Involuntary Psychiatric Hospitalization can be Horrifying

I learned this week that the government of my city, New York, is advocating for reducing restrictions on police officers bringing individuals in for mandatory psychiatric care against their wills. We’ve discussed why emergency care is problematic in Substack before. 

This directive from the mayor is for people who are not meeting criteria for imminent risk to self or others. Which is to say, it’s a much looser rule, and we know how well the police deal with loose rules. I’m providing this helpful primer to explain just how abysmal this idea is. 

(MVP/Editor note: Dr. Muir is a Solution Provider (SP) here in Veteran Mission Possible. This posting by him at his Substack site “The Frontier Psychiatrists” caught our eye because of the experiences of veterans who have been caught up in the becoming involuntary residents in psychiatric wards by way of “911” (now suicide-specific “988”) calls for someone in distress and likely self-harm. 

Seabee veteran Tim Pena, himself no stranger to suicide ideation or police intervention, spoke with me over breakfast this week where he showed me a snapshot he took of the face of a battered veteran at the homeless shelter they both inhabit in NYC. He talked of the stress of clearly mentally stressed individuals being housed in open areas when they should be in a special cubicle and tended to by mental healthcare professionals – not with policemen with guns unequipped to deal with such situations.

You might want to read this piece by Tim at his Veterans Justice Project site in tandem with Dr. Muir’s views on suicide and city-mandated “interventions.” (Follow this link to his complete letter/post)

By O. Scott Muir, M.D

Dr. Owen Scott Muir is a healthcare innovator and entrepreneur, working across innovative care, payment models, technology, regulatory compliance, and education. VP, Medical Affairs at but the opinions are my own.

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