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Don the Con’s Little-Noticed Appointments

2017-04-29

I know I said yesterday that this stuff is making me sick, but when there is no news media coverage, I feel compelled to try to spread the sad tidings.  There has been no mainstream news coverage of one of Don the Con’s appointments to a government position created by the 21st Century Cures Act (passed in 2015 with wording here), but I found this in a blog run by mental health activists:

The White House announced this past Friday, April 21st, 2017, that President Donald Trump has, for a pivotal mental health position, appointed a psychiatrist who openly speaks out for involuntary psychiatric drugging of people living outside of institutions, even in their own homes.

. . .

President Trump has appointed Dr. Ellie McCance-Katz for a high-level position created by the 21st Century Cures Act. Dr. McCance-Katz would become the first Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Abuse (SAMHSA) inside the federal Department of Health and Human Services.

In an essay published last year by the Psychiatric Times, Dr. McCance-Katz was highly critical of SAMHSA, especially its sub-agency Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS), headed by Paolo Delvecchio, who has long identified himself as an individual who has used psychiatric treatment. Many mental health consumers and psychiatric survivors know Paolo because of his work in this field for decades.

In her essay in Psychiatric Times, Dr. McCance-Katz:

  • Endorses federal funding of AOT (or IOC).
  • Criticizes SAMHSA for allegedly being critical of psychiatric drugs.
  • Challenges the support for “recovery” in mental health, a term used by many consumer/survivors as a rallying point for hope and empowerment.
  • Calls for mental health care, which appears to be led by psychiatric drugs, for more than three million Americans.

The blog is called “Mad in America” and the writer of this post was David W. Oaks on April 27, 2017.  Mr. Oaks identifies himself as one who was treated for mental illness: “After the mental health system abused David with forced psychiatric drugs and labels of schizophrenia and bipolar, David worked as a psychiatric survivor activist for decades.”

Thus Mr. Oaks has a point of view, and he doesn’t like the idea of forced medication– which frequently involves injections of long-acting neuroleptics that cause weight gain and involuntary twitching.  He presents evidence that forced outpatient treatment has failed in a Cochrane efficacy study, as well as other comprehensive analyses.  Apparently, this Dr. McCance-Katz favors non-evidence based treatments such as coerced long-term medication– not a pretty sight.

There was a mention of this appointment in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, with the headline “Representative Murphy blasts Trump’s pick for Mental Health Post”– Murphy being a Republican Congressman, who uncharacteristically criticized Don the Con’s appointment.  There are also a few mentions of her appointment in blogs such as pscyhnews.org, peteearly.com, and psychiatry.org.

Here’s another mention of the appointment, this time positive, from mentalillnesspolicy.org.

What we have here is an unheralded act by the master of the con– who is distracting everyone with his outrageous tweets and odd behavior when meeting world leaders.  Don the Con is doing so many outrageous things that no-one notices the really dangerous changes that he is making.

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