Cohen on the Unethical Detainment of Psychiatric Patients

David Cohen, professor of social welfare, was cited in a book excerpt published by The Walrus about the forcible detainment of many psychiatric patients. In his five-year study, Cohen found that at least 600,000 detentions took place in 2014 under mental health laws. In addition, between 2012 and 2016, psychiatric detentions increased every year at a rate three times faster than population growth. Cohen discussed how there were apparent gaps in the data, even though medical records are electronic and should be easily accessible. He said many government and treatment providers apparently do not want to expose the reality that our mental health system has been used to incarcerate and control people. “There’s nothing pleasant about that. There’s nothing beautiful and pretty. It’s just exclusion: ‘Please take them away from me.’ And because we’re saying we’re doing it to help them, there’s a kind of systemic dissonance,” Cohen said.


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