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, 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.
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.’”