On The Human Rights Of “Mental” People
Australia, has become one of the worst countries in the developed world for the abuse of people suffering with mental health problems. If you are one of the 5 million or so Australians who at the moment are feeling anxious, depressed, hopeless or are struggling to cope and you turn to any of the public mental health services for help or support you are at risk of being involuntarily confined, restrained, assaulted and subjected against your will to injections of long acting addictive medication that some describe as “torture”. If you don’t co-operate you could be subjected to electro shock (ECT) treatment. You may also be deprived of all your legal rights and are likely to receive a questionable diagnosis that will subject you to public stigmatization and label you as “mad” for the rest of your life.
According to the The United Nations Human Rights Commision, the field of mental disorder has been co-opted for purposes that suit the state and the psychiatric industry, not for purposes that suit the sufferers.
It is not only the patients who are complaining. Many mental health practitioners are also fed up with the abuses they see on a daily basis.
Most are afraid to speak out. To do so is to risk not only losing their jobs but also their professional accreditation. Many are moving on to other fields creating a shortage of competent, capable mental health professionals.
But some professionals are speaking out. One of then is an experienced Australian psychiatrist who has worked in both the prison system and with indigenous communities. Here is what Dr Niall McLaren has to say about the human rights of “Mental” people. More …
Niall McLaren On Critical Psychiatry
Niall is a retired Australian psychiatrist with a lifetime of practical clinical experience. He generally takes an adversarial position towards main stream psychiatric practices. While views expressed in his articles are obviously his own, we have read some of his books and many of his publications and generally support what we regard as his common sense approach to mental health.
Subscribe directly to his articles here. If you are in a position to do so, please support his work with a donation that would undoubtedly be appreciated.
The Pink Panther Movement endeavours to represent many Australians who experience mental health problems as well as problems with what is widely acknowledged as a dysfunctional mental health system. If you take into account the families and loved ones also affected, the problem becomes astronomical. Refusal of authorities to face the many long outstanding issues around effective treatment and resources is resulting in untold misery and suffering.
This is the place to have your say about these problems. It is also a place for us to try and collectively do something about them as well as building relationships with other wonderfully mad people.
As individuals acting alone we typically find ourselves isolated and without a public voice. We are also very vulnerable to those who are all too ready to take advantage of our situation.
Dealing with mental health problems is difficult enough. We don’t need the additional burden of control freaks who want to treat us like children or worse. We can also do without poor quality, unaffordable or unavailable services as well as laws that deprive us of our human rights, justify institutionalized abuse and believe it or not even condone involuntary archaic practices that are commonly considered dangerous, ineffective and regarded by some as torture.
There are five practical things we are trying to do about these problems –
- Provide peer support for each other. A fellow panther in need is a panther indeed.
- Peer support includes practical things like helping another panther facing a mental health tribunal hearings and wanting to challenge it or wanting to transition off unnecessary, addictive psychiatric medication including involuntary treatment.
- Encourage and support people who have been subjected to significant mental health abuses by governments and/or mental health services. Advice and support with legal actions for damages.
- Initiate or support challenges against state laws and government practices where they contravene international laws or policies.
- Initiate or support community based peer-to peer programs that have been shown to offer better, gentler, kinder and more affordable alternatives than the existing dysfunctional system
You can help by –
- Joining this movement. Every member counts. We need numbers to make our concerns and opinions count.
- Becoming aware of what is going on and talking to any one who will listen.
- Have your say online by responding to written articles.
- Write an article yourself. We will help you polish up what you have written and make it look and sound great. Just remember we need factual information, not adjectives.
- Helping where you can. This is a voluntary organisation where we try and help each other to the best of our abilities. There are lots of jobs, both large and small that will need doing to keep a movement like this moving along and getting results. Being a supportive friend to another panther can make a huge difference.
We are not anti-psychiatry, anti-psychology, anti-medication, anti-government nor are we mental illness deniers.
We are opposed to involuntary treatment, involuntary confinement, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment including punishment or torture in accordance with the World Health Organisation (WHO) Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2030 and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
We are also opposed to treating human beings who are unfortunate enough to succumb to mental health problems (it can happen to anybody) as sub humans who deserve contempt and abuse, rather than compassionate help and support.
We are aware that many people working in mental health services share these concerns but often feel powerless to do much about the current situation.
We support the international Mad Pride movement including Mad In America, website and magazine. Some of the best and kindest people in the world refer to themselves as mad. Turn your madness into an asset and at the same time, help put a stop to those who think of us or try and treat us as broken or inferior.