Involuntary Mental Health Commitments

The recent publicity surrounding the Justina Pelletier case has focused attention, not only on the spurious and arbitrary nature of psychiatric diagnoses, but also on the legitimacy and appropriateness of mental health commitments.  It is being widely asserted that these archaic statutes are fundamentally incompatible with current civil rights standards, and the question “should mental health commitments be abolished?” is being raised in a variety of contexts.

CRITERIA

Here in the US, each state has its own laws and procedures for pursuing a mental health commitment.  Some states allow outpatient commitment as well as inpatient.  There is wording variation from state to state, but in most jurisdictions there is provision to commit a person involuntarily for psychiatric treatment if there is convincing evidence that the person has a “mental illness” and as a result of such “mental illness” is a danger to himself or others, or is gravely disabled.  The term gravely disabled is generally defined along the lines of being unable to care for oneself or provide for one’s basic needs. In recent years some states have expanded these criteria to embrace:

  1. Individuals who have a psychiatric history and are on a “deteriorating course.”
  2. Individuals who are being cared for by a family member, and this care is about to be terminated.

SHORT-TERM EVALUATION HOLD (72 hours)

Here again, the procedures vary from place to place, but in most cases the mental health center is involved.  Typically the police bring the individual to the mental health center to be evaluated by a mental health professional.  The professional evaluates the individual to determine if the legal criteria are met.  If they are, he fills out the necessary forms, swears to their accuracy in front of a judge, who , if he agrees with the assessment, signs the hold order.  The individual is then taken to the state hospital, or an alternative approved facility, by a police officer.

THREE-MONTH HOLD

Before the expiration of the 72-hour hold, the hospital personnel decide whether to allow the individual to convert to voluntary status (which he can do by signing the appropriate forms) or pursue a longer-term commitment.  The latter usually involves a formal hearing conducted in the local courthouse, or more usually, in a room at the state hospital.  A judge presides, and both hospital and client are represented by lawyers.  The hospital calls as witnesses psychiatrists and other staff who have worked with the client.  Clients may also call witnesses, but seldom do.

DISCUSSION

The fundamental premise underlying all mental health commitment legislation is that mental illnesses exist, and that these putative illnesses cause people to think, feel, and behave in a problematic, and sometimes dangerous, manner.

It is my position that this premise is spurious.  I have developed this theme throughout the website, and the details need not be repeated here.

It is also my position that psychiatric treatments, which almost always mean psycho-pharma drugs, and/or shock treatment, are for the most part unhelpful and disempowering, and usually damaging, especially in the long term!  They generally reduce, at least somewhat, an individual’s level of agitation, aggression, and/or disruption, and this is the essential justification for their use in these situations.  The notion that they are medications and are being used to treat illnesses is false.  The stark reality is that the individuals are being forcibly drugged into quietude, and this is being done under the guise of providing “treatment” for an “illness.”

If the treatments that individuals received at state hospitals and other approved facilities were extremely beneficial, then one might be posed with an ethical dilemma.  To illustrate this, consider the case of a person who has, say, a gangrenous finger, but is refusing treatment.  The treatment would involve losing the finger, but saving his life.  Refusing treatment will result in death.  One could certainly make a case for enforced treatment, especially if his family, friends, etc., were petitioning the courts in this regard.  But in fact, in the US, the general principle is that such an individual is legally entitled to refuse treatment, and die from his illness if he so chooses.

But mental health commitments are entirely different.  Individuals get committed to state hospitals, not because they are sick in any conventional sense of the term, but because they are agitated, and/or aggressive, often as a result of conflict with family members, neighbors, local officials, etc…  Usually they are people who have been committed previously, sometimes very frequently, and their social and other abilities have been severely compromised by a history of ingesting psychiatric drugs.  Often their agitation/aggression at the time of the commitment is caused by withdrawal from psychiatric drugs that they had previously taken.  In most cases they have received large quantities of neuroleptic drugs, over extended periods, the devastating side effects of which are all too obvious, and contribute to the perception that they are “different” and need to be locked up.

Because the agitation/aggression is conceptualized as a “symptom” of the putative illness, little or no attempt is made by the police or by the mental health staff to explore the reasons for the agitated, problematic behavior, or what remedies might be available.  The individual is deemed to be “mentally ill,” and it is assumed that attempts at discussion or dialogue would be pointless.  It is also assumed that the individual has zero credibility.

So the kind of ethical dilemma that might exist in the case of the man with the gangrenous finger, doesn’t arise here.  We’re not having to choose between respecting the person’s civil rights vs. saving his life.  We’re choosing between respecting his civil rights vs. forcing him to undergo procedures that will damage him further and will likely cause further deterioration in his relationships with family and other members of the community.

“KANGAROO” COURTS

The Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution states:

“…nor shall any person…be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law…”

The Fourteenth Amendment states:

“…nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law…”

In practice, the procedures outlined above for the 72-hour hold and for the 3-month committal are considered to be due process of law.  Strictly speaking this is true, because they reflect the law as enacted by the particular state legislature.

The more fundamental question, however, is:  do these procedures provide adequate protection for the civil rights of the individual who is being committed?  In my view, the answer to this question is no, for the following reasons.

1.  In practice, the 72-hour hold is decided by the mental health worker, often a fairly junior intake worker, who in many cases has been trained to think of involuntary commitment as the only reasonable response to a crisis.  Even in cases where a judge’s signature is required, it is extremely rare to find a judge who will attempt to second-guess the mental health professional.  The unspoken ethos here is that “crazy” people are fundamentally different from “ordinary” people; that they can only be understood by trained professionals; and that interference from non-professionals is likely to be counterproductive.  This ethos, incidentally, is actively promoted by organized psychiatry.  Indeed, I would suggest that it constitutes one of the fundamental pillars of psychiatric “treatment.”  It is also false.  People who are “crazy,” or despondent, or agitated are not fundamentally different from “ordinary” people.  Their craziness, despondency, and/or agitation are usually understandable if one is willing to listen attentively and respectfully and patiently.

2.  In practice the judge’s signature tends to be a rubber stamp, and there is no attorney present to argue for the client.  There is usually not even a requirement that the client be present at the initial meeting between the mental health worker and the judge.

3.  Although danger to self or others or grave disability is usually required by the statute, in practice a 72-hour hold can be obtained in situations that don’t actually rise to this standard.  In most cases, if a client has come off his “meds,” and is agitated, a 72-hour hold will be granted even if his agitation is for some legitimate reason and is perfectly understandable, and even if he poses no particular threat to self or others.  The tacit, and incidentally false, assumption is that his agitation/aggression will inevitably escalate unless he is sent to the state hospital for “stabilization.”

4.  Once the 72-hour hold has been activated, the process is very difficult to reverse.  The client is taken to the state hospital and is often “persuaded” to convert to voluntary status.  The persuasion usually entails the threat that if he doesn’t convert, he will be committed.  I suggest that this kind of tactic makes a mockery of the term “voluntary.”

5.  If the client refuses to convert to voluntary status, he can be brought before a formal mental health hearing.

6.  This is an improvement over the 72-hour hold procedure, but in my view, the individual’s rights are not adequately protected.  As mentioned earlier, the hearing is often (perhaps usually) held in the hospital. This confers clear advantage to the psychiatrists.  They can call all the witnesses they want.  They’re on the payroll and just a few steps away.  The client is at a marked disadvantage, in that any witnesses he might want to call are likely to be in his home area (usually hours away), and at work.  The client is often unfamiliar with the procedure, and has had little opportunity to prepare his case.  Usually he gets to meet his defending attorney for only a few minutes prior to the hearing, and, in some cases, his cognitive ability has been compromised by prior “treatments.”  I recently received an email from a woman who has been through this kind of proceeding.  She pointed out that: 

“…having a patient address her involuntary status at a Review Panel while drugged and wearing hospital pajamas does tend to work against her.  If you’ve decided that someone’s incompetent, that’s pretty much what you’ll see.”

7.  If the client expresses the belief that he is not ill, and that he doesn’t need treatment, this will be interpreted (and sworn to by the psychiatrists) as convincing evidence that he is ill, and that he does need treatment.  Imagine, in a criminal trial, if a plea of not guilty were routinely construed as evidence of guilt!

8.  There is usually a great reluctance on the part of the defending attorney to challenge the psychiatrists and other professional witnesses, and in most cases the hearing endorses the psychiatrists’ recommendation – which is usually:  keep him here until we say it’s OK to let him go.

9.  Eventually, even the most heavily-drugged client realizes that the only way he’s going to get out of the hospital is to cooperate with the psychiatrists and staff.  This entails saying things like:  “I was a fool to go off my medication;” “I realize now that you people are just trying to help me;” “I’m my own worst enemy;” “I need to stay here until you people say it’s OK for me to go.”  If he can keep this up for a week or so, he’ll probably be released.

So to get back to the original question:  should this kind of practice cease? The answer is obviously yes.  The recent Justina Pelletier case has drawn much-needed attention to the abuses inherent in the psychiatric commitment system.  In particular, this case has highlighted the fact that psychiatry is a closed system that routinely rejects, marginalizes, and even pathologizes any attempt to challenge or even question its pronouncements.  Such a system has no place in a democratic, transparent society.

THE WAY FORWARD

The most significant step forward at this juncture would be the removal of the concept and term “mental illness” from all statutes.  The term has no explanatory significance, and no clear meaning.  In the area of civil commitment, it serves merely as justification of enforced drugging for individuals who are agitated or aggressive or otherwise disruptive.  It also serves as justification for denying these individuals some very basic civil rights.

Commitment is essentially a form of imprisonment.  But it goes beyond ordinary imprisonment, in that it entails the forced administration of neurotoxic chemicals and electrically-induced seizures.  What happens in practice is that the individual takes the drugs under duress in the facility, then semi-voluntarily in the community for a few weeks or even months.  He then stops taking them, or tapers himself off, until the next bout of agitation or aggressiveness.  This precipitates another trip to the state hospital, and this revolving-door travesty continues until he is too brain-damaged to live in the community.  He then goes to a nursing home, where his “medication” is dutifully administered every day, until he succumbs to a premature death. 

If “mental illness” commitments were abolished, there would be a need for a non-psychiatric crisis response team in each county/jurisdiction.  How such a team would be structured and organized is a huge topic, beyond the scope of the present article.  From a practical perspective, it needs to be noted that any non-psychiatric crisis response system will be resisted vigorously by vested interests and will not happen overnight.  What we should focus on in the meantime are those parts of the present system that are particularly unjust or particularly destructive.  These include:

1.  Doing away with the 72-hour hold and replacing it with a formal hearing with mandatory legal representation in front of a judge. 

2.  Providing training to lawyers concerning the spuriousness of psychiatric concepts and the destructiveness of psychiatric treatments.  This training should be geared towards empowering them to challenge mental health testimony in commitment hearings with the same force and vigor that they do in criminal proceedings.  In particular, they should be knowledgeable, or have ready access to knowledge, of the adverse effects of the various psychiatric drugs in common use, and the abysmally poor long-term outcomes for individuals who have been repeatedly committed over a period of years.

3.  Recruitment and training of non-psychiatric “talk-down” teams in every county.  These could be part of the sheriff’s department or, preferably, separate departments in their own right.

4.  Continuing to expose psychiatry as the spurious, destructive, and pharmaceutically-corrupted activity that it is.  The major need in this matter is to expose the damage that psychiatry routinely perpetrates against those entrusted to its care, and the impact that this has on life expectancy. 

5.  Encouraging mental health centers to hire psychiatric survivors, especially those who don’t support the bio-medical model.  A requirement of survivor representation on governing boards would also be helpful.

6.  Requiring mental health centers to seriously review drug dosages on all clients monthly, and either reduce these dosages or explain why this can’t be done.

7.  Requiring mental health centers to provide active training in social skills to all clients who have ever been committed to a psychiatric hospital.

  • cannotsay

    “Do you help other people faced with the same challenges you had?”

    Sure, after a long dormant period, I emerged last year, in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook scare that people who are so called “mentally ill” should be more easily abused as a very effective anonymous anti psychiatry activist.

    The only challenges that people like me face is that people like you (and others) believe that behaviors that are not accepted by the “majority” but that are not criminal in nature are so called “mental illness” and that we need to be abused by the government and stigmatized for life.

    Before psychiatry derailed my life, I never had a problem with my HIV fears. Besides not going to South Africa or other countries with high HIV infection rates and avoiding large cities’ red and gay districts, I wasn’t sexually promiscuous and I avoided a lot of the “bad stuff”. I could manage my life perfectly as I manage it now. Only now I have to live with this burden http://www.antipsychiatry.org/stigma.htm for the rest of my life which is why I have made the elimination of coercive psychiatry my life’s goal. It might be late for me even if it happens in my lifetime but it surely will help others!

  • Francesca Allan

    Really not interested in reading the full text here of such a lengthy comment, given the content of previous ones of yours. However, I will just say here that Repeal Mental Health Laws is most certainly NOT a progressive group.

  • Francesca Allan

    Doesn’t it kind of depend on what you were planning on doing there? An HIV rate of 75% wouldn’t prevent me from travelling to a country that I wanted to see.

  • Francesca Allan

    I am quite sure I made this comment already but it doesn’t seem to be showing. I have no doubt that schizophrenia is a mental illness in the sense that it entails persistent and dysfunctional behaviour without an apparent physical cause. The question remains, though, what a mental illness actually is and how best to approach it or indeed if it should be approached at all. I’ve been schizophrenic before. The notion that it’s a permanent neurodegenerative disease is demonstrably false.

  • Francesca Allan

    Just wanted to add that the only reason I refer to these psychiatric labels as illnesses is in the interests of shared terminology. I don’t in fact believe that any of them are properly characterized as illnesses. What they are is dysfunctional behaviours that the patient or people around the patient do not care for.

  • Francesca Allan

    My banning from RMHL did not strike me as an “injustice.” Quite the contrary. It was actually more like relief from a naive, unrealistic, inflexible group whose only response to legitimate criticism/suggestions was puerile attacks. I cannot believe how much time I wasted there. It’s a similar situation to the spats here in the comments section. I’m here to read Phil’s wisdom and insight and I will do my best to stick to that from now on.

  • cannotsay

    Irrelevant. There are people, famously Isaac Asimov, with extreme fear of flying for whom no assurances about plane safety would convince them that it is OK to take a plane.

    My relationship with environments with high HIV prevalence is the same. Thanks but no thanks. It has to be respected, specially since “fearing HIV”, just as “fear of flying” is not a crime.

    We are all different and we should all be accepted with our differences. The APA never understood that and I am surprised that you don’t seem to understand it either.

  • Francesca Allan

    Actually, cannotsay, I was explaining the decision that I would make for myself so it’s not irrelevant for me, although it appears to be for you. I agree that people have unwarranted fears and I certainly would never characterize them as crimes. I don’t feel compelled to respect those fears in all instances, however. You’re right that we’re all different. I do understand that. What I don’t understand is why you fear a disease that, as far as I know, is entirely preventable. That strikes me as quite different than a fear of flying.

  • cannotsay

    Francesca,

    Don’t take this in the wrong way. From your discussions with me and others it is clear you are intolerant with those who don’t share your views on particular issues. You have gotten into heated arguments with Anonymous on the issue of involuntary commitment and I feel you are about to do the same with me on this matter so I will pass.

    The point remains. It’s great that you are fine going to a country with 75% HIV prevalence. I am not. Why is it so hard for you to understand that people might feel different about different issues?

    As to HIV infection being entirely preventable, not really. There is always some idiot that could ruin your life even if you do everything right yourself. Example http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00030972.htm and of course there is http://www.chicagoinjuryattorneyblog.com/blogs/2008/11/illinois_transplant_patient_su_1.html which is the reason gay males are banned from blood donation in the US despite all their aggressive lobbying that they be allowed to contaminate our blood supply so they can feel good with themselves.

    A problem with left wing people of the “progressive variety” is that they have this notion that everybody who disagrees with their view is wrong because they don’t understand issues as well as they do. If “only” those misguided people “understood” everything as well, the world would be such a wonderful and utopian place. Well, people like me do understand and still disagree with you. You’ll have to learn to accept that.

  • Francesca Allan

    “it is clear you are intolerant with those who don’t share your views on particular issues” … That’s pretty rich coming from you but thanks anyway for the laugh this morning.

    I do understand that you have an unwarranted fear of HIV. I merely said that I don’t have such a fear. I don’t “have to learn” to accept your fear or anything else. To be honest with you, I suspect that your fear of HIV actually has more to do with homophobia rather than disease.

    What I do have to learn, however, is not to engage in conversations with posters who choose to ascribe motives where none exist so they can attack because they’re incapable of rational debate.

  • cannotsay

    Amazing and contradictory.

    Now you say

    ” is not to engage in conversations with posters who choose to ascribe motives where none exist so they can attack because they’re incapable of rational debate”

    You mean such as saying that my “fear of HIV” has to do with homophobia (hint for you, am I also “IV drug user phobic” for not willing to go to places that have a high concentration of said people, such us certain districts in large cities?).

    Francesca, in these discussions, the only one who has consistently gotten into heated arguments rooted in disagreements has been you. And the reason this has been the case is that inevitably you end up accusing those who disagree with you of all sorts of nefarious ideas and motives (like accusing those who disagree with your stance of coercive psychiatry to be heartless and ignoring the pains of that mythical woman about to jump from a bridge).

    I would say “grow up” but I am afraid that if you haven’t learned how to respect genuinely held differences at your age, it is fair to say that there is no hope for you.

  • Phil_Hickey

    Beyond Labeling,

    You raise a good point. There is a great deal of muddled terminology.

    But in psychiatry, the terms mental illness and mental disorder are used interchangeably. In my early blogging days, I used to make that point repeatedly, but the notion is now generally accepted, and I no longer labor it. Every criticism that I direct at the concept of mental illness applies equally to the concept of mental disorder. It’s just another way of saying the same
    thing.

    Strictly speaking, the condition that psychiatrists call “schizophrenia” is not a mental illness. It is a “mental disorder.” Similarly for depression, ADHD, bipolar disorder, etc…

    Historically the APA went with the word disorder in the first DSM because at that time (1952) there was not general agreement within their association that all the conditions they treat were illnesses. Their attitudes have move on, but they’re kind of stuck with the term.

    In practice a person committed in a state that uses “disorder” terminology will not be treated differently than a person committed under illness language. So, of course, you’re absolutely correct – I ought to push for the abolition of both terms!

    My general points are that psychiatry is based on spurious concepts, and that its practices are destructive, disempowering, and stigmatizing. From a legal point of view their standing derives from the notion that mental illnesses (or mental disorders) are real entities with real explanatory value, and that they are the recognized authority with regards to these entities. It is this general concept that needs to be challenged and, in my view, removed from the statutes.

    Thanks for coming and, and best wishes.

  • Phil_Hickey

    Beyond Labeling,

    Thanks for the suggestion. I will do. Or more accurately, since I’m virtually computer illiterate, I will ask my son-in-law webmaster to do.

    Best wishes.

  • Phil_Hickey

    Penny,

    Thanks for your comment. This is a tragic story. Drugs – whether of the psychiatric or street variety – do take their toll. I hope your son finds his way back.

    Best wishes.

  • Beyond Labeling

    Phil, thanks for the response.

    Mainly, you and I are in agreement.

    Nonetheless, again, I will say that, whereas I think the term “mental illness” is always misleading, I do find this other term “mental disorder” to be a potentially useful one; for, I believe, in fact, reasonably speaking, we all experience ‘mental disorder’ at times, in our lives (in varying degrees).

    To my way of considering this concept, of ‘mental disorder,’ it is essentially synonymous with the concept of ‘confusion’.

    Hence, I posit mental disorder = confusion.

    But, to be perfectly clear, I add, that: I do not consider anyone’s officially defined list of supposed “mental disorders” to be positively and/or scientifically authoritative.

    Simply, I think “mental disorder” can be a very real experience.

    (Note: You eschew “the notion that mental illnesses (or mental disorders) are real entities with real explanatory value”; I only eschew the concept of ‘mental illness,’ as I consider it to be inevitably confusing.)

    At last, I believe that experiences of ‘mental disorder’ (real as I believe they can certainly be) should never be ‘treated’ by force.

    For countless reasons, I believe that, ideally, any ‘mental disorder’ is always best addressed peaceably (i.e., without resort to force).

    But, imho, it is a potentially useful term…

    (So, I would not attempt to ‘abolish’ the term “mental disorder” 🙂

  • Francesca Allan

    I see merit in both of your positions but I wonder if we could find a better description than “mental disorder,” as it has come to be synonymous with disease. Perhaps “emotional” rather than “mental” and “distress” rather than “disorder”?

  • Francesca Allan

    First of all, I said I suspected (NOTE for the reading-challenged: S-U-S-P-E-C-T-E-D) your HIV phobia was related to homophobia. I base that on your comment about homosexuals “feeling good about themselves.” Why on Earth shouldn’t homosexuals feel good about themselves?

    Again, it’s very strange how your demand for respect only seems to apply to others respecting you. You certainly pour derision on me for not agreeing with your misguided ultra-libertarian stance. You refer to my call for emergency intervention as a “stance on coercive psychiatry.” You imply that I have no feelings for the suicidal. You say all kinds of ridiculous things and when I respond, you shriek “Hey, you’re being mean!”

    Dialogue with you is an absurd waste of my time and I will endeavour not to respond to your attacks anymore. In my opinion, you are not a contributor to the psychiatric reform movement. Any member of the public that comes across your diatribes will use them as an excuse to disregard us in our entirety.

  • cannotsay

    Again Francesca, the only one who has consistently attacked those with whom she disagrees is you. It happened with me, with Tina, Anon and countless others. We respect your position in support of some forms of coercive psychiatry. We get that, and we respect it. YOU DO NOT respect our abolitionist position and have called us all sorts of names as a result.

    Unfortunately, this is how the dialog with the average leftist progressive goes. Said person thinks he/she is in possession of absolute truth because he/she is better educated or smarter and the reason people disagree with him/her is because those people are not as smart or educated. This progressive sees his/her mission in life to enlighten those ignorant dissenters with “the truth”. In a way, this is not very different from the average psychiatrist who believes that DSM labels represent real diseases. You might to be that far from mainstream psychiatric thinking after all.

  • Francesca Allan

    Again, well done. Your claims are demonstrably false and my claims are confirmed by this post. A cop grabbing a woman to prevent her suicide is not “coercive psychiatry” by any reasonable standard. Indeed, it’s not even psychiatry.

    Your characterization of me as an “average leftist progressive” who thinks I’m “better educated or smarter” than others is entirely inaccurate though admittedly amusing.

    I don’t believe I’ve sought to enlighten you with “the truth” or, at least, any more vociferously than you have sought to “enlighten” me. There is no truth when it comes to ethical issues: there are merely our interpretations and opinions.

    Your suggesting that my pointing out the flaws in your preposterous arguments is somehow akin to a psychiatrist inflicting the DSM upon his patients is, yet again, absurd. It’s becoming increasingly apparent why you post under a pseudonym. I would too if I were you.

  • cannotsay

    Oh well, and this exchange ends the same way numerous others ended before, with Francesca calling her dialectical opponent names because he (in previous cases there had been “shes” too) disagreed with her view!

  • Francesca Allan

    Again, demonstrably false. You insult me because I’m not on board with you. I insult you back because your writing is offensive. If you attack; I’m compelled to respond.

    It would be interesting if Phil’s webmaster could replay the first exchanges between us. I’ll bet you $100 that you’re shown starting the insults first! Hell, I’ll make it $1,000. Care to put your money where your mouth is, cannotsay?

    Lastly, I note that whenever you can’t defend one of your inflammatory posts e.g. when it’s pointed out to you that suicide prevention does not remotely equate to forced psychiatry, you drop the subject.

  • Francesca Allan

    By way of a preliminary experiment, why don’t you go to the beginning of this article’s comment thread and see who was the first to compare the other to a slavery supporter? I’d be more than comfortable running the same test on every other thread.

  • cannotsay

    To you “suicide prevention” does not equal coercive psychiatry. It has been pointed out to you several time by me and others that it does in the sense that you are fine with giving the government the ability to interfere with a person’s self determination as long as government can show that that person is “out of his/her mind”, which is indeed, a form of coercive psychiatry, whether you like it or not.

    How do you know somebody is “out of his/her mind”?, because he/she wants to commit suicide. Why does he/she want to commit suicide?, because he/she is out of his/her mind, which is typical circular psychiatric thinking that you are 100% fine with.

  • Francesca Allan

    Wrong again but first I’ll wonder why suicide prevention is in quotes. Moving on, nothing was “pointed out to me.” You’re making it sound like you’re in charge of absolute truth and I need help finding my way. Hey! Wasn’t that what you were accusing me of doing? Yes, I believe it was.

    I am not fine with giving the government general control over “self determination.” What a ludicrous (and typically irrational) characterization of my position! I am saying that in the situation I described, it is only mental health legislation that allows the cop to intervene. Otherwise, he’d be committing assault. That is not coercive psychiatry. Hate to “point that out” to you, though.

    Not sure why you’ve got “out of his/her mind” in quotes. Who are you quoting? I would never use such a definition as a test of legal intervention. Again, you’re pulling this stuff out of your ass. The argument you attribute to me (the proof that she’s out of her mind is that she’s suicidal) I never made. So why are you libeling me?

  • Anonymous

    Francesca has made it clear she’s against giving adult citizens the right to death control. You’re absolutely right Cannot, sending in government cops armed with guns, tasers and batons, to target people not because they have committed a crime, but because they are considered “irrational”, and then to initiate violence and force against those people, clearly is coercive psychiatry even if she doesn’t want to call it that. Penalties for, and attempts to “prevent” (good luck with that) behavior considered “irrational”, using civil not criminal law, is clearly coercive psychiatry by any other name.

    Francesca still hasn’t told us what kind of government cage that she chooses not to label a “jail” she’d like the woman on the bridge to be locked in. Presumably it starts with the human cage that is the back of a police cruiser, where to next Francesca? And do you advocate the cop using his taser or his other weapons if the woman “resists arrest” for the alleged “noncrime”, of doing something you consider “irrational”? Days now and no answers.

    “, it is only mental health legislation that allows the cop to intervene.
    Otherwise, he’d be committing assault. That is not coercive psychiatry.”

    My God. So it’s “mental health legislation” that allows the cop to initiate violence against the target, but it’s “not” coercive psychiatry… I see!!!

  • Francesca Allan

    Correction. It is possible that I used the term “out of his/her mind.” However, I don’t think a suicidal person is necessarily out of his/her mind. I do, however, think that any society that would condone saying “Oh, well, let her jump. Let’s go get doughnuts” would be inhumane and cruelly negligent.

  • cannotsay

    Stop the nonsense. Using quotes is an stylistic vehicle that doesn’t impute what is between quotes to anybody. You should know better.

    The reference to “libel” is laughable at best. It is well known that in Canada you have a peculiar relationship with free speech that includes legalized forms of censorship https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Human_Rights_Commission_free_speech_controversies .

    Before you think you have a “libel case” under US law, you should familiarize yourself with the law of the land, such as https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snyder_v._Phelps .

    Your arguments grow ludicrous by the moment :-).

  • Anonymous

    Always feeling you speak for “society”. Tell me…. are the many individuals driven to suicide by violent attempts to “prevent” their suicide, are they part of your society? Are the many people forced to plan their deaths in secrecy and denied the right to say goodbye to their loved ones for fear of having your “humane” men with guns and tasers sent around to their home to “prevent them”, are they part of society too? I’ll ask you for like the eighth time, what government cage / detention facility would Francesca imprison the “suicidal” in to “help prevent” them using their freedom in ways you don’t approve of? What “help” would you force on these innocent people, how would you guarantee that they were not traumatized by being coerced into your “help”, hence driving them to suicide the moment they got out?

  • cannotsay

    I am growing increasingly frustrated with her, to the point that I think I am wasting my time by engaging her.

    I think that I have better things to do than explaining to her that what she defends is accurately described as coercive psychiatry, even if her difference with the status quo is one of degree not of principle.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, I know all about Canada’s oppressive control of speech. A great black mark on that nation, as are its forced psychiatry laws, and its sharing of psychiatric “medical” records with US border authorities.

  • cannotsay

    Yeah, and the worst of it is that many Canadians are proud that their country is more oppressive, speech wise, than the US. Go figure!

  • Francesca Allan

    Christ, Anonymous, you’re just as ridiculous as your friend here. Do you have any concept of how a debate is supposed to work?

    I do not support government “death control.” I’m in favour of self-determination but I also think there are times when intervention is called for. I did not say that suicide need be irrational. Nor did I say that my hypothetical crisis intervention involves a cage. Get a grip, Anonymous, or at least try to read.

    As the law stands, a cop is allowed to intervene. The current mechanism is mental health legislation. Stopping a jumper is not violence to a reasonable person.

  • Francesca Allan

    Well, before you go, cannotsay, can you answer this: If the cop (who is not a doctor, obviously) is practicing coercive psychiatry then isn’t a friend who entices someone to stay alive guilty of the same thing?

    Yes, I realize you’re increasingly frustrated. That’s more than evident in your increasingly wild, irrational arguments.

  • cannotsay

    I give up Francesca. As I said, I respect your defense of coercive psychiatry. All I am asking is that you respect my abolitionist position. Simple enough.

    We’ll have to agree to disagree. WAIT! I think that we had already agreed to disagree a while back but you keep thinking that you can “enlighten” me (note using quotes is to put emphasis, not to attribute stuff to you! :D).

  • Francesca Allan

    Again, please read before ranting. I didn’t presume to speak for society. I merely had the audacity to say what society I want to live in. For a libertarian, you’re not much into free speech, are you?

    Since you asked, I will tell you that what I envision as crisis intervention has nothing to do with a government cage or detention facility. But thank you for your usual respectful query.

  • Anonymous

    You support government denying people the right to control their own deaths. You’re right, you didn’t say that your intervention involves a cage. But that just leaves you on the bridge with a cop with his arms around a woman. What is the next step? I’m going to safely assume it is the cage of the back of a police vehicle, and then transported to some other larger cage? Or do you want the government enforcer’s arms to be the cage? Do you want the government enforcer to remain standing, atop the bridge, with his arms locked around the woman for hours, with donuts brought to him to sustain him, perhaps for 17 days? What do you propose happens next to those “intervened” upon, after you government enforcer immobilizes her? The definition of violence is the initiation of force, against the body of another human being, an invasion of that person’s world, that that person does not consent to, it is perfectly reasonable to describe what cops do, as violence, they are the state licensed dispensers of violence, they have a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence. And again, I ask you not to frame this debate in terms of “jumpers”, clearly if you’re for calling the cops to force themselves on a “jumper”, you’re for calling the cops to force their way into a home where someone is suspected of attempting to end their lives too.

    A ninth time, I ask you, what cage do you intend on locking those accused of being “suicidal” in, what standards of evidence and due process would you afford them, and what would you do to them while they are in the cage, and what is stopping them doing what you don’t want them to do once they get let out of the cage?

  • Anonymous

    Francesca, do you understand the difference between a “friend”, and a government agent? Again, list exactly what would happen if you were the ruler of the world, what would be done to the people who dared try and end their own lives. What violence would you bring into their lives? What cages would you put them in? What personnel would you force them to interact with?

  • Francesca Allan

    Clearly, you don’t respect my position if you refer to it as “coercive psychiatry.” Please tell me in what way the cop is practicing psychiatric treatment. Again, please just answer the question beyond saying “Because he is!”

    I actually do respect aspects of your position somewhat but my problem is with how you attack, insult, ridicule, jeer at, etc. people who point out what’s wrong at the same time with that same position.

    If you’re entitled to respect, then so am I. So you’re right. It is simple. My intention is not to “enlighten” you. It’s to stop your twisted, distorted version of my position staying uncorrected.

  • Anonymous

    Oh you envision a “crisis intervention” (read: we don’t like what you’re doing so here is a cop with guns and tasers), and you envision this person being taken by force by a cop to what? an open field where they are allowed to run away? The road leading to the bridge and then left alone? Held in the arms of the cop on the bridge for 17 hours or days? What?

    You’re not talking about what society you want to live in. You’re talking about what kind of government regime you want to live under. I don’t want to live under a government regime that prohibits the right to death control. I don’t want violent thugs from the government sent in to meddle in my life when someone makes a hearsay allegation of suicidality. What protections from hearsay to you envisage? in your “humane” round up the suicidal type “intervention”? I’m into free speech so much, that under my world you can speak freely about your suicidal feelings without government guns coming to your house, which is more than I can say for your vision.

  • Francesca Allan

    Yes, of course I do. Do you understand the meaning of “coercion”? Do you understand the meaning of “psychiatry”? If a cop can practice it, then why can’t a friend?

    I wouldn’t be interested in ruling the world so you’ll have to rephrase your question a little less rudely and a little more sincerely if you want me to answer it.

    Why are you assuming my answer to suicide threats/attempts would be violence? Why are you assuming cages? Why are you assuming forced personnel?

    Why are you incapable of civil discussion?

  • Francesca Allan

    No I do not support absolute government control over people’s deaths. Again, if you want a discussion, you’ll have to be civil before I answer questions about crisis intervention.

  • Anonymous

    We don’t accept that there is such a thing as “psychiatric treatment”. What is known as “psychiatric treatment” across ALL so called “emergency interventions’, boils down to solely, simply, and nothing more, than the use of violent hands put upon people, violent application of restraints, and violent injection of tranquilizer drugs and caging. NO disease is being treated, therefore, government police powers being used to stop people who haven’t committed any crime, especially in your much vaunted bridge intervention, is government forced behavioral alteration under a “medical guise”, because you advocate that “mental health” laws be used to give police these powers. It’s very clear.

  • Anonymous

    If you would stop mindlessly saying “why do you assume I want cages”, and actually TELL US, where you want to transport those you accuse of being suicidal to, and whether the doors will be locked, that would be nice. I have every right to assume forced personnel, you’d admitted several times you want to send cops to the suicidal. Cops are government personnel who dispense force.

    Since you’ve been asked so many times what system you’d create and failed to answer, I can only assume you just have nothing but a gut feeling that you should be sending government cops to the suicidal and you have no idea what you’d like to happen next, none at all.

  • Francesca Allan

    Please don’t explain to me what I mean by my own words (crisis intervention). You’re as oppressive as most psychiatrists I’ve run into.

    Yes, I was talking about what society I want to live in. Societies are usually run by governments. Deal with it. Suicide prevention is not death “control”; it’s more like death “delay.” You’ll always have another chance to off yourself; you’ll never have another chance to change your mind if you jump.

    Who said anything about intervening on “hearsay”? I’m talking about stopping a suicide in progress. Why the hysteria?

  • Francesca Allan

    It’s not “mindless” to ask why you make an assumption, given how wild an assumption it is. And now you’re threatening to make another assumption — that is, if I don’t jump up and answer to your satisfaction right now, you will have assume I have no answer. Go ahead and assume whatever you like. The truth is I’ve been working on a model for years with the input of several psychiatric survivors and we are getting somewhere.

  • Anonymous

    How do you intend your government to police all “suicides in progress”, most happen indoors in private places, most happen very fast. I’m not oppressive, I’m not the one advocating the violent hand of government reach into people’s lives. I’m not the one whose attitudes bring about sick old people cowering in fear and hiding their suicide planning from their families. That is on people like you. Suicide prohibition is certainly the government controlling when people can die.

  • Anonymous

    Again, no answers. Government cop lays hands on “suicide in progress” accused. What happens next?

  • Francesca Allan

    Okay, I wasn’t aware that quotes weren’t for quoting. I’ll keep that in mind.

    Are you familiar with how hyperbole works? “That exam was murder” doesn’t mean a crime was committed. I believe it is you who is ludicrous for taking what I wrote to mean that I was preparing for a lawsuit.

    In a different thread, Anonymous himself accused me of libel. Are you going to give him the same spiel? Of course not. He agrees with you so he must be a good guy.

  • Francesca Allan

    Do you seriously think, Anonymous, that this is an intelligent, progressive environment in which to discuss such a complex matter? Your comments have been aggressive and offensive and I see no reason to believe that you’ll contribute in a constructive way to a crisis intervention model discussion. The BC Civil Liberties Association, the Mad Students Society, the good folks at Mad in America, etc. — these are the people I have the discussions with.

  • Francesca Allan

    Absolutely, I agree that most suicides aren’t visible. I’m not talking about the woman with her head in the oven. I’m talking about the woman on the bridge. You might have surmised that by my words “on the bridge.” If you want to hang yourself in your garage, you’re free to do so.

    I’m certainly not advocating violence against people. Why are you suggesting that I am? Nor am I against sick and old people having suicide as an option. Indeed, I very much support physician-assisted suicide. Why are you suggesting that I don’t?

    In fact, could you answer generally why you’re so hostile? What is it about me exactly that enrages you? (If, in your answer, you’re going to try to state my position, please use my words in quotes rather than paraphrasing with your own since you don’t seem to be able to do that very well.)

  • Anonymous

    Again, no answers. You’re for suicide prohibition. You don’t want a discussion, you want laws that ensure if I try and have a discussion with the government agents you’d send around to my house if I was accused being “suicidal”, they will be required to ignore my will, and my wishes, and label the situation a “crisis” that must be “intervened” in whether I like it or not. And you have the gall to label me oppressive. Spare a thought for the sick old people, forced to hide their death plans from loved ones, for fear someone will declare it “intervention” worthy. You don’t want discussion, you want an environment where people aren’t free to voice their suicidal feelings, without fear of government intervention. The fact that you haven’t even answered what kind of facility and what freedoms you want to take away from those accused of suicidality, speaks volumes.

    It is aggressive and offensive to force old people to cower in the face of your “humane” government suicide prohibition enforcers. It is aggressive and offensive to deny me the right to death control. I see no reason to believe you’ve thought the unintended consequences through, of your position, and name dropping other groups you’ve allegedly been talking with, carries no weight when you’re a person who has offered absolutely nothing but “I want the cops to stop people who are suicidal”. What next? Where to? What about the other effects your violent regime has on people? What about the suicides it causes?

  • Anonymous

    You’re for discrimination in who gets the right to control their own death, you only want to give that right to “sick or old people”, this means only people your government agrees are “sick or old” enough. I never mentioned physician “assisted suicide”. The only “assistance” involved in that, is a government permission slip given to the adult treated like a child that says they can have some heavily controlled drugs. Suicide isn’t a medical procedure, it should not by under physician control. Your cold position of leaving me with only a rope and garage, while giving old people a peaceful death, is noted.

    So your position on suicide prohibition is that bridge suicides exclusively should be outlawed, and people should be able to hang themselves in their garage. OK. In a system run by you, we would need to get the word out, that it’s not safe to use a bridge, because you will get Francesca’s men with guns stopping you, so keep it to yourself and do it at home.

    You are advocating violence against people. Arrest is violent, if the person resists, it gets even more violent. So, unless you’re for giving the person arrested for being on the bridge the blanket right to resist arrest and not have the cop exponentially use more and more force to stop her resisting arresting, you’re certainly advocating violence. If you don’t believe that what is done to people that resist arrest is violence, I’d suggest watching some videos of people resisting arrest on Youtube.

  • Francesca Allan

    Correct, Anonymous, no answers to you. You’re not entitled to them. Nor do you appear to be sophisticated enough to intelligently discuss them. Our group has been working for a long time on this issue. As we see it, the primary step is amending our Representation Agreement Act to include mental health care. That’s a realistic, achievable goal which we will likely accomplish in our lifetimes through good advocacy. Compare this to the abolitionist stance which doesn’t have a hope in hell of ever coming to fruition.

    You can’t even read what I wrote. I do not support suicide prohibition. I support suicide intervention, as in actively stopping someone about to jump from a bridge. Once again, I’m not talking about “suspicion” of being suicidal. I’m talking about an active suicide just about to commence. Is there some reason you can’t comprehend this?

    “Name dropping” the groups I’ve “allegedly” worked with? You must be joking. I testified before Senator Kirby’s commission. I made submissions to the BC Civil Liberties Association. I am involved with law students. I chair a student society on this subject. I’m on my university’s Mental Health Task Force. I chose psychology as a major specifically to study these issues. I’ve published articles on mental health advocacy. I regularly attend workshops and brainstorming sessions. I contribute financially to psych rights groups.

    I have offered plenty, my friend. So, tell me, what have you contributed beyond doing your best to make a laughingstock of the psychiatric reform movement?

  • Francesca Allan

    It is understood, or ought to be, that if you prepare to attempt suicide in a public place, it is likely that someone will try to stop you. If that’s a passerby, you seem to be fine with it. If that’s a cop, then … wait for it … it’s state-sanctioned violence, necessarily involving guns and tasers. Your hypocrisy is laughable.

    Everybody has the right to commit suicide; it’s not a crime. However, a doctor shouldn’t be obliged to hand over the means to do so to anybody who says it’s their plan, e.g. a 17 year old whose girlfriend broke up with him. It should indeed make a difference to the doctor if somebody’s terminally or miserably and permanently ill. If that’s “discrimination,” then, yeah, I guess I’m guilty.

    And your ignorance amuses me. I have no need to visit Youtube to see what happens when a person resists arrest. I don’t have to witness it because I have experienced it. Can you say the same?

  • Anonymous

    “. I do not support suicide prohibition. I support suicide intervention,
    as in actively stopping someone about to jump from a bridge”

    Oh no, you don’t call it prohibition, you just want men with guns from the government to lay forcible hands on those suspected of carrying out a behavior that you claim is not prohibited. You simply spin prohibition as “intervention”.

    Francesca, if a human action isn’t safe to carry out in front of a man with a government gun, then it’s effectively prohibited. If you can’t light up a joint, can’t express a suicidal feeling, in freedom, without the government gun or hand being pointed at you or placed on you, then it’s the same as it being outlawed in written law.

    I hope that when the time comes, if the time comes, for me to have make the heady decision to peacefully exit this world, that people like you, people who believe “intervention” against my will is a wonderful thing, will be as far away from me as possible. One of the good things about death, will be saying goodbye to control freaks who wish to meddle in the lives of others. You have a half-baked idea of using government force to prevent only in progress bridge suicides. You haven’t said where the bridge accused gets detained and what is done to them if they resist arrest.

  • Francesca Allan

    The reason I don’t call it “prohibition” is because it’s not a permanent measure. “Intervention” is the accurate term. Can you discern the difference? Permanent = forever. Do you want me to explain yet one more time?

    And as for your wish to commit suicide unfettered, the only requirement is that you do it privately. What’s so onerous about that?

    “Control freak.” Okay. So let’s say it’s a pedestrian, not a cop. Still a control freak? Still violence? If not, please explain why not.

    I’ve already said to you elsewhere why I don’t think I’m prepared to discuss crisis intervention with you. Do you really think that, given the tenor of your comments in this discussion, that you’re entitled?

  • Anonymous

    You’re a drug warrior that believes in drug prohibition and control. You dishonestly choose the example of a 17 year old, a minor, to justify the denial of death control rights to a 43 year old or a 55 year old. Why is it the government’s business what substances a consenting adult puts into his own body Francesca? Do you even know that psychiatrists are used for the pysch eval forcibly required in all “assisted suicide” laws? Do you support that? Old people having to beg to and convince a psychiatrist that they deserve the “government tick of approval” to have the right to die? Do you support that?

    I can tell you, what you support, leads to people bootlegging drugs to kill themselves with. It leads to people hiding in the shadows, being unable to have the dignity to say goodbye to loved ones. I can tell you, that if you’re for keeping free access to these drugs illegal, you’re therefore for locking people caught illegally procuring these drugs in cages.

    A passerby on a bridge doesn’t have the power to charge someone with resisting arrest, doesn’t come armed with tasers and guns and call for endless backup of more people with guns and tasers and cage car/squad cars . So equating the two, is ridiculous, people will be able to see that.

  • Anonymous

    “The reason I don’t call it “prohibition” is because it’s not a permanent measure.”

    Crap. Even people convicted of trafficking prohibited drugs are not PERMANENTLY put in prison. That doesn’t alter the reality of drug prohibition. Would you be saying “oh you were only put in prison for 8 years, it’s not permanent, it’s just an intervention, this isn’t drug prohibition”.

    Am I “entitled” to be graced with your amazing analysis? I don’t know. You seem to think those whose lives you want to intervene shouldn’t be allowed to say no, so they aren’t “entitled” to have a say in whether get “intervened” upon…. so there’s that.

    Again, we can ask you 20 times, what kind of cage do you propose to transport the bridge suicide transgressor to, for his “intervention” to continue taking place, apart from someone pulling him back (how many times, once, twice, three times), what happens if he resists arrest, where does he go? jail? another government cage with a shiny new name like “crisis center”, what?

    No answers so far. And let me get this straight, you’re for complete, unfettered home suicide, where nobody is allowed to call the cops and send cops around to stop the person unless it’s in a public place? Yes? Because that’s what you’ve indicated. So family members will be getting no government force brought in?

  • Francesca Allan

    I certainly did not equate the two, beyond saying they were both preventing a suicide, I did, however, ask for your opinion on the philosophical distinction between the two scenarios. Please just respond to the question, if you are able.

    I fail to see how it’s “dishonest” to ask about a 17 year old. Late teens/early twenties are a very common time for such problems. But, if you insist, let’s take a 55 year old who is not terminally nor gravely and permanently ill. You’re right! I don’t believe the government is obliged to provide the means of suicide.

    And I certainly do realize that assessment for physician-assisted suicide is a long, complex procedure and rightly so.

  • Anonymous

    It’s dishonest because a 17 year old is a minor. And we are talking the rights of adults to exercise control over their own deaths.

    “But, if you insist, let’s take a 55 year old who is not terminally nor
    gravely and permanently ill. You’re right! I don’t believe the
    government is obliged to provide the means of suicide.”

    When did I ever say government should provide the means? Again you show how you put words in the mouths of others. The means already exist in the world. The drugs aren’t manufactured by government, nor are the human beings who wish to take them. Government has simply locked the drugs in a cage and threatened to lock the humans in a cage if they try and touch the drugs. What government IS doing is denying him the means to legally access those drugs.

    If the 55 year old obtains those drugs illegally, are you in favor of caging him? Clearly you are.

    What business is it of the government whether he is “permanently ill”? Do you believe governments owns our lives and bodies?

    I think it’s clear you do believe that. You are a control freak, I, like so many people, if the time comes, won’t be degrading myself by begging to my government overlords for permission to die, catch me if you can, I’ll be evading your violence and control freakery so long as I am able, and I know I won’t be alone.

    You seriously think that when you fill a prescription that government is “providing you” with something? No. They are giving you a permission slip, like a hall pass for a schoolboy.

    In a free society, adults would have the right to own their own bodies and ingest whatever drugs they want because it is none of government’s business.

  • Francesca Allan

    Intervening in a suicide is, at worst (assuming you’re pro-suicide), delaying one. Someone hell bent on taking his own life will do so sooner or later. That’s why intervention is not nor cannot be permanent. Your prison term analogy is a non sequitur.

    Since you demanded a summary of my work repeatedly, I quite reasonably was under the impression you thought you were entitled to it. Your snide words “graced” and “amazing” should indicate to you, upon a moment’s reflection, why I’m not willing to proceed. I already told you who I am collaborating with. You responded by implying that I was lying. I demonstrated that I wasn’t lying and you dropped the subject. This is all familiar territory with you. For yet another example of your wild accusations, you state that I want people to have no say in their lives when the truth is I’m very much about self-empowerment.

    Then you spout even more of the same. You’ve decided I advocate “government cages” based on your puerile twisted distortion of me saying I have a concept of a “safe place” (earlier thread) or “crisis intervention” (this thread). Why on Earth do you think I’d try to have a rational discussion with you? You say you’ve asked 20 times. You can ask 200 times. As I’ve said, I do a lot of advocacy work with people who are thoughtful, enlightened and serious about change. People who are going to make a real difference in the lives of people who struggle with emotional issues. Those are the people I choose to collaborate with, not people who hide behind anonymous tags and seem to delight in misquoting, misinterpreting, misunderstanding, misreading anyone who doesn’t agree with their preposterous stances.

    And you misunderstand me once again in your post. The reason why intervention is likely on a bridge railing is because it’s visible. Not all visible things are public but when we use the word “public,” visibility is implied. I could draw you a Venn diagram if you think it would help. If somebody was in a position to call the police re: a home suicide, then it would be visible, don’t you understand? It would be with the awareness of the person who called the police. Huge distinction there and, frankly, I’m surprised you couldn’t draw it yourself.

  • Francesca Allan

    As you saw, 17 was very promptly changed to 55. I fail to see the dishonesty here but then I fail to see lots of things you imagine.

    You’re right on one point. I should have said the government isn’t obliged to “allow access” to suicide drugs rather than not being obliged to “provide the means.” I assumed that the suicide drugs were to be controlled by the government, not bought on the street corner. Apologies.

    I smiled when I read this: “If the 55 year old obtains those drugs illegally, are you in favor of caging him? Clearly you are,” given that it directly follows the paragraph in which you say I put words in your mouth. I actually support most drug decriminalization and I believe jail should only be an option for some offenses, and certainly not nonviolent ones.

    No, I don’t believe the government “owns” our bodies. I do, however, think our society, which includes of course our government, has an obligation to prevent disaster. Whether or not somebody has a clear, reasonable reason for suicide and whether they’re capable of that decision should indeed be factors in deciding whether assistance will be provided. Otherwise, we’ll have the 55 year old again showing up with a broken heart or general sense of angst or … pick any option … and demanding the means to suicide.

    Again, if grabbing someone off a bridge railing is an indication of my violence and control freakery, then so be it. I can live with that. I’m glad you post anonymously or that position would come back to haunt you. Seriously. Violence and control freakery. Wow.

    “You seriously think that when you fill a prescription that government is “providing you” with something? No. They are giving you a permission slip ….” Okay, they are “providing you” with access to the means of your death. Good distinction.

    Re: drug prohibition, I agree with you as far as recreational drugs go but handing suicide drugs to suicidal people doesn’t strike me as enlightened policy.

    Ta-ta. Going to call it a night.

  • Anonymous

    “Intervening in a suicide is, at worst (assuming you’re pro-suicide),
    delaying one. Someone hell bent on taking his own life will do so sooner
    or later.”

    Oh really, “at worst”, so the WORST that can happen, is someone just “delays”. No, no, no, it COULDN’T BE? That the brutality people encounter at the hands of “interventionists” has EVER firmed, and strengthened someone’s resolve to die? Could it? No!!!! No way. Because “at worst”, meddling in the sucidal’s life, AT WORST!!!! is merely “delaying a suicide”. Yep, the WORST THAT CAN HAPPEN, is mere delay. You heard it here folks.

    “You’ve decided I advocate “government cages” based on your puerile
    twisted distortion of me saying I have a concept of a “safe place””

    Is the place you label a “safe place” a locked building?
    Are people held there against their will on government authority?

    It’s a government cage then.

    ” If somebody was in a position to call the police re: a home suicide,
    then it would be visible, don’t you understand? It would be with the
    awareness of the person who called the police.”

    I see. So the truth comes out, you want all family members to be turned into government spies, to call the government goons, to haul people off to the government cage “safe place” if a potential suicide is detected.

    Really, just a slightly less psychiatrized version of the suicide prohibition system we have now. Thanks Fransesca. I think we all know where you stand. You’re for people being forced to fear speaking up about suicide, for fear of entering the part of the Venn diagram that makes their feelings “visible”, which means their own home then becomes the bridge ledge, and all the resisting arrest violence and so on that comes with that, not to mention the hell of being locked in your “safe place” cage.

    You will continue to work with government on reforming your cage, and making sure government guns can be sent to the homes of those who get a phonecall made on them. And the opponents of such violent intervention will continue to sound the alarm and educate people on how to stay one step ahead of the cagers, the suicide controllers.

    You believe you have the right to tell others what they can and can’t do with their bodies, and have government kidnap them from their homes on the basis of a phonecall from a relative.

    So there you have it, get accused of being suicidal, by a relative or anyone who makes a phonecall, and the cops will be breaking down your door to haul you away to be caged in the “safe place”. If the existence of such a draconian regime prevents people seeking help and talking openly about their suicidal feelings, well… then that’s clearly a price you’re willing to pay. Again, like Cledwyn and Cannot said, suicide controllers do not even think through their heavy handed use of force and the way it forces people to bottle up their emotions and not dare go “public”. I say to anyone out there who may be thinking of ending their own life, keep your mouth shut, because in a world of Francescas, it’s simply not safe to speak up and go and get voluntary help, there’s a high chance if you say the wrong thing, off to the government cage you go, for a stay in “safe place hotel”, where you’ll have to beg your government captors for freedom and convince them you’re now thinking the “safe” thoughts in the “safe place”. I think Francesca, no more information is required of you, you’ve taken days to admit it, but you’ve just dropped the hammer, we now know that you believe people should be able to call men with government guns to haul people away to the “safe place” cage, even if they aren’t on a bridge, even if they are in their own home. Thank you for clearing it up.

  • Anonymous

    “.” I assumed that the suicide drugs were to be controlled by the government”

    Of course you did. You believe it is government’s role to tell people what they can and can’t ingest.

    “I actually support most drug decriminalization and I believe
    jail should only be an option for some offenses, and certainly not
    nonviolent ones.”

    So you support government prohibition of free access to drugs, “control” of drugs as you call it, but you don’t support caging for nonviolent drug offenses. So if the 55 year old man is caught buying the suicide drugs or bringing them in from Mexico, you don’t think he should be caged? What should be done to him then? A fine? What happens if he doesn’t pay the fine? A cage? Government raids on his home? confiscation? and if he has them in his hand and refuses to give them to the government agent? What then? Resisting arrest? Caging?

    You freely admitted above, that you believe in calling the police, and sending them to HOMES, not just bridges, so the days of you leaning exclusively on your dramatic bridge grab are over. People will see you admitted above, that you believe there is a Venn Diagram, of “visible” suicidality, and that justifies “intervention”, including in the private home.

    “Whether or not somebody has a clear, reasonable reason for suicide and whether they’re capable of that decision”

    “reasonable” according to you and your government goons.
    “capable of that decision”, simply means you’ll override their decision, simply means you will not stand for that decision being made by them. To be incapable of something, means something like a legless guy can’t walk. What you’re really doing here, is taking someone who IS making a decision, and saying they are “incapable of making that decision”. Tell me Francesca, the millions of people who have successfully suicided, do their actions show they were “incapable” of deciding to die? I’d say their caskets kind of speak to their capabilities in that regard. What you really mean is, you don’t like the decision, you want to break their will by force using your men with guns and tasers, their resisting arrest powers, and finally, your government cage “safe place”.

    You’re a control freak Francesca. You claim you don’t believe government should own our bodies, but you’re very keen to see people caged for daring to make a decision you’d condescend to label them “incapable” of making. Almost everything you say, sounds exactly what proponents of coercive psychiatry say. What you’re a proponent of, is a constant unspoken threat. A threat that if anybody dares desire to die, there’s the threat of a government cage, cops, cuffs, and tasers. What you’re a proponent of, is having a system where people are too afraid to seek help and speak freely about their feelings, for fear of being arrested and caged in your “safe place”.

    People also die in cages, people also die being restrained, people also die resisting arrest. In the end, Francesca is about violent forced interventions, maybe without a heap of psychiatric drugs, but it’s still a beastly, ghastly system of society wide suicidality spying and caging she wants.

  • cledwyn o the bulbs

    There are so many contradictions in her position, an exhaustive enumeration of them would require more time than I have to give.

    For example she says she is against forced drugging in one of her first posts, but in another post says it is clearly justified in certain cases. I don’t know whether this is just doublethink or what, or whether in having the moral implications of her position pointed out to her, she is experiencing cognitive dissonance and disavowing what she said earlier. Yet she can always fall back on the expedient of dismissing criticism of her position as a deliberate misinterpretation, neatly abrogating responsibility for what she has said in other posts through this means, and if necessary, changing the particulars of her position for her own convenience and adjusting her position according to the demands of the moment so that she can go on squabbling in seeming perpetuity and arguing ad infinitum in the hope of emerging the victor.

    She cannot have her cake and eat it; either you are for or against what is euphemistically described as forced treatment. Saying one moment you are against it, then saying in another comment that there are situations which it is justified bespeaks a mind divided against itself.

    She also accuses us of harming the survivor movement, yet how can she honestly believe that when she is also of the opinion that we what we say does not nor will not resonate in the hearts of the generality of people, nor resonate in the halls of adminstration and legislation? If all we are doing is “ranting and raving” and not achieving anything, then how can we be causing harm? What harm are we causing? Be specific?

    On top of this, she is incapable of acknowledging her own contribution to the incivility of this debate, perhaps so that she can maintain her many pretensions in that direction.

    She calls our ideas preposterous, even when they are founded upon on the firm and granite basis of the wisdom of some of the pre-eminent thinkers in human history. Fransesca, in her boundless presumption, peremptorily dismisses our views born of acquaintance with these thinkers as preposterous from the Empyrean heights of her own self-regard. Not that she should yield to them on these grounds alone, just that she should exercise greater caution in her judgments when dealing with thinkers whom she certainly yields to in the matter of intellectual capacity.

    “it is foolish presumption to go around disdaining and condemning as false whatever does not seem likely to us; which is an ordinary vice in those who think they have more tha common ability.” Montaigne, essay; “It is folly to measure the true and false by our own capacity”

    She understands not

  • Beyond Labeling

    “I wonder if we could find a better description than “mental disorder,” as it has come to be synonymous with disease.”

    Francesca,

    Thank you for providing me this opportunity to express my convictions, after reflecting upon your query…

    Yes, indeed, that term — “mental disorder” — suggests ‘disease’ in the minds of many people…

    However, in my opinion, it shouldn’t.

    For, when I Google this pair of words, “define mental,” here’s what appears first and foremost, atop my computer screen:

    “1. of or relating to the mind.”

    And, when I Google the phrase “define disorder,” here’s what comes up, first and foremost:

    “1. a state of confusion.”

    And, finally, when I Google “define confusion,” here’s what comes up, first and foremost:

    “1. lack of understanding; uncertainty.”

    Considering those three definitions, I believe it’s quite reasonable for me to insist, that: Properly speaking (i.e., according to our most common English-language dictionary definitions), “mental disorder” can well be thought of, as referring to someone’s confused mind — a mind that considerably lacks understanding… and/or a mind that’s particularly uncertain.

    When we speak of a confused mind, of course, we’re referring to a mind that’s more or less riddled with confusion; so, surely, it makes sense to view this term — “mental disorder” — as a synonym for confusion, period.

    (I say “period” — to indicate I’ve stated an open and shut case; but…)

    Sadly (and tragically, in many instances), psychiatrists have led huge swaths of humanity to presume that “mental disorder” must somehow necessarily refer to disease processes. (I know you well understand this.)

    So, in effect, they can address countless millions of presumably confused individuals, with ‘medically’ brain-altering (and, ultimately, in most instances, brain-damaging) procedures — utilizing various combinations of powerful psychotropic drugs, electric shock (and even sometimes neurosurgery).

    In fact, not infrequently, psychiatrists ‘treat’ people who are ostensibly suffering some “mental disorder,” by giving them no real say in the matter.

    Mental disorder, correctly understood, is nothing more or less than confusion.

    You would like to replace that term “mental disorder” with this other term “emotional distress” because “mental disorder” has become synonymous with disease?

    Well…

    Again, here, I emphasize, that: According to the most common dictionary definitions of these words, mental disorder is synonymous with confusion.

    Sometimes, confusion does lead emotional distress (and/or to behaviors which seem troublesome to those who are experiencing that confusion); and/or, ones confusion may lead to the emotional distress of observers.

    But, emotional distress is not synonymous with confusion.

    And, by their having effectively co-opted that term (“mental disorder”) and by their essentially making it their own (so that almost no one else ever dares to claim an ability to know that any degree of ‘mental disorder’ is self-evident), psychiatrists have convinced most nearly all of the world that they alone have ‘special powers’ to discern the existence of ‘mental disorder’ — which they inevitably suggest are disease processes…

    I find that state of affairs intolerable; I refuse to sit by idly while psychiatry corrupts the English language.

    Instead, I very deliberately (and carefully) apply that term “mental disorder” — whenever and wherever I sense it is truly fitting, and that means I can gladly explain my use of the term…

    After all, nothing but genuinely careful observation and clear communications (unbridled) can ‘inoculate’ us, against the all-too-often crippling confusions — and even the potentially deadly confusions — that are generally spread by Psychiatry.

  • Beyond Labeling

    “I wonder if we could find a better description than “mental disorder,” as it has come to be synonymous with disease.”

    Francesca,

    Thank you for providing me this opportunity to express my convictions, after reflecting upon your query…

    Yes, indeed, that term — “mental disorder” — suggests ‘disease’ in the minds of many people…

    However, in my opinion, it shouldn’t.

    For, when I Google this pair of words, “define mental,” here’s what appears first and foremost, atop my computer screen:

    “1. of or relating to the mind.”

    And, when I Google the phrase “define disorder,” here’s what comes up, first and foremost:

    “1. a state of confusion.”

    And, finally, when I Google “define confusion,” here’s what comes up, first and foremost:

    “1. lack of understanding; uncertainty.”

    Considering those three definitions, I believe it’s quite reasonable for me to insist, that: Properly speaking (i.e., according to our most common English-language dictionary definitions), “mental disorder” can well be thought of, as referring to someone’s confused mind — a mind that considerably lacks understanding… and/or, to a mind that’s particularly uncertain.

    When we speak of a confused mind, of course, we’re referring to a mind that’s more or less riddled with confusion; so, surely, it makes sense to view this term — “mental disorder” — as a synonym for confusion, period.

    (I say “period” — to indicate I’ve stated an open and shut case; but…)

    Sadly (and tragically, in many instances), psychiatrists have led huge swaths of humanity to presume that “mental disorder” must somehow necessarily refer to disease processes. (I know you well understand this.)

    So, in effect, they can address countless millions of
    presumably confused individuals, with ‘medically’
    brain-altering (and, ultimately, over the long haul,
    brain-damaging) procedures — utilizing various combinations of powerful psychotropic drugs, electric shock (and even sometimes neurosurgery).

    In fact, not infrequently, psychiatrists ‘treat’ people who are ostensibly suffering some “mental disorder,” by giving them no real say in the matter.

    So, I say Mental disorder, correctly understood, is nothing more or less than confusion.

    And, you would like to replace that term “mental disorder” with this other term “emotional distress” because “mental disorder” has become synonymous with disease?

    Well…

    Again, here, I emphasize, that: According to the most common dictionary definitions of these words, mental disorder is synonymous with confusion.

    Of course, sometimes, confusion does lead emotional distress (and/or to behaviors which seem troublesome to those who are experiencing that confusion); and/or, ones confusion may lead to the emotional distress of certain observers.

    But, emotional distress is not synonymous with confusion. (Frequently, very demonstrable confusion does not lead to emotional distress.)

    Meanwhile, by their having effectively co-opted that term (“mental disorder”) and by their essentially making it their own (so that almost no one else ever dares to claim an ability to know that any degree of ‘mental disorder’ is self-evident), psychiatrists have convinced most nearly all of the world that they alone have ‘special powers’ to discern the existence of ‘mental disorder’ – and define “mental disorders” — which they inevitably suggest are disease processes…

    I find that state of affairs intolerable; I refuse to sit by idly while
    psychiatry corrupts the English language.

    Instead, I very deliberately (and carefully) apply that term “mental disorder” — whenever and wherever I sense it is truly fitting, and that means I can gladly explain my use of the term…

    After all, nothing but genuinely careful observation and clear/direct/honest communications (unbridled) can ‘inoculate’ us, against the all-too-often crippling confusions — and potentially deadly confusions — that are generally spread by Psychiatry.

  • Beyond Labeling

    “I wonder if we could find a better description than “mental disorder,” as it has come to be synonymous with disease.”

    Francesca, thank you for providing me this opportunity to express my convictions regarding that term, after reflecting upon your query…

    [Note: I have had plenty of time to consider it — more than enough time… as yesterday there was some technical problem, on the site… which kept my comment from posting. That is to say, I tried to post my answer to you yesterday, and it kept un-posting. Now, here is a new version…]

    Yes, indeed, that term — “mental disorder” — suggests ‘disease’ in the minds of many people…

    However, in my opinion, it shouldn’t; for, when I Google this pair of words, “define mental,” here’s what appears first and foremost, atop my computer screen:

    “1. of or relating to the mind.”

    …when I Google the phrase “define disorder,” here’s what comes up, first and foremost:

    “1. a state of confusion.”

    …and, when I Google “define confusion,” here’s what comes up, first and foremost:

    “1. lack of understanding; uncertainty.”

    Considering those are the primary mainstream, accept definitions of these three words (“mental” and “disorder” and “confusion”), I believe it’s quite reasonable for me to strongly suggest, that: Properly speaking (i.e., according to our most common English-language dictionary
    explanations), “mental disorder” may well be best
    thought of, as referring to someone’s confused mind — i.e., a mind that considerably lacks understanding… and/or a mind that’s particularly uncertain.

    As we speak of a confused mind, typically, we’re referring to a mind more or less riddled with confusion; so, surely, it makes sense to view this term — “mental disorder” — as a synonym for confusion, period. (I say “period” there — to indicate that I’ve stated an open and shut case; but…) Sadly, psychiatrists have led huge swaths of humanity to presume the term “mental disorder” must somehow necessarily refer to disease processes; that way, in effect, they ‘justify’ addressing countless millions of presumably confused individuals, with all sorts of ‘medically’ brain-altering (and, over the long haul, brain-damaging) procedures – typically, various combinations of powerful psychotropic drugs, electric shock (and even sometimes neurosurgery). In fact, not infrequently, psychiatrists ‘treat’ people, whom they ostensibly ‘diagnose’ as suffering some “mental disorder,” by giving such persons no real say in the matter.

    But, never do they offer any proof of a physical disease!

    Knowing that, in fact, I’m inclined to declare, that: Mental disorder, correctly understood, is nothing more or less than anyone’s considerable confusion — but, especially, that which is spread by psychiatrists!

    You would like me to consider replacing that term “mental disorder,” with this other term “emotional distress,” because “mental disorder” has thus become synonymous with disease?

    Well… Again, here, I emphasize, that, according to the most common primary dictionary definitions of these words, mental disorder is actually synonymous with confusion… while admitting, yes, sometimes, confusion leads to ‘emotional distress’ (and/or, it leads to behaviors which seem troublesome to those who are experiencing that confusion).

    (Also, sometimes, emotional distress leads to confusion. And, someone’s confusion and/or emotional distress — and his or her subsequently related, perplexing behaviors — can lead to the emotional distress of certain observers.)

    Yet, confusion and emotional distress can be mutually exclusive experiences. They can arise independently of one another. (At times, even the most clearly demonstrable confusion does not lead to emotional distress.)

    So I conclude that emotional distress is not synonymous with confusion.

    Hence, I cannot substitute the term “emotional distress” for the term “mental disorder” (that term which equates with ‘confusion’).

    Meanwhile, I know, by their having effectively co-opted that term (“mental disorder”) and by their essentially making it their own (such that almost no one who is not a psychiatrist ever dares claim an ability to know for certain that any degree of ‘mental disorder’ is self-evident), psychiatrists have effectively convinced most of society, that Psychiatry alone provides the supposedly ‘special powers’ needed to detect a ‘case’ of ‘mental disorder’; moreover, committees of psychiatrists can presumably be trusted to officially define theoretically specific “mental disorders,” which they (the psychiatrists) inevitably equate with disease processes – but without ever proving the existence of any disease…

    I find that state of affairs intolerable — which is to say, I refuse to sit by idly, letting psychiatrists, with all of their empty conjecture, critically corrupt our society’s understanding and use of the English language.

    I do not stand aside, giving them control over perfectly useful terms; for, their abuse of language is legend — and because I know what harm it winds up causing unsuspecting “patients” (so-called) of psychiatry.

    Instead, I very deliberately (and carefully) apply this term “mental disorder” — whenever and wherever I sense it is truly fitting to do so.

    That means, at the very least, I gladly explain my best (most reasonable) understanding and use of the term “mental disorder” at every reasonable opportunity…

    And, I insist, that: No single discipline or group of medical professionals has ever created more widespread, serious mental disorder in our society, than have the psychiatrists.

    Note: I apply that term “serious mental disorder” denoting massive confusion – especially, that which is created by psychiatrists.

    Never will you find me surrendering my right to properly apply the term “mental disorder.”

    In my humble opinion, nothing but genuinely careful observation of our uniquely human experiences, relayed through clear/direct/honest communications (unbridled),
    can begin to ‘inoculate’ society (figuratively speaking) against the literally crippling confusions – or worse, even deadly confusions — that are generally spread by the many would
    be otherwise ceaseless corruptions of language, which are typically advanced by psychiatrists.

    In fact, I suggest, as psychiatrists seek to promote all the usual BS that reflects their professional practice and their ideology and their faith in Psychiatry itself, they can benefit from being confronted, verbally, by individuals who refuse to cede our use of common terms.

    Should we grant them an endless ability to redefine society’s reality by yielding to their ideological BS? By their co-opting our language and twisting words for defining reality, they get away with murder, literally…

    Really, I say, let’s put an end to that, by taking back the language of our birth…

    Let’s unabashedly, honestly, accurately and without malice – ‘just’ describe the psychiatrists as they are… being that we know they are, at best, mentally disordered purveyors of mental disorder.

    Yes… They are creators and spreaders of mental disorder…

  • Cledwyn Ap Dafydd o Bulbs

    On the issue of an emergency hold, the problem is that the propriety or impropriety of an intervention is utlimately left to the discretion of the psychiatrist, who will make a decision according to his own whims, interests, or even the inclinations of the basest appetites.

    Such discretionary powers contain within them the potentiality for abuse, because of the immense elasticity of the concept, its adaptability to a variety of different circumstances.

    What constitutes an emergency for psychiatric patients? Who ever died of “mental illness”? Francesca says it would be cruel and inhumane not to force drugs into their bloodstream (though somehow she reconciles this to her comment that she is against forced drugging). Au contraire, she is merely doing violence to the terms.

    There is no way beforehand that you could possibly ascertain with any degree of exactitude whether the coercive administration of drugs would be beneficial, ergo the only ethical thing to do is to leave that person alone, otherwise you risk making an already distressing experience more distressing for the patient.

    It is easy with the gift of hindsight to say there are clearly situations in which an individual would benefit from emergency forced drugging. It is not that simple. Calling it cruel and inhumane to leave someone alone who is not dying for fear of violating the Hippocratic injunction is just an inversion of reality.

    People react differently neuroleptic drugs, and to coercon in the long run. The older ones inflict upon some people a torture qualitatively distinct from what anyone else unacquainted with the extrapyramidal side-effects of these drugs will ever have experienced, as I have learned from bitter experience.

    As for the newer ones, apart from risperidone which is pretty much identical to the older ones, just because they have a sedative effect doesn’t mean they calm you down when in distress; in fact they can make things much worse, as I have experienced when badly sleep-deprived. The postulate implicit in Fransesca’s reasoning on this, that these drugs will definitely work in certain situations, does not wtihstand close scrutiny.

    Also, we must not forget that emergency has been traditionally one of the pretexts seized upon by governments for the curtailment of rights and liberties. The term presupposes that there is something about the situation that requires immediate action. Who ever died of mental distress or physical discomfort? I suffered from amphetamine-induced delirium tremens, and didn’t sleep for five days, when I was in my teens. If a psychiatrist had seen me, they would have said that my condition required immediate action. Yet thankfully no psychiatrist saw me. If they had, no matter what neuroleptic they had given me would have made it worse, and on top of that I would have been left traumatised by the experience of being treated like a human chemical waste dump.

    There are no psychiatric emergencies. My situation wasn’t an emergency, anymore than the seizures I was undergoing when withdrawing from psychiatric drugs were emergencies; they were just experiences I had to grin and bear, which is what all lovers of liberty would do, rather than grant government the power to intervene to the detriment of countless individuals. It’s all bollocks. People don’t die from psychiatric problems. Granting them emergency powers just opens up another front upon which psychiatrists can wage war on heresy and exert greater control.

    As for checks and balances, there can be none consistent with leaving to the discretion of the psychiatrist whether or not the patient “needs treatment”.

    There is an advanced directive, but this has its shortcomings anyway, yet the chances of the proper unadulterated version being legally implemented are practically non-existent, which of course doesn’t mean that people who deem them a boon to the patient shouldn’t support them nevertheless.