Francois Ferrero: Inquiry of the Geneva 1980’s Psychiatry Crisis: Forced Hospitalization, ETC and Sleep Therapy

Carlos Morra: The re-emergence of anti-psychiatry in Latin America


        I noted that in the exchange that followed the presentation of Francois Ferrero’s essay the possibility that events taking place in Geneva well over 30 years ago, “anti-psychiatry” might have played a role. 

        I thought it might be relevant to bring to attention the fact that the anti-psychiatry movement has remained alive; in the last few years Argentina experienced the reappearance of it.

        In the disguise of defending patient’s rights, the government proposed   eliminating psychiatric clinics and hospitals. The role of the psychiatrist as coordinator of the mental health team was questioned and the psychiatrist was equated with all the other members of the team in decision making regarding patient´s treatments and hospitalizations. The training of a psychiatrist was considered to be equivalent to that of a general practitioner and a psychologist together and if an institution has both, a psychologist and a general practitioner, it was legislated that there was no need to for a psychiatrist to treat patients with mental disorders.

        The denial of mental illness and its replacement with a new concept labeled  “subjective mental suffering” led treatment, especially for chronic mental patients, outside  of psychiatric practice - they should never be hospitalized in a psychiatric clinic. In case of acute episodes, patients should be treated in a general hospital. Otherwise, they should be left on their own without any consideration that most of these   patients become  homeless and many may be prosecuted and jailed. 

        This thinking is being legislated currently in Argentina supported by the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), founded in 1902.


October 24, 2019