CCHR Florida organized a campaign that resulted in the passing of key pieces of legislation to protect mental health human rights and address coercive psychiatry.

CLEARWATER, FL, April 06, 2024 /24-7PressRelease/ — The Florida chapter of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) was one of four finalists in the 2024 Impact Communications Awards in the category of Activism. Competing with entries from organizations across the country, CCHR was recognized for their work to protect mental health human rights and to address coercive psychiatry. [1]

Coercive psychiatry, which encompasses all forms of involuntary examination, commitment and treatment, had become one of the major sources of mental health human rights violations in Florida and so this subject became a focal point for CCHR.

CCHR Florida’s chapter, which consists of a vast volunteer network, worked to expose blatant abuse of the use of involuntary psychiatric examination. Commonly known as a Baker Act in Florida, this controversial law in the state is responsible for hundreds of thousands of involuntary psychiatric examinations each year. [2]

As a mental health watchdog, CCHR has long fought to restore basic inalienable human rights to the field of mental health, including, but not limited to, full informed consent regarding the medical legitimacy of psychiatric diagnosis, the risks of psychiatric treatments, the right to all available medical alternatives and the right to refuse any treatment considered harmful.

Working closely with her team, Diane Stein, the President for the Florida chapter of CCHR developed a PR and communications strategy to expose the mental health human rights abuses committed using the Baker Act. The plan involved teaming up with organizations with similar goals to create a grass roots movement.

Using investigative news stories and social media to communicate the need for change, laws were passed that helped reduce the number of Baker Acts in Florida for three straight years.

In total, the communications campaign reached tens of millions resulting in positive change that obtained the goal of protecting mental health human rights.

[1] 2024 Impact Communication Awards
[2] Baker Act Reporting Center

About CCHR: Initially established by the Church of Scientology and renowned psychiatrist Dr. Thomas Szasz in 1969, CCHR’s mission is to eradicate abuses committed under the guise of mental health and enact patient and consumer protections. L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology, first brought psychiatric imprisonment to wide public notice: “Thousands and thousands are seized without process of law, every week, over the ‘free world’ tortured, castrated, killed. All in the name of ‘mental health,'” he wrote in March 1969.

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