A Myth? Says Who?

For my birthday, the friends who suggested the photo for the cover of my blog gave me a book called, Forced Into Treatment. The title made think the book was an argument against forced incarceration, or people held against their wills in psychiatric hospitals. Great, I thought. Someone has documented this. There’s another voice out in the wilderness!  

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Camera As Advocate

On November 19th of last year, the New York Times featured an article about hidden cameras in nursing homes, dubbed granny cams. Doris Racher, concerned about her 96-year old mother in a nursing home in Oklahoma, had a motion-activated camera that looked like an alarm clock placed in her mother’s room. The images captured of her mother being abused by staff were horrific but, sadly, not surprising.

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There Are No Reunions

I sat in the Starbucks up in Lake Forest, IL last Sunday, a bit nervous and excited about the woman I was about to meet. Dr. Annita Sawyer, a professor of psychology at Yale, had agreed to take an afternoon break from her writing stint at Ragdale, a nearby artist’s retreat where she is a writer-in-residence, to have a cup of coffee, and talk about a history we had in common.

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A Buzzfeed Investigation

In late 2016, Buzzfeed published an in-depth investigation of mental health hospitals and the mental healthcare system in America. One of the articles in the series, Locked in the Psych Ward,  uncovers how the nation's largest provider of psychiatric services, Universal Health Services, “turns patients into profits.”

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Against Their Will: From WFAA

Late last year, the investigative news team at WFFA in Dallas reported on the issue of being involuntarily committed to long-term mental health hospitals. In their series Against Their Will, which continued into 2018, reporter Brett Shipp and others uncover the disturbing trend of voluntarily admitting oneself for in-patient care only to find that checking oneself out again was next to impossible.

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Pat’s Story: My Experience Surviving Timberlawn

I checked myself into Timberlawn in 1989. I was 29 years old and my father had just died and I was suffering pretty severe insomnia and anxiety. And I picked Timberlawn because they were considered this ivy-league hospital. I was there for a number of months and right before I was scheduled to be released my doctor began mentioning long-term treatment, that I should stay there for a longer period of time and use my family’s resources to pay for it. They had found out that my family had money.

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