Human Rights in Mental Health – Get Monthly News Updates here >>
Mission Statement: The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) is a non-profit, non-political, non-religious mental health watchdog. Its mission is to eradicate abuses committed under the guise of mental health and enact patient and consumer protections. CCHR has helped to enact more than 150 laws protecting individuals from abusive or coercive mental health practices. CCHR functions solely as a mental health watchdog, working alongside many medical professionals including doctors, scientists, nurses and those few psychiatrists who have taken a stance against the biological/drug model of “disease” that is continually promoted by the psychiatric/ pharmaceutical industry as a way to sell drugs. CCHR’s Board of Advisers, called Commissioners, include doctors, scientists, psychologists, lawyers, legislators,educators, business professionals, artists and civil and human rights representatives. There are more than 250 CCHR chapters in 34 countries, with the international headquarters based in Los Angeles, California. Scroll down for more information about CCHR.
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Mission Statement Video—CCHR: What We Believe
Our Stance on Psychiatric Drugs: People frequently ask if CCHR is of the opinion that no one should ever take psychiatric drugs, but this website is not dedicated to opinion. It is dedicated to providing information that a multi-billion dollar psycho/pharmaceutical industry does not want people to have. For this reason CCHR created the psychiatric drug side effects search engine which consists solely of international drug regulatory warnings, published studies and adverse reactions to psychiatric drugs filed with the U.S. FDA. Regarding psychiatric diagnosis, it is not a matter of opinion about whether mental disorders are “real” but whether there are valid medical tests to prove mental disorders are medical conditions requiring the administration of mind-altering and potentially lethal psychiatric drugs—and the answer is no. The pertinent question is this: Do people have a right to all the information about A) the documented risks of psychiatric drugs; B) the medical validity of the psychiatric diagnosis for which drugs are being prescribed; C) to be given non-harmful medical alternatives to psychiatric drugs/treatment; and D) and the right to refuse any treatment the patient considers harmful. CCHR’s answer to all of these questions is yes.
Our Stance on Psychiatric Disorders: The psychiatric/pharmaceutical industry spends billions of dollars a year in order to convince the public, legislators and the press that psychiatric disorders such as Bi-Polar Disorder, Depression, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, etc., are medical diseases on par with verifiable medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. This is simply a way to maintain their hold on a $84 billion dollar-a-year psychiatric drug industry that is based on marketing and not science. Unlike real medical disease, there are no scientific tests to verify the medical existence of any psychiatric disorder. Despite decades of trying to prove mental disorders are biological brain conditions, due to chemical imbalances or genetic factors, psychiatry has failed to prove even one of their hundreds of so-called mental disorders is due to a faulty or “chemically imbalanced” brain. To counter this obvious flaw in their push to medicalize behaviors, the psychiatric industry will claim that there are certain medical conditions that do not have a verifiable test so this justifies the fact that there aren’t medical tests for mental illness. This is frankly a lame argument; Whereas there may be rare medical conditions that do not have a verifiable medical test, there are virtually no psychiatric disorders that can be verified medically as a physical abnormality/disease. This is not to say people don’t get depressed, sad, troubled, anxious, nervous or even sometimes act psychotic. The question then is simple—is this due to some mental “disease” that can be verified as one would verify cancer or a real medical condition? And the answer is no. To find out more about psychiatric diagnoses, click here
How CCHR Was Established: CCHR was co-founded as an independent mental health watchdog in 1969 by the Church of Scientology and Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus Dr. Thomas Szasz at a time when patients were being warehoused in institutions, abused, stripped of their constitutional, civil and human rights, and left without recourse.
As CCHR’s co-founder, Thomas Szasz stated “They were then the only organization, and they still are the only organization, who were active in trying to free mental patients who were incarcerated in mental hospitals with whom there was nothing wrong, who had committed no crimes, who wanted to get out of the hospital. And that to me was a very worthwhile cause; it’s still a very worthwhile cause. We should honor CCHR because it is really the organization that for the first time in human history has organized a politically, socially, internationally significant voice to combat psychiatry. This has never happened in human history before.”
CCHR has long fought to restore basic unalienable human rights to the field of mental health, including, but not limited to, full informed consent regarding the medical legitimacy of psychiatric diagnosis, the risks of psychiatric treatments, the right to all available medical alternatives, and the right to refuse any treatment considered harmful. CCHR does not advocate for any particular medical, educational or particular treatment, but does advocate for giving people alternatives and resources to assist them in finding non-harmful solutions, featured on CCHR’s website here.
CCHR has worked for more than 40 years for full informed consent in the field of mental health, and the right to all the information regarding psychiatric diagnoses and treatment, not just the information coming from those with a vested interest in keeping them in the dark.
As a non-profit organization, it is through public donations that we are able to continue our educational campaigns. For more information on donating to CCHR click here.
- In the early 1970s, CCHR’s investigations led to government inquiries into numerous state psychiatric facilities in California, Illinois, Hawaii, Michigan and Missouri—resulting in hospital administrators and psychiatrists being dismissed, criminal and grand jury investigations being held, and closure of major psychiatric units due to the abuses CCHR had uncovered against patients.
- In 1976, due to CCHR’s efforts, the first law to protect patients against enforced electroshock and psychosurgery was passed in California, providing informed consent and banning their use on children under the age of 12. This became a model law, adopted in substance by legislatures across the United States and in other countries. The most restrictive law to date is Texas that raised the age limit for ECT to 16 years, and where psychiatrists must warn patients in writing of the potential for ECT to cause death and/or permanent memory loss. Psychiatrists must also ensure autopsy reports on any deaths within 14 days of ECT administration.
- In Italy, the birthplace of ECT, the Piemonte region Parliament responded to CCHR’s evidence by unanimously voting to ban the use of ECT on children, the elderly and pregnant women.
- In the 1990s, CCHR helped uncover and expose that up to 150 restraint deaths occur each year in the U.S. alone, with nearly 10% of these being children, some as young as six. Federal regulations were passed in 1999 that prohibit the use of physical and chemical (mind-altering drugs) restraints to coerce or discipline patients. Also, a “national reporting system” to be implemented and for government funding to be cut to any facility that did not comply.
- In the 1980s/early 1990s, CCHR spearheaded a campaign to expose and ban Deep Sleep Treatment (DST) at Chelmsford Private Psychiatric Hospital in Sydney, Australia. The “treatment” involved knocking the patient unconscious for three weeks with a cocktail of psychiatric drugs and electroshocking them daily, without their consent. It killed 48 people. CCHR achieved its ban under the Mental Health Act and it is a criminal offense for psychiatrists to administer it. CCHR also obtained the country’s highest level of government inquiry into DST and mental health, leading to significant reforms.