Posted on December 14, 2017 11:58 pm

Coercion is a Cultural Norm

There has been much written in protest of involuntary treatments and drugging in the mental health field:

Mad In America

“MindFreedom- Fighting Back Against Human Rights Abuses in the Mental Health System.”

Mad Market

Our Voice – Notre Voix

Yet it only keeps getting worse:

Rise of Involunary Mental Health: What is your resistance strategy? -David Oaks

What puzzles me is that the people who write about this issue write as if it only affects those who have what are seen as mental health problems. How is it only of concern to them? Even if we put aside, for the moment, the fact that involuntary treatments and drugging are routinely used in nursing homes, the armed services, and prisons, and we focus solely on their widespread use in the school system by doctors and parents with the acquiescence of teachers and administrators (Ritalin Nation), it becomes clear why no one thinks their use in the mental health system is surprising or even controversial. Descriptions of involuntary treatments in this article, “RECOUNT OF MY STORY IN SAINT JOHN, NEW BRUNSWICK’S ASYLUM MENTAL HOSPITAL FROM MAY TO MID JULY 1968” (Maria Arsenault Abel, Issue 65 of Our Voice Notre Voix) could be describing the treatment of children in any number of educational and religious institutions or orphanages who are demonized, put in detention, expelled, forcibly ostracized, isolated, mentally and physically abused. Yet, few protest this coercion and force or seem to think it is a big deal because this is all done “for their own good” by nice, concerned, caring, responsible, sincere, altruistic adults who have only the “children’s best interests at heart.”

The same relationship exists between mental health care workers and their clients. How can involuntary treatment and drugs used to quell unwanted and unruly behavior in adults be wrong if it is not wrong when done to children?

Coercion and force are being ignored when used on adults because we became accustomed to its use while growing up, and we don’t think much of it. We can’t understand why it should not be used to correct disconcerting adult behavior. We are simply treating these adults the way we treat children.