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Summary Report of Cape Town Meeting released!

August 31, 2013

SAM_0489Between 13th and 18th of May 2013, 18 participants in the World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (WNUSP) gathered in Cape Town, South Africa for an historic information-sharing and strategy-building seminar. The name of this event was “Strengthening Our Voices“. This summary report tells the story of this important meeting held in a place of deep significance for campaigners for equal human rights and freedoms. It also shares some of the most promising outcomes and recommendations.

The Cape Town seminar brought together individual experts, activists and leaders from the grassroots political movement of users and survivors of psychiatry and people with psychosocial disabilities in five world regions: Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America and the host continent Africa. It was a unique occasion to share and debate opportunities and barriers for advocacy and to build towards an enhanced strategy to promote and protect the rights of all our people internationally. The Summary Report can be accessed on this link:  Strengthening our Voices Summary Report


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  1. The document expresses an interest in driving up grassroots voices from the users and survivors in the movement, so I offer the following strategic advocacy option: A view from United States involuntary commitment law leads a reasonable person to observe that doctors who maintain incarcerated patients do so inducing a state of constant trial perceivably to measure reaction ranging from inactivity to dangerousness. In lieu of winning a ban against such inhumane treatment, we – the grassroots of WNUSP (and other groups) – should demonstrate just one idealized version of inactivity within the observed setting. It is this comment’s contention that without law books the patient within the observed setting has no way to communicate intentions of lawfulness, and without being seen as being able to communicate intentions of lawfulness the patient is illegally judged to be incompetent. Point being, without recognizing the mental health laws’ demand for a legal education and without advocacy for a “right answer” within the law to return on one’s observers, a patient is in fact indistinguishable from an incompetent, and is not ever receiving a prudent therapy option. As a movement we should not preclude ensuring the provision of law books within the observed setting – their absence may well prove to be illegal assessment of incompetence on the patients. Providing a legal complaint, to one’s observers, detailing case law which shifts a legal burden upon the doctors for maintaining captivity may be the only way to demonstrate competency. Laity simply emboldens detestment, and detestment maintains a residual assessment of dangerousness, on the patient, from the (also potentially lay) doctors. If judges sanction doctors to incarcerate and judges are trustworthy because they know the law then the only solution for would-be patients – to control doctors – is to adapt a proficiency in the law viable before whatever is then called a judge. In the observed setting, doctors themselves should be subject to at least one idealized legal complaint from the patients demonstrating mental capacity and triggering release – by psychological guidelines. Self-representation, as facilitated by this help society should already be giving under the mental health laws – no matter how paranoid those laws may seem – may be the only solution that will lie in a society which will enduringly persist to abandon those labeled mentally ill. I suggest involuntary commitment IS akin to african slavery, AND IS currently involuntary servitude under US law – a violation of the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

    How does what I say relate to the practices observed in other states? Do doctors need to be forced to allow an idealized path to release from the observed setting – seeing as how currently there is no way to measure what they purport is mental competency?? If one can muster an idealized complaint within the observed setting shouldn’t that demonstrate that any infraction of the law can be treated in criminal procedure – should there ever be an actual infraction?? Isn’t this all that’s demanded from doctors by their therapies, that a patient become competent and responsible for his/her own actions??

  2. Phillip Marc Fabre permalink

    If anyone has any answers to the questions asked in my previous post or helpful comments to offer, please leave them under THIS comment.

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