Yes, it is shocking but true. Merely visiting a hospital for a mental health concern, or seeking treatment from a psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist or counselor, can lead to instant deprivation of your Constitutional rights under the 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 14th amendments, among others. That means your rights to freedom of speech, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, your right to due process of law, and even your right to bear arms, can become meaningless if you receive mental health treatment at a hospital.
Unfortunately, you are unlikely to be aware that this has happened to you until it is too late.
"Mental illness" is a very broad term that encompasses hundreds of different conditions. 75 million people in the US suffer from psychiatric disorders, but only a small number of mentally ill people are a danger to themselves or anyone else. A patient with occasional anxiety, mild depression, or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, for example, is highly unlikely to be dangerous. However, mental illness carries crippling stigma in our society. Even one incidence of a mild psychological complaint can leave a permanent stain on your record that cannot be removed without suing the government and/or the hospital.
The psychiatric care system not only discriminates against patients based on mental disability, but also based on race, gender, age, religion and sexual orientation. It is the last refuge of serious systematic discrimination in this country.
AND YET THE PUBLIC IS SURPRISED WHEN PEOPLE WHO REALLY NEED MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT OFTEN AVOID IT.
We at SaneRights are fellow patients, who have been mistreated by the mental healthcare system. We are as diverse as a group can be - of all shapes, sizes, colors, ages, etc. Our network is growing quickly, as more abused patients learn about our activities. We started out in New York, and are now expanding our scope to include other states.
We may be able to help you to obtain compensation, because we are trying to do so ourselves.
Our values are as follows:
We are not anti-psychiatry, or anti-drugs. Both have their uses, and have helped many of us. We only oppose violations of patients' human rights by the psychiatric establishment, regulators and law enforcement, which is unfortunately a widespread phenomenon. Quality assurance systems need to be applied to mental healthcare, just as they are in medical care.
We are not in favor of reducing the national mental health budget; we believe in better allocation of existing resources, before any budget increases should be allowed. A focus on prevention and treatment in the community, as alternatives to hospitalization for nonviolent patients, make good sense for everyone -- patients and providers alike.