The theme of Mental Illness Awareness Week on October 2-8 is “What I Wish I Had Known.” The mental health industry watchdog, Citizens Commission on Human Rights International issued its Facts to Know About Psychiatry, which addresses the failure of psychiatric treatments to prevent or “cure” mental ill-health, while also causing physical harm and death. Highlighting this is the tragic suffocation death of Ja’Ceon Terry, a 7-year-old foster care child who was restrained in a psychiatric residential center in Louisville, Kentucky on July 17, 2022. In September, the medical examiner ruled his death a homicide.
CCHR has filed complaints with the Kentucky governor, Attorney General and health authorities demanding justice for the boy.
It is the second high-profile death of an African American foster child in psychiatric institutions in recent years. In April 2020, 16-year-old Cornelius Frederick was restrained at a psychiatric facility in Michigan and a medical examiner ruled this death a homicide.
Jan Eastgate, president of CCHR International, says: “Governments keep investing billions of dollars into psychiatry that promises to improve the mental health of the country, including for its children, but, statistically, the opposite has resulted and worse, there are a tragic number of deaths.”
CCHR wants consumers, parents and authorities to know:
— About 37.5% of child or adolescent inpatients in mental health facilities in the U.S. have been secluded or restrained.
— Involuntary hospitalizations account for about 54% of admissions to U.S. psychiatric inpatient settings. This is despite U.N. Human Rights bodies and the World Health Organization condemning coercive psychiatric practices, calling for an end to involuntary detainment and forced treatment or restraints because these constitute torture.
— Psychotropic drugs could make people nearly six times more likely to kill themselves, and those who spent time in the previous year in a psychiatric hospital were 44 times more likely to kill themselves.
— In the general population, those taking antidepressants have a 33% higher risk of dying prematurely than people who do not take the drugs.
Underpinning the problem is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM), which Thomas Insel, former Director of the National Institute of Mental Health said lacks validity. DSM’s “diagnoses are based on a consensus about clusters of clinical symptoms, not any objective laboratory measure.”
Eastgate says: “It is clear is that DSM’s use has not advanced understanding of mental issues, otherwise the statistics would be decreasing.”
— But the number of prescriptions of psychiatric drugs increased 210% between 1999 (197,247,557) and 2018 (611,780,251), at a cost then of over $29 billion. America’s population rose by only 17%.
— 6.1 million 0-17 year-olds are prescribed psychiatric drugs, of which 418,425 are aged five or younger.
— 45 million Americans take antidepressants. Worldwide, over 100 million people take them, with around 1 in every 100, or 1 million, ??becoming violent or suicidal.
— Of 634 drug regulatory agency warnings about psychiatric drugs, 80 warn of violence, mania, psychosis homicide, aggression or hostility; 70 report self-harm or suicide/suicidal ideation; 37 report addiction or withdrawal effects; and 51 warn of death or increased risk of death.
— Neuroleptics (“nerve-seizing”) such as antipsychotics are likely the deadliest of all psychiatric drugs. One potentially fatal effect is “neuroleptic malignant syndrome,” with an estimated 10 to 20% mortality rate and, already 100,000 American deaths.
— Mental health screening is embedded in many sectors in society, especially in schools. According to researcher Peter Gtzsche, M.D., “…the sure way of making us all crazy is to screen for mental disorders,” because, as an example, “the science related to screening for depression is of appallingly poor quality.”
— At least 100,000 Americans a year, including children–some aged 5 or younger–are given electroshock treatment. A study reports 137.34 suicide deaths per 10,000 within 30 days of receiving ECT and 804.39 per 10,000 within a year following ECT.
A 2022 Harvard Law School Project on Disability report points to the dreadful state of psychiatric institutions that “routinely employ coercive forms of ‘treatment’ that are intolerable in other settings.” Mental health workers “apply electroconvulsive therapies without safeguards, use prolonged mechanical restraints, or administer psychotropic medications without therapeutic justification.”
These are points Mental Illness Awareness Week does not discuss. To be fully informed, consumers and parents should also know about the failures, unworkable treatments and risks of harm and death.
 “7-year-old died at Kentucky youth treatment center due to suffocation, autopsy finds; 2 workers fired,” Louisville Courier Journal, 19 Sept. 2022, www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2022/09/19/death-child-jaceon-terry-brooklawn-kentucky-youth-center/10428004002/
 www.cchrint.org/2021/02/17/utah-state-law-curbing-behavioral-restraint-use-on-children-youths-is-applauded-but-unconditional-ban-is-needed-nationwide/; “Michigan House announces Adoption and Foster Care Task Force,” WoodTV.com, 4 Feb. 2021, www.woodtv.com/news/michigan/michigan-house-to-announce-adoption-and-foster-care-task-force/
 www.cchrint.org/2022/06/29/us-could-learn-from-reform-of-coercive-mental-health-practices/; “Adverse Effects Associated with Physical Restraint,” Can J Psychiatry, Vol 48, No 5, June 2003; “Comparative Effectiveness of Strategies to De-escalate Aggressive Behavior in Psychiatric Patients in Acute Care Settings,” AHRQ, 6 Oct. 2013, effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/products/aggression/research-protocol
 “Involuntary Commitments: Billing Patients for Forced Psychiatric Care,” The American Journ. of Psychiatry, 1 Dec. 2020, ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/10.1176/appi.ajp.2020.20030319
 www.cchrint.org/2022/06/03/suicide-attempts-increasing-in-children-including-28-in-6-to-9-year-olds-is-preventable/; “Disturbing findings about the risk of suicide and psychiatric hospitals,” Soc. Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiology (2014), link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00127-014-0912-2
 “Antidepressants may raise death risk by a third: A new study suggests that common antidepressants may pose a serious risk to health; they drastically raise the risk of mortality,” Medical News Today, 19 Sept. 2017, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319462
 “Top 25 Psychiatric Medications for 2018,” psychcentral.com/blog/top-25-psychiatric-medications-for-2018; rehabs.com/pro-talk/psychiatric-medications-kill-more-americans-than-heroin/
 www.antidepressantrisks.org/, citing: “Antidepressants and suicide: risk-benefit conundrums” Psychiatry Neurosci 2003128(5)
 “Neuroleptic malignant syndrome,” UpToDate, Aug. 2022, www.uptodate.com/contents/neuroleptic-malignant-syndrome
 Peter Gtzsche, M.D., Deadly Medicines and Organized Crime: How big pharma has corrupted healthcare, (CRC Press, 2017), p. 201
 truthaboutect.org/new-study-shows-high-number-of-suicides-after-electroshock/; “Electroconvulsive Therapy and Death by Suicide,” Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, Apr. 2022, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35421285/; “ECT did not decrease risk for death by suicide compared with other mental health care,” Helio, 20 July 2022, www.healio.com/news/psychiatry/20220720/ect-did-not-decrease-risk-for-death-by-suicide-compared-with-other-mental-health-care
 “WHEN DOES MENTAL HEALTH COERCION CONSTITUTE TORTURE?: IMPLICATIONS OF UNPUBLISHED U.S. IMMIGRATION JUDGE DECISIONS DENYING NON-REFOULEMENT PROTECTION,” FORDHAM INTERNATIONAL LAW JOURNAL, Vol 45:5, 2022, ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/ilj/vol45/iss5/2/, pp. 785, 818
Citizens Commission on Human Rights International
6616 Sunset Boulevard
Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Times of Chennai journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.