Blog

Children
17 Feb
1

CCHR Educates Over 146,000 Families on Their Rights Under the Baker Act

ChildrenThe Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) of Florida, a non-profit mental health watchdog dedicated to the eradication of abuses committed under the guise of mental health, has reached over 146,000 families in a campaign to prevent abuse of the Baker Act by educating families on their rights and exposing unnecessary involuntary examinations of minors in Florida.

CLEARWATER, FL, February 15, 2017 – Participating in hundreds of family orientated events over the past year, CCHR is on a crusade to stop the unjust involuntary examination of children in Florida without parental consent or knowledge.

The mental health law in Florida, commonly known as the Baker Act, allows for the initiation of involuntary psychiatric examination of anyone no matter their age and this includes children.

Seen as a statewide problem, the number of children in Florida being sent for involuntary examination has continued to climb with a 50 percent increase from fiscal year 2010 to 2015[i] according to statistics just released and a recent BuzzFeed article highlighted the abuse that is all too common in the system.

The BuzzFeed article tells the story of a 6-year-old child whose parents said the boy had merely thrown a tantrum but who ended up in a hospital owned by America’s largest psychiatric chain, Universal Health Services (UHS). According to the article, the child was held for three days and the UHS facility, River Point Behavioral Health, filed a court petition to keep the child longer. While in the hospital, the boy suffered a bloody nose and was locked in a seclusion room in the middle of the night.[ii]

Another BuzzFeed article in the series reports, “UHS’s 211 psychiatric hospitals in the United States earned $7.5 billion in revenues last year. More than a third of the company’s overall revenue comes from taxpayers through Medicare and Medicaid.[iii]  A federal inquiry into Medicare fraud has targeted about one in ten UHS hospitals. UHS has denied wrongdoing and said it is cooperating with the investigation. The company has not been charged.”

There are five UHS facilities in Florida under investigation by the Federal Department of Justice and the Office of the Inspector General.[iv]

“Our Abuse Hotline receives calls on a weekly basis from the parents of children that have been Baker Acted without their consent,” said Diane Stein, President of CCHR Florida.  “And unfortunately we are finding that the majority of these children don’t event meet the criteria for involuntary psychiatric examination.”

Taking action to stop this abuse, CCHR is educating families on their rights under the Baker Act and has reached over 146,000 families at hundreds of events in the Tampa Bay area since launching a new website designed to make the public more aware of this abuse of the law.  Concerned parents are encouraged to contact CCHR Florida to learn more about their rights under the law at 800-782-2878. For more information visit www.cchrflorida.org.

About CCHR:

Initially established by the Church of Scientology and renowned psychiatrist Dr. Thomas Szasz in 1969, CCHR’s mission is to eradicate abuses committed under the guise of mental health and enact patient and consumer protections. It was L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, who brought the terror of psychiatric imprisonment to the notice of the world.  In March 1969, he said, “Thousands and thousands are seized without process of law, every week, over the ‘free world’ tortured, castrated, killed.  All in the name of ‘mental health.’”

[i] http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/numbers-show-surge-in-baker-act-exams-of-kids-in-tampa-bay-area/2306799

[ii] https://www.buzzfeed.com/rosalindadams/how-a-6-year-old-got-locked-on-a-psych-ward#.vmmEZ6xaw

[iii] https://www.buzzfeed.com/rosalindadams/lawmakers-sound-alarms-on-uhs-psychiatric-hospitals?utm_term=.kgYY6vGPD#.lxZBzAZgl

[iv] https://www.cchrint.org/2016/01/18/psych-hospital-chain-closes-florida-facility/

 

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Dyslexia
17 Feb
1

Psychiatrists’ Bible Goes Too Far in Naming Disorders

DyslexiaDSM 5, (the fifth and most recent version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) is the psychiatric bible of mental diagnoses.

An open letter very critical of DSM 5 was written by several divisions of the  American Psychological Association. An article in Psychology Today describes the psychologists’ protest against this latest version.

“The letter summarizes the grave dangers of DSM 5 that for some time have seemed patently apparent to everyone except those who are actually working on it. The short list of the most compelling problems includes: reckless expansion of the diagnostic system (through the inclusion of untested new diagnoses and reduced thresholds for old ones); the lack of scientific rigor and independent review; and dimensional proposals that are too impossibly complex ever to be used by clinicians.”

Even though the American Psychiatric Association has no sovereignty over psychiatric diagnosis, the APA has been preparing the DSM for sixty years, since no other group wanted to do it. 1

Typical of fraudulent “mental disorders” in the DSM 5 include both dyslexia (a term that describes difficulty in learning to read or interpret words, letters, and other symbols) and and dyscalculia (severe difficulty in making arithmetical calculations).

There is no sane reason for their placement in the DSM, as psychiatry does not even pretend to treat or cure these difficulties in learning.

Dyslexia and Dyscalculia Treated Successfully Through Education

Theories abound as to what causes dyslexia and dyscalculia, but by definition they are not “mental disorders.”

A child who has difficulty in mathematics, and even struggles with simple addition may excel in other areas of learning. And these children can be helped in a variety of ways, none of which involve intervention by a psychiatrist.

  • “Using concrete examples that connect math to real life, to strengthen your child’s number sense. Examples: sorting buttons or other familiar objects.
  • Using visual aids when solving problems, including drawing pictures or moving around physical objects—which teachers refer to as “manipulatives.”
  • Assigning manageable amounts of work so your child won’t feel overloaded.
  • Reviewing a recently learned skill before moving on to a new one, and explaining how the skills are related.
  • Supervising work and encouraging your child to talk through the problem-solving process. This can help make sure he’s using the right math rules and formulas.
  • Breaking new lessons into smaller parts that easily show how different skills relate to the new concept. Teachers call this process “chunking.”
  • Letting your child use graph paper to help keep numbers lined up.
  • Using an extra piece of paper to cover up most of what’s on a math test so your child can focus on one problem at a time.
  • Playing math-related games designed to help your child have fun and feel more comfortable with math…” 2

Unfortunately, when a psychiatrist decides that a child with dyscalculia is anxious or depressed, intervention with pharmaceuticals may be suggested. Parents who are unaware of psychiatric drug dangers may unwittingly damage their child through their prescription and use.

Similarly, a child with dyslexia can be diagnosed as “depressed” and prescribed medication by an ignorant psychiatrist.

But dyslexic children are helped every day through education. These are suggestions given to parents by Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities:

  • “Surround your child with reading. Read out loud to her, modeling phrasing and intonation. Allow her to read anything and everything, many times if she likes. Have her read out loud, giving corrective feedback. Listen to books on tape in the car. Make reading a positive experience.
  • Encourage reading fluency. Have him read a short passage several times while you record the time it takes. Children often enjoy seeing if they can improve their time, and the repetition helps establish fluency.
  • Build vocabulary. Ask your child to tell you a new word she has learned every day. Talk about what it means, look it up in a dictionary, and make up sentences with the word. Play a game where each of you uses the word in a sentence at least twice that day, then again that week. Post a “New Vocabulary” word list and add to it daily or weekly.
  • Play games. For a young child particularly, playing games is fun and instructive: clap so she can hear how many syllables a word contains; segment word sounds and blend them back together; call attention to alliterations in songs, poems, and nursery rhymes.
  • Go high-tech. Use computer resources, including apps, digital learning games, and websites with learning games.” 3

Using DSM 5 to diagnose anything is dangerous and unpredictable, particularly when so many supposed “mental disorders” are either learning difficulties solved by the correct educational tools or actual physical conditions that can be cured by a competent (non psychiatric) medical doctor.

Sources:

1    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/dsm5-in-distress/201110/psychologists-start-petition-against-dsm-5

2    https://www.understood.org/en/learning-attention-issues/child-learning-disabilities/dyscalculia/understanding-dyscalculi

3    http://www.smartkidswithld.org/getting-help/dyslexia/treating-dyslexia/

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Baker Act
07 Feb
0

CCHR Demands Investigation into Involuntary Psychiatric Examination of Children

Baker Act

The total number of minors evaluated in Florida under the Baker Act increased by 50 percent from fiscal year 2010 to 2015

The Florida chapter of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), a non-profit dedicated to the eradication of abuses committed under the guise of mental health, is once again demanding an investigation into the involuntary psychiatric examinations of children under the Baker Act following the story of a 6-year-old child being held for three days despite his parents repeated requests to have him released into their care. [i]

The December 30th BuzzFeed article tells the story of a 6-year-old child whose parents said the boy had merely thrown a tantrum but who ended up in a hospital owned by America’s largest psychiatric chain, Universal Health Services (UHS). According to the article, the child was held for three days and the UHS facility, River Point Behavioral Health, filed a court petition to keep the child longer. While in the hospital, the boy suffered a bloody nose and was locked in a seclusion room in the middle of the night.[ii]

Following the release of this story, CCHR, a mental health watchdog that has documented numerous instances of unjust Baker Acting of children in Florida and has fielded many more calls from parents who are too afraid to document their child’s traumatic experiences, announced that they are once again calling for an investigation into the involuntary psychiatric examinations of children under the Baker Act.

“We have filed hundreds of complaints asking for an investigation into the abusive involuntary psychiatric examinations of children under the Baker Act and to date no effective action has been taken,” stated Diane Stein, President CCHR Florida. “How many more families must suffer and how many more children must be put through this gross violation of human rights before this law is changed and parental rights are restored?”

According to the 2015 Annual Report of Baker Act Data prepared for the Agency for Health Care Administration there were 193,410 involuntary examinations initiated in calendar year 2015. An astounding 32,882 were initiated on minors and in Florida; a child may be removed from school grounds and sent for involuntary examination without parental consent or knowledge.[iii] The total number of minors evaluated in Florida under the Baker Act increased by 50 percent from fiscal year 2010 to 2015.[iv]

CCHR Florida is asking for anyone whose child has been unjustly sent for involuntary psychiatric examination without their consent or approval to please write CCHR with full particulars and with any documentary evidence. This information can mailed to CCHR or sent online using this link – Report Psychiatric Abuse. Families interested in learning more about how to protect their children are encouraged to visit the CCHR center at 109 N. Fort Harrison or visit the CCHR website using this link, Non-Consent Form, to download a form they can fill out and file with their children’s school. This form uses existing state law to help protect parental rights.

About CCHR:

Initially established by the Church of Scientology and renowned psychiatrist Dr. Thomas Szasz in 1969, CCHR’s mission is to eradicate abuses committed under the guise of mental health and enact patient and consumer protections.

It was L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, who brought the terror of psychiatric imprisonment to the notice of the world. In March 1969, he said, “Thousands and thousands are seized without process of law, every week, over the ‘free world’ tortured, castrated, killed. All in the name of ‘mental health.’” For more information visit, www.cchrflorida.org

Sources:

[i] https://www.buzzfeed.com/rosalindadams/how-a-6-year-old-got-locked-on-a-psych-ward#.vmmEZ6xaw

[ii] https://www.buzzfeed.com/rosalindadams/how-a-6-year-old-got-locked-on-a-psych-ward#.vmmEZ6xaw

[iii] http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/numbers-show-surge-in-baker-act-exams-of-kids-in-tampa-bay-area/2306799

[iv] http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/numbers-show-surge-in-baker-act-exams-of-kids-in-tampa-bay-area/2306799

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Death
07 Feb
0

Psychiatric Goofs: Physical Conditions Mimicking Mental Disorders

 

DeathFlorida law currently requires that anyone sent for an involuntary psychiatric evaluation be given a physical examination within 24 hours of their arrival at a psychiatric facility. Since there are over 100 physical ailments that can mock a psychiatric condition, it is crucial to ensure the person is not suffering from something physical.

In addition, someone who is actually psychotic could also be seriously ill.

It is deeply disturbing that in a recent study, the mentally ill have been documented to die much earlier than those not diagnosed with a mental illness. Not just by a few years, but by decades. On average, these people are loosing up to 28.5 years of life. 1

Whether early death for the mentally ill is due to poor lifestyle choices, inappropriate (or too many) pharmaceuticals, actual physical illness left untreated or other causes, the fact remains that they are dying early.

That is reason enough to ensure they are not suffering from a treatable physical illness.

In a Psychiatric Times article by By Oliver Freudenreich, MD he states, “The number of medical diseases that can present with psychotic symptoms (ie, delusions, hallucinations) is legion. A thorough differential diagnosis of possible medical and toxic causes of psychosis is necessary to avoid the mistaken attribution of psychosis to a psychiatric disorder.” 2

Dr. Ronald J Diamond of the University of Wisconsin Department of Psychiatry wrote an article on this subject to help health practitioners discover a possible underlying physical problem presenting as a psychiatric disturbance.

Dr. Diamond states, “Every time a patient comes into your office, your emergency room or your hospital, there is a very real possibility that what seems to be a psychological problem is caused by some physical illness. The depressed patient may have an under active thyroid gland. The patient with panic attacks may have a pheochromocytoma, a tumor that secretes epinephrine. And the patient, whose personality change and increased irritability is thought to be caused by his marital problems, may actually have a brain tumor causing the personality changes and exacerbating longstanding marital issues.”

The following are some symptoms that Dr. Diamond says make medical illness more likely. He also states that even if these are not present, the cause of the apparent psychiatric disorder may still be medical in origin.

  • A patient over 40 with no previous psychiatric history
  • No history of similar symptoms
  • Coexistence of chronic disease
  • A history of head injury
  • A change in headache pattern
  • A patient who gets worse when given antipsychotic or anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) medications

Dr. Diamond says the following symptoms make medical illness more likely:

  • A change in headache pattern (he also mentions this in the above list)
  • Visual disturbances, either double vision or partial visual loss
  • Speech deficits, either dysarthrias (problems with the mechanical production of speech sounds) or aphasias (difficulty with word comprehension or word usage.)
  • Abnormal blood pressure, pulse or temperature
  • Disorientation and /or memory impairment
  • Fluctuating or impaired level of consciousness
  • Abnormal body movements
  • Frequent urination, increased thirst
  • Significant weight change, gain or loss

He says in no uncertain terms, “Do not assume that a certain symptom ‘must’ be of psychological origin.” 3

Underactive and overactive thyroid glands have been known to cause depression and anxiety. A deficiency in vitamins D, B-12 or folate have been linked to depression. Hormonal changes can also cause these symptoms.

Even diabetes, lupus and Lyme disease have psychiatric symptoms. Mercury and lead poisoning as well as STDs can cause what appear to be mental disorders. Medications are known to cause mood changes as well. 4

CCHR Florida is taking steps to ensure the existing law requiring a physical examination to rule out non-psychiatric causes for person being sent for examination under the Baker Act is enforced.

This will protect the rights of those involuntarily committed, and protect them from needless and harmful psychiatric treatment.

Sources:

1   https://www.nimh.nih.gov/news/science-news/2015/combating-early-death-in-people-with-serious-mental-illness.shtml

2   http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/forensic-psychiatry/differential-diagnosis-psychotic-symptoms-medical-%E2%80%9Cmimics%E2%80%9D

3   http://www.alternativementalhealth.com/psychiatric-presentations-of-medical-illness-2/

4   https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424053111904480904576496271983911668

 

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Child Advocacy Event
01 Feb
0

CCHR Hosts Child Advocacy Event to Honor International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Child Advocacy Event

Carmen Miller, attorney and a former Assistant Public Defender, joined the Executive Director for CCHR Florida, Sebastian Egloff, and the spokesperson for C.A.P.E, Monica Agami in panel discussion on the use of the Baker Act in Florida

 

 

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) of Florida, a non-profit mental health watchdog dedicated to the eradication of abuses committed under the guise of mental health, hosted a Child Advocacy Award Luncheon along with the Church of Scientology of Tampa to honor International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, January 27th, was designated International Holocaust Remembrance Day by the United Nations General Assembly with the intention to not only honor the victims of the Nazi era but to also encourage the development of educational programs to prevent future genocides.

In honor of this day, the Church of Scientology of Tampa and CCHR Florida hosted a Child Advocacy Luncheon in the historic Ybor Square bringing together concerned child advocates in an interactive panel discussion to pay respect to the victims of the Holocaust, and discuss how relevant this tragic chapter in history still is today.

According to the 2015 Annual Report of Baker Act Data prepared for the Agency for Health Care Administration, Florida’s mental health law – the Baker Act – was used 193,410 times to involuntarily place someone under psychiatric evaluation, an average of 530 examinations every day. Over 75% of the involuntary exam initiations were for adults aged 18 through 64 and 17% were for those younger than 18, an increase of 50% since 2010.

Detailing the injustices she witnesses in both in her former and present roles, panelist Carmen Miller, attorney and a former Assistant Public Defender called for greater oversight on the use of the involuntary examination law, commonly called the Baker Act, especially as it applies to minors.

Joining Miller on the panel were the Executive Director for CCHR Florida, Sebastian Egloff and the spokesperson for Child Advocacy & Parental Education (C.A.P.E.) Monica Agami.

The panelists answered questions on how the basic theory of eugenics, the pseudoscience employed by psychiatrists to give a medical justification to the Nazis for forfeiting human rights of the “mentally inept and inferior”, is still in use today to strip Floridians of their basic rights under the Baker Act.

“Parents regularly call CCHR with heartbreaking stories of unnecessary and unjust initiations of the Baker Act were children as young as 5 years-old are sent for involuntary psychiatric evaluation,” stated Sebastian Egloff. “The children of this state need to be better protected and parents need to have their fundamental rights restored.”

Miller, who has been working with CCHR as an advocate to help educate parents on the law and what rights they do have, particularly pointed out that the Baker Act allows children to be removed from school grounds and sent for involuntary examination without parental consent or knowledge but that the law appears to be over used and abused as evidenced by the ever increasing numbers of people taken into custody and sent for involuntary examination.

“I was overjoyed when I found CCHR as I had never seen an organization working to expose the abuses under the Baker Act and am so glad to be working with them to help reform it and return parental rights,” stated Miller.

Individuals interested in learning more about the Baker Act and their rights under the law are encouraged to visit the CCHR center located at 109 N. Fort Harrison Ave. in downtown Clearwater.  For more information please call 727-442-8820 or visit www.cchrflorida.org.

About CCHR:

Initially established by the Church of Scientology and renowned psychiatrist Dr. Thomas Szasz in 1969, CCHR’s mission is to eradicate abuses committed under the guise of mental health and enact patient and consumer protections.

It was L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, who brought the terror of psychiatric imprisonment to the notice of the world.  In March 1969, he said, “Thousands and thousands are seized without process of law, every week, over the ‘free world’ tortured, castrated, killed.  All in the name of ‘mental health.’”

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Mental Health
01 Feb
0

Psychotic Behavior Created Artificially

Mental HealthOur police officers are on the front line of any disturbance in the social fiber, including handling those who appear mentally ill. An unstable individual with a deadly weapon can be formidable and unpredictable.

But how many violent people are also mentally ill? An article in Daily Editorials suggests “…law enforcement may bear the heaviest burden of all. With every encounter, officers have to wonder whether they’ll be facing someone who is dangerously unstable and potentially violent. That possibility is always high. Among the inmates of the nation’s jails, 15 percent of men and 31 percent of women have a serious mental illness, according to a 2015 study by the VERA Institute of Justice.”

Under these circumstances it’s no wonder why proponents of the notorious Baker Act justify its continued existence. If an unbalanced individual is wielding a weapon, what choice does an officer have but to take him in to be evaluated and then treated for his mental illness? 1

 

The actual statistics linking mental illness to violent behavior have been evaluated.

In fact, the U.S. Department of Health and Human service says most of the mentally ill are not violent. An article on their website states, “The vast majority of people with mental health problems are no more likely to be violent than anyone else. Most people with mental illness are not violent and only 3%-5% of violent acts can be attributed to individuals living with a serious mental illness. In fact, people with severe mental illnesses are over 10 times more likely to be victims of violent crime than the general population.” 2

Yet some years we hear of mass shootings cruelly ripping apart families and destroying our social peace of mind. We reason that the perpetrators must be mentally ill. Who else would do such a thing?

UK writer Katinka Blackford Newman is an articulate young woman who became completely and dangerously psychotic after taking escitalopram, a common antidepressant prescribed by her doctor.

Here is her description of her decent into madness:

“Within hours I was hallucinating, believed I had attacked my children, and stabbing myself with a knife, an event which I still have no recollection of. I ended up in a private hospital where doctors clearly thought I had a screw loose when I told them I was being filmed and that I had a suicide pact with God. My psychosis ended when I said I wanted to stop taking the antidepressant, but doctors insisted I take more pills to treat [and] stabilise my mental health. This began a terrible decline during I couldn’t leave the house, dress myself, finish a sentence. Worst of all, I couldn’t feel love for my children, Lily and Oscar, aged 10 and 11 at the time.

“It was pure luck that I got better. At the end of a year, my private insurance ran out and I ended up sectioned at an NHS [National Health Service] hospital. They made a decision that, without doubt, saved my life. I was taken off all five drugs. I was climbing the walls, screaming, shouting, and begging my family to get me out of there.”

Ms. Newman ponders, “Could it possibly be the case that I had never been depressed at all? That everything I’d been suffering from in the last year was side effects of the drugs the doctors I’d [had] insisted I take?”

After this traumatic experience, Ms. Newman wrote a book, interviewing numerous patients who had no history of mental illness yet became psychotic and even murderous while on prescribed psychiatric medication. Some had killed those closest to them.

She describes a man from Canada who, after taking the antidepressant Seroxat for two weeks was convinced he had to kill his 11-year old son. After carefully planning an event and taking the child to his holiday home, he strangled him. He then called the police to tell them he had “done the right thing.”

She also tells the story of an American banker who murdered his 8-year old twin daughters just 48 hours after taking Prozac. He was convinced the lawn sprinklers were telling him to commit this heinous act.

Chillingly, Ms. Newman concludes that “In all of these cases, the perpetrator showed absolutely no remorse until they came off the drugs. Emotional blunting is another side effect of these drugs.” 3

The psychiatric profession has been given the benefit of a doubt for too long. Their treatments are not only ineffective, but potentially deadly to the patient and to those in their vicinity. How many additional murders will be committed, how many more police lives will be lost before the truth is sharply brought into focus?

Sources:

1    https://www.creators.com/read/daily-editorials/01/17/our-view-police-on-front-lines-of-mental-illness

2    https://www.mentalhealth.gov/basics/myths-facts/

3    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/antidepressants-side-effects-psychosis-nice-terror-attack-german-wings-pilot-extremism-terrorism-a7191566.html

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Baker Acting of Children
27 Jan
1

CCHR Demands Investigation into Involuntary Psychiatric Examination of Children

Baker Acting of ChildrenThe Florida chapter of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), a non-profit dedicated to the eradication of abuses committed under the guise of mental health, is once again demanding an investigation into the involuntary psychiatric examinations of children under the Baker Act following the story of a 6-year-old child being held for three days despite his parents repeated requests to have him released into their care. [i]

The December 30th BuzzFeed article tells the story of a 6-year-old child whose parents said the boy had merely thrown a tantrum but who ended up in a hospital owned by America’s largest psychiatric chain, Universal Health Services (UHS). According to the article, the child was held for three days and the UHS facility, River Point Behavioral Health, filed a court petition to keep the child longer. While in the hospital, the boy suffered a bloody nose and was locked in a seclusion room in the middle of the night.[ii]

Following the release of this story, CCHR, a mental health watchdog that has documented numerous instances of unjust Baker Acting of children in Florida and has fielded many more calls from parents who are too afraid to document their child’s traumatic experiences, announced that they are once again calling for an investigation into the involuntary psychiatric examinations of children under the Baker Act.

“We have filed hundreds of complaints asking for an investigation into the abusive involuntary psychiatric examinations of children under the Baker Act and to date no effective action has been taken,” stated Diane Stein, President CCHR Florida. “How many more families must suffer and how many more children must be put through this gross violation of human rights before this law is changed and parental rights are restored?”

According to the 2015 Annual Report of Baker Act Data prepared for the Agency for Health Care Administration there were 193,410 involuntary examinations initiated in calendar year 2015. An astounding 32,882 were initiated on minors and in Florida; a child may be removed from school grounds and sent for involuntary examination without parental consent or knowledge.[iii] The total number of minors evaluated in Florida under the Baker Act increased by 50 percent from fiscal year 2010 to 2015.[iv]

CCHR Florida is asking for anyone whose child has been unjustly sent for involuntary psychiatric examination without their consent or approval to please write CCHR with full particulars and with any documentary evidence. This information can mailed to CCHR or sent online using this link – Report Psychiatric Abuse. Families interested in learning more about how to protect their children are encouraged to visit the CCHR center at 109 N. Fort Harrison or visit the CCHR website using this link, Non-Consent Form, to download a form they can fill out and file with their children’s school. This form uses existing state law to help protect parental rights.

About CCHR:

Initially established by the Church of Scientology and renowned psychiatrist Dr. Thomas Szasz in 1969, CCHR’s mission is to eradicate abuses committed under the guise of mental health and enact patient and consumer protections.

It was L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, who brought the terror of psychiatric imprisonment to the notice of the world. In March 1969, he said, “Thousands and thousands are seized without process of law, every week, over the ‘free world’ tortured, castrated, killed. All in the name of ‘mental health.’” For more information visit, www.cchrflorida.org

SOURCES:

[i] https://www.buzzfeed.com/rosalindadams/how-a-6-year-old-got-locked-on-a-psych-ward#.vmmEZ6xaw

[ii] https://www.buzzfeed.com/rosalindadams/how-a-6-year-old-got-locked-on-a-psych-ward#.vmmEZ6xaw

[iii] http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/numbers-show-surge-in-baker-act-exams-of-kids-in-tampa-bay-area/2306799

[iv] http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/numbers-show-surge-in-baker-act-exams-of-kids-in-tampa-bay-area/2306799

 

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Vested Interests
27 Jan
0

Mental Health Legislation: Good-Hearted People Swayed by Vested Interests

Vested InterestsWhat is at the heart of a new demand for mental health legislation in Florida? Obviously, Floridians love to help. Most all of us would stop and assist a lost child, happily provide food to hungry veterans or provide holiday gifts to families in need. Seemingly it is in the nature 98 percent of the world’s population to help our fellows. Those of us in Florida are no different.

But are psychiatrists and mental health workers actually helping their patients? This is wildly debatable, even within their own ranks.

This quote from The Sun Sentinel illustrates a point:

“In Titusville, a mentally ill man randomly shot and killed an elderly patient and employee at a hospital. The shooter had previously been arrested and taken into custody for mental health evaluations multiple times.” 1

A usual part of  a “mental health evaluation” is a treatment plan. Was this mentally ill man prescribed one (or several) psychotropic drugs? Even if he were not on a psychiatric medication, how accurate could the evaluation and treatment have been, since it ended with a double murder?

Psychiatry Admits Inability to Cure

The profession of psychiatry admits their helplessness to permanently improve the lot of the mentally distressed, as in this statement made in Psychology Today “…regardless of any scientific breakthroughs looming on the horizon, the treatment for mental illness tomorrow, will look pretty much like it does today. Mentally ill persons will still need a coordinated team of professionals to deliver adequate care. We will still need psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, financial assistance programs, outreach teams and crisis intervention. There will still be sticky court cases regarding ‘forced’ treatment. Psychiatric hospitals, outpatient offices and emergency rooms will still be there.” 2

Numerous psychotropic drugs have been linked to violent behavior and other disturbing side effects. In a Time article from 2011, nine out of the top 10 drugs associated with violence are psychiatric drugs. 3

Psychiatric Drugs: An Elephant in the Room

The English idiom “Elephant in the room” perfectly describes the phenomena of legislative and public blindness to this disturbing and tragic situation. Many find it hard to believe that their doctor would ever prescribe something that could potentially cause harm.

While psychiatry lobbies for legislation to protect and expand their questionable activities, some in their rank are attempting to reign them in.

In a 2016 Psychology Today interview, psychiatrist Peter Breggin states,

“When taken for months or years, all psychiatric drugs can seriously damage the brain, prevent recovery, and ruin the individual’s quality of life.”

In this same interview Dr. Breggin speaks of his court victories in testifying for those harmed by psychiatry.  “I am proud to have been the medical or psychiatric expert in the very first malpractice trial victories involving electroshock (ECT) and psychosurgery, and more recently, many cases involving the adverse effects of psychiatric drugs such as tardive dyskinesia (a movement disorder caused by antipsychotic drugs), and murder and suicide caused by antidepressants, stimulants, and  benzodiazepines.” 4

Alternatives to Psychiatric Treatment

There may be inertia in the United States in changing how the profoundly mentally ill are treated.

But one shining example our own country might follow is that of the town of Geel, in Belgium. For centuries, the severely mentally disturbed have lived in Geel, boarding with people who take them in and watch over them. They are not treated with drugs or electroshock therapy. They are not called patients, they are called “boarders.”  They are happy, proving once and for all that there are humane ways to deal with the truly mentally ill. 5

For the millions of people falsely labeled with a mental disorder and prescribed harmful pharmaceuticals, education into the side effects with stress on alternative and natural treatments is key. For instance, there is strong evidence that fish oil can manage depression. 6

We don’t need more Mental Health Legislation. Many would argue we need the opposite, legislation to reign in psychiatry and protect Florida citizens from its potential abuse.

SOURCES:

1    http://www.sun-sentinel.com/opinion/commentary/fl-ggoped-mental-health-florida-20170112-story.html

2    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/braintalk/201408/cure-mental-illness

3    http://healthland.time.com/2011/01/07/top-ten-legal-drugs-linked-to-violence/

4    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/rethinking-mental-health/201604/peter-breggin-the-psycho-pharmaceutical-complex

5    http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/07/01/484083305/for-centuries-a-small-town-has-embraced-strangers-with-mental-illness

6    http://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/body-mind-spirit/mental-health/fish-oil-for-depression/

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23 Jan
0

Systematic Abuse in Florida UHS Facilities Brought To Light By Investigation

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Are UHS Psychiatric Facilities in Florida Motivated by Profit?

In a word, yes.

Universal Health Services (UHS), is a corporation that owns over 200 psychiatric facilities in the USA and it’s under investigation by various federal and state authorities for its careless and fraudulent care that has damaged patients and violated their human rights.

Florida UHS hospitals are no exception when it comes to UHS crimes.

Following the release of a yearlong investigative study by a team of reporters from BuzzFeed News,[1] a dozen former patients and employees from Jacksonville’s two UHS psychiatric hospitals contacted Action News in Jacksonville to tell their experiences.

UHS Wekiva Springs Center in Jacksonville, FL – Case #1

One patient explained she had voluntarily gone to Wekiva Springs Center in October hoping to find relief from her depression.

She was Baker Acted into the facility and held past the 72 hour limit while her insurance company was charged thousands of dollars. She received no counseling about her feelings of depression.

She told reporters “You sat around all day doing absolutely nothing.  I can say I’m actually worse. It was very traumatic.” [2]

Wekiva Springs Center Business Development Director Stella Bryskin refused to speak with Action News reporter Jenna Bourne about the allegations and directed her to leave the property.

In another case involving Wekiva Springs, CCHR Florida (a non-profit, non-political, non-religious mental health watchdog organization dedicated to investigating and exposing psychiatric human rights violations) filed a complaint with the Agency for Health Care Administration in Tallahassee.

The patient contacted CCHR Florida about her upsetting experience at this facility. The patient voluntarily admitted herself for detox from marijuana but never received that treatment.

Instead she suffered through a series of incorrect and harmful actions.

She has epilepsy which is controlled by her anti-convulsion medication taken in a precise schedule set by her physician. The hospital altered her medicine schedule – within a day she began to have repetitive vomiting episodes and then a grand mal seizure ending up in the emergency room at St. Vincent’s Hospital.

After 24 hours she was sent back to Wekiva Springs. Staff refused or ignored her request to see her primary care physician. In two days she was back in St. Vincent’s following 2 more seizures.  Again the hospital sent her back to Wekiva Springs.

The patient wanted to leave the facility in order to see her primary care physician.  But getting out was not that easy.

The attending psychiatrist refused to sign her release papers and instead Baker Acted the woman to keep her there. This was in violation of current state law as she had arrived there voluntarily and because at no time did she meet the criteria to invoke the Baker Act.

She never exhibited any of the criteria for the Baker Act during her entire time at Wekiva Springs and she felt the Backer Act was done just to ensure the facility could get insurance money for her stay.

UHS River Point Behavioral Health in Jacksonville, FL

Per federal regulations, psychiatric facilities maintain seclusion rooms to contain patients who are dangerous; these rooms are needed to protect staff and patients. But at UHS when the regular beds get full no paying customer is turned away and the seclusion rooms are used. In 2014 federal regulators found that River Point hospital had more patients than they had beds. The regulators discovered vinyl mattresses hidden away in closets and on the floors in patient rooms. The hospital official in charge of Infection Control told the investigators that the mattresses were “better than throwing a blanket on the floor.” [3]

Gayle Eckerd was the hospital’s top executive and ran River Point until 2014. She kept close watch on how long each patient stayed in the facility and posted these statistics on a board in the conference room during staff meetings. Ten days was the goal. Ten is also the number of days that Medicare pays a hospital the full daily rate for a patient without requiring the hospital to get prior approval.

When Eckerd took over in early 2009 only 37% of Medicare patients stayed for 10 days or more. A year later that statistic was over 70% and it kept rising until her death in 2014. Now federal investigators are exploring whether River Point achieved those numbers in part by abusing the courts to hold patients against their will.

“In 2009, the year before UHS bought the hospital, it filed 238 petitions for involuntary commitment. Four years later, that number had grown to 1,362 — an increase of more than 470%.” [4] according to BuzzFeed’s investigative report.

Michael Pruitt is a good example of River Point’s so-called ‘care’.

Michael was feeling hopeless and he called a veteran help line in March of 2014. Police brought him to River Point under the Baker Act.

The hospital said that Pruitt had told the Veterans Administration he was having thoughts about killing himself, however the River Point records show that Pruitt repeatedly said he was not suicidal. The hospital refused to release him after 3 days in violation of the Baker Act law and instead filed a petition in court to hold him longer – despite not meeting the criteria.

A former River Point therapist told BuzzFeed “The rule of thumb is: If you came in under a Baker Act, we’re going to file a petition, and then we figure out what the days situation is with the insurance company. If they didn’t have insurance they were discharged.” [5]

In Pruitt’s case his doctor could not explain to the federal regulators why Pruitt needed to be involuntarily hospitalized. “Probably a mood disorder. I’ve only known him a short time…maybe bipolar affective disorder.” [6]

The doctor could only say that Pruitt seemed “angry, irritable and mildly hostile” – not too unreasonable for someone being held against his will in a psychiatric hospital.

The investigators reported the doctor had failed to properly diagnose Pruitt for release and in April of 2014 a larger investigation led to a suspension of Medicare payments to River Point.

UHS Suncoast Behavioral Health in Bradenton, Florida

In Kevin Burn’s case he was refused treatment due to this hospital’s policies on taking only patients with insurance that would pay for the treatment.

Three former Suncoast employees reported that admissions decisions were made this way:

“If the person has insurance, why haven’t they been admitted? If they don’t have insurance, why are they still here?… If they all didn’t have a payer — an insurance plan —the next day you’d get a call from your corporate regional person: ‘Why are you admitting ‘self-pay’ payers?’ If someone is self-pay it’s well known that’s a no-pay.”[7]

Burns had been discharged earlier from Suncoast but 2 days later he felt an urge to harm himself. He walked back to Suncoast where they barred the door, refused to let him in for a free analysis and called the police. Burns went to nearby Walmart, bought razors and made cuts on his wrists.

“I was begging for help, and that was the first logical thing I could think of to do,” Burns told BuzzFeed News.[8]

In the end, Suncoast admitted it had violated state law by not accepting Burns and was fined $1,000.

At the UHS Florida hospitals between 2013 and 2015, 55% of self-paying patients were discharged within three days, compared with just 30% of patients with commercial insurance. [9]

UHS Atlantic Shores Hospital in Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Another abuse case filed with the Agency for Health Care Administration in Tallahassee by CCHR Florida in January of 2016 was regarding a woman who had been held for 8 days against her will at Atlantic Shores Hospital. The allegations were:

  • Violations of her civil rights by illegal involuntary commitment with no legal due process per the Baker Act laws
  • Denial of writ of habeas corpus (A writ of habeas corpus is used to bring a prisoner or other detainee such as an institutionalized mental patient before the court to determine if the person’s imprisonment or detention is lawful.)
  • Falsification of medical records
  • Improper and below industry standard treatment with regards to informed consent and administration of psychotropic medications
  • Violations of patient rights under the Baker Act laws.

The woman was essentially a victim of false imprisonment. On April 8th a police officer came to her door telling her he had a Court ordered ex parte order [A circuit or county court may enter an ex parte order stating that a person appears to meet the criteria for involuntary examination and specifying the findings on which that conclusion is based. The ex parte order for involuntary examination must be based on written or oral sworn testimony that includes specific facts that support the findings.]

She asked to see this court order and it was not shown to her. She and a guest were dressed in bathing suits on the way to the pool and she was not allowed to change clothes but was taken in handcuffs directly to Atlantic Shores Hospital.

The CCHR Florida abuse report shows she was forcibly and physically held (restrained) the first day at Atlantic Shores by two large men who pinned her to the bed and gave her Haldol injections when she specifically had requested NOT to receive that medication.

The records indicate she was given this for “agitation” yet the patient says the staff actually woke her up to inject her with the Haldol as she was sleeping. There is no mention of this physical restraint in the records.  No evidence of signed orders for this restraint. No records of the specific behavior prompting this restraint or any signed express and informed consent in the record.

For 7 days she kept asking daily for a writ of habeas corpus and was ignored. Finally she managed to contact a personal friend at the ACLU who got her a court date. The day after the hospital learned of this scheduled court date, they released the patient.

Along with these and other violations, the patient reported that many false statements were written by the hospital staff and placed into her file.

The hospital reports said she had not been taking her medication (Wellbutrin and Valium) which she had. They also said she had been “belligerent and aggressive with residents and staff at her Assisted Living Facility (ALF)” whereas the patient has never lived in an ALF and lives in her own private condo that she owns.

Another false statement said she had financial issues and was unemployed whereas she lives on her retirement money having worked as a professional in the community for 30 years.

Members of Congress who are looking into UHS violations need the support of the citizens of Florida.

If UHS’s psychiatric facilities are unable or unwilling fix their many violations, it’s time to close them down.

 

[1] https://www.buzzfeed.com/rosalindadams/intake?

[2] http://www.actionnewsjax.com/news/local/jacksonville-mental-health-facilities-dodge-questions-about-fraud-allegations/474443651

[3] https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3217732-River-Point-Behavioral-Health-2567s-Part-1.html#document/p4/a328044

[4] https://www.buzzfeed.com/rosalindadams/intake?

[5] Ibid

[6] Ibid

[7] Ibid

[8] Ibid

[9] Ibid

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Police LIne Photo Credit www.esbtrib.com
23 Jan
0

The Real Cause Behind School Shootings

Police LIne Photo Credit www.esbtrib.com

Photo Credit www.esbtrib.com

While some have linked school shootings to “lack of mental health services” and hint that there would be fewer such incidents if people were under the watchful eye of mental health specialists, the true facts are either buried or obscured.

A recent Fox News report admits that “Researchers lacked data on a lot of factors that can influence gun violence, but they did find fewer school shootings occurred in states with mandatory background checks and higher spending on mental health and education.” 1

According to this report, spending more money on mental health equals less gun violence. If that were the case then one would expect to find the violent offenders were not receiving mental health care. But the exact opposite is true.

National Institute of Mental Health Admits Violent Link to Psychiatric Drugs

These observations were made in a NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health) report:

“And, of course, scripts linking guns and mental illness arise in the aftermath of many US mass shootings in no small part because of the psychiatric histories of the assailants. Reports suggest that up to 60% of perpetrators of mass shootings in the United States since 1970 displayed symptoms including acute paranoia, delusions, and depression before committing their crimes…. Aurora, Colorado, movie theater shooter James Holmes ‘was seeing a psychiatrist specializing in schizophrenia’ before he opened fire in a crowded theater…Isla Vista, California, shooter Elliot Rodger suffered from Asperger’s disorder and took psychotropic medications.” 2

Psychology Today Contributor says Suicide and Violence Related to Psych Drugs

Lennard J. Davis bolsters this viewpoint in a piece he wrote for Psychology Today:

“It’s been well known that adolescents and young people have an increased risk of suicide when they begin to take SSRIs. But what we may forget is that suicide is an impulsive behavior that is turned against oneself. But impulses, particularly violent ones, can be turned against others.

“An accompanying effect of SSRI’s is the dulling of feelings that cause depression—and one of the main feelings in this line is empathy. If empathy is dulled and violent impulses increase when young people are on SSRI’s, then certainly that is a recipe for causing harm to others.”

Davis seems to realize these drugs are dangerous as he then states, “…we also have to entertain the idea that those drugs may have directly or indirectly contributed to the violence that resulted…After all, drugs are drugs—with effects and side effects. We need to know more about how these drugs work before we decide that the best policy is to get as many trouble adolescents on them as possible. The physician’s motto: ‘Do no harm’ is more relevant than ever in this scenario.” 3

Scientists in PLOS Report Warn of Serious Adverse Effects

It has been admitted in a Public Library of Science (PLOS) report that “acts of violence towards others are a genuine and serious adverse drug event associated with a relatively small group of drugs. Varenicline [Chantex], which increases the availability of dopamine, and antidepressants with serotonergic [denoting a nerve ending that releases and is stimulated by serotonin] effects were the most strongly and consistently implicated drugs. Prospective studies to evaluate systematically this side effect are needed to establish the incidence, confirm differences among drugs and identify additional common features.” 4

While researchers ponder further studies to “evaluate systematically this side effect”, the public remains at risk.

What is the Solution?

The real perpetrators of violent behavior are the psychiatrists peddling and the drug companies that continue to manufacture these drugs.

If only one person died at the hands of a murderous maniac on a psychiatric drug, that would be one person too many. But the number of lives lost to violent mass shootings since the year 2000 is over four hundred.5

How many of the perpetrators were on psychiatric drugs? Many times those facts are hidden so one can only speculate. But as the NIMH revealed, there are several shooters openly acknowledged as having been under the effect of psychotropic drugs during their shooting rampage.

What will it take to remove the offending drugs from the marketplace? Apparently, concern for humanity on the part of drug producers and psychiatrists is not forthcoming. Profit and greed have replaced the Hippocratic oath in the so-called medical profession known as psychiatry. It is time we all raise our voice on this issue.

 

1          http://www.foxnews.com/health/2016/12/13/gun-laws-mental-health-spending-tied-to-fewer-school-shootings.html

2          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4318286/

3          https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/obsessively-yours/201212/newtown-shootings-caution-about-violence-and-ssris

4          http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0015337

5          http://time.com/4368615/orlando-mass-shootings-chart/

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