I ibeg people to think twice, then think again, then think a fourth time before suggesting that an AskMe questioner get someone involuntarily committed to a mental hospital.
Here we have a question
about a man who believes conspiracy theories.
-To the OP's chagrin, the man continues to believe conspiracy theories even after the OP has argued with him about them.
-A bunch of people do not want to be friends with the man due to his belief in conspiracy theories.
-The man has quit his job to study the conspiracy theories more.
Here's what didn't appear in the question:
-Any mention of the man being violent
-Any mention of the man threatening violence
-Any mention of the man talking about violence
-Any mention of the man being angry
-Any mention of the man harming himself
-Any mention of the man talking about harming himself
Now, I have no problem with saying, "hey, I have known people like that and eventually they were diagnosed with a mental illness."
Or, "hey, I have known people like that and eventually they became violent so you should keep an eye out for that / prepare for the possibility of that."
What I have a problem with is, based on the the facts as they are now, (rather than things that have happened to other people or potentially could happen at some point in the future, or illnesses that other people we've met have been diagnosed with) outrightly suggesting that the man be set up to be involuntarily committed.
Should we take it upon ourselves to decide a man shouldn't have the same civil rights as the rest of us, and should be detained and forced to have a medical evaluation, because we think his opinions are ridiculous and unrealistic?
Because he quit his job to delve more fully into his ridiculous opinions?
Because his opinions remind us of someone or other that we knew with some or another mental illness?
Even if someone is ill, should they be FORCED to be treated even if they are not harming anyone by it? Should cancer patients? Or just patients with illnesses that are mental?
Should we decide that we know better than an adult man what is good for him, and force him to take it, even if he is not harming anyone?
In the beginning I asked everyone to think several times before recommending involuntary commitment on AskMe. In addition to that, I would also ask that if you have never personally visited a mental hospital where people are involuntarily held, please visit one at least once before recommending that someone else be taken there.
This is what a great many of them are like. Imagine the waiting room at the DMV, and all the people in it. Now the doors are locked and nobody can leave. Now, the people - a great many of them are there because they have done something violent. Many of them are extremely disturbed - screaming, babbling, crying. Many act out and have to be redirected, or if they can't be redirected, have to be restrained and taken out of the room. Many of them have difficulty maintaing adequate hygiene. The man you send there to be involuntarily committed will spend most of his waking hours doing nothing but sitting in this room with these other men, maybe reading waiting room magazines, maybe watching daytime TV. The staff will often ignore them most of the time, unless they are giving out food, someone is acting up, etc. Maybe there will be a tiny little "outdoor" space, with 4 walls and a "ceiling" made out of wire mesh. At night, the man who is involuntarily committed will have to share a room with one, two, or more of these other, very disturbed men. Maybe he will spend a bit of time with a doctor at some point during the day. Maybe it will be every other day, or less.
It is essentially a holding tank, a human filing cabinet. Just being trapped there can and does traumatize people who weren't already traumatized. This is not somewhere that a person should be held against their will unless they are dangerous.
All I am asking is that people really think twice, really think about whether or not it is overkill that would seriously violate the rights of a man who has done nothing bad to anyone, before recommending things like googling the Baker Act as a "powerful search term"
in a situation like the one described here.