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General News

Juneteenth: Time for American Psychiatric Association to repudiate slave-owning “Father of Psychiatry”

More than 175 years after its founding, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) issued a public apology in January for psychiatry’s “role in perpetrating structural racism” and said it hoped to make amends.

Here’s a suggestion to the APA: repudiate and discontinue all symbolic association with Dr. Benjamin Rush, the slave-owning “Father of American Psychiatry” who is responsible for the “scientific racism” at the very root of the structural racism in psychiatry that the APA now says it regrets.

And what better time to cut psychiatry’s ties to Rush than on America’s first nationwide celebration of Juneteenth, a day that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States.

Until 2015, a seal with the image of Benjamin Rush served as the APA’s logo, and the APA still presents a Benjamin Rush award at its annual meeting.

The man in whose honor this APA award is bestowed bought a child slave, William Grubber, in the early- to mid-1770s, scholars believe, and owned him for some two decades.  Rush released Grubber from slavery in 1794, only after receiving, in his words, “a just compensation for my having paid for him the full price of a slave for life.”  In other words, Rush made sure he got his money’s worth from his slave before allowing him to go free.

However, Rush’s transgressions against African Americans go far beyond the human rights abuse of enslaving another human being.  He established a supposed biological justification for racism, setting a precedent for later psychiatrists and psychologists and their subsequent forms of “scientific racism” to oppress Blacks.

In 1792, Rush declared that Blacks suffered from a disease he called “negritude” that he theorized was caused by a variant of leprosy, the cure of which was when Blacks’ skin turned white.  Rush based his view in part on the work of another scientist who had applied a harsh and corrosive acid to the skin and hair of an African American man to turn him “white.”

With his view, Rush believed Blacks should not intermarry with other races because this supposed disease could infect their children.

Rush considered that African Americans were able to easily endure surgical operations and pain, labeling this “pathological insensibility.”

America’s first psychiatrist also treated his patients  with darkness, solitary confinement, and a special technique of forcing the patient to stand erect for two to three days at a time, poking them with sharp pointed nails to keep them from sleeping – a technique borrowed from a British procedure for taming horses.  He invented the “tranquilizer” chair into which the patient was strapped hand and foot, along with a device to hold the head immobile.

Benjamin Rush was apparently unable to recognize the human rights abuses he was committing.

By failing to disavow him, the APA may be revealing that it is as blind to human rights abuses as Rush was.

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General News

For Mental Health Month: The Mental Health Declaration of Human Rights

All human rights organizations set forth codes by which they align their purposes and activities. The Mental Health Declaration of Human Rights articulates the guiding principles and goals of Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR).

In 2017, Dr. Dainius Pūras, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to health, called for a revolution in mental health care around the world to “end decades of neglect, abuse and violence,” and stating

“There is now unequivocal evidence of the failures of a system that relies too heavily on the biomedical model of mental health services, including the front-line and excessive use of psychotropic medicines, and yet these models persist.”

Human rights include the right to one’s own mind, and to protect oneself and one’s loved ones against any abusive or harmful “treatments” given under the guise of mental health.

Every man, woman and child is entitled to the fundamental human rights set forth in this Mental Health Declaration of Human Rights, regardless of race, political ideology, religious, cultural or social beliefs.

Given the fact that virtually no human or civil rights specifically protects citizens from mental health abuses, it is vital that the following rights be recognized and that all countries adopt this Declaration.

  1. The right to full informed consent, including:
  2. The scientific/medical test confirming any alleged diagnoses of psychiatric disorder and the right to refute any psychiatric diagnoses of mental “illness” that cannot be medically confirmed.
  3. Full disclosure of all documented risks of any proposed drug or mental “treatment.”
  4. The right to be informed of all available medical treatments which do not involve the administration of a psychiatric drug or treatment.
  5. The right to refuse psychiatric drugs documented by international drug regulatory agencies to be harmful and potentially lethal.
  6. The right to refuse to undergo electroshock or psycho-surgery.
  7. No person shall be forced to undergo any psychiatric or psychological treatment against his or her will.
  8. No person, man, woman or child, may be denied his or her personal liberty by reason of mental illness, without a fair jury trial by laymen and with proper legal representation.
  9. No person shall be admitted to or held in a psychiatric institution, hospital or facility because of their political, religious or cultural or social beliefs and practices.
  10. Any patient has:
  11. The right to be treated with dignity as a human being.
  12. The right to hospital amenities without distinction as to race, color, sex, language, religion, political opinion, social origin or status by right of birth or property.
  13. The right to have a thorough, physical and clinical examination by a competent registered general practitioner of one’s choice, to ensure that one’s mental condition is not caused by any undetected and untreated physical illness, injury or defect, and the right to seek a second medical opinion of one’s choice.
  14. The right to fully equipped medical facilities and appropriately trained medical staff in hospitals, so that competent physical, clinical examinations can be performed.
  15. The right to choose the kind or type of therapy to be employed, and the right to discuss this with a general practitioner, healer or minister of one’s choice.
  16. The right to have all the side effects of any offered treatment made clear and understandable to the patient, in written form and in the patient’s native language.
  17. The right to accept or refuse treatment but in particular, the right to refuse sterilization, electroshock treatment, insulin shock, lobotomy (or any other psychosurgical brain operation), aversion therapy, narcotherapy, deep sleep therapy and any drugs producing unwanted side effects.
  18. The right to make official complaints, without reprisal, to an independent board which is composed of non-psychiatric personnel, lawyers and lay people. Complaints may encompass any torturous, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment received while under psychiatric care.
  19. The right to have private counsel with a legal advisor and to take legal action.
  20. The right to discharge oneself at any time and to be discharged without restriction, having committed no offense.
  21. The right to manage one’s own property and affairs with a legal advisor, if necessary, or if deemed incompetent by a court of law, to have a State appointed executor to manage such until one is adjudicated competent. Such executor is accountable to the patient’s next of kin, or legal advisor or guardian.
  22. The right to see and possess one’s hospital records and to take legal action with regard to any false information contained therein which may be damaging to one’s reputation.
  23. The right to take criminal action, with the full assistance of law enforcement agents, against any psychiatrist, psychologist or hospital staff for any abuse, false imprisonment, assault from treatment, sexual abuse or rape, or any violation of mental health or other law. And the right to a mental health law that does not indemnify or modify the penalties for criminal, abusive or negligent treatment of patients committed by any psychiatrist, psychologist or hospital staff.
  24. The right to sue psychiatrists, their associations and colleges, the institution, or staff for unlawful detention, false reports, or damaging treatment.
  25. The right to work or to refuse to work, and the right to receive just compensation on a pay-scale comparable to union or state/national wages for similar work, for any work performed while hospitalized.
  26. The right to education or training so as to enable one better to earn a living when discharged, the right of choice over what kind of education or training is received.
  27. The right to receive visitors and a minister of one’s own faith.
  28. The right to make and receive telephone calls and the right to privacy with regard to all personal correspondence to and from anyone.
  29. The right to freely associate or not with any group or person in a psychiatric institution, hospital or facility.
  30. The right to a safe environment without having in the environment, persons placed there for criminal reasons.
  31. The right to be with others of one’s own age group.
  32. The right to wear personal clothing, to have personal effects and to have a secure place in which to keep them.
  33. The right to daily physical exercise in the open.
  34. The right to a proper diet and nutrition and to three meals a day.
  35. The right to hygienic conditions and non-overcrowded facilities, and to sufficient, undisturbed leisure and rest.

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General News

Speak Out About Psychiatrist/Psychologist Sexual Abuse

With studies showing that an average of 6% to 10% of psychiatrists and psychologists sexually abuse their patients, including children young as 3 years old, Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) is encouraging victims of sexual abuse by mental health practitioners to contact us and speak out about it.

The observation of Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April would not be complete without a cautionary look at how common it is for psychiatric practitioners to have sexual contact with patients, often under the guise of therapy.

The sexual crimes committed by psychiatrists are estimated at 37 times greater than rapes occurring in the general community, one U.S. law firm stated. [1]

Psychiatrists themselves indicate that 65% of their new patients tell them that they have been sexually abused by previous psychiatrists. Sexual assault or rape is not just limited to females. Men are also victims of therapist sexual abuse or rape. And so are children. [2]

Data from national studies suggest one of every 20 sexual incidents between psychotherapists and their patients involved minors – the average age was 12 for boys, 7 for girls. [3]

Psychiatrists who sexually abuse patients are often serial abusers, with some surveys noting over 50% of male therapists reporting sexual involvement with more than one patient. [4]

Clinicians have compared psychotherapist-patient sexual involvement to rape, child molestation, and incest, putting victims at increased risk of suicide, according to the study, “Psychotherapists’ Sexual Relationships with Their Patients” in Annals of Health Law[5]

Sexual assault victims commonly struggle with emotional repercussions such as: Feelings of no self-worth, denial, crying spells, paranoia, helplessness, loneliness, shame, anxiety, nightmares, insomnia, flashbacks, numbness, withdrawal, depression, fear of relationships and intimacy, and more. [6]

The findings of a national study of 958 patients sexually abused by their therapist suggested that 90% were harmed and of those, only 17% recovered.  About 14% of those who had been sexually involved with a therapist attempted suicide. [7]

Women are the usual targets of sexual assault, but men and children of both sexes have been attacked in the name of therapy.

A person seeking help is already in a fragile state and may already feel victimized by their situation. To add a sexual attack is heartless, cruel, and blatantly wrong no matter how these activities are justified.

The prevalence of such behavior has prompted laws in some states prohibiting any sexual contact between practitioner and patient. CCHR has long pushed for uniform state laws prohibiting mental health practitioners from engaging in sexual relations of any sort with a patient, making it not only a gross violation of medical ethics, but also illegal.

Colorado is one of the several states that specifies that “consent” is not a valid defense. The state takes the position that the psychiatrist is in a position of overpowering influence and trust. Therefore, a patient cannot consent to sexual relations with a therapist and ANY sexual contact is considered a “boundary violation” and is illegal, even if initiated by the patient.[8]

A report in Annals of Health Law said that when sexual contact occurs in a psychotherapeutic setting, it is not unusual for the patient to have been persuaded that it was a necessary and integral part of the therapy itself. [9]

In a therapeutic setting, such relationships by and large involve male practitioners assuming domineering roles to bring usually much younger female patients under their sway. Done under the guise of therapy or love and never to the patient’s benefit, a complaining or protesting patient need no longer be blamed for the seduction, experience shame and regret or be coerced into silence.

With the #MeToo movement shining an unprecedented spotlight on this complex societal issue, it is time to uncover the perpetrators of sexual abuse and bring them to justice.

If you or anyone you know has been the victim of sexual contact by a mental health worker, we want to talk to you.  You can contact us by clicking here or by calling 303-789-5225.  All information will be kept in the strictest confidence.

 

[1] “Doctor Sexual Assault Cases: Capable Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Lawyers Fight for Justice,”
https://www.beasleyfirm.com/medical-malpractice/doctor-sexual-assault/

[2] Op. cit. “Doctor Sexual Assault Cases.”

[3] Kenneth Pope, “Sex Between Therapists and Clients,” Encyclopedia of Women and Gender, Academic Press, Oct. 2001

[4] Gary C. Hankins et al, “Patient-Therapist Sexual Involvement: A Review of Clinical and Research Data,” Bulletin of the American Academy of Psychiatry Law, Vol. 22, No.1,

[5] Clifton Perry, Joan Wallman Kuruc, “Psychotherapists’ Sexual Relationships with Their Patients,” Annals of Health Law, Vol. 2, Issue 1, 1993
https://lawecommons.luc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.bing.com/&httpsredir=1&article=1356&context=annals

[6] Doctor Sexual Assault Cases: Capable Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Lawyers Fight for Justice,”
https://www.beasleyfirm.com/medical-malpractice/doctor-sexual-assault/; Kenneth S. Pope, “Therapist-Patient Sex as Sex Abuse: Six Scientific, Professional, and Practical Dilemmas in Addressing Victimization and Rehabilitation,”
https://kspope.com/sexiss/therapy1.php

[7] https://kspope.com/sexiss/sexencyc.php

[8] “Psychiatrist/patient boundaries: When it’s OK to stretch the line,” Current Psychiatry, 2008 August;7(8):53-62
http://www.mdedge.com/currentpsychiatry/article/63241/psychiatrist/patient-boundaries-when-its-ok-stretch-line

[9] Clifton Perry, Joan Wallman Kuruc, “Psychotherapists’ Sexual Relationships with Their Patients,” Annals of Health Law, Vol. 2, Issue 1, 1993, https://lawecommons.luc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.bing.com/&httpsredir=1&article=1356&context=annals

Categories
News for Colorado

Psychological Treatment Failed To Prevent Columbine – And Now The Boulder Mass Shooting?

Did psychological treatment in the form of anger management fail to prevent another mass shooting?

Ahmad Alissa, charged in the shooting deaths of 10 people in a Boulder grocery store on March 22, received psychological anger management as part of his sentence of probation, after pleading guilty to a charge of misdemeanor third-degree assault in 2018.  As a high school senior in 2017, Alissa had attacked a classmate by punching him in the head without warning and continuing to punch him when he fell to the ground.

Alissa is now being held in Boulder County jail on 10 counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted first-degree murder.  Police found him at the scene of the slaughter with a tactical vest, a semiautomatic handgun and an assault rifle, according to the arrest affidavit.

Columbine shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold also received psychological treatment.  After being arrested for breaking into a van and stealing electronic equipment in 1998, both spent 11 months in diversion programs, which included psychological counseling.  Harris’s program also included an anger management class.

Just two months after Harris and Klebold completed their diversion programs, they launched their attack at Columbine High School in April 1999, killing 13 people and wounding 26 others.

Documents later released by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office included a diary kept by Harris, filled with hateful and angry entries written over the two years leading up to the Columbine attack.

In an entry dated November 22, 1998 – just days after completing his anger management class and while his counseling was ongoing, Harris wrote about purchasing weapons and ammunition for the assault he would launch with Klebold the following April, concluding: “It’s all over now, this capped it off, the point of no return.”

Harris had also been taking antidepressants for at least a year before the Columbine massacre, drugs which have been linked to agitation, aggression, abnormal behavior, mania, psychosis, suicide and violence.  Psychiatrist Peter Breggin and biopsychologist Ann Tracy are among those who make the case that Harris’s anger was fueled by the antidepressants.

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General News News for Colorado

Denver And Pueblo Psychiatrists Disciplined By Medical Board For Unprofessional Conduct

Two Colorado psychiatrists had their licenses put on five years’ probation by the Colorado Medical Board for unprofessional conduct under the state Medical Practice Act.

The disciplinary action taken against psychiatrist Thomas William Starkey, Jr., of Denver, is the result of his violation of an earlier agreement with the Board.  After pleading guilty to driving under the influence, Starkey signed a July 2019 agreement with the Board to stop performing any act requiring a medical license, while the Board investigated and determined what further actions, if any, were warranted.

The Board then found that between July and October 2019, Starkey authorized his office staff to continue distributing pre-written prescriptions for medications to patients, in violation of his agreement with the Board.

In its Final Agency Order, dated January 27, the Board states that Starkey has a physical or mental condition that renders him “unable to perform a medical service with reasonable skill and with safety to patients in the absence of treatment monitoring” and that he “habitually or excessively used or abused alcohol, a habit-forming drug, or a controlled substance.”

In addition to five years’ probation, the Board ordered Starkey’s abstinence from addictive substances, treatment as determined by the Colorado Physician Health Program, and compliance monitoring.

Starkey was previously disciplined with five years’ license probation in October 2010, after the Medical Board found that he crossed the boundaries of professional conduct with a female patient the same day he terminated treatment of her.  He completed that probation in 2015.

Psychiatrist Andi Kristine Woodbury, of Pueblo, was disciplined by the Medical Board, effective January 8, with a Letter of Admonition and five years’ license probation and treatment monitoring for violating a section of the Medical Practice Act concerned with failing to notify the Board of certain physical or mental conditions, or failing to practice within the limitations of those conditions with safety to patients, or failing to comply with limitations agreed to under any confidential agreement.

Woodbury’s specific act or omission that prompted the Board’s disciplinary action was not further detailed, but it follows the March 2020 voluntary surrender of her clinical privileges during an investigation of her professional competence and conduct at the medical facility at which she worked and a July 2020 evaluation by the Colorado Physician Health Program, which concluded she could practice safely if she received treatment and monitoring.

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News for Colorado

Counselor at Boulder Mental Health Facility Arrested for Sexual Assault, Police Looking For Other Victims

A former counselor at the Warner House facility of Mental Health Partners, a community mental health clinic in Boulder, was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting a patient, and police are looking for other victims.

Jose Yepes, 48, was employed as a “milieu counselor” and interacted with patients dealing with substance abuse.

Boulder police began investigating a series of incidents involving the suspect after a female victim reported that Yepes repeatedly initiated sexual contact over a one-month period in November.

The Boulder Daily Camera reported details of an affidavit, in which the woman said Yepes locked her in a dark room for what he called “energy healing” sessions, asked her to spank him and step on his back while he was naked on the floor, and showed her nude photos of himself.

Yepes has been charged with stalking, unlawful sexual contact and indecent exposure.

License information on the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies website indicate the suspect was registered as an unlicensed psychotherapist, effective 2009 to 2011, but has not been licensed or registered with the state since then.

Boulder Police believe there could be additional victims and are asking anyone with information related to the case to contact them.  Police caution that suspects are presumed innocent until convicted.

If you or anyone you know has been the victim of sexual contact by any employee of a mental health facility, we want to talk to you.  You can contact us by clicking here or by calling 303-789-5225.  All information will be kept in the strictest confidence.

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General News

American Psychiatric Association Apology Fails To Fully Admit Psychiatry’s Racial Human Rights Abuses and Role In Creating Racism

The American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) recent apology for its support of structural racism understates psychiatry’s racial human rights abuses and its long history of instigating racism by providing “rationales” that justified and perpetuated it.

Over the last 50 years, the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) has exposed that sordid history and intensified its efforts last June by forming the Task Force Against Psychiatric Racism and Modern Day Eugenics.

The APA’s apology, issued January 18, states: “The APA apologizes for our contributions to the structural racism in our nation….”

The APA further admits: “These appalling past actions, as well as their harmful effects, are ingrained in the structure of psychiatric practice….”

But the APA glosses over “those appalling past actions” by merely admitting that psychiatric “practitioners have at times subjected persons of African descent and Indigenous people who suffered from mental illness to abusive treatment, experimentation, victimization in the name of ‘scientific evidence,’ along with racialized theories that attempted to confirm their deficit status.”

That bare-bones admission fails to adequately portray the magnitude of psychiatrists’ role as prime instigators of “scientific racism,” creating and promoting the false theories of racial inferiority that have been widely used to “justify” the oppression, segregation, and population control of Black Americans.

It is noteworthy that in the late 1700s, psychiatry’s own “Father of American Psychiatry,” Dr. Benjamin Rush, a slave owner, created a medical justification for racism by claiming Blacks suffered from a disease called “negritude,” supposedly a form of leprosy, and recommended their segregation to prevent them from “infecting” others.  A logo with the image of Benjamin Rush is still used for APA ceremonial purposes and internal documents. The APA still gives a Benjamin Rush Award.

Psychiatrists in the American mental health movement later latched onto and promoted the false science of eugenics (from the Greek word eugenes, meaning “good stock”), which claims some humans are inferior to others and should not have children.

Pushed by mental health practitioners, the eugenics idea of racial inferiority became ingrained in the U.S. and led to efforts such as Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger’s plan to reduce the Black population through sterilization and the Ku Klux Klan’s white supremacist activities.

Further, the APA’s brief confession of “experimentation [and] victimization” of people of color “who suffered from mental illness” not only downplays the barbaric psychosurgery and psychiatric experiments conducted on African Americans, but also fails to honestly admit that many subjects in these experiments were perfectly healthy.  Those experiments include:

  • In 1951, psychiatrist Walter Freeman experimented with lobotomies on Black patients at the Veterans Administration hospital in Tuskegee, Alabama, describing the procedure as “a surgically induced childhood.” (A lobotomy is psychiatry’s surgical procedure of cutting into the brain to try to alter behavior.)
  • In the 1950s, Black prisoners in New Orleans were used by psychiatrists Robert Heath and Harry Bailey for psychosurgery experiments that implanted electrodes into their brains. Bailey later boasted it was “cheaper to use [Blacks*] than cats because they were everywhere and cheap experimental animals.” [*Bailey’s racial slur is omitted here]
  • Psychiatrist Robert Heath conducted CIA-funded secret drug experiments on Black prisoners at the Louisiana State Penitentiary using LSD and the drug bulbocapnine, which can produce severe stupor, to see if the drug would cause “loss of speech, loss of sensitivity to pain, loss of memory, [and] loss of will power.…”
  • In the mid-1950s at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), drug-addicted African Americans were given LSD in an experiment that kept many hallucinating for 77 consecutive days. In the 1960s, NIMH again used Black men as test subjects for an experimental hallucinogen, the chemical warfare drug BZ, which was many times more powerful than LSD.  In the 1970s, following riots in a predominantly black section of Los Angeles, NIMH experimented on African Americans, including children as young as five, to see if they had a violence gene that could be controlled by psychiatric drugs.

The APA has not admitted practitioners’ role in creating the present-day mental health system of psychiatric labeling, forced psychiatric drugs and treatment, and incarceration in psychiatric facilities that enabled racist treatment.

African Americans are disproportionately diagnosed with mental illness and disproportionately committed to psychiatric facilities.  They are more likely to be labeled with conduct disorder and psychotic disorders, especially schizophrenia, and overly prescribed antipsychotic drugs.  Black men are more likely to be prescribed excessive doses of these psychiatric drugs.  Black children are overly labeled with ADD/ADHD.

The APA is correct, therefore, in stating, “The APA is beginning the process of making amends….”  There is much, much further to go in publicly taking responsibility for psychiatrists’ essential role in instigating and perpetuating racism and for the human rights violations of its experiments and treatments.

Until it does so, its incomplete apology may be viewed as political pandering and an attempt to whitewash history to pave the way for the psychiatric-pharmaceutical industry to expand – very profitably – into the African American community.

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General News News for Colorado

Police Responding To Report Of Psychiatric Facility Runaways Are Asked By Staff To Control “Rioting”

Police officers arriving at a Colorado Springs psychiatric facility Saturday night in response to a report of juvenile runaways were asked by staff to help them gain control of the facility from “rioting” patients who were “overtaking” them.

Officers were initially dispatched to Cedar Springs Hospital after receiving a report that juveniles had run away from the facility, according to the Colorado Springs Police blotter.

When officers arrived, they were advised that multiple patients were “rioting, overriding the facility, destroying property, and overtaking the staff.”

Several staff members suffered injuries that police described as “minor.”

Five juvenile “instigators” were arrested on charges that include 2nd degree assault, 3rd degree assault and harassment.

Information on what sparked the incident is not available.

What drugs the juveniles may have been prescribed is also not known.  Commonly prescribed psychiatric drugs carry well-known risks of side effects that include hostility, psychosis, aggression and violence.

If you or someone you know has had experience with this or any other psychiatric facility, we want to talk with you.   You can contact us by clicking here  or by calling 303-789-5225.  All information will be kept in the strictest confidence.

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General News

Psychiatric-Pharmaceutical Push To Profit From COVID-19 Pandemic Ignores Individuals’ Resilience In Times Of Crisis

Note:  The rising number of COVID-19 cases nationwide has generated alarming and self-serving predictions from the psychiatric industry about a potentially devastating mental health crisis in the making, along with a wave of urgent calls for huge increases in government funding for mental health treatment.  In response, we are republishing a May 2020 article from Citizens Commission on Human Rights International that reviews how wrong the predictions of mental health crises were in earlier disasters and how research has found that in times of crises, the individual’s own resilience has often proven to be the best “treatment” – and with no risk of the harmful and even life-threatening side effects of the psychiatric drugs used in mental health treatment.  [Warning: No one should stop taking any psychiatric drug unless under the supervision of a competent medical doctor.]

Some Media are Starting to Report How Resilience (Not Mind-Altering Psychotropic Drugs) is Better at Facing COVID-19 Restrictions

CCHR wants people better informed about the psychiatric-pharmaceutical agenda to use normal reactions to virus restrictions to push harmful psychiatric labels and drugs. The sources of predictions about “mental health epidemics” often have conflicts of interests with manufacturers of psychotropic drugs.

By Jan Eastgate
President CCHR International
The Mental Health Industry Watchdog
May 29, 2020

Throughout April-May 2020, Citizens Commission on Human Rights International has researched and provided information about the psychiatric-pharmaceutical industry using COVID-19 to scare people into believing that their mental health may be irreparably damaged. Antidepressant and anti-anxiety drugs, that carry a heinous list of side effects, have been promoted, taking advantage of people’s understandable vulnerabilities—their normal reactions to abnormal times. Psychiatric drugs are already being tested to be repurposed to treat COVID-19, despite their own potential life-threatening risks.

However, CCHR’s research has also found that people’s resilience in times of disasters, including wars and terrorism, has often been the people’s best “treatment.” It was, therefore, a nice change to see mainstream media report and further substantiate this.

For example, on May 25, 2020, The Australian reported that rather than a “mental health epidemic” as a result of COVID, “history suggests we often rebound from mass trauma events.” In the late 1930s, “as Britain braced itself for a looming war and predicted mass civilian casualties from German bombing,” a committee of psychiatrists predicted that the bombs would cause three times more mental injuries than physical. Several large psychiatric hospitals were built outside London to deal with the mass trauma.

But despite 57 sequential nights of bombings, 41,000 Londoners killed and two million homes destroyed, every one of the predictions about how Londoners would react turned out to be wrong. In fact, the psychiatric hospitals remained empty and were repurposed for the physically wounded.

Something similar occurred following the 9/11 attacks in New York in 2001. It was predicted that one in four New Yorkers would suffer PTSD and 9,000 counselors were dispatched across the U.S. to be prepared to deliver. But the tents established to deliver such services remained largely empty, and only half of the $200 million set aside for mental health help was spent.[1]

Richard Bryant, a professor of psychology at the University of New South Wales, who studied the impact of Australia’s devastating Black Saturday bushfires in 2009 said that 82% of people remained resilient.[2] Approximately 400 fires were recorded across Victoria; 173 people tragically lost their lives from the series of fires in 2009 and 414 were injured.[3] But as one study Bryant was involved in found, “Several years following the Black Saturday bushfires the majority of affected people demonstrated resilience without indications of psychological distress.” Only a minority required services for persistent problems.

Responding to recent mental health experts expecting a “tsunami of mental health disorders” from COVID, Bryant stated: “We know that time and time again over every disaster, including previous pandemics, most people will end up being resilient.” [4]

One of those doomsday mental health “experts” was Dr. Ian Hickie who, writing in The Guardian in the UK, claimed “the potential mental health and suicide impacts resulting from the massive economic and social dislocation caused by Covid-19 are front and center internationally.” He further reported a “predicted 25-50% increase in suicides over the next five years” according to his Brain and Mind Centre at the University of Sydney, of which he is co-director of health and policy. Hickie reported that the Australian health minister, Greg Hunt, made “Covid-19-precipitated mental ill health the same status as physical ill health.” The government has announced AUS $48.1m (U.S.$32 million) in additional funding for mental health.

Hickie, along with his cohort, psychiatrist Patrick McGorry, are the co-founders of Australia’s national headspace: Youth Mental Health Centers in Australia which treat 12-25-year olds. Researchers have criticized the centers for being used as “’clinical laboratories’ for applied research.”[5] McGorry and Hickie were part of a joint statement on COVID-19 issued on May 7, that predicted “increases in youth suicide and a surge in demand for specialist mental health services,” and the telltale “calling for long-term modelling and investment in mental health to guide critical decision making in social, economic, and health policy to help Australia transition out of the coronavirus pandemic.” That “modeling” is based on one developed by the Brain and Mind Centre, and Australia’s The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Centre for Research Excellence on prevention of youth suicide (YOUTHe), in which McGorry’s research group Orygen and the University of Melbourne are partnering. McGorry is the Professor of Youth Mental Health at the university.

It’s easy to “predict” that from such demands that this could lead to increased antidepressant and other psychotropic drug prescriptions, with individuals uninformed that the drugs can actually induce suicide prescribed to “prevent”—and that those suicides will be attributed not to the drugs but to “COVID-19 related” issues.

Hickie has served on the professional advisory boards convened by the drug industry in relation to specific antidepressants made by Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) and Eli Lilly and has led projects funded in part by BMS, Pfizer, Eli Lilly, Wyeth and Servier.[6] He has served on advisory boards convened by the pharmaceutical industry in relation to three specific antidepressants.[7]

McGorry is renowned for his debunked dangerous theory that pre-drugging adolescents with antipsychotics can prevent psychosis.[8] Mental health specialists told Australia’s Sunday Age that the focus on early intervention for adolescents and young adults had been “massively oversold” by the “McGorry lobbying machine.” “It’s extremely worrying that the government is listening to professional lobbyists who have a massive personal investment in the programs they’re recommending – and they are undoubtedly overstating the evidence. There’s a massive conflict of interest there,” said Professor David Castle from Melbourne’s St. Vincent’s Hospitals, referring to both Hickie and McGorry.[9]

McGorry has had financial ties to the drug companies, Janssen-Cilag, Eli Lilly, Bristol-Myers Squibb, AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Novartis. He has also received honoraria for consulting and teaching from Roche, Lundbeck, and Astra Zeneca. His Orygen Centre operates four of the 27 headspace centers in Victoria.   Orygen has also been funded by drug companies Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca, Janssen-Cilag and Bristol-Myers Squibb.[10]

In the U.S., the American Psychiatric Association (APA) has purported that those put in isolation are “more likely to develop PTSD or increase substance use;” that the required excessive cleaning of hands could lead to compulsions;[11] and that almost 60% feel that the virus is having a serious impact on their day-to-day lives.[12] APA posted on its website that an “anxiety pandemic” is following fast on COVID’s heels.[13]

Perpetuating this, on May 21, the American Psychological Association released the results of a 10-point subjective survey of parents with children under 18, asserting that 46% rated their average stress level regarding the pandemic as 8, 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale. An article quoted Charles B. Nemeroff, professor and chair of the department of psychiatry at Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin and president-elect of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). He stated: “This kind of chronic stress brings about, for all those people who have never had anxiety before, it sort of overwhelms them.” Pharmaceutical companies, including AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly, Forest Laboratories, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Solvay Pharmaceuticals, and Wyeth fund ADAA.[14]

Nemeroff came under federal investigation for his failure to declare $1 million he took from pharmaceutical companies. He’d taken the money while conducting supposedly unbiased research for the National Institutes of Health on drugs made by the companies he was receiving money from. A front-page report by The New York Times in October 2008 said that congressional investigators found Nemeroff had received $2.8 million in consulting deals with drug makers over seven years and failed to report at least $1.2 million of that to Emery University.[15]

The Wall Street Journal reported at least some of the warnings about the drugs: “Because benzodiazepines can reduce the body’s drive to breathe, overdoses can be deadly” and the drugs “can be difficult to stop, too. Withdrawal symptoms can include a surge in anxiety, tremors and, in some cases, seizures. The medications can be particularly dangerous for older adults: In seniors, their use is associated with falls and cognitive problems.” Overdose deaths involving benzodiazepines more than quadrupled between 1999 and 2013, according to a study published in 2016 in the American Journal of Public Health.[16]

CCHR’s online psychiatric drugs side effects searchable database is an excellent resource for finding free information about adverse effects of psychotropic drugs and the many drug regulatory agency warnings about them.

CCHR is fully aware of how the country’s challenging times (with its own staff part of the stay-at-home restrictions) and how, generally at a societal level, it can impact mental and physical health. But APA and other mental disorder groups making claims that high percentages of people will be anxious, depressed or have PTSD (based largely on surveys of a small number of people, and often with a Public Relations firm spin) is self-serving to rake in future profits. CCHR is researching more articles that convey how individuals’ innate resilience, including that which comes with a recovered economy and job safety, is most likely to be a winning “medicine.”

References:

[1] “Blitz Spirit: Fortunately for the COVID-19 generation, history suggests we often rebound from mass trauma events,” The Australian, 25 May 2020,  https://www.theaustralian.com.au/inquirer/covid-health-crisis-trauma-could-be-overstated/news-story/a6146f9449f3748d1e21c2d1f11ad310
[2] Ibid.
[3] https://www.nma.gov.au/defining-moments/resources/black-saturday-bushfires; https://knowledge.aidr.org.au/resources/bushfire-black-saturday-victoria-2009/
[4] Op. cit., The Australian, 25 May 2020
[5] https://www.cchrint.org/2015/04/27/drugging-kids-patrick-mcgorry/
[6] https://www.cchrint.org/2017/03/15/patrick-mcgorry-plans-to-dope-12yearolds-with-cannabis/
[7] https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1751-7893.2012.00366.x
[8] https://www.cchrint.org/2017/03/15/patrick-mcgorry-plans-to-dope-12yearolds-with-cannabis/
[9] https://www.smh.com.au/national/mcgorry-accused-of-conflict-of-interest-20110806-1igxd.html
[10] https://www.pc.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/240814/sub290-mental-health.pdf
[11] https://www.psychiatrictimes.com/sites/default/files/legacy/mm/digital/media/03Mar_PTMorganstein_Coronavirus_PDF_V2.pdf; https://www.psychiatrictimes.com/psychiatrists-beware-impact-coronavirus-pandemics-mental-health
[12] https://www.jnj.com/personal-stories/covid-19-taught-doctor-resilience-and-hope
[13] https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/anxiety-disorders
[14] https://www.cchrint.org/issues/psycho-pharmaceutical-front-groups/adaa/
[15] https://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/04/health/policy/04drug.html
[16] “More People Are Taking Drugs for Anxiety and Insomnia, and Doctors Are Worried,” Wall Street Journal, 25 May 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/more-people-are-taking-drugs-for-anxiety-and-insomnia-and-doctors-are-worried-11590411600

Categories
General News

Psychiatric Industry Aims To Profit From Racism, Targets African Americans

While many Americans see the recent racial tension in this country as an opportunity to address the issue of racial injustice, the psychiatric-pharmaceutical industry sees it as an opportunity to expand their reach – very profitably – into the African American community.

Psychiatrists, psychologists, and mental health groups, many funded by pharmaceutical companies, had already been arbitrarily asserting that African Americans are 20% more likely to experience serious mental health problems, and less likely to identify their own mental health problems, than the general population.

Now psychiatric practitioners are trying to create a higher level of urgency.  The American Psychological Association has announced that “we are living in a racism pandemic.”

Psychiatrists and psychologists are labeling the very real pain experienced from racism as a psychiatric disorder – post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – for which a standard treatment is antidepressants.  These are drugs that carry the risk of serious and debilitating physical and mental side effects, including emotional blunting, worsening depression, sexual problems, birth defects, anxiety, hallucinations, agitation, violence, and suicidal thoughts and actions.  Patrick D. Hahn, Affiliate Professor of Biology, Loyola University Maryland warns, “The link between antidepressants and violence, including suicide and homicide, is well established.”

American psychological and psychiatric associations have already developed guidelines on how to “treat” racism – guidelines that ensure that Black Americans are informed about psychiatric drugs as treatment.

Psychiatrists and psychologists have a long history of re-defining people’s normal responses to bad situations as “mental disorders” requiring their “treatment.”  But history shows that Blacks have been especially targeted for “treatment,” and so have good reason to beware of practitioners in the psychiatric industry.

Professors Herb Kutchins and Stuart Kirk, co-authors of Making Us Crazy: The Psychiatric Bible and the Creation of Mental Disorders, state:  “Defenders of slavery, proponents of racial segregation…have consistently attempted to justify oppression by inventing new mental illnesses and by reporting higher rates of abnormality among African Americans or other minorities.”

They further warn: “Innovations in diagnostic and treatment techniques are often proposed by those who claim to be committed to helping African Americans and other minority groups, but these innovations often perpetuate and increase racist thinking and lead to solutions that intensify persecution.“

For generations, psychiatrists and psychologists have been prime instigators of “scientific racism,” using pseudo-science to invent “racial diseases,” promote theories to “justify” segregation and racial population control, and subject Blacks to depraved “treatments” and barbaric psychiatric experiments.  Here are some key facts from that sordid history.

  • Though Dr. Benjamin Rush, the “Father of American Psychiatry, claimed he was anti-slavery in the late 1700s, in fact he purchased a child slave, whom he later freed only after being paid what he considered adequate compensation.  More importantly, he created a medical model of racism whose legacy is still felt today.  He claimed Blacks suffered from a disease called “negritude,” supposedly a form of leprosy.  Like lepers, he said, Blacks needed to be segregated to prevent them from “infecting” others.
  • In 1851, Louisiana surgeon and psychologist Samuel A. Cartwright “discovered” a mental illness among Blacks called “drapetomania” (from the Greek words drapetes, a runaway slave, and mania, meaning crazy), which he claimed caused slaves to have an “uncontrollable urge” to escape from their “masters.”  The “treatment” was “whipping the devil out of them.”

Psychiatrists and Psychologists Create Eugenics to “Justify” Racism

  • In 1883, English psychologist Francis Galton created the term “eugenics” (from the Greek word eugenes, meaning “good stock”) to encourage “better” human breeding and discourage those with “less desirable” traits from having children.  Eugenics is based on the belief that some humans are inferior to others.  Galton considered Africans inferior, writing: “These savages court [ask for] slavery.”The ideas of eugenics and “racial purification” would spread globally and would be used later “justify” many human rights abuses and atrocities, including the Nazi’s extermination of “inferior races” in the Holocaust, South Africa’s apartheid, Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger’s push to exterminate the Black population through sterilization, and the Ku Klux Klan’s activities to eliminate non-whites – all to “protect” the white race, and all with their roots in eugenics.

    Psychiatrists and psychologists
    in the American mental health movement adopted and promoted the pseudo-science of eugenics in the U.S., spreading the racist idea of Black inferiority.

    A review of the history of the field of psychology revealed that in every decade from 1900-1970, there was a prominent American psychologist who was a proponent of the theory of the genetic inferiority of Blacks.  Many of these racist psychologists became presidents of the American Psychological Association.

  • The resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan in the U.S. in the early 1900s occurred at a time when psychiatry’s eugenics-based racism was being broadly promoted in America, fueling the KKK’s mission of white supremacy.  In 1923, Hiram Wesley Evans, Grand Wizard of the KKK, referenced eugenics leaders in his speech given on “Klan Day.”

Psychiatry’s Embrace of Eugenics Leads to Racist Views of Blacks’ Intelligence 

  • In the 1920s, American eugenicists claimed that the IQ of Blacks was determined by the amount of “white blood” in them.  Interracial marriages were said to lower the IQ of whites.
  • In the 1950s, U.S. psychiatrist C. Carothers published a study with the World Health Organization, stating “that in many ways the African resembles a European 8- or 9-year old child in his reaction to the environment.”  He compared the African to a “leucotomized European.”  (“Leucotomy” is another word for “lobotomy,” psychiatry’s barbaric surgical procedure of cutting nerve connections in the front part of the brain to try to alter behavior.)
  • Psychiatry and psychology have a history of using biased intelligence testing to legitimize racism, appearing to “prove” that African Americans have lower IQs.  In the 1950s, Stanford University psychologist Lewis Terman, an “expert” on IQ testing, used biased IQ testing extensively, then asserted that non-whites could never be educated and that Blacks should never be allowed to have children.
  • As recently as 1994, psychologist Richard Herrnstein co-authored the book, The Bell Curve, in which he claimed that Blacks performed worse on intelligence tests than Whites and are “genetically disabled.” In an argument similar to those made by earlier  proponents of eugenics and “racial purity,” Herrnstein advocated selective breeding to limit the black population.

Psychiatry Targets Blacks for Experimentation and Barbaric “Treatments” in the U.S.

  • Psychiatric “treatment” of minorities in the U.S. has included some of the most barbaric experiments ever carried out in the name of “scientific” research.In the 1940s, U.S. psychiatrist Walter Freeman believed that Blacks, especially Black women, were among the best candidates for a lobotomy because families were more likely to give their relatives who survived the lobotomy devoted post-operative care.  (A lobotomy is psychiatry’s barbaric surgical procedure of cutting nerve connections in the front part of the brain to try to alter behavior.)  In 1951, Freeman lobotomized Black patients in an experiment at the Veterans Administration hospital in Tuskegee, Alabama, describing the procedure as “a surgically induced childhood.”
  • In the 1950s in New Orleans, black prisoners were used for psychosurgery experiments that implanted electrodes into their brains by psychiatrist Robert Heath from Tulane University and psychiatrist Harry Bailey from Australia.  Bailey later boasted about the reason they had chosen Black test subjects, saying it was “cheaper to use [Blacks*] than cats because they were everywhere and cheap experimental animals.” [*Bailey’s racial slur is omitted here]
  • Psychiatrist Robert Heath also conducted secret drug experiments, funded by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), using LSD and a drug called bulbocapnine, which in certain doses produces severe stupor.  He experimented on Black prisoners at the Louisiana State Penitentiary to see if the drug would cause “loss of speech, loss of sensitivity to pain, loss of memory, [and] loss of will power…”
  • African Americans were targeted for brutal drug experiments at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the country’s top mental-health research facility.  In the mid-1950s, drug-addicted Blacks were used in an experiment with LSD that kept many hallucinating for 77 consecutive days.  In the 1960s, NIMH again used Black men as test subjects for an experimental hallucinogen, the chemical warfare drug BZ, which was many times more powerful than LSD.

Psychiatrists Invent Racist Diagnosis and Treatment for Blacks in Civil Rights Era

  • In the 1960s, psychiatrists invented the term “protest psychosis” to stereotype Blacks participating in the Civil Rights movement as aggressive.  Claims were made that joining in protests was a symptom of “schizophrenia.”  Ads for powerful antipsychotic drugs in psychiatric journals at the time used images of angry Black men or African tribal symbols to influence the prescribing of antipsychotic drugs to Blacks.  Today, African Americans are still disproportionately prescribed antipsychotic drugs.
  • In the 1970s, following riots in Watts, a predominantly black section of Los Angeles, the National Institute of Mental Health supported a “Violence Initiative” by psychiatrist Louis Jolyon West, the head of UCLA’s psychiatry department and Neuropsychiatric Institute, which was a proposal to treat young black urban male offenders with psychosurgery (cutting into the brain to disable parts of it) and chemical castration (using drugs to reduce the drive or ability for sexual activity).  Protests led by CCHR and others caused government funding for this project to be cut.
  • A second “Violence Initiative” supported by the National Institute of Mental Health gave psychiatric drugs to Blacks, including children as young as five, supposedly to research whether African-Americans had a violence gene that could be controlled by psychiatric drugs.
  • Racism towards African Americans continued for decades at the National Institute of Mental Health.  In 1992, psychiatrist Frederick Goodwin, executive director of the NIMH, compared Black youth living in inner cities to “hyper-aggressive” and “hyper-sexual” monkeys in a jungle.

Today, a hidden eugenics agenda is still evident in the institutional racism of the psychiatric industry.  African Americans are disproportionately diagnosed with mental illness and disproportionately admitted to psychiatric and behavioral facilities.

They are disproportionately diagnosed as having a psychotic disorder, especially schizophrenia, and they are disproportionately prescribed antipsychotic drugs.  Black men, in particular, are more likely to be prescribed excessive doses of these psychiatric drugs.

“Whipping the devil out of them” has been replaced with psychosurgery, electroshock, and psychiatric drugs.

CCHR International’s Task Force Against Racism & Modern Day Eugenics

In response to the psychiatric industry’s plan to sell psychiatric drugs and mental health treatment as the answer to racism, Citizens Commission on Human Rights International and Rev. Fred Shaw, Jr. launched the Task Force Against Psychiatric Racism and Modern Day Eugenics.  Its mission is to investigate and combat institutional racism and inform and empower the African American community with the facts about racism and eugenics masked as mental health care.

Rev. Shaw is an ordained minister with over 25 years of experience as a human rights advocate.  He served as a Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff and is currently the Executive Director of the Inglewood-South Bay chapter of the NAACP.  He has obtained three NAACP national resolutions against the forced drugging and electroshocking of children and teens, and he is a past recipient of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation award for his NAACP leadership and dedication in protecting children against psychiatric labeling and drugging.  He is also a CCHR spokesperson.

As a human rights organization and mental health industry watchdog, CCHR has exposed and campaigned against racism and racial abuse in the mental health system since our inception in 1969.  CCHR has worked with the NAACP since 2003 in exposing the stigmatizing labeling and drugging of African American children and, with Rev. Shaw, in obtaining the three national NAACP resolutions.

The entrenched legacy of eugenics in the mental health industry has permeated all sectors of society, paving the way for racial discrimination and abuse.  CCHR is dedicated to bringing to light the truth about how psychiatry and psychology are the instigators and peddlers of racism, not the help for it.

For more information, contact CCHR Colorado at (303) 789-5225.