NEW YORK STATE
The State of New York has just became the fortieth jurisdiction in the U.S. to succumb to the ‘violent mental patient’ myth by enacting outpatient committal legislation.
‘Kendra’s Law’ (named for a young woman named Kendra Webdale, who was pushed into the path of a NYC subway train in January this year by an allegedly ‘mentally ill’ man) was signed in the NY State Capitol Building in Albany on August 4 - less than eight months after Ms. Webdale’s death.
Such laws have become typical of the knee-jerk reaction to isolated acts of violence committed by psychiatrically labeled persons being blown totally out of proportion by the media.
The problem is, neither journalists, lawmakers or the public bother to differentiate between those who do commit violence and the vast majority who do not, meaning that the innocent are equally maligned - and the rights of all wind up being compromised.
Legislation such as Kendra’s Law also means that monies for resources that truly benefit people (such as affordable housing, employment initiatives, peer-run support groups) are being increasingly diverted into coercive measures like ‘assertive community treatment’ teams and forced outpatient drugging.
On August 15, 16 and 17 psychiatric survivors and activists established a ‘virtual asylum’ outside the State Capitol Building to draw attention to the gross violations of human rights that are increasingly becoming the norm against persons labeled ‘mentally ill.’
In the words of George Ebert of the Alliance (the survivor organization which organized the vigil): "This is something that has to be done. Forced psychiatric drugging is torture. We have to call attention to what is done to people in the name of 'mental health.' "
A national protest is being planned for October 23 in Bethesda, MD to challenge the increase of coercive psychiatric practice against persons living peacefully in the community.
The protest starts with a rally at the Grosvenor Metro Stop at 2:30 pm, Sat., Oct. 23, 1999. A march will then proceed to 5430 Grosvenor, #200, Bethesda, MD. (The HQ of the Treatment Advocacy Center or TAC).
(For more information about ‘Kendra’s Law’ and outpatient committal
visit www.madnation.org or
Ontario could be next!
The first session of the new Ontario legislature has been scheduled to commence when the Speech from the Thone is delivered on October 20 at Queen’s Park.
When campaigning for re-election last June, Premier Mike Harris made it clear that sweeping changes to legislation affecting psychiatrically labeled persons were being planned. Recent information seems to suggest that such changes (which are apt to include some form of outpatient committal scheme) are likely to be implemented ‘sooner rather than later.’
Since the beginning of September, Ontario media outlets has been preparing for the anticipated Throne speech with a spate of editorials which (for the most part) are calling for community treatment order legislation. Such articles are being presented with a total medical model bias, with no input from those who will be directly affected. One shrink from London, Ontario was quoted as saying that there was ‘no alternative’ to forced community treatment.
(Hey Doc, what happened to the idea that improving peoples’ quality of life, and treating us as human beings rather than diseased and potentially dangerous animals, would go much further than your damned drugs? - ed.)
On Tuesday, October 19 from 3 to 5 PM a meeting will be held at the Raging Spoon Cafe (761 Queen St. W. in Toronto) in order to organize resistance to any attempt to implement forced outpatient drugging in Ontario.
A tentative date has already been set for a major protest at Queen’s Park. This along with discussion of other possible ideas for fighting back will be the focus of this session.
All Ontario survivors and survivor advocates are
encouraged to attend. For more information call (416) 535-8501 x2018 or
No Force! Coalition
In January, 1999 a ‘town hall’ meeting held in Toronto of more than fifty psychiatric survivors led to the formation of the No Force! Coalition.
Since its formation the Coalition has initiated a petition against community treatment orders, and published pamphlets debunking the ‘violent mental patient’ myth and giving the kind of information about psychiatric ‘miracle drugs’ that you are not likely to get from your local shrink!
The petition and brochures are available for download
from the Internet from the following two sites:
Psych. Survivor Pride Day ‘99
The sixth annual psychiatric survivor pride day celebration has now been scheduled to take place at the Parkdale Library (1303 Queen St. W. in Toronto) on October 9.
Inspired by the celebrations of lesbian/gay pride that have become major events in most large cities, this event has been bringing survivors and their friends, family and supporters together since 1993 for a day of workshops, shared food, literature displays a clothing swap and (on at least two occ asions) marches through the Parkdale neighborhood.
Last year, the celebration culminated in a march to a large rooming house that less than two weeks previous had been the site of a deadly fire that claimed the lives of two women. In 1993, nearly 200 participants marched over to the grounds of the Queen Street Mental Health Centre, where a memorial was held for those who have died as a result of psychiatric abuse.
For seven years now, Pride Day has been an opportunity for Toronto-area psych. survivors to gather with friends and loved ones in order to celebrate our strength against the adversity of the ‘mental health’ system and the attendant poverty, bigotry and damaging ‘treatments’ that are imposed upon us, along with the wonderful diversity of the survivor community.
COME CELEBRATE WITH US!
People Against Coercive Treatment
P: 760-2795 F: 368-5984
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Queen Street Patient’s Council
Room 2059, 1001 Queen St. W.
Toronto, Ontario M6J 1H4
P: 535-8501x2018 F: 325-9749
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No Force! Coalition
(c/o Queen Street Patient’s Council)
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Sound Times Support Services
96 Granby St.
Phone/fax: (416) 979-1700
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C/S Information Resource Centre
71 King St. E. 2nd flr.
Toronto, Ontario M5C 1G3