I don't spend so much time thinking about this stuff anymore, but as a writer I've found that there are many people who need to hear this from someone else because they think they're the only ones such heinous shit happened to. Or worse, they have come to believe they deserved the heinous shit because there is no one in their environment to reflect to them their real beauty and any sort of belief in their inherent well-being (we all have that).
On June 4, Congressman Tim Murphy introduced legislation (HR 2646) designed to dismantle the federal mental health authority – the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) – which has successfully promoted recovery and community inclusion for individuals with serious behavioral health conditions for 25 years, as called for by President Bush's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health. The bill would replace SAMHSA with a new Office headed by a politically appointed government official, controlled by Congress and robbing people of their civil rights through forced treatment and increased institutionalization. … [click on title to read and view more]
Even as we have access to more and more information that links that which gets labeled mental illness to trauma -- treatment that exacerbates the trauma response continues to gain legal traction all over the country. This, of course, leads to the epidemic of harm and iatrogenic illness we're watching happen. … [click on title for the rest of the post]
most provisions of the proposed bill are a giant step back from the trend promoting consumer engagement, empowerment, and self-direction by emphasizing professional dominance on advisory committees. The bill also restricts programmatic initiatives to evidence-based practices therefore frustrating development of innovative approaches, many of which may reflect more active consumer involvement and direction than established practices. The bill will also cut funding to statewide consumer networks... … [click on title for the rest of the post]
by Leah Harris As I walked alone up the stairs to the Rayburn House Office Building this morning to attend the hearing of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health on H.R. 3717 – the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act – I thought about how I wasn’t truly alone. In spirit with me were all the people who had experienced scary, coercive, and dehumanizing interventions in the name of help. In spirit with me were all the well-intentioned family members who didn’t want to force treatment on their loved ones, but didn’t have access to or know about alternative voluntary, recovery-oriented community resources. In spirit with me was every mental health provider who went into the field hoping to really make a difference in their communities, but became cynical and discouraged in the face of so many broken systems and broken spirits. … [click on title for the rest of the post]
The out patient forced treatment bill passed...people can now be forcibly drugged in their own homes in every state in the country. What tragedy befalls us. This is dangerous legislation. … [click on title for the rest of the post]
The bill, as many people who follow what’s happening in mental health law know, calls for the enactment of assisted (involuntary) outpatient commitment laws at the Federal level and is purportedly crafted to ensure the safety of those deemed “severely mentally ill” by giving families, courts and mental health providers increased authority to commit individuals to outpatient treatment. This may involve supervisory case management and compulsory treatment with whatever psychiatric drugs may be prescribed, while also granting family members or guardians the legal right to access an individual’s medical records. This legislation, were it to pass, would divert funds from recovery-oriented community mental health programs and would expand funding for psychiatric drug treatment, while also undermining existing legislation relating to patients’ rights. … [click on title for the rest of the post]
As a person who has experienced involuntary commitments, seclusion, restraints, forced medication, and intentional humiliation as part of my “mental health” treatment, I am still working through the severe and persistent effects of force and coercion. Being in relational dynamics in which I had no voice and in which I was not treated as a human being with viable thoughts and legitimate feelings impacted my sense of self in ways that were incredibly destructive. I didn’t have a word for it when it was happening. Torture was something that happened to prisoners of war in faraway places and in terrible movies. It was not something that happened to young Americans in modern hospitals. … [click on title for the rest of the post]