Support more non-drug alternatives for vets' mental health needs. Stop over-drugging now!
Key mental health consumer and psychiatric survivor leaders supported the following statement at a SAMHSA summit.
Bastille Day 2010 Statement – Rockville, MD
14 July 2010
The Urgent Necessity for More Non-Drug Alternatives in Mental Health Care
We are alarmed about the over-reliance on psychiatric medication in mental health care because of the undue influence of the pharmaceutical industry. We see an urgent need for a far greater range of non-pharmaceutical mental health care.
We are participants in the USA Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) meeting, “Past, Present, and Future: SAMHSA Efforts to Promote Consumer/Survivor Inclusion.” We are speaking today only for ourselves as individuals, and not for SAMHSA. We applaud SAMHSA's endorsement of the values of peer support, social justice, self-determination, trauma-informed care, and a dignified life in the community for everyone.
As leaders in the mental health consumer and psychiatric survivor movement, we affirm the principle of choice in mental health care, and continue to work towards the elimination of coercion in all mental health treatment. We support the right of those who willingly choose to take prescribed psychiatric medications.
However, the inappropriate prescriptions of psychiatric medication are harming a wide range of the USA population, including infants, vets, people of color and seniors. Severe side effects are contributing to heartbreaking suffering and approximately 25 years of premature mortality for people in the public mental health system. Advertisements, the media and far too many mental health organizations are disseminating misleading information about psychiatric medication. Some individuals are even involuntarily administered psychiatric drugs over their expressed wishes, including on an outpatient basis.
Our constituency's right to choice, empowerment and self-determination in mental health care is threatened as never before, in the USA and internationally. We call upon SAMHSA to work with their federal partners and consumer/survivors to:
• Address the conflict of interest in the current relationship between the federal government and the pharmaceutical industry.
• End direct-to-consumer advertising for psychiatric medications.
• Complete the President's New Freedom Commission recommendation to investigate the long-term effects of psychiatric medication.
• Independently research on the efficacy, safety and successful ways of reducing psychiatric medications.
• Research and fund non-drug alternatives such as mental health peer-run respite centers and recovery-oriented education.
We encourage all those concerned to speak out about this crisis.
Ellen K. Awai
Jean Campbell, Ph.D.
Gladys DeVonne Christian
Mary Ellen Copeland, Ph.D.
Jonathan David, Ph.D.
Daniel Fisher, M.D., Ph.D.
David Fuller, CPRP
J. Rock Johnson, J.D.
Jacki McKinney, M.S.W.
David W. Oaks
Sharon P. Yokote, HCPS
Duane Sherry commented
Military service members and veterans need Constitutional protection... from the same Constitution they took an oath to defend and protect!
It's time for Congressional legislation that will protect military service members and veterans; along with children, the elderly and others...
The Mental Health Freedom and Recovery Act -
Duane Sherry, M.S.
Discover and Recover: Resources for Mental & Overall Wellness
Charles Whitfield commented
Stop forced drugging. See my new book Not Crazy: You may NOT be Mentally Ill, Muse House Press, due out December
Sarah Smith commented
My son was recently discharged from the military. We support alternatives for mental health treatment of our veterans and are very grateful that our son made it through his military experience with a minimum of trauma. Other veterans who are less fortunate should have full access to alternative treatments.
There are so many non drug alternatives available to veterans, and they have been much more effective than drugs. Over medicating our veterans is causing a new poblem. Incarceration. The over medicating of our veterans is causing a lack of impulse control, violence issues, inability to think clearly and make responsible decisions, doesnt allow them to face their issues and cope, thus landing them in prison for acts that they did not intend to do. Drugs are just a band-aid to tide them over while the healthcare system that is supposed to be supporting them has enough funds and manpower to treat them in the way that they need to be treated. What the VA has is obviously failing them, and there needs to be other alternatives to what they accept as "clinically proven" treatment. Drugs are definitely not the answer to all of our veterans problems. Lets be real here. What happens when you give a veteran a 3 month supply of meds, and dont monitor his consumption. He has already got addiction issues due to trying to numb himself because he is not receiving the help that he needs. What do you think he is going to do with all of those drugs? If you guess, abuse them, you are right! So drugging them is a horribly bad idea!
Carolyn Meece commented
What we see is the same things that takes place involving "Victims of Violent Crime", they refuse to take responsibility for the damage that is inflicted onto the vets and what they suffer during combat. I have heard from different vets who have suffered from wars. I once knew a guy who was in Vietnam. He would have flashbacks from when he served. He stated that they got all the alcohol and drugs they wanted while serving in Vietnam. Different vets are still complaining about the treatment they get from the VA Hospitals and how denial continues. The psychiatric drugs are not the solution to society's problems. There are countless psychiatric horror stories at "drugawareness.org", and other places.
Irene O'Neill commented
My dad was a WWII vet, who just died yesterday. He experienced mental illness shortly after WWII, but was told he could not utilize the VA Hospital at that time, because they did not believe it was "service connected." He spent several years in state ops, but then was able to function without any meds, working for the same company for 40 years. He was a great role model for me, and I'll always love and cherish him. I want all vets to have the opportunity for better (and alternative) treatments, in his memory.