PROTECTING RUSSIA’S NEXT GENERATION
Recently, in West-Central Russia, a psychologist walked into a classroom and ordered the students to draw a picture of a man. He then called parents in to receive the “results.” One mother, whose son drew the picture “incorrectly,” was pressured to move her child into a class for students with disabilities.
The psychologist who pulled that stunt had no legal authority to do so, but a bill that almost slid through Parliament unnoticed would have permitted him to do just that, and much more, were it not for the Citizens Commission on Human Rights Russia.
The bill, euphemistically entitled “On Psychological Help to the Population of the Russian Federation,” was put forth in June of 2014 and offered “free mental therapy” to Russia’s children.
Translation: give psychologists free reign to screen and test elementary, middle and high school students without parental consent.
Such screenings in turn produce psychiatric evaluations, 98% of which land a child on brain-damaging drugs or worse. Additionally, in the case of West-Central Russia, the bill obligated psychiatrists to share a child’s “confidential” psychiatric record with law enforcement.
Accordingly, based on a brief interview with a psychologist—and in answer to questions like, “Do you feel blue sometimes?”—children could be sent to correctional facilities, institutionalized or taken from homes and families “for their own good.”
CCHR Russia would have none of it and got to work immediately.
“Our work helped save several hundred thousand children from obligatory psychiatric testing and drugging.”
The team made its first move: a detailed legal analysis of the bill, which they sent directly to members of Parliament and the bill’s authors.
They next turned to the media, distributing a critique of the bill to more than 1,100 outlets across the country, reaching thousands through the resulting coverage.
To flank their work with broad education, the team blanketed Russia with a mailing of CCHR documentaries to schools and teachers. The Marketing of Madness was the film of choice, which uncovers the vicious system of labeling and drugging that underpins the entire psychiatric industry.
CCHR Russia President Tatyana Malchikova next created an online petition entitled Protect Parental Rights. The petition described the destructive ramifications of the legislation and was addressed to the chairwoman of the committee responsible for reviewing the bill. The petition soon went viral, collecting 1,848 signatures.
Further, alarmed parents and citizens began writing personal letters to Parliament demanding that the bill be stopped at all costs.
The team’s initial victory came in mid-October. After receiving CCHR’s legal analysis, an executive at the Ministry of Health Protection wrote back that she was on their side and would propose an amendment to the bill protecting the rights of families and children.
That was the first of numerous letters, each thanking CCHR for their work and expressing agreement with the analysis.
“The wheel of reform had turned,” Malchikova said. “It could not be stopped.”
Her metaphor bore out, for in a matter of four days, 14 of the bill’s authors withdrew their signatures from the bill. By December 8th, the bill was dead.
Malchikova takes pride in the triumph on behalf of Russia’s next generation. She sees it as more than just a legal win.
“Our work helped save several hundred thousand children from obligatory psychiatric testing and drugging,” she said.
WE NEED YOUR HELP
As a nonprofit mental health watchdog, CCHR relies on memberships and donations to carry out its mission to eradicate psychiatric violations of human rights and clean up the field of mental health. To become part of the world’s largest movement for mental health reform, join the group that has helped enact more than 180 laws protecting citizens from abusive mental health practices.