Forced Commitment: Speak Your Mind


Few issues in mental health are as controversial as involuntary commitment. Everyone has a strong opinion, especially individuals who have been forced into treatment and their families.

My good friend, Baltimore psychiatrist Dr. Dinah Miller, and her colleague, Dr. Anne Hanson, are doing research for a book they plan to publish called: “Committed: The Battle Over Forced Psychiatric Care.” 

Dr. Miller asked me yesterday if I would help her meet individuals who have stories — good or bad– to tell about their experiences with involuntary treatment.

  She wrote:

“I am interested in speaking with families where the patient is willing to talk with me as well, regardless of whether the patient has the same perspective as the family on what transpired around civil commitment. 

Please note that we are interested in treatment that is unequivocally involuntary.   For the sake of the book, we are limiting our discussion to what is clearly ‘forced,’ on the idea that someone who has been cajoled into getting help has a different experience then someone who is certified, then kept at a civil commitment hearing.  It’s not to deny the value of the cajoled treatment, but we need a line somewhere to contain the scope of the book, and we’ve chosen the line to be the actual civil commitment hearing. 

Thank you for any help you can offer.  We’re hoping to write a book that sheds a light on all sides of the argument with all it’s complex nuances.

Dinah Miller, MD

Dinah, who is one of the authors of the popular blog, Shrink Rap, is a fair-minded researcher who wants to talk to all sides in this volatile issue. I often get letters from families who support my views and anger emails from those who disagree.  Now is your chance to speak out and be heard. If you don’t, then someone who you disagree with probably will — so contact Dinah.

About the author:

Pete Earley is the bestselling author of such books as The Hot House and Crazy. When he is not spending time with his family, he tours the globe advocating for mental health reform.

Learn more about Pete.