NEWS: Your Mind & Freedom - 26 October 2004
http://www.MindFreedom.org - please forward
"Whatcha Gonna Do When They Screen For You?"
Warning: Bush administration pushes for
more US citizens to be forcibly drugged,
even on outpatient basis.
by David Oaks, Director,
What would a second term by President George
W. Bush look like for the increasing number
of US citizens who are being "screened" by
the mental health system?
For some it may look like "One Flew Over
the Cuckoo's Nest" has landed in their homes.
A Bush appointee to a key federal mental health
advisory council is pushing for more coerced
and involuntary outpatient commitment as a
central USA goal over the next few years.
Forty-two US states have passed outpatient
commitment laws in the last 15 years, allowing
citizens to be court ordered to take psychiatric
drugs against their will even while living
peacefully in their own homes.
The official minutes from the meeting reveal
that psychiatrist Sally L. Satel -- in her
own words -- called for the federal government to
encourage the States to use more "coercive,"
"intrusive, highly paternalistic" and
"involuntary care." A federal employee confirmed
to MindFreedom that Satel used these exact words.
Since the Bush Administration is also calling
for screening of all US citizens for mental
health problems, Dr. Satel's crusade for more
coercion could potentially impact any American.
The President's Psychiatrist: Dr. Satel
President Bush appointed psychiatrist Sally
Satel to the National Advisory Council (NAC)
for the US Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS).
CMHS oversees hundreds of millions of federal
money for mental health care, and the NAC must
approve all grants.
This Fall the official minutes were released for
the 16 June 2004 NAC meeting in Rockville, MD:
Dr. Satel, according to the minutes, stated her
goals for the important "State Incentive Grants"
(SIGs) that the federal government uses to impact
mental health policy and practice in the States.
The official minutes reported Dr. Satel's comments
about goals for the future of USA mental health:
"She recommended that SIGs address whether States
provide assisted outpatient treatment. Acknowledging
her controversial view, she noted that stigma
regarding severe mental illness may be addressed
by early coercive care that then migrates into
other, less coercive systems. She asserted that
some people need intrusive, highly paternalistic,
life-saving care....Dr. Satel offered to provide
contacts for a discussion on involuntary care."
Dr. Satel also challenged the concept of
"recovery" for people diagnosed with
Dr. Satel's comments will come as no surprise to
those familiar with her work. Dr. Satel wrote the
book _PC MD_ that devotes a chapter called "Inmates
Take Over the Asylum" to denouncing the social
change movement led by psychiatric survivors and
mental health consumers.
Dr. Satel works for the American Enterprise
Institute (AEI), which is one of the best-funded
corporate think tanks in Washington, D.C. AEI is
widely acknowledged to have some of the closest
ties to the Bush Administration of any think tank,
especially to the Cheney's.
As an example of their influence, an investigation by
_Mother Jones Magazine_ credits AEI with laying the
groundwork for the war in Iraq. AEI, which is partly
funded by pharmaceutical corporations and has a
pharmaceutical company CEO on its board, also held an
all-day gathering to promote more forced psychiatry.
Enforcement Arm for Screening?
Concern is rapidly spreading among both conservative
and progressive circles about Bush administration
announced plans -- directly created by the pharmaceutical
industry -- to screen each and every American for mental
The President's New Freedom Commission called for this
widespread screening, which is already being put into
effect in a number of schools in the US. Adults would
also be screened during routine visits to their general
practitioner for annual exams and common ailments.
But what if a US citizen says "No!" to mental health
screening, for their child or themselves?
In a 21 October 2004 letter in the _Washington Times_,
Michael F. Hogan, chair of the President's Commission
defended it from charges, saying, "The commission did
not call for mandatory universal mental-health screening
for all children."
But many in the public are still very concerned. Rep.
Ron Paul, a Republican congressperson from Texas,
has proposed a bill from the floor of the House on
6 Oct. called "Let Parents Raise Their Kids Act," to
try to prevent any coerced screening of children.
And what about adults?
The President's New Freedom Commission did not oppose
forced outpatient commitment and other forms of
psychiatric coercion being promoted by Dr. Satel.
The fact is the MindFreedom office regularly receives
phone calls, e-mail and letters from US citizens who
are already under a wide range of coercion in their
own homes and out in their own neighborhoods to force
them to take psychiatric drugs, drugs that can cause
brain damage, addiction and death. While MindFreedom
is pro-choice about taking prescribed psychiatric
drugs, to be forced to take them is a profound
violation of fundamental human rights.
When the President's New Freedom Commission's vision
of widespread screening is combined with Dr. Satel's
vision of even more "intrusive, highly paternalistic...
coercive... involuntary care," we're left with
"more of the same" by the mental health system:
A chemical crusade backed up by government coercion.
- end -
For more information about mental health screening:
For more information about Dr. Sally Satel:
For Michael Hogan's letter to the _Washington Times_:
For information on Rep. Ron Paul's new bill:
NEW ISSUE OF MINDFREEDOM NEWSJOURNAL IS OUT
A new issue of _MindFreedom Journal_ is now out, featuring
articles about mental health screening, the globalization
of mental health human rights violations and much more. Join!
To get your copy and support human rights campaigns, join