Cartoon originally published at MadNation.org
Involuntary Outpatient Commitment (euphemistically called “Assisted Outpatient Treatment” by those who propose it) is the law in all but 5 states: Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Mexico, and Tennessee. This law allows psychiatrists to force American citizens to take psychotropic medications–and any other form of treatment “prescribed” by mental health professionals–against our will. Such forced “compliance” is not only ineffective in helping us recover meaning and purpose in our lives, it violates our Constitutionally Guaranteed Civil Rights.
MPower is determined to stop Involuntary Outpatient Commitment from coming to Massachusetts. It not only threatens those of us who have been labeled with a psychiatric diagnosis; it threatens all of the citizens of Massachusetts because any form of “non-compliance”–such as pursuing alternative therapies like yoga or acupuncture–can be labeled as “crazy” or “mad” in order to justify taking away our civil liberties.
In the 1950s, Senator Joseph McCarthy justified stripping American citizens of their civil liberties with the label “communist”. Today, the Treatment Advocacy Center (the primary lobbying group for Involuntary Outpatient Commitment) has targeted 7.9 million Americans for Involuntary Outpatient Commitment. That is 3.3% of all American citizens. They claim that approximately half of us who have been labeled with severe mental illness are “non-compliant” because we have so-called “anosognosia”–the inability to recognize that we are crazy.
MPower advocates for Mad Pride. We, as psychiatric survivors, know full well that we have been labeled as crazy, but we are not ashamed of who we are. In fact, we insist–like Gay Pride advocates 45 years ago at Stonewall–that “coming out of the closet” is the best strategy for reclaiming our civil rights. We believe that a day will come when millions of Americans no longer need to live in fear that they have been labelled “mentally ill”. Instead we will be free to speak openly about our lived experience–both within and without the mental health system–without fear of losing our civil liberties.
After 45 years of struggle, the Gay Liberation movement has achieved recognition in the Supreme Court of equal rights guaranteed in the US Constitution. The Mad Liberation movement has the same goal. We believe the day will come when our right to voluntarily participate in whatever form of healing and recovery fits us best will be guaranteed. Today, however, we are a long way from that goal.
Today, our civil liberties are under assault by the Treatment Advocacy Center which has teamed up with the National Rifle Association and many others unwilling to challenge the NRA’s political clout–including many Democrats–to target so-called crazy people as the source of American violence. This strategy shifts attention away from guns, racism, poverty, sexism and other factors contributing to America’s epidemic of violence in order to target those of us labelled with a psychiatric diagnosis. While this strategy may be effective in preventing much-needed gun control legislation, it is entirely ineffective in promoting healing and recovery.
Join MPower’s Stop Involuntary Outpatient Commitment Committee.