Letter to the Editor

Yoder case isn't about consensual psychiatric care

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

To the editor:

In response to the articles "Psychiatry on trial" and "Millie's story: A woman's up-and-down romance with a mental patient": The reporter cast me as a love interest, but this role unfortunately precluded comments I made opposing coercive psychiatry.

In the "Psychiatry on trial" article, Dr. Chris Fichtner, chief psychiatrist of the Illinois Department of Mental Health, said it's good to be challenged by the anti-psychiatry movement. Referring to the Rodney Yoder case in the same breath as anti-psychiatry is a smear tactic to detract from the issue: Is coercive psychiatry just?

Yes, there is an anti-psychiatry movement, but these folks oppose both coercive and consensual psychiatry. Many also do not question the premise of mental illness, as the Yoder case does. In fact, the anti-psychiatry movement seeks to replace one form of coercion with another. It seeks to replace forced psychiatry with forcing taxpayers to fund what it calls "empowering alternatives" because it believes in the mythology of mental illness.

Fichtner also says he believes in mental illness. Is belief a requisite for evidence? For example, a doctor would never say he believes in diabetes. There is no need to assert belief, because there is objective physical evidence diabetes exists -- unlike so-called mental illness.

Yoder's case does not in any way represent to diminish, refuse or restrict people their right to consensual psychiatry and its various treatments. The Yoder case represents the movement to abolish forced psychiatry.


Vancouver, British Columbia