Posts Tagged ‘Coercive psychiatry’

World Psychiatric Group Must Tell Its Members To Expunge Chemical Imbalance Myth

Monday, August 29th, 2022

CCHR, a global mental health industry watchdog, has demanded the World Psychiatric Association advise its 180 members to remove all references to a chemical imbalance causing mental disorders from their websites and literature.

By CCHR International Mental Health Industry Watchdog August 9, 2022

Citizens Commission on Human Rights International, a 53-year mental health industry watchdog, has demanded the World Psychiatric Association issue a Positioning Statement urging all of its members to remove any reference or suggestion that a chemical imbalance in the brain causes mental disorders from their websites. In a letter sent to Dr. Afzal Javed, president of the WPA, CCHR called on the organization to condemn the theory and now wants the organization to also send an advisory to national psychiatric associations to inform their members to remove references to the disproved chemical imbalance theory from their websites, literature and any patient informed consent forms.

WPA has 145 member societies, mostly national psychiatric associations, including the American Psychiatric Association, and 36 affiliate member associations, representing some 250,000 psychiatrists worldwide.[1] As the association says it emphasizes the need for “the highest possible standards of clinical practice and ethical behavior in psychiatry,” CCHR says a priority must be that psychiatric groups to stop misleading consumers that a chemical imbalance underlies their mental health issues.[2]

The letter to Dr. Javed at the WPA Congress held in Bangkok, Thailand, pointed out that the chemical imbalance theory was a myth that has been exploited in the mental health field for over 30 years to fuel antidepressant sales, but was recently thoroughly debunked by researchers from University College London (UCL) in a study published in Molecular Psychiatry. The researchers reviewed major studies published over several decades and found no convincing evidence to support the theory that a chemical imbalance causes a mental disorder. The letter said the WPA should formally condemn the debunked theory because to do otherwise constitutes consumer fraud and violates patient informed consent rights.

In 2019, the Royal College of Psychiatrists in the UK had already responded to research that found no proof of low serotonin levels causing depression, and issued a position statement dismissing the idea that antidepressants “correct a chemical imbalance in the brain.”[3] However, the American Psychiatric Association website continued to promote mental health issues as “brain disorders,” without evidence to prove this, and its patient leaflets declared “antidepressants may be prescribed to correct imbalances in the levels of chemicals in the brain.”

As one of the UCL researchers stated, this misleading situation has arisen because it serves the interests of the psychiatric profession and the pharmaceutical industry. “Our view is that patients should not be told that depression is caused by low serotonin or by a chemical imbalance, and they should not be led to believe that antidepressants work by targeting these unproven abnormalities,” the lead researcher said.

CCHR says the WPA must take immediate action to ensure this view is conveyed to its members. Giving patients misinformation prevents their making an informed decision and has already resulted in many millions of people taking antidepressants or other psychotropic drugs with harmful side effects, erroneously believing these would “correct” something that simply never existed, CCHR wrote to Dr. Javed.

In 2020, WPA issued a Position Statement, “Implementing Alternatives to Coercion” which acknowledged that coercion in psychiatry has long been subject to controversy and contravenes patients’ rights, including violation of “rights to liberty; autonomy; freedom from torture, inhuman or degrading treatment….”

The WPA admitted that coercion in psychiatry is “over-used,” contravening patients’ rights—although CCHR says it should never be used.

It pointed out that practices that constitute coercion include, “treatment without consent (or ‘compulsory treatment’), any form of treatment including the use of psychotropic medication; seclusion locking or confining a person to a space or room alone; restraint actions aimed at controlling a person’s physical movement, including prolonged or unsafe holding by other person(s), the use of any physical devices (‘mechanical restraint’, chaining, etc.) and the use of psychotropic drugs for the primary purpose of controlling movement (‘chemical restraint’).”

It warned that the use of coercive practices “carries the risk of harmful consequences, including trauma” and individuals subject to physical coercion are susceptible to harms that include physical pain, injury and death.”

CCHR wants this statement expanded so that WPA tells its members that to purport, in any way, that a chemical imbalance may be a source of people’s mental travails, harms patients, and could constitute consumer fraud. Troubled patients being misled about what causes their problems and being told that they need to take a psychotropic drug to “correct” this, is a form of coercion and contradicts the WPA 2020 Position Statement and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities that the statement is based upon.

References:

[1] https://www.wpanet.org/
https://www.wpanet.org/members-affiliates
[2] https://www.wpanet.org/what-we-do
[3] Royal College of Psychiatrists, “Position statement on antidepressants and depression,” May 2019

Hallelujah! Keep the Faith

Monday, August 15th, 2022

Faith (some of the many definitions):
* confidence, trust or loyalty for a person or thing
* belief that is not based on objective observations
* a system of religious beliefs

[From the Latin root fidere “to trust”.]

In Hebrew, faith is emunah ?????. It is an innate conviction, a perception of truth that transcends, rather than evades, reason.

Furthermore, faith is confidence in one’s abilities, especially confidence in one’s ability to create. An individual who cannot create has to hold on to what they already have; thus the obsessiveness of some faiths.

Faith is not the same as Faith-In. When one has Faith In something or someone, there is an inflow of agreement from another to self, thus placing oneself under the control of another. This is what hypnotism is. Faith by itself has no flow, is native to the individual, and expresses that one is in full control of one’s own beingness, doingness and havingness.

The opposite of faith is distrust (i.e. trust nothing) or disbelief. At the top of this dichotomy [Faith/Distrust] is Life; at the bottom is Death.

The philosopher who said “have faith” was mistaken, for one does not “have” faith, one “is” faith. That is, the source of faith is oneself. This misunderstanding leads one to be afraid to understand, substituting obsessive faith [belief] for actual understanding.

The scale of faith is very close to the scale of self-determinism. At the top of the scale, an individual’s greatest health, sanity and effectiveness are achieved with the greatest self-determinism, and thus the greatest faith. At the bottom of the scale, where self-determinism is lacking and other-determinism predominates, ill-health, insanity, and ineffectiveness are the norm, and thus the greatest distrust.

One could say that self-determinism is the ability to direct oneself. The technical definition of self-determinism is the relative ability to determine location in time and space, and the ability to create and destroy space, time, energy and matter.

Faith Corrupted By Psychiatry

Contrast this with psychiatry. When we speak of “coercive psychiatry” we mean that psychiatry is used as a means of social control against which one has no recourse and cannot fight back, which is destructive of one’s self-determinism, causing distrust instead of faith. Prime examples are involuntary commitment, electroshock, and enforced treatment.

Coercive psychiatry is not intended to cure anything. On the contrary, psychiatry is the science of control and entrapment, and having power over distressed and vulnerable individuals. Wherever men have advocated and advanced totalitarianism, they have used psychiatric principles to control society, to put limits on individual freedom, to suppress and punish dissent, and to trap people into worsening conditions. It is actually a mis-use of power, since its intentions are to make less of a person’s self-determinism and give more power to others and the State.

All too often people may mistakenly disparage their own strength or power; do not allow psychiatry to crush yours even further.

Contact your local, state and federal officials and tell them to stop funding coercive psychiatry.

Forced Psychiatry is Legislated Violence

Are You Woke?

Monday, August 8th, 2022

“In an effort to raise awareness of social injustices, the woke Left has gotten Scrabble to ban 400 ‘offensive’ terms that refer to racial slurs, sexuality, and gender identity.”

[Washington Examiner, July 12, 2022]

Woke has evolving meanings due to rapidly changing social conditions and the speed of social media. It can also be used in a positive or negative sense.

[Past tense & past participle of wake, akin to Latin vegere to enliven.]

Examples:
A play on the word “awake”.
Spiritual and intellectual enlightenment; a higher sense of awareness.
A sudden understanding of what’s really going on.
A politically correct narrative.
Acutely aware of issues of social justice or injustice.
A state of intense self-realization induced by psychedelic drugs.
(Positive) Expressing admiration for someone who is au courant and in-the-know.
(Negative) Branding someone as pompous or stupid for being trendy, or for pretending to be of greater intelligence or awareness than they actually are.

Of course the psychiatric industry has its own take on the woke phenomenon. Those in the know call wokeism “Critical Social Justice Theory”, such as the woke doctrine of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and the scramble to find racism everywhere while insinuating that one’s mental health is at risk.

Interestingly enough, “woke mental health” has likely led to the Drug Enforcement Administration loosening its restrictions on prescriptions for Schedule II controlled drugs via telehealth appointments during a public health emergency. Such drugs previously required in-person physical evaluations. Nothing like a pandemic to increase the patient pool for psychiatric mental health care.

We call it “care” loosely. It isn’t really care; it’s coercive social control.

According to psychiatric thinking, the solution for everything from the most minor to the most severe personal problem is strictly limited to diagnosis with the fraudulent Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), assigning a mental illness label, and prescribing a restrictive, generally coercive and costly range of harmful treatments, none of which have been shown to cure anything.

Ultimately, psychiatry must be eliminated from all social institutions and their coercive and unworkable methods should never be funded by the government. Contact your local, state and federal officials and let them know what you think about this.

Coercion Is Built Into the psychiatric Mental Health Industry

Monday, May 30th, 2022

Coercion is “built into mental health systems, including in professional education and training, and is reinforced through national mental health and other legislation.
World Health Organization, June 2021

CITIZENS COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS International denounces American Psychiatric Association (APA) executives for failing to address the World Health Organization and UN Human Rights Council reports that demand psychiatry move away from coercive practices and towards human rights.

The WHO condemned coercive psychiatric practices, which it says, “are pervasive and are increasingly used in services in countries around the world, despite the lack of evidence that they offer any benefits, and the significant evidence that they lead to physical and psychological harm and even death.”

Psychiatry is a coercive practice. One can see this intuitively, as no one would voluntarily subject themselves to psychiatric treatment knowing its devastating consequences.

By ignoring this, the APA supports involuntary detainment and forced treatment, and a lack of accountability for the inherent abuses so rife in the mental health system.

Involuntary commitment laws must be abolished and this unconstitutional and coercive practice stopped.

Any psychiatrist found to be using coercion, threats or malice to get people to “accept” psychiatric treatment, or who hospitalizes a patient against their will should be charged with assault and false imprisonment.

Write, call and visit your local, state and federal representatives and tell them what you think about this.

Forced psychiatry is Legislated Violence

U.S. States Still Electroshocking 0–5-Year-Olds

Monday, February 14th, 2022

Forced to obtain electroshock statistics through FOIA (Freedom of Information Act), CCHR finds states electroshocking those 0–5 and up to age 12. UN defines any ECT without consent as an act of torture—yet this increasingly occurs throughout the U.S.

Statistics on electroshock treatment (ElectroConvulsive Therapy – ECT) usage in the U.S. for 2019 reveals at least four of 27 states reporting ECT use under Medicaid, to children five years of age or younger. The Citizens Commission on Human Rights International, a mental health industry watchdog, condemns the practice of electroconvulsive therapy, which sends up to 460 volts of electricity through the brain to treat mental issues, saying that its use, especially in youngsters, is simply cruel and brutal. As children are too young to consent, non-consensual ECT constitutes torture, according to United Nations bodies such as its Committee Against Torture. In 2013, it recommended “an absolute ban on all forced and non-consensual” use of electroshock. The World Health Organization made similar recommendations in June 2021.

Electroshock remains a contentious issue because there are no clinical trials that have proven the safety and efficacy of its devices. This is because the FDA grandfathered the device in 1976 as it had been in use since 1938, when an Italian psychiatrist discovered it calmed pigs before they were slaughtered.

Psychiatrists opine that forcing electroshock on an individual to damage the brain is therapeutic and as such harm is redefined as benefit.

Psychiatry, following in the steps of a Russian science, has a basic and brutal assumption which is that a shock cures aberration. It springs from the same impulse that assumes punishment cures wrongdoing. The limited workability of this is apparent around us on every hand. The basic psychiatric assumption that enough punishment will restore sanity is easily disproven.

After 84 years, psychiatrists still admit they don’t know how ECT “works,” yet they still administer it, well aware that it cannot cure—but it can cause serious damage.

MECTA Corp, the manufacturer of two ECT devices could not provide evidence of how ECT works other than its machines are designed to cause a grand mal seizure. Any legitimate medical doctor will tell you that seizures are harmful. In fact, the psychiatric billing bible Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) lists seizures as a mental disorder, yet psychiatrists continue to promote ECT as a “treatment” for mental disorders.

Electroshock is like administering medical blunt force trauma. It should be banned. Sign the petition here to support a total ban on all ECT.

Mental Health Rights Policy To Prevent Patient Torture

Monday, January 31st, 2022

The word “compulsory” and the practice of coercion must be removed from any mental health policy. Effective mental healing should improve and strengthen individuals and thereby society, by restoring individuals to personal strength, ability, competence, responsibility, and spiritual wellbeing.

Citizens Commission on Human Rights International, a mental health industry watchdog, launched a policy for governments to adopt to prevent abuse and coercive psychiatric practices that constitute torture. This is based on reports and guidelines issued by the World Health Organization (WHO—guidance on community mental health services) and United Nations representatives for health and against torture. In 2020, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture presented a report on “psychological torture” to the UN Human Rights Council, with the strongest condemnation to date of involuntary psychiatric interventions.

Currently, New Zealand is in the process of transforming its mental health law away from coercive and compulsory incarceration and treatment and towards a human rights approach—something CCHR says is urgently needed throughout the United States and worldwide. Recently in the U.S., the mental health system has been rocked with allegations of staff physical, sexual and chemical assaults of patients, especially children and teens in for-profit behavioral facilities, including restraint use leading to death. In 2021, fourteen staff from behavioral hospitals faced criminal proceedings over patient abuse and deaths.

Yet, U.S. psychiatrists have called for the power to increase their rights to involuntarily detain and treat patients, based on the arbitrary argument that persons are a danger to themselves or others. Such arguments fly in the face of the March 2020 UN Special Rapporteur on Torture report on “psychological torture” presented to the UN Human Rights Council, berating involuntary psychiatric interventions based on the supposed “best interests” of a person or on “medical necessity.” Such interventions, the report says, “generally involve highly discriminatory and coercive attempts at controlling or ‘correcting’ the victim’s personality, behavior or choices and almost always inflict severe pain or suffering…such practices may well amount to torture.”

WHO states that forced treatment is not proven to prevent violent practices yet are relied upon “despite the lack of evidence that they offer any benefits, and the significant evidence that they lead to physical and psychological harm and even death.”

Psychiatrists and psychologists are unable to predict whether a person is a danger to oneself or others as this relies upon subjective opinion, not science. “Violence is not a diagnosis nor is it a disease. Potential to do harm is not a symptom or a sign of mental illness,” and cannot be scientifically assessed.

Recommendations

  • Prohibition of all ElectroConvulsive Therapy (ECT) and psychosurgery, with criminal penalties to those administering these in violation of the law.
  • Informed Consent must be obtained with all major treatment risks documented in writing; the person informed that there are diverse opinions and disagreements about the medical legitimacy of psychiatric diagnoses which cannot be determined with physical-medical tests; the patient has the right to refuse treatment and revoke consent at any time, as well has the right to all available alternatives.
  • Abolish mechanical and chemical restraints, with criminal penalties if used and resulting in harm or death of the patient.
  • Proper medical testing to be conducted as part of the patient assessment, ruling out underlying and undiagnosed physical conditions that may manifest in “psychiatric” symptoms.
  • Facilities established to safely withdraw patients from psychotropic drugs.
Forced Psychiatry is Legislated Violence

Moving The Needle in Mental Health Care

Monday, November 29th, 2021

Former National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Director Thomas Insel admitted that genetic and neuroscience research on the causes of mental illness has not moved the needle in improving mental health care after $20 billion of investment.

Here’s the full quote of what he said:
“I spent 13 years at NIMH really pushing on the neuroscience and genetics of mental disorders, and when I look back on that I realize that while I think I succeeded in getting lots of really cool papers published by cool scientists at fairly large cost ? I think $20 billion ? I don’t think we moved the needle in reducing suicide, reducing hospitalizations, improving recovery for the tens of millions of people who have mental illness.”

There are a couple of take-aways from this revealing admission.

First, NIMH has totally wasted a large chunk of taxpayer money for no result. Their funding should be halted. Second, they still think they are addressing something called “mental illness.” This deserves some additional explanation.

Psychiatric disorders, fraudulently called “mental illness”, are not medical diseases. The term “mental illness” is a red herring, which means “something that distracts attention from the real issue”.

There are no clinical lab tests, brain scans, X-rays or chemical imbalance tests that can verify any mental disorder is a physical condition. This is not to say that people do not get depressed, or that people can’t experience emotional or mental duress, but psychiatry has repackaged these emotions and behaviors as “disease” or “illness” in order to sell drugs and other harmful “treatments”. This is a brilliant marketing campaign, but it is not science.

What is the Real Issue?

Psychiatrists proclaim a worldwide epidemic of mental health problems and urge massive funding increases as the only solution. But is this the real crisis in mental health today?

Funds are appropriated for a general “mental health crisis” that does not factually exist, but is fabricated by psychiatry to protect and perpetuate their bloated budgets. Funding is thus diverted from workable programs that can resolve the social problems psychiatry has failed to solve.

According to psychiatric thinking, the solution for everything from the most minor to the most severe personal problem is strictly limited to diagnosis with the fraudulent Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), assigning a mental illness label, and prescribing a restrictive, generally coercive and costly range of harmful treatments.

As we continue to see after decades of psychiatric monopoly over the world’s mental health, this has lead only to upwardly spiraling mental illness statistics, continuously escalating funding demands, and no cures.

The real crisis in mental health today is that after years of psychiatric funding, instead of seeing better mental health in society we see continuing failures of psychiatric practice and  worsening mental health.

Medical studies have shown time and again that for many patients, what appear to be mental problems are actually caused by an undiagnosed and untreated physical illness or condition. This does not mean a “chemical imbalance” or a “brain-based disease.” It does not mean that mental illness is physical. It does mean that ordinary medical problems can affect behavior and outlook.

Look at the actual products of psychiatry, not at the lofty words. No Cures. Harmful and Addictive brain-modifying drugs. Harmful “treatments” like barbaric electroshock, lobotomies, and magnetic brain bombardment. Massive bureaucracy. And You Paid For It.

Recommendation

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) is the key to escalating mental illness statistics and psychotropic drug usage worldwide. Untold harm and colossal waste of mental health funds occur because of it. The DSM diagnostic system must be abandoned before real mental health reform can occur.

DSM-5

Mental Health vs Mental Illness

Monday, August 23rd, 2021

We’ve heard a lot recently about Mental Health. The Olympics have brought to light the stresses of competition, grueling routines and being under constant public pressure and expectations to win—and carping criticism from spectators if the athlete fails to meet those expectations. It stands to reason that having a solid mental health outlook is a vital part of such challenges. And that it can falter.

We applaud all the athletes for not just their dedication and courage but also their service to sport and their respective countries.

While CCHR exposes psychiatric abuse, ultimately this is so that people can achieve true mental health—a positive outlook both emotionally and in thoughts and actions that enables a better life, not hampered by physically damaging “treatments.”

“Mental health,” as viewed in the psychiatric industry is seen as mental “illness:” using descriptive names based on biased observation to redefine not doing well mentally as a physical disease—with not a single medical test to confirm this. This often leads to the use of physically damaging treatments, but no cures. It is important to differentiate between psychiatry’s definition of “mental disorder” and what is mental health, and not confuse the two.

Rest assured, psychiatrists and psychologists will abuse the current mental health awareness to slip in the need for biochemical “solutions.” Like a Johns Hopkins university psychologist who claims a “really well-structured psychedelic” drug session is “equal to several years of ordinary psychotherapy.”

CCHR has always warned that psychiatry’s power rests on force and that true informed consent does not exist in the mental health system when it fails to inform those needing help that a mental disorder diagnosis is not based on scientific tests and that drugs and electroshock given in the absence of fully informed consent constitutes torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

Recent United Nations and World Health Organization (WHO) reports agree—vindicating what CCHR has been fighting for for over 50 years!

The World Psychiatric Association (WPA) issued a statement acknowledging the international outrage over psychiatric coercion and called for alternatives to psych drugs and restraint use.

A former United Nations Special Rapporteur on health, Dr. Dainius P?ras, recently was interviewed for Psychiatric Times in the U.S. and condemned coercive psychiatry. He said that psych diagnoses perpetuate discrimination; biological psychiatry hasn’t worked and equated it with “totalitarian and authoritarian regimes.” He called for the “elimination of all forced psychiatric confinement and treatment.”

Relevant to the recent awareness about mental health, Dr. P?ras also said: “There is now unequivocal evidence of the failures of a system that relies too heavily on the biomedical model,” including psychotropic drugs.

Then the WHO issued a new guideline for mental health treatment in July, attacking “coercive psychiatry” as “pervasive” and that it must change. It supported a ban on “forced hospitalization and forced treatment,” including drugs and electroshock.

It is important for people to know the differences between mental health and psychiatric “disease,” and to be informed of the failures of this profession in ensuring mental health is achieved as opposed to creating mental ill-health.

Failed Mental Health Programs

A new major resource from CCHR International answers questions about why is psychiatry so controversial? Why do critics think psychiatry creates unhappiness, rather than curing it? How is it that psychiatric treatment causes harm? Why is that other doctors don’t think psychiatrists are “real doctors”? Why are psychiatrists their own worst enemies, while blaming their failures on both their patients and an “anti-psychiatry” movement that they, in fact, started?

Download and read this new publication, “Why Psychiatry Sees Itself as a Dying Industry  A Resource on its Failures and Critics.”

Support CCHR

Your support in helping CCHR would mean a great deal. Your help, as always, is an integral part of our success in raising awareness and being able to deliver the facts. Please donate to support the cause.

Volunteer help is also appreciated.

Britney Spears’ Conservatorship Challenge

Monday, August 9th, 2021

[Condensed from Jan Eastgate, President, CCHR International]

The pop icon’s traumatic story of being held captive by a punitive guardianship law, with abusive psychiatric evaluations and forced mood-altering drugs, has prompted legislators to act. But proposed laws, while applaudable, fall short on needed protections.

Conservatorships, which place guardians over the control of a person’s life when deemed incompetent, are often based on a subjective psychiatric evaluation. As such, while it is very easy for someone to be placed under a conservatorship order because of a psychiatric diagnosis, it’s very hard to get out of one. The diagnosis is stigmatizing and is hard to disprove because of its subjectivity. It can also expand over the years, especially where there may be deterioration in the individual from powerful psychotropic drugs prescribed to them.

The late professor of psychiatry and co-founder of Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) Dr. Thomas Szasz, warned against state intervention that allows psychiatry to circumvent individual and constitutional rights. He called it “The Therapeutic State,” where the state gives psychiatry the power to be an institution of social control. “When I use the term therapeutic state, I use it ironically, it’s therapeutic for the people who are doing the locking up, who are doing the therapy, it’s not therapeutic for the victims, for the patients,” Szasz said. “The therapeutic state seeks to remedy personal and social problems defined as diseases; its beneficiaries are often ‘helped’ against their will; it is a totalitarian state, governed by the rule of therapeutic discretion.”

CCHR asks legislators to review the World Health Organization’s recent guideline for protections of people with mental health disabilities. WHO recommends countries “repeal guardianship and other substitute decision-making legislation and replace it with laws that recognize legal capacity and promote supported decision-making, including the use of advance plans [living wills] and best interpretation of will and preference.”

In Britney’s case, the conservatorship was put into place in 2008, while she struggled with her mental health, and gave her father broad control over her life and finances. Britney obtained a court order recently to reinforce her inherent right to obtain the legal counsel of her choice. Her new attorney must petition the court to have the current conservatorship removed.

Britney pleaded that the conservatorship over her affairs has made her feel “demoralized and enslaved.” She has been subjected to numerous psychiatric evaluations and medications, stating: “I want to end the conservatorship without being evaluated,” she said. The system in place is “abusive,” Britney said in court, accusing her conservators of forcing her to take mood-stabilizing drugs and perform against her will.

Britney also told the court that her previous psychiatrist (who died in 2019) was abusive in his treatment of her. She alleged that she was subjected to lengthy psychological evaluations, forced into a $60,000-a-month inpatient facility and told that she wouldn’t be able to see her children if she failed to comply. “To be totally honest with you, when [the doctor] passed away, I got on my knees and thanked God,” she said. She was then forced to see a therapist three days a week. Paparazzi humiliated her by taking photos of her crying after the emotional sessions. She asked the judge last month to be allowed to be part of her own care plan.

NBC News reported that allegations of abusive psychiatrists in conservatorships are not uncommon. Doctors are asked to file capacity declarations with the court which form about 75 percent of how judges base their decisions to keep someone under court-ordered guardianship.

The WHO’s “Guidance on community mental health services: Promoting person-centered and rights-based approaches” released in June 2021, is very clear about abuse in the mental health system: “Many people with mental health conditions and psychosocial disabilities are denied the right to exercise their legal capacity; that is, the right to make decisions for oneself and to have those decisions respected by others. Based on stigmatizing assumptions about their status – that their decisions are unreasonable or bring negative consequences, or that their decision-making skills are deficient, or that they cannot understand and make decisions for themselves or communicate their will and preferences – it has become acceptable in services in countries throughout the world, for others to step in and make decisions for people with mental health conditions and psychosocial disabilities. In many countries, this is implemented through schemes like guardianship, supervision and surrogacy, and is legitimized by laws and practices.”

As an organization that has exposed abuses in the mental health industry for more than fifty years, CCHR has definitely come across unscrupulous guardians that have been able to secure the help of psychiatrists to maintain control over an individual, especially their finances. The diagnostic aspect of conservatorship needs closer scrutiny.

State laws need to ensure that someone who is subject to a psychiatric evaluation also has freedom of choice and the right to obtain a second medical—as opposed to a psychiatric—opinion. Contact your state legislators and express your viewpoint about this.

The WHO guidelines are clear about protecting individual rights to choose. It also recommends people sign a Living Will to express their treatment and guardianship preferences should their liberty be threatened by competency issues.

Something is Rotten in Canton

Monday, July 19th, 2021

Let’s Electroshock Children Who Misbehave

In March of 2020 the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) banned the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts from using electric shock devices on their autistic and other mentally troubled children. In July of 2021 a federal appeals court removed the ban. The school is once again electro shocking about 60 students a day.

The school administers electric skin shocks in a form of “aversion therapy” for aggressive or self-injurious behavior. School staff trigger a shock to a child by using a remote control that zaps children with electric current when they misbehave. The school calls this a “medical device.” Since 1987 a state court must determine that such forced treatment is appropriate.

This electrical stimulation device delivers a powerful and painful electric shock to the wearer’s skin in an effort to punish. This school is the only facility in the country that uses coercive electric shock therapy to “treat” individuals who severely self-injure or are aggressive.

The FDA finally recognized in March 2020 (after 20 years) that these devices “present substantial psychological and physical risks and, in fact, can worsen underlying symptoms—while leading to heightened anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.”

Unfortunately, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia overturned the FDA ban on July 6, 2021, stating that the ban was a regulation of the practice of medicine, which is outside the FDA’s area of authority.

The History of Abuse

In April 2016, the FDA first proposed banning electrical stimulation devices for self-injurious or aggressive behavior.

In 2018, the media reported that the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center would be allowed to continue administering electric shocks to its special needs students after a judge ruled the procedure conformed to the “accepted standard of care,” in spite of the practice being condemned by disability rights groups and the ACLU.

On December 3, 2018, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of The Organization of American States published a Precautionary Measure calling for the school to immediately cease electroshocking special needs children as a disciplinary measure.

In March 2020 the FDA finally determined that the devices presented a substantial and unreasonable risk to self-injurious and aggressive patients, justifying banning the devices for that purpose.

The Appeals Court

The appeals court examined the question, “Does the FDA have legal authority to ban an otherwise legal device from a particular use?”

The court concluded that current law prohibits the FDA from regulating the practice of medicine, and therefore it vacated the FDA’s rule banning electrical stimulation devices for self-injurious and aggressive behavior. There was one dissenting opinion; the Chief Judge found in favor of the FDA. [Read the full court opinion here.]

Of course, the lie in the argument is that electro shocking children is “practicing medicine.” In fact it is torture, not medicine.

The Case Against Torture

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment has remarked that Electro Convulsive Treatment (ECT) amounts to torture. The World Health Organization (WHO) has also stated that there are no indications for the use of ECT on minors. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) calls for a ban on “forced treatment.”

Granted that ECT is more severe than electric skin shocks, just have someone force you to stick your finger into an electric wall socket and tell us that this is not torture.

Disguising social control as medical treatment is a deceit which conceals an abuse.” This is a de facto abuse of power, as it seeks to limit and control the individual instead of helping the individual to get better and improve their conditions in life.

In the United Nations July 24, 2018 Annual Report of the High Commissioner “Mental health and human rights,” it states, “States should ensure that all health care and services, including all mental health care and services, are based on the free and informed consent of the individual concerned, and that legal provisions and policies permitting the use of coercion and forced interventions, including involuntary hospitalization and institutionalization, the use of restraints, psychosurgery, forced medication, and other forced measures aimed at correcting or fixing an actual or perceived impairment, including those allowing for consent or authorization by a third party, are repealed. States should reframe and recognize these practices as constituting torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and as amounting to discrimination against users of mental health services, persons with mental health conditions and persons with psychosocial disabilities.”

The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, formally adopted on December 10, 1948 states, “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

CCHR’s own Mental Health Declaration of Human Rights, written in 1969, states these rights, among others:
“The right to refuse any treatment the patient considers harmful.”
“No person shall be given psychiatric or psychological treatment against his or her will.”

Sign the petition to ban electroshock here.