Your Rights as a Mental Health Patient

Art by Rob Goldstein
Murdered by Greed and Apathy

From CBS News:

“Papers published recently by the Dutch Euthanasia Commission reportedly revealed that a woman in her twenties was allowed to go ahead with assisted suicide based on psychiatrists’ decision that her mental health condition was “insufferable,” and it was therefore illegal to deny her life-ending drugs. Multiple reports cited the documents published by the Commission as stating the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) the woman suffered due to the abuse was “incurable,” enabling the approval under Dutch law of her request for euthanasia. The Telegraph reports that the young woman was not an isolated case, and in fact, the rate of approved assisted suicides in the Netherlands for patients suffering from mental disorders has increased dramatically since the procedure was first made legal. …”

I don’t know what the Dutch offer as far as psychiatric treatment. What I’ve read sounds good but we in the U.S. are not the only masters of the use of deceptive
language and statistics to hide our sins.

If the Dutch system is anything like the broken and corrupt for profit mental health system in the U.S. then this business of euthanizing psych patients is chilling news.

On June 9th of this year California will allow Medically Assisted Suicide.

Am I wrong to think that making euthanasia legal in a for profit medical system that systematically denies the mentally ill access to treatment is an invitation to abuse?

Shouldn’t we make universal access to health care a right before we make suicide a treatment option?

Look at the abuse of right of the mentally ill to refuse treatment:

Art by Rob Goldstein
Lethal Neglect on Harrison Street
  • If the idea of assisted suicide for psychiatric patients in a country that already treats the mentally ill like trash doesn’t make your blood run cold then you probably have plenty of money and assume that everyone else does too or you are deluded into thinking that mental illness can’t happen to you.  But it can happen to you and if you get sick tomorrow it will be the system that will make you want to die.

    I asked myself, what kind of rights must we have to make suicide an acceptable treatment outcome?Here’s what I’ve come up with:You have the right to be a patient. Calling us ‘consumers’ demeans the seriousness of our illnesses.You have the right to expect your care providers to learn about the illness
    you have.

    You have the right to have the illness you have.

    You have the right to have the symptoms you have.

    You have the right to individualized care based on your needs and not corrupt ‘evidence based‘ statistics.

    You have a right to treatment providers who place your needs as a patient above profit.

    You have a right to professional interventions when it is obvious that you are too ill to care for yourself despite your denial.

    You have a right to inpatient treatment with length of stays based on your needs instead of profit.

    You have a right to clinics staffed by people skilled in both behavioral and psycho-dynamic interventions.

    You have a right to long-term residential or in-patient care. The fact is that many psychiatric patients need structured environments to function.  To say this another way, you have the right to need what you need to be as well as you can be.

    You have the right to die, but only if there is absolutely no other way to mitigate your pain or to help you to learn to cope with it.

    Your responsibility as a patient:

    You must use the resources provided to you to maximize your health and your quality of life.

    Anger Alert

     

Art by Rob Goldstein
American Psychiatry


In my perfect world people who were sexually and emotionally abused as children get more for treatment than wishful thinking based on the classist assumption that EVERYONE is a child of the upper middle class and EVERYONE has access to all the resources they need to build a life worth living.

In my perfect World you have a 12th Right:

12:  You have a right to more than CBT affirmations when you seek treatment for a serious trauma induced mental illness.

Please note: I’m not saying that affirmations don’t have their place. I’m saying that they are not the right treatment approach for everything.

Below are three examples of CBT affirmations with caveats by me:

A river of compassion washes away my anger and replaces it with love.

Caveat: Provided I get the treatment I need when I need it.

I have been given endless talents which I begin to utilize today.

Caveat: What can one say about a statement this irrelevant to someone with chronic paranoid schizophrenia who sleeps on the street because he is too ill to access services?

I am guided in my every step by a Spirit who leads me towards what I must know and do.

 Caveat: I’d rather see a skilled psychotherapist.

Art by Rob Goldstein
Calling Dr. Freud

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11 thoughts on “Your Rights as a Mental Health Patient

    1. I find it frightening. We don’t have the right to access treatment. We don’t have the right to a full menu of treatment options when we do access treatment. We don’t have a mental health system that works. And from what I gather the condition of mental health care in the U.S. is almost typical of the condition of mental health care globally.

      Now the shrinks who calmly discharge their sickest patients from the hospital to the streets get to declare them ‘incurable’ and ‘mercifully’ end the suffering that is largely the result of the failures of the system?

      Something ain’t right here….

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    1. Let me see…well…we forgot why we pay taxes, create communities, regulate the economy, feed children, provide public schools and we have no vision beyond today’s profit.
      Oh yes…and we seem to place the right to own assault rifles above protecting the lives of those children who are lucky enough to have access to the public schools that we haven’t closed.

      Everything is wrong with this Nation at the moment.

      It’s like one big selfish pathological narcissist from sea to polluted sea…

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      1. I haven’t forgotten why I pay taxes. Even in my little po-dunk town, they are closing schools. When asked where the children are supposed to go, the question is answered with a flip “we’re working on that.”
        I do own a handgun…..at my childrens’ insistence, since I was going to be living alone for the rest of my life but I have no idea where it is.
        If we shut down all the schools, then the promotion of assault rifles will be justified. Hey…we have to spend money on something….who cares about education as long as we can all fire a weapon?

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      2. I know I don’t sound like I am, but I’m a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. The gentry that founded this country were brilliant visionaries who were bound by place and time. In the 1700’s the easiest way to tyrannize people was to disarm them. I think this is probably still true so I agree that an armed populace is one way to safeguard freedom; but so is our children’s right to go to school without being murdered. I don’t know why we can’t have an intelligent and informed debate about gun control in the U.S. but I suspect that it has something to do with a Corporate State media owned by a wealthy elite who use it to derail rational discourse.

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