Tag Archives: CS/X movement

MacArthur Violence Risk Assessment Study

I work at Oregon State Hospital (OSH) in Salem, OR. It exists because in Oregon as well as most everywhere else, there is an assumption in the legal system (in society in general) that the people who have a mental health diagnosis are more prone to violence than others. This assumption is reflected in the functioning of the Psychiatric Security Review Board (PSRB), the primary instrument of oppression of those with a mental health diagnosis in this state.  This is a direct opposite to reality/ evidence. (See also reports here and here and here. Or here– or even here.)

The best research available is the The MacArthur Community Violence Study, a gigantic longitudinal project spanning several years and thousands of people. This study included 1,136 male and female civil patients between 18 and 40 years old. The project monitored violence to others every 10 weeks during their first year after discharge from a mental institution. Patient self-reports were augmented by reports from collaterals and by police and hospital records. The comparison group consisted of 519 people living in the neighborhoods in which the patients resided after hospital discharge. They were interviewed once about violence in the past 10 weeks.

The most comprehensive study ever done regarding mental health and risk of violence found that even among the “mentally ill” who commit violent crimes, the likelihood of that person committing further violence is considerably less than an individual who has no mental health diagnosis. For individuals who simply have a mental health diagnosis, the likelihood that they will commit an act of violence is substantially less than the average person.

(The MacArthur study is so named because major funding was provided by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Research Network on Mental Health and the Law with a supplemental grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (grant # R01 49696) to interview the collateral informants.)

One factor is that many people who have behaviors labeled as mental illness have developed these symptoms as a result of (and a coping mechanism for) being victims of violence. Having a “mental illness” actually conveys a certain degree of immunity from any tendency towards violence.

The one variable that really messes up this finding is substance abuse. People who have both “mental illness” and active substance abuse are more likely to commit violent crimes.

Judging risk of violence by public opinion is as worthwhile as using your horoscope

It would make sense that if people have adequate support in their community they would be less likely to use alcohol or street drugs to self-medicate. In this way the mental health system as it exists in the United States today contributes to violence.

So- I propose that Oregon do the following:

  1. Reform the PSRB system- starting with the elimination of the PSRB.
  2. Eliminate the State Hospital (and quit building the new replacement facility- maybe the building could be turned into something else- another prison?).
  3. Use the money saved to create a system of community services that is fully funded, consumer driven and based on a compassionate, recovery oriented ethic.
  4. Create an emergency/ acute care system that is based on the Sanctuary model, that makes use of natural/ holistic medicine and provides a variety of choices in terms of treatment styles and settings.

Meanwhile, I won’t hold my breath. The public perception of those of us with “mental illness” is such that fear over-rides sense. A inmate escaping from the State Prison merits 2 inches of news space on page 6. A patient who leaves OSH (“absconds”) without PSRB permission is front page, lead story and a week of prominent follow-up articles.

Advertisements

9 Comments

Filed under inhumanity, Mental Hell Treatment, Oregon State Hospital, wellness and systems change

Monday May I (Short-Sweet)

This will be a mixture today- First, I want to call attention to some of my favorite mental health blogs.

Bi-polar Blast is now called Beyond Meds (and has been for a long time, I just didn’t get around to changing it in the blogroll). Today there is a video of Pema Chodron. Check it out here.

Ron Unger’s blog, Recovery from Schizophrenia, is a veritable fount of information, inspiration and sense. Today he’s talking about an article titled “A Fine Madness. If you poke around, though, you’ll find many wonderful things on his blog. He writes with such clarity and insight- you’ll want to read all of his entries on everything from cognitive therapy for psychosis to reducing medications to redefining Recovery. To see what he’s up to today click here.

Furious Seasons has been quiet lately but you can still read back on some great topics. Also, they have an excellent sampling of links to mental health blogs. That’s where I go when I want to find gems like this or like this.

Off the wall but not out of his mind, my pal Rich is the host of Kill Ugly Radio. Stop by and have a listen. You won’t regret it, most likely. Rich also is the guy who records my radio show and sends it to me so I can archive it here. Thank, Rich.

On the blogroll where it says “Simply the best there is”, what you’ll really find is The Icarus Project. The reason is because they are, simply, the best. Mad forums, mad radio, mad art, mad guides to living. Everything you want. Just do it.

Now for something completely different- it’s time to start scouting for frog spawning areas in my neck of the woods. They’ve been croaking up a storm around my house the last few weeks. It’s been a mostly dry spring but there’s still been plenty of rain to get things going.

Now is the time to find those puddles, ditches and wet spots that are marginal for tadpole survival. Typically there will be several spots near my home where frogs will spawn but that tend to dry up before most of the little guys can transform.

I’m going to check around and get back to you. I’ll bring back some pictures of the places I’m talking about. Then, before the second week of June, I’ll go out and rescue as many of the little fellers as I can. They’ll finish growing legs in the tank on my back porch and hop out into the world when they’re ready.

Leave a comment

Filed under CS/X movement, Free Music, Frogs, Mad Radio, mp3, pictures, wellness and systems change

Mad Radio Night Friday 11/6, sort of

fmoonFriday night at 1 a.m. (yes, I know, it’s really Saturday- relax, it’s only radio) will be the usual night of lunacy on KBOO 90.7 FM (or streamed at KBOO.FM).

Mental Health consumer-talk-radio

Friday night,

1 a.m. to 2 a.m.-

Archived shows are available at

https://rickpdx.wordpress.com/mad-liberation-by-moonlight-archives/

Remember: Call in at 503-231-8187 to be on the radio

(or show up at the studio).

Leave a comment

Filed under CS/X movement, Mad Radio, Mental Hell Treatment

Sunday Brunch

Appetizer

SorrentoRuins

layers

Playing with Hugh

Or, rather, hue (and contrast, and saturation etc.). All these taken in the past week or two. Click for real size, which is big, btw.

I call this one “very close to fall”.

near_fall

Oregon Rainforest- Silver Creek trail
Oregon Rainforest- Silver Creek trail

Ground Foliage
Ground Foliage
Looking Up

Looking Up

More woods in rain

More woods in rain

Bird, tower, moon- composit of several pictures

Bird, tower, moon- composit of several pictures

The J Complex (what's left of it) as envisioned by Prince

The J Complex (what's left of it) as envisioned by Prince

“General Pictures, Sir!”

above Oceanside near Tillamook

Palm.Bunny

pirate_storm-drain

baby

1991-kids_tow

kids_row

35 year old picture of me

35 year old picture of me

earth-sea-sky

sexyflower

I_am_Legion

From:

MindFreedom Oregon News Alert – Please Forward
http://www.mindfreedom.org/oregon

Descartes_mind_and_body

MindFreedom International News – 22 October 2009
Ray Alert #22 – Unite for Real
Mental Health Advocacy
http://www.mindfreedom.org/ray – please forward

Today is Victory Day for Ray Sandford!

No More Forced Electroshock for Ray, Ever!

Today, Ray Sandford of Minnesota phoned the MindFreedom office with
some very good news:

It is official.

After more than 40 involuntary, outpatient electroshocks (also known
as electroconvulsive therapy or ECT), Ray has won.

The court agreed to his change of guardianship. Ray’s new guardians
support his right to say “no” to intrusive procedures such as
electroshock.

Ray made this comment for MindFreedom International members and
supporters, who have backed his campaign for almost exactly one year.

“I’m a bit overwhelmed. This is wonderful! I’m very thankful. Without
your help I probably would still be sitting somewhere getting more
forced electroshock. So thanks a lot to and your group. Praise and
thank the Lord, amen!”

Said David Oaks, Director of MindFreedom International, “Ray’s courage
and laser focus led to a campaign that proves the ‘mad movement’ is
alive and well. The sheer level of people power had to break through.
I know some feel discouraged by the immense oppression of sanism.
Think of Ray. There is an ancient Persian saying: ‘No one is tired on
victory day!'”

THE SHORT STORY OF RAY’S VICTORY DAY

MindFreedom is encouraging all of Ray’s supporters to celebrate this
week, especially this Tuesday, 27 October 2009.

One year ago this week, on 27 October 2008, Ray Sandford first phoned
up the MindFreedom office. He had asked his local library about
organizations that support human rights in mental health. The
reference librarian gave him MindFreedom’s phone number.

Ray phoned up the MindFreedom office. He said that every Wednesday
morning
he was escorted from his group home to a hospital for another
involuntary forced electroshock, under court order.

MindFreedom International investigated and kicked off a public
campaign
that became global. Issuing 21 alerts, MindFreedom’s campaign
activated thousands of people who peacefully but passionately
contacted elected officials, held protests, mailed Ray stationery
supplies, won extensive media coverage, visited him, and much, much
more. At least one elected official said they felt ‘inundated.’

But MindFreedom also found that Ray’s oppression was systemic and deep.

MindFreedom volunteers identified and listed on the MFI web site more
than 30 agencies and individuals receiving taxpayer money to
supposedly help Ray. Only a few agencies helped Ray, and most actually
opposed his rights. Because MFI’s web site is so popular, many of
those who oppressed Ray can “Google themselves” and discover their MFI
listing near the top.

Ray’s last forced electroshock was on USA tax day, 15 April 2009.

By coincidence the 15th of April was also the date of the very first
forced electroshock, back in 1938 in Italy, when the subject cried out:

“Non una seconda! Mortifierel” which means in Italian, “Not another!
It’s deadly!”

On 13 May 2009, Ray was escorted all the way to a hospital bed. He was
prepped for another forced electroshock. Because of outrage, hospital
authorities
cancelled Ray’s shock at the last second, and he was sent
home.

More victories quickly followed.

Ray’s psychiatrist quit because he said his insurance company was
concerned about all the public attention. MindFreedom helped Ray find
a new psychiatrist supportive of Ray’s human rights.

Ray’s family joined in the campaign. MindFreedom organized a YouTube
video
with Ray and his Mom, begging for the shock to end. Ray’s
guardians, an agency under the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
(
ELCA), tried to stop the video from going public, but it got ought.

Ray’s family found a better attorney. Ray found great pleasure in
firing his ineffective court-appointed attorney.

Several concerned Minnesota agencies formed an “ECT Work Group” to
change the law in Minnesota. Two MindFreedom representatives serve on
the committee, but are asking for more than just minor reform.

“SINGLE, SMALL VOICE IN THE FACE OF A MEDICAL GIANT.”

And today, Ray’s final victory is in place: Ray successfully replaced
his general guardians who had supported his forced electroshock.

One of Ray’s new guardians, Daryl Trones, announced:

“MindFreedom has just won a substantial victory! Today I received an
‘Acceptance of Appointment” from Ramsey County District Court
regarding the changing of guardianship for Ray Sandford. Ray no longer
will be subject to ECT treatments. The powers of Successor
Guardianship include the power to ‘withhold consent for treatment of
service, including  neuroleptic / psychotropic medications,’ under
Minnesota Statute 524.5-314.”

Daryl, Ray and his family want to thank all of Ray’s many supporters.

Said Daryl, “My appreciation to all the MindFreedom members and
volunteers and especially to David Oaks who orchestrated requisite
forces and passions to pull Ray Sandford from harm’s way. MindFreedom
now bas a successful case study outlining the necessary steps to
extricate persons subject to forced electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).
Congratulation to MindFreedom Staff and Members and most of all to Ray
Sandford who one year ago was just a single, small voice in the face
of a medical giant.”

Supporters should finally be able to postal mail to Ray Sandford
directly without delay.

You may postal mail your congratulations to Ray here:

Ray Sandford
Victory House
4427 Monroe St.
Columbia Heights, MN 55421-2880 USA

You can read the history of Ray’s successful campaign at:
http://www.mindfreedom.org/ray

free_your_mind_02_big

Utne Reader magazine periodically names “50 Visionaries Who Are
Changing Your World.”

A psychiatric survivor activist is named as one of these visionaries
in Utne’s November/December 2009 issue, which hits the stands now:

David W. Oaks, Director of MindFreedom International, an independent
nonprofit for human rights and alternatives in mental health.

Utne’s listing of David Oaks also zings ABC-TV’s recent national news
coverage of the “mad pride movement,” which has been widely criticized
by activists.

~~~~~~~~~~~

For Utne’s listing of David Oaks, and to make a public comment, go here:

http://www.utne.com/Science-Technology/David-Oaks-Director-MindFreedom-International.aspx

or use this link:

http://bit.ly/utne-oaks

~~~~~~~~~~~

For Utne’s entire list of 2009 visionaries, starting with the Dalai
Lama
who is on the cover, go here:

http://www.utne.com/Politics/50-Visionaries-Changing-Your-World-Hope-2009.aspx

or use this link:

http://bit.ly/utne-vision

~~~~~~~~~~~

Said David Oaks, “Utne is one of the few media leaders to acknowledge
the ‘mad movement’ to deeply change the mental health system. Utne’s
recognition is really of our whole movement’s vision. This shows we
are still connected to all the other movements for social and
environmental justice, just as when our movement first started. Can we
have a
nonviolent revolution now?”

eclipse_corona

Another Suspicious Death Inside Oregon State Hospital

According to the below MindFreedom Oregon Exclusive Report, another
psychiatric patient died inside Oregon State Hospital in
Salem, Oregon
under suspicious circumstances on Saturday, 17 October 2009.

The man — known here as “Patient M” — had apparently been
complaining repeatedly for a month about chest pain, which staff had
allegedly dismissed because of his psychiatric diagnosis. Instead of
medical care, staff reportedly just gave him more
psychiatric drugs.

After the patient died, the report says he was left undiscovered all
day by staff who were supposed to be checking on him regularly.

The below is based on several anonymous reports from patients on ward
50F with access to telephones, who took great risk to speak out.
Because of a long pattern of abuse and neglect in Oregon State
Hospital
(OSH), this information is offered immediately in the public
interest, but has not yet been investigated by authorities. Each
allegation needs to be investigated before confirmation.

At the bottom are ways you can speak out to demand an investigation,
and also demand support for a state-wide voice for Oregon’s mental
health consumers
and psychiatric survivors.

Patients supplying this news did not ask to be anonymous but patients
at OSH have reported retaliation for getting information out in
public. For example, this past week a minimum security patient was
allegedly moved, in shackles, to a more restricted area after he spoke
with Salem reporters about his lawsuit against Oregon State Hospital.

MindFreedom calls on the Governor, the US Dept. of Justice and the
media to immediately investigate the below allegations, especially the
RED FLAGS marked in this report.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

EXCLUSIVE REPORT to MindFreedom Oregon

“The medicine is not working.”

The Passing of “Patient M” on Ward 50F in Oregon State Hospital
(OSH)

Over one month ago, “Patient M” had a fellow patient — “R” — help
him write a special letter to the ward medical officer.

In the letter Patient M complained of his chest pain, stomach pain and
trouble breathing.

Instead of medical treatment for the chest pain, because of his
psychiatric diagnosis Patient M was given more psychiatric drugs as
staff felt he needed them, known in medicine as “PRN.” These
psychiatric drugs were often minor tranquilizers, usually Ativan
(lorazepam) or Klonopin (clonazepam). The psychiatric drugs were
administered whenever he complained of pain.

Two weeks ago, Patient M spoke directly to the Ward Medical Officer
and said that, “The medicine is not working.” He continued to complain
of chest and stomach pain with difficulty breathing. [RED FLAG] He
continued to be given “PRNs.” He was not given a pain reliever, heart
medication or any cardiac testing.

This past week, Patient M has told everyone on the ward who would
listen that he was in serious pain. Other patients were already very
worried about his health. He continued to receive tranquilizers when
he complained.

Last Thursday and Friday — 15th and 16th of October — were
particularly bad. [RED FLAG]

Patients say it’s important to know that it is policy that all
patients be checked for “location and condition every hour.” For
example, in a widely-publicized escape a month ago, staff had not been
checking on the patient.

Saturday morning, 17 October 2009, Patient M got up for breakfast, and
he was known as a man who never misses a meal. Some said eating seemed
to be his greatest enjoyment, and he was always the first person to
get his food. Because he is sloppy, he got his food delivered to him
outside the kitchen.

At 8:30 am he was given his morning meds. He told the nurse that his
chest hurt “really bad” and he had trouble breathing. He was given his
usual psychiatric drug PRN.

Patient M went to lay down.

A nurse checked at 9:30 am and saw he was lying down. He seemed okay.

Patient M resided in a very over-crowded room typical of the “50
building” at OSH. A short time later one of his roommates said his
eyes were rolled back. “But sometimes he sleeps like that” because of
the PRNs, said one roommate.

No staff checked his condition for the rest of the morning. [RED FLAG]

Lunch on 50F is served between 11 am and 11:30 am. Staff brought his
tray down to his room. They called his name and there was no response,
even though it is well known that he always eats. [RED FLAG] Staff
left, and took his lunch back to the kitchen.

Mid-afternoon a roommate shook his foot to see if he’d wake up. There
was no response. No staff looked in on him to check his condition all
afternoon. [RED FLAG]

Dinner time, 4:30 pm, staff called into his room to announce the meal.
No response. Patient M did not get up for food. Staff did not bother
to bring a tray down for him. No staff checked him.

His roommates complained of the stench of “shit” in the room. This
odor was probably from the natural course of a person who is lying
dead for hours as their bowels evacuate. Staff still stayed out. [RED
FLAG]

Finally, at 7:45 pm OSH medication staff went to his room to give him
his evening pills. This time he was checked. He was so dead cold, no
attempt was made at resuscitation. Some patients believe he was in or
past rigor mortis at this point.

Between 7:45 and 8 pm, patient eye-witnesses allege several things
happened. The room was sealed. Staff were called into what one person
called a “bubble” to speak privately.

Based on patient reports: “It was quiet for a few minutes. Then the
staff became very active. We could see through the nurses’ station
windows that they were handling documents, making photocopies. We
heard one staff say, ‘We’ll need six more of those.’ Then we could see
staff shredding originals of documents they had just photocopied. By 8
pm things had returned to normal. The body was carried out later.”

Over the weekend Patient M’s soiled bed and personal area were left as
is in the crowded room. “The smell was unbelievable,” said one witness.

On Monday morning, 19 October 2009, two days after the death, at the
ward meeting, patients complained about the unsanitary conditions in
this room. Staff took out the bed, bedding and sanitized the area. As
of that evening there was no counseling about the death, and no extra
help provided to other patients on that ward.

No memorial was suggested until patients brought it up at the ward
meeting.

Patients were questioned at the meeting about “What do you know?” and
“What will you report?” One patient referred to the meeting as an
“inquisition.”

Patients around the hospital heard about the death only by word of
mouth.

Many are reportedly saddened.

Because of the request by patients, a memorial is planned.

– end –

~~~~~~~~~~

ACTIONS * ACTIONS * ACTIONS

Please forward this alert to others who support human rights in mental
health.

The Governor has not responded to e-mails. Please telephone.

PHONE GOVERNOR TED KULONGOSKI AT (503) 378-3111

In a civil but strong way, in your own words:

1) Ask the Governor to personally investigate suspicious deaths at
Oregon State Hospital.

2) Ask the Governor to support the state-wide voice of mental health
consumers
and psychiatric survivors.

~~~~~~~~~~

BACKGROUND on OSH & MORTALITY:

Oregon State Hospital has a long history of suspicious deaths.

OSH is nationally famous when its secret discolored copper canisters
were revealed that contain the ashes of some 5,121 patients who died
between 1913 and 1971. The identification of many of the patients is
lost.

See the Time Magazine article on Jan. 2009 about OSH ash cans here:

http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,1869177,00.html

For more photos of the canisters go to this web site from July 2009:

http://thephotobook.wordpress.com/2009/07/06/david-maisel-library-of-dust/

or use this link:

http://bit.ly/osh-ashes

Mortality and people in the mental health system continues to be a
national controversy today in the USA.

A major study by the National Association of State Mental Health
Program Directors showed that people who use the US
public mental
health system
die about 25 years earlier than the general public:

http://www.mindfreedom.org/kb/psychiatric-drugs/death

One possible reason provided in the study is the over-use of
psychiatric drugs, including multiple prescriptions, but this factor
is often omitted or downplayed by those in the mental health system
discussing these deaths.

Instead, the mental health system today is promoting “integration” of
physical and mental health as the answer to this mortality rate.
“Integration” is now a major buzz word in mental health.

Sound good?

Unfortunately, there’s no definition of this “integration.” Is this
the “integration” of psychiatric institutions into the community, as
mandated by the Olmstead Supreme Court decision? A draft of Oregon’s
plan to implement Olmstead does not emphasize the importance of
supporting the voice of
mental health consumers and psychiatric
survivors.

In some places this “integration” buzz word has simply meant increased
prescription rates of psychiatric drugs in clinics that had previously
focused on physical health. Sad about your heart condition? There may
be a
psychiatric drug prescription waiting for you, too.

People with psychiatric labels continue to be among the most
disempowered Oregonians.

How can this “power imbalance” change without a voice?

Since the exact month Governor Ted Kulongoski took office, Oregon
became one of the few USA states to provide zero — 0 — funding for
the state-wide voice of mental health consumers and psychiatric
survivors.  For more than seven years, there has been zero state
funding for any of those activities — a newsletter, conference,
office of mental health consumer affairs.

Nothing.

During tough times, people with psychiatric labels are supposedly hit
hardest. That’s when we should be supporting the voice of mental
health consumers
and psychiatric survivors the most.

However, apparently based on advice from his closest staff, Governor
Kulongoski continues to recommend zero for this state-wide voice each
budget.

You can read about the Governor’s legacy of “zero” for mental health
consumers and psychiatric survivors here:

http://www.mindfreedom.org/zero

~~~~~~~~~~

TWO ACTIONS:

1) PLEASE forward this covered-up news to all interested people.

2) PHONE GOVERNOR TED KULONGOSKI AT (503) 378-3111

Be civil and strong, ask for investigation of deaths at OSH, and for
his support of a state-wide voice for mental health consumers and
psychiatric survivors.

~~~~~~~~~~

ADDITIONAL ACTIONS:

US Department of Justice (DOJ) is supposed to be investigating Oregon
State Hospital
.

In your own words, ask that all appropriate results of investigations
by DOJ of OSH be made public, and also be provided to you.

You can e-mail DOJ here:

AskDOJ@usdoj.gov

Or for more DOJ contact info, go here:

http://www.usdoj.gov/contact-us.html

You can also e-mail or postal mail Governor Kulongoski, contact info
is here:

http://governor.oregon.gov/Gov/contact_us.shtml

Please also bring this to the attention of any interested media.

If you did not receive this alert directly from mindfreedom-oregon
news service, you can get on this free, public alert system here:

http://www.intenex.net/lists/listinfo/mindfreedom-oregon-news

For more info about MindFreedom Oregon go here:

http://www.mindfreedom.org/oregon

Update:

Autopsy was supposed to be done Friday- I have heard nothing. Key information would be stomach contents, since the hospital claimed he had all his meals that day (whereas eyewitnesses say he was left dead in his room all day).

Titan atmosphere

From Librivox- free audio books

(click to play)

A Century of Recorded Poetry, Vol 1, 01, Walt Whitman – America

A Century of Recorded Poetry, Vol 1, 02, William Butler Yeats – The Lake Isle Of Innisfree

A Century of Recorded Poetry, Vol 1, 03, William Butler Yeats – The Song Of The Old Mother

A Century of Recorded Poetry, Vol 1, 04, Robert Frost – The Road Not Taken

A Century of Recorded Poetry, Vol 1, 05, Robert Frost – Birches

A Century of Recorded Poetry, Vol 1, 06, Robert Frost – The Gift Outright

A Century of Recorded Poetry, Vol 1, 07, Gertrude Stein – If I Had Told Him A Completed Portrait of Picasso

A Century of Recorded Poetry, Vol 1, 09, William Carlos Williams – The Red Wheelbarrow

A Century of Recorded Poetry, Vol 1, 19, Langston Hughes – The Negro Speaks Of Rivers

communist_party

Have fun, be safe, eat as much candy as you want.

Leave a comment

Filed under CS/X movement, mindfreedom news, mp3, Oregon State Hospital, pictures, poetry

MLBM Announcement

Re: Looney Radio 4/17/09

Mental Health consumer-talk-radio
This Friday night, 1 a.m. to 2 a.m.-
April 17th, 2009
KBOO 90.7 FM or streamed on the web: kboo.fm
Call in at 503-231-8187 to be on the radio (or show up at the studio).

Please set your alarm if you aren’t up at that time- we need your voice.
There are people listening
(all over the world, by internet)
Call in at 503-231-8187

Archived shows are now available at
https://rickpdx.wordpress.com/mad-liberation-by-moonlight-archives/
We’re running a week late again this month due to my son’s birthday (this time)

last weekend.

KBOO 90.7 FM or on the web at kboo.fm (note the repetition)

With any luck at all next month’s show will be May 8th- not following the full moon, but within 24 hours of it (the moon is actually full on the 9th, which is technically when the show happens- don’t worry about it).

Be well,
Rick

giordanoe-15

Leave a comment

Filed under CS/X movement, Mad Radio, Mental health recovery

Ray Update from MindFreedom

MindFreedom News – 15 April 2009
Nonviolent Revolution in Mental Health
http://www.mindfreedom.org/ray – please forward

    Ray Sandford Declares “Guarded Victory” for MindFreedom Ray Campaign

    Because of Public Pressure, Ray’s Psychiatrist May Quit Case

The bad news is that this morning, 15 April 2009, Ray Sandford of 
Minnesota had another involuntary, outpatient electroshock, also 
known as electroconvulsive therapy or ECT.

The good news is today’s forced electroshock could be Ray’s last.

Maybe.

Ray Sandford called the MindFreedom office this afternoon to say that 
because of growing public pressure, Ray’s main psychiatrist Dean K. 
Knudson plans to quit as Ray’s psychiatrist. Dr. Knudson has been 
ordering the forced electroshocks.

If Ray is quickly assigned a new psychiatrist more sensitive to Ray’s 
human rights and need for humane alternatives, then Ray could be free 
of his ongoing forced electroshocks. Ray has had more than 40.

Dr. Knudson had scheduled Ray’s next forced shock for 30 days from 
today. The court order allowing Ray’s forced electroshock does not 
mandate the psychiatrist to prescribe it.

Ray said that his general guardian, Tonya Wilhelm of Lutheran Social 
Service, told Ray in a phone call today that she had talked to Dr. 
Knudson personally. According to her, Dr. Knudson’s insurance company 
expressed concern to him about the enormous grassroots campaign that 
MindFreedom is building to stop Ray’s forced electroshocks.

RAY CAMPAIGN TO CONTINUE

“Tonya told me that because of all the controversy, Dr. Knudson’s 
insurance company may force him to stop being my psychiatrist,” said 
Ray. “Absolutely this is a guarded victory. I want to be sure to 
thank people for their diligence, and for everything they’re doing to 
support me.”

David W. Oaks, Director of MindFreedom International commented, 
“Today is USA Tax Day. If Ray’s supporters keep it up, it looks like 
taxpayers may get a break, and not waste their money torturing Ray 
any more.”

The Ray Campaign will continue, said Oaks. “We need to stay vigilant 
about Ray’s rights, make sure Dr. Knudson quits, and help Ray find a 
better lead mental health professional pronto.”

The Ray Campaign also raises a question: How many other Ray’s are there?

Said Oaks, “It is proven beyond a doubt that there are others 
throughout the USA and internationally who are getting electroshock 
over their clearly expressed wishes. Every USA state and every nation 
needs a ‘Ray Law’ to stop this nightmare forever.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    ACTION ACTION ACTION

*** PLEASE SHARE THE GOOD NEWS OF THE RAY CAMPAIGN’S “GUARDED VICTORY”!

Forward this alert to appropriate places on and off Internet!

*** LEARN ABOUT THE RAY CAMPAIGN!

For background including Ray Frequently Asked Questions, Ray’s Web of 
Links, YouTube video of Ray and his mom, National Public Radio 
coverage
, how to participate in campaign, and more, see:

http://www.mindfreedom.org/ray

*** UNITY WORKS!

MindFreedom International unites to take action for a nonviolent 
revolution in the mental health system.

Leave a comment

Filed under CS/X movement, Links: Recovery, mindfreedom news, wellness and systems change

Study 15

From the Washington Post:

A Silenced Drug Study Creates An Uproar

By Shankar Vedantam
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 18, 2009; A01

 

The study would come to be called “cursed,” but it started out just as Study

15.

It was a long-term trial of the antipsychotic drug Seroquel. The common wisdom

in psychiatric circles was that newer drugs were far better than older drugs,

but Study 15’s results suggested otherwise.

As a result, newly unearthed documents show, Study 15 suffered the same fate as

many industry-sponsored trials that yield data drugmakers don’t like: It got

buried. It took eight years before a taxpayer-funded study rediscovered what

Study 15 had found — and raised serious concerns about an entire new class of

expensive drugs.

Study 15 was silenced in 1997, the same year Seroquel was approved by the Food

and Drug Administration to treat schizophrenia. The drug went on to be

prescribed to hundreds of thousands of patients around the world and has earned

billions for London-based AstraZeneca International — including nearly $12

billion in the past three years.

The results of Study 15 were never published or shared with doctors, even as

less rigorous studies that came up with positive results for Seroquel were

published and used in marketing campaigns aimed at physicians and in television

ads aimed at consumers. The results of Study 15 were provided only to the Food

and Drug Administration — and the agency has strenuously maintained that it

does not have the authority to place such studies in the public domain.

AstraZeneca spokesman Tony Jewell defended the Seroquel research and said the

company had disclosed the drug’s risks. Since 1997, the drug’s labeling has

noted that weight gain and diabetes were seen in study patients, although the

company says the data are not definitive. The label states that the metabolic

disorders may be related to patients’ underlying diseases.

The FDA, Jewell added, had access to Study 15 when it declared Seroquel safe

and effective. The trial, which compared patients taking Seroquel and an older

drug called Haldol, “did not identify any safety concerns,” AstraZeneca said in

an e-mail. Jewell added, “A large proportion of patients dropped out in both

groups, which the company felt made the results difficult to interpret.”

The saga of Study 15 has become a case study in how drug companies can control

the publicly available research about their products, along with other

practices that recently have prompted hand-wringing at universities and

scientific journals, remonstrations by medical groups about conflicts of

interest, and threats of exposure by trial lawyers and congressional watchdogs.

Even if most doctors are ethical, corporate grants, gifts and underwriting have

compromised psychiatry, said an editorial this month in the American Journal of

Psychiatry, the flagship journal of the American Psychiatric Association.

“The public and private resources available for the care of our patients depend

upon the public perception of the integrity of our profession as a whole,”

wrote Robert Freedman, the editor in chief, and others. “The subsidy that each

of us has been receiving is part of what has fueled the excesses that are

currently under investigation.”

Details of Study 15 have emerged through lawsuits now playing out in courtrooms

nationwide alleging that Seroquel caused weight gain, hyperglycemia and

diabetes in thousands of patients. The Houston-based law firm Blizzard,

McCarthy & Nabers, one of several that have filed about 9,210 lawsuits over

Seroquel, publicized the documents, which show that the patients taking

Seroquel in Study 15 gained an average of 11 pounds in a year — alarming

company scientists and marketing executives. A Washington Post analysis found

that about four out of five patients quit taking the drug in less than a year,

raising pointed doubts about its effectiveness.

An FDA report in 1997, moreover, said Study 15 did offer useful safety data.

Mentioning few details, the FDA said the study showed that patients taking

higher doses of the drug gained more weight.

In approving Seroquel, the agency said 23 percent of patients taking the drug

in all studies available up to that point experienced significant weight

increases, compared with 6 percent of control-group patients taking sugar

pills. In 2006, FDA warned AstraZeneca against minimizing metabolic problems in

its sales pitches.

In the years since, taxpayer-funded research has found that newer antipsychotic

drugs such as Seroquel, which are 10 times as expensive, offer little advantage

over older ones. The older drugs cause involuntary muscle movements known as

tardive dyskinesia, and the newer ones have been linked to metabolic problems.

Far from dismissing Study 15, internal documents show that company officials

were worried because 45 percent of the Seroquel patients had experienced what

AstraZeneca physician Lisa Arvanitis termed “clinically significant” weight

gain.

In an e-mail dated Aug. 13, 1997, Arvanitis reported that across all patient

groups and treatment regimens, regardless of how numbers were crunched,

patients taking Seroquel gained weight: “I’m not sure there is yet any type of

competitive opportunity no matter how weak.”

In a separate note, company strategist Richard Lawrence praised AstraZeneca’s

efforts to put a “positive spin” on “this cursed study” and said of Arvanitis:

“Lisa has done a great ‘smoke and mirrors’ job!”

Two years after those exchanges, in 1999, the documents show that the company

presented different data at an American Psychiatric Association conference and

at a European meeting. The conclusion: Seroquel helped psychotic patients lose

weight.

The claim was based on a company-sponsored study by a Chicago psychiatrist, who

reviewed the records of 65 patients who switched their medication to Seroquel.

It found that patients lost an average of nine pounds over 10 months.

Within the company, meanwhile, officials explicitly discussed misleading

physicians. The chief of a team charged with getting articles published, John

Tumas, defended “cherry-picking” data.

“That does not mean we should continue to advocate” selective use of data, he

wrote on Dec. 6, 1999, referring to a trial, called COSTAR, that also produced

unfavorable results. But he added, “Thus far, we have buried Trials 15, 31, 56

and are now considering COSTAR.”

Although the company pushed the favorable study to physicians, the documents

show that AstraZeneca held the psychiatrist in light regard and had concerns

that he had modified study protocols and failed to get informed consent from

patients. Company officials wrote that they did not trust the doctor with

anything more complicated than chart reviews — the basis of the 1999 study

showing Seroquel helped patients lose weight.

For practicing psychiatrists, Study 15 could have said a lot not just about

safety but also effectiveness. Like all antipsychotics, Seroquel does not cure

the diseases it has been approved to treat — schizophrenia and bipolar

disorder — but controls symptoms such as agitation, hallucinations and

delusions. When government scientists later decided to test the effectiveness

of the class of drugs to which Seroquel belongs, they focused on a simple

measure — how long patients stayed on the drugs. Discontinuation rates, they

decided, were the best measure of effectiveness.

Study 15 had three groups of about 90 patients each taking different Seroquel

doses, according to an FDA document. Approximately 31 patients were on Haldol.

The study showed that Seroquel failed to outperform Haldol in preventing

psychotic relapses.

In disputing Study 15’s weight-gain data, company officials said they were not

reliable because only about 50 patients completed the year-long trial. But even

without precise numbers, this suggests a high discontinuation rate among

patients taking Seroquel. Even if every single patient taking Haldol dropped

out, it appears that at a minimum about 220 patients — or about 82 percent of

patients on Seroquel — dropped out.

Eight years after Study 15 was buried, an expensive taxpayer-funded study

pitted Seroquel and other new drugs against another older antipsychotic drug.

The study found that most patients getting the new and supposedly safer drugs

stopped taking them because of intolerable side effects. The study also found

that the new drugs had few advantages. As with older drugs, the new medications

had very high discontinuation rates. The results caused consternation among

doctors, who had been kept in the dark about trials such as Study 15.

The federal study also reported the number of Seroquel patients who

discontinued the drug within 18 months: 82 percent.

Jeffrey Lieberman, a Columbia University psychiatrist who led the federal

study, said doctors missed clues in evaluating antipsychotics such as Seroquel.

If a doctor had known about Study 15, he added, “it would raise your eyebrows.”

ascent_of_mount_carmel_

Leave a comment

Filed under CS/X movement, Mental health recovery, politics, wellness and systems change

News from MindFreedom and other discussions

It’s been a while since I posted information from MFI or other mental health consumer discussion, so, here, from old to newer; have a full bowl-

picasso_donquixote

NY Times says minor reform is not enough, but stops short of calling
for what is needed: Laws that criminalize extreme psychiatric
corruption. Please forward. See BOTTOM for actions, including
nonviolent protest, you can take.

lunar2009

~~~~~~~~~~
New York Times Editorial – 4 January 2009

No Mugs, but What About Those Fees

New pharmaceutical industry guidelines should stop most drug
companies from distributing a wide range of trinkets and office
supplies designed to keep their brand names before doctors as a
subliminal inducement to prescribe high-priced drugs.

The new code, which kicked in on New Year’s Day, bars the free
distribution of everything from pens to coffee mugs and staplers by
some 40 drug companies that have agreed to the restrictions. That may
seem like small potatoes, but in the aggregate the promotional
products probably cost about $1 billion a year, as Natasha Singer
reported in The Times. The updated rules are the industry’s latest
attempt to restore public confidence that doctors are prescribing
medicines in the patient’s interest. The code still has too many
loopholes.

Although it prohibits company sales representatives from providing
restaurant meals to health care professionals, it allows the sales
teams to continue providing modest meals in professional offices
while pitching their products. It allows companies to continue paying
for so-called continuing medical education for physicians while
correctly leaving the selection of content, speakers and study
materials to conference organizers. There appear to be no loopholes
in bans against providing free tickets to the theater, sporting
events or resort junkets.

None of the steps yet contemplated by industry or professional groups
would completely sever the medical profession and many individual
doctors from their far more disturbing financial ties to the drug
industry.

Over the years, prominent physicians have received hefty fees for
conducting research, consulting or giving “educational” speeches
touting the virtues of drugs to their colleagues. The new industry
code would limit consultants’ fees to “fair market value,” but
critics believe that still leaves far too much room to pay individual
doctors handsomely.

Two investigations now under way at prominent universities show how
much more needs to be done to aerate undisclosed conflicts of interest.

A prominent psychiatrist at Emory University is accused of taking
large payments from a drug maker – and misleading his university
about the amounts – while heading a government study of the company’s
antidepressant drugs. Three psychiatrists at Harvard whose work
fueled an explosion in the use of powerful antipsychotic drugs to
treat children are accused of failing to report large payments from
the drug makers, most of which they had not disclosed to their
institutions.

Congress needs to pass legislation that would force all drug and
medical-device companies to report a wide range of payments to
doctors through a national registry so that all conflicts are known.
This is a reform that the industry itself now seems willing to
accept. Better yet, the medical profession needs to wean itself
almost entirely from its pervasive dependence on industry money.

~~~~~~~~~~
** ACTION ** ACTION ** ACTION **

Please forward

~~~~~~~~~~
You may e-mail letter to editor of *LESS* THAN 150 WORDS to The NY
Times here: letters@nytimes.com. Include your contact info. Letters
referring to a recent NY Times editorial have a better chance of
being run.

~~~~~~~~~~
Link to editorial:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/05/opinion/05mon1.html

or

http://tinyurl.com/nytimes-psychiatry

~~~~~~~~~~
MARK YOUR CALENDAR

Thought financial industry corruption was bad? Psychiatric industry
corruption kills kids.

Put psychiatric abusers behind bars. MindFreedom calls for new laws
and enforcement of current laws mandating prison time for extreme
psychiatric human rights violations.

Join nonviolent protests of psychiatric drug money corruption in
front of American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting Exhibit Hall
at San Francisco’s Moscone Center, or WHEREVER you are, 17 to 18 May
2009
. Info about this and other events:

http://www.mindfreedom.org/events_sf

~~~~~~~~~~
Read more about USA Congressional investigation of psychiatric
profession here, including past NY Times articles and editorials:

http://www.mindfreedom.org/kb/psych-drug-corp/congress

~~~~~~~~~~
To thank USA Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) for leading the
congressional investigation use this web form:

http://grassley.senate.gov/contact.cfm

mp_yb

MindFreedom News – January 2009
http://www.mindfreedom.org – please forward

Another forced electroshock for Ray. ZAP BACK!

Join global nonviolent resistance ONLINE!

This Saturday, 10 January 2009, 2 pm ET, 11 am PT click into:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/davidwoaks

Live Free MindFreedom Mad Pride Web Radio – Special ZAP BACK SHOW.

Ray will be woken up early in his “Victory House” group home near
Minneapolis again this morning, Wednesday, 7 January 2009.

Ray Sandford is scheduled for another forced electroshock.

Under a court order and over his expressed wishes, he’ll be escorted
the few miles to Mercy Hospital, put under anesthesia, and given
another “electroconvulsive therapy” or ECT through his brain.

Ray says, “It is scary as hell every time I go.”

Today, involuntary electroshock continues for Ray and many others all
over the world.

houraidl4

New York Times Article:

Lilly Said to Be Near $1.4 Billion U.S. Settlement

By GARDINER HARRIS and ALEX BERENSON
Published: January 14, 2009

Eli Lilly, the drug company, is expected to agree as soon as Thursday to pay $1.4 billion to settle criminal and civil charges that it illegally marketed its blockbuster antipsychotic drug Zyprexa for unauthorized use in patients particularly vulnerable to its risky side effects.

Today’s Business: Gardiner Harris on the Eli Lilly Settlement
Related
Plea Agreement (U.S. v. Eli Lilly and Co.) (Findlaw.com>

Details of the agreement were provided by people involved in the negotiations.

Among the charges, Lilly has been accused of a scheme stretching for years to persuade doctors to prescribe Zyprexa to two categories of patients — children and the elderly — for whom the drug was not federally approved and in whom its use was especially risky.

In one marketing effort, the company urged geriatricians to use Zyprexa to sedate unruly nursing home patients so as to reduce “nursing time and effort,” according to court documents. Like other antipsychotic drugs, Zyprexa increases the risks of sudden death, heart failure and life-threatening infections like pneumonia in elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis.

The company also pressed doctors to treat disruptive children with Zyprexa, court documents show, even though the medicine’s tendency to cause severe weight gain and metabolic disorders is particularly pronounced in children. Over the last decade, Zyprexa’s use in children has soared.

The case is being prosecuted by the United States attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Patricia Hartman, a spokeswoman for the office, declined to comment.

Angela Sekson, a Lilly spokeswoman, said she could not comment on the status of the Zyprexa negotiations. Last fall, the company, anticipating a settlement, had set aside $1.4 billion for that purpose.

The amount of the settlement is a record sum for so-called corporate whistle-blower cases, which are federal lawsuits prompted by tips from company employees or former employees. In this case, the whistle-blowers have not been publicly identified.

Lilly executives have for years insisted that the company’s Zyprexa marketing efforts were legal and appropriate. When asked whether she could repeat those assurances, Ms. Sekson said, “It would be inappropriate for me to comment further right now.”

It could not be confirmed on Wednesday whether the company would acknowledge wrongdoing as part of the settlement. Without a settlement, Lilly risks being barred from participating in the federal Medicaid and Medicare programs — a huge part of its business — even though such bans are almost unheard of for big drug makers because their products are considered so essential.

In the United States, most of Zyprexa’s sales are paid for by government programs because so many of those taking Zyprexa are indigent or disabled. Zyprexa had sales of $4.8 billion in 2007, making it the biggest seller by far for Lilly, whose revenue that year was $18.6 billion. Depending on dosage, the drug can cost as much as $25 for a daily pill.

The settlement may have little impact on how doctors actually use Zyprexa, because physicians are free to prescribe drugs as they see fit. But drug makers are barred from promoting drugs for uses not specifically approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Zyprexa has F.D.A. approval only for the treatment of schizophrenia and the mania and agitation associated with bipolar disorder.

Zyprexa has generated more than $39 billion in sales since its approval in 1996, making it one of the biggest-selling drugs in the world.

And despite mounting concern about Zyprexa’s risks and the negative publicity surrounding the legal case, sales were $3.5 billion for the first nine months of 2008, 2 percent higher than in the first nine months of 2007. Prescriptions for the drug actually declined, but Lilly raised prices on the drug enough to increase its revenues.

Zyprexa was initially received as a significant advance over an earlier generation of antipsychotic drugs. But a series of landmark studies in recent years have cast doubt on that long-held view and suggested that Zyprexa is no better than older drugs that sell for far less.

A government study published in September, for instance, found that Zyprexa was no more effective in children than an older medicine but caused more serious side effects. The children receiving Zyprexa gained so much weight during the study that a safety monitoring panel ordered that they be taken off the drug.

In December 2006 articles in The New York Times detailed hundreds of internal Lilly documents and e-mail messages among top company managers that showed how the company sought for years to play down Zyprexa’s tendency to cause weight gain and metabolic disorders, including diabetes, while promoting unapproved uses.

One 2000 e-mail message, for instance, described how a group of diabetes doctors that Lilly had retained to consider potential links between Zyprexa and diabetes had warned the company that “unless we come clean on this, it could get much more serious than we might anticipate.”

After those articles were published, Lilly threatened to seek criminal contempt charges against Dr. David Egilman, a Massachusetts physician and associate clinical professor at Brown University, who made the documents available to The Times. In September 2007, Dr. Egilman agreed to pay Lilly $100,000 in return for the company’s agreement to drop the threat of criminal sanctions.

On Wednesday, Dr. Egilman said he felt vindicated by the imminent settlement. “I’m glad Lilly is acknowledging their wrongdoing,” he said. “Patients and doctors now know more about the side effects of the drugs they take.”

The government’s case will remain sealed until at least Thursday, when a judge is expected to approve the settlement. People involved in the negotiations say that prosecutors pressed for a resolution in the waning days of the Bush administration to avoid having to get another set of approvals from new bosses at the Justice Department in Washington.

While the settlement is intended to resolve all pending government claims, it is unclear whether all states, which are parties to the case through the federal-state Medicaid program, have agreed to the terms.

Some of the claims and evidence in the government’s case are similar to those made in a pending California state whistle-blower lawsuit in which Jaydeen Vicente, a former Lilly sales representative, described years of what she said were illegal Zyprexa marketing efforts.

Ms. Vicente and other Lilly sales representatives distributed a Lilly study contending that elderly patients who were prescribed the drug “required fewer skilled nursing staff hours than patients prescribed other competing medications” and reduced “caregiver distress,” the lawsuit states. Zyprexa often induces sleep in patients.

“In truth, this was Lilly’s thinly veiled marketing of Zyprexa as an effective chemical restraint for demanding, vulnerable and needy patients,” the lawsuit states.

In October, Lilly agreed to pay $62 million to 32 states and the District of Columbia to settle consumer protection claims related to Zyprexa. It has also paid the state of Alaska $15 million to settle a separate suit and agreed to pay $1.2 billion to 31,000 Zyprexa plaintiffs. Some private Zyprexa claims remain unresolved.

mad-in-americajun03b

MindFreedom News – 14 January 2009
http://www.mindfreedom.org/ray – please forward

Another forced electroshock for Ray Sandford today.

Decision: Protest the mental health system, or not?

by David W. Oaks, Director, MindFreedom International

As I e-mail out this message, Ray Sandford is being escorted again
this Wednesday morning, 14 January 2009, from his group home near
Minneapolis, Minnesota to Mercy Hospital for another involuntary,
maintenance, outpatient electroshock under court order.

There is a decision each and every one of us needs to make.

It is the same decision Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks
and thousands of others in the civil rights movement had to make.

To protest, or not?

One of my resolutions for 2009 is to nonviolently protest.

Ray — summoning that unstoppable human spirit that always impresses
me in so many psychiatric survivors — asks us to protest.

Survivors of electroshock human rights violations on the MindFreedom
“Zapback” e-mail list, where the Ray Campaign is being coordinated,
also say it’s time to protest the mental health system.

There are many ways, times, places and reasons to protest.

But it begins with a decision.

Ray’s forced electroshock today is not a fluke.

Ray’s forced shock is not because the mental health system lacks
money, though good programs need more resources.

Ray’s forced shock is not because of a few “bad apples” in the mental
health system
.

Ray is surrounded by an array of taxpayer-funded agencies and
professionals who are charged with protecting and helping Ray.

Ray has had court hearings represented by a court-appointed attorney.
He has a conservator, general guardian and a guardian ad litem.
Minnesota legal advocacy, ombudsman and mental health consumer groups
are well aware of Ray’s shock. Minnesota’s Governor Pawlenty has
received hundreds of complaints. MindFreedom filed a torture
complaint with the United Nations.

The headquarters of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
[ELCA], whose six Synods in Minnesota own Ray’s guardian agency
LSSMN, say they have been inundated with hundreds of complaints.
Their official response: They’re not in charge of Ray’s shock, though
we never said they were. We asked ELCA to stand up publicly against
forced electroshock, they refuse.

Ray’s forced shock is a sign and symptom of how extremely oppressive
today’s mental health system remains, and how so much of our society
is complicit with this oppression.

Ray’s forced shock is an excruciatingly painful lesson and wake up
call to us all about an oppression so deep, it is seldom named: sanism.

Ray’s courage has educated so many people. Because Ray called the
MindFreedom office this Fall, many people now know forced
electroshock exists, and that psychiatrists sometimes give ongoing
“maintenance” electroshock. Many now know electroshock is often given
on an outpatient basis.

Many people now know that even Americans living in their own homes,
which are supposed to be our “castles,” out in the community, without
being convicted of any crime, can be court ordered to receive such an
invasive, potentially-irreversible procedure.

Now we know.

Don’t let this knowledge become normal. As MLK said, show your
“creative maladjustment.”

When I was an activist in the peace movement, there was a saying. “To
know, and not to act, is not yet truly to know.”

Reading about this on the Internet is not enough.

Each of us needs to decide and prepare:

Protest or not to protest?

When it’s time for a forced shock, Ray is told because preparation
must begin.

The day before, all food is removed from his fridge because to get
ready for anesthesia he cannot eat for a number of hours.

Then early in the morning staff wake him up and he is brought to the
hospital. Ray is put under anesthesia, and electricity is run through
his head inducing a convulsion. He wakes up with more memory and
cognitive problems.

Ray has had more than three dozen and he says, “It is scary as hell
every time I go.”

Ray’s forced shock is not because of a lack of public attention.

Hundreds have spoken out against this ongoing forced shock. Last
month, Ray’s plight was aired on National Public Radio. Ray’s own
elderly mother, a retired psychiatric nurse, has recently pleaded
with Ray’s psychiatrist to stop (since Ray is under guardianship, she
has no official say).

Most recently, Ray was sent to a neurologist for a check-up, but that
did not stop his shock.

The only change this past month is that instead of weekly
electroshock, Ray is now on a complicated pattern of every other
week, followed by every third week, back to every other week. Instead
of receiving his maintenance electroshock last Wednesday as Ray at
first expected, his shock is today.

Why are we surprised?

Based on the hard-won lessons of so many other groups that have
organized for their basic human rights, how can we expect real change
without protest?

In my 33 years in this field, I have seen many colleagues begin to
work in organizations and agencies that are funded by the mental
health system, and many of them are doing tremendously helpful and
crucial work. This work must continue, it’s a sign of hope.

Today it is common to hear mental health system leaders claim this
system’s values have changed to:

* Mental health consumer self-determination.

* Client empowerment.

* Advocacy and human rights.

* Recovery.

* Consumer-driven trauma-informed peer-delivered services.

And again, there are signs of hope.

But we ask:

Why is Ray Sandford getting involuntary maintenance electroshock this
morning?

Why is there a mental health “Abu Ghraib” operating before our very
eyes?

Why does forced electroshock and forced psychiatric drugging continue
in other states in the USA?

Why is forced electroshock growing internationally?

In my study of history, minor reform of psychiatry is not a solution,
minor reform is one of the problems.

Minor reform fuels more of the same.

When you hear a simple call for “more money” for the mental health
system
— without addressing the required fundamental change, watch out!

Remember Ray.

Truly, we need a nonviolent revolution in the mental health system.

Historically, nonviolent revolution requires nonviolent protest.

So there is one question now:

Protest, or not?

Protest begins with a decision. I hope you make that personal
commitment.

If you agree it is time for protest, please forward this to a
colleague and add in your own words, “I agree, it’s time.”

Remember Ray.

– David W. Oaks, Director, MindFreedom International

For links to latest news, Ray Campaign blog, and frequently asked
questions about the “No More Shock For Ray Campaign” go here:

http://www.mindfreedom.org/ray

MindFreedom International
454 Willamette, Suite 216 – POB 11284
Eugene, OR 97440-3484 USA

lunacy-titleCrazy is not even the word for it:

Old news from an unknown source:

“A new generation of drugs is needed,” said Dr. Thomas R. Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health. “It is clear from this data that antidepressants are not the answer.”

Dr. Insel admits that another major treatment outcome evaluation study sponsored by NIMH, “Effectiveness of Adjunctive Antidepressant Treatment for Bipolar Depression,” the largest study yet, confirms that the widespread practice of prescribing antidepressants lacks clinical justification. The drugs were of no value for the treatment of depression thereby challenging US psychiatrists’ aggressive use of combined psychotropic drugs. U.S. psychiatrists’ “strongly held beliefs about the efficacy of antidepressants in treating bipolar depression” is not supported by evidence. The practice can be traced to the influence the drug industry has on U.S psychiatry.

The randomized, placebo controlled study was conducted at 22 major research centers participating in the Systematic Treatment Enhancement Program for Bipolar Disorder (STEP-BD). It focused on patients diagnosed with bipolar I and II who were treated with any mood stabilizer approved by the FDA with and without an antidepressant. Of 366 patients enrolled in the study, 179 were randomized to mood stabilizer and the antidepressant, Paxil, and 187 were randomized to mood stabilizer and placebo. The study was published online in The New England Journal of Medicine, March 28, 2007, and is available free: [Link] Eighteen of the 20 investigators have extensive financial ties to drug manufacturers.

Patients who were randomized to placebo rather than the antidepressant fared better in all outcome measures-except the switch to mania which was reported a fraction of a percent higher among placebo patients-20 (10.7%) compared to 18 (10.1%) of patients on mood stabilizer and Paxil. However, the validity of this outlying finding is uncertain. In his accompanying editorial, Dr. Robert Belmaker point out: “Patients who had become manic in response to antidepressants in the past would not have enrolled in the trial, casting doubt on whether the drugs are safe for all bipolar patients.” [Link]

Another confounding element–which is almost always a problem in psychiatric research–is prior exposure to the drugs: Dr. Belmaker notes: “Almost 90% of the patients in the study by Sachs et al. were using a mood stabilizer at randomization. Thus, the study does not address the possibility that antidepressants can cause mania in patients with bipolar depression in the absence of a mood stabilizer.”

And the STEP-BD authors report that some patients were also taking an antidepressant at the time of randomization which was tapered by 50% the first week and withdrawn by second week. Clearly the effects of prior exposure to these drugs and the effect of tapering (i.e. withdrawal symptoms) may bias the results. Nevertheless, the findings are clearly against use of antidepressants in this population.

Table 3 provides the primary and secondary outcome results of the 26 week study. The primary outcome was “durable recovery” defined as 8 weeks of euthemia (non-depressed). The result: 42 of 179 patients (23.5%) achieved “durable recovery” on mood stabilizer + adjunctive antidepressant compared to 51 of 187 patients (27.3%) on mood stabilizer and placebo.

Results of secondary outcomes: “transient remission” defined as 1 to 7 weeks of non-depression: 32 patients (17.9%) achieved “transient remission” on mood stabilizer + adjunctive antidepressant compared to 40 (21.4%) on mood stabilizer and placebo. Discontinuation because of adverse effects: 22 (12.3%) on stabilizer and antidepressant compared to 17 (9.1%) on stabilizer and placebo.

Finally, an unclear secondary outcome criteria “treatment effectiveness” defined as “50% Improvement from baseline SUM-D score* without meeting DSM-IV criteria for hypomania or mania.” No indication of a duration criteria is given. The finding: 58 (32%) of patients on mood stabilizer and antidepressant compared to 71 (38%) patients on stabilizer and placebo.

The authors acknowledge: “we did not study a “pure” placebo group (one in which no active psychotropic medication was administered) and hence cannot establish the effectiveness of treatment with a mood stabilizer alone.”

Dr. Insell got it half right: “It is clear from this data that antidepressants are not the answer.” However, why does it follow that “A new generation of drugs is needed” ???

What disorder of the imagination do mainstream psychiatrists in the U.S. suffer from that they cannot fathom a world beyond the “next generation” of drugs-all the more so, in light of the evidence that the second generation antidepressants and antipsychotics have proven not only no better than the first generation, but arguably worse ?

ca_suicidal
MindFreedom International – 6 February 2009
Mind Your Freedom in Mental Health
http://www.mindfreedom.org – please forward

Four (4) very brief MindFreedom news items for a nonviolent
revolution
in mental health:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

1) Academy Award and Forced Electroshock

Ray Sandford of Minnesota has now had as many or more forced
electroshocks as the fictional character portrayed in the Academy
Award-nominated film _Revolutionary Road_:

Thirty-seven (37).

Ray Sandford, though, is a real human being.

Involuntary outpatient electroshock re-started for Ray Sandford, and
is slated to continue indefinitely.

Unless everyone acts.

Last week MindFreedom reported that Ray Sandford postponed one of his
series of forced maintenance outpatient electroshocks because of a
health problem.

Ray phoned the MindFreedom office with the sad news that his doctor
approved him for another involuntary electroshock, and Ray received
it yesterday morning, 5 February 2009.

It looks like thousands upon thousands of united people are needed to
unite to stop involuntary electroshock for Ray, and many others. Let
that include you!

For more info on the Ray Campaign to Stop Forced Outpatient
Electroshock, see this gateway:

http://www.mindfreedom.org/ray

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

2) “Have a Heart – End Forced Electroshock” Show!

Next Guest on MindFreedom Mad Pride Free Live Web Radio:

Mary Maddock of Ireland — Electroshock survivor, author, and
community organizer.

On Valentine’s, Saturday, 14 February 2009, tune in for live free
Internet radio with MindFreedom, and guests that include Mary
Maddock, co-author of the book _Soul Survivor_. Mary is a MindFreedom
International board member who survived forced electroshock.

You can call in live using either your computer or telephone. We’ll
have the latest news about the Ray Sandford campaign.

Time: 11 am Pacific USA, 2 pm Eastern USA, 7 pm [1900] London UTC/GMT

More info on how to tune in every “Second Saturday” in 2009:

http://www.mindfreedom.org/radio

Get Mary’s book at MindFreedom’s Mad Market at http://www.madmarket.org

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

3) Australia Electroshocking Toddlers

Australia is now electroshocking toddlers, including 55 children aged
four and younger, and two kids under the age of four, according to
news reports.

Read essays and news items here:

http://www.mindfreedom.org/kb/mental-health-abuse/electroshock

In that folder you will find:

a) Essay by dissident psychologist Bruce Levine on Australia
electroshocking young children:

http://tinyurl.com/kid-shock
or
http://www.mindfreedom.org/kb/mental-health-abuse/electroshock/
electroshocking-toddlers

b) Essay by dissident psychiatrist Peter Breggin on same:

http://tinyurl.com/breggin-australia
or
http://www.mindfreedom.org/kb/mental-health-abuse/electroshock/
breggin-australia-electroshock

c) Australian news story on electroshocking kids, with statistics:

http://tinyurl.com/child-shock
or
http://www.mindfreedom.org/kb/mental-health-abuse/electroshock/child-
shock-therapy

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

4) World Health Organization leader praises MindFreedom International
and Executive Director David W. Oaks

In its legal handbook, the World Health Organization (WHO) called for
zero use of involuntary electroshock over the expressed wishes of the
subject:

http://www.mindfreedom.org/kb/mental-health-abuse/electroshock

WHO is the official health organization of the United Nations.

Benedetto Saraceno, MD, Director, Department of Mental Health and
Substance Abuse at WHO said some very positive words about the work
of MindFreedom International, and MFI director David W. Oaks, here:

http://www.mindfreedom.org/about-us/david-w-oaks

psychiatry346185227_std

From the Independent:

Voluntary psychiatric patient fights for

freedom

By Tim Healy
Wednesday January 21 2009

A WOMAN yesterday asked the High Court to order her release from a psychiatric hospital, claiming her detention is not in accordance with the law.

The 69-year-old woman, who suffers from bipolar disorder, was admitted to the hospital on December 9 after being arrested by gardai.

She challenged this and yesterday a High Court judge ruled she had been lawfully detained at the hospital.

But the woman had taken separate proceedings, which opened yesterday, seeking her release when the hospital decided she should remain after she had agreed to be a voluntary patient.

The woman became a voluntary patient after an order committing her involuntarily was revoked on December 19 by order of a Mental Health Tribunal.

Last Thursday, the hospital refused to discharge her because it was not satisfied this would be in her best interests. The hospital invoked a provision of the Mental Health Act giving it power to detain voluntary patients.

Last Friday, the woman brought a second set of proceedings claiming the hospital has no power to do so because the MHT had already found she was not suffering from a mental “disorder” as required under law before a person can be committed involuntarily.

The case continues.

– Tim Healy

lunacy-kitten_with_a_gun

Leave a comment

Filed under CS/X movement, Links: Recovery, Mental health recovery, mindfreedom news, wellness and systems change

Interview with/ about Ray

ray

Forced Electroshock-

Question: Is “forced treatment” really “treatment” or is it “Torture”?

This is an interview on NPR (click on link):

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=98273451

Background (mostly from MindFreedom):

Ray Alerts

(I apologize for repetitive information)

MindFreedom International – 16 November 2008
Ray Human Rights Alert #3: Please Forward

Now see a photo of Ray here:
http://www.mindfreedom.org/shield/ray

    Media ought to ask, “What is Minnesota Governor Pawlenty’s 
position on Involuntary Outpatient Electroshock (IOE)?”

    Ray gets a one week reprieve.

First the good news.

Within days of MindFreedom launching its campaign on 7 November 2008 
to stop the weekly involuntary outpatient electroshock of Ray 
Sandford, his doctor has decided to “skip a Wednesday.”

Ray says that this coming Wednesday, 19 November 2008, for the first 
time in months, Ray will not be escorted against his will, under 
court order, from his Minnesota home out in the community to his 34th 
involuntary outpatient electroshock.

So there’s a reprieve for Ray.

For one week.

The bad news is that Ray’s doctor said Ray’s forced outpatient 
electroshocks will resume on Wednesday, 26 November 2008, the day 
before the USA holiday of Thanksgiving.

Ray said his involuntary shock will then continue every other week.

We don’t know if the one-week reprieve is because of the MindFreedom 
campaign, but we know MindFreedom News readers are having an impact.

Since the MindFreedom first alert went out nine days ago, on 7 
November 2008:

    *** Many people from all over the world have e-mailed and phoned 
the offices of the Governor of Minnesota, along with social service 
agencies, media, and the hospital where Ray receives his electroshock 
against his expressed wishes.

    *** For the first time, thousands of people are now aware of the 
existence of IOE — Involuntary Outpatient Electroshock.

    *** A few national and local media are now actively investigating.

    *** Several advocacy agencies and human rights organizations are 
expressing concern and getting involved.

    *** Several volunteer attorneys are now in touch to provide 
assistance.

    *** Volunteers are visiting Ray and sending him their support, 
and Ray tells us he is grateful. One volunteer took the photo of Ray 
shown on the web version of this alert:

http://www.mindfreedom.org/shield/ray

    *** MindFreedom’s “Zapback” e-mail list is coordinating the 
campaign.

    *** A disability professor and her class of students have called 
up Ray and are taking on his campaign as a project.

    *** And more.

Thank you, everyone.

Keep up the pressure and the support!

    KEEP IT UP!

First, keep phoning and e-mailing, especially if you have not so far. 
Show there is national and international concern!

Here are the links to the original two MindFreedom alerts, which have 
information about how to e-mail and phone the Governor of Minnesota, 
and how to write or visit Ray:

7 Nov: Alert #1:
http://www.mindfreedom.org/shield/ray-sandford

12 Nov: Alert #2 – Governor Phone-In Campaign:
http://www.mindfreedom.org/shield/pawlenty-electroshock

16 Nov: Alert #3 – Link to this alert with photo of Ray:
http://www.mindfreedom.org/shield/ray

    SOLVE A MYSTERY!

Second, help MindFreedom answer the main mystery.

Despite all this public interest the question remains, “What is 
Governor Pawlenty’s position on Minnesota laws allowing involuntary 
outpatient electroshock?”

Is this Governor, who campaigns for “limited government,” for such 
laws or against them?

Unfortunately, the Governor’s office has not responded to any of the 
many e-mails or phone calls requesting his policy position. The 
Governor’s office is immediately forwarding citizen inquiries to a 
voice mail, and then not replying to the voice mail.

We need media to ask the Governor for us. Please forward this alert 
to all media, small and large, from newspapers to bloggers.

Media can direct questions to:

Brian McClung
Director of Communications for Minnesota’s Governor
phone: (651) 296-0001.

Media ought to ask, “What is Governor Pawlenty’s position on 
Minnesota laws allowing involuntary outpatient electroshock?”

Sometimes the Governor’s office is re-directing calls to the 
Minnesota Department of Human Rights. At first that sounds good. But 
this office says it is only focused on determining whether narrow 
discrimination complaints are legally valid. A spokesperson said this 
department makes no statements about policy.

This Minnesota agency said they are planning a major one-day human 
rights conference
and forum on 5 December. One barrier is the “forum” 
costs $200.

For information on this Minn. Dept. of Human Rights, and their 
“forum,” click here:

http://www.mindfreedom.org/shield/ray/minnesota-human-rights-conference
or use this link:
http://tinyurl.com/mn-human-rights

You can also keep up with some of the latest developments about the 
Ray Campaign on the MindFreedom blog by MindFreedom director David 
Oaks, here:

http://www.mindfreedom.org/mfi-blog

Disclaimer: Because the State of Minnesota won’t reply, portions of 
these alerts are based on Ray’s personal statements. By Ray’s own 
admission, he now has severe memory problems. Therefore, journalists 
may want to find a second source to confirm accuracy.

MindFreedom International – 24 November 2008
Ray Human Rights Alert #4: Please Forward

    You Can Ask: Thanksgiving Reprieve?

    MindFreedom Filing Complaint with UN Claiming “Torture” in Minnesota

    The next forced outpatient electroshock of Ray Sandford is 
scheduled for this Wednesday morning, 26 November 2008, the day 
before the USA holiday of Thanksgiving.

    Join an international campaign *NOW* to phone Minnesota Governor 
Tim Pawlenty
today and tomorrow, before the shock:

1) Ask the Governor to give Ray Sandford a reprieve from his next 
forced electroshock.

2) Ask the Governor — who claims to believe in limited government — 
if he supports laws in Minnesota allowing this torture: the 
involuntary administration of electroshock therapy (ECT) of people 
living out in the community?

A MindFreedom investigation revealed that Ray Sandford, 54, 
complained of being escorted every week for months from his supported 
living home in Columbia Heights, Minnesota to Mercy Hospital for 
another course of electroshock over his objection.

After the first MindFreedom News international alert, Ray’s doctor 
let him skip his forced shock this past Wednesday, 19 November.

This Wednesday morning, 26 November, Ray expects to be woken up early 
once again to be escorted the 15 miles to what he is told will be his 
34th involuntary outpatient electroshock under special Minnesota laws.

Meanwhile, MindFreedom is filing a official claim with the United 
Nations
calling Minnesota’s abuse of Ray “torture,” using a new 
process and expanded definition by the UN.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

  ** ACTION ** ACTION ** ACTION **

Join in a MindFreedom international phone-in campaign!

Telephone Governor Pawlenty’s office *NOW* — and insist on talking 
to a staff person.

Call any day, but especially call today and tomorrow, *before* Ray’s 
scheduled electroshock this Wednesday.

From anywhere in the world phone (651) 296-3391.

From inside Minnesota phone toll free (800) 657-3717.

You have the best chance of reaching staff from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm 
Central Time weekdays.

NOTE: Staff is directing many of these calls into voice mail
MindFreedom is not aware of anyone actually getting a response to 
this voice mail.

DO NOT GIVE UP! Politely but FIRMLY insist on on talking to a staff 
person.

If you get redirected to voice mail leave a message, but call back 
until you get an answer from a live person.

If you do receive any helpful information, e-mail it to 
news@mindfreedom.org.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Ray Campaign News Updates:

    MindFreedom Filing Complaint with United Nations Alleging 
“Torture” by Minnesota

This past Friday, 21 November, disability advocates met with Ray at 
the Minnesota Center for Independent Living. Ray told advoctates he 
very much supports this campaign.

During the meeting a teleconference was held with MindFreedom 
President Celia Brown in New York City and MindFreedom Director David 
Oaks in Oregon. Celia interviewed Ray so that MindFreedom may file a 
human rights complaint under a new process with a United Nations 
Special Rappateur. Because of recent developments, some types of 
severe psychiatric abuse may now be considered torture by the UN.

Involuntary outpatient electroshock (IOE) is part of a trend to bring 
the power of forced psychiatric procedures out into the community, 
from the back ward to your front porch.

Mind your freedom: Your home is no longer your castle… it can 
become your ward.

Electroshock itself has made a comeback throughout the USA, and 
internationally, without adequate human rights protection.

You may read some of the many public comments that have been e-mailed 
to the Governor at tim.pawlenty@state.mn.us here:

http://www.mindfreedom.org/shield/ray/sandford-support-letters

For a full-sized photo of Ray click on his image here:
http://www.mindfreedom.org/shield/ray
MindFreedom International – Ray Alert #5
Win Human Rights in Mental Health – Please Forward!
http://www.mindfreedom.org/shield/ray/alert-5-sandford

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Ray’s Next Scheduled Involuntary Outpatient Electroshock is:
    10 December — International Human Rights Day!

by David W. Oaks, Executive Director, MindFreedom International

This Wednesday, 10 December 2008, human rights activists all over the 
world will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of the signing of the 
United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

10 December is the UN’s official International Human Rights Day.

10 December is also the day that Ray Sandford is scheduled to receive 
his 35th involuntary outpatient electroshock.

NEW ON WEB: Learn Ray’s story — Frequently Asked Questions About Ray 
Sandford Campaign, click here:
http://www.mindfreedom.org/shield/ray/sandford-faq

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Latest News on Ray Campaign

Unless action is taken swiftly, then this Wednesday morning, as he 
has been for most mornings in the last few months, Ray will be 
awakened early by staff in his room at the group residence Victory 
House near Minneapolis.

Once more an escort will bring him against his will the 15 miles to 
Mercy Hospital, where once more — under court order — doctors will 
place electrodes on his head for another electroconvulsive therapy 
(ECT), or electroshock, that can and has wiped out precious memories 
and cognitive abilities from Ray.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    The Good News About Ray Campaign:

Because of MindFreedom’s campaign to support Ray Sandford:

* The Minnesota Governor’s office reports receiving “hundreds” of 
complaints. Thank you everyone!

* Three agencies are now working to replace Ray’s non-responsive 
court-appointed attorney with a new attorney.

* National media has finally interviewed Ray for an upcoming broadcast.

    The Bad News: It is Not Enough! Speak Out Now!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    ** ACTION ** ACTION ** ACTION **

It is time to take the Ray Campaign up a notch, peacefully but strongly!

Let this become a top issue in the Governor’s office.

Telephone Governor Pawlenty’s office *NOW*:

Call any day, but especially call *before* Ray’s scheduled 
electroshock next Wednesday, 10 December 2008.

Call from anywhere in the world phone (651) 296-3391.

From inside Minnesota phone toll free (800) 657-3717.

You have the best chance of reaching staff from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm 
Central Time weekdays.

memory-ash1

    WHY WON’T GOVERNOR PAWLENTY REPLY? Find out! Ask!

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has completely stone-walled!

* His office refuses to issue any statement on the policy of forced 
electroshock.

* He claims he can do nothing, that the courts are in charge, when he 
could at least make sure Ray gets better legal representation for a 
stay or appeal.

* His office operators have been instructed to immediately redirect 
calls about Ray into a voice mail. No one we know of has ever heard 
back. Some operators have hung up on callers.

* Meanwhile, the Governor is sponsoring a $200-a-head luxury hotel 
conference about International Human Rights Day!

    It is time to get creative!

* Ray will not give up!

* We will not give up!

* Don’t you give up!

    Please be peaceful, but be CREATIVELY MALADJUSTED in your next 
phone calls to Governor Pawlenty’s office.

First, get the name of the operator and write it down. Then start by 
asking polite but firm questions about advocacy…

* about citizen input…

* about who to talk to about mental health policy

* about the names and phone numbers of the Ombudsman office

* about mental health policy and the mental health division

* about how poor people can have adequate legal representation…

And only then ask about why the Governor is refusing to speak out 
about Involuntary Outpatient Electroshock (IOE)?

Insist on speaking to a live real person about this issue.

If you do not get a real person with a real reply, CALL BACK.

If an operator hangs up on you, call back and ask to speak to a 
manager and complain.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

REMEMBER:

Telephone Governor Pawlenty’s office *NOW*:

Call any day, but especially call *before* Ray’s scheduled 
electroshock next Wednesday, 10 December 2008.

Call from anywhere in the world phone (651) 296-3391.

From inside Minnesota phone toll free (800) 657-3717.

You have the best chance of reaching staff from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm 
Central Time weekdays.

If you do receive any helpful information or leads, e-mail it to news-
at-mindfreedom.org.

scales_mini

Other Ray correspondence:

November 15, 2008
Attention:
Chair, Human Rights Committee
Office of the High Commission on Human Rights
United Nations

Dear Chairperson,
I am forwarding the letter below, initially addressed to Mr.Tim Pawlenty, Governor of Minnesota, for your information and possible action. It concerns the forced electroshocking of Mr. Ray Sandford, a psychiatric outpatient in Minnesota. Despite his repeated refusal, Mr. Sandford has been court-ordered to submit to the memory-destroying, brain-damaging  psychiatric procedure of electroshock (”electroconvulsive therapy” or “ECT”).  Together with many other psychiatric survivors and human rights activists, I am absolutely convinced that the health, safety and human rights of Mr. Sandford and thousands of other citizens are being seriously and repeatedly violated by physicians, particularly psychiatrists, as well as Governor Pawlenty and the State of Minnesota.

I would appreciate knowing if the Human Rights Committee considers electroshock, particularly forced electroshock, a form of torture, a serious human rights violation. Many of us psychiatric survivors and human rights activists believe it is. For over twenty-five (25) years, hundreds, if not thousands, of electroshock survivors, other psychiatric survivors, human rights activists, health professionals including several psychiatrists and neurologists, and concerned citizens have publicly and frequently protested against electroshock. We have repeatedly urged a total and immediate ban on electroshock in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and New Zealand.

To date, I have not received a reply from Governor Pawlenty. Please acknowledge receipt of my letter, I look forward to your reply.
Sincerely,
Don Weitz
Executive Member, Coalition Against Psychiatric Assault – http://capa.oise.utoronto.ca
1401-38 Orchard View Blvd., Toronto,Ontario M4R 2G3 Canada

November  12, 2008

Governor Tim Pawlenty
State of Minnesota
tim.pawlenty@state.mn.us

Dear Governor Pawlenty,
As an antipsychiatry activist and psychiatric survivor of insulin shock treatment many years ago in Massachusetts, I am writng to strongly protest against the forced electroshock (”ECT”) inflicted on 54-year old Ray Sandford in Minnesota. I understand Mr. Sandford is being forcibly taken (”escorted”) to Mercy Hospital  (”Mercy”?)  where he is being shocked against his will or without consent every Wednesday morning. Given the fact that psychiatrists and other doctors do not inform patients about the common and severe risks of permanent memory loss and brain damage, and given the fact that psychiatrists and other doctors frequently use blackmail or threats and intimidation to get “ECT” patients to consent, no person can possibly give “voluntary and informed consent” to electroshock. Informed consent in the “mental health system” is a compete myth, a sham

Electroshock itself is a traumatic and horrific psychiatric procedure (not “treatment”);  it always causes some degree of brain-damage including permanent memory loss. After having listened to the personal and public testimonies of numerous shock survivors in Canada and the United States and after having read many independent studies of electroshock in the medical-psychiatric literature during the last 30 years, there is absolutely no doubt that electroshock is inherently destructive, inhumane and unethical; the use of force is particularly torturous. State-sanctioned use of police powers to inflict electroshock on Mr.Sandford against his will – and inflicted on any other US citizen for that matter – is a serious violation of his constitutional and human rights, a serious violation of the United Nations’ Convention Against Torture, and a serious violation of Article 5 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights that specifically prohibits any “cruel and unusual treatment or degrading punishment, or torture”.

Thousands of shock survivors, including myself, advocacy and human rights organizations and several psychiatrists and neurologists in the United States and other countries have advocated a total ban on electroshock. Some states in your country have restricted the use of electroshock – for example, Texas, California and Oregon. Why not Minnesota?

I am copying this to the United Nations’ Committee Against Torture, other international human rights bodies, advocacy organizations of psychiatric survivors, several concerned psychiatrists and neurologists, and the media.

In the interests of Mr Sandford’s health, safety and human rights, I urge you to use your office and  power as Governor to stop electroshocking Ray Sandford now.
Stop state-sanctioned torture in Minnesota!
I look forward to your reply.

Sincerely,
Don Weitz
Executive member, Coalition Against Psychiatric Assault – http://capa.oise.utoronto.ca
1401-38 Orchard View Blvd., Toronto, Ontario M4R 2G3

c: MindFreedom International
United Nations, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Committee Against Torture
Amnesty International
Coalition Against Psychiatric Assault
National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy
Editor-in-Chief, The New  York Times

mouthguard

1 Comment

Filed under CS/X movement, Links: Recovery, Mad Radio, Mental health recovery, pictures, wellness and systems change

Mental Health Round-up

Unlike the Pendleton Roundup there will be no bull(s).

We’ve known this for a while- the evidence simply piles up:

Lilly, J&J Antipsychotics Don’t Top Old Drugs in Kids (Update1)

By Rob Waters and Tom Randall

Sept. 15 (Bloomberg) — Best-selling antipsychotic medicines by Eli Lilly & Co. and Johnson & Johnson caused more side effects and were less effective for children with schizophrenia than a little-used 30-year-old generic drug costing one-fourth as much.

For the study, published today in the American Journal of Psychiatry, 116 children ages 8 to 19 were given molindone, an older drug available as a generic, or a newer antipsychotic, either Lilly’s Zyprexa, which generated $4.8 billion in sales in 2007, or J&J’s Risperdal, with $4.7 billion in revenue.

Most children failed to improve on any of the drugs, and side effects were more common in those taking the newer ones. Zyprexa, in particular, caused weight gain and unwanted boosts in insulin, blood fat and signs of liver damage. The trial is the latest in a series of studies finding that the newer, pricier medicines don’t improve treatment for mentally ill patients, researchers said.

“This is yet one more study which has failed to find any significant area of advance or superiority of the second- generation medicines,” said Jeffrey Lieberman, senior author and a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University in New York, in a Sept. 12 telephone interview. The drugs sell because of “very aggressive marketing campaigns and a wish among patients there was something better out there,” he said.

Lilly, based in Indianapolis, fell 28 cents, or less than one percent, to $46.32 at 10:51 a.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. Johnson & Johnson, of New Brunswick, N.J., dropped 1 cent to $70.58.

Pending Application

J&J’s Risperdal was cleared by U.S. regulators last year for treating adolescents with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Lilly has a pending application with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to market Zyprexa to adolescents ages 13 and older, spokesman Jamaison Schuler said in a telephone interview.

The study wasn’t long enough to compare side effects that have been associated with extended use in the older medicines, Schuler said. Those side effects include tardive dyskinesia, or involuntary muscle movements such as repetitive grimacing, blinking and movements of the arms and legs.

“It’s difficult to understand whether or not the findings of this study add any meaningful information based on the authors’ acknowledgement of the limitations of the study,” said Srikant Ramaswami, a spokesman for J&J, in an e-mailed statement today.

(Go here for the full article)

Who knew it could be worse than in Oregon??

N.C.’s mental health disgrace: Nowhere to go but up

var actBookmarkTitle = “N.C.’s mental health disgrace: Nowhere to go but up”;

• published September 14, 2008 12:15 am

There’s no way to comprehend how a patient in a psychiatric hospital that’s been warned for months about unsafe conditions could have been allowed to sit in a chair for 22 hours without food or help while staff members in the room played cards and watched television.

The patient’s experiences sound like something out of a horror movie. Doctors weren’t notified that he had fallen and hit his head while choking on medicine, nursing staff members failed to follow doctor’s orders to check his vital signs and give him fluid and hospital workers were caught falsifying his medical records, a report in the Raleigh News & Observer.

Steven Sabock, 50, died of a heart problem about 22 hours after being left in a chair in the dayroom at Cherry Hospital.

(Go here for the full article)

Of course, we already know what works

For many years, it has been assumed that people who experience severe and persistent mental health difficulties do not recover, leading to low expectations that have been seen to wear away hope and support chronicity (Harrison & Mason, 1993). In the introduction to Mental Illness and Recovery, Ralph and Corrigan (2005) stated that:

Prior to 1990, students of major mental health disciplines learned that the serious mental illnesses were defined as having poor prognoses with progressively downhill courses. Treatment was limited to custodial options. People with these diagnoses had to foster ideas of hope and recovery in a mental health system that viewed serious psychiatric disorders as harbingers of doom. According to the old school, people with serious mental illness needed to accept that normal life was impossible, that dreams of independence were unattainable, and that long-term institutionalization was inescapable. Recovery signaled a monumental revolution in the mental health paradigm. (p. 4)

Recovery is a common term that is generally equated with getting well or getting back to normal (Roberts & Wolfson, 2004). However, when this term is used with respect to mental illness, most people agree that it refers to a process rather than a steady state. Although a clear definition of recovery is elusive and seems to mean different things to different people, most people agree that a person “in recovery” is working to take back control of his or her life and is working toward achieving her or his own goals and dreams. It does not necessarily mean an absence of what might be considered “psychiatric symptoms”.  It does mean learning to relieve difficult feelings and behaviors, and to live well in spite of these difficulties (Ralph & Corrigan, 2005; Roberts & Wolfson, 2004). As people who have a lived experience of mental health difficulties have attempted to define recovery, various themes have emerged (Ralph & Corrigan, 2005). These themes include:

* Recovery is defined in terms of continual growth, increased control over one’s life, and either a redefining or reestablishing of a sense of self in the recovery process.
* Recovery is a highly individualized process rather than a universally defined end state, and requires methods of research than can capture or at least more accurately assess the dynamic and varied nature of the phenomenon.
* Recovery is a nonlinear, ongoing process—people do not move through the recovery process in a predetermined, orderly manner.
* People play an active role in their own recovery process.
* People are the experts on the topic of their own experiences, needs, and their own recovery.
* Hope is an essential ingredient.
* Meaning and purpose in life are necessary to recovery.
* Relapse is part of a process and not a failure. (Davidson & Strauss, 1992; Loveland, Randall, & Corrigan, 2005; Morse, 1997; Ralph, 2000; Strauss & Carpenter, 1981; Young & Ensing, 1999)

Ralph and Corrigan (2005) contend that recovery is concerned with a sense of meaning in life and personal comfort, and is focused on validation of personhood, recognition of common humanity, and tolerance for individual differences. Allott, Loganathan, and Fulford (2003) and (Ralph, Lambert, and Kidder, 2002, June)consider that the turning point in a person’s life, when they begin to focus away from illness and toward recovery, is marked by the individual’s active and responsible engagement with his or her distress and difficulties. Recovery is often described as having a defining moment or a turning point (Allott et al., 2003). Sometimes it is a low turning point before which the person had a hard time moving forward, feeling that they would never be well, and dealing with the grief and anxiety that is commonly associated with loss of health and hope for the future. It is sometimes claimed that recovery is often further delayed by a state of learned helplessness encouraged by the low expectations of mental health professionals. Several authors suggested that a beginning of working toward recovery can often be attributed to talking to peers about mutual experiences and self-help strategies. People begin to regain their sense of self, taking back control and responsibility for their lives (Faulkner & Layzell, 2000; Leibrich, 2001).

Coleman (1999), who has a lived experience of mental distress including institutionalization and who is an advocate for recovery, emphasized that recovery depends far more on self-help and collaboration than on being treated.

Recovery is not a gift from doctors but the responsibility of us all. …. We must become confident in our own abilities to change our lives, we must give up being reliant on others doing everything for us. We need to start doing these things for ourselves. We must have the confidence to give up being ill so that we can start becoming recovered. (Coleman, 1999, p. 7)

(See this for source)

The notion that recovery from severe psychiatric disorder is impossible is now contradicted by impressive and well-known longitudinal studies and the anecdotal experience of many, many people.

In the Japanese Long Term Study (Ralph & Corrigan, 2005), follow-up evaluations were conducted for 105 people with the diagnosis of schizophrenia who had been discharged from mental institutions between 1958 and 1962. Follow-up periods were from 21 to 27 years. Results indicated that 31% were recovered, 46% improved, and 23% were unimproved. Forty-seven percent were fully or partially self-supporting and 31% were again hospitalized. Early stages of the illness course were typically found to fluctuate with regard to social functioning, whereas later stages stabilized to either a stable self-supporting state or a chronic institutionalized state.

Roberts and Wolfson (2004) considered the International Study of Schizophrenia (Harrison et al., 2001) to be the most comprehensive long-term follow-up study of recovery. It included 1633 participants from 14 culturally diverse areas who were studied at 15 years and again at 25 years after diagnosis. The results were in line with previous studies. Outcomes at 15 years and 25 years were favorable for over half of the participants. However, the researchers in this study admit that their studies, like other similar studies, rely heavily on the presence or absence of symptoms and social disabilities, and on resource indicators as outcome indicators rather than indicators that might be defined by the study participants.

Of most relevance to this project is the Vermont Longitudinal Research study (Harding, Brooks, Ashikaga, Strauss, & Brier, 1987).  In this study, 269 people were followed for about 32 years. On average, the people in this study had been ill 16 years, totally disabled for 10 years, and hospitalized in the back wards of the Vermont State Hospital for 6 years. Patients participated in a model rehabilitation program organized around the goal of self-sufficiency, residential and vocational placements in the community, and long term continuity of care. They had been released from the hospital with community supports already in place. At follow up one-half to two-thirds were considered to have improved or recovered, depending on the criteria used. Sixty-eight percent did not display signs or symptoms of schizophrenia. Forty-five percent displayed no psychiatric symptoms at all. More than two-thirds were rated as having good functioning on tests that included both psychological and social criteria. This landmark study was hailed across the country and around the world as evidence that, given intensive education and support initiatives along with medical treatment, recovery from severe mental illness is possible. This finding had a great impact on the mental health field because it was in contrast to the longstanding view that people with mental health symptoms could not get better.

These findings were further supported by the Maine–Vermont Comparison Study (Desisto, Harding, McCormick, Ashikaga, & Brooks, 1995), which used a group-matching design. This study compared the outcomes of 269 people in Maine in similar circumstances with the 269 people in the Vermont Longitudinal Study. However, the Maine patients received standard inpatient treatment and aftercare. Vermont participants were found to be more productive and had fewer symptoms, better community adjustment, and better global functioning than Maine participants. Roughly one half of the Maine participants were rated as having good functioning. The researchers in these studies suggest that the model rehabilitation program utilized in the Vermont study (which will be discussed in the history section of this literature review) gave Vermont participants an earlier opportunity to adapt to life in the community and may explain the better outcomes for these participants.

Anecdotal evidence of recovery from severe mental health difficulties is growing at a rapid pace. Ralph and Corrigan (2005) state that as people have gained more voice around issues that impact their lives, a new understanding of recovery has emerged based on their lived experience (Deegan, 1988). This understanding of recovery was introduced in the 1970s with the rise of the consumer/survivor/expatient movement (Chamberlin, 2002) and is not based on a disease model framework. This view has emanated from individuals who were living with and trying to recover from mental illness and the effects of institutional and other medically based treatment interventions (Chamberlin, 2002). Walsh (1996) suggest that mental illness changes lives irrevocably. She says, “We can never go back to our ‘premorbid’ selves. The experience of disability and stigma attached to it changes us forever. People would not want to go back. Recovery involves growth and an expansion of capacities.” (p.  87) For many people who write about this process, recovery is a personally meaningful goal rather than an abstract construct that is studied academically.

Although Roberts and Wolfson (2004) feel that there is a need to gather and strengthen the evidence base for recovery, they suggest that this can and needs to be a major area for collaboration between people who experience mental health difficulties and care providers. They contend that meta-analyses or randomized, controlled trials provide little guidance on what might make a difference to a person who is working on their recovery.

How does the medical model fit into all of this? Roberts and Wolfson (2004), well-known British psychiatrists, claimed that the medical model is narrowly focused on disease, treatment, and biological reductionism, and contrast this with the broader person-centered focus of recovery models. Ralph et al. (2002), asserted the validity of an evidence base largely composed of personal narrative, and the views of “experts by experience.” At present there is significant tension between the medical model and recovery initiatives. Often their values and language stand in significant disjunction with one another. However, in this research project and in mental health recovery work around this country and around the world, this researcher has found that the medical community, while often unwilling to give up the notion that medical treatment is essential, is discovering that by supporting recovery initiatives and peer support, they experience more successful outcomes (Copeland, 2004c).

From:

Steven J. Onken, Ph.D., Jeanne M. Dumont, Ph.D.; Co-Principal Investigators
Priscilla Ridgway, M.S.W., A.B.D., Douglas H. Dornan, M.S.,
Ruth O. Ralph, Ph.D.; Co-Investigators
Prepared for:
National Technical Assistance Center for State Mental Health Planning,
National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors

Recovery is the reawakening of hope after despair.
Recovery is breaking through denial and achieving understanding and acceptance.
Recovery is moving from withdrawal to engagement and active participation in life.
Recovery is active coping rather than passive adjustment.
Recovery means no longer viewing oneself primarily as a mental patient and reclaiming a
positive sense of self.
Recovery is a journey from alienation to purpose.
Recovery is a complex journey.
Recovery is not accomplished alone—it involves support and partnership.

And we know about the horrible, advancing death rate of people with a mental health diagnosis:

In October 2006, the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) released a report entitled Morbidity and Mortality in People with Serious Mental Illness[i]. Among the report’s findings were the following devastating outcomes for the population with serious mental illnesses:

* Persons with serious mental illnesses are now dying 25 years earlier than the general population.
* Sixty percent of premature deaths in persons with schizophrenia are due to medical conditions such as cardiovascular, pulmonary and infectious diseases.
* Increased morbidity and mortality are largely due to treatable medical conditions that are caused by modifiable risk factors such as smoking, obesity, substance abuse, and inadequate access to medical care.
* Antipsychotic medications have become more highly associated with weight gain, diabetes, dyslipidemia, insulin resistance and the metabolic syndrome.
* Access to adequate healthcare for individuals with serious mental illnesses is greatly impaired by numerous factors.

So- we know that the mental health treatment system/ public mental health system does not work, does not lead to recovery; we know that it in fact is part of the increasing death rate among persons who are “mentally divergent”. What is worth doing?

SAMHSA- Consensus Statement:
The 10 Fundamental Components of Recovery include:

• Self-Direction: Consumers lead, control, exercise choice over, and determine their own path of recovery by optimizing autonomy, independence, and control of resources to achieve a self-determined life. By definition, the recovery process must be self-directed by the individual, who defines his or her own life goals and designs a unique path towards those goals.

• Individualized and Person-Centered: There are multiple pathways to recovery based on an individual’s unique strengths and resiliencies as well as his or her needs, preferences, experiences (including past trauma), and cultural background in all of its diverse representations. Individuals also identify recovery as being an ongoing journey and an end result as well as an overall paradigm for achieving wellness and optimal mental health.

• Empowerment: Consumers have the authority to choose from a range of options and to participate in all decisions—including the allocation of resources—that will affect their lives, and are educated and supported in so doing. They have the ability to join with other consumers to collectively and effectively speak for themselves about their needs, wants, desires, and aspirations. Through empowerment, an individual gains control of his or her own destiny and influences the organizational and societal structures in his or her life.

• Holistic: Recovery encompasses an individual’s whole life, including mind, body, spirit, and community. Recovery embraces all aspects of life, including housing, employment, education, mental health and healthcare treatment and services, complementary and naturalistic services (such as recreational services, libraries, museums, etc.), addictions treatment, spirituality, creativity, social networks, community participation, and family supports as determined by the person. Families, providers, organizations, systems, communities, and society play crucial roles in creating and maintaining meaningful opportunities for consumer access to these supports.

• Non-Linear: Recovery is not a step-by step process but one based on continual growth, occasional setbacks, and learning from experience. Recovery begins with an initial stage of awareness in which a person recognizes that positive change is possible. This awareness enables the consumer to move on to fully engage in the work of recovery.

• Strengths-Based: Recovery focuses on valuing and building on the multiple capacities, resiliencies, talents, coping abilities, and inherent worth of individuals. By building on these strengths, consumers leave stymied life roles behind and engage in new life roles (e.g., partner, caregiver, friend, student, employee). The process of recovery moves forward through interaction with others in supportive, trust-based relationships.

• Peer Support: Mutual support—including the sharing of experiential knowledge and skills and social learning—plays an invaluable role in recovery. Consumers encourage and engage other consumers in recovery and provide each other with a sense of belonging, supportive relationships, valued roles, and community.

• Respect: Community, systems, and societal acceptance and appreciation of consumers —including protecting their rights and eliminating discrimination and stigma—are crucial in achieving recovery. Self-acceptance and regaining belief in one’s self are particularly vital. Respect ensures the inclusion and full participation of consumers in all aspects of their lives.

• Responsibility: Consumers have a personal responsibility for their own self-care and journeys of recovery. Taking steps towards their goals may require great courage. Consumers must strive to understand and give meaning to their experiences and identify coping strategies and healing processes to promote their own wellness.

• Hope: Recovery provides the essential and motivating message of a better future— that people can and do overcome the barriers and obstacles that confront them. Hope is internalized; but can be fostered by peers, families, friends, providers, and others. Hope is the catalyst of the recovery process.

But the absence of these principles in practice is only a small part of the problem.

Other issues are directly in the way of an effective mental health supports system:

from:
http://mhtransformation.wa.gov/MHTG/articles/20080709.shtml

Trauma is among the most significant factors involved in mental illness, and it must be taken into account by caregivers and providers, four prominent speakers told the Trauma-Informed Care Symposium in Yakima on June 11.

The purpose of the symposium was to present information about the impact of trauma, take stock of trauma-related activities and programs already occurring in Washington, and develop priorities for promoting trauma-informed care in Washington.

Tonier Cain, a survivor of trauma, shared her story as one of the speakers. It begins with a severely neglectful mother, a long history of childhood and adult sexual abuse, alcohol addiction from age nine, marriage at age 14, and a drug addiction that led to 66 drug-related convictions.

After being incarcerated numerous times and losing several of her children to the foster-care system, Cain became pregnant again and found a program that helped drug-addicted pregnant women become drug-free and keep their children.

This was the turning point for Cain as for the first time, instead of asking, “What is wrong with you?” one trauma-informed clinician asked, “What happened to you?”

After entering the program, she began working on her trauma issues. In the four years since she completed the program, she has been drug- and alcohol-free, has become a national speaker on trauma issues, has become a board member on several boards of directors, and has become a homeowner and a nurturing mother to her young daughter.

“We would do well to assume that every person who comes to us seeking services is a trauma survivor,” said Dr. Roger Fallot, who opened the symposium with an overview of trauma-informed services.

Dr. Fallot discussed the difference between trauma-informed systems and trauma-specific services. As he explained, human service systems become trauma-informed by thoroughly incorporating an understanding of the prevalence and impact of trauma and the complex paths to healing and recovery into every component of service delivery. Trauma-specific services, on the other hand, refer to specific interventions that directly address trauma and its impact and help individuals heal and move forward in their recovery.

Local trauma champion Laura Merchant gave an overview of a trauma initiative currently taking place in Washington State. Merchant is the Assistant Director at the Harborview Center for Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress and is involved in a collaborative project with the Mental Health Division that trains clinicians throughout the state in trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT), a psychotherapeutic intervention designed to help children, youth, and their parents overcome the negative effects of traumatic life events.

Merchant discussed the difference between regular cognitive behavior therapy and TF-CBT. TF-CBT emphasizes routine trauma screening for all new clients instead of assuming that, if a client has a trauma background, the client will raise the issue.

Finally, Dr. Brian Sims discussed how to create trauma-informed systems of care. Dr. Sims explained that it makes sense to ask people who have serious mental illness about a trauma history; up to 98% of people who have serious mental illness have a trauma history. Dr. Sims also discussed strategies that mental-health providers can use to facilitate trauma-informed treatment, such as giving consumers choices and treating consumers with respect.

At the end, participants filled out a worksheet in which they identified the three items that they felt were most important in implementing trauma-informed care in Washington State. On the same worksheet, participants could sign up to become “Trauma Champions,” therefore becoming members of the newly-formed Trauma Advisory Group.

The Mental Health Transformation Project (MHTP) sponsored this event, and Jill SanJule, Consumer Liaison for the MHTP, organized the symposium with assistance from Mary Blake, the SAMHSA Project Officer for the Washington State Mental Health Transformation Grant, Susan Salasin, the Project Officer for the National Center for Trauma-Informed Care, and Joan Gillece of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors.

SanJule also received input and assistance from a statewide taskforce consisting of Tom Schumacher of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Cheryl Sullivan-Colglazier of the Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration, Ann Christian of the Washington Community Mental Health Council, Peg Evans-Brown of the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, and Robin McIlvaine of the Mental Health Division. In addition to assisting with planning the event, the taskforce members have also committed to assisting with the next steps in implementing trauma-informed care in Washington.

I would say these things must be a first step to systems change:

  • There should be immediate action to train current professionals and peer providers in mental health / trauma treatment strategies (e.g. EFT or EMDR or other evidence based therapies);
  • The principles of self-determination must be assertively promoted throughout the provider community, adopted as “best practice” and made part of both administrative rules and contracting for mental health services and supports;
  • The “brain disease/ chemical/ medical model of mental health must be discarded and debunked using the existing mountain of research that contradicts this approach (the pharmaceutical industry, while it has a place in treatment for some people, must be taken out of the driver’s seat of medical/ psychiatric education);
  • The training for mental health professionals from the doctorate level to the bachelor’s level must include significant education regarding the fact and circumstances of mental health recovery and the importance of addressing trauma and incorporating self-direction in services.

With these actions, we can begin to implement the recovery principles and National Consensus Statement. Without these fundamental and vital steps, systems change will be a joke at the expense of both the tax payers and the people who are trapped in the Public Mental Hell System.

I will leave you with this story I found on Ron Unger’s blog:

By Sonia Novinsky
Jacqueline came to me about one year ago. She was a beautiful woman, in
her forties and had been diagnosed as a schizophrenic with auditory
hallucinations, depression and an inability to operate in social
environments. Now, after a year, the hallucinations are gone and she is
well adapted to society. Along the way many other benefits
occurred…including relief from anorexia and the cessation of smoking.
Here’s the story.
She arrived in a very depressive state, saying to me: “This is my last
chance. And all I can pay is 10 dollars per session.” It was impossible
to refuse her desperate appeal for help. She said…
“For 9 years now, since my daughter was born, I am taking Haldol, Prozac
and other medications because Psychiatrists considered me an incurable
schizophrenic patient. I’ve been sleeping most of my daytime during all
these years.
After a traumatic event when my daughter was born I fell into a
depression. I started listening to Mary’s voice (Jesus’s mother)
GC COMMENT: her former psychiatrist diagnosed this an auditory
hallucination.
and I had some inappropriate behaviors, including a kind of anorexia,
with hospitalization. I heard about your work with Energy and I want to
try it. I believe that this could help me to get rid of medication and
my disease. The only reason I don’t kill myself today is because my
religion forbids me to do it.”
My first thought was: should I do EFT for a psychotic client? But the
despair I saw in her eyes touched me and I decided to try. She said she
would do anything to be free from Haldol. In fact, she threw away her
drugs and cut off communications with her psychiatrist. She refused to
take drugs because of the negative effects on her and made it a
requirement that I work with her on that condition.
At the first moment she told me that she had a supportive husband and
parents, and also wonderful children and that made her feel more guilty
for being a mentally ill person. She complained of smoking too much, of
having difficulties to rest and sleep. She said she was also 30 kg more
than her ideal weight, partly because of the antipsychotic medication.
During the last 9 years she was afraid to drive a car, which was normal
to her before her crisis.
The last psychiatrist she saw was very oppressive, telling her she had
an incurable mental illness and was obliged to take Haldol for the rest
of her life. When she arrived at my office she was very angry with all
psychiatrists and therapists who took care of her during all these
years. They gave her no hope: just labels and drugs.
Before investigating core issues, I worked for some weeks on our
rapport, trying to help her on her self esteem and trying to develop
some trust in our connection. She was very upset with the kind of
relationship she had with her psychiatrists and therapists. A hierarchy
was always present, and she was the inferior part of it, all the time.
Her objections about the treatment were never validated by them.
I agreed to try to work with her without medication (her choice) only if
we could see each other almost everyday and talk on the phone whenever
necessary. She agreed to tap with me on the phone whenever I asked her.
In this case it is very important to stress how strong was her intention
to get rid of any medication because they condemned her to be out of a
normal life.
In this case, besides EFT, praying was used almost everyday. She bought
“A Course in Miracles” and did her lessons everyday. The first result,
from the combination these items, was that hallucinations started fading
down and disappeared completely.
I will make a summary of the main topics we worked with EFT. We did EFT
hundreds of times. I learned a lot with Gary, so I do a free talk while
tapping, in a way that I can’t reproduce here, introducing humor and
installing new meanings and possibilities. She was entirely open to work
with EFT.
We started working with the most apparent sensation she was having at
the moment she arrived. In my experience you can start with this state,
even if it is not a core issue. When this layer is reached, even if you
don’t clear it completely, it gives room for the traumatic memories to
show up. Meanwhile you get the basic trust needed to work deeply.
Defenses hold back slowly while the person calms down. At the same time
inner positive resources become more available for working with more
delicate issues. So we started working on her self image and self
esteem, while tapping:
Even though I was shocked by the label of “incurable schizophrenic” Dr.
X put on me, at his office, that makes me feel completely hopeless, I am
not this label, I am more than what people think about me and I deeply
and completely love and accept myself.
While we were tapping I installed some reframing about how I was one
with her, no hierarchy between us, how we were together and no label
separating us.
The result was important for the rest of the treatment: she trusted that
she was not alone and that I was assuming a strong, deep, and personal
commitment with her. Differently from other professionals she had seen
before, I was not just using a technique or medications or my
professional skills. Sometimes when there is a lack of this commitment,
then technique, titles or medications become tools that are responsible
for the client’s feelings of isolation, inferiority and separation. When
this happens, these tools become inefficient.
She disclosed that when her daughter was born she was very upset with
some events and we tapped on them. The worst one (which launched her
first psychotic episode) was her husband’s imposition that his mother
should be the godmother of her daughter. Since they started dating, his
mother and his sisters disapproved of Jacqueline and were mean to her.
Jacqueline’s husband, Leo, didn’t allow any choice to Jacqueline. He
almost begged for this, crying and screaming. When Jacqueline went to
see her mother in law to invite her, her reaction was very negative. She
said: “I accept to be the godmother but I will not receive your family
in my house.” This was a traumatic event for Jacqueline.
She felt very unhappy, with no way out, and thus she had her first
psychotic attack. She undressed completely at a soccer stadium full of
people.
We tapped for this event, and many aspects showed up. We tapped for the
shame and guilt of not having control of her behavior. While she was
narrating the event I tapped on her. This is my preferred way of tapping
specific events. This one was a very traumatic event but finally her
husband agreed on her demand that his mother would not do the baptism of
their daughter.
Thus she was victorious in some way, but she paid a high price for this
“victory”: from this day on she carried the label of a sick person.
After two months her mother in law died suddenly and that gave
Jacqueline the illusion of having a mean power inside her, and that made
her still more guilty. In some way Jacqueline felt she had no control
over herself but from another point of view she was afraid of having
some extraordinary power.
While doing EFT….
Even though I lost control about my behavior that day in the stadium and
I am ashamed about it, I completely forgive myself. This was they way I
found at that time to validate my protest against my mother in law and
my husband demands.
Even though I did what I did at the stadium and she died two months
later, it is only a belief that I can control someone else’s time to
die. This is God’s power, not mine so I can be free of any
responsibility for other people’s life or death.
Jacqueline wanted to drive a car again. She felt ready to try it, after
clearing her psychotic attack and its consequences. So we tapped for the
fear of driving, first at my office, then in her car.
Even if I have fear of driving a car because I went out of control that
day at the stadium, and my mother in law died just after it, and my
husband said that I was not trustable anymore, I deeply and completely
accept myself.
Some aspects of her fear were: fear of losing control, fear of hitting
the car, fear of hitting some one on the streets, fear of hurting her
children if she hits the car, fear of killing someone.
We made a test. We went inside her car and tapped in the car for any
aspect, like “heart jumping too fast”, “I am not able to drive anymore”,
etc With me at her side, in the car, she drove the car by herself. After
a couple of minutes she was very calm, driving the car. Since that day
she is driving the car with no problem, with her children. Sco Paulo (my
home) has very dangerous and wild traffic. Many normal people don’t
drive cars here. But she does it now.
Schizophrenia is caused sometimes by double messages received mainly
during childhood. Since her birth we could find many situations where
double messages were received. Clearing all these double messages along
Jacqueline’s life, since her birth until now, it was essential to allow
her to see everything in a different way and to create a more integrated
identity.
Jacqueline was the first child. Her father (Italian origin) wanted only
a male child. When Jacqueline was born her mother felt in some way not
comfortable with the fact that she couldn’t give her husband a boy. At
the beginning of her life Jacqueline felt no holding, no sensation of
being desired. Eleven months after her birth her mother gave birth to a
boy who received all the attention of the parents. Jacqueline was most
of the time with a single aunt that had a strong passion for a catholic
priest at that time.
We tapped for all events and sensations Jacqueline could remember that
were related to this belief of not being wanted, of not deserving love,
of being guilty for not being the boy her parents were waiting for. The
strategy Jacqueline found was trying to persuade her father that she was
good enough like a boy would be, and to do so she became too close to
him and that made her mother very jealous and ambivalent towards her.
Even though I felt the cold eyes of my cold and felt alone in my little
bed, feeling I didn’t deserve love for not being a boy,….
Even if I still feel guilty for not filling my parents expectations,
when they said to me how important it was for them to have a boy as
their first child…
Even if I felt an ambivalence in my mother’s way of looking at me
because she wanted a boy instead of me and she was jealous of my love
for my father…
Investigating it more, I discovered that when Jacqueline had her crisis,
after the birth of her daughter, she was feeling guilty and not
deserving to have two healthy children, a boy and a girl. This was
connected with a specific and important event that we addressed in each
detail.
When she was 18 years old she was dating her future husband and she got
pregnant. As she was very religious and she wanted to become a mother
she didn’t want to make an abortion. But her husband, Leo, said that he
would stay with her only if she made the abortion.
She postponed it as much as she could. She felt under a big pressure.
She didn’t want to lose Leo and didn’t want to lose her child. She
talked with her parents and they agreed with the abortion. So she did
it. It was a very traumatic event for her. She felt guilty for the
abortion, felt enraged with Leo, who didn’t go with her to the clinic,
and felt very uncomfortable with her father. After the abortion he was
very critical to her. Their parents were supportive on one side, but on
the other they were very severe and full of deception.
We tapped for each aspect of this event: the blood she saw, the place
where she laid down, the light of the room, the questions the doctor
asked her, the ambivalent sight of her mother, the feeling of
abandonment because Leo was not there, the guilt of killing a 4 months
old fetus.
We discovered that her anorexia was connected with the blood she saw at
the abortion.
Even if the medication had controlled the anorexia, it was a good
release to understand and clear this event and the compulsion that it
triggered. From that day she started feeding herself on a more balanced
way and started losing the extra weight she had at the beginning of the
treatment.
She cried a lot when we were tapping for this event. Anger at herself,
anger at Leo, anger at her parents that could have said to her: “You may
have the child and we will help you”, anger at her father, who called
Leo to drink a whisky to calm down, sensation of having committed a
murder, etc
After some sessions working on this issue we tapped for forgiveness,
reframing that she was not alone on what she had done, she was just a
girl in love with Leo and in some way she did the abortion to save her
relationship with him.
Sometimes Jacqueline called me during the evening, crying, hopeless,
feeling that something was wrong with her, feeling that her husband
didn’t love her, although he always said the opposite. She never had an
abreaction, we just tapped on the phone and she calmed down.
We could see at that moment how the mother in law event triggered the
abortion trauma, guilt and anger. When her husband made this second
imposition to her: “My mother will baptise my daughter”, she fell apart
and collapsed. Since that day she started hallucinating and having
inappropriate behaviors. One manifestation of this behavior was a
passion for a catholic priest (like her dear aunt in the past), who held
her in a compassioned way at the church.
In my point of view, the main issue for Jacqueline was not being held
since the beginning of her life, and this fact was repeated many times,
maybe because the writings on her walls were like these: “I don’t worth
to be loved, I don’t deserve to be hold, there is something wrong with
me, I should be different to be accepted, I am inappropriate, I have
some strange powers that can harm people, etc”
I was suspecting, from some facts Jacqueline told me about, that her
husband was also sending double messages to her. On one side he said he
loved her, on the other side he was indifferent, quiet, isolated,
absent.
I worked with the couple for three sessions and my impression was
confirmed. Leo was very polite but was always concerned with Jacqueline
in a very distant and professional way, asking me if she shouldn’t start
with the medication again.
During the year we worked together Jacqueline had some more depressive
moments. Sometimes she was very accelerated, talking and talking,
reading the Bible compulsively, going to the church and speaking in a
non-spontaneous and hearty way. I supported her not taking the
medication in all these moments.
Beyond EFT we did some yoga therapy, grounding and breathing exercises
to calm her and connected with the here and now, feeling her body
sensations and trusting them. Being touched by me in a very tender way
very important for her to feel grounded and accepted, bringing hope back
to her life. These procedures were enough to stop any process of losing
control or wish to die.
What was interesting is that when we cleared all aspects of the guilt of
the abortion, including the guilt of having healthy children and the
guilt of being alive (she used to talk of suicide as a self punishment),
on the same week her anxiety stopped and her voice became more calm and
she stopped smoking.
As she was more awake and present to her family she started trying to be
closer to her husband but he was always very distant, even repeating
mechanically that he loved her.
We tapped: “Even though I feel like I am crazy with the double messages
he sent to me yesterday, and maybe since I was 18 years old, I hold
myself, I deeply accept myself, and I choose not to believe that I am
crazy. Maybe there is something wrong with him..”
She asked him to go to therapy but he didn’t go.
After some time, as she was more centered and not feeling crazy, she
started realizing how strange was her husband’s behavior. It was not
difficult for her to find out that he was having an affair. Coldly, he
agreed and told her he didn’t love her anymore.
Now they are in a divorce process. As a catholic this is very
complicated to her. But she has the serenity to face this fate. She
brought her children to therapy, she went to a lawyer and asked for the
rights of her children. Leo came to me and confessed that since she was
18 he didn’t love her. He only married her because she made the abortion
and he felt committed with her and grateful to her. So maybe he has been
sending double messages for twenty years.
Jacqueline became very angry with him and with herself. We are now
tapping for her to accept reality as it showed up and finally be free of
these double messages that made her schizophrenic for 20 years. The good
part of it is the two wonderful children who are really special and are
doing the best they can to facilitate this difficult moment for
Jacqueline and Leo.
We have more work to do. The important thing is that Jacqueline is
working again in her profession. She could finally see that her husband
was away for many years, although physically present.
I think the most important piece of this therapy was the possibility she
opened for me to have a deep rapport with her, while tapping. She
started believing that she was a person, not a sickness, and as far as
this occurred, her own family started to legitimate her like a mother, a
professional and a complete human being. She felt self confidence to
re-start her professional life again. For 10 years her family and Leo’s
family considered Leo like the best husband, almost an angel, and
Jacqueline was the crazy one, the problem.
The whole system around her changed when she changed. The truth showed
up and she could see how she felt crazy also because her husband was
sending double messages since a long time, maybe during all their
marriage.
She is now living alone with her children. Leo left the house, and
Jacqueline is very grounded, determined, not even feeling a victim. She
said to me, “It’s time to turn the page: the page of my marriage, of my
labels, of my poor self esteem. I am ready to take care of me and my
children, and all I want is Leo to be happy, as far from me as
possible.”
Some months ago she gave me a long written testimony ( in Portuguese),
about her issues and her treatment, confirming some results I wrote
above. Her intention was to help other people who could profit from her
experience. One of these last days she completed the testimony verbally.
I quote this her words :
“For the first time in my life I feel peace in my heart. I have
difficulties with my son and with my husband but they don’t disturb my
peace. I want to live like a normal woman and like a helper, for this I
am praying and serving as a volunteer in a hospital.

For the first time people trust me again. I was elected for the
directory board of my club, and possibly I will be a candidate for a
public position in the near future. I am free from the obsession toward
the priest, I know it because I went to see him in the church and could
see him only like the priest he is. I don’t need smoking nor the voices
I used to listen to. I can remember the abortion without guilt. I
couldn’t have a child for myself at that moment. I feel free from the
double messages my husband used to send to me all the time, saying he
loved me but excluding me from his life and problems and pleasures. I
feel ready to take care of myself, and to take care of my children. I am
living each day, not anticipating the worse like I used to. The pressure
I felt in my heart is gone. I think I tried to protecte my husband by
accepting the double message without any protest, putting the guilt on
myself. I feel healthy as anyone in this life even if I need therapy for
some more time.”

I wrote in the computer while she was speaking. Her voice was soft.
During her worse days her voice was too acute and full of irony and
arrogance. This day her eyes were tender, her voice was tender, her
posture was elegant, her energy was kind and balanced.

Concluding I think that what was decisive was EFT plus the holding she
felt because I could accept, without any judgment, her passion and
fantasies toward the priest, her wish to die, and her fear of getting
crazy, and her deep pain, out of any category or classification that
could separate us.
Sonia Novinsky

Leave a comment

Filed under CS/X movement, Links: Recovery, Mental health recovery, personal story, pictures, wellness and systems change