American Psychiatric Association Still Advocating Draconian Torture at 2023 Annual Meeting

On May 20, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) held its annual meeting at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. The arcane, brutal and pseudoscientific convention was unique among the many professional conferences and expos. Not just because the event drew protest marches to the very doors of the center, but in the tone of the event with a program guide containing three suicidal thoughts warnings and a contraption to run powerful currents through the brain all appearing in ads before the table of contents.

The four-day event held the torture-ridden tone from beginning to end. Sessions included “Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation: Future Innovations and Clinical Applications for Psychiatric Practice,” featuring the “high-tech treatment” of “TMS” where a magnetic coil is placed near the patient’s scalp so a powerful and rapidly changing magnetic field can pass through skin and bone to penetrate a few centimeters of the outer cortex of the brain and induce an electrical current. And the session “Give It Your Best Shot: Learning How to Administer Long-Acting Injectable Antipsychotics” touting antipsychotic injections, the effects of orally ingested psychiatric drugs apparently not brutal enough.

But it was the session “Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT): Clinical Update for Adult and Pediatric Patients” that gave rise to protests, marches and an entire exhibit in front of the convention center. The seminar confirmed psychiatry’s ongoing support of electroshock in the U.S., with 100,000 victims of the lucrative “therapy” every year. Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) organized the march. The mental health industry watchdog has so far helped get ECT banned from use on children under 12 in California and is dedicated to an absolute ban of the practice universally. In 2018, the United Nations Human Rights Council recognized ECT, among other practices, as “constituting torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and as amounting to discrimination against users of mental health services, persons with mental health conditions and persons with psychosocial disabilities.”

CCHR took to the streets to protest the American Psychiatric Association which continues to condone coercive mental health treatments.
CCHR took to the streets to protest the American Psychiatric Association which continues to condone coercive mental health treatments.
CCHR protesters at the APA meeting demanded a ban on ECT psychiatric torture.

Jim Van Hill, of CCHR Sacramento, stated in an open letter to the APA president: “Citizens Commission on Human Rights denounces the hypocrisy of the APA claiming it is ‘charting the future of mental health’ when it continues to advocate coercive practices, such as forced electroshock treatment (ECT)—which is an assault on 100,000 Americans, including 5-year-olds, every year.”

The traveling exhibit outside the Moscone Center is CCHR’s “Psychiatry: An Industry of Death” which chronicles the history of psychiatry in a series of panels and documentary videos. The full documentary can be seen online and is the most complete and devastating documentary of psychiatric abuse ever produced.