The Consumer/Recovery Movement and Involuntary Mental Health Treatment: An Examination of State Policies Regarding Forced Medication
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This thesis examines state psychiatric civil commitment laws that dictate involuntary treatment and the use of forced medication for mental health treatment. It considers the ongoing and highly controversial debate between those in favor of involuntary treatment and those in opposition. My research emphasizes the latter by looking extensively at the consumer/recovery movement – a mental health empowerment movement largely consisting of people who have been treated against their will in the past. Through their fight for social justice, they urge states to make mental health policies that respect and well represent the rights and autonomy of people with mental health conditions. A content analysis of psychiatric civil commitment laws from ten states were analyzed using variables that capture the essence of consumer/recovery movement objectives. This analysis investigates to what extent the consumer/recovery movement has impacted state policy. For the state laws analyzed variability existed between and within states in the amount of consumer/recovery movement representation. Collectively however, consumer/recovery movement objectives were underrepresented within state policies that dictate the involuntary use of treatment and medication.