US Senate Slated to Rubber Stamp “Mental Health Czar” Tues. 8/1/2017

A US Senate committee is supposed to approve a controversial Trump appointee this Tuesday, 1 August 2017. You may not have heard about this in mainstream media, or even the alternative media, though I have been covering this topic for months!

The approval ceremony is scheduled for streaming on the US Senate HELP (Health Education Labor Pensions) Committee website. According to what I have heard, this HELP Committee will genuflect to power, and sign off on the appointment of psychiatrist Dr. Ellie McCance-Katz as the first Assistant Secretary of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a powerful federal agency with a budget close to four billion dollars annually.

This new “Mental Health Czar,” as it is popularly known, will preside over a SAMHSA that is supposed to be far more friendly to the mental health industry. For example, several leaders have said that SAMHSA will not fund the popular Alternatives Conference after August 2017 in Boston.  For more than three decades, this annual gathering has brought together countless USA psychiatric survivors and mental health consumers who lead hundreds of empowering peer recovery programs.

For the past few years, SAMHSA has even begun to fund the support of Involuntary Outpatient Commitment, which often translates into court-ordered coercive psychiatric drugging of people living in their own homes, peacefully. All the groups I know led by people who have been through the mental health system strongly oppose IOC.

Dr. Ellie McCance-Katz, appointed by President Trump to a important mental health position.

I just heard from leaders at the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) that this apparently-automatic approval can be watched this Tuesday, 1 August 2017; the link will go live about 15 minutes before the hearing, set for 2:30 EST:

It is not too late to speak out to your US Senators, especially if one is on the HELP Committee. Suggest that the HELP Committee ask Dr. McCance-Katz some tough questions.
More information about this important yet quiet appointment can be read on my blog:
Below are six steps you can take, including a link to find out who is on the HELP committee:
Reaching your US Senators to oppose this nomination is easy but very urgent!

1. If you do not know who your two US Senators are or how to reach them, go here: http://whoismyrepresentative.com/

2. Send a web note to each Senator, it takes just a moment: “I oppose the Trump nomination for the new, powerful mental health position, Assistant Secretary to SAMSHA. The US Senate HELP Committee is supposed to ask psychiatrist Dr. Ellie McCance-Katz questions, here are nine questions:

 https://www.madinamerica.com/2017/07/9-questions-mccance-katz/

3. Add your own questions, if any. Copy and post your message, so we all know you speak out for human rights!

4. If your US Senator is on the Senate HELP (Health Education Labor Pensions) Committee, you have extra weight. The list of members is here: https://www.help.senate.gov/about/members

5. For extra, phone up your US Senators. They have both local and D.C. offices. Get to know the staff people who work on health by their first name.

6. Spread the word via email, FB, comments on blogs, Twitter, etc.

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9 Questions that US Senate HELP Committee Should Ask Dr. McCance-Katz

21 July 2017

Dr. Ellie McCance-Katz, appointed by President Trump to a important mental health position.

Next week should be interesting, perhaps revolutionary, for those of us who care about human rights, disability and mental health.

I heard from leaders at the National Council for Independent Living (NCIL) that the US Senate HELP Committee will be quizzing Pres. Trump’s appointment psychiatrist Dr. Ellie McCance-Katz, to a new powerful mental health position in the federal government.

This new job is commonly known now as “Mental Health Czar” and if you are new to this little-known controversy, I blogged about this a few days ago.

9 Questions that Should Be Asked that Haven’t Been

Technically, Dr. McCance-Katz is being recommended by Pres. Trump to be Assistant Secretary for the huge USA Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA). Mental health agencies mainly are asking about her positions regarding “recovery” and “peers,” important topics, but here are some tougher questions:

  1. Do you support or oppose SAMHSA Involuntary Outpatient Commitment (IOC), such as court-ordered coerced psychiatric drugging? (Yes, in the last few years, some of your US taxpayer millions have gone to support court-ordered psychiatric procedures, mainly to enforce involuntary drugging. This has been done for decades by laws changing quietly on the state level. Now your USA federal government has thrown its weight behind this atrocity.)
  2. If you do support this, then about how many more million Americans do you feel should get court-ordered drugging? (Fanatics for IOC, which they call Assisted Treatment to hide what it really does, are a bit shy about the number of Americans they would like to see involuntarily drugged.)
  3. Do you endorse the current use of federal money for IOC? (Let us hear about how many millions have already been spent by federal agencies to promote IOC. Easy enough to find out. How many more millions are planned for, how many more millions would Dr. McCance-Katz want?)
  4. Do you admit that court-ordered involuntary electroshock on an outpatient basis can be done? (Find this incredible? Very occasionally, on the state level, IOC has reached the bizarre extreme of court-ordered involuntary outpatient electroshock. Where the subject has to report regularly to a local hospital for another forced outpatient electroshock, or face re-institutionalization. For more proof, use your web search engine for these phrases: ray sandford electroshock, elizabeth ellis electroshock. An attorney confirmed federal support for IOC could conceivably mean more forced outpatient electroshock. Even one more American forced shock is wrong. Outpatient forced shock is horrible. So is inpatient forced shock, which has gone on continuously in the USA and most countries, for decades including now!)
  5. What is the long-term impact of psychiatric drugs?
  6. Did you know that neuroleptic psychiatric drugs, commonly called antipsychotics, are often used during IOC?
  7. Did you know infants and children in the USA and globally are given off-label neuroleptics?
  8. Did you know these drugs are well known to cause brain damage, such as tardive dyskinesia (easily viewed on Youtube) or an actual lobotomy effect, shrinking the frontal lobes?
  9. Why aren’t non-drug alternatives offered to Americans, including the millions of vets?

And many other questions!

You may suggest more questions here on the comment section. Sometimes my blog entries are picked up by the big website Mad in America. Incredibly, my last blog about this topic led to a flurry of predictable controversy about Hillary vs. Trump vs. whoever.

Look, this is far deeper than who is in the White House. Whether it is Pres. Pence or the signer of the 21st Century Cures act, one of his last acts as President, Barack Obama (and I generally support him), can we discuss that later?

Whether you are Republican, Democrat, Libertarian (which has had a plank for years against government forced psychiatry, of course), a Berniecrat, Green, whatever, okay. For more than 40 years I have worked for human rights and mental health. I have seen Americans and people from other countries of all political stripes speak up. For example, we psychiatric survivors warned about the undo power of the drug industry to SAMHSA, in 2010.

Come on, especially we who are survivors of psychiatric coercion! Let us have a revolution. Certainly no one can stop us for speaking up with the truth!

Mad with the truth!

Speak out against this violation, speak out for freedom!

NCIL is holding their annual conference during this same week that the US Senate should be asking tough questions. NCIL’s theme is Revolution.

The last time I was able to attend this great conference, I heard one of the last speeches from my late, departed friend Justin Dart, Jr., known as the father of the ADA. Justin called for revolution, and both he and his amazing widow have known that psychiatric survivors tend to have the fire in our bellies for freedom, love, and revolution!

Lead on!

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Crazy Like A Fox? Trump’s Mental Health Debated While Senate Quietly Rubber-Stamps “Mental Health Czar”

Updated July 18, 2017:

US Senate Moving Now About Trump “Mental Health Czar” Appointee!

Dr. Ellie McCance-Katz, appointed by President Trump to an important mental health position.

I just heard that the US Senate, via Senator Lamar Alexander’s HELP Committee (Health, Education, Labor & Pensions), will be looking at this Trump appointee at the end of July, 2017. Hey that is right now! 

There are many ways to influence this committee! They include Sen. Sanders, Warren, Franken, plus many Senators from States with activists (such as Wisc., Maine, Mass., Wash., Penn., Virginia, etc.). If you have a US Senator on this Committee, act now. If your US Senators are not on this Committee, please ask them to speak out today.

Since the bizarre attempt to gut the ACA is scuttled, this is a good time to speak out!

It may be too late to stop this appointment, but we could be asking some very good questions. We need to find out about Dr. Ellie McCance-Katz support for empowerment, recovery, peer support, alternatives, etc. But we should also find out about her understanding of the way psychiatric drugs are forced on people, hazards of long-term use, federal support for involuntary psychiatric drugging including on a outpatient basis, alternatives to psychiatric drugs, brain damage associated with neuroleptic drugs, electroshock, involuntary electroshock, and how involuntary outpatient procedures can and do include occasional court-ordered involuntary electroshock! 

Below is the blog I wrote a few weeks ago about blocking this Trump appointee, and I have some questions listed. Let us ask some good questions right now, come on everybody!

Stop the Trump Appointee of a “Mental Health Czar”! At Least Ask Some Good Questions!

The nation and media debate Pres. Trump’s mental health. It is kind of a kick to watch Trump act nuts. Maybe it’s like driving past a car wreck on the highway. You vow to yourself to look away, but I look. Maybe you do too.

However, Pres. Cuckoo is distracting us.

Pres. Trump is “crazy like a fox.” The US Senate is quietly approving his first “Mental Health Czar.” Really!

You may have not heard about this controversy at all in the corporate media.

This “Mental Health Czar” appointment is moving below the radar of many people. In December 2016, the vast majority of Republican and Democrat congresspeople passed a huge and extreme mental health law for the nation, as part of the “21st Century Cures” bill.

Trump is Nominating New Mental Health “Czar” 

As part of this new law, Pres. Trump has nominated a psychiatrist, Dr. Ellie McCance-Katz, for this first brand-new very-powerful position, widely considered “a mental health czar” of the USA.

 

While this process is not spoken about much in the media, the US Senate via Sen. Lamar Alexander’s committee, is supposed to ask her questions and decide about her confirmation. The formal title for this brand-new position is “Assistant Secretary for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (Samhsa).”

Paolo del Vecchio heads the Center for Mental Health Services, a half-billion dollar agency within Samhsa.

If you are new to the US mental health world, you may not know that Samhsa is the huge federal agency that funds much of the mental health system. Just one of the Samhsa agencies is Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS),  overseeing about a half-a-billion dollars annually, including many of the mental health consumer events such as the popular annual Alternatives Conference, the next one in Boston starts August 18, 2017.

CMHS is headed by Paolo del Vecchio, who has publicly identified himself as someone with “lived experience” of a mental health disability. Thousands of folks in our movement lead by mental health consumers and psychiatric survivors have met Paolo.

Now Paolo and CMHS find themselves in the middle of a strange and quiet battle.

For many decades, mental health consumer organizations in the USA have counted on the federal and state governments for their budgets. Only a few organizations have even tried to fund their budgets with donations, memberships, grassroots sales, and small independent grants.

It is difficult to explain to people how much advocacy organizations for mental health are under the control of the mental health industry. Imagine almost all the environmental groups in the USA, such as GreenPeace, getting their funding from the petrochemical industry. You might spot a problem here?

The Chickens Come Home to Roost

I have spent about 40 years working as a human rights activist in the mental health field. I am proud that when I directed MindFreedom International, for about 25 years, we raised our funds the old-fashioned way mainly through membership donations. Yes, we tried to maintain friendly relationships with industry-funded groups, after all they did some good.

Time for all mental health consumer and psychiatric survivor advocacy groups to raise part or all of their budgets in a more independent way.

The reality today is that many of the mental health consumer groups in the USA are funded by agencies that are headed up by the President, Donald Trump. In other words, the boss’s bosses’ boss of many mental health advocacy groups is Pres. Trump.

Hey President Trump:

“Before your mental health czar pushes for court-orders of any more Americans into forced outpatient psychiatric drugging, will you have a mental health check-up yourself?”

I have blogged previously about why this new position is so very dangerous. For example, after decades of new laws, on the state level, for court-ordered Involuntary Outpatient Commitment with involuntary psychiatric drugging (so-called IOC or as apologists call this violation, “Assisted Care”), this authoritarian practice is now partly-funded federally by US taxpayer dollars.

The US Senate should ask Dr. McCance-Katz about federal support and her backing for this forced outpatient psychiatric drugging.

That is correct, if you are an American taxpayer, some of your millions goes to forcibly drugging your neighbors in their own homes, using court orders. That might even sound like a good idea to some people, until someone suggests you yourself might be one of those to be under such a court order.

Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) is the only psychologist in Congress and for years he championed the bill that became 21st Century Cures. You may read articles about this topic over on Mad in America:

https://www.madinamerica.com/tag/murphy-bill/

Psychiatrist E. Fuller Torrey Gloats

Dr. Torrey with a brain

Psychiatrist E. Fuller Torrey promotes court-ordered involuntary psychiatric drugging for millions of Americans. He is winning so many victories with Pres. Trump that he told NY Times “I feel like I died and went to heaven.”

Psychiatrist E. Fuller Torrey is widely considered one of the main opponents of our social change movement. This eccentric doctor seems to love the idea of forcing millions of Americans to take super powerful psychiatric drugs. According to a New York Times article on the nominations of Dr. Ellie McCance-Katz, Torrey told the NY Times recently, “I feel like I died and went to heaven . . . I honestly didn’t think I’d see something like this happen in my lifetime.”

Sure, we can debate the mental health status of Torrey and Trump, neither of whom appear to have gotten a mental health check-up.

Meanwhile, the US Senate should be asking some tough questions of Dr. McCance-Katz. Maybe the US Senate will approve her, but we Americans can at least ask about controversies such as:

  • Does she support more forced outpatient psychiatric drugging?
  • If so, how many Americans does she feel should get court-ordered drugging?
  • Does she endorse the current use of federal money for this?
  • Does she admit that court-ordered involuntary electroshock on an outpatient basis can be done?
  • What is the long-term impact of psychiatric drugs?
  • Why aren’t non-drug alternatives offered to Americans, including the millions of vets?
  • And many other questions!

Difficult to Learn About the Senate Debate on Trump’s “Mental Health Czar”

When is the confirmation process in the US Senate? How do you submit questions to be asked? What criteria will be used? How can we ask about involuntary psychiatric drugs, and their impact on Americans?

The Mental Health Civil Rights Advocacy Subcommittee of the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) holds a monthly teleconference, headed by Wisconsin disability advocate Mike Bachhuber. I’ve been on this Subcommittee for many years. Their most recent minutes, May 24, 2017, reflected a kind of despair about this process, to paraphrase:

“We discussed the nomination of Dr. McCance-Katz to Asst Secretary for HHS. The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) said that it is done deal. Has support of Mental Health America (MHA). Dan Fisher says that groups will not fight because many get money from SAMHSA and fear retaliation. Instead it’s suggested that we pepper the committee with questions about individual voice of service recipients.”

Let Us Resist! Fight Back Now!

We can at least have a more transparent process about this US Senate debate of the first USA “mental health czar,” appointed by a US President with obvious severe mental issues.

What is the timeline? How can we get in questions?

Dr. Torrey may think he is in heaven, but I would like a revolution, now!

And in case you still had doubts that Pres. Trump has severe mental and emotional problems:

New York Times opinion writer Charles M. Blow recently wondered about Pres. Trump’s apparent “obsession” with former-Pres. Obama:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/29/opinion/trumps-obama-obsession.html

I think it is pretty clear, from Pres. Trump’s denial of the climate crisis despite mounds of science, that he has severe and dangerous mental problems. In fact, I would argue that to exist, to live, we all have emotional problems. The challenge is to seek positivity and justice. Pres. Trump fails over and over in that pursuit. What an embarrassment, and what a risk especially to future generations.

But as Martin Luther King warned, beware the paralysis of analysis. The US Senate should be showing some bravery right now, and both of your US Senators should act.

Action: Contact Your US Senators, Now!

Each American has two US Senators. Call and email them now!

Simply say that you oppose the nomination by Trump of Dr. Ellie McCance-Katz for Associate Secretary of Samhsa. My blog from the Spring about this has more detail if you would like it:

http://138.68.254.83/trump-appointee-mccance-katz-samhsa

Everyone should contact their US Senators.

Call both the DC and local offices. Learn the name of the main staff person who works on health.

Keep calling and emailing. Please post a copy of your US Senate note, on this blog, on Facebook, etc.

Why?

Ask anyone in the mental health field for a copy of their message to their US Senators. If they do not have a letter copy then you may be looking at a sell-out. Maybe a nice sell-out, but a very confused mental health advocate!

If you can do more, try to get some good questions asked by the US Senate during this process. You can leave comments here. Just now I phoned up the office of US Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), and the person who answered the phone was unaware of this controversy. Sen. Alexander heads the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which is supposed to be in charge of questioning Dr. McCance-Katz.

The Vast Majority of USA Opposes These Practices!

Note that both Republicans and Democrats widely supported this bill.

But both the left and the right have spoken out many times over the years against heavy-handed government psychiatric drugging.

For instance, did you know that the USA Libertarian Party actually had a plank, passed quite a number of years ago, against all forced government psychiatric drugging?

Did you know that several grassroots Republican activists have been key for bringing up psychiatric drugging of children? When foster kids get heavy-duty psychiatric drugging, all of us share the guilt.

This issue is far beyond the usual right and left split.

We need a revolution in the mental health system and in our society. Pres. Trump may seem “crazy” but the fact is that his wild, inappropriate, disrespectful antics get the spotlight, when we should be stopping the appointment of Dr. McCance-Katz and this nightmarish 21st Century Cures Act that Torrey’s group, Treatment Advocacy Center, calls “monumental.”

Let us not be distracted by the bizarre behavior of Pres. Trump. Oppose the US Senate confirmation of Dr. McCance-Katz, and at least let us ask some good questions. Keep your eyes on the prize.

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Paid Part-time Help Wanted: Especially if you already have Senior & Disabled Services provider number

Do you live in Lane County, now or in the near future?

Do you want a part-time home care paid position with one of the best employers in the world, me?

I have multiple disabilities. In fact, I would be called quad but actually because my neck has long had a challenge, I am actually a penta: that is, I have five major disabilities, all my limbs and my neck. Plus a disabled voice.

But let us talk about the positives now, there is a great opportunity for the person or persons who work out!

To the right I am trying out a standing power chair, an example of the direction I am headed. Be revolutionary!

Paid Part-Time Home Care Workers Needed Now!

Because of circumstances, such as a serious health problem with one of our newer employees, we have a need for part-time workers, which can easily turn into permanent shifts.

For more info about paid part-time home care work, see my Help Wanted tab or go directly to this page:

http://138.68.254.83/paid-unpaid-jobs/paid-homecare-worker

If you have interest, please act now by emailing me at davidwoaks@gmail.com and/or if you have my cell number, give me a call.

Our priority is an individual who already has an active Oregon Senior & Disabled Services provider number. But if you have a clean record and passion for this work, then applying with me can be your potential way to getting such a number, which can lead to other jobs.

One current worker says this about being an employee on our quarter-acre southwest Eugene eco-home: “David is a great and flexible employer. Their home is a wonderful place to spend time at and David is always fun to chat with. Working with David has also provided me with ample learning opportunities that have helped me start a career in care work. Thanks, David!” – Ian

In fact, even without applying for an SDS provider number, there are some part-time positions (such as admin, etc.) where we can hire directly.

Spread the word with folks who you think would be a good fit, if they live in our area or expect to live here soon.

Thanks!

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Thanks! My Operation a Success. My Restraints. WHO Calls for Ending All Mental Health Restraints. Complex? It’s Simple: Revolution of Course!

May 15, 2017: I am OK, back at Mad Swan, what we call our home. Thanks all!

In Lithuanian, the word for “thanks” is aciu! So:

Aaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh-chooooooooooooooooo!

Photo of bodybuilder Aaron Maddron

Aaron Maddron as a professional bodybuilder. He was one of my many great respiratory therapists this past week. I found Aaron to be especially supportive. Aaaaaaahhhhhh-chooo!!

Two folks to single out for appreciation:

Thanks of course to Debra, my amazing wife. Near the bottom of my blog entry are two very brief videos by her, just after the operation. In both videos I am mute. My being silent for a while may bring great pleasure to some beloved viewers.

Also, thanks to one of my very helpful respiratory therapists (RT) Aaron Maddron, see his photo here by Eric Jacobson, published in East Coast Muscle Magazine. I appreciate your positive support and advice, Aaron, my friend, I hope it is OK to post this public info. Some fans are wondering what happened to you after winning body building championships.

I can assure folks that Mr. Maddron is now an effective healer.

Thanks, respect and dignity for all.

Briefly, Let Us Start At the Beginning of This Past Week: 

Exactly one week ago, on Monday morning, 8 May 2017, I experienced some significant health difficulties including nausea & radiating pain in my back. My brilliant loving and amazing wife, Debra, encouraged me to consult with Dr. Hurtado, my primary care physician. Based on my health experiences this past year and a recent visit with him, he encouraged me to go to an emergency room.

I have taken ambulances to various ER’s several times and knew the drill: This meant that we phoned 911 and took an ambulance to an ER room. I did not have time to inform a lot of folks, please forgive me if you did not know. Also, because of confidentiality laws, my wonderful team of employees could not transmit info about me. Everyone has permission to share this message, and I asked the wonderful webmaster, Jeffrey Bousquet, with Aciu Instititute to add this to my personal blog. (Thanks, Jeff!)

Just after my surgery. Since I could order restraints removed, they actually were not real restraints in a way. I speak with my hands, and I do not want to pull on any of these many tubes! I agree with WHO: End mental health restraints!

After three days, I felt so much better, I sent out a message that this blog is based on. And today I am at home. Over this past week I experienced the following:

  • My sixth ambulance trip, I think, in about a year.
  • I chose this time to go back to Riverbend PeaceHealth, the site of my original ER arrival four years and five months ago when I fell in December 2012, and broke my spine.
  • My diagnosis this time: Emergency pancreatitis.
  • My fifth operation in five years.
  • A glimpse at some past trauma while chatting with great caretakers.
  • I got to play with many caretakers and friends our newest games, Wacco, free, face-to-face, question-oriented. I was able to listen and find out a bunch about what they were Nuts4, or nuts for.
  • Not eating for three days.
  • (Oops did I say briefly?)

Here are some videos from just after the operation:

By my beloved Debra, only 17 seconds, I am still unconscious:

A 25 second video by Debra after I wake up post-op, only 25 seconds, I am still mute, but my eyes are open. Note the devices that I am wearing that would normally be called restraints. Normal? Hoooowwwwl!:

Because a bunch of tubes were still in my nose and throat and gut, I did not stop the use of “restraints.” My restraints involved post-op, not mental health. The topic in general can be very complex. I admire Martin Luther King warning us about the paralysis of analysis. As a trauma survivor, I can advise River Bend on some possible improvements on this process.

After about 40 years working for human rights in mental health, there is a very simple way for you to address the issue of “restraints.” I talk with my hands & arms so there was a risk of pulling the tubes out. But do not worry, in a way they are not real restraints if I can have them removed. Complex? Or is it.

What? Oaks in Restraints? 

My main purpose here is to thank people for this past week. However, I do need to address more the topic of involuntary mental health restraints including chemical restraints.

You see, President Trump nominated an individual to a key new “mental health czar” position who very much supports involuntary outpatient psychiatric treatment. The US Senate will ask her questions during the approval process, and so now is the time to reach all US Senators about this topic, because their approval of her nomination is required. Mad In America re-published my blog about this topic, and quite a lot of readers have been interested, https://www.madinamerica.com/2017/04/trump-appoints-leader-campaigned-involuntary-outpatient-drugging/

I hope everyone who reads this provides feedback via my blog or Mad In America. While I have difficulty getting all messages, I also try to keep up with feedback via LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. I am an First Amendment fanatic! What are your views and questions? Hey, what is this, Russia?

Russia, by the way, is famous for doing a lot of involuntary psychiatric drugging. It is easier somehow for us Americans to see such human rights violations in another country. Same drug, needle just as sharp, different perspective. Gee, our President Trump seems to ignore some negativity over in Russia. Same President who has recently nominated Elinore F. McCance-Katz of Rhode Island for our new “mental health czar.”

The topic of restraints, physical tie-downs after surgery versus mental health restraints including psychiatric drug injections, appears to be very complex.

Let Us Get Real Simple Here:

I agree with Michelle Funk who speaks for the World Health Organization (WHO), based in Geneva, Switzerland, connected to the United Nations. Thanks WHO!

May is Mental Health Month here in the USA. Here is Michelle’s May 4, 2017 tweet:

“The use of seclusion & restraint in must end. Together we can reach this goal with

If you view my retweet comment about this the same day, just a few weeks ago, to help get out this extremely important news, WHO calls for end to use of solitary confinement and restraints in mental health, you see I agree with her and the WHO.

“I really enjoyed being an ‘expert consultant’ for this set of pilot modules from the World Health Organization with the UN.”

As a consultant expert during 2016 for the World Health Organization on human rights in mental health, I was one of those with personal lived experience of real restraints. Not the tie-down types. The sharp end of the needle kind. I am a survivor of involuntary psychiatric drug injections as a college student back in the 1970’s. I graduated Harvard despite these experiences 40 years ago this year.

The topics of my psychiatric survivor story, restraints, and a lot more may seem very complex but I am trying to be brief here. Ha-ha!

Simply put, WHO calls for ending involuntary restraints in mental health now. I agree. Note that these restraints include chemical ones.

More to come, but to learn about ending restraints in mental health, here is a free PDF link to one of the new 15 WHO documents that I advised on, Strategies to end the use of seclusion, restraint and other coercive practices: Training to act, unite and empower for mental health (Pilot Version):

http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/254809/1/WHO-MSD-MHP-17.9-eng.pdf

Back to My Stay Last Week in the Hospital

I was mute for a few hours, I realized that my brother’s invention of a letter board that I used on the same ICU four years ago would have really, really come in handy. Laminate and sell that puppy, Tony!

During my recovery after my surgery, I asked Debra’s help in getting a chaplain and we met a couple including one from my Unitarian Universalist Church in Eugene, Kimberly. Thanks Kim! Visit our Facebook group that brings together more than one hundred of us: UU Mental Health Justice.

I had time to reflect there inside Riverbend PeaceHealth Hospital in Springfield, Oregon, city of the Simpsons this past week. Time to rest with more simplicity. Thanks for helping everyone who produced this blog entry, much of it written a few days ago including this line: “Debra has provided so much support and love–she blows a kiss. Ian is typing this.”

Yes, the personal is the political.

Love Earth Revolution! Now! Now! Now! Now!

AAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH-CHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooo!

Posted this morning, Monday, May 15, 2017:

Thanks to you who:

Spotted the problem

Wisely encouraged intervention

Transported me by ambulance

Debra thanks for being my amazing wife and true love all these decades, once more you are saving me!

Everybody who sent well wishes

All messages including phone calls were very much appreciated, thanks

Those of you who were supportive even though we were unable to inform all who would like to know such things. (May I suggest getting to my Twitter account and adding yourself as what is called “follower.” In the future I will try to tweet very significant news.)

Thanks again to Aaron!

And thanks to Patch Adams, MD, even though you were not in the room, and even though you do not go on the Internet, and even though this time I did not phone you up my dear friend, AAAAAAAHHH-CHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Ruby Rogers Center in Danger of Being Defunded by Massachusetts

Ruby Rogers Center in Danger of Being Defunded by Massachusetts

One of the very first community centers run by and for psychiatric survivors is at risk of losing its funding from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. I know about the roots of this user-run space, because as a senior at Harvard College back in the 1970’s, I was placed at Mental Patients Liberation Front as an intern by Phillips Brooks House, Harvard’s social service group.
MPLF, with the leadership of the late Judi Chamberlin, author of a book on empowered mental health centers, created the community gathering locations that eventually became the Ruby Rogers Center in Somerville, Massachusetts. Here are some of the highlights as we created the center:

  • In the mid-1970’s a handful of us in MPLF came together for weekly mutual support. We were gratified to see that Judi’s book, On Our Own, was published. We often met at the storefront of an early activist space, Vocations for Social Change, near Central Square, Cambridge.
  • For a while we created a center at Stone Soup Art and Poetry storefront in Boston, thanks to the generosity of Jack Powers, proprietor. I recall briefly meeting poet Allen Ginsberg when he visited Jack. Activist Ted Chabasinski, survivor of forced electroshock, also visited.
  • Thanks to a grant from Haymarket Fund, we established an office and community center across the street from Boston Common.
  • As a group we met with state-employees at Department of Mental Health headquarters to explain our deep concerns about human rights violations and the need for humane alternatives.
  • About at that time, 1981, I left Boston, but the MPLF members won an agreement from Massachusetts to create a community center that was eventually named after Ruby Rogers, one of the early psychiatric survivor plaintiffs in a key lawsuit against forced psychiatric drugging. I saw Ruby, a charismatic African American psychiatric survivor, who I heard spoke up while locked up in a psychiatric ward, supported by MPLF organizing and a petition by other folks who were locked up.
  • During the three decades since then I have been very delighted to hear that the Ruby Rogers Center, keeping alive the name of MPLF, has continued to do great work. You can read about the details here.

Now the center is in danger of being eliminated by DMH, even though there is a need more than ever for independent living centers run by and for people diagnosed with mental health issues. Not only are such alternatives cost effective for taxpayers, anyone may someday need to have such a welcoming place for their own well being. If not you, then perhaps a loved one may benefit.

I remember a few years ago when I was chatting with a employee of the small, activist-friendly foundation, Resist. They were unfamiliar with our movement, but I knew they were located in Somerville. I asked them if they were familiar with the Ruby Rogers Center, and it turns out that was right across the street. Perfect to illustrate how our movement was widespread but little known! We got the small grant for MindFreedom International, and I recommend other grassroots groups in our movement apply for a Resist grant.

You can read about the Ruby Rogers Center on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/rubyrogercenter/

Thanks to a Facebook post from Harry Agritha, shared by Karen Langley, that alerted me about this. Charlie Carr commented and this brought my attention to the danger, here.

I encourage all those who support the disability and prison justice movements to speak up about the importance of the Ruby Rogers Center, now! I especially call out for support from disability activists in the hundreds of independent living centers, which form the backbone of the funded disability movement in the USA today.

You are invited to join me in emailing a civil but strong message to DMH of Massachusetts via this address: dmhinfo@massmail.state.ma.us

 

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