The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) is a non-profit, public benefit organization dedicated to investigating and exposing psychiatric violations of human rights.

CCHR was founded in 1969 by the Church of Scientology and the internationally acclaimed author, Dr. Thomas Szasz, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at the State University of New York, Syracuse. At that time, the victims of psychiatry were a forgotten minority group, warehoused under terrifying conditions in institutions around the world. Because of this, CCHR formulated a Mental Health Declaration of Human Rights that has served as its guide for mental health reform.

Acknowledged by the Special Rapporteur to the United Nations Human Rights Commission as responsible for "many great reforms" that protect people from psychiatric abuse, CCHR has documented thousands of individual cases.

These demonstrate that psychiatric drugs and brutal psychiatric practices create insanity and cause violence.

A major cause of the drug problem worldwide is the psychiatrist, who for decades has used his influence as a medical doctor to push extremely dangerous and addictive mind-altering drugs on persons of all ages - some as young as one year old.

Since 1969, CCHR's work has helped to save the lives of millions and prevented needless suffering for millions more. Many countries have now mandated informed consent for psychiatric treatment and the right to legal representation, advocacy, recourse and compensation for the unfortunates who end up in the hands of psychiatrists. In some countries, thanks to the work of CCHR, the use of brutal psychosurgery and electroshock on children is banned.

One of CCHR's primary concerns with psychiatry is its unscientific diagnostic system. Unlike medical diagnosis, psychiatrists categorize symptoms only, not disease. Jeffrey A. Schaler, Ph.D., says, "The notion of scientific validity, though not an act, is related to fraud. Validity refers to the extent to which something represents or measures what it purports to represent or measure. When diagnostic measures do not represent what they purport to represent, we say that the measures lack validity. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (OSM-IV) published by the American Psychiatric Association is notorious for low scientific validity."

Understanding the fraud of psychiatric "diagnoses", we can see why psychiatry and psychology, entrusted with billions of dollars to eradicate the problems of the mind, have instead created and perpetuated them. Their drugs cause senseless acts of violence, suicide, sexual dysfunction, irreversible nervous system damage, hallucinations, apathy, irritability, anxiousness, psychosis and death. And with virtually unrestrained psychiatric drugging of so many of our schoolchildren, it is no surprise that the age group of most murderers today is in the 15-to-19-year-old range.

CCHR's members include prominent doctors, lawyers, artists, educators, civil and human rights representatives and professionals who see it as their duty to "expose and help abolish any and all physically damaging practices in the field of mental healing." They work to accomplish these clearly stated aims with many like-minded individuals and groups, including politicians, teachers, health professionals, government, law enforcement and media.

Today, with hundreds of chapters in nations on every continent, CCHR has established itself as a powerful human rights advocacy group.

Thousands of individuals contact CCHR each year to report psychiatric abuse and criminality, false imprisonment, fraud, sexual abuse and inhumane treatment and conditions in psychiatric institutions. CCHR documents the abuse and helps the individual report the matters to the proper authorities. It also conducts investigations in wider psychiatric issues, such as insurance fraud, high death rates reported in institutions, or the fraudulent labelling of children as "mentally disordered" and drugging millions.

In the last ten years, CCHR's investigations led to the prosecution of over a thousand psychiatrists, psychologists and mental health workers. This has prompted legislators and insurance companies to withdraw funding to criminal psychiatric practices, and to pass laws to protect individuals from psychiatry.

Through CCHR's achievements, thousands of psychiatric victims have been rescued, patients have regained legal and civil rights, mental health acts have outlawed the arbitrary use of electroshock and psychosurgery and banned these savage practices on children, and legislation has been enacted to ensure psychiatric rape of patients is dealt with as a criminal offense. Many hundreds of psychiatric survivors have been compensated tens of millions of dollars for the damage they have suffered.

CCHR is an independent organization. It comprises members of the Church of Scientology and many other people of various denominations, faiths and cultural beliefs. Scientologists are not unique in their view that psychiatry is harmful. People from all walks of life are concerned about the destructive impact of psychiatry on society. They work with CCHR to do something effective about it.

CCHR's Board of Advisors - called Commissioners - includes prominent doctors, lawyers, artists, educators, business professionals, civil and human rights representatives who see it as their duty to "expose and help abolish any and all physically damaging practices in the field of mental health."

We are proud to have been founded by the Church of Scientology, which has a long and impressive history of human rights achievements. CCHR members work closely with Church members on social reform issues and consult with the Church's social reform or human rights departments. The Church coordinates the activities of CCHR with its other social programs.

When the Church of Scientology established CCHR in 1969, victims of psychiatry had no rights and needed a voice. "Treatment" was brutal, its only purpose being to create compliant patients. Patients were subjected to punitive electroshock - without anaesthetic - as punishment for "bad" behaviour. Using lobotomies and other psychosurgical procedures, psychiatrists destroyed patients' brains with callous disregard. Those under psychiatric "care" were mercilessly experimented upon with therapeutically unproven mind-altering drugs.

The founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, was the first to confront these desperate acts by psychiatrists. From the late 1940s, Mr. Hubbard saw psychiatry's reckless abuse of the individual. Later, he wrote: "The Church of Scientology will not recommend or condone political mental treatment such as electric shocks and condemns utterly the fascist approach to 'mental health' by extermination of the insane."

CCHR was formed to investigate and expose psychiatric violations of human rights and to clean up the field of mental healing.

Very simply, electroshock destroys minds and can kill. Touted by psychiatrists as "scientific" and "therapeutic," ECT is as sophisticated and beneficial as hitting someone over the head with a sledgehammer. It consists of searing the brain with 180 to 460 volts of electricity. This causes a severe convulsion or a grand mal seizure identical to an epileptic fit. Women and the elderly, in particular, are psychiatry's principal targets. The death rate among the elderly from ECT is about one in every 200. A 1993 Texas government report found that one in 197 patients died within two weeks of receiving this "treatment."

Other studies document that electroshock inflicts irreversible brain damage, memory loss and a deterioration of intellectual ability.

Electroshock also has a sordid history as a weapon of torture and mind control.

When you deal with vulnerable people who are in desperate need of help, using ECT is not only betrayal, it is criminal assault. Psychiatrists who administer it for a living have a financial incentive to lie about its effects - in the United States alone it is a $5 billion-a-year industry.

Psychiatric drugs are usually prescribed as a "solution" to a problem. But they only mask the problem and prevent the person from addressing the real cause.

CCHR strongly disagrees with the enforced and harmful methods employed by psychiatrists. Psychiatrists fail to mention the horrendous side effects of their drugs: addiction, exhaustion, diminished sexual drive, trembling, nightmares, increased anxiety, and violent or suicidal behaviour. They often cause irreversible damage to the brain and nervous system. These effects usually require a further drug to cover them up.

While these mind-altering drugs may deaden the mental and emotional pain connected with living, in so doing they can kill the drive that promotes the search for real solutions and improvement.

Psychiatry's ability to convince drug companies and governments to pour billions of dollars into its practices is based upon fraudulent "diagnostic" criteria. Psychiatrists package various behaviour and emotional characteristics and falsely categorize these as a "disease" or "disorder." There isn't a single aspect of behaviour that doesn't fall within the broad "symptoms" which comprise so-called "mental illness."

Psychiatry has literally intruded into every facet of life with invented criteria. The migraine sufferer has a "pain disorder," the child who fidgets or is overzealous at play is "hyperactive," the person who smokes or drinks coffee has a "nicotine disorder" or suffers "caffeine intoxication." If you stutter, it's a mental illness. If you have a low math score, it's "developmental arithmetic disorder." If a teenager argues with his parents it's "oppositional defiance disorder."

These labels drum up business for psychiatrists, Drugs are produced to meet the psychiatrists' demand. Without fraudulent diagnoses, we would not be witnessing the prescribed drug problem we experience today.

Commitment laws have been exploited for every wrong reason: financial, sexual, political, business profit, inheritance and even governmental secrecy. They are a deprivation of human and constitutional rights. Once committed­ - and declared incompetent - the person can lose the right to vote, drive a car, join the military, control their financial and business affairs and even practice their profession. The victim is also subjected to physically harmful treatments from which they may never recover.

There would be public outcry if someone ran amok in the street, grabbing citizens because he disapproved of their behaviour, locking them up and submitting them to mind-altering drugs or electric shock. The perpetrator would be criminally charged and jailed for many years. But because the perpetrator is a psychiatrist, his brutal acts are cloaked in terms such as "treatment," "mental health care," or "preventing the person from doing harm," and are sanctioned by law. Consequently, the systematic social and mental crippling of millions of people each year is ignored.

Imagine the alternative: mental hospitals as places of rest. People would not be assaulted with drugs and shock, They could rest and receive proper medical help. People would be more approachable about being helped. But under the current system, forcing anyone into a mental hospital is imprisonment masquerading as protection. All coercive mental health practices should be illegal. Like slavery before it, involuntary hospitalization should be abolished.

The person who is violent or threatens violence must never be "treated" by psychiatrists. If a person commits a dangerous offense, criminal statutes exist to address this. Dr. Thomas Szasz, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry, says:

"All criminal behaviour should be controlled by means of criminal law, from the administration of which psychiatrists ought to be excluded."

Studies demonstrate that psychiatric predictions of dangerousness are no better than flipping a coin. Psychiatrists cannot "cure" criminal or anti-social conduct.

The foundation of justice is based on the idea that each man is accountable for his actions. But each year thousands of criminals are excused of the most heinous crimes based on psychiatric testimony in courts. This undermines a key tool that society uses to protect itself from violent crime.

If someone is violent or breaks the law, he or she should be dealt with the way all people are who do such things. We don't need psychiatrists for that.

Trusted with the care of the mentally disturbed, psychiatry has failed utterly. Humane, non-intrusive methods exist to help people who are troubled, overwhelmed by problems or emotionally distraught. For example, extensive medical studies prove that physical illnesses can manifest as "psychiatric" symptoms and should be addressed with medical treatment.

Additionally, good nutrition, a healthy environment, and work that boosts morale will do much for these individuals. They respond to rest, safety and a healthy diet. What they don't need is torture or violation of their human rights, as covered in documents such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and CCHR's Mental Health Declaration of Human Rights.

Dr. Thomas Szasz states, "Old age homes, workshops, temporary homes for indigent persons whose family ties have been disintegrated, progressive prison communities - these and many other facilities will be needed to assure the tasks now entrusted to mental hospitals."