Thursday, September 22, 2016

Should Patients Have Rights?


We're getting ready for the release of our new book, Committed: The Battle Over Involuntary Psychiatric Care on November 1, 2016 (~great reading for after the election, if I do say so myself) and I found this to be very relevant. 

My friend, blogger buddy, and mental health advocate Pete Earley went to India recently for a few days.  That sounds tiring -- but Pete is full of energy and so what's  not to like about a few days on the other side of the world? He's been blogging about mental health in India, and the first of his 3 part series is called Patient Rights is a New Concept in India, I learned.  Pete talks first about how little psychiatric care there is in India: 6,000 psychiatrists for 1.3 billion people.  It's an unthinkably low number, and there are roughly the same number of total beds there as the public system has in our country.  What a disaster.  And patient rights?: unheard of.  It's a different culture, one in which patients don't question doctors, but also one in which the mentally ill are chained, abused,  or left to starve on the streets (ah, tragically we do that part here, too).  Pete was the keynote speaker at a conference on Rights of Homeless Persons with Mental Health Issues.

In his post, Pete talks about his own experiences with his son and involuntary care and his belief that this is a band-aid, not a solution, and that it helps to come to view the world of the patient through his eyes for a longer-term solution.  So it won't surprise you if I mention that Pete wrote the foreword for our book.  His few pages are an amazing piece of writing, and they draw you in and  round out the book because he really does a wonderful job of capturing the desperation of a family member watching helplessly as his beloved son became so desperately ill. 

 I wanted to tell you share our excitement over the upcoming release of Committed, and I also wanted to send you over to Pete Earley's blog to read his stories about India. 

And of course patients should have rights, what kind of nonsense is my title?

9 comments:

Joel Hassman, MD said...
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Enid Mueller said...
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tracy said...
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Joel Hassman, MD said...
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tracy said...
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tracy said...
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Dinah said...

Enough. People are injuring each other and that is not the purpose. Note to Tracey, please don't let unkind words from one person generalize to the idea that all people (or even all mental health professionals) are unkind. Wishing you peace and happiness in the future.

Joel Hassman, MD said...
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tracy said...


Thank you Dr. Dinah for your lovely words. I really appreciate it.