With new bills proposing some scary, expansive changes to the Baker Act here in Florida, it’s time for citizens and Florida State Legislators to take a good look at what is going on here.
The Baker Act allows the involuntary institutionalization and examination of an individual when any one of a list of authorized professionals believes the person has a mental illness and signs a form to that effect. Currently included as professionals are Psychiatrists, Physicians (non-psychiatric), Clinical Psychologists, Psychiatric Nurses, Clinical Social Workers and Licensed Mental Health Counselors.
The Baker Act Form has a box where the professional writes in what his or her diagnosis is of the mental illness, listing all mental health diagnoses applicable to the person. A second box calls for the DSM Code(s) (if known).
The DSM is the psychiatric “bible” containing all the mental illness diagnoses agreed upon by the American Psychiatric Association, the official professional organization of psychiatry.
If the DSM code is left blank in the Baker Act form, does this mean the “professional” was just too lazy to look it up or has he failed to actually observe anything in the patient that fits “the bible”?
Apparently accuracy is not a watchword in the psychiatric profession.
At the bottom of the form, the professional signs and prints his name, and then is asked “Has the professional completed the Baker Act training offered through the FMHI (Florida Mental Health Institute)?
There are 3 boxes to choose from: “yes”, “no” or “unknown”.
So these pillars of wisdom who hold citizens’ mental health in their hands, can Baker Act someone if they haven’t taken Baker Act training or if they are so confused they don’t even know if they’ve taken the classes or not?
Apparently, they can, and they do.
New legislation being discussed now in the Florida House and Senate includes extending the list of “professionals” who can Baker Act people.
At a visit to the curriculum website for Baker Act training courses, one learns about these courses:
- Law Enforcement: designed as a review of the Baker Act with emphasis on relevant statutes in regards to law enforcement.
- Emergency Medical Conditions: This course is focused on the Federal EMTALA (Emergency Medical Treatment and the Active Labor Act) and its relationship to the state’s Baker Act as applied to emergency conditions regarding psychiatric treatment, stabilization, and transfer in hospital settings.
- Minors: This course is designed as a review of the Baker Act with emphasis on relevant statutes affecting children and adolescents residing both in the community and within treatment facilities. The focus of the course is on the special needs of minors with regards to child development, the child and adolescent comprehensive Mental Health Act and various dimensions of ‘consent’. Included in this course are issues pertaining to psychotropic medication with children.
Length of each course – 2 Hours
Passing grade required to get each certificate – 80%
Adults and kids involuntarily Baker Acted and given harmful psychiatric drugs due to a misapplication of the law by a person who had failed to learn 20% of his job would have no legal recourse against such a bungling “professional.”
But what does psychiatry really know about the cause of mental illness, accurate diagnosis and the drugs they give out to match each disorder listed in the DSM?
Apparently, not much.
Here are some quotes from psychiatrists and psychologists exposing the failure of the DSM and their own profession.
“While DSM has been described as a ‘Bible’ for the field, it is, at best, a dictionary, creating a set of labels and defining each… The weakness is its lack of validity. Unlike our definitions of heart disease, lymphoma, or AIDS, the DSM diagnoses are based on a consensus about clusters of clinical symptoms, not any objective laboratory measure. In the rest of medicine, this would be equivalent to creating diagnostic systems based on the nature of chest pain or the quality of fever… Patients with mental disorders deserve better.” – Dr. Thomas Insel, Director of the National Institutes of Mental Health
The proposed DSM-5 will “radically and recklessly expand the boundaries of psychiatry” and result in the “medicalization of normality, individual difference, and criminality.” – Allen Frances, Emeritus professor at Duke University, Committee Chair for DSM –IV
“DSM-V will pathologise a wide range of problems which should never be thought of as mental illnesses. Many people who are shy, bereaved, eccentric, or have unconventional romantic lives will suddenly find themselves labeled as mentally ill.” – Peter Kinderman, clinical psychologist, Head of Liverpool University’s Institute of Psychology
For example, “Oppositional Defiant Disorder” is a condition in which a child “actively refuses to comply with majority’s requests” and “performs deliberate actions to annoy others.” Kinderman goes on to say:
“That basically means children who say ‘no’ to their parents more than a certain number of times. Onthat criteria, many of us would have to say our children are mentally ill.” – Peter Kinderman, clinical psychologist, Head of Liverpool University’s Institute of Psychology
The Baker Act relies on the faulty DSM diagnosis system created by the very profession who earns its livelihood by labeling more and more citizens as mentally ill and then medicating them.
It should not be allowed to expand.
Eric Maisel Ph.D., a psychotherapist and bestselling author, wrote some words in Psychology Today that Florida citizens and politicians would be wise to consider:
“There can be no real change in this procedure until politicians intervene; and they will not intervene because of the power of Big Pharma. Perhaps when some senator notices that her six-year-old son, who is on an antidepressant, an anticonvulsant, and an antipsychotic, has suffered a psychotic break that will cost him his whole adult life, she will be moved to say, ‘I don’t care how much Big Pharma is paying me, I’m sick of this lie.’ Perhaps then some questions will get asked by people with the clout to demand real answers. Until then the hoax will continue.”