ATLANTA, May 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- "That's almost more than I can stomach, but at least I know the truth now," said one visitor exiting "Psychiatry: An Industry of Death," an international touring exhibit that opened Sunday for a week-long stay in Atlanta.
Hosted by Citizens Commission on Human Rights of Georgia, the museum-style displays document a side of psychiatry's past-and present-that is rarely seen. Historical and contemporary footage, including interviews with over 150 experts and survivors, cover the brutal psychiatric treatments of the past and trace its history through the labels and drugs used today.
Georgia State Senator Donzella James, officiating the ribbon cutting, told attendees, "Don't take my word for it. I'm here today to help open up this [exhibit] so that you can come and see for yourself, and know what psychiatry is doing."
Deb MacKay, regional coordinator for CCHR, said that plans for the exhibit were already in place when Atlantans received news Friday of psychiatrist Narendra Nagareddy, nicknamed "Dr. Death," after 36 of his patients died while he was prescribing them controlled substances. "Dr. Death is just a footnote in a long history of medical abuse," said MacKay, "That's 'business as usual' for many in this profession." MacKay was standing near an exhibit panel titled "Psychiatric Criminality" that informs visitors to the exhibit that psychiatrists and psychologists have an inordinately high number of criminal convictions as compared to other sectors of the health care profession.
The exhibit presents solid facts and figures that document such human rights abuses as psychiatry's "using 'science' to promote racism" and "labeling and over-drugging children." A section is devoted to electroshock, presenting the brutal facts that led to a demonstration in downtown Atlanta last weekend, where hundreds of participants representing CCHR, the Nation of Islam, the NAACP and Concerned Black Clergy protested the American Psychiatric Association's Annual Meeting. These groups gathered to denounce the APA's request to the FDA to allow electroshock on children and teens.
Those protesting the APA's action claim this is just another example of psychiatry justifying the lack of science in their so-called treatments by labeling these children and teens "treatment resistant." With eight million children in the U.S. already on psychotropic drugs and a growing awareness of the harm and inefficacy of these drugs, protesters fear this new "treatment resistant" label would be applied to thousands of children to justify electroshocking them.
At a press conference following the march, one survivor of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) said he received "30 rounds of electroshock" in one year at age 21. He described how he has no memory of his high school years and broke into tears while recounting "sitting there, and my father having to teach me how to tie my shoes again."
"This is unconscionable to even consider doing this to a child," said Dr. Linda Lagemann, a clinical psychologist who retired after 23 years in practice. "Someone's getting rich and someone's getting hurt. This really must be stopped."
Senator James intends to add Georgia to the growing list of states to enact protections against ECT for minors. The senator recently called for legislation to ban the use of ECT on children. She said Georgia's provisions to protect children and others from ECT are grossly insufficient and cited a World Health Organization recommendation to governments that: "There are no indications for the use of ECT on minors, and hence this should be prohibited through legislation."
At the exhibit, Georgians can show their support for Senator James' legislation by signing a petition for the ban of ECT on children.
The Citizens Commission on Human Rights makes their exhibit available to the public free of charge. It will run 11 am to 7 pm daily through Sunday, May 29, at Piedmont Park Greystone, 400 Park Dr NE. The exhibit has toured more than 441 major cities in the U.S. and around the world and has educated some 800,000 people on the barbaric history and equally brutal contemporary practices of psychiatry.
CCHR is a nonprofit, non-political mental health watchdog, established in 1969 by the Church of Scientology and renowned psychiatrist Dr. Thomas Szasz. CCHR's mission is to eradicate abuses committed under the guise of mental health and see to patient and consumer protections. CCHR has helped enact more than 150 laws protecting individuals from abusive or coercive mental health practices.
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SOURCE Citizens Commission on Human Rights of Georgia