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Involuntary Commitment and Disparaging the Rights of the "Mentally Ill"

 
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 906269
United States
03/07/2010 10:09 PM
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Involuntary Commitment and Disparaging the Rights of the "Mentally Ill"
Involuntary commitment laws are common to all fifty states. The procedure enjoys wide support but a devoted few have dedicated their lives to fighting this unjust evil.

There are many legal issues to consider on involuntary commitment and I will cover a few in the next few pages.

Due process
Violations of fundamental constitutional safeguards
The First Amendment
The Fifth Amendment
Compelling the patient to exercise his rights
Violation of informed consent
Historical perspectives of involuntary commitment

Due process generally refers to the entire trial process and demands that it be fair and operate on a few basic premises. The first is that the individual is made aware of the charges against him. Second, that the trial be fair and open. Third, that the suspect is allowed to confront those who testify against him. And Fourth, that the suspect has the freedom from self-incrimination popularly known as the right to remain silent.

However for the mentally ill, these rarely apply. The application of the notification of charges in all jurisdictions requires the suspect be given ample notice so that he may prepare a defense, yet in the mental health court, the trial is held within three days of apprehension with almost no notification of the charges, much less ample notification. Essentially you are notified when they come to take you away and there is no opportunity to prepare a defense.

Neither is the trial fair and open, with the reliance on a particular witness, family member or doctor, who in the former may have ulterior motives for testifying against his relative (familial disagreements, vendettas, land disputes, inheritance claims after the death of parents usually) or the latter may have significant ties to Big Pharma or may be corrupted to the extent that his testimony may otherwise be regarded as unreliable.

Even the confrontation of the witness is routinely disregarded, usually with the “evidence” being nothing more than a sworn testimony in the form of an affidavit presented to the court. One noted community of medical professionals online even recommend, when pursuing a commitment order with a psychiatrist, that “family members and friends should ask to speak privately with the person conducting the patient's examination and explain what has been happening at home. The professional will then be able to question the patient and hear the patient's distorted thinking for themselves.” The patient is never allowed to respond to the accusations in these situations and note that this particular group of professionals readily admit that the doctor will[/]i hear the patient’s distorted thinking for themselves which has lead me to believe that the very accusation of mental illness presents a presumption of guilt until innocence is proven rather than a presumption of innocence until guilt is proven. Essentially whether disordered thinking, delusional or magical thinking are present or not, "the professional will... hear the patient's distorted thinking for themselves".

It goes on to say that “Professionals must personally witness bizarre behavior and hear delusional thoughts before they can legally recommend commitment, and family and friends can give them the information they need to do so.” Yet the law requires in all states that the individual be a threat to themselves or others, not simply that delusions of any sort or bizarre behavior is evidenced. Think these individuals are some uninformed, ignorant disinterested party of people with no credentials? These are actually the words of the National Institutes of Health.

Violations of fundamental constitutional safeguards

It would probably come as a shock to you that murderers and common criminals receive more constitutional protections than the mentally ill. A few of these basic protections include the writ of habeas corpus to establish probable cause, the right to bail (except in capital offenses), the right to a fair and speedy trial, and freedom from cruel and unusual punishment. However, none of these apply to the mentally ill, except in the case of a fair and speedy trial, which sadly is a great overstatement. It is more of a kangaroo court that determines your fate in a probable cause hearing lasting no more than 20 minutes.

The basic process for the criminal is that he commits a crime, then upon the presentment of an indictment from the grand jury he is taken into custody, brought to answer for the charge and an arraignment including the setting of bail, and finally a jury selection followed by a trial where innocence or guilt is determined.

No such safeguards exist for the mentally ill. In fact, upon the doctor or officer receiving testimony from an individual as to the person’s mental illness, the patient can be taken without charge to a mental hospital. He can then be held for 48 hours before the judge determines whether he must stay for an additional three months, as allowed by law. There is no setting of bail, there is typically no jury of one’s peers to try the case, and the person can be held indefinitely with a suspension of due process. Even the criminals have dates for which they can look forward to being released. The mentally ill have no such guarantee. More shocking is that the person may have never committed a crime in his life yet is treated as less than a criminal.

Criminals are also protected from cruel and unusual punishment. There is no such protection for the mentally ill. Many of these patients eventually are brought to comply with court orders for medication and treatment, including the injurious electro-convulsive therapy which causes brain damage in every administration. [1]

Additional objections to involuntary commitment on constitutional bases

The First Amendment and The Fifth Amendment

One primary method of committing an individual is the presentment of evidence in the form of one’s own written words. Civil libertarians object to this on the basis of the Free Speech clause of the First Amendment which reads in part, “Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech...”

A second objection under the Bill of Rights is the Fifth Amendment which reads, “No person shall be compelled... in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.” This is also known as the right to remain silent. It should be noted here that in a criminal case in a pure constitutional republic, no defense should be required, due to the presumption of innocence until guilt is proven, therefore the only side needing to be presented is that of the prosecution. The right to remain silent reflects upon that forgotten historical fact. Any common criminal can never be compelled to “be a witness against himself.” Yet for the mentally ill in court, the suspect cannot remain silent, for that very silence can be used as further evidence of his mental illness.

Compelling the patient to exercise his rights, offering fake “rights”, and Informed Consent

Under Texas law there are many statutory rights for the mentally ill in the care of a hospital. Some of these are the rights to appropriate treatment for the patient’s mental illness in the least restrictive appropriate setting available, to not receive unnecessary or excessive medication, to refuse to participate in a research program, to an individualized treatment plan and to participate in developing the plan and a humane treatment environment that provides reasonable protection from harm and appropriate privacy for personal needs.

Interesting that an insane asylum should provide protection from harm for a person when that person is surrounded by individuals who are dangerously mentally ill and violent, that is if we are to believe the involuntary commitment proponents.

Other such “rights” are concluded with the phrase saying that they “are subject to the general rules of the facility.” This is hogwash. Rights are not subject to any limitations insofar as they do not infringe on others or present any serious liability or deemed injurious to public health or order.

But one right of great interest to me here is the right to appropriate treatment. To be provided with treatment, the patient must give his informed consent in accordance with the law. Yet again though, the courts routinely violate these provisions of the law. Ben Hansen, committee member of the Department of Community Health Recipient Rights Advisory Committee, writes, "Consent laws are made a mockery by judges who rule that individuals are competent when they consent to treatment, but incompetent when they refuse treatment." As I have learned through my research on this issue, the quickest way to get out of the mental hospital is to consent to all therapies. Consenting to therapy is recognized as making great progress and development, whereas refusing treatment shows, as the NIH says, that the patient “believe [his] delusions or hallucinations are real and psychiatric help is not required”. Hence, the right to “appropriate treatment” is not really a right at all, but for the unlawfully confined is a mandate. Such as we see with the health care mandate. The claim is that it is a right, and because it is a right you must buy it. Rights are no more rights when we are compelled to exercise them than up is down or black is white. But wherefore would they then imprison you for “danger to oneself or others” if you were not in need of treatment? Put another way, because you need treatment, we are taking you. But even if you don't need treatment, we have already taken you so you must accept it. This principle was confirmed in the 1970s by the Rosenhan Experiment, which proved that even the psychiatric "professionals" themselves cannot distinguish between the sane and the insane.

Historical perspectives

Finally, the last objection to involuntary commitment covered here is the historical use of involuntary commitment.

Involuntary commitment has been used extensively in communist nations to control political dissent. China recognizes “Political harm to society” as a dangerous mental disorder that requires treatment. Soviet Russia used involuntary commitment laws to imprison the anti-Communists. They reasoned that no sane individual would denounce communism.

To this day, throughout the world, and even in America, political dissenters are imprisoned on the basis of mental illness. It is not politically correct to make personal attacks on an individual but to discredit an opponent for a “legitimate” psychiatric reason is allowed by law, and even encouraged.

Take a look around you and consider why birthers, truthers, and conspiracy theorists are so attacked. They have uncovered massive lies in these government administrations and the secret police are out there. I challenge everyone who reads this to read the laws of your state and country and learn them well because they are there to be broken* and they can determine the outcome of your entire life. Read them, if not for your own good, then for the good of others you can offer assistance to because there is coming a day when the law will not be used just to convict common criminals but rather will be used to convict even the innocent. A police state is coming and I believe psychiatry will be at the forefront of its implementation and enforcement. Read the law and protect yourself.

[1] Sackeim et. al.., 2007
Anonymous Coward (OP)
User ID: 906269
United States
03/07/2010 10:14 PM
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Re: Involuntary Commitment and Disparaging the Rights of the "Mentally Ill"
The Rosenhan Experiment was lead by David Rosenhan who enlisted 7 individuals to feign mental illness, receive admission into a mental hospital, and act as agents within the facilities.

A few of these members were psychiatrists (and one Psy. D. candidate) themselves and upon admission, showed no outward sign or any sign of psychopathology.

There initial complaint was hearing voices saying words such as "bump" or "thud" and upon admission immediately claimed the voices had stopped. However they were held an average of 19 days before being released with the shortest time being 7 days and the longest being 52 days.

None of them suffered from any mental illness.

They mostly took notes and observed their surroundings, with several nurses remarking that the note-taking appeared to be compulsive and pathological in nature. The other patients themselves suspected them as journalists or someone who did not belong in such a facility.

The same findings (that professionals cannot recognize the sane from the insane or mental illness itself) was later replicated in a similar experiment by David Rosenhan.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 909626
Canada
03/07/2010 10:14 PM
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Re: Involuntary Commitment and Disparaging the Rights of the "Mentally Ill"
Judge a society by how they treat their most vulnerable or something, someone said.

Or so the voices tell me.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
User ID: 906269
United States
03/07/2010 10:28 PM
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Re: Involuntary Commitment and Disparaging the Rights of the "Mentally Ill"
Judge a society by how they treat their most vulnerable or something, someone said.

Or so the voices tell me.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 909626


Sure. Gandhi taught that. I'm a White, Christian, Conservative Southerner, Libertarian, Conspiracy Theorist, Smoker, Aspie, dark-haired dark-eyed mongrel.

People call me a racist. What? I think I can say with certainty that the Black Panthers, Neo-Nazis, Skinheads, and Klan, all hate me equally. I couldn't join any of them because I'm not completely white myself.

The scientists, liberals, supremacists, racists, neuro-typicals, elite, and every other group on earth hate me for at least one of the above reasons.

And you listen to Jesse Jackson and he wants you to believe blacks are hated. Bullshit.
RockemMahSoul
User ID: 76679
United States
07/09/2010 10:45 PM
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Re: Involuntary Commitment and Disparaging the Rights of the "Mentally Ill"
Your take on involuntary commitment is so right on it's frightening.
Blacks ARE hated however. Don't throw that fact out the window as for one thing...you don't need to in terms of your arguments on involuntary commitment, which stand perfectly well on their own.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 996495
United States
07/10/2010 10:58 AM
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Re: Involuntary Commitment and Disparaging the Rights of the "Mentally Ill"
five stars. i have personal experience with this, and i can say that psychiatrists are no help to people with serious issues.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 1002444
United States
07/10/2010 11:02 AM
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Re: Involuntary Commitment and Disparaging the Rights of the "Mentally Ill"
yeah its a really sad situation. i was under court order to take meds for like 2 years but finally i was able to stop taking them.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 1000551
United States
07/10/2010 11:12 AM
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Re: Involuntary Commitment and Disparaging the Rights of the "Mentally Ill"
bump Interesting.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 1002444
United States
07/10/2010 11:29 AM
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Re: Involuntary Commitment and Disparaging the Rights of the "Mentally Ill"
like in new york there's Kendra's Law. all because one guy pushed some lady in front of a subway train.


the terms of it are so broad they can skew it to fit mostly anyone they like, and use it to involuntarily commit them.


one time, (would never do this again, i know better now)


NAMI = EVIL
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 1002444
United States
07/10/2010 11:30 AM
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Re: Involuntary Commitment and Disparaging the Rights of the "Mentally Ill"
like in new york there's Kendra's Law. all because one guy pushed some lady in front of a subway train.


the terms of it are so broad they can skew it to fit mostly anyone they like, and use it to involuntarily commit them.


one time, (would never do this again, i know better now)


NAMI = EVIL
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 1002444

oh meant to say one time i went to the hospital myself, and automatically they convert you to INvoluntary status. even fi you go there yourself? how does that make any sense.


so my point is, don't do anything involving psychiatrists or anything. just stay out of the system if you aren't in it already.





GLP