What is CCHR?
The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) International headquarters in Los Angeles, CaliforniaCCHR is a non-profit, public benefit organization dedicated to investigating and exposing psychiatric violations of human rights. It also ensures that criminal acts within the psychiatric industry are reported to the proper authorities and acted upon.
CCHR was founded in 1969 by the Church of Scientology and the internationally acclaimed author, Dr. Thomas Szasz, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at the State University of New York, Syracuse. At that time, the victims of psychiatry were a forgotten minority group, warehoused under terrifying conditions in institutions around the world. Because of this, CCHR penned a Mental Health Declaration of Human Rights that has served as its guide for mental health reform.
Mental health declaration of human rights
All great organizations set forth codes by which they align their purposes and activities. The Mental Health Declaration of Human Rights articulates the guiding principles of CCHR and the standards against which human rights violations by psychiatry are relentlessly investigated and exposed.
A. No person shall be given psychiatric or psychological treatment against his or her will.
B. No person, man, woman or child, may be denied his or her personal
liberty by reason of mental illness,
C. No person shall be admitted to or held in a psychiatric institution, hospital or facility because of their religious, political or cultural beliefs and practices.
D. Any patient has:
1. The right to be treated with dignity as a human being,
2. The right to hospital amenities without distinction as to race, color, sex, language, religion, political opinion, social origin or status by right of birth or property.
3. The right to have a thorough, physical and clinical examination by a competent registered general practitioner of one’s choice, to ensure that one’s mental condition is not caused by any undetected and untreated physical illness, injury or defect, and the right to seek a second medical opinion of one’s choice.
4.The right to fully equipped medical facilities and appropriately trained medical staff in hospitals, so that competent physical, clinical examinations can be performed.
5. The right to choose the kind or type of therapy to be employed, and the right to discuss this with a general practitioner, healer or minister of one’s choice.
6. The right to have all the side effects of any offered treatment made clear and understandable to the patient, in written form and in the patient’s native language.
7.The right to accept or refuse treatment but in particular, the right to refuse sterilization, electroshock treatment, insulin shock, lobotomy (or any other psychosurgical brain operation), aversion therapy, narcotherapy, deep sleep therapy and any drugs producing unwanted side effects.
8. The right to make official complaints, without reprisal, to an independent board which is composed of non-psychiatric personnel, lawyers and lay people. Complaints may encompass any torturous, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment received while under psychiatric care.
9. The right to have private counsel with a legal advisor and to take legal action.
10. The right to discharge oneself at any time and to be discharged without restriction, having committed no offense.
11. The right to manage one’s own property and affairs with a legal advisor, if necessary, or if deemed incompetent by a court of law, to have a State-appointed executor to manage such until one is adjudicated competent. Such executor is accountable to the patient’s next of kin, or legal advisor or guardian.
12. The right to see and possess one’s hospital records and to take legal action with regard to any false information contained therein which may be damaging to one’s reputation.
13. The right to take criminal action, with the full assistance of law enforcement agents, against any psychiatrist, psychologist or hospital staff for any abuse, false imprisonment, assault from treatment, sexual abuse or rape, or any violation of mental health or other law. And the right to a mental health law that does not indemnify or modify the penalties for criminal, abusive or negligent treatment of patients committed by any psychiatrist, psychologist or hospital staff.
14. The right to sue psychiatrists, their associations and colleges, the institution, or staff for unlawful detention, false reports, or damaging treatment.
15. The right to work or to refuse to work, and the right to receive just compensation on a pay-scale comparable to union or state/national wages for similar work, for any work performed while hospitalized.
16. The right to education or training so as to enable one better to earn a living when discharged, the right of choice over what kind of education or training is received.
17. The right to receive visitors and a minister of one’s own faith.
18. The right to make and receive telephone calls and the right to privacy with regard to all personal correspondence to and from anyone.
19. The right to freely associate or not with any group or person in a psychiatric institution, hospital or facility.
20. The right to a safe environment without having in the environment persons placed there for criminal reasons.
21. The right to be with others of one’s own age group.
22.The right to wear personal clothing, to have personal effects and to have a secure place in which to keep them.
23. The right to daily physical exercise in the open.
24. The right to a proper diet and nutrition and to three meals a day.
25.The right to hygienic conditions and non-overcrowded facilities, and to sufficient, undisturbed leisure and rest.
Acknowledged by the Special Rapporteur to the United Nations Human Rights Commission as responsible for “many great reforms” that protect people from psychiatric abuse, CCHR has documented thousands of individual cases that demonstrate psychiatric drugs and often-brutal psychiatric practices create insanity and cause violence. A major cause of the drug problem worldwide is the psychiatrist, who for decades has used his influence as a medical doctor to push extremely dangerous and addictive mind-altering drugs on persons of all ages—some as young as one year old.
Since 1969, CCHR’s work has helped to save the lives of millions and prevented needless suffering for millions more. Many countries have now mandated informed consent for psychiatric treatment and the right to legal representation, advocacy, recourse and compensation for patients. In some countries, the use of psychosurgery and electroshock on children is banned.
While CCHR does not provide medical or legal advice, it works closely with attorneys and medical doctors and supports medical, but not psychiatric, practices.
One of CCHR’s primarily concerns with psychiatry is its unscientific diagnostic system. Unlike medical diagnosis, psychiatrists categorize symptoms only, not disease. Jeffrey A. Schaler, Ph.D., says, “The notion of scientific validity, though not an act, is related to fraud. Validity refers to the extent to which something represents or measures what it purports to represent or measure. When diagnostic measures do not represent what they purport to represent, we say that the measures lack validity...The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV) published by the American Psychiatric Association…is notorious for low scientific validity.”
Understanding this fraudulent diagnostic premise, we can see why psychiatry and psychology, entrusted with billions of dollars to eradicate the problems of the mind, have created and perpetuated them. Their drug panaceas cause senseless acts of violence, suicide, sexual dysfunction, irreversible nervous system damage, hallucinations, apathy, irritability, anxiousness, psychosis and death. And with virtually unrestrained psychiatric drugging of so many of our schoolchildren, it is no surprise that the largest age group of murderers today are our 15-to-19-year-olds.
CCHR’s members include prominent doctors, lawyers, artists, educators, civil and human rights representatives and professionals who see it as their duty to “expose and help abolish any and all physically damaging practices in the field of mental healing.” They work to accomplish these clearly stated aims with many like-minded individuals and groups, including politicians, teachers, health professionals, government and law enforcement officers and media.
Today, 133 chapters strong in 34 countries, CCHR has established itself as a powerful human rights advocacy group and each year presents its Human Rights Awards to individuals who display exemplary courage in the worldwide fight for the restoration of basic human rights in the mental health area.Publications:
The Manufacture of Madness: A Comparative Study of the Inquisition and the Mental Health Movement (book)
by Dr. Thomas Szasz
The Manufacture of Madness is a fine historical analysis of psychiatry and the mental health movement, drawing comparisons between the medical establishment's treatment of deviants as mental patients and the Inquisition's treatment of deviants as witches. Radical, perhaps, although it must have seemed much more radical in 1970, when first published. Dr. Szasz knew his material well, having worked for twenty years as a psychiatrist in this country prior to writing the book.
His views were considered heretical by his colleagues (an irony that he makes much of) because he argued, quite strongly, that institutional psychiatry is dehumanizing both to patients and society as a whole because it deprives these people of all rights, treats them as objects to be repaired, and submits them to cruel tortures in the name of therapy. He went on to declare that mental illness itself is a myth; there has never been a scientific basis for treating social and behavioral deviance as stemming from the same causes as physical illnesses, nor reason to try to cure it. His central thesis is that institutional psychiatry fills the same role in modern times as the Inquisition did until only a few hundred years ago--a system of control and suppression of social deviants.
Another review at Amazon (concerning homosexuality)
One particular chapter -- "The Product Conversion" -- does a brilliant job of demolishing the theory that homosexuality is a mental illness. It dissects every argument made to this effect, and shows that homosexuality is nothing more than a variant of human sexuality, in much the same way that being left-handed is nothing more than a variant of laterality. Szasz does a brilliant job of showing the hypocrisy of the medico-legal establishment in terms of that establishment (1) declaring that homosexuality is a mental illness (this is no longer the official position of the American Psychological or American Psychiatric Associations) while (2) declaring that homosexuality is a crime. It cannot be both, as Szasz points out in his analysis -- while criminals can be mentally ill, homosexual status as opposed to conduct cannot be both criminal **and** a mental illness. The book is worth purchasing for this chapter alone, and I recommend it to any person interested in beating back efforts to remedicalize and recrimenalize the status of gay people. This chapter also reveals the manner in which religious ideology masquerades as psychiatric doctrine, ruthlessly exposing the epistemological error made by those who cling to outdated and cruel theories in this regard.
Part of another review at Amazon.com
'The Manufacture of Madness' by right wing libertarian
"anti-psychiatrist" Thomas Szasz is a comparative essay showing the
similarity and growth of the "religion of mental illness" from the
Inquisition, the persecution of heretics, and the days of witch hunting. Szasz
contends that the idea of "mental illness" is in fact a category
mistake involving a false notion of "illness". Much of this book is
spent demonstrating how society in the form of the "mental health
movement" seeks to root out dissenters and heretics in order to protect the
reigning order (or to achieve a new scientistic based order controlled by
doctor-bureaucrats - the modern day utopia of "the Brave New World").
Szasz finds notable similarity between the mental health movement and the
Inquisition and persecution of witches. Szasz observes that society has always
had certain individuals who defied convention and thus posed a threat to the