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Request to Lane County Mental Health for Data on Empowerment

MindFreedom Lane County made a request to Lane County Commissioners for some basic data to help measure the rate of empowerment, self-determination and choice in the mental health system. The County Commissioners unanimously agreed this request for data was reasonable. The below request was made to Lane County Mental Health on 29 November 2007, with the agreement that at least some of the data would be provided by a two-month time-frame, on 29 January 2008.

29 November 2007

MindFreedom Request for Information

How often does coercion happen in mental health treatment in Lane County, and how many people are affected?

Why MindFreedom desires this information to be public: 

If coercive treatment is occurring more frequently than is absolutely necessary to prevent imminent danger to self or others, then most of us can agree that this is a serious problem.  Coercive mental health treatment deprives individuals of their civil rights, and also frequently results in trauma which in turn exacerbates mental health problems.  One way to insure that coercion is kept to a minimum is simply to measure it, and make the results public.  Measurement means increased scrutiny, and procedures with the potential of doing damage deserve a high degree of scrutiny.  Such measurement would also facilitate monitoring the effectiveness of the implementation of any alternatives to coercive treatment which the county might employ in the future.

Types of events to measure, for each year, for all of Lane County (this would best be broken down for each facility in which these types of event occur.)

(Note:  MindFreedom understands that some individuals in Lane County are experiencing forced mental health treatment under the supervision of the Psychiatric Security Review Board, due to crimes they have committed in the past.  The issues involved in these kinds of cases are somewhat different, and therefore MindFreedom is not requesting statistics on the type of treatment these individuals are experiencing at this time.)

  1. Number of total days of involuntary commitment
  2. Number of individuals experiencing 1 or more days of involuntary commitment
  3. Number of individuals from Lane County sent involuntarily to the state hospital
  4. Number of hours individuals spend in involuntary seclusion (being locked in a room)
  5. Number of individuals experiencing involuntary seclusion
  6. Number of hours individuals spend in some form of restraints
  7. Number of individuals experiencing some form of restraints
  8. Number of days during which individuals are forcibly medicated
  9. Number of individuals experiencing forced medication
  10. Names of medications used in a forcible manner, with what frequency
  11. Number of days during which individuals are placed on conditional releases, outpatient commitments, or trial visits.
  12. Number of individuals placed on conditional releases, outpatient commitments, or trial visits.

We are asking the Commissioners to takes steps to insure that this information is collected and made public.  This would represent an important, objective step toward insuring the quality of mental health services in Lane County.  Thank you for your consideration of this matter!

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Matt Morrissey

Matt Morrissey is on the MFI Choice in Mental Health Campaign Committee. Matt directs the adult day program at Full Spectrum Progressive Mental Health, which is a nonprofit center in San Francisco that offers voluntary programs for adults and adolescents in severe emotional distress. Full Spectrum is a Sponsor Group in MFI. Matt is shown here speaking at an MFI co-sponsored protest in front of the American Psychiatric Association. (Photo by Tom Olin)
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