This MindFreedom International member, Christina Walko of Pennsylvania, is being forced to take many psychiatric drugs on an outpatient basis, even though she is living peacefully in the community. She says, "People do not heal when they are bullied or forced!" Her hearing is this Friday, 27 January 2012. Please take action.
Christina Walko says Pennsylvania is forcing her to take multiple psychiatric drugs on an outpatient basis.
Enough Is Enough!
Southwestern Pennsylvania Human Services is Bullying Me to Take Psychiatric Drugs Forever
by Christina Walko
I have spent more than 20 years of my life trying to understand and navigate both the real world and the mental health worlds, often on myriads of prescribed psychiatric drugs. This gave me much confusion and also a "created dependency."
Now, at 43, I am way older and wiser. I am more well in thinking and wanting to know what life really is before its too late. I want out of of this vicious cycle.
But the mental health system won't let me. I have yet to really live yet, and am so tired of "sleepwalking" through my life on psychiatric pills!
Currently, I am under forced outpatient treatment and drugging by the Washington County, Pennsylvania mental health system with the A.C.T. program - "Assertive Community Treatment." This is a mobile unit that can come out to your house, thus bringing the mental ward to you, with your pills and injections.
My Mental Health Care: Humiliating and Degrading
My experience with A.C.T. has been disappointing, at times humiliating. A.C.T.'s imbalance of power has made me feel degraded and frustrated my feelings of confidence, dignity, respect and security. I am experiencing iatrogenic (treatment-induced) symptoms as I have in times before with other mental health organizations.
Here in my home in Charleroi, Pennsylvania, I am court-ordered to take:
- Monthly injections of Invega Sustenna (156 mg), a long-acting 'antipsychotic' neuroleptic drug
- Abilify 15 mg (another 'antipsychotic' neuroleptic drug)
- Geodon 240 mg (a third 'antipsychotic' neuroleptic drug)
- Levetiracetam 1000 mg (mood stabilizer)
I have had major emotional problems at times. Many mishaps in my life that led me to mental health's attention came about from being on pills that my system would not tolerate, or from being stressed and sleep-deprived, or a combination of both. However, the mental health system would rather label me as "severely mentally ill" and keep me in its clutches, than try to fix the mess they made.
I am court-ordered to go to a drug/alcohol group, in which, I would like to, over time, detox from psych drugs. To me psych drugs are still drugs, all dangerous in long-term use. But, instead of seeing my viewpoint, I am given another label as "addict" though I never use street drugs and rarely alcohol. The pills themselves and the State of Pennsylvania -- not God or myself -- have control over me. Knowing this is just overwhelming and unnerving and brings on anxiety symptoms.
The two hospitalizations directly before my involuntary drugging were horrid. Fortunately I, unlike most of the other patients, am experienced in this and was able to do all my own finances, keep my apartment and not have them appoint me a "payee," so I've kept some aspects of my life as my own.
It is a small miracle that I can still walk, talk and chew gum through all that was done to me, some of which is too traumatic and fresh to even talk about. I want to keep all of my sense of self that I can - including health and appearance.
My Request For Voluntary Mental Health Services
My pastor has been counseling me. We believe in wellness and healing and recovery - not just "forever treatment." Several of my friends have been indispensable in this matter.
I ask for support from other psychiatric survivors in this also. If you can help, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
One of my requests to get back to work through the State Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, as I was previously. A.C.T. will not allow this. Without harassment by the mental health system I could be ready to work very soon.
At my hearing, I request regular doctor/therapist outpatient treatment. However in order for healing to begin it must be voluntary.
People do not heal when they are bullied or forced.
MindFreedom International Shield Action:
Please contact Christina's county mental health system and the Governor of Pennsylvania.
Sample message (your own words are best):
"I read allegations that the Assertive Community Treatment (A.C.T.) team for Washington County Southwestern Pennsylvania Human Services (SPHS) is abusing an American citizen, Christina Walko. She said she is being forced to take a number of powerful psychiatric drugs against her will, even though she is living peacefully out in the community in her own residence.
"Ms. Walko maintains that she is not being offered common sense voluntary non-drug help and advocacy. Please give Christina Walko choice about her mental health care. Please immediately investigate these serious charges about abuse, violations to her life and liberty, and waste of taxpayer money."
Washington County SPHS ACT Team
75 East Maiden Street
Washington, PA 15301
Web feedback form:
[note: if this form doesn't work, try a different browser]
Contact Scott A. Berry, Administrative Management Supervisor at Washington Communities Mental Health, at 724-228-6832
Contact Governor of Pennsylvania Tom Corbett
phone: (717) 787-2500
or email directly to: