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February 1, 2023

This spring, the Mental Health and Recovery Board of Ashland County welcomes Rob Wipond as our 2023 RSVP Conference featured speaker.  Wipond will present his talk, “911 and 988: Both Help and Horror on Everyone’s Speed Dial.”

Asylums are supposed to be a thing of the past, but unfortunately, many of the same practices that happened in these institutions live on across the United States. In fact, according to Wipond, “more law-abiding Americans today are being involuntarily committed and forcibly treated ‘for their own good’ than at any time in history.”

Wipond’s presentation will address the various factors that influence involuntary psychiatric interventions today. His findings challenge some of the common beliefs about institutionalization, demonstrating that there are actually far more inpatient beds and people being subjected to coercion than ever before. Mass-scale psychiatric detention fraud for profit is on the rise, and flexible mental health laws and tranquilizing drugs are increasingly being used to help manage schools, workplaces, guardianships, and other institutions, frequently for explicitly politicized purposes. Wipond will challenge our audience to evaluate our psychiatric treatment practices, advocating for improved collection of data alongside greater honesty and transparency.

Wipond is a freelance journalist and author of the book, Your Consent Is Not Required: The Rise in Psychiatric Detentions, Forced Treatment, and Abusive Guardianships, published this winter by BenBella Press. His book is the first comprehensive, journalistic exploration of people’s experiences of civil commitment in the United States and Canada in decades. As a journalist, Wipond writes frequently on the interfaces between psychiatry, civil rights, policing, surveillance and privacy, and social change. His articles have been nominated for 17 magazine and journalism awards for writing in medicine, science and technology, business, and law. He has taught journalism and creative nonfiction at the University of Victoria and Royal Roads University, and also works and volunteers with nonprofit groups that do neighborhood community building.

Rob Wipond will speak at the MHRB of Ashland County’s annual RSVP Conference on March 29, 2023. Mark your calendars and come prepared to be awakened to behavioral health treatment challenges when we don’t prioritize the role of the person receiving care.

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