Psychiatric Refugees? Give me a Break!

If you follow me at all, you will know that I am a rebel. This caused me unjust care at Read Zone Hospital and Lake Shore hospital in the 70s. When these kind of involuntary laws prevail, all one has to do is get on the wrong side of the powers-that-be. Often, rebelling against injustices is not cause for forced psychiatric treatment like I experienced: strapping down to my bed, injected with psych med to which I was allergic and a most outlandish use of seclusion as punishment. When one survives unjust treatment and cannot go home, I call this a ‘refugee’ situation. I admire Sarah that even though the BC system really did her wrong, she had the wisdom to seek further psychiatric treatment even though it was so risky. I don’t know if I would be that brave! My hat’s off to you, Sarah. I hope you may go home soon.

Mind You

By Marvin Ross

For years, we’ve had a small group of very vocal people who call themselves psychiatric survivors — people who have had psychiatric treatment, do not agree with it and consider that they have survived it. Now, thanks to CBC radio, we have someone dubbed a psychiatric refugee — a woman who fled British Columbia for Ontario to escape her involuntary status in a B.C. hospital. And, it was said, she is not the only so-called refugee.

Comparing yourself to people who survived a genocide like the Holocaust or saying that you are comparable to Syrians and others fleeing in leaky, dangerous boats from war is absurd. But what is also absurd is the story that this anonymous person called Sarah by the CBC told. It is just not logical but it is being used to justify the Charter challenge to the B.C. Mental Health Act that I…

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About Kathy Powers
Advocacy is my therapy. Chicago, IL

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