Friday, April 04, 2014


With another shooting at Fort Hood, bills in Congress, and hearings in the United Nations, the subject of involuntary outpatient treatment, forced treatment and human rights are all subjects being discussed in ever widening circles.  I would add coercive treatment to the list because I see little difference between a lot of the methods used in the mental health system and forced treatment.  If a person has few choices and little correct information, then the treatment they receive might as well be involuntary. 

Only a person with a wide array of choices and who is well educated about those choices and their effects and who is in an environment that supports participatory decision making can make a voluntary decision about their treatment.   I have been receiving services since 1964 and I have yet to see such an environment other than on paper.  I have seen great words about such a program or place, but never the reality of such a program or place.

When I was first involved with the new mental health court in Broward County, FL in 1997, I thought it was going to be a court of “justice” for folks with a psychiatric label who found themselves in the system for minor offenses.  As it turns out, mental health courts across this country have a track record of making people with a psychiatric label serve longer sentences under their jurisdiction than the person would have served in jail for their crime all in the name of “what is in the best interest of the person.”

There is no disputing that the state has assumed the role of parent for those of us they give a psychiatric label to and that means we lose many of our human rights anytime they want to assert their parental rights.  To me it is simple to see the utter nonsense and mockery of our constitution to be able to take away a fellow citizen’s human, civil and constitutional rights on the word of another citizen based on a pseudoscience or “in the best interest of the person” argument.  Simply put, in the absence of a crime there should be no intrusion by the state trying to “fix” something no one has yet even been able to define with any scientific clarity. 

The only thing we know for certain is that psychiatry is not a hard science and that the “fix-it syndrome” is a bad disease for the state to have towards its own people.

© Ed Cooper, April 4, 2014, Stoney Creek, Tennessee
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