The Ethics of Psychiatry

Part of a series authored by Chloe McKinnon.


A government cannot legitimately own its citizens’ bodies. Yet, under British Columbia’s (BC) Mental Health Act the BC government, not to mention governments around the world, has taken possession of the bodies of its citizens who have psychiatric labels. Through the use of force the government has taken it upon itself to poison, electrocute, confine and restrain its citizens’ bodies. This is a violation of human rights, it is something you would think only an autocracy would do, and it is nothing less than psychiatric slavery.

The following is what I’ve learned about psychiatry from first-hand experience.

Psychiatrists are routinely dismissive of their victims’ feelings and perspectives of their own life. Even when the victim has great insight into their own experience psychiatrists tend to believe what they want to believe not necessarily what’s true. This routine dismissal of psych victims’ feelings and concerns by psychiatrists represents the objectification of psychiatric victims. We are often not seen by psychiatrists as human and worthy of respect. We are seen as objects to be controlled. Psychiatrists are so dismissive of their victims’ self-reports of their own experience because they are frequently so arrogant as to believe that they are the experts in their victims’ lives and not the victims themselves. Unless the psych victim is talking about “symptoms” of their “mental illness,” psychiatrists routinely dismiss their victims’ experience of their own life as untrue, not to be believed, believing what other people such as family and mental “health” staff say about them instead.

Psychiatrists love to say that their “patients” lack insight when the latter disagree with the psychiatrist’s “treatment” plan, which consists of consumption of dangerous psychiatric drugs and or electrocution of the brain. However, it is the psychiatrists who lack insight into the fact that they are being abusive. Not all psychiatrists are malicious, but all who practice its “treatments” are misguided.

Psych victims are viewed and treated as criminals by the mental health system, not as what they really are—traumatized people in crisis. Instead of being supported and cared for by the system psychiatric victims are handcuffed by police, brought to the hospital, locked up, “treated” by force, threatened and blackmailed into compliance and put on probation in the community. People in crisis are not treated as people in need of support.  We are treated as problems that need to be controlled. This mistreatment is in spite of the fact that people with psychogenic conditions or psychosocial disabilities are no more violent than the average population.

Some victims of psychiatry think that psych drugs are “good” or “help” because they take away their awareness of the “symptoms” or manifestations of the psychogenic condition. However, these people have also likely never been informed of the dangers of these drugs such as metabolic syndrome, tardive dyskinesia, tardive psychosis, tardive akathisia, heart disease diabetes, among numerous others. They also don’t know that these drugs will worsen their condition over time through brain damage, which leads to tardive psychosis because it is standard practice in the mental health system not to inform “patients” of the dangers of these drugs. If psych victims were aware of these dangers and they had any sense of self-preservation would they still want the drugs? So why is it legal to force psych victims to take these dangerous drugs, but it wouldn’t be okay to force dangerous drugs or even safe drugs on people with any other condition? Because we are being discriminated against. Psychiatrists will tell you it is because we lack insight and don’t know that we are “ill,” in other words that we are mentally incompetent. However, even when psych victims have great insight into what we have experienced and even when we are stable we are still forced to take toxic drugs and or be electrocuted. Furthermore, there is no risk to our health if we don’t take these drugs or don’t have our brains electrocuted because we are not physically ill, but there is a great risk to our health if we do take the drugs because they are toxic to the brain and body, or have our brains electrocuted because this causes severe brain damage. Psychiatry makes people sick not psychogenic conditions. See Peter Breggin’s Toxic Psychiatry for more information on this.

Psychiatrists often attribute the anger of their victims towards them as part of their “mental illness,” however, it’s the fact that we are being abused by our psychiatrist and have our basic human rights taken away that we are angry.

Hospitalization or incarceration is traumatizing and it will only worsen someone’s psychological well-being. It is not a caring, supportive environment and it can drive people to suicide. Psych nurses and psychiatrists love to say that if you can’t do well in a hospital setting then you can’t do well in the community. However, this is completely backwards. People don’t do as well in stressful environments such as hospitals, where they are forced to take toxic drugs and or be electrocuted, as they do in their own communities, provided they are not being abused at home. This was certainly true for me.

Neuroleptics, also known as antipsychotics, reduce your ability to feel and think. They change your personality, they damage your frontal lobes hence their effect being described as a “chemical lobotomy.” Psychiatric drugs are often more disabling than the condition they claim to “treat.” Psych victims who voluntarily take psych drugs typically don’t know that these drugs prevent them from recovering and only serve to worsen their condition. These drugs don’t heal, they mask conditions. Drugs cannot heal psychological or spiritual injuries, only time, support, and safe spaces can do this.

It is routine for psychiatrists to dismiss a “patient’s” experience of side effects from the neurotoxins (psychiatric drugs) they force on people. It is standard practice for psychiatrists not to care that their “patients’” bodies are being made unhealthy and ill by their drugs. All they care about is that the drugs are removing their “patients’” “symptoms,” so that the latter appear normal according to society’s standards. They don’t care that they are ruining the “patient’s” quality of life and even dramatically shortening our life span so long as we appear “normal.” Psychiatry has never been about what’s best for the person in crisis. It has always been about making people in crisis appear normal no matter what the cost to our health and well-being. Before the psych drug era psych victims were hidden away in locked institutions little different from prisons and tortured with pseudoscientific “therapies”. Therefore, psychiatry has never been about the “patient’s” welfare, but about society’s discomfort and inconvenience with our abnormal behaviour and their attempt to control it therein.

Although it may take many years for some, and for others only weeks or months, everyone, provided they do not have too much brain damage from narcotics use or neuroleptics, can recover from “psychosis.” You could have a “brief psychotic episode,” or “schizophreniform disorder” and be drugged and labelled as “schizophrenic” for the rest of your life, even though if you hadn’t been drugged you would have recovered in short order, while the damage the neuroleptics do is often irreversible, frequently causing permanent iatrogenic psychosis.

Psychiatrists frequently try to make their victims look disgraceful, like we are horrible people, even to the point of blatantly lying about us to keep us certified. A review panel (a hearing to determine if a psych “patient” can legally leave the mental health system) is almost never the picture of a concerned psychiatrist discussing their worry for the “patient.” It is rather the picture of the psychiatrist vilifying the victim and trying to make us look as bad as possible by bringing up every negative thing that has ever been written about the “patient” in the mental “health” system, whether true or not and often completely fabricated. When something negative about the psych victim is true it is generally out of context or grossly exaggerated. The aim of the psychiatrist in the review panel is often not to paint a picture of someone in crisis in need of support, but to make the victim look as bad as they possibly can so that the panel keeps us certified. This is more evidence that the aim of the mental health system is to punish not help. Psych victims are deeply traumatized people who need a great deal of emotional support. The last thing we need is to be abused by the system, which only exacerbates the crisis we’re in.

There is a common conception among mental “health” clinicians that their victims are bad people and this is how they justify mistreating them. One clinician once said to me said to me “They [psych patients] aren’t bad people,” as if it were an epiphany to her. Why would they be? I thought to myself, but didn’t ask. There is also a common conception among mental “health” clinicians that their victims are unintelligent and this is one way they justify dictating our lives. Is anyone who has no issue with controlling someone else’s life against their will and to the detriment of their health and well-being, like mental “health” clinicians do, not lacking in conscience?

It’s not safe to be labelled “mentally ill” or to have emotional distress in British Columbia and many other parts of the world. To be so labelled means you are going to be victimized by the system. You will lose your most basic human rights such as your freedom and right to self-determination and you will lose your health due to the dangerous “treatments” that will be forced on you. No one should have the legal capacity to violate another person’s body. Nothing about the mental “health” system is good for its victims’ psychological well-being or health. It is just the opposite. Emotional distress is treated as a crime in BC. If psychiatry were such a good thing then why does it have to be forced on people? The hypocrisy of psychiatry is that it causes the very illnesses, among others, that it claims to treat. So why is it forced on people? Because too many people with great lobbying influence, such as psychiatrists and pharmaceutical companies have too much to lose by it not being forced on people—a whole ideology that they have spent years of their lives studying and practising as well as billions of dollars in pharmaceutical profits would go down the drain. Not to mention people with psychiatric labels are discriminated against. They aren’t as valued as other members of society.

Psych victims should be encouraged to feel and express emotions without the threat of being drugged or locked up if we do, the latter of which is the current practice. We need to create safe spaces of healing for people in psychospiritual crisis as Peter Breggin calls it.

Some mental “health” clinicians still believe that phenomena such as excess dopamine in the brain, brain damage, and chemical imbalances in the brain are proof that “mental illness” has a biological basis, however, what they don’t accept is that these occurrences are caused by psychiatric drugs and don’t happen naturally in what is called “mental illness”. One ignorant psychiatrist even had the audacity to write that “psychosis” causes obesity and that people with psychosis are indifferent to being obese when it is well established that it is neuroleptics that cause obesity. It goes without saying that just as anyone else, people with “psychosis” do not want to be made obese.

Psych drugs don’t correct abnormalities in the brain like mental “health” clinicians claim. They cause abnormalities in the brain. People with psychogenic conditions who do not have a history of substance abuse do not have any more brain abnormalities than anyone else prior to exposure to psychiatric drugs.

Neuroleptics are dangerous and toxic. How dangerous do they have to be before they are banned? Psychiatrists don’t care how sick they make their victims so long as we behave normally. They don’t care if they give their victims diabetes, tardive dyskinesia, akathisia, tardive psychosis, tardive dementia, metabolic syndrome, morbid obesity, brain damage, shortened lifespan, agranulocytosis etc. as long as we behave normally. Psychiatry is not medicine. It makes people ill and frequently irreversibly so. It is a pseudoscience.

Anyone who is familiar with psychiatry’s history may believe we have moved past the psychiatric abuses of the past into a new era of humane treatment with psychiatric drugs. While some of the abusive practices of the past have been laid to rest such as insulin coma therapy and near death drowning as “treatments,” the practices of the mental “health” system are still abusive both psychologically and physically. We are not in a new era of humane treatment. We are still enacting the same pattern of abuse that has made up psychiatry’s history.

It is not safe for the psych victim to stand up for our rights or to criticize mental “health” clinicians in a mental “health” setting as this often results in retaliation in the form of increased drugging or prolonged incarceration. One psychiatric victim I witnessed told the psychiatrist who was incarcerating her that she was going to sue him. As a result he refused to let her go out on passes during her two month confinement to a psych ward.

When is the use of force justified? The mental health system maintains that the forced treatment of psych “patients” is justified because “they don’t know that they are ill” and therefore cannot make an informed decision. If “psychiatric disorders,” or psychogenic conditions, were harmful to the body if left untreated and if psychiatric treatments were therapeutic then this logic may be justified. However, “psychiatric disorders,” or psychogenic conditions, are not medical illnesses and therefore are not harmful to the body and psychiatric “treatments” are not therapeutic. They are harmful and very dangerous. Therefore the logic of forced treatment being justifiable is not logical at all or even ethical.

What’s better? Acting oddly and being healthy or acting normally and being ill? Psychiatry prioritizes the latter. It claims to be a branch of medicine and yet it’s “treatments” make people ill. Psychiatry is not about what’s good for its so called “patients.” It is about controlling behaviour in order to make society more comfortable around people in crisis. It is nothing short of an abusive practice.

In psychiatry there is a paradigm that “mental illness” is an illness just like any other. It is frequently compared to diabetes i.e. if you have diabetes you need medication otherwise you will get sicker. Psychiatry believes that “mental illness” is the same scenario, that if you have it you need medication because the it has “protective” properties and if left untreated the “mental illness” will cause brain damage. The goal of “treatment” is to get the “patient back to a normal course of life where they can work, study, and accomplish their goals in general and have overall quality of life. Let’s look at the fallacy of this paradigm. First of all, “mental illness” is not an illness at all. There is absolutely no risk of brain damage if left untreated. “Mental Illness” is in a category of its own, it is a psychogenic condition caused by trauma, when not induced by substance use, and it needs to be treated with emotional and psychological support and a safe, reliable, environment without major stressors. Therefore, it is erroneous to compare “mental illness” to physical illnesses such as diabetes. It is also ironic in that the neuroleptics used to “treat” “psychosis” frequently cause diabetes. The belief that “mental illness” causes brain damage is further ironic because it is in fact the psychiatric drugs that cause the brain damage.

What about quality of life? Do psychiatric drugs improve quality of life? While psychiatric drugs do reduce “symptoms” or features of psychogenic conditions in many people in the short term it comes at the cost, often permanent, of their health and ultimate recovery. People on these drugs frequently develop life threatening health problems such as diabetes and disabling neurological disorders such as Tardive Dyskinesia, and akathisia both of which are so treacherous that they can drive people to suicide. Moreover, as mentioned, these drugs are not therapeutic, not only do they not correct abnormalities in the brain, “mental illness” does not cause abnormalities, they cause abnormalities in the brain. Furthermore, psychiatric drugs prevent recovery by causing dysfunction in the brain, which often becomes permanent, such as in Tardive Psychosis, which is an iatrogenic psychosis that cannot be recovered from. Moreover, neuroleptics in particular reduce quality of life by making the body uncomfortable and reducing a person’s ability to think, feel, or be motivated. Therefore, “mental illness” is not an illness, psychiatric drugs are not medicinal, and they ultimately do not improve quality of life. In short, psychiatry ruins lives.

But, psychiatry would not have any power over people without the government.  Canadian governments and not least the government of BC are inherently discriminatory against people deemed to have a “mental illness,” or rather mental distress.  Here’s the proof: If someone in Canada, let’s say BC, is “diagnosed” with “schizophrenia” or “bipolar disorder,” that person is subjected to coercive psychiatric practices such as being drugged with neurotoxic psychiatric drugs, being electrocuted with ECT, and being locked up in the prisons that society calls “hospitals.”  This is because the government claims this person inherently “lacks insight” by virtue of this arbitrary label.  But, if that same person who has been labelled “schizophrenic” or “ bipolar” also develops an illness such as heart disease or a brain tumour and will die without medical intervention, this person is allowed to refuse treatment.  So, the government is saying this person lacks insight into their “mental illness” so must be drugged and or electrocuted indefinitely, but that same person is allowed to choose to die from refusing actual treatment for an actual illness like heart disease.  This is hypocrisy because the person is said by the government to lack insight to refuse subjugation to psychiatric practices, but yet has the insight to refuse medical treatment for a life threatening illness.

I know many people, myself included, who have written the government to protest this inhumane treatment through psychiatry.  On rare occasion the government will write back dismissing our concerns, but for the most part they won’t reply at all.  This is hypocritical given that not long ago the BC Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions encouraged people to write in if they had any concerns about how people are affected by psychiatry.  The media is no better.  Myself and many others, including journalists, have written to or for the media about local abusive psychiatric practices.  The media never responds.  The media will not touch this subject.  They are engaging in censorship.  The only time the media is willing to talk about the Canadian “mental health” system is to promote it and encourage unsuspecting individuals to seek it out for themselves and others when experiencing distress.

Further evidence that drugging people diagnosed with “schizophrenia” or “psychosis” is unethical comes from two World Health Organization (WHO) studies on schizophrenia that indicate that people so diagnosed are more likely to recover when not exposed to neuroleptics. The following quotes on the studies by Giovanni de Girolamo indicate this:

  1. The International Pilot Study of Schizophrenia (IPSS):

“…the outcome at the 2-year follow-up and at the five-year follow-up was significantly better for the patients from the developing countries (Columbia, India, Nigeria) than for those from the other countries. This result was largely unexpected, but was confirmed when it was controlled for certain variables….”[i]

“Out of all 9 countries, the two extremes of outcome were represented by strikingly different results in Nigeria and in Denmark. While in Nigeria about 57% of patients were in the group with the best outcome, in Denmark this number was only 6%. In a parallel manner, while in Nigeria only 5% of the patients were in the group with the worst outcome, in Denmark this group included 31% of the patients.”[ii]

“In the IPSS no single variable, and no combination of a few “key” variables, could explain much of the variation of any of the course and outcome measures in schizophrenia; in other words, no characteristics of the patient, of the environment, or of the initial manifestations of the disorder considered in isolation were an effective predictor of the subsequent course and outcome of the illness.”[iii]

“In terms of clinical outcome, measured by symptomatic status at time of follow-up, time spent in a psychotic episode and pattern of course, the Indian and Nigerian patients did much better than all the others. In addition, these patients and those from Columbia also showed an exceptionally good social outcome.”[iv]

  1. The study on the “Determinants of the Outcome of Severe Mental Disorders”

“…patients in developing countries on the whole have a better outcome than those living in developed countries.”[v]

“While 56% of the patients from developing countries exhibited a mild course, this percentage decreased to 39% for the patients from developed countries. Moreover, while only 24% of the patients from developing countries had a severe course, this percentage was 40% for patients from developed countries.”[vi]

“…while 38% of the patients from developing countries were in full remission more than 3/4 of the follow-up time compared to 22% of the patients from developed countries, only 16% of the patients from developing countries were on antipsychotic medication from 76% to 100% of the            follow-up time, compared to 61% of the patients from developed countries. While 55% of the patients from developing countries had never been hospitalized, this was true for only 8% of the patients from developed countries. Finally, while 15% of the patients from developing countries had impaired social functions throughout the follow-up time, 42% of the patients from developed countries were in this condition.”[vii]

In his concluding remarks Girolamo states that his findings “challenge the view that a highly developed professional care system is the best guarantee for improving the long-term course of schizophrenia. Rather, the integration of patients in a natural social environment, and the restriction of medical interventions to an indispensable degree may provide an optimal care strategy.”[viii]

The lack of ethics in Canadian Psychiatry is also highlighted by the UN’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). On March 30, 2007 Canada signed the CRPD and on March 11, 2010 it ratified this convention. According to the principles of this convention Canadians should be protected from forced psychiatric interventions. According to article 1:

“The purpose of the present Convention is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.”[ix]

“Persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.”[x]

However, Canada has yet to live up to many of the articles of the convention. They are:

Article 3:

  1. Respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy including the freedom to make one’s own choices, and independence of persons;
  2. Non-discrimination;[xi]

I can personally attest to the fact, as many other Canadians can, that the above have never been implemented by the mental health system. Dignity is disregarded by forced “treatment,” autonomy is disregarded in that psych victims’ wishes not to be subjected to restraints, confinement, drugging, and or electrocution are violated. Moreover, psych victims lose their independence under the Mental Health Act as we have no choice in the “treatments” we are subjected to. Lastly, we are discriminated against on the basis of our disabilities because people with any other condition are not subjected to forced “treatments.”

Article 4:

  1. a) To adopt all appropriate legislative, administrative and other measures for the implementation of the rights recognized in the present Convention; 
  1. b) To take all appropriate measures, including legislation, to modify or abolish existing laws, regulations, customs and practices that constitute discrimination against persons with disabilities; 
  1. c) To take into account the protection and promotion of the human rights of persons with disabilities in all policies and programmes; 
  1. d) To refrain from engaging in any act or practice that is inconsistent with the present Convention and to ensure that public authorities and institutions act in conformity with the present Convention;[xii]

BC and Canada have not adopted the measures necessary for “the implementation of the rights recognized…” by the CRPD. Moreover, existing laws under the Mental Health Act, which discriminate against people with psychogenic or psychosocial disabilities, have not been modified or abolished. This is further reflected in the fact that policies and programmes related to BC’s Mental Health Act have not changed to reflect the CRPD and “public authorities and institutions” are not upholding the convention in this regard.

Article 5:

  1. States Parties recognize that all persons are equal before and under the law and are entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law. 
  1. States Parties shall prohibit all discrimination on the basis of disability and guarantee to persons with disabilities equal and effective legal protection against discrimination on all grounds. 
  1. In order to promote equality and eliminate discrimination, States Parties shall take all appropriate steps to ensure that reasonable accommodation is provided.[xiii]

Moreover, people with psychogenic conditions are not “equal before and under the law….” They are subjected to dangerous “treatments” against their will while people with other conditions are not. Therefore they are not protected from discrimination. The BC and Canadian governments are not taking the steps necessary to end this discrimination.

Article 12:

  1. States Parties shall recognize that persons with disabilities enjoy legal capacity on an equal basis with others in all aspects of life.[xiv]

People with psychogenic conditions are not equal under the law with others in that others are not forcefully subjected to dangerous “treatments,” which are harmful and very damaging to health and psychological well-being.

Article 14:

  1. States Parties shall ensure that persons with disabilities, on an equal basis with others:

 a) Enjoy the right to liberty and security of person;

 b) Are not deprived of their liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily, and that any deprivation of liberty is in conformity with the law, and that the existence of a disability shall in no case justify a deprivation of liberty.

  1. States Parties shall ensure that if persons with disabilities are deprived of their liberty through any process, they are, on an equal basis with others, entitled to guarantees in accordance with international human rights law and shall be treated in compliance with the objectives and principles of the present Convention, including by provision of reasonable accommodation.[xv]

             Canada has not ensured that people with psychogenic disabilities are treated equally to others. We do not have the right to liberty of security of person. We are in fact deprived of our liberty for the mere cause of having a psychogenic disability.

Article 15:

  1. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. In particular, no one shall be subjected without his or her free consent to medical or scientific experimentation.
  1. States Parties shall take all effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent persons with disabilities, on an equal basis with others, from being subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.[xvi]

             People with psychogenic conditions in BC are subjected to “torture [and] cruel, inhuman [and] degrading treatment [and] punishment,” in the form of forced confinement, restraints, toxic drugs, which torture and damage the brain and body, and electrocution, which tortures and damages the brain.

Article 16:

  1. States Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social, educational and other measures to protect persons with disabilities, both within and outside the home, from all forms of exploitation, violence and abuse, including their gender-based aspects. 
  1. In order to prevent the occurrence of all forms of exploitation, violence and abuse, States Parties shall ensure that all facilities and programmes designed to serve persons with disabilities are effectively monitored by independent authorities.[xvii]

The mental health system functions on violence and abuse in the form of forced, toxic and dangerous “treatments” as well as the use of confinement and restraints. There is nothing in place to stop this from happening as it is currently legal in spite of Canada’s ratification of the CRPD in 2010.

Article 17:

Every person with disabilities has a right to respect for his or her physical and mental integrity on an equal basis with others.[xviii]

I can personally verify, along with many other people in BC who have experienced the Mental Health Act that we do not have equal rights to our physical and mental integrity as compared to other people without psychogenic conditions.

Article 19:

  1. a) Persons with disabilities have the opportunity to choose their place of residence and where and with whom they live on an equal basis with others and are not obliged to live in a particular living arrangement;[xix]

People with psychogenic conditions do not have the freedom to choose not to stay in a psych ward, not to live in a facility and not to live in a group home. This is up to the treating psychiatrist not the psych victim.

Article 25:

  1. d) Require health professionals to provide care of the same quality to persons with disabilities as to others, including on the basis of free and informed consent by, inter alia, raising awareness of the human rights, dignity, autonomy and needs of persons with disabilities through training and the promulgation of ethical standards for public and private health care;[xx]

Unlike other residents of BC, people with psychogenic conditions in BC do not have the right to free and informed consent about their treatment.  In the mental health system there is no respect for dignity, autonomy, or individual freedom. Discrimination is evident through the forced use of constraints, policing, drugging and electrocution for the crime of being different.

The lack of ethics in psychiatry as practised in British Columbia is made further evident by the fact that psychiatry in British Columbia also blatantly disregards the Canadian Medical Association’s Code of Ethics and Professionalism in the following ways:

Under “Commitment to respect for persons,” the Code of Ethics and Professionalism states: “Always treat the patient with dignity and respect the equal and intrinsic worth of all persons. Always respect the autonomy of the patient. Never exploit the patient for personal advantage. Never participate in or support practices that violate basic human rights.”[xxi] The dignity of “patients” is not respected in psychiatry. They have their clothes forcibly removed and they are forcibly injected with toxic drugs and or exposed to electrocution. The patient has no autonomy. They are not allowed to make decisions about their own treatment and their basic human rights are as a result violated.

Under “Commitment to professional integrity and competence,” the Code of Ethics and Professionalism states: “Practise medicine competently, safely, and with integrity; avoid any influence that could undermine your professional integrity.”[xxii] However, there is nothing safe about psychiatric drugs or electrocution.

Under “PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES: Patient-physician relationship” the Code of Ethics and Professionalism states, “2. Having accepted professional responsibility for the patient, continue to provide services until these services are no longer required or wanted, or until another suitable physician has assumed responsibility for the patient, or until after the patient has been given reasonable notice that you intend to terminate the relationship.”[xxiii]However, unwanted psychiatric services cannot be refused by the certified “patient.”

This section further states: “Never participate in or condone the practice of torture or any form of cruel, inhuman, or degrading procedure.”[xxiv] However, torture in the form of side effects from psychiatric drugging, as well as electrocution, confinement, and use of restraints is standard practice in psychiatry.

This section further stipulates the requirement to: “Empower the patient to make informed decisions regarding their health by communicating with and helping the patient (or, where appropriate, their substitute decision-maker) navigate reasonable therapeutic options to determine the best course of action consistent with their goals of care communicate with and help the patient assess material risks and benefits before consenting to any treatment or intervention.”[xxv] In practice, however, psych “patients” are not allowed to make decisions regarding our own health and the BC Mental Health Act assumes consent for us, assuming we are incompetent to make our own decisions. Even when the psych victims are stable we are still forbidden from making our own treatment decisions.

Finally, the Code of Ethics and Professionalism further states, “Respect the decisions of the competent patient to accept or reject any recommended assessment, treatment, or plan of care.”[xxvi] I and countless others have never consented to the psychiatric treatment to which we’ve been subjected even though the government says we do and even when we are competent enough to make this decision. Assumed psychiatric consent is a violation of human rights.

Is the BC mental health Act Constitutional? Alberta’s Mental Health Act was recently declared unconstitutional by a justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench. A man had been arbitrarily detained and “treated” for 9 months in an Alberta psych ward after receiving an unrelated surgery and wasn’t informed of his right to obtain legal assistance. The Justice declared the following sections of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms were infringed upon: sections 7, 9, 10(a) and 10(b). Section 7 is: “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof expect in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.”[xxvii] Section 9 is: “Everyone has the right not to arbitrarily detained or imprisoned.”[xxviii] Section 10(a) is: “Everyone has the right on arrest or detention (a) to be informed promptly of the reasons therefore;”[xxix] and (b) states, “to retain and instruct counsel without delay and to be informed of that right….”[xxx] The BC Mental Health Act does not follow these criteria either. Moreover, section 12 should be added, which states, “Everyone has the right not to be subjected to any cruel and unusual treatment or punishment,”[xxxi] as cruel and unusual treatment and punishment is common place in the mental “health” system in British Columbia as well as around the world.

According to Journalist Robert Whitaker: “[T]here is evidence that psychiatric hospitalization itself—whether voluntary or involuntary—leads to an increased risk of suicide.” Moreover, according to Whitaker, a University of Copenhagen study “concluded that the risk of dying from suicide rose as people received increasing levels of psychiatric care.” “Taking psychiatric medications was associated with a six-fold increased likelihood that people would kill themselves; contact with a psychiatric outpatient clinic with an eight-fold increase; visiting a psychiatric emergency room with a 28-fold increase; and admission to a psychiatric hospital a 44-fold increase.”[xxxii]

[i] Breggin, P.R. & Stern, E. M. (1996). Psychosocial Approaches to Deeply Disturbed Persons. London and New York: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.

[ii] Breggin, P.R. & Stern, E. M. (1996). Psychosocial Approaches to Deeply Disturbed Persons. London and New York: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.

[iii] Breggin, P.R. & Stern, E. M. (1996). Psychosocial Approaches to Deeply Disturbed Persons. London and New York: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.

[iv] Breggin, P.R. & Stern, E. M. (1996). Psychosocial Approaches to Deeply Disturbed Persons. London and New York: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.

[v] Breggin, P.R. & Stern, E. M. (1996). Psychosocial Approaches to Deeply Disturbed Persons. London and New York: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.

[vi] Breggin, P.R. & Stern, E. M. (1996). Psychosocial Approaches to Deeply Disturbed Persons. London and New York: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.

[vii] Breggin, P.R. & Stern, E. M. (1996). Psychosocial Approaches to Deeply Disturbed Persons. London and New York: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.

[viii] Breggin, P.R. & Stern, E. M. (1996). Psychosocial Approaches to Deeply Disturbed Persons. London and New York: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.