Madam, – We welcome the inspector of mental health services’ report. which for the first time collects data on medication prescription patterns and highlights in particular the overuse of sedatives in mental health units.

This finding is a reflection of a general increase, over the last 25 years, in prescribing psychopharmacological products as the main response to human distress. Similar concerns about overuse of such medications have been expressed over the years by groups and individuals affected by psychiatric treatment. Such concerns were again emphasised at a recent mental health recovery conference in University College Cork.

We note that lack of resources, such as understaffing due to cuts in budgets, have been offered as key explanations for the overuse of sedatives.

While no doubt resources play a role, there are much deeper issues which sustain the pharmacological approach as the almost exclusive response to people in distress. It is obvious that human distress continues to be framed primarily in biomedical terms. What is required is a paradigmatic shift from this narrow biomedical concept towards a much broader understanding of human experiences of distress.

We welcome the “urgent review” but we would argue that any review needs to be all- embracing in its remit rather than narrowly focusing on the over-use of sedatives.

Any review needs to consider the education of mental health professionals and identify good practices beyond pharmacology. It also needs to examine service-user experience of involvement in decision-making about care and treatment, as espoused by the Vision for Changemental health strategy.

What is ultimately required is a radical review in the way we understand, respond to and engage with human distress. – Yours, etc,

LYDIA SAPOUNA,

School of Applied Social Studies

Dr HARRY GIJBELS,

School of Nursing and Midwifery,

University College Cork.

Center for the Human Rights of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry

44 Palmer Pond Rd.

Chestertown, NY 12817 USA

www.chrusp.org

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

Statement on the Tragic Shootings in Arizona

January 11, 2011

 

The Center for the Human Rights of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (CHRUSP) joins in the call to disavow political rhetoric that draws on violent images or promotes the use of weapons as a means to settle disputes.  We offer our solidarity and heartfelt concern to Gabrielle Giffords, the other wounded individuals, and the families of those who died.  We feel strongly that this tragedy needs to serve as a wakeup call to America, to set aside all forms of hatred, xenophobia and bigotry as well as all incitement to violence, to re-unite as an inclusive society committed to nonviolence in the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision of this country’s possibilities.

 

CHRUSP asks all people of conscience to reject an easy pigeonholing of the perpetrator based on an alleged mental illness.  Disability profiling does not work to make anyone safer, and it further divides our body politic – making those on the receiving end more vulnerable to scapegoating, discrimination and violence in all its forms, including the kinds of violence masked as help in the mental health system. 

 

CHRUSP does not support discriminatory gun regulations – we do support gun control laws that affect everyone equally.  We do not support segregation of prisoners labeled with mental illness in “treatment” programs that amount to medical control – we believe that human dignity includes responsibility for what we do.  We support a moratorium on the death penalty for all people – not selective application of any kind. 

 

CHRUSP believes that there is a need to look at the social roots of crime and violence, and to reach out compassionately to those who might benefit from support to turn their lives around before they reach a point of desperation.  We do not believe that the mental health system as currently constituted offers such support. Instead it takes an aggressive approach to thoughts, feelings and behavior theorized as being caused by imbalances in the brain – to be eradicated using weapon-like modalities that destroy healthy brain tissue, such as electroshock (ECT), psychosurgery and neuroleptic drugs.   Due to laws that allow compulsory treatment and compulsory hospitalization, people who value the gifts of all their thoughts and feelings do not have the freedom to protect themselves and are rendered powerless.  This is not conducive to individual or collective well-being, and it is not compassionate.

-2-

 

CHRUSP invites all people of conscience to join together in exploring what it means to live non-violently, and to create opportunities for diverse communities to be heard in these conversations.

 

 

The Center for the Human Rights of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (CHRUSP) provides strategic leadership in human rights advocacy, implementation and monitoring relevant to people experiencing madness, mental health problems or trauma.  In particular, CHRUSP works for full legal capacity for all, an end to forced drugging, forced electroshock and psychiatric incarceration, and for support that respects individual integrity and free will. 

Center for the Human Rights of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry

44 Palmer Pond Rd.

Chestertown, NY 12817 USA

www.chrusp.org

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

Statement on the Tragic Shootings in Arizona

January 11, 2011

 

The Center for the Human Rights of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (CHRUSP) joins in the call to disavow political rhetoric that draws on violent images or promotes the use of weapons as a means to settle disputes.  We offer our solidarity and heartfelt concern to Gabrielle Giffords, the other wounded individuals, and the families of those who died.  We feel strongly that this tragedy needs to serve as a wakeup call to America, to set aside all forms of hatred, xenophobia and bigotry as well as all incitement to violence, to re-unite as an inclusive society committed to nonviolence in the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision of this country’s possibilities.

 

CHRUSP asks all people of conscience to reject an easy pigeonholing of the perpetrator based on an alleged mental illness.  Disability profiling does not work to make anyone safer, and it further divides our body politic – making those on the receiving end more vulnerable to scapegoating, discrimination and violence in all its forms, including the kinds of violence masked as help in the mental health system. 

 

CHRUSP does not support discriminatory gun regulations – we do support gun control laws that affect everyone equally.  We do not support segregation of prisoners labeled with mental illness in “treatment” programs that amount to medical control – we believe that human dignity includes responsibility for what we do.  We support a moratorium on the death penalty for all people – not selective application of any kind. 

 

CHRUSP believes that there is a need to look at the social roots of crime and violence, and to reach out compassionately to those who might benefit from support to turn their lives around before they reach a point of desperation.  We do not believe that the mental health system as currently constituted offers such support. Instead it takes an aggressive approach to thoughts, feelings and behavior theorized as being caused by imbalances in the brain – to be eradicated using weapon-like modalities that destroy healthy brain tissue, such as electroshock (ECT), psychosurgery and neuroleptic drugs.   Due to laws that allow compulsory treatment and compulsory hospitalization, people who value the gifts of all their thoughts and feelings do not have the freedom to protect themselves and are rendered powerless.  This is not conducive to individual or collective well-being, and it is not compassionate.

-2-

 

CHRUSP invites all people of conscience to join together in exploring what it means to live non-violently, and to create opportunities for diverse communities to be heard in these conversations.

 

 

The Center for the Human Rights of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (CHRUSP) provides strategic leadership in human rights advocacy, implementation and monitoring relevant to people experiencing madness, mental health problems or trauma.  In particular, CHRUSP works for full legal capacity for all, an end to forced drugging, forced electroshock and psychiatric incarceration, and for support that respects individual integrity and free will.