Note from CCHR: The article posted below is about involuntary commitment under the U.K.’s use of “community treatment orders” under their Mental Health Act. Since these involuntary commitment orders have gone into effect (2008), the number of people forced into psychiatric wards has 10xed what was expected. Quite simply, if you are diagnosed mentally ill, you can lose all your civil and human rights. Even if you commit no crime, you can be incarcerated in a psychiatric facility against your will. The idea of “danger to self or others” is also a very, very loose description and particularly horrifying in the UK, considering they also have laws against what they term “anti-social behavior.” From the New American:
In July 1998, the U.K.’s Crime and Disorder Act enacted the “Anti-Social Behaviour Orders” (ASBOs) to tackle disagreeable and disruptive acts. ASBOs are court-ordered restrictions on “unsociable conduct.” Breaching an ASBO is a criminal offense.
Eight years into the legislation, some 12,675 ASBOs had been issued. Nearly 2,000 youngsters, aged 10 to 17, were jailed by 2007 for an average of six months each for breaching ASBOs [the rest were all adults]. Even that was not enough. According to Mail Online, May 27, 2007 (“Revealed: Blair’s secret stalker squad”), the government attempted to widen the definition of “mental disorder” so that the right not to be detained in a psychiatric facility based on cultural, political, or religious beliefs would be forfeited.
So, what are some of the offenses that would constitute getting as ASBO? Try spitting in the street, swearing, “noise pollution” being drunk, loitering, intimidation…think we’re kidding? Read this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Social_Behaviour_Order
The “community treatment orders” under UK’s Mental Health Act are considered “psychiatric ASBOs.” http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/psychiatric-asbos-will-fail-say-mental-health-experts-438809.html So, if you are diagnosed “mentally ill” you can be ordered to act a certain way, take your drugs, be forced to have a curfew, not be allowed to consume alcohol. Now think about that for a minute; Millions of citizens have been diagnosed with one or more mental disorders, be it “bipolar, “depressed” or “ADHD” to name but a few. Once labeled “mentally ill” – game over. You can be court ordered to behave a certain way or face psychiatric incarceration. Plain and simple. This is the Brave New World of Psychiatry. See links and references at the end of this post read this article from the and more links at the end of this post
Excessive use of forced detention and coerced treatment by the NHS means patients have little control over their treatment
By Mark Gould
March 15, 2011
“I became ‘zombified’ for nearly 12 months when I was forced to take mood stabilisers and antipsychotic medication,” says Reka Krieg. The 30-year-old has bipolar disorder, so has periods of manic activity and psychotic episodes, which led to her being forcibly detained and treated in hospital in 2009.
Krieg’s case exemplifies the crisis in NHS psychiatric care, which is resulting in excessive use of coercive detention and treatment of people with mental illness. Latest statistics released in January show a 17.5% rise in the number of people being “sectioned” – under the Mental Health Act (MHA) – from 32,649 in 2008‑09 to 38,369 in 2009-10. This means that nearly 40% of patients in NHS psychiatric units are there under legal duress.
Years of drastic bed cuts mean wards are full of only the most unwell patients – those seen to be a danger to themselves or others. This includes rising numbers coming into hospital via the judicial system. Eight hundred and thirty women detained under the MHA came into hospital via prison or the courts last year, a rise of more than 85%, while the number of men rose by 48%, from 1,982 to 2,935.
The use of community treatment orders (CTOs) has also rocketed. Since they were introduced in 2008, more than 6,200 have been served – 10 times the expected number. Under a CTO, patients are released from detention, but can be forcibly returned to hospital if they fail to take their medication or other treatment. However, patients complain that once given a CTO, it takes them too long to get it removed, obliging them to stick with medication they believe they no longer need.
CTOs are “a complete waste of money,” says Krieg. “I had a history of repeat hospital admission, but I was better when they decided to impose the CTO, which I hated. I felt I had no control over my human rights.” She was finally released from the CTO after two appeals with the help of a specialist lawyer.
And it seems that CTOs have not eased the pressure on psychiatric wards. Last November, the Care Quality Commission, which oversees patients detained under the MHA, found that some hospitals were reporting 125% bed occupancy rates, and nearly a third of the 486 locked NHS wards in England and Wales had occupancy rates of 100% or more, meaning they were forced to send patients home early to accommodate new arrivals.
Mental health charities and senior psychiatrists say the situation is appalling, and they are lobbying for changes to the health and social care bill currently going through parliament, to make it harder to impose compulsory treatment.
Tony Zigmond, the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ lead on mental health law, says the situation is “a disgrace”. He fears some mental health services are becoming so focused on the risk of patients harming themselves or others that they make excessive use of compulsion and coercion.
He describes detention under mental health law as “a lobster pot – easy to get into but hard to get out”. His college and the Mental Health Alliance, an umbrella group of charities, civil liberties organisations and lawyers, are lobbying MPs to amend the health and social care bill to make it harder to impose CTOs. Otherwise, he fears the use of CTOs could spiral out of control. “The top line is that CTOs have increased the number of detentions,” he says. “In effect, they are prisons without walls so the numbers on them could be limitless.”
Paul Farmer, chief executive of mental health charity Mind, says he is “extremely worried” about the rise in CTOs, “especially as 30% of them are being imposed on people who have no history of not co-operating with treatment”. He adds: “CTOs are a looming threat of readmission hanging over the heads of people who are trying to rebuild their lives and independence.”
Lee Milner, 41, has schizoaffective disorder, which results in episodes of elation or depression coupled with hallucinations. A volunteer and campaigner with mental health charity Rethink, Lee has had extensive experience of detention in hospital since 1992 when, following the suicide of his father, he tried to set fire to the family home. He was last sectioned in 2010 and agrees that hospitals are packed with only the most serious cases. “The ward was like being in the dark ages. How the nurses qualified I never know … When I tried to talk to the consultant about spirituality, he just asked if I wanted more medication.”
Zigmond wants a more consensual approach to treatment, and more space set aside in hospitals for patients to use as sanctuaries in times of crisis. “Why not give patients the option of coming off medication and being able to come into hospital if they need to?” he says.
Read the rest of the article here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/mar/15/mental-health-patients-forced-detention
More on ASBOs
‘Psychiatric asbos’ slammed – UK Health Service Journal
Psychiatry’s Brave New World – The New American
Asbo capital condemned for ‘abuse of power’