All that I am, all that I ever was…

I am more than my mental health. I am more than my homelessness. I am more than any one aspect of me. I am Addy. And this is…


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Day 25: What is your opinion on forced/coercion in mental health treatment?

The 30 Days of Mental Illness Awareness Challenge continues, with:
What is your opinion on forced/coercion in mental health treatment

Perhaps my view of this would be different had I ever been the victim of forced treatment for my mental health issues, but I’m not a strong supporter of coercive measures when it comes to mental health. In fact, the only times I could understand its necessity would be if a person was a serious danger to other people or that they are so unwell (i.e. suicidal, psychotic, delusional) they are unable to make their own rational decisions.

I know there have been times during my life when I wish a mental health agency, psychiatrist or doctor had forced hospitalization on me (e.g. my suicide attempts in 2007 and 2008 spring to mind, as do numerous periods of psychosis). If such an action had been made, although I would have vehemently hated it at the time, it’s possible that such hospitalization would have saved me a lot of pain and distress. But then, it’s equally possible that it would have caused more pain and distress.

As for the forced help from a friend/family member, although it can be difficult to watch someone you care about spiral out of control, sometimes all you can do is wait for them to realise they need help, for forcing it upon them may push them further away and worsen the situation.

After all, the saying ‘you can’t help someone who doesn’t want to be helped’ is a classic for a reason.