PTSD, TBI, and related injuries to develop better prevention, diagnosis, and treatment options.”

What does this mean?

There is a lot more; read the full executive order here.

On the surface, it is most politically correct to provide support for veterans with mental trauma. But what treatments are actually provided by the mental health industry? More psychiatric drugs! The very drugs that are already known to cause violence and suicide.

The fact missed by most is that psychiatric, mind-altering drugs have been found to be the common factor in an overwhelming number of acts of random senseless violence.

These drugs, on an ever increasing rise in society and in the military, are actually creating acts of violence. The scientific research documenting the connection between violence, suicide and psychiatric drugs is overwhelming.

The use of psychiatric drugs escalates when the government, the mental health industry, and the psychopharmaceutical industry target new markets to increase profits. Antidepressants are a hoax — a hoax that is killing members and veterans of our armed services.

So-called post-traumatic stress disorder emerged in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, when veterans were having difficulties overcoming the brutal events they had witnessed. Three American psychiatrists coined the term PTSD and lobbied for its inclusion in the 1980 edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. While the effects of war are devastating, psychiatrists use people’s logical reactions to it to make money at the expense of their vulnerability.

Some experts say that most of the soldiers suffering the effects of participating in particularly dangerous missions were experiencing battle fatigue, or in other words, exhaustion, not “mental illness.”

Today, PTSD has become blurred as a catch-all diagnosis for some 175 combinations of symptoms, becoming the label for identifying the impact of adverse events on ordinary people. This means that normal responses to catastrophic events have often been interpreted as mental disorders.

Psychiatric trauma treatment at best is useless, and at worst highly destructive to victims seeking help. By medicalizing what is a non-medical condition and introducing harmful drugs as a therapy, victims have been denied effective treatment options.

In 2010, at least one in six service members was taking a psychiatric drug. What do you suppose the number is now? What do you suppose the consequences will be with 1,600 more mental health workers in the Veterans Administration?

Contact the White House here and provide your opinion, or call the White House Comment Line at 202-456-1111 and express your point of view. Contact your local, state and federal officials and tell them what you think. Write General Lloyd James Austin III, Army Vice Chief of Staff, at 1400 Defense Pentagon, Washington DC 20301-1400. Write the Honorable Eric K. Shinseki, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, at 810 Vermont Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20420.