Watchdog Warns Against Mental Health Industry Profiting from COVID-19

CCHR wants to ensure that one of the legacies of the Coronavirus is not minds damaged by psychotropic drugs and electrical interventions that can carry with them long-term risks.

CCHR’s 50 years of monitoring psychotropic drug marketing in times of social upheaval prompts call for resilience, unity and the American Spirit rather than costly and damaging mind-altering drugs.

By CCHR International
The Mental Health Industry Watchdog
March 23, 2020

With the alarming news regarding the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and restrictions on our daily living, the mental health watchdog, Citizens Commission on Human Rights International (CCHR) is reminding people that CDC prevention guidelines are a safer option than anti-anxiety pills, antidepressants or other potentially mind-altering drugs. With 50 years’ experience, CCHR has tracked and documented the push for people to take psychotropic drugs when facing social tragedy and chaos. Sales of these, especially antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs often soar in times of major health or terrorism threats and long-term use can carry significant risks.

A recent study, showed that antipsychotics may lower the elderly’s immune systems, making it difficult for them to fight off infections.[1]

In December 2001, two months after the 9/11 devastation, the Food and Drug Administration approved the antidepressant paroxetine for treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). About $1.8 billion of the drug was sold in the U.S. that year, despite it triggering suicidal thoughts and severe withdrawal problems in some patients, experts said.[2]

Sales of antidepressants, sleeping aids and other medications to address mental health concerns skyrocketed.[3] A Time article advised that no one should be “wandering off into [antidepressant]-induced forgetfulness.”[4] It’s a recommendation that CCHR says should be taken to heart during the COVID-19 outbreak.

CCHR offers a free online psychiatric drugs side effects database to ensure people are properly informed of the risks and dangers of these drugs.

A Behavioral Health Business article recently said that the behavioral health market is poised to make a profit out of COVID-19: “The viral outbreak shouldn’t hurt the behavioral health industry long-term and could even lead to a higher demand for mental health services.”[5]

Psychology Today already has reported that COVID-19 is likely to increase the emergence of anxiety and treatment may include anti-anxiety drugs and antidepressants.[6]

Taking advantage of 9/11, a survey was conducted during the six days immediately following the terrorist attack, when Americans were still in a state of shock and TV-bound watching it repeatedly on the news and experiencing predictable reactions to the horrific occurrences. “The survey sampled only 1,200 people, and by some quantum semantic leap, concluded that 71% of Americans had been harmed,” CCHR says. Within days of the 9/11 attacks, psychiatrists were predicting that as many as 30% of people affected by the attacks would develop PTSD.[7]

We already see signs of this today. In a Psychiatric Times article, “The Role of Psychiatrists During the Coronavirus Outbreak,” Dr. Joshua C. Morganstein, Chair of the American Psychiatric Association’s “Committee on the Psychiatric Dimensions of Disaster,” predicts that those put in isolation are “more likely to develop PTSD or increase substance use.”[8]

Psychiatry Advisor added that Chinese citizens have shown “acute” PTSD during the outbreak of COVID-19, according to study results published in medRxiv. This was determined from an online survey in mainland China after the COVID-19 outbreak (between January 30 and February 3).[9]

Psychiatric Times was also quick to report “it is anticipated that COVID-19 will have rippling effects.” For example, the required excessive cleaning of hands could lead to compulsions. Such compulsions are a core feature of OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) and “can easily be exacerbated by the threat of infectious pandemics.”[10]

Lancet, a British medical journal just published a study recommending: “Timely mental health care needs to be developed urgently” in light of the virus. This includes establishing mental health teams at regional and national levels that include psychiatrists, psychologists, and other mental health workers. Specialized psychiatric treatments and appropriate mental health services and facilities are recommended.[11]

CCHR reminds people that Americans’ resilience and unity has kept it on track before without resorting to mind-altering drugs to get through it. In June 2017, Nick Mueller, CEO of The National WWII Museum addressed a Junior Achievement Hall of Fame banquet telling them: “We don’t have to look back too far—to 9/11, 2001, when America was subject to a sneak kamikaze attack on the Twin Towers. We all remember the shock, the fear, the anger—and then the overwhelming sense of national unity.

“A common sense of the American Spirit brought us together against a new enemy that attacked us with the intent of undermining our system of beliefs, our economic and democratic way of life.”[12]

Psychiatric funding usually soars when governments are advised that the nation’s mental health needs a financial boost.  It would be better put towards food, reimbursing those at risk because of unemployment and anything that can help lessen the concerns during these unusual and unparalleled times.

Add to this one Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (ECS) firm recommending 20 minutes of self-shocking “in the comfort of your own home.” The device uses a fraction of the electricity used in an electroshock treatment (ECT) device, but it’s still electricity, but marketed as “a tiny current of electricity is passed through two electrodes that clip onto your earlobes, restoring balance to your brainwaves and making you feel better.” They also claim it is safe for children.[13] Even though touted as “safe and effective,” there are company-acknowledged risks of dizziness or nausea that can last for hours to days; skin irritation; electrode burns, headaches and “potent” reactions such as “increased anxiety.”[14] Sign CCHR’s Petition to Ban ECT.

Epidemics take a significant toll, also creating uncertainties and worries about the future. But as Dr. Sally Satel of New York warned following 9/11, “sensationalizing mental health professionals” were spreading gloom and doom about the American people’s alleged lack of resilience. She stated: “What we need—and thankfully seem to have—is a morally galvanized and focused citizenry, not a population turned inward on its alleged psychological fragility.”[15]

CCHR wants to ensure that one of the legacies of the Coronavirus is not minds damaged by psychotropic drugs and electrical interventions that can carry with them long-term risks.


[1] “New study shows antipsychotic drugs can suppress the immune system,” UNE News (University of New England), 14 Aug. 2019,

[2] “DARKER SIDE TO THE 9/11 ‘WONDER’ PILL,” New York Post, 20 Oct. 2002,


[4] Lance Morrow, “The Case for Rage and Retribution,” TIME, Sep. 12, 2001,,8599,174641,00.html


[6]“How COVID-19 May Impact Mental Health: When anxiety about a coronavirus becomes a problem,” Psychology Today, 2 Mar. 2020,

[7] Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Hearing on “Psychological Trauma and Terrorism,” Capitol Hearing Testimony, Federal Document Clearinghouse, 26 Sept. 2001,



[10] “Psychiatrists Beware! The Impact of COVID-19 and Pandemics on Mental Health,” Psychiatric Times, 28 Feb. 2020,

[11] “Timely mental health care for the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak is urgently needed,” Lancet, Volume 7, ISSUE 3, P228-229, March 01, 2020,




[15] Sally Satel, “Good Grief: Don’t Get Taken by the Trauma Industry,” Wall Street Journal, 15 Oct. 2001,