Mental Health Consumer Rights

I am in pain, not incompetent.         

I am a consumer of mental health services. I have the same rights as any other consumer. That includes the right to make my own informed decisions about treatment.

Forced treatment is force, not treatment. More damage is done by forced treatment than by no treatment.

If a friend or family member has a disorder that is causing difficulty in their lives, they are aware that something is wrong. If they are using denial, it is because they are afraid, because they don't know what's wrong or they don't believe there is help. If you can find printed information and make it available to them without pushing it on them, that would be best. The least awkward method is usually the most direct: "Pam, I saw this information and it seemed to be describing you, so I'm passing it on in case you can use it. If you don't think it fits, ignore it." If you can't say that comfortably, perhaps you can find a mutual friend who can?

If their disorder is not causing a problem to them, then is there anything you really should do? If society can tolerate only a narrow set of thought and behavior, maybe society needs shaking up.

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Last updated December 1, 2002