Tag Archives: psychiatric abuse

Exposing the Untold History of Psychiatric Atrocities

Photo by R. Valentine Atkinson, reprinted from The History of Shock Treatment, by Leonard Roy Frank

Over its history, Street Spirit has published a series of in-depth reports on many different kinds of psychiatric abuses that have been carried out in the name of healing, yet often end up damaging and disabling people for life. In light of renewed calls for forced psychiatric detention under the guise of “helping the mentally ill,” we are collecting and re-publishing these stories in a new section “Psychiatric Abuses and Human Rights”. 

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Laura’s Law and the Danger of Forced Detention

“Art in Jail” by Jos Sances. Serigraph, Edition 120, 8 color, 22” x 30”“Art in Jail” by Jos Sances. Serigraph, Edition 120, 8 color, 22” x 30”

How much sweeter “Laura’s Law” sounds than Forced Detention or Treatment! Yet it all sounds an awful lot like the usual government arguments used to justify surveillance, control, invasion of privacy. Who is to say this new law won’t be used to punish and isolate the indigent and the ill?

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Psychiatric Treatments For Depression May Be Hazardous To Your Health

advertisement for Zoloft : “Side effects may include dry mouth, insomnia, sexual side effects, diarrhea, nausea and sleepiness.”

My entire college education has been completely wiped out. I guess the doctors would consider [that electroshock] had beneficial effects because it has “cured my depression,” but it’s cured my depression by ruining my life, by taking away everything that made it worth having in the first place.

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Electroshock Must Be Banned as Crime Against Humanity

Electroshock is a barbaric, brain-disabling psychiatric procedure that should have been abolished many years ago. Yet its use is on the rise.

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Shocked into Action: How Electroshock Created a Rebel

Leonard Roy Frank is arrested in Toronto during a sit-in at the American Psychiatric Association convention on May 17, 1982. Photo by Wood, The Globe and Mail

“Leonard Roy Frank is the Gandhi of the psychiatric survivors’ movement. He’s really helped bring a powerful spiritual discipline to this movement, similar to the work of Martin Luther King. Certainly in the 20th century, Leonard would be one of the foremost challengers of psychiatry, especially electroshock.” — David Oaks

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Drug Companies Turn ‘Informed Consent’ into a Sham

When will physicians, HMOs and elected officials take the following pledge? “I pledge to accept no money, gifts or hospitality from the pharmaceutical industry; to seek unbiased sources and not rely on information disseminated by drug companies, and to avoid conflict of interest in my practice, teaching and/or research.”

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Electroshock: A Crime Against the Spirit

A patient is subjected to Electroshock or Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) Photo by George Bjorgen, Minneapolis Star

Electroshock robs people of their memories, their personality and their humanity. It reduces their capacity to lead full, meaningful lives. It crushes their spirits. Put simply, electroshock is a method for gutting the brain in order to control and punish people who fall or step out of line.

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Speaking Out For Those Who Have Been Silenced by the Psychiatric Profession

“Hug Children Don’t Drug Them.” Protesters demand that the APA end the use of damaging antipsychotics on kids. Lydia Gans photo

“You are exposed, you psychiatrists of the APA. We know that psychiatry has long ago lost whatever conscience it may have possessed. We know that you are snug in bed with the drug companies, that you couldn’t even exist as a professional association without drug company funding.” — Leah Harris

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East Bay Hospital Is Closed for Good

The empty hallways of East Bay Hospital, shut down for good by investigative reporting and protests. Lydia Gans photo

The undeserved suffering of poor and homeless mental-health clients galvanized us to shut down East Bay Hospital so this anguish would never visit another family. This negligent psychiatric hospital had crammed disabled clients into shamefully overloaded wards in pursuit of higher profits. Now those once-crowded wards have been closed forever.

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A Life Consecrated to Compassion and Justice

On the bleak streets of the Tenderloin, a sister took a stand against inhumanity. Her solidarity was inspired by the beatitudes and consecrated to the poor.

The Invisible Natural Cathedral of People’s Park

Builders, please go away. Allow the beauty of an Invisible Natural Cathedral to remain, a living shrine of open space that gives refuge to all people.

Street Spirit Interview with Sister Bernie Galvin

This atrocity was happening in a very wealthy city. It was happening right under our noses. It was very visible. And there was not the united voice of the faith community speaking out. That was the spark of Religious Witness. From that moment, I knew what I had to do.

Interview with Sister Bernie Galvin, Part Two

“What’s forming in my mind is Jesus in the temple when he became angry at the unjust and very exclusive systems of society. That is the very reason that there are the poor and the marginalized. It is not enough just to provide food, clothing and housing.”

‘Such Is the Magic and Spirit of People’s Park’

The mayor has no understanding of the awful defeat the loss of People’s Park would be. No comprehension of the cost in lives and the sacrifices people have made for the Park’s ideals. So many still find it a refuge in a country needing a political and spiritual overhaul.

I Remember Who I Am

“And Now Where?” Lithograph by Rockwell Kent

By and by, I calm down. I meditate. I pray. It is a beautiful day. The sun is setting. I weave my way toward the spot where I sleep, where nobody knows where to find me. I look to the stars, and say my prayers to the God who believes in Me.