- CCHR Australia - https://cchr.org.au -

Urgent Call For Independent National Mental Health Investigation In Response To Victorian Abuses

woman and child looking at gravestone on graveyardWith a government ordered investigation in progress to address horrific conditions exposed in Victorian psychiatric hospitals, CCHR is calling for each state government to investigate conditions in their own psychiatric hospitals and for a federal investigation into deaths caused by psychotropic drugs. The latest figures from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) show there have been a staggering 629 deaths linked to antipsychotics, 15 of those for children under 19.

In September Victoria called an inquiry into their mental health system after it was revealed 975 people diagnosed as mentally ill, had died between 2006 and 2010. This included a man who died from a powerful combination of antipsychotic medications. These deaths are not isolated to Victoria and it is a national problem that needs to be cleaned up.

Figures from the TGA also reveal there have been another 286 deaths linked to antidepressants, 5 of those for children under 19 across Australia. As only between 1 and 10% of adverse drug reactions are reported the figure is expected to be much higher.

In addition to over drugging other alarming concerns in Victoria which contributed to the need for wide-spread inquiry included deaths from the use of restraints, electroshock being given without consent and unethical practices.

“We know such human rights violations are occurring in all states of Australia and the need to protect vulnerable people and ensure they have adequate care and respect is very important. Psychiatry should be held fully accountable for these deaths and practices with record spending of over $5.9 billion a year nationally,” Ms Wilkins stated.

Consider the following facts about your state which highlight the need for a full inquiry into your mental health system:

NSW: There have been a staggering 1,288 deaths between 2007/08 and 2009/10 in NSW.

QLD: In August it was reported that 2 girls aged 16 had hung themselves while on antidepressants that have been linked to suicide by the Australian Government.

W.A.: In June this year it was reported that more than 2,000 children under 17 were prescribed antidepressants, up 54 % on the previous year. This is despite the fact that no antidepressant has been authorised by the Australian Government for use in anyone under the age of 18 for major depression and they have warnings for suicidal behaviour.

S.A.: During a heat wave in SA there were 4 fatalities for mental health patients on the antipsychotic clozapine. Deaths linked to clozapine Australia wide have increased from 282 in 2009 to 433 in 2011.

Tas.: 1,104 electroshock “treatments” were performed in 2010/11 in Tasmania including 30 of those on females over the age of 85. Only females under the age of 24 were given electroshock and men received 203 of the total 1,104 shocks.

A.C.T.: In 2010/11 females in ACT received more than double the number of electroshock “treatments” that men received.

N.T.: There are currently 5,992 people on antidepressants in the NT. This includes 100 under children under the age of 16, despite the fact that no antidepressant has been authorised by the Australian Government for use in anyone under the age of 18 for major depression and they have warnings for suicidal behaviour.

Documentary: Dead Wrong

The DVD Dead Wrong: How Psychiatric Drugs Can Kill Your Child produced by award-winning documentary makers is about a family whose 17-year-old son Matthew Steubing was prescribed the SSRI antidepressant Lexapro for usual teenage angst. Just 8 weeks later—without any prior mental health problem—he committed suicide. A 2009 US Senate investigation into the manufacturer’s marketing of Lexapro revealed how $34.7 million was spent marketing to get psychiatrists and doctors to prescribe the drug known to cause suicidal thoughts. Warnings about antidepressants causing suicide came too late for Matthew as they are coming too late for many Australian children and mental health patients.

Matthew’s death sparked a mother’s search for the truth about antidepressants to discover the information that she and Matthew had been denied. Mrs. Steubing says: “We hope that by sharing Matthew’s story, other families will be spared the devastating heartbreak we live with every day.”

CCHR was established in 1969 by the Church of Scientology and Professor of Psychiatry Dr Thomas Szasz to investigate and expose psychiatric violations of human rights. CCHR was instrumental in obtaining the 1988-1990 Royal Commission Inquiry into Deep Sleep Treatment at NSW’s Chelmsford Hospital.