STAT, July 13, 2017
Shirley S. Wang

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[...] This approach underlies a controversial international movement that raises fundamental questions about what it means to be mentally ill. The question at the heart of the debate: Do patients who hear voices — and suffer other symptoms that psychiatrists would consider severe —  have the right to direct their treatment, even if that means rejecting conventional therapies, such as psychiatric medication?

Some mainstream psychiatrists have concerns that people who are out of touch with reality and spurn treatment may pose a danger to themselves or others.

But the movement, which began in the Netherlands, has spread rapidly in the past three decades; there are now “hearing voices” support groups on all five continents, and over 180 in the U.K., alone, anchored by the Hearing Voices Network. The idea has been slower to take hold in the U.S., which has a strong medical model for treating mental illness, but is gaining steam there, too. [...]

human rights international mental health