More Forced Electroshock? Let’s Stop Bill in State of Washington, Now!

ECT

Electroshock (also known as electroconvulsive therapy or ECT) runs electricity through the brain.

UPDATE 2/27/19: Looks like we won! The latest word from a staffperson at the State of Washington legislature, is that the proposed bill for easier involuntary electroshock is dead this session, and that no other bills have been amended to include this idea.

Some activists were concerned that the concept would simply be added as an amendment to another bill. However, loosening restrictions on forced shock are dead this session. This is the “understanding” of Kevin Black, staff coordinator/counsel for Senate Behavioral Health Subcommittee to Health & Long-Term Care Committee, Senate Human Services. The next session will start in January 2020.

UPDATE 2/17/19: The  public hearing was canceled 2/15, apparently because of opposition. Please continue speaking out against this bill! According to a committee staffperson, Carly, if there is no hearing by 2/22, the bill is dead.

Original alert:

Incredibly, there is a proposed bill in the State of Washington right now that would make it easier to give involuntary electroshock (also known as electroconvulsive therapy or ECT), over and against the expressed wishes of the subject.

I just phoned the committee that is looking at this bill, and you can email your opposition at any time. There is no time limit, though the sooner, the better.

Today, 15 February 2019, there was supposed to be a public hearing about this Senate bill 5842, but this hearing was cancelled.

You can email to stop this bill at any time, and since this bill may pass it is urgent that you speak out.

Below is an alert that I have created about this bill. (Thanks to Laura Van Tosh for this information.)

At the bottom is my brief initial email in opposition:

 

CALL FOR EMAIL TO STOP FORCED SHOCK

IN STATE OF WASHINGTON

SB 5842 Involuntary Electroconvulsive Therapy

Calls for involuntary electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) to be added to the Washington State RCW (Revised Code of Washington), 71.05.153.

Emergency detention of persons with mental disorders or substance use disorders. This is the involuntary treatment procedure used for commitment procedures. Today psychiatric medication is used.

This proposed bill adds ECT as an option to be utilized against the will of a person during initial commitment procedures under above RCW.

 

ACTION: Please email your opposition to SB 5842 now, give some good reasons against involuntary electroshock!

carly.johnson@leg.wa.gov

Carly is a staff person at the Senate Committee on Behavioral Health Subcommittee to Health & Long Term Care, J.A. Cherberg Building, Olympia, WA.

 

BILL INFO.:

https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=5842&Initiative=false&Year=2019

Sponsors: Reuven.Carlyle@leg.wa.gov annette.cleveland@leg.wa.gov manka.dhingra@leg.wa.gov

Senate Committee on Behavioral Health Subcommittee to Health & Long Term Care is where the bill is being heard.

 

Below is my initial brief email, which you can use as a model, but please write this in your own words:

14 February 2019

To: Senate Committee on Behavioral Health Subcommittee to Health & Long Term Care, J.A. Cherberg Building, Olympia, WA

From: David W. Oaks, Aciu Institute, Eugene, OR

Please halt the bill SB 5842, which would make it easier to give involuntary electroshock (also called ECT) to citizens of the State of Washington.

I have worked for human rights in mental health for more than 40 years.

  1. The World Health Organization in Geneva is the main world body on health issues. The WHO has opposed all forced shock, and has had this official position for years. Please inquire with WHO about this bill immediately.
  2. A few years ago, when I directed MindFreedom International, we had a major campaign to stop the forced shock of a Minnesota citizen. Please google this phrase: Ray Sandford electroshock
  3. Shock has never been formally approved by the FDA for safety and efficacy. So forced shock would be a violation by compulsory experiment.

David W. Oaks

Please consider copying your opposition to my comment area below, to inspire others to speak out.

Spread the word!

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How Goes the “Revolution” in Mental Health?

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to health, Dainius Pūras, a medical doctor and professor at Vilnius University, Lithuania.

Maybe you missed it, like I did. But this weekend I finally read the little report, about 20 pages, by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to health, Dainius Pūras.

Wow!

It is amazing! The official UN news release actually calls for a “revolution” in mental health.

The actual report is here, 21 pages that reads like we psychiatric survivors wrote it, see attachment: un-report-on-mental-health-2017

For example, he says “Mental health policies should address the ‘power imbalance’ rather than ‘chemical imbalance’.” He calls for the “elimination” of coercive mental health procedures.

Here is a way to unify through diversity. Last year I actually heard about the call for “revolution” by this UN Rapporteur through activist Rev. Phil Schulman. But it took me more than a year to finally read the report.

You can get a good summary by looking at a Mad in America blog by Justin Karter from 9 June 2017. If you need to, search online for the phrase: mad in america un revolution in mental health justin karter.

Check out this UN news release from June 2017:

https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=21689

Today, 10 October 2018, is considered World Mental Health Day by the mental health industry, and so this is good timing to get out the word about this UN report from 2017. My friend and psychiatric survivor Mary Maddock endorses a campaign by Mad in the UK. We are to use the hashtag #WMHD2018 to get out the word about the need for activism in mental health. You can read more about the campaign here:

World Mental Health Day – A Call to Action!

Please put your comments here about this report and speaking out. Meanwhile, I will tweet #WMHD2018, and I hope you do too.

 

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There is Now Mainly Only ONE (1) Mental Health Issue: Climate

For more than four decades I have worked as an independent activist for human rights in the mental health system. This independence is rather rare. Many of my good friends and colleagues in the mental health advocacy field work for nonprofits that are funded mainly by the government, local state or federal. My friends often do great work, but several of us have warned about dependence on money from the very system we are trying to change.

As many readers know, I worked as executive director of MindFreedom International for more than 25 years, before my disabling extreme accident in 2012. MFI is mainly funded by non-governmental grassroots sources. MFI is not afraid to protest the system. In fact, psychiatric survivor members demand such protests.

Almost all groups that are largely composed of psychiatric survivors, are government funded. To repeat, many provide wonderful services. Maybe this dependence on government funding is why our social-change movement is too-often silent about the climate crisis.

Break the Silence about the “Normality” of Global Warming

I have had a major media service in our mental health advocacy field tell me that my mention of climate crisis in my blogs have led to their rejection. This has happened more than once.

Another example:

A prominent activist in our movement scolded people who pointed out that our President has severe mental and emotional problems. Supposedly, stating the obvious that Trump is nuts somehow harms all the “little people” that we are here to serve.

Hey, everybody in the world is always crazy, if that word means anything. Are we creatively crazy or destructively daffy? That is our choice. Enforcers of Politically Correct-ness say that we can never call Donald “Daffy.”

But here is why calling Trump cuckoo is totally okay. If FDR had been anti-disability, it would make total sense to point out that he needed a wheelchair to get around. Being paralyzed did not disqualify FDR from the presidency. But if FDR dared to knock the disabled, noticing that he himself is disabled is totally okay.

Here is a direct connection between mental health and climate crisis:

Of course heat waves are more common. Many people in the public are unaware that most USA states now have “Involuntary Outpatient Commitment” laws that allow judges to court order mental health consumers to obey doctor orders. Typically this means involuntary psychiatric drugging in one’s own home out in the community. The most common drugs for this are so-called anti-psychotics, more correctly called neuroleptics.

This family of drugs can impair the brain’s temperature regulation. Those under IOC tend to be poor, without air conditioning. That means that climate crisis plus IOC can equal killing people. Many people.

You will tend not to hear about these deaths in the mainstream media, because I have heard there are concerns that we will “quit our meds.”

The climate crisis used to be one of many traumas. But now, because of decades of delay and denial, it is overwhelmingly the main mental health issue, both generally and specifically.

Today’s Single Mental Health Issue: Climate

If you have any empathy or sense, if you are truly an alive human being, then you are feeling, like me, overwhelmed by the indescribable tragedy unfolding on Earth’s ecosystem. If you have had the benefit of education, and you had paid attention, then you know that positive feedback loops can become unpredictable and massive. Suddenly. Think of avalanches.

In other words, any real human is now in crisis because of the countless traumas inherent in this environmental disaster. In other words, most of us are overwhelmed and paralyzed. It is past time to ask survivors of overwhelm and paralysis what can help.

There unfortunately is another group of humans in bizarre, strange, unscientific, non-rational denial of this climate crisis.

A friend of mine who has even written a book about climate crisis denial, was publicly and falsely maligned and defamed by one of these deniers. I asked her why she did not fight back publicly. Oddly, she laughed and said the political attack actually helped her career in academia. At first I laughed too, but years later I realized this situation is not funny.

Speak out about the climate crisis and actively resist Mother-Earth rapists.

Some are pointing out that the mainstream media is largely complicit in this silence. We need a revolution, check out the below new, brief article last week about how the corporate media is trying to pretend that the non-normal is normal:

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/07/climate-change-wildfires-heatwave-media-old-news-end-of-the-world.html

Normal is dead.

At the start of the article, is an image by artist Isaac Paris. Even the wing of a moth can influence when and where a hurricane arrives. This image inspired my logo for my new consulting business, Aciu Institute.

Please comment here or on my Facebook page, so we all know we are not alone.

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Four Great News Items About MindFreedom & Winning Human Rights in Mental Health

David W. Oaks, psychiatric survivor, speaks a few years ago in Oslo, Norway at a protest.

David W. Oaks, psychiatric survivor, speaks a few years ago in Oslo, Norway at a protest.

I do some consulting for the independent nonprofit, MindFreedom International, which is one of the main coalitions focusing on human rights in mental health.

Here are four positive news items about MFI:

1. MindFreedom will be doing another free webinar later this Summer 2018, on choice in mental health.

On August 19, 2018, MindFreedom will be holding a new free online webinar about empowering options for people needing mental and emotional support. The title of the webinar: “Voices for Choices: Organizing for Alternatives to Forced Psychiatric Treatment.”

Thanks to support from the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care, three leaders in the field of providing alternatives to mainstream mental health, will be offering this opportunity. For more information and to register, go here. Act soon, attendance is limited and based on previous webinars, this will be popular.

2. MindFreedom is stronger than ever.

It has been more than five years since I experienced a major accident and severe ongoing disabilities, requiring my retirement after 25 years as MFI’s executive director. As well as the above grant from the Foundation, MFI received an anonymous major donation, and many members have continued to support this important effort.

I am glad to report that MindFreedom International is doing very well. However, there has not been a replacement executive director. Until now. MFI is now announcing a search for a new executive director. This will no doubt lead to better member services, campaigns, and online information, which many people supportive of human rights in mental health have hoped for. Congratulations!

Please note that MindFreedom website currently lists the deadline for the job application as July 31, 2018. So unless this is extended, it is too late to apply.

For more info, see the MindFreedom website here. (Please note that I am not in any way personally involved with the search.)

I have very much enjoyed providing some consulting with MFI through my new business, Aciu Institute. We have helped do several surveys, for example. We look forward to future support for MFI.

3. You can now view MindFreedom’s last webinar, on human rights in mental health, free.

At the beginning of this Summer, 2018, two other psychiatric survivors and I presented a free MFI online gathering about winning campaigns for choice in mental health. You can now view a video recording for free on the web, here.

Above right is a photo of work I did years ago in Oslo, Norway with one of the oldest groups in our movement: We Shall Overcome. We constructed a huge prop hypodermic needle and reaches hundreds in Oslo about choice in mental health. No forced psychiatric drugging!

4. For a limited time, interested activists can apply to benefit from mentorship.

As a follow-up to their webinar MindFreedom International gave about human rights in mental health, about 20 folks can apply to become mentorees. Each will work with a mentor to develop written plans for a human rights in mental health campaign. Because space is limited, those interested should contact MFI soon. Email to: sarah@mindfreedom.org

Go MindFreedom International, go! Let us help lead this revolution!

I am glad to see that MindFreedom International, despite many struggles related to the incredible oppression in the mental health system, and also my accident, is doing so well. Listening to a lot of folks, I know there is hope for a better online presence, member services, etc. But generally these hopes are very constructively and lovingly offered.

Let us all work together for MindFreedom International and the revolution we need in mental health. With the climate crisis, the lock so-called “normality” has on our culture has become a central emergency, globally!

 

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Eugene Men Who Survived Sexual Assault Now Have Free Weekly Support Meetup

Photo of Eugene, Oregon, USA showing butte and clouds in background behind downtown.

Eugene, Oregon, USA.

Thankfully, the USA culture is discussing more than ever the hidden oppression of sexual assault against women. However, men who have had their lives disrupted by unwanted or abusive sexual experiences might not have felt the same level of support or not known where to turn. A local respected nonprofit here in Eugene, Oregon, Sexual Assault Support Services, has mainly worked with female survivors, but they have a resource for male survivors.

Many group meetings for counseling have a formal expectation for attending, but this meetup is more informal, and participants may decide to drop in at the last minute, and may attend any of the weekly gatherings or take a break. Their choice. The group has two experienced, thoughtful and supportive counselors to help the peer support be empowered but safe.

Below is from their flyer, the group is active now, January 2018. If you want to double check that the group is being held each week, check their website.

From the SASS flyer about the Eugene, Oregon weekly men’s meetup:

MEN’S MEET-UP

You are invited to be a part of a free & confidential mentoring group lead by trained facilitators who work to strategize with, & empower men who have experienced unwanted sexual contact at any point in their life. Come, be of support to others & find support for yourself!

This group is for self-identified males 18+

When: Thursday’s 4:30 to 6:00 PM

Where: 591 West 19th Ave. Eugene (Corner of 19th & Jefferson), Oregon. Call with questions, or just drop in! Door locks at 4:35 as no late arrivals allowed.

Questions? Contact Rebecca, SASS counselor, @ 541-484-9791 ex. 315 or supportgroup@sass-lane.org

Sexual Assault Support Services

24/7 Support: 541-343-7277

Business: 541-484-9791

SASS services are always free!

[To repeat, SASS is the respected sponsor of this free weekly meetup. MindFreedom Oregon and I are not organizers, but are strong endorsers and you can find our listing of this event on fb here: https://www.facebook.com/events/354136108328973/ ]

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Celebrate a Victory! Kesey Square is now officially Kesey Square in Eugene, Oregon.

This Friday, November 3, 2017 at 3 pm we have a special free event planned, especially if you are in or near Eugene, Oregon. Celebrate the fact that the City Council has officially proclaimed that the center square in our city is Kesey Square, named after a wonderful writer and friend of our movement, Ken Kesey (1935-2001).

Here is the PDF flyer: new_2017-11-3-cuckoo

Below is the text from this PDF:

You are invited to a free celebration of
Kesey Square is now officially Kesey Square!

Where : Cuckoo’s Nest Stage
LILA Peer Support Club
990 Oak St, Eugene
(NW corner 8th & Oak)

Date : Friday, November 3, 2017

Time : Starts at 3 pm

Who ? David Rogers, folk singer. Sarah Smith, MindFreedom
International. David Oaks, revolutionary psychiatric survivor activist.
Libbie Rascon, Office of Consumer Activities. Lynne Mckinney.
Surprise guests. You! Free, public, peaceful, all ages welcome.

Celebrate a legacy of Ken Kesey, author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s
Nest . The City of Eugene has officially named Kesey Square.
After our indoors celebration, those of us who wish will then go to nearby
Kesey Square, Broadway & Willamette, where Food Not Bombs (FNB)
serves yummy, free, hot food every Friday afternoon! Donations of
nonperishable food (no meat or dairy please) encouraged for FNB!

This is a First Friday, so you can also then celebrate Eugene’s art.
Sponsored by MindFreedom Oregon

More info davidwoaks@gmail.com

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