CCHR Helps Hundreds of People Fight Unjust Involuntary Commitment

While efforts have been made to protect the rights of Floridians, the fact remains that the number of people being Baker Acted yearly is continuing to climb resulting in people being sent against their will for involuntary examination and held for up to 72 hours.


The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), a non-profit mental health watchdog organization dedicated to the eradication of abuses committed under the guise of mental health, have helped secure the safe release of almost 200 people who were being unjustly held under the Baker Act.


The mental health law in Florida, commonly known as the Baker Act, allows for individuals to be sent against their will for involuntary examination and held for up to 72 hours. While efforts have been made to protect the rights of Floridians over the years, the fact remains that the number of people being Baker Acted each year is continuing to climb.


“We average about 50 calls a month on the Psychiatric Abuse Hotline from people calling about a friend or loved one that has been Baker Acted and unfortunately all too often the victim in question did not meet the criteria under the law and should not have been arrested and sent to a psychiatric facility,” said Diane Stein, President of CCHR Florida.


According to the Annual Report of Baker Act Data summary for 2014, the number of involuntary exam initiations increased 81.89% from 2002 to 2014. This increase in involuntary exam initiations is greater than Florida’s population increase during this same time period.


Since 2012 law enforcement, schools and the media have been reporting the overuse of the Baker Act and while legislative amendments have been enacted to protect individuals, the changes that have been made are not adequate.


In order to help address violations of human and civil rights under the mental health law, CCHR mans a Psychiatric Abuse Hotline 7 days a week from 10am until 10pm so that individuals who need help have someone they can call.


CCHR does not stop there as they also file complaints on behalf of those who have suffered abuse with the applicable agencies and officials working with the victims and their families to ensure that these abuses are investigated and those responsible are held accountable.


Since February of 2015, CCHR has filed almost 300 complaints concerning abuse within the Florida mental health system that have resulted in multiple investigations and sanctions against offending psychiatrists and facilities.


“Too often people who seek help from psychiatrists, psychologists and other mental health workers, are falsely diagnosed and involuntary committed. CCHR is here to expose this abuse, help those who have been unjustly incarcerated and in the end hope to change the involuntary commitment process,” said Diane Stein.


About CCHR: Initially established by the Church of Scientology and renowned psychiatrist Dr. Thomas Szasz in 1969, CCHR’s mission is to eradicate abuses committed under the guise of mental health and enact patient and consumer protections.


It was L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, who brought the terror of psychiatric imprisonment to the notice of the world. In March 1969, he said, “Thousands and thousands are seized without process of law, every week, over the ‘free world’ tortured, castrated, killed. All in the name of ‘mental health.’”


After discovering that 55 percent of foster children in Florida had been prescribed powerful mind-altering psychotropic drugs, CCHR documented the abuse to the health department, which initiated changes that led to a 75 percent reduction in prescriptions for children under six. Considered a potentially abusive, marketing tool for psychiatrists, CCHR Florida led the charge that got “Teen Screen”, mental health screening of school children, banned from Pinellas County schools in 2005. For more information visit, www.cchrflorida.org



SOURCES: http://bakeract.fmhi.usf.edu/document/BA_Annual_20… http://www.orlandosentinel.com/features/education/… http://www.tampabay.com/opinion/editorials/editori… http://www.miamiherald.com/latest-news/article1940… http://www.miamiherald.com/latest-news/article1940… http://jacksonville.com/opinion/editorials/2015-11…


Release ID: 122184